Saves and Steals: The Final Stretch

Pitchers to look for at the end of fantasy season

D.J. Short and Eric Samulski give some suggestions on pitchers that could help you as the fantasy baseball season draws to a close.

Josh Hader had a big week on the mound, collecting three saves and a win. In New York, Clay Holmes is getting back on track. And Ryan Helsley has impressed since his return from the injured list. In the steals department, Corbin Carroll made history with two steals on Wednesday, and Bo Naylor could provide rare speed at the catching position. That and more in this week's Saves and Steals.

Tier 1: Untouchable

Devin Williams - Milwaukee Brewers

Williams converted two saves this week. He struck out the side in a clean frame against the Nationals on Friday for his 35th of the season. He's been one of the best relievers all season, posting a 1.59 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 84 strikeouts across 56 2/3 innings. Williams has been especially good in the season half, recording a 1.16 ERA and a 43.8 percent strikeout rate since the All-Star break.

Tier 2: The Elite

Alexis Díaz - Cincinnati Reds
Josh Hader - San Diego Padres
Emmanuel Clase - Cleveland Guardians
Raisel Iglesias - Atlanta Braves
Pete Fairbanks - Tampa Bay Rays
Camilo Doval - San Francisco Giants

Díaz recorded a clean five-out save on Friday against the Mets, his 37th of the season. He followed that with a forgettable outing on Wednesday, giving up three runs against the Twins to blow the save chance and take the loss. Still, he is, without a doubt, among the top closers in baseball.

After seeing very limited action to start the month, Hader had a busy week on the mound. He pitched in four of five games, recording three saves and a win. He tossed a scoreless inning against the Rockies on Wednesday for his 31st save.

Clase locked down his MLB-leading 41st save with a clean outing against the Rangers on Saturday. In Atlanta, Iglesias didn't see any save chances but did pitch a scoreless inning against the Phillies on Wednesday.

Both Fairbanks and Doval each blew a save chance this week. Fairbanks against the Orioles on Sunday, and Doval against the Rockies in Colorado. Fairbanks did convert a save in his prior outing, his 24th of the season.

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Tier 3: The Solid Options

Paul Sewald - Arizona Diamondbacks
David Bednar - Pittsburgh Pirates
Jordan Romano - Toronto Blue Jays
Ryan Pressly - Houston Astros
Jhoan Duran - Minnesota Twins

Sewald made three appearances this week but didn't see a save chance. He remains at 33 with a 3.17 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and 78 strikeouts across 59 2/3 innings. Bednar joins him at the top of this tier with two more saves this week, giving him 36.

Romano locked down his 35th save on Friday against the Red Sox, then made a two-inning scoreless appearance the following day. He's been solid since a brief stint on the injured list, allowing only two runs over his last 11 outings.

Pressly took the loss after blowing the save chance on Monday against the Orioles. He's struggled a bit with five runs allowed over his last two outings, but bounced back with a scoreless frame on Wednesday in a non-save situation, earning the win against Baltimore.

Duran hadn't seen a save chance this week. He did record a win after he pitched a scoreless eighth inning against the Reds on Wednesday. Minnesota plated three runs in the top of the ninth for the comeback win.

Tier 4: There’s Upside Here

Andrés Muñoz - Seattle Mariners
Evan Phillips - Los Angeles Dodgers
Kenley Jansen/Chris Martin - Boston Red Sox
Clay Holmes - New York Yankees
Yennier Cano - Baltimore Orioles
Craig Kimbrel/Jose Alvarado - Philadelphia Phillies
Ryan Helsley - St. Louis Cardinals
Tanner Scott - Miami Marlins
Kyle Finnegan - Washington Nationals

Muñoz tossed a clean frame against the Dodgers on Saturday in a non-save situation. He was then used in the eighth inning on Wednesday against the A's to face the heart of the order. Justin Topa recorded the save. Seattle will use their closers this way with a matchup-based approach. Muñoz is still the reliever to roster, with 13 saves to go with a 2.76 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and 65 strikeouts across 45 2/3 innings.

Phillips recorded a save against the Mariners on Friday, then fell in line for a win after blowing the save chance on Saturday in extra innings. He's recorded 23 saves with a 2.18 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, and 61 strikeouts across 57 2/3 innings.

Jansen has spent the last week on the COVID-19 injured list. He's reportedly not ready to return until possibly next week. In the meantime, Martin picked up his second save of the season in Jansen's absence and makes for a good streaming option for saves while Jansen remains out.

In New York, Holmes has strung together nine consecutive scoreless appearances. He recorded a pair of saves this week, bringing his total to 21.

Cano recorded the final out on Monday against the Astros to record his seventh save of the season. He's the best option for the ninth inning with Felix Bautista on the injured list. Cano has posted a 1.94 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 59 strikeouts across 69 2/3 innings.

Alvarado recorded a save for the Phillies on Friday as he's taken a share of the save chances. Kimbrel earned a win on Wednesday, tossing a clean ninth inning before going into extra innings.

Helsley has looked great this month since his return from the injured list. He hasn't given up a run over his eight appearances since returning and picked up two saves this week. He'll likely get every save chance with Giovanny Gallegos on the injured list with a shoulder issue.

Scott moves down a couple of spots after giving up runs in back-to-back outings on Monday and Tuesday. He took the loss on Monday, then blew a save Tuesday before earning a win.

If you aren't worried about ratios, Finnegan has been a great source of saves this season. He's up to 26 after this week, but it's come with a 3.66 ERA and 1.30 WHIP across 66 1/3 innings.

The Cubs haven't seen a save chance since Adbert Alzolay was placed on the injured list. The usage on Saturday against the Diamondbacks seems to suggest Merryweather could get the first opportunity, with Leiter Jr. pitching the seventh and Merryweather pitching the eighth and ninth.

Tier 5: Just Getting By

Julian Merryweather/Mark Leiter Jr. - Chicago Cubs
Carlos Estévez - Los Angeles Angels
Alex Lange - Detroit Tigers
Aroldis Chapman/Jose Leclerc/Will Smith - Texas Rangers
Brooks Raley/Adam Ottavino - New York Mets

The Cubs haven't seen a save chance since Adbert Alzolay was placed on the injured list. The usage on Saturday against the Diamondbacks seems to suggest Merryweather could get the first opportunity, with Leiter Jr. pitching the seventh and Merryweather pitching the eighth and ninth.

Lange blew a save on Saturday against the Angels, then bounced back with a converted save on Sunday. He then took the loss and the blown save on Tuesday against the Dodgers.

Estévez hasn't lost his role. He just isn't getting many save chances for the struggling Angels. He's recorded just one save this month.

The Rangers are struggling to find some consistency in the late innings. Both Smith and Leclerc were charged with blown saves this week. Leclerc did record the only save for the team this week, picking up his third of the season on Tuesday against the Red Sox.

Ottavino converted just his 11th save of the season on Monday against the Marlins. He's been effective this season, posting a 2.87 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 59 strikeouts across 59 2/3 innings.

Tier 6: If You Must

Trevor May - Oakland A's
Justin Lawrence/Tyler Kinley - Colorado Rockies
Taylor Clarke/Carlos Hernandez - Kansas City Royals
Bryan Shaw/Gregory Santos - Chicago White Sox


Liam Hendriks - Tommy John Surgery
Felix Bautista - Right Elbow Inflammation
Adbert Alzolay - Right Forearm Strain
Kenley Jansen - COVID-19

Steals Department

Carbin Carroll's two steals against the Giants on Wednesday made him the first rookie in MLB history to record 25 homers and 50 steals in a season. He should be cemented as a first-rounder in most category and rotisserie leagues for 2024 fantasy baseball. Another highly productive, skilled young player, Bobby Witt Jr., stole six bases this week to give him 48 with 29 homers. He's sure to be another first-rounder next spring. With plenty of steals to go around, it raises the bar for how many we'll need to remain competitive in the category. Drafting a catcher that can steal some bases is one way to gain an advantage. It's what's made J.T. Realmuto the first catcher off the board over the last several years. Bo Naylor could be one of those contributors next season. He stole two bases this week, giving him five with nine homers while hitting .236/.336/.451 across only 211 plate appearances. Naylor stole 20 across the minor leagues in 2022. He's available in most fantasy leagues for the final stretch, but will be a popular sleeper going into next season.