Ryan Helsley sets Cardinals' franchise record with 25th consecutive save

Ryan Helsley set the franchise record for most consecutive saves with his latest against the San Francisco Giants
St. Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs
St. Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

At the beginning of the year, Ryan Helsley and manager Oliver Marmol agreed to have Helsley pitch solely in save situations. In order to preserve his durability, enhance his stuff, and possibly see a boost in arbitration this offseason, Helsley wanted to pitch in situations where a save was likely.

That plan has worked out thus far. Helsley has converted each of his 25 save opportunities this year. His latest against the San Francisco Giants at historic Rickwood Field set a franchise record for the most consecutive saves in St. Louis Cardinals' history. This record wasn't previously held by legendary closers such as Jason Isringhausen, Bruce Sutter, Trevor Rosenthal, Lee Smith, or Todd Worrell.

The player Helsley passed is Alex Reyes. Yes, that Alex Reyes. The pitching prodigy who experienced injury after injury and was relegated to a relief role with the Cardinals. Reyes set the record in 2021, the year he was an All-Star and the final year he threw a pitch in the majors.

Helsley's 25 saves lead all of Major League Baseball; Emmanuel Clase of the Cleveland Guardians is second with 22 saves. The previous high for saves in a single season for the Cardinals' closer was 19 saves in 2022, the same year he went to the All-Star Game for the first time in his career. Helsley figures to be a shoo-in for the All-Star Game in Texas this year, and his league-leading save figure only bolsters his case to make it.

Ryan Helsley has seemed to put it all together this year with a 2.53 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and a 163 ERA+. Helsley's 27.3% strikeout rate sits in the middle of his career stats, but he has managed to get his walks under control better than he did last year. However, opposing batters are hitting .208 against him, a near career-high for the right-handed closer.

Helsley went through a bit of a rough stretch near the end of May where he gave up 4 runs total over 3 straight outings, but he's settled in during the month of June. He has not allowed an earned run in any appearance outside of the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 11th; he gave up 2 earned runs in that game.

Helsley has been listed as a potential trade candidate by multiple outlets and analysts, but if the Cardinals hold onto him, their bullpen will remain formidable.

There's a possibility that Ryan Helsley is the Cardinals' lone All-Star representative. If that's the case, there are few more worthy candidates than the flame-throwing righty. Helsley has penned himself into St. Louis Cardinals' history, and an All-Star appearance would be a deserving recognition of his work this year.