Each weekend, we discuss the saves situations for all 30 teams in the league, with a special emphasis on who is trending up and who is slipping.
This week, Scott Barlow and Michael Lorenzen are trending up.
Scott Barlow, Kansas City Royals
The Royals’ bullpen has been one of the toughest to predict over the course of the 2021 campaign, but Scott Barlow seems to be gaining steam lately as a top saves option. He accumulated two saves last week, and has only two earned runs allowed in 10 August innings, with a 1/9 BB/K ratio.
Jake Brentz was the last non-Barlow Royal to get a save, on Tuesday, and as a left-hander, he could potentially get a handful of chances depending on matchups. According to recent usage, however, we can conclude that Barlow will get the majority of opportunities from here on out.
Michael Lorenzen, Cincinnati Reds
With Heath Hembree, Mychal Givens (who got the save on Friday), and Tony Santillan all healthy, the back of the Reds’ bullpen is impossible to predict. However, that doesn’t mean Michael Lorenzen isn’t trending up.
Note that Lorenzen hasn’t allowed any earned runs this season. Yes, he missed multiple months with an injury, but he has pitched 12.1 innings since returning in July and his ERA is still immaculate. His 12 strikeouts and 0.97 WHIP also paint an optimistic picture.
Relying on Lorenzen knowing that Cincinnati is just as likely to give its next save chance to a random reliever would be silly, but there is no reason to think he can’t dominate in the ratios and strikeouts department while also getting a save every now and then.
David Bednar, Pittsburgh Pirates
The 26-year-old right-hander converted his first save chance of the year on Saturday against the St. Louis Cardinals. Long considered the favorite for the role after Richard Rodriguez was traded, it was nice to see Bednar handle the opportunity with ease, allowing just a hit and striking out one in a clean inning.
There may not be many chances in the Pirates’ bullpen over the rest of the season, but Bednar figures to get most of them. His last walk came on July 23, almost a month ago, and he has racked up 15 punchouts since then.
Lou Trivino, Oakland A’s
Lou Trivino has been great all year, with a 1.99 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP in 58.2 innings. He also has 21 saves and has been mostly dependable in 2021. However, he wasn’t on his game on Saturday, as he blew a save, allowed a homer and a couple of runs when the A’s needed him most: in the middle of a Wild Card race.
Besides the blown save on Saturday, Trivino has a 4/4 BB/K ratio in August. It’s just something to keep in mind, as he is probably not having his smoothest stretch of the season. He’ll probably be fine, though.
Anthony Bender, Miami Marlins
The Marlins’ relief ace saved his last game last week. He had quite a meltdown on Saturday, in a non-save situation, conceding four runs on three hits in his inning of work. He also allowed a homer in his previous outing and has been scored upon in three of his last four appearances.
He doesn’t appear likely to get many save chances over the rest of the season if he keeps pitching like this.
Situations to monitor:
JT Chargois blew a save on Friday by allowing a game-tying homer to Tim Anderson, while Collin McHugh got his first save on Saturday.
Ian Kennedy has settled in as the Phillies closer and has five straight scoreless appearances.
The Yankees removed Aroldis Chapman from a four-run game on Wednesday after allowing two hits, a walk and a run on 0.2 frames. Lucas Luetge ended the threat and got the last out.
Kyle Finnegan is already up to four saves on the season and is entrenched as the Nats’ closer.
Paul Sewald takes over as closer with Diego Castillo’s injury.
- New York Yankees: Aroldis Chapman (first option), Jonathan Loaisiga, Chad Green
- Baltimore Orioles: Committee: Cole Sulser, Tyler Wells, and others
- Tampa Bay Rays: Multi-reliever committee: Andrew Kittredge, JT Chargois, Matt Wisler, and others.
- Toronto Blue Jays: Jordan Romano (first option), Brad Hand, Joakim Soria
- Boston Red Sox: Matt Barnes (first option), Adam Ottavino, Hansel Robles
- Chicago White Sox: Liam Hendriks (secure), Craig Kimbrel
- Minnesota Twins: Alex Colome (first option), Tyler Duffey
- Cleveland: Committee between Emmanuel Clase and James Karinchak
- Detroit Tigers: Gregory Soto (secure)
- Kansas City Royals: Scott Barlow (first option), Jake Brentz
- Houston Astros: Ryan Pressly (secure), Kendall Graveman
- Oakland Athletics: Lou Trivino (first option), Jake Diekman
- Los Angeles Angels: Raisel Iglesias (secure)
- Seattle Mariners: Diego Castillo (injured), Paul Sewald
- Texas Rangers: Joe Barlow (first option), Spencer Patton
- Atlanta Braves: Will Smith (secure), Richard Rodriguez
- New York Mets: Edwin Diaz (secure)
- Philadelphia Phillies: Ian Kennedy (secure)
- Washington Nationals: Kyle Finnegan (first option), Tanner Rainey
- Miami Marlins: Committee. Options: Anthony Bender, Dylan Floro, Anthony Bass
- Cincinnati Reds: Committee. Top options: Michael Lorenzen, Mychal Givens
- St. Louis Cardinals: Alex Reyes (secure), Giovanny Gallegos
- Milwaukee Brewers: Josh Hader (secure)
- Chicago Cubs: Codi Heuer (first option), Manuel Rodriguez
- Pittsburgh Pirates: David Bednar (first option)
- Los Angeles Dodgers: Kenley Jansen (secure)
- San Diego Padres: Mark Melancon (secure), Daniel Hudson
- Colorado Rockies: Daniel Bard (secure)
- San Francisco Giants: Committee between Jake McGee and Tyler Rogers
- Arizona Diamondbacks: Tyler Clippard (first option)