Closing Time 6/20: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Tuesday

Ranking baseball's closers for the 2023 season.

After his first 24 IP this season, it was looking like Alex Lange would be a surefire All-Star and push to join the top tier of closers here. But earlier this month we saw the downside to rostering Lange, as his notorious command issues led to 10 ER over his previously 4 IP heading into last night’s game. Over that span, Lange had a 4/5 K/BB rate and actually had two outings in there where he allowed no baserunners. It was good to see Lange get his first save since May last night in a clean outing (no strikeouts though), and I wouldn’t be terribly concerned about his role moving forward as Jason Foley and his 7% SwStr rate shouldn’t pose much of a threat.




  • Pete Fairbanks returned from the IL last week and once again was immediately returned to the closer role, picking up two saves over the past week. The Rays have actually been one of the more reliable, straightforward teams this season when it comes to bullpen usage and save opportunities, with Fairbanks being the closer when healthy and Jason Adam the closer when Fairbanks is out. We’re deep enough into the season to expect that to continue, but at the same time, if Colin Poche were to get three saves next week would anyone be surprised? My real concern here, however, is, when will we see a pitcher that resembles the 2022 Pete Fairbanks, because so far this season has been incredibly mediocre for the talented reliever.
  • With José Alvarado back in the mix it looks like he will be splitting save chances with Craig Kimbrel at best, but I think Kimbrel has built up enough positive momentum with Alvarado out to be the 1a closer option in this committee. Since the second week of May (16 IP), Kimbrel has a 1.69 ERA (2.33 xFIP), 0.69 WHIP, and 44.3% K rate to go with seven saves. For now, both relievers should be rostered in most formats, but I am starting to believe Kimbrel has more value moving forward.


  • It took four years but Jordan Hicks returns to the closer list, and returns pitching better than he ever has at any point of his career maybe? Since the second week of May (18.1 IP), Hicks has a 1.47 ERA (2.50 xFIP), 0.87 WHIP, and 37.5% K rate, shocking from someone who never held a K rate over 28%. His 100 MPH sinker is getting plenty of called strikes while his new and improved sweeper has dominated with a 52.6% Whiff rate. Giovanny Gallegos will surely factor into save chances from time to time still, and we don’t know what Ryan Helsley’s role will be when he returns, but Hicks’ upside makes him an intriguing option in most formats right now.
  • Adbert Alzolay has now secured the Cubs’ past two save opportunities and may be breaking free of any potential committee that was in place here. Since the second week of May (trendy sample size this week), Alzolay has a 1.35 ERA (2.89 xFIP), 0.98 WHIP, and 30.6% K rate over 13.1 innings with three saves while Mark Leiter Jr. has a 4.61 ERA (2.27 xFIP), 0.95 WHIP and 37% K rate over 13.2 innings and two saves. Alzolay may not have the overall upside of Leiter Jr., but he’s been a steady reliever all season and make for a perfect 3rd or 4th closing option in 12 teamers.


  • Another week in the books and no Evan Phillips save whose last save came May 12th. I suppose the good news is no Dodger reliever picked up a save this past week and Phillips did pitch well, but he’s still becoming harder and harder to roster in shallower save-only formats.


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

Watch List


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

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