Figuring out who will be the MLB saves leader can be a bit of a tough task to figure out. It’s a role that can change quickly if a particular player starts to fail and we’ve seen it many, many times occur during the season. Nonetheless, it’s still a fun way to get some action during the season, especially when taking a closer with a team that has a high projected win total. Let’s take a look at some of the options available on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Aroldis Chapman, New York Yankees +800
Tied with Kenley Jansen as the odds on favorite to win this prop, Chapman has been one of the best closers in the game since entering the league back in 2010. Since first being entrenched in a full time closer’s role in 2012 with the Reds, Chapman has locked down at least 32 saves in seven of the eight seasons he’s been in that role between the Reds, Cubs and Yankees. That type of consistency is pivotal for a closer so it’s no surprise to see him topping the odds.
Of course, the Yankees are expected to be one of the best teams in the American League, sporting a win total of 99.5. Only the Dodgers have a higher projected total in all of baseball, as they sit at 100.5. With so many opportunities presented to Chapman, he should once again be near the top of the league in saves, as he finished third last year behind Kirby Yates of the Padres with 41 and Roberto Osuna of the Astros with 38. I prefer Chapman over Jansen when it comes to these odds and we’ll go over why, next.
Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers +800
It’s hard for Jansen to not get your attention when you go back and look at what he’s done as a closer for the Dodgers. This is a player that over the past five years has averaged 39 saves per year and has saved at least 33 games in six straight years. As I mentioned, the Dodgers are projected to have the most wins in the league and sit with an over/under of 100.5. So, what’s not to like here compared to Chapman?
As the season came to a close, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said that Jansen was their closer but also that “we will see how things play out.” This is coming off a season where Jansen posted a career-high eight blown saves while seeing a couple of ticks lower on his cut fastball. If you’re a believer in Spring Training, Jansen has looked good so far. As of Mar. 6 he’s tossed four scoreless innings allowing just one hit and striking out seven. This could all be a worry for nothing but when looking at the two before the season begins, Chapman is in no danger of losing his job while Jansen it trying to make the case for this.
Kirby Yates, San Diego Padres +1400
It’s hard not to bring up Yates, who topped the league last season with his 41 saves. It’s quite remarkable when you consider the Padres went 70-92 last season, meaning Yates saved 58% of their wins in 2019. At these odds, you’re getting fantastic value for someone who is fresh off leading the league.
So how did someone go from 12 saves in 2018 to 41 in 2019? Yates has made significant improvements to keeping the ball in the park. Back in 2017, his HR/9 sat at a putrid 1.9 over 62 appearances. Since then, he’s dropped it to 0.86 and a sparkling 0.30 last season. His fly ball rate has gone from 56.2% in 2017 all the way down to 34.7% in 2019. As you’d imagine, the ball has been on the ground A LOT since 2017, topping out at 48% last season. Possessing some stellar swing-and-miss potential as well, Yates could have higher odds, so grabbing him at +1400 feels like some solid value to consider.
Raisel Iglesias, Cincinnati Reds +2200
If you want a potential longshot, Iglesias fits the bill. The Reds, if you’ve read any of my prior pieces here on DK Nation, are one of my favorite teams to watch this season. I like them to exceed their win total and even take down the division. With the potential influx of wins, that should mean more save opportunities for Iglesias. He converted 34 of his 40 save opportunities, which marked a new career-high for him. So why the long odds?
Iglesias comes with plenty of risk. He’s not a closer you bring into the game and call ballgame once he takes the mound. Despite the career-high in saves, Iglesias did it with a 1.6 HR/9, a 2.8 BB/9 and a career-high 39% hard contact rate. With that in mind, it’s easy to see why his odds are listed as high as they are. Nonetheless, with the thought that the Reds could break out this season, Iglesias could be a big reason for that.
MLB saves leader odds, Mar 6
Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA) or 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN) or 1-800-522-4700 (NH). NH/NJ/WV/IN/PA only. 21+ (18+ NH). Eligibility Restrictions Apply. See website for details.