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Atlanta Braves Closer One Save Shy of a Milestone

Only 53 pitchers in MLB history have reached the 200 saves milestone. Eight of those pitchers are Hall of Famers who produced more. Two of those Hall of Famers have 600 or more saves in their respective careers. But back to 200 career saves- four active pitchers have surpassed the milestone and a fifth could be joining them as soon as this weekend. Raisel Iglesias could reach the milestone in Queens, where the Atlanta Braves will visit the New York Mets for a three-game series. Iglesias is off to a good start this season. The right-hander owns a 1.88 ERA, nine saves and 10 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings.

Raisel Iglesias One Save Shy of 200

Iglesias came to Atlanta at the 2022 trade deadline with the Los Angeles Angels. The Braves had their sights on Iglesias, who posted a 4.04 ERA and converted 16 of his 19 save opportunities for the Angels. It was reminiscent of a Braves deadline deal from 2019 when they acquired Mark Melancon from the San Francisco Giants. Since Iglesias’s arrival, he has a 1.96 ERA with 43 saves, 108 strikeouts and 23 walks in 96 1/3 innings. Iglesias saved 33 games for the Braves in 2023, and if he can repeat that this season, he’ll surpass Greg Holland for 45th all-time. If he can remain a consistent closer into his mid-to-late 30s, he has a decent chance at passing Jason Isringhausen and Bruce Sutter who both have 300 saves. He could become the 32nd pitcher to reach that milestone, but time will tell.

Iglesias Among Active Saves Leaders

His 199 career saves are only 11 back of Edwin Díaz, who has 210 to his name. Only Aroldis Chapman (322), Craig Kimbrel (425) and Kenley Jansen (425) have more than those. Both have surpassed John Franco (424) and Billy Wagner (422) but need 13 to pass Francisco Rodríguez (437), who’s currently fourth all-time. The two will flip spots throughout the season, given the closeness on the current leaderboards. Another possibility to reach 200 saves is David Robertson (176) and Josh Hader (169).

Aside from career save totals, Kimbrel is one of four players in MLB history to have five 40-plus save seasons. Kimbrel joins Mariano Rivera (9), Trevor Hoffman (9), and Rodríguez (6). The right-hander hasn’t had a 40-save season since 2018 and there’s a slim chance he’d tie Rodríguez for a sixth 40-save season. On the other hand, Jansen is one of ten pitchers to have four seasons of 40 or more saves. A fifth 40-save season would tie him with Kimbrel at five, making him the fifth pitcher ever to do so.

Main Photo: © Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports


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