The New York Yankees are 9-6 after 15 games and sit atop the American League East, tied with the Toronto Blue Jays. Longtime reliever Mariano Rivera has three saves in those nine wins and is the only Yankees reliever with a save this season.
From 1997 through last season, Rivera has led the Yankees in saves each season, a streak of 15 straight years. Meanwhile, the other 29 MLB teams have had 234 different relief pitchers that have led their team in saves in a season during that same timeframe, led by the Baltimore Orioles and Chicago Cubs, who have had 11 different relievers each lead their team in saves the past 15 seasons.
Following are the number of different pitchers who have led their team in saves from 1997 to 2011.
Number of different yearly saves leaders since 1997, Teams
11: Baltimore, Chicago Cubs
10: Atlanta, Miami, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Chicago White Sox, Texas
9: Washington, Arizona, Cleveland, Detroit, Seattle
8: San Francisco, Oakland
7: Pittsburgh, St. Louis, LA Dodgers, Boston, Kansas City, Minnesota
6: Houston, Colorado
5: New York Mets, Cincinnati
4: Los Angeles Angels
3: San Diego
Here’s a quick look at the names of the pitchers who have been a part of the teams that have had the fewest and the most saves leaders since 1997.
San Diego (3): Heath Bell, Trevor Hoffman, Rod Beck
Los Angeles Angels (4): Jordan Walden, Brain Fuentes, Francisco Rodriquez, Troy Percival
Chicago Cubs (11): Carlos Marmol, Kevin Gregg, Kerry Wood, Ryan Dempster, LaTroy Hawkins, Joe Borowski, Antonio Alfonseca, Tom Gordon, Rick Aguilera, Terry Adams, Rod Beck.
In looking at the saves leaders for each team over the past seasons, 10 teams ended the 2011 season with the same saves leaders for the past three or more seasons, including Rivera’s 15-year streak with the Yankees. But here’s the amazing follow-up on that stat: of those 10, only one, Rivera, will likely extend that streak.
*Miami: Juan Oviedo led the Marlins in saves the last three seasons; he has been suspended by MLB.
*NY Mets: Francisco Rodriquez led the Mets in saves the last three seasons; he was a mid-season trade to the Brewers last season.
*Cincinnati: Francisco Cordero led the Reds in saves over the past four seasons; he is now with Toronto.
*Colorado: Huston Street was the Rockies' saves leader for the past three seasons; he is now with San Diego.
*San Diego: Heath Bell led the Padres in saves the last three years; he is now in Miami.
*San Francisco: Brian Wilson has been the Giants' closer for four seasons; his 2012 season is done due to injury.
*Boston: Jonathan Papelbon led the Red Sox in saves for six straight seasons; he is now the Phillies' closer.
*Kansas City: Joakim Soria has been the Royals' saves leader for five straight years; his 2012 season is over due to an elbow injury.
*Oakland: Andrew Bailey led the A’s in saves for three straight years; he was traded to the Red Sox, although he is currently on the IR.
Be sure to follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp