Closing Time 4/16: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Tuesday

Ranking baseball's closers for the 2024 season

Kirby Yates has taken over the closer role in Texas with José Leclerc struggling mightily in the role to begin the season (and who has since looked great pitching in the 6th inning) so what can we expect from him moving forward? I think it’s fair to say we won’t be seeing 2018-19 Kirby Yates again, but there’s still a solid reliever here, whose stuff hasn’t changed a whole ton over the years however walks have been an issue since 2020. I’d say we can hope for an ERA in the 3’s, a WHIP around 1.2, and a strikeout rate pushing 30%. That’s kind of like a poor man’s Josh Hader maybe? With no reason to turn back to Leclerc if Yates is pitching well, there’s still a chance Yates can get to the 30-save mark, so he’s a must-roster in roto formats and certainly worth a look in 12-team head-to-head leagues as well.




  • Evan Phillips doesn’t have the bat-missing ability to be in the top tier, but he’s become one of the safer closers in the game and I don’t see any reason to worry about his role changing anytime soon. Pete Fairbanks velo has been down 2 MPH, and he’s having trouble commanding his fastball. Hopefully, it is just some rust from a slow spring for him, but he can’t be in that top tier at the moment.
  • So what are we to do about Tanner Scott? It’s been a rough (to say the least) first two weeks for Scott, and I totally understand if you want to move on here. BUT, I will say, it’s not all that bad of a situation at the moment. First off, it’s again, been just TWO WEEKS. This guy was a top 3-5 reliever in all of baseball last year and the stuff is still there (136 Stuff+). Second, there is no competition for him in that bullpen right now. I guess you can make an argument for Anthony Bender but he hasn’t pitched great either (and his velo is down 2 MPH consistently from when we last saw him). Third, Scott actually hasn’t pitched THAT poorly. With Scott, we worry about his command being the issue, but he actually has a 42% Zone rate and 61.5% F-Strike rate, both middle of the pack amongst active closers. Hitters just aren’t swinging against him that much, with a 37% swing rate that’s 2nd lowest amongst all closers. I think Scott will be fine as long as he just trusts his stuff and feels confident enough to challenge hitters. I’m going to give it two more weeks or so.


  • I guess Craig Kimbrel has just been hiding some of that velo we are used to seeing from him because he was able to touch 97 MPH this past weekend and yeah, there’s no negative really against Kimbrel at this point. He has yet to walk anyone, which has led to an uptick in called strikes. We will see if hitters make adjustments and I’m skeptical this will last all year but it’s fun rostering Kimbrel at the moment.
  • Clay Holmes has been fine, and there’s no real reason to panic seeing him drop two spots. I just worry about the amount of contact he allows when he is around the zone. He currently has the second lowest zone rate amongst closers, and also the highest Zone Contact rate amongst closers. He’s a good reliever, I just don’t love him as a closer.


  • Michael Kopech is a great option for those of you who missed out on Mason Miller, as Kopech looks rejuvenated in the closer role as he’s averaging near 100 MPH on his fastball now. Who knows how long this will last and don’t expect more than 20 saves from him, but he should be rostered everywhere.
  • James McArthur picked up a save last night making quick work of the White Sox and it appears as though the Royals will be sticking with him as their primary closer going forward. While I don’t know if McArthur can be an elite, top 1 or 2 tier option ever, he’s plenty good enough to belong in the top 20 right now. Then again, he currently has a 41% CSW, 5.63 PLV, and 1.54 PLA, so perhaps there may be a top 10 closer in there. Add for now and see where it goes.


  • Both José Alvarado, and Jason Foley are in clear committees at the moment, and they actually may be the only ones along with whatever the Twins are doing. We knew Alvarado was not going to see all of the Phillies save chances entering the year, but it still has been frustrating to see both his role be all over the place and watch how pedestrian he has been when pitching. It’s early in the season of course, but this does not look like the same José Alvarado we had become accustomed to. As far as Foley goes, yea he’s great at what he does and should give you nice ratios along with 20 or so saves maybe. The upside remains limited if he isn’t going to be a 30%+ K guy or full-time closer.
  • Now with Abner Uribe, not only does he likely lose his role when Devin Williams returns in July, but he may not even be the full-time closer here at the moment anymore. Uribe came in with the Brewers up one run in the 7th inning on Sunday, and also proceeded to allow three hits and two earned runs. The stuff is definitely great, I just don’t know if he’s ready to be the closer here really. If Trevor Megill ever returns from his food poisoning concussion (in all seriousness, it could be as soon as today), I can see him challenging for the ninth inning.


And if you want more daily reliever updates, please check out our Reliever Ranks series


Watch List



Rank Pitcher Change
1Edwin DíazT1-
2Emmanuel Clase-
3Ryan Helsley+1
4Evan Phillips
5Pete Fairbanks-2
6Josh Hader-1
7Raisel Iglesias-
8Camilo Doval-
9Jordan Romano
10Andrés Muñoz-1
11David Bednar+1
12Tanner Scott-2
13Craig Kimbrel+8
14Robert Suarez+1
15Clay Holmes
16Alexis Díaz-
17Adbert Alzolay-
18Mason Miller-
19Michael Kopech+5
20James McArthur+5
21Kenley Jansen+1
22Jason Foley
23José Alvarado-9
24Kirby Yates+UR
25Kevin Ginkel+1
26Abner Uribe-7
27Griffin Jax-
28Carlos Estévez
29Kyle Finnegan-1
30Justin Lawrence-

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.

2 responses to “Closing Time 4/16: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Tuesday”

  1. Jax says:

    Foley in a committee? 5 saves already, will he not easily make 20?

  2. Finnegan's Mom says:

    I’m not sure why Finnegan is lower than a guy that pitched in the 4th inning this week (Uribe) when he has 6 saves…the same amount as Holmes and Helsley. I would put him in T4 if I were making the rankings. Something has to be said for actual results vs. on paper premonitions.

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