The Mariners defeated the Angels 8-5 on Sunday, bumping their record to 62-43. Closer Edwin Diaz got the final three outs, working around a leadoff walk with two strikeouts for his 39th save of the season, the best mark in baseball.
Diaz’s 39 saves through 105 team games puts him on pace for 60 over the 162-game season. There has been only one 60-save season in baseball, accomplished by Francisco Rodriguez for the Angels back in 2008. There have been just 16 50-plus save seasons since the statistic was created in 1969. Since 2012, only five closers have racked up 50-plus saves: Jeurys Familia (51, 2016), Mark Melancon (51, 2015), Craig Kimbrel (50, 2013), and Jim Johnson twice (50, 2013; 51, 2012).
All this is being said knowing full well the save statistic is garbage. If Diaz were to get to 60 saves, it would still be a fun achievement.
Diaz’s other stats are plenty impressive, too. He owns a 2.08 ERA with 87 strikeouts and 15 walks in 52 innings of work. His ratio of 5.8 strikeouts for every one walk is the 10th-best mark among qualified relievers. Only the Brewers Josh Hader (50.3%) has a higher strikeout rate than Diaz’s 44.2%.
Diaz is only 24 years old and will be under the Mariners’ control through 2022. It’s scary to think how much better he can potentially get.