It's August 31 and Mariners closer Edwin Diaz has 50 saves. That's already something, and it could grow into a historic figure. We know there are far better ways to judge relievers than just raw save totals (like Diaz's 108 strikeouts compared to 15 walks in 64 innings!), but it's still fun when there's a chance at history. Let's dive in.
Diaz already has one of just 18 seasons in history with at least 50 saves. How much higher can he go?
So far, Diaz has saved 37.3 percent of the Mariners' 134 games. If that same rate keeps up, he'll end the season with 60 saves, which would make him only the second player in history to get to 60 in a single season.
Here's Diaz's save breakdown by month:
- March/April: 11
- May: 8
- June: 12
- July: 9
- August: 10
Even if September is Diaz's worst month, it's reasonable to expect him -- if he avoids injury, of course -- to close down six games, getting him to 56. Only two players in history have ever had more than 56 saves.
Even if Diaz only records two more saves, he's in rarefied air. Here is the list of pitchers with 52 saves in a single season:
- Francisco Rodriguez, 62, 2002
- Bobby Thigpen, 57, 1990
- Eric Gagne, 55, 2003
- John Smoltz, 55, 2002
- Trevor Hoffman, 53, 1998
- Randy Myers, 53, 1993
- Mariano Rivera, 53, 2004
- Eric Gagne, 52, 2002
Diaz's league lead is incredibly large, too. Craig Kimbrel of the Red Sox ranks second in the AL with 37 saves. Rockies closer Wade Davis paces the NL with 36. In K-Rod's record-breaking season, he led the AL by 20.
The Mariners are definitely still in the playoff race, sitting 4 1/2 games behind the A's for the second AL wild card. If they fail, once again, to make the postseason, there's still good reason to tune in to their games late in the season, and it's in hopes of seeing Diaz shoot further up the single-season save record book.