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

Ranking baseball's closers for the 2023 season.

It looks like it will indeed be David Robertson as the Mets’ primary closer moving forward, and the veteran already has picked up the team’s only save this season. It does look like there could be some matchup-based opportunities though for others such as Drew Smith, Brooks Raley and Adam Ottavino here, so temper expectations, but Robertson could be a difference maker as long as the Mets believe in him and don’t go out making a trade for an established closer.




  • Ryan Pressly returned to action in last night’s game against the Tigers, and while he worked a clean ninth with the Astros down a run, I think it may be time to panic just a little here. Pressly threw just 1 fastball on 12 pitches (which was 92.5 MPH) and already missed this past weekend’s games due to an illness. Perhaps he is still sick, but it’s fair to wonder if there is something more wrong with Pressly as he’s gotten off to a precarious start to the season. It may be worth stashing Rafael Montero if you have room, just to see how things play out the rest of the week.
  • Jhoan Duran may actually get an opportunity to be the Twins’ primary closer this season, rewarding all fantasy managers who took a shot on him in the early-middle rounds of drafts. There’s some health risk here but he looks like an elite level pitcher right now as he’s actually added velo this offseason and still has one of the better 3 pitch mixes out of any reliever.


  • A.J. Puk picked up the Marlins’ first save of the season and hopefully will see the bulk of the chances moving forward. Tanner Scott has pitched in relatively low leverage spots so far, while Dylan Floro worked the 8th inning of Puk’s save. Puk appears to have changed up his breaking ball, dropping 3 MPH on it while adding over 9 inches of horizontal break (suppose we can call it a Sweeper). There’s a lot to like here if he can claim the closer role to himself.
  • Michael Fulmer is getting the first chance at the Cubs’ closer job, and while he hasn’t been overly impressive, he really doesn’t face any competition at the moment. Fulmer too has added a Sweeper, but it’s too early to tell what kind of difference that makes for him. He’s worth a look in leagues where saves are at a premium, but far from a must-roster in 12 team mixed head to head leagues.


  • José Leclerc was passed over for Will Smith on Sunday night in a save chance, but this may have this been due to potential matchups as I’m sure the Rangers excepted Darick Hall to pinch hit for either Edmundo Sosa or Cristian Pache, leaving the lefty Smith to face two lefties in Hall, Bryson Stott and then one righty in either Pache or Sosa. We know Smith has history with manager Bruce Bochy and Leclerc’s first outing was certainly shaky (with his velo down 2.5 MPH) so this is now something to monitor.
  • A.J. Minter will be the closer for the Braves for as long as Raisel Iglesias is out (he has yet to resume throwing, so it may be a while) and while he hasn’t had a save chance yet (he’s finished off two 4 run wins so far) he looks good to start the year. The velo is down, but it is for so many other reliever right now so I think we should hold off panicking for another two weeks or so.


  • Brusdar Graterol looks like an early favorite for save chances for the Dodgers, but I think we need to temper expectations as despite the elite velo and groundball numbers, this is someone who has never posted high K rates and the groundball rates may not be as exciting as it once was now that shifts are banned (as seen in his first outing). This is still a situation likely to avoid until we get some clarity, but I’d prefer to roster Evan Phillips for the upside, while Graterol is more of a 15 team/NL-only option.
  • Dany Jiménez may have won the Athletics’ closer role, and while Trevor May continues to struggle, let’s not get too excited for Jiménez whose fastball sat at 91 MPH in his first outing. In order to be effective Jiménez will likely need to throw his slider around 75% of the time, maybe more, so I have my doubts about him being able to close out games for a full season.


  • Scott McGough has completed a total of 1 inning over 3 games so far this season, allowing 2 HR and 2 BB’s while striking out 1. The good news is that despite the blown save last night, he at least was called on the finish the game so he is still likely to get another opportunity before any change is made. I just don’t think the stuff is all that good to keep him in the ninth inning over the long term.
  • Daniel Bard is starting the season on the IL (although it is good to see him throwing again), leaving Pierce Johnson as the Rockies’ interim closer for the near future. The curveball specialist with a 37% career GB rate pitching his home games in Coors is likely not worth chasing after.



Rank Pitcher Change
1Emmanuel ClaseT1-
2Devin Williams-
3Josh Hader+1
4Jordan Romano+2
5Félix Bautista+3
6Ryan Helsley+1
7Ryan Pressly-4
8Kenley Jansen+1
9Jhoan Duran
10Pete Fairbanks-
11Paul Sewald+1
12David Bednar
13Alexis Díaz+2
14Camilo Doval-3
15Clay Holmes-2
16Scott Barlow-
17A.J. Puk
18Alex Lange+1
19David Robertson+5
20Michael Fulmer+UR
21José Leclerc-3
22Reynaldo López-
23Carlos Estévez-2
24A.J. Minter+UR
25Brusdar Graterol
26Craig Kimbrel+1
27Kyle Finnegan+1
28Dany Jiménez
29Scott McGough+UR
30Pierce Johnson+UR


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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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