Top 30 Closers For Fantasy Baseball 2023

Ranking baseball's closers for the 2023 season.

Welcome back for another season and a new edition of Closing Time, ranking the closer situations throughout Major League Baseball. This year, the closer pool really gets murky after the first 9-10 closers (depending on where you consider Clay Holmes should be), and I’ve changed the rankings in Tier 3 and Tier 4 multiple times over the last few weeks because I really don’t know how to rank those middle 10-11 closers. The last 10 on this list are complete question marks, and the top five names on the Watch List below may be worth rostering over the guys in Tiers 5 and 6.

While there are 6 tiers, this list really can be broken into thirds with there being three big tiers (sure things, upside but risk, question marks). This being the case, I think my preferred draft strategy for the season would be to grab someone from the first two tiers and then wait a while to grab my second reliever. Depending on your league though, I may even consider taking two from that tier if you don’t want to worry about speculating on closers at the end of the draft and then playing the waiver game to make up saves.

Click Here for Update Ranks from 3/15/23



  • Tier 1 is just two guys, as I think they’ve separated themselves from the rest of the pack. Edwin Díaz led all relievers in a ton of categories last season and shouldn’t require any justification as the top pitcher on this list. Emmanuel Clase comes in at two for me just because of how consistent he has been over the past two seasons, and while the K rate isn’t elite, the stuff and command are and there may be more swing-and-miss potential here given his 45.7% O-Swing last year.


  • Tier 2 represents the rest of the closers who are as close to a sure thing as possible. Most concerns surrounding Devin Williams are related to his high walk rate and that’s fair, but over his last 50 IP last season, the walk rate was only 10% while also sustaining a 41.4% K rate. Aroldis Chapman was consistently a top-tier closer for years with a 12.2% career walk rate. Craig Kimbrel’s career walk rate is 10.2%.
  • Williams’ former teammate Josh Hader has been the third closer off the board in most early drafts, as it doesn’t seem like there are many concerns regarding his July-August struggles last season. It may have just been a blip, and while I don’t expect a 5.22 ERA and 1.28 WHIP again, I do have my doubts about Hader being a Tier 1 option moving forward.


  • Tier 3 is actually made up of three mini-tiers. The first is the Clay Holmes and David Bednar tier, with these two kind of being the “break glass in case of emergency” RP1 options. Holmes doesn’t have much of a track record and like Hader, lost his job in August of last season. He did pitch better down the stretch though and should get a chance to stick as the Yankees’ closer. Bednar battled injuries towards the end of last season, but when healthy, is as solid as closers get, with a 25.2% K-BB rate and 2.53 SIERA last year.
  • Next we have Pete Fairbanks and Paul Sewald, who would easily be in tier 2 if they were their team’s full-time closers. Both teams will likely continue with a closer-by-committee approach though, and while Fairbanks was nearly unhittable last season, he does come with significant injury risk (just 160.1 professional innings since the start of 2017). Sewald will be contending with the likes of Andrés Muñoz but even if he’s only capped at 15 saves, he should be a great fantasy asset when it comes to ratios and K’s.
  • Kenley Jansen and Daniel Bard may both be locked into closer roles, but what exactly is their upside at their age, especially pitching half their games in Fenway and Coors, respectively? Jansen will also have the new pitch clock to deal with, as he averaged nearly 25 seconds between pitches last season and is a notoriously slow worker. Bard is coming off a career year, but at age 37 and with middling Stuff+ numbers, it’s hard to see him being a trusted RP1 option.


  • Tier 4 is the “beware of committee” tier featuring five talented relievers in questionable situations. Scott Barlow will now have Aroldis Chapman to contend with, even if the team is saying Barlow is the closer. Gabe Kapler loves his bullpen committees and with Taylor Rogers now in the Giants bullpen, Camilo Doval may see some more early-game outings. I’d still expect both to see 70+% of the save chances this season.
  • Alexis Díaz should be safe in the Reds bullpen as a high-leverage weapon, but with Tejay Antone and Lucas Sims back, could the Reds look to keep Díaz’s arbitration costs down? As things stand now, José Leclerc should be in line to start the season as the Rangers’ closer, but it’s odd that’s the one position group they didn’t add to, and there’s also Joe Barlow and his 24 saves over the past two seasons to contend with. With Gregory Soto out of the picture, Alex Lange should be in line to close out games for the Tigers, but you wonder if they will add a veteran with closer experience prior to Opening Day.


  • Tier 5 is essentially the “who knows” tier, with loads of question marks when it comes to roles. I like Trevor May as the favorite for saves in Oakland, at least until August, simply because he’s the one getting paid and there really isn’t much competition. The A’s bullpen has a bunch of nice/solid relievers, but unless someone takes a huge step forward, I think May is the best option here.
  • Similarly in Chicago, I think the closer role should be Brandon Hughes‘ job to lose because he’s probably the best reliever in this bullpen, and it helps that he was able to succeed in the role down the stretch last season. Brad Boxberger has closing experience but he really faded last season and who knows what he has left in the tank.


  • Tier 6 is the stay-away tier, at least for me. There’s one guy every year here that returns value, and if I were to predict who it will be this season, I’d go with Dylan Floro having the best chance just given that the Marlins should win more games than the Nationals.


Rank Pitcher Change
1Edwin DíazT1-
2Emmanuel Clase-
3Devin Williams
4Ryan Pressly-
5Ryan Helsley-
6Félix Bautista+1
7Josh Hader+1
8Raisel Iglesias+1
9Jordan Romano+1
10Clay Holmes
11David Bednar+1
12Pete Fairbanks+UR
13Paul Sewald+UR
14Kenley Jansen+1
15Daniel Bard+UR
16Scott Barlow
17Camilo Doval-3
18Alexis Díaz+UR
19José Leclerc+UR
20Alex Lange+UR
21Trevor May
22Brandon Hughes+UR
23Kendall Graveman+UR
24Daniel Hudson+UR
25Carlos Estévez+UR
26Jorge López+UR
27Craig Kimbrel+UR
28Dylan Floro
29Kyle Finnegan+UR
30Mark Melancon+UR


Watch List


Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Redler (@reldernitsuj on Twitter)

Rick Graham

Rick resides in the Boston area and has experience as a player and coach at the collegiate level. He has been covering relievers for Pitcher List since 2017.

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