More Saves than Ks

Yesterday I wrote about Jim Johnson having more saves than the Astros have wins.  Well, over at TheScore, yours truly got mentioned in their article on the same topic.  In the comments section of that post, a reader named “Hendo” opined:

But how many guys have saved more games than K’s?
J. Johnson has 41 saves and 34 Ks.

It turns out, it hasn’t happened that often at all!  Here is the list of “pure relievers” (no games started in a given season) with more saves than strikeouts.  Perhaps we should call this “pulling a Todd Jones”:

Player Year SV SO Tm IP K/9
Jim Johnson 2012 41 34 BAL 55.1 5.53
Brian Fuentes 2009 48 46 LAA 55.0 7.53
Todd Jones 2008 18 14 DET 41.2 3.02
Todd Jones 2007 38 33 DET 61.1 4.84
Todd Jones 2006 37 28 DET 64.0 3.94
Bob Wickman 2005 45 41 CLE 62.0 5.95
Braden Looper 2005 28 27 NYM 59.1 4.10
Dustin Hermanson 2005 34 33 CHW 57.1 5.18
Jose Mesa 2004 43 37 PIT 69.1 4.80
Danny Kolb 2004 39 21 MIL 57.1 3.30
Danny Graves 2004 41 40 CIN 68.1 5.27
Mike Williams 2002 46 43 PIT 61.1 6.31
Dave Smith 1991 17 16 CHC 33.0 4.36
Rich Garces 1990 2 1 MIN 5.2 1.59
Dan Quisenberry 1984 44 41 KCR 129.1 2.85
Don Carman 1983 1 0 PHI 1.0 0.00
Don Stanhouse 1980 7 5 LAD 25.0 1.80
Randy Lerch 1976 1 0 PHI 3.0 0.00
Rick Waits 1973 1 0 TEX 1.0 0.00

Presumably the recent increased frequency of this occurrence is due to the increased use of the “one-inning closer”. Fewer batters faced . . . fewer opportunities for strikeouts.

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