Closing Time 6/12: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Tuesday

Ranking baseball's closers for the 2023 season.

There was a good amount of Scott McGough hype heading into the season that suggested he was going to be the team’s Opening Day closer, and while that ended up being true, McGough’s on-field performance quickly required a shake-up in the Arizona bullpen.

But since early May, he has turned into a new pitcher, one that may be the best closing option in this bullpen moving forward. McGough has not allowed a run over his last 11.1 IP, allowing just two hits and striking out 17 over that span. While McGough was called on for the save chance Sunday, Miguel Castro picked up another save last night, but he allowed a run on two hits and has struggled lately.

Over McGough’s last 18 innings of work (a pretty significant sample size for a reliever) he’s been quite dominant, and most assuredly the team’s best reliever over that span (see table below). This is still looking like a committee, but now instead of two potential closing options, we have three, making the situation even messier.

I like McGough as the new favorite for saves though, and I really do think he would have closed that game out last night had he been available. Castro’s rocky outing should just bolster McGough’s case to be the team’s preferred closing option.

Pitcher IP K% K-BB% xFIP SIERA CSW% SwStr% ERA WHIP Saves
Scott McGough 18 34.3% 23.9% 2.75 2.75 29.7% 14.9% 0.50 0.72 1
Andrew Chafin 11 30.6% 20.4% 3.06 3.27 30.4% 15.7% 1.64 1.45 3
Miguel Castro 13.1 23.7% 15.3% 4.07 3.83 28.8% 11.5% 6.08 1.50 6

Diamondback reliever stats over McGough’s last 18 IP




  • Emmanuel Clase has been pitching much better as of late and it looks like he’s finally regained his velocity, which in turn has boosted his strikeout numbers. He’s allowed just one hit in June while striking out nine over five innings. There’s definitely a case for him being the #1 closer right now, but Félix Bautista’s ridiculous strikeout totals (34/4 K/BB ratio over his last 14 IP!) keep him in the top spot for the time being.
  • I may have been a bit too aggressive moving Scott Barlow up the list last week, but he had been pitching so well for a nice stretch before giving up 3 ER over his past 1.2 IP. Factor in the inability of this Royals team to win games, as seen by Barlow’s 3 saves since the start of May, and there is some concern with rostering him moving forward. The best thing for him would be a trade to a closer desperate team (I listed a few last week) that would commit to Barlow as their closer.


  • Clay Holmes has picked up three saves in this month already, to just one for Wandy Peralta, so I’m thinking it’s pretty safe to say Holmes is back as the Yankees closer, as he should be. Holmes has been pitching much better as of late, and while we may be looking at a closer with a high WHIP moving forward, he should be just fine in the other categories as far as relievers go at least.
  • With Ryan Helsley going on the IL with a forearm strain (no structural damage at least), Giovanny Gallegos should get full control of the closer role, a role he had been sharing with Helsley for much of the season anyway. Gallegos has been pretty good this year, really having just two bad blowups (as he is one to do) this season that have his ratios looking more mediocre. The strikeout numbers are down as well, but he’s still doing a great job missing bats (18.6% SwStr and 33.8% CSW rates) so those numbers may improve moving forward.


  • Jason Adam will be getting some company in the Rays bullpen this week with Pete Fairbanks returning from the IL again. Fairbanks went right back into the closer role last time he came off the IL, but it remains to be seen what will happen this time around. Adam has pitched well for the most part, missing bats at a high rate but he’s also allowed a lot of hard contact and currently has a walk rate over 10%. I think both are worth rostering for now to see how things play out, but if I only had room for one, I’d lean Adam.
  • Evan Phillips has pitched pretty well this season, and is still the Dodgers “closer” but I do get the frustration in rostering him at the moment as he has just four saves (and four holds) since May 1st, with the last one coming on May 12th. I get not wanting to roster someone who hasn’t had a save in a month, but it’s not like the rest of the Dodgers bullpen has been racking up saves since then, as Caleb Ferguson has two and Brusdar Graterol one save since then. He’s still the reliever to roster for now, but this bullpen could be getting reinforcements soon that could shake things up.


  • Adbert Alzolay has certainly outpitched Mark Leiter Jr. over the past couple of weeks, and while I’m not sure if we ever see a clear-cut “closer” here, Alzolay looks like the best option to roster at the moment. Alzolay has two saves to just one for Leiter over the past two weeks allowing no runs, while Leiter has allowed five earned runs over that time.
  • Liam Hendriks was placed on the IL this week with an elbow injury which is said to be similar to the one he dealt with last season that sidelined him for 3 weeks. We should know more later today, but expect Kendall Graveman to fill for Hendriks over the next few weeks, where he should be a solid source of saves at least during that span.


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

Watch List


Rank Pitcher Change
1Félix BautistaT1-
2Emmanuel Clase+3
3Devin Williams-1
4Alexis Díaz-1
5Josh Hader-1
6David Bednar-
7Jhoan Duran-
8Ryan Pressly-
9Camilo Doval-
10Jordan Romano-
11Paul Sewald
12A.J. Puk+4
13Raisel Iglesias-
14Alex Lange+1
15Scott Barlow-3
16Carlos Estévez+3
17Will Smith+3
18Kenley Jansen+3
19Clay Holmes+8
20Giovanny Gallegos+UR
21Jason Adam
22Evan Phillips-5
23David Robertson-1
24Craig Kimbrel-
25Kendall Graveman+UR
26Adbert Alzolay+UR
27Scott McGough+UR
28Justin Lawrence
29Kyle Finnegan-
30Trevor May-

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.

4 responses to “Closing Time 6/12: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Tuesday”

  1. John-Mike says:

    Awesome work as always! An Injury table added would be almost too much awesomeness in one place right? Would be great to see like Helsley, Hudson, etc. time tables and interest levels/stash-ability. You Rock Rick! Thanks for the great work

  2. Jason Li says:

    Thanks for sharing this and all the work that you do for RPs.

    Is it possible to change the format of this ranking to match that of holds and SV+holds where it’s not just the “closers” that are ranked? I.e. I bet if you’re chasing saves you would prefer several of the watch list people to Trevor May at 30th, but because they’re in a separate table you don’t know how they would slot in if you have to make roster decisions on who you should be picking up.

    I think this would add a lot of value in today’s game where there are lots of situations where co-closers or committee members on good teams have more value than “closers” or lead options on bad teams

  3. John-mike says:

    Menu>Fantasy>Top 100 SV+Hold

  4. Micah Stevenson says:

    Also who will pitch for Gallegos if he needs a rest day. That would be nice to know

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