Free MLB Picks: Individual Save Totals for Pitchers Props
Closers are one of the most fascinating aspects of baseball. They can come from nowhere, they can be young or old, and they can burn bright for years or fade away as quickly as they emerge. Like goalies in the NHL or kickers in the NFL, the closers are the guys who are a little different than everyone else and who can cause you serious headaches if you try to figure them out. So, betting individual player save totals is a bad idea - a serious recipe for heartbreak and frustration. But I'm not afraid. Here's a look at the most interesting individual save totals BetOnline is offering this year:
Kenley Jansen, L.A. Dodgers, 40.5: In a year in which he is likely to pass 300 career saves, Jansen has the highest number on the board this year. He had 38 saves last year in a season in which he wasn't quite as sharp as we have been used to from him, but he had gone over this number in three of the prior four years. He'll be 32 before the playoffs are over, so his decline in strikeouts and increase in WHIP is a little concerning. But he's not way over the hill by any means, and it's not like he was awful last year. And the Dodgers should win plenty of games and give him lots of chances for success. I would lean towards the under, but not with massive commitment.
Edwin Diaz, New York Mets, 34.5: Diaz ran away with the MLB lead last year with 57 saves for Seattle, which was 14 better than Wade Davis in second best. Diaz takes over from a committee - the Mets had 41 saves split between seven guys. The two leaders - Jeurys Familia with 17 and Robert Gsellman with 13 - are still with the team, but Diaz wasn't brought in to share the closer role. Diaz will turn 25 this week, so he's still just flirting with his prime. He has been inconsistent in spring so far, but I can't help but be optimistic. I like the over here.
Roberto Osuna, Houston, 34.5: Osuna is one heck of a pitcher, and not much of a guy. He was chased out of Toronto by scandal, and now he is the toughest part of Houston to root for. He had 21 saves in just 38 appearances last year with a long suspension in between. He had had 36 and 29 in the two prior years, though, and he's still young. He should be rested after his light year last year, and he will get plenty of opportunities with the Astros. As much as I hate to admit it, I like the over here.
Wade Davis, Colorado, 34.5: A starter as recently as 2013, the 33-year-old Davis has been easing into the closer role before really shining last year, finishing second in the league with 43 saves. After notching his first save in 2014, his total has improved each year. It's tough to imagine him improving much on last year's number, but the Rockies should be solid again, and he still should have something to give. I lean slightly to the over.
Aroldis Chapman, New York Yankees, 32.5: Chapman has dealt with injury issues the last two years. And as hard as he throws, it's tough to have faith that he will stay healthy going forward. He had 32 saves in just 55 appearances last year, though, and 36 in 59 outings in 2016, so he is more efficient than some closers. He will get plenty of chances to shine on the Yankees this year. So, while his health makes me nervous, I would have to lean slightly to the over.
Felipe Vazquez, Pittsburgh, 28.5: Vazquez had a fairly impressive 37 saves last year, but he appeared 70 times, so he wasn't incredibly efficient. And he doesn't have a long history of closing - he had just 21 saves in 73 appearances the year before and only three in the two prior years combined. And I really don't like this Pittsburgh team. I lean under here.
Ken Giles, Toronto, 28.5: Giles made headlines this week in Toronto's camp when he very vocally challenged a slacking young pitcher to be better. It could be that he was providing leadership that this young team is going to need. Or it could just be his unlikeable side coming out again in a new setting. The guy has talent. And while Toronto isn't going to be great, they aren't going to be terrible, either, so there will be saves to be had. But trusting Giles to behave all year is risky, and the team just added Bud Norris, who had 28 saves last year, so Giles will have a short leash if things go poorly. The under feels like a confident play here.
Blake Treinen, Oakland, 27.5: Treinen is an interesting case. He was just another guy in the bullpen in Washington. But when Oakland acquired him midseason in 2017, they turned him into their closer, and he has done well since. After 13 saves in the second half of 2017 - after having just four in his career until that point - he had 38 in 68 appearances last year. I don't have confidence that the A's will match their 97-win total of last year, but they will be solid. I like Treinen in this spot and see value in the over.
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