Closing Time 4/23: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Tuesday

Ranking baseball's closers for the 2024 season

The Cubs have removed Adbert Alzolay from the closer role after he blew his fourth save, leaving the door open for Héctor Neris, Mark Leiter Jr. and potentially Keegan Thompson to see save chances. Clearly the bullpen is a weakspot on this team, as Neris has been terrible this season with a 21.1% BB rate and 61.1% HardHit rate (plus his 37.5% F-Strike, 24.1% CSW and 93 Stuff+ are LAST amongst closers). He probably gets the first crack at saves, but let’s look at Leiter Jr. and Keegan Thompson. Leiter has yet to allow a run, and his splitter has been dominating just like it did in the first half of last season as well. The “fastball” is still underwhelming and I wonder how long this success can hold, but for now he’s a better option than Neris.

Thompson is the wildcard, and while I don’t believe in him either, he does have a 32% K-BB rate so far and a 31.4% CSW so he has technically been the teams best reliever so far. I would throw Ben Brown in the mix too (he’d be a great closer) but I think he winds up back in the rotation sooner rather than later. So if the team is committed to Brown as a starter, I think this situation is best to avoid until we get a little more clarity, but I do understanding taking a flyer on Leiter Jr. or even Thompson. Just do not go overpaying for Neris right now. Honestly, Alzolay to me is still the best option to close out games here until (unless?) Julian Merryweather returns or they commit to Brown as a reliever.




  • There’s certainly an argument to be made that Mason Miller has been the best closer in baseball so far as he does lead all active closers in SwStr% (20.1%), CSW% (40.3%), and Stuff+ (150). The stuff is just as evident watching him as he’s become a human highlight reel throwing 103 MPH in the 9th inning. The only concern is the team context here, as the A’s will obviously go through some rough patches this season so just be prepared to go long stretches with minimal save production. Even still, 20 saves with solid ratios and this strikeout output make Miller and excellent second closer for the season.
  • Andrés Muñoz not only has 2 saves to 3 holds on the season so far, but he also just hasn’t been pitching as well as we’re use to seeing. He is still getting plenty of Whiffs (41.1%) and the velo is fine, but he does have a 17.7% walk rate and his 32% Zone rate is lowest amongst closers. Now Miller’s has the 2nd lowest Zone rate at 36.4%, but he’s been able to get ahead of hitters with a F-Strike rate of 73%, 3rd best amongst closers, while Muñoz is at 50%, 3rd lowest amongst closers. I think Muñoz will ultimately be fine, but he needs to do a better job of getting ahead of hitters so they will ultimately chase.


  • Well Kirby Yates has certainly established himself as the Rangers closer for the foreseeable future, as he is actually looking like his vintage self with the splitter getting tons of chases and he’s been able to make it happen without walking the yard (just a 6% Walk rate). We’ll see if hitters make some adjustments and exercise more patience against him but for now roll with him.
  • I still don’t have much faith in Carlos Estévez or Kyle Finnegan but hey they are full time closers. To Estévez’s credit, he has not walked anyone this year after having an 11% walk rate last season, as it seems he has traded velo for command. Hitters haven’t been aggressive against him yet (46.7% Swing and 26.7% Called Strike rates), but that could change as they adapt to Estévez’s new strategy. Finnegan is still the same old Finnegan we’re used to (unleash the sweeper!) so I can’t imagine Hunter Harvey not closing out games in the first half of the season.


  • Pete Fairbanks landed on the IL with a nerve issue, so Jason Adam should get a short stint as closer until Fairbanks returns. Adam had 10/12 Rays save chances when Fairbanks missed time last year (credit to Chris Towers for this stat from the PL Discord) so he should get the majority of chances again this time around. As far as Fairbanks goes, I’d imagine this is related to his Raynauds syndrome and the Rays do have series in Chicago (cold, outdoors) and Milwaukee (retractable roof but it can still get cold) coming up. I’d imagine it could be a minimum stay for Fairbanks (he can return May 4th) as the Rays only have one road series in outdoor weather in May.
  • It looks like we might get a longer look at Joel Payamps closing out games for the Brewers as Abner Uribe has been restricted to mostly low leverage spots over the past week. While Payamps is the favorite at the moment, I think Trevor Megill is still the better long term play here and they even tried getting him a two inning save on Friday in his first game back from the IL. It’s worth monitoring this week, but the window to add Megill may be closing.


  • Both Jhoan Duran and Paul Sewald are starting their rehab assignments meaning the window for Kevin Ginkel and Griffin Jax (was he even the closer?) as closers is coming to an end. Jax doesn’t need to be rostered at this point if there are better options out there, but with Ginkel I may want to hang on to him for at least a week after Sewald returns just to see how things shake out there. Ginkel hasn’t exactly done anything to keep the job once Sewald returns, but also hasn’t done anything to lose it necessarily.
  • The Rockies currently have 1 save on 3 save opportunities as a team all season, belonging to Jake Bird. The Yankees currently have 12 saves on 15 opportunities as a team, while the MLB average is 5.83 saves and 9.5 opportunities. The point being, even if Justin Lawrence was throwing the ball well, there still wouldn’t be much value here.


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-
4Evan Phillips
5Josh Hader+1
6Raisel Iglesias+1
7Camilo Doval+1
8Mason Miller
9Jordan Romano-
10Tanner Scott+2
11David Bednar-
12Craig Kimbrel+1
13Robert Suarez+1
14Andrés Muñoz
15Clay Holmes-
16Alexis Díaz-
17Michael Kopech+2
18James McArthur+2
19Kirby Yates+5
20Kenley Jansen+1
21Jason Foley
22José Alvarado+1
23Carlos Estévez+5
24Kyle Finnegan+5
25Jason Adam
26Kevin Ginkel-1
27Joel Payamps+UR
28Griffin Jax-1
29Héctor Neris+UR
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.

3 responses to “Closing Time 4/23: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Tuesday”

  1. Kevin Becker says:

    Why do you hate Clay Holmes so much? So far down the list for no reason.

  2. Barnum says:

    I’m not sure why this site has comments fields on their articles. No one who works here replies to anything

  3. JMFL says:

    Subscribe to PL plus and get the discord. Thats the best place to get these questions answered by the staff. Cheers🍻

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