Closing Time 5/16: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Tuesday

Ranking baseball's closers for the 2023 season.

Kenley Jansen became the 7th pitcher all-time to join the 400 save club last week, a truly remarkable feat and he did it in impressive fashion, with his cutter touching 99 MPH. This past weekend however, we saw a different Jansen, one who was averaging 93 MPH on his cutter and who allowed 5 ER on 4 hits and 4 walks while getting just 3 outs. While it’s certainly not encouraging, there were also some shenanigans going on from the Cardinals lineup so that certainly rattled Jansen, but I’m still expecting ups and downs with him this season and still think the Sox will need to manage his workload to get the best version of him.




  • Ryan Pressly has turned things around, for the most part, since the early season issues had us worried about him. Pressly’s allowed just 2 ER over the past month (12 IP), striking out 10 and adding 7 saves while holding a 0.75 WHIP. The strikeout numbers are low right now, but I think those rise given his great stuff (5.44 PLV, 157 Stuff+).
  • Raisel Iglesias has allowed 4 ER over his past 1.1 IP, and his fastball velo was way down in his latest outing. It doesn’t sound like he will be going back on the IL just yet, but it’s obviously a concerning development considering he missed a month of the season already due to a shoulder injury. I think A.J. Minter and Nick Anderson are worth speculating on in 16 teamers until we see how this plays out.


  • I’m still a bit skeptical on Will Smithbut as long as he’s smart with his fastball usage, he may be just fine. The slider has been great with a 43.6% Whiff rate leading to an overall 31.6% K rate. The schedule is pretty favorable for him the rest of the month as well, getting the Pirates (remember when they were good?), Tigers and Rockies so as long as he takes care of business the next two weeks, I’d imagine he keeps moving up the list.
  • Pete Fairbanks has returned from the IL and is expected to return to the closer role, which is kind of an interesting development considering this is the Rays and Jason Adam has been great in the role. I’m not dropping Adam in a 12 teamer just yet, as we need to see how this plays out and remember that Fairbanks is constantly on the IL so until we see him convert a few saves with his usual stuff, I’m holding on to Adam.


  • José Alvarado hit the IL this past week with an elbow injury that is expected to keep him sidelined for a few weeks, leading to Craig Kimbrel entering the closer role for the time being. Despite the ERA/WHIP on the season, Kimbrel has actually pitched really well in spurts this season. Over his past three outings, he’s allowed just 1 hit while striking out 7 and walking no-one. The velocity has been on the rise recently, averaging 96.6 in his most recent outing and 97.5 two outings before that.
  • There still is some uncertainty in the Cubs bullpen, but I think we are looking at Mark Leiter Jr. as option 1A, with Adbert Alzolay as 1B perhaps? That’s just based of recent usage, but I think in 12+ team leagues where saves are hard to come by, both should be rostered for now, at least until we get some clarity.


  • The Marlins lost A.J. Puk to nerve irritation in his elbow, which we still haven’t heard a timetable for, but it looks like Dylan Floro will be the first man up to replace Puk. Floro is not an exciting closer candidate, but he is one of the most steady, solid relievers out there, so while he may be lacking in the swing and miss department (9.7% SwStr rate), he at least won’t end up hurting your ratios.
  • It looks like Kendall Graveman will act as the White Sox closer until Liam Hendriks returns. Speaking of Hendriks, he is scheduled to make two more rehab appearances this week, and could return by next week if all things go well.



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

Watch List


Rank Pitcher Change
1Devin WilliamsT1-
2Félix Bautista-
3Josh Hader-
4David Bednar-
5Emmanuel Clase-
6Jordan Romano
7Alexis Díaz+1
8Paul Sewald+1
9Ryan Pressly+4
10Evan Phillips-
11Jhoan Duran
12Ryan Helsley+2
13Camilo Doval+2
14Raisel Iglesias-7
15Kenley Jansen-3
16David Robertson
17Alex Lange+1
18Scott Barlow+3
19Will Smith+8
20Carlos Estévez-
21Pete Fairbanks
22Craig Kimbrel+3
23Michael King-1
24Andrew Chafin-1
25Mark Leiter Jr.+UR
26Dylan Floro
27Kendall Graveman+UR
28Pierce Johnson-
29Kyle Finnegan-
30Zach Jackson-

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.

One response to “Closing Time 5/16: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Tuesday”

  1. Noah Julian Dengler says:

    where is liam hendriks gonna be slotted in when he returns?

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