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These closers saved the day at record rates

Greene has saved all 10 of 11 Tigers wins this season
April 23, 2019

During Edwin Diaz's historic season last year, it felt like every time the Mariners won a game, their star closer was the last man on the mound finishing it off. And that was more or less true. Diaz saved 57 of the Mariners' 89 total wins in 2018 -- nearly

During Edwin Diaz's historic season last year, it felt like every time the Mariners won a game, their star closer was the last man on the mound finishing it off.

And that was more or less true. Diaz saved 57 of the Mariners' 89 total wins in 2018 -- nearly two out of every three team wins.

Well, in 2019, Shane Greene is on an even crazier pace. The Tigers have won 12 games this season after taking both ends of a doubleheader Tuesday at Fenway Park. Greene has 11 saves. Yes, Greene has saved a cool 92% of his team's wins -- and Tuesday's opener was the first he didn't close out. He won't keep that pace up, of course, but it's still one of those quirky storylines that's fun to watch as the season moves along.

Here's a look at the closers who have saved the highest percentage of their team's wins over a full season.

1. Bryan Harvey (1993 Marlins): 70.3 percent

The father of Orioles pitching prospect Hunter Harvey, Bryan Harvey had some experience racking up saves for mediocre teams. In 1991, he made his first All-Star team when he saved 46 games for a .500 Angels club. After the '92 season, the Marlins selected Harvey from the Halos with their 10th pick (20th overall) in the Expansion Draft, and he turned in another brilliant All-Star season. The righty posted a 1.70 ERA and went 45-for-49 in save opportunities as Florida finished its inaugural season 64-98.

2. Eric Gagne (2003 Dodgers): 64.7 percent

Pitching for an 85-win club, Gagne's 55 saves are now tied with John Smoltz (2002) for the fourth-highest single-season total. In those days, it was game over when Gagne jogged in from the Dodger Stadium bullpen to the sounds of Guns N' Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle." After going 52-for-56 in save opportunities in 2002, Gagne was a perfect 55-for-55 the next year while posting a 1.20 ERA and winning the National League Cy Young Award.

3. Joakim Soria (2010 Royals): 64.2 percent

Kansas City (67-95 in 2010) was still stuck in what eventually became a 28-season playoff drought before back-to-back World Series appearances in '14 and '15. But Soria was hardly the issue during those lean years, saving 43 games with a 1.78 ERA and making his second All-Star squad in '10.

4. Edwin Diaz (2018 Mariners): 64.0 percent

Diaz smashed the Mariners' single-season saves record (previously 48 by Fernando Rodney in 2014) and finished with MLB's second-highest single-season saves total of all time. Diaz's 57 saves trail only Francisco Rodriguez's record-setting 62 for the Angels in 2008 (and are tied with Bobby Thigpen's 57 for the White Sox back in 1990). His 29 saves in one-run wins set an MLB record, and he became just the fourth pitcher to save every game in a four-game series when he pulled off the feat from Aug. 9-12 at Houston.

5. Mike Williams (2002 Pirates): 63.9 percent

The 2002 season came right in the middle of Pittsburgh's 20-year streak of finishing below .500, with the Bucs stumbling to a 72-89 mark. But Williams saved 46 of those victories, delivered a 2.93 ERA and represented the club at the All-Star Game.

6. Addison Reed (2013 White Sox): 63.5 percent

After winning 85 games the year before, Chicago stumbled to a 63-99 record in 2013, the club's most losses in a season since 1970. Although a 24-year-old Reed recorded 40 saves that year, he also contributed to some of the struggles by blowing eight opportunities. His 3.79 ERA is the 10th highest produced in a 40-save campaign.

7. Randy Myers (1993 Cubs): 63.1 percent

Myers signed with Chicago as a free agent and proceeded to set a franchise record for saves that still stands with 53. He also remains the only southpaw in MLB history to save at least 50 games in a season, and he did so for an 84-78 Cubs squad that finished fourth in the NL East.

8. Roberto Hernandez (1999 Devil Rays): 62.3 percent

Not to be confused with the other pitcher of the same name who was once known as Fausto Carmona, this Roberto Hernandez collected 326 saves while pitching for 10 teams over 17 seasons. His career high of 43 came in Tampa Bay's second season of existence, when the club went 69-93.

9. Francisco Rodriguez (2008 Angels): 62.0 percent

The Halos reached 100 wins and ran away with the American League West title that year, and K-Rod played a major role in that success. The righty already had three consecutive seasons with 40-plus saves but took it to another level in 2008, setting a Major League record with 62 saves. He posted a 2.24 ERA, struck out 77 in 68 1/3 innings, and finished third in the AL Cy Young Award race.

10. Danys Baez (2005 Devil Rays): 61.2 percent

The franchise was still a few years away from dropping the "Devil" in its name, making its first postseason appearance and reaching the World Series when it went 67-95 in 2005. Baez saved 41 of those victories in his lone All-Star campaign over a 10-year career. The righty saved just 12 more games after '05, during stops with four more clubs.

Andrew Simon is a research analyst for Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.