Saves and Steals: Duran, Kimbrel back on track

In this week's Saves and Steals, Jhoan Duran and Craig Kimbrel get back on track with four and three saves, respectively. Edwin Díaz is sidelined with a shoulder injury. And Evan Phillips nears a return to the mound. In the speed department, David Hamilton has an opportunity to run wild in Boston.

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Fantasy Baseball Closer Rankings

Tier 1: At the Top

Emmanuel Clase - Cleveland Guardians
Mason Miller - Oakland A's

Two more saves in a pair of scoreless outings this week gives Clase 17 on the season, first in the American League. His 0.33 ERA is also the best mark among all qualified relievers. Only two walks all season and no home runs allowed will get it done. Meanwhile, Miller continues to strike everyone out. He picked up two more saves, giving him 11 with a 1.88 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, and 47 strikeouts over 24 innings for the best strikeout rate in baseball.

Tier 2: The Elite

Ryan Helsley - St. Louis Cardinals
Clay Holmes - New York Yankees
Josh Hader - Houston Astros
Robert Suarez - San Diego Padres
Andrés Muñoz - Seattle Mariners

Helsley sits atop the saves leaderboard with 18 after holding on for a save against the Reds on Wednesday. Jojo Romero has emerged as a top-tier reliever in holds leagues, leading baseball with 18 holds. Following closely behind Helsley is Holmes, who converted three more saves this week to give him 16.

Hader converted his seventh save of the season against the A's on Friday, then allowed a solo homer in a non-save situation on Sunday. He trails only Mason Miller and Fernando Cruz in strikeout rate among qualified relievers.

Suarez locked down three more saves for the Padres. He's up to 16 with a 0.73 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, and 24 strikeouts across 24 2/3 innings. Behind Suarez, Jeremiah Estrada has quickly risen in the pecking order. He's been a strikeout machine and someone to roster in deeper formats and holds leagues with a 0.55 ERA, 0.55 WHIP, and 28 strikeouts across 16 1/3 innings.

Muñoz has been on a roll, converting a save this week for his 11th of the season while posting a 1.48 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, and 33 strikeouts across 24 1/3 innings. With Muñoz unavailable Tuesday, Ryne Stanek converted his third save of the season and first since April 12.

Tier 3: The Solid Options

Camilo Doval - San Francisco Giants
Kirby Yates - Texas Rangers
Jhoan Duran - Minnesota Twins
Craig Kimbrel - Baltimore Orioles
Paul Sewald - Arizona Diamondbacks
Kenley Jansen - Boston Red Sox
Raisel Iglesias - Atlanta Braves
Kyle Finnegan - Washington Nationals

Only one save for Doval this week. He's up to nine on the season through two months. It's not exactly the same pace he was on last season after finishing with 39 saves. The Giants have played better baseball of late and could bring more save chances. Yates also saw just one save this week, giving him eight. He's been outstanding this season, posting a 0.89 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, and 25 strikeouts over 20 1/3 innings.

Duran led the way in saves this week, converting four in five days. He's taken hold of the closer role in Minnesota after the team worked with a committee for a while. Duran is up to eight saves with a 3.46 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 13 strikeouts over 13 innings.

Kimbrel has now gone seven consecutive appearances without allowing a hit or a walk as he's gotten back on track after a rough stretch. With three saves this week, he's up to 12 on the year with a 3.15 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 29 strikeouts across 20 frames.

The save chances have been scarce for Sewald since he was activated from the injured list earlier this month. He picked up his fourth save and has allowed only one run with seven strikeouts over seven innings of work. Jansen also added one save this week, working a clean ninth inning with two strikeouts against the Brewers on Sunday.

Iglesias added two saves this week, giving him 13. He struck out two batters in perfect innings during both appearances. It was just the third time he's struck out multiple batters in one outing, but hopefully a sign of more strikeouts to come.

Finnegan picked up his 14th save. He's been excellent this season, posting a 1.71 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and 21 strikeouts over 21 innings. Since giving up three runs on March 31, he's allowed just one earned run over his last 19 outings. Finnegan could see himself dealt to a contender before the trade deadline.

Tier 4: There’s Upside Here

Jose Alvarado/Jeff Hoffman - Philadelphia Phillies
David Bednar - Pittsburgh Pirates
Jordan Romano - Toronto Blue Jays
James McArthur - Kansas City Royals
Pete Fairbanks/Jason Adam/Garrett Cleavinger - Tampa Bay Rays
Trevor Megill - Milwaukee Brewers
Jason Foley - Detroit Tigers
Alexis Díaz - Cincinnati Reds
Tanner Scott - Miami Marlins

Alvarado blew a save chance against the Rockies on Friday. This came a day after Hoffman converted his fourth save. While Alvarado leads the team with nine to Hoffman's four saves, the two should continue to work in a committee.

Bednar made three scoreless appearances, picking up one save for his 11th of the season. He's had a much better May after struggling in April, giving up just three runs over 12 1/3 innings in the month. Like Bednar, Romano has struggled a bit after coming off an injury. He allowed three runs against the Tigers on Sunday to take the loss before bouncing back on Wednesday with his eighth save against the White Sox.

McArthur gave up one run over two innings of work against the Rays on Saturday and fell in line for the win. He's posted a 3.80 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, and 23 strikeouts across 23 2/3 innings. In Tampa Bay, Fairbanks worked a pair of scoreless outings, converting his fifth save and picking up a win.

Megill picked up his eighth save this week but will be unavailable for a few days after he was hit by a comebacker on his pitching elbow on Tuesday. Bryan Hudson has been excellent in a setup role and could be next in line to step in for saves.

Foley recorded his 11th save on Friday, then picked up a hold on Saturday before giving up three runs to the Blue Jays on Sunday in his third appearance in three days for the blown save. Tyler Holton converted his first save, but Foley remains the favorite to lead the way in Detroit.

Díaz worked three clean appearances this week, converting two saves. He's up to 10 with a 5.75 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, and 22 strikeouts across 20 1/3 innings. Meanwhile, Scott picked up his seventh save this week and extended his scoreless streak to 16 appearances.

Tier 5: Just Getting By

Carlos Estévez - Los Angeles Angels
Hector Neris - Chicago Cubs
Michael Kopech - Chicago White Sox
Daniel Hudson/Alex Vesia - Los Angeles Dodgers
Reed Garrett/Adam Ottavino - New York Mets

Estévez made one appearance this week, converting his eighth save with a clean innings against the Yankees on Tuesday. With an expiring contract and the Angels in last place in the west, he could be a trade candidate over the next couple of months.

Neris was charged with a blown save on Tuesday after giving up a run to the Brewers but fell in line for the win. After an excellent start to the season, Mark Leiter Jr. has struggled a bit, with six runs allowed over his last three outings. The Cubs could be a team looking for bullpen help through the trade deadline.

Kopech served up a pair of home runs against the Orioles on Saturday to blow the save chance. He remains at five saves with a 4.18 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, and 33 strikeouts across 23 2/3 innings.

Both Hudson and Vesia converted a save for the Dodgers during Tuesday's doubleheader against the Mets. Evan Phillips is expected to return for the team's home series against the Rockies on Friday and should step back into the closer role. He's been out for the last four weeks with a hamstring injury. And things continue to take a turn for the worse in New York. Edwin Díaz was placed on the 15-day injured list with a right shoulder injury. Garrett and Ottavino should work in a committee for save chances, but Jake Diekman could also factor into the mix.

Tier 6: If You Must

Jalen Beeks - Colorado Rockies


Devin Williams - Back
Evan Phillips - Hamstring
Edwin Díaz - Shoulder

Steals Department

Brenton Doyle led the way this week with five steals. His 10 in May trail only Elly De La Cruz's 13 for the month. He's collected 14 on the season while slashing a solid .271/.346/.422 with five homers, 36 runs scored, and 15 RBI across 217 plate appearances. The 26-year-old outfielder is likely rostered in all but shallower points formats but should be immediately added if still available in any category leagues. More widely available across all formats is Jesse Winker, who stole four bags this week to give him nine this season. Winker came into the year with just three career steals across 2267 plate appearances. Still, it doesn't seem like he's slowing down, given his success rate (9-for-11) through his new aggressive approach on the bases. In Boston, David Hamilton should get a chance to play shortstop every day. With Tyler O'Neill now on the injured list, Ceddanne Rafaela will be needed in the outfield in his absence. Hamilton stole his eighth base on Wednesday across just 92 plate appearances this season. He's slashing .265/.337/.410, flashing improvements on his 2023 small sample in the majors. Rostered in just one percent of Yahoo leagues, he could be a difference-maker in the speed department.