Closing Time 5/23: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Tuesday

Ranking baseball's closers for the 2023 season.

Checking in on Félix Bautista in his second full MLB season, and the one thing that jumps off the page is the increased walk rate, going from 9.1% last season to 16.3% currently. I’d like to see that get back to under 10% but I’m also not surprised by this development giving that hitters now have a book on him and realize he has no command of his splitter (as is the case with most pitchers who throw a splitter). Despite the high WHIP (1.26), he still remains nearly unhittable with 46% K, and 22.4% SwStr rates and a .144 xBA. So despite the increased walk rate and subsequent WHIP increase, I’m not yet concerned with Bautista as the stuff just remains too elite to fail almost.




  • There’s certainly an argument to be made that Alexis Díaz has been the best closer in baseball this season, as he leads this list in K-BB% and xFIP. The Reds are getting better as a club, but there are still inconsistencies that will limit Díaz upside. He’s still up to 10 saves on the season now, on pace for 30+ which we would all gladly take.
  • David Bednar on the other hand is still stuck on 9 saves this season, and has been since April 29th. That’s not to say Bednar has pitched poorly this month, he’s only allowed 2 ER (both coming in a non-save chance Monday), this Pirates team just hasn’t been able to provide any save opportunities this month. It’s tough to hold someone who has just one save over the past month, but remember that he had 8 saves in a three week span prior to this drought. Just be patient.


  • Raisel Iglesias has looked much better over the past week, and his velocity is back to normal (even little above last years average), alleviating my concerns from a week ago. We still need to see how this plays out over a longer sample but for now I think it’s safe to call Iglesias a top 10 closer option.
  • Ryan Helsley hasn’t pitched poorly this season, he just hasn’t been as dominant as he was last year and is on pace for less than 20 saves again. He’s pitched much better in May for the most part, but Giovanny Gallegos continues to cut into Helsley’s save output, limiting both relievers value in standard mixed leagues.


  • My concern with Alex Lange entering the season was his high walk rate, and while that still is an issue, his elite ability to get swings and misses (the changeup is one of the more underrated pitches in baseball) has helped him get off to a dominant start to the season. Lange’s 8 saves lead the Tigers bullpen, and there should be more opportunities moving forward with Detroit playing near .500 baseball right now.
  • Clay Holmes may be back in the closer role for the Yankees, or perhaps he is just the “high-leverage guy” now, it’s really tough to tell as the Yankees had FOUR different relievers pick up a save this past week.


  • Pierce Johnson is not letting go of the Rockies closer role anytime soon with Daniel Bard still struggling and the rest of this bullpen too inexperienced for Bud Black’s liking. Johnson is kind of like a poor mans Alex Lange, a curveball first reliever with a high walk rate, but Johnson happens to pitch in Coors half the time and his stuff is not nearly as effective.
  • Mark Leiter Jr. is coming off a rough week (IP, 3 H, 2 ER), but so is the majority of this bullpen (except Jeremiah Estrada…) as Adbert Alzolay, Michael Fulmer, Keegan Thompson and Brandon Hughes combined to allow nine earned runs as well. We are now almost in June, over a quarter of the way through the season and we still have no read on this bullpen and who may emerge as the teams closer. Perhaps it’s finally time to let Estrada fly in that bullpen.



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

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 5/23: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Tuesday”

  1. Barton says:

    Garrett Acton has 0 saves and has pitched 4.1 innings. Why would he be #30?

    • viceroy says:

      With Oakland, we may see 0 SVs from here on and out lol. I do wonder who is the closer between Pruitt, Lovelady and Acton. My bet is on Lovelady

  2. james hyler says:

    HOw is Clase not the top closer? I read that his stuff is down a little but he still gets the job done almost always — I saw he had 5 blown. Is this just that he gets more chances? thanks, James

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