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Closer Outlook: Team-by-Team (2023 Fantasy Baseball)

by Dennis Sosic | @call_me_sos | Featured Writer
Mar 2, 2023
Edwin Diaz

Check out who is the closer option for each MLB team and who is warming up to take over as the next-best option as I go around the league and provide a team-by-team closer outlook.

Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit

American League


Felix Bautista (BAL)

Felix Bautista had his season cut short last year due to knee and shoulder soreness. His rookie season saw Bautista record 15 saves with a 2.19 ERA and 88 strikeouts across 65.2 innings. He continues ramping up this spring, anticipating being ready for Opening Day. If he is not ready, the Orioles have valuable options in Cionel Perez and Bryan Barker that can fill in. Fantasy managers should monitor his progress in anticipation of selecting Bautista as their second closer.

Warming Up: Bryan Barker, Cionel Perez, Mychal Givens

Kenley Jansen (BOS)

The Boston Red Sox will have a new bullpen arsenal this season, including three-time All-Star closer Kenley Jansen. Jansen signed a two-year deal after spending last season with the Atlanta Braves and leading the National League with 41 saves. Jansen automatically catapults into a top-12 closer option for fantasy managers.

Warming Up: Chris Martin, John Schreiber, Tanner Houck

Clay Holmes (NYY)

Clay Holmes is expected to open as the Yankees’ primary closer in 2023. Holmes dealt with back and shoulder injuries last season but still led the team with 20 saves. We might see more of a committee approach to give Holmes some rest, and the Yankees have multiple options at the back end of their bullpen to assist with saves.

Warming Up: Jonathan Loaisiga, Michael King, Tommy Kahne, Lou Trivino

Pete Fairbanks (TB)

Pete Fairbanks didn’t make his season debut until July 17, but he displayed why he should be the frontrunner for closing duties in Tampa Bay. Fairbanks appeared in 24 games, pitching a 1.13 ERA and 0.667 WHIP with 38 strikeouts in 24 innings. The right-hander ended the 2022 season with 22 straight scoreless appearances and has plenty of fantasy appeal for this season.

Warming Up: Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Shawn Armstrong, Andrew Kittredge

Jordan Romano (TOR)

Romano posted a career-high 36 saves with a 2.11 ERA and 1.6 fWAR across 64 innings. He was pretty impressive in the second half with a 1.50 ERA and walking half as many batters from the first half. Romano is a top-five fantasy reliever.

Warming Up: Yimi Garcia, Erik Swanson

Check out our fantasy baseball draft strategy on selecting hitters early >>



Kendall Graveman (CWS)

The White Sox signed Kendall Graveman before the 2022 season as the setup option for closer Liam Hendricks. Graveman posted a 3.18 ERA and 3.42 FIP with 66 strikeouts across 65 innings. Graveman is in line with Hendricks for the bulk of save opportunities since he revealed he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in early January. Hendricks is day-to-day and won’t have a status update until at least Opening Day, leaving Graveman as a sneaky option to grab as one of your closers toward the end of your drafts.

Warming Up: Aaron Bummer, Joe Kelly, Liam Hendricks?

Emmanuel Clase (CLE)

Clase turned into the best overall fantasy reliever last season on the heels of a 1.36 ERA with 42 saves. Clase also produced 77 strikeouts across 72.2 innings, yielding only a .167 batting average. The best closer in baseball.

Warming Up: James Karinchak, Trevor Stephan

Alex Lange (DET)

The top bullpen options from last season in the Tigers’ bullpen have moved on, including former closer Gregory Soto. However, it appears that the role is there for the taking. Enter Alex Lange, who carries as much risk as any of these options in Detroit but is projected to present the most potential. Lange produced a 3.41 ERA and struck out batters at an 11.7 K/9 rate, so he might be worth a dart throw with your final picks.

Warming Up: Jason Foley, Jose Cisnero, Matt Wisler

Scott Barlow (KC)

Scott Barlow is the epitome of finding saves on a losing team. Barlow finished with 24 saves and a 2.18 ERA, with 77 strikeouts in 74.1 innings. He solidified himself as the team’s closer, and fantasy managers seeking saves at the end of their drafts should grab Barlow. The only caveat is that he might be moved at the trade deadline to a contender and placed in a setup capacity, killing his fantasy value.

Warming Up: Dylan Coleman, Aroldis Chapman, Taylor Clarke

Jorge Lopez (MIN)

Listing Jorge Lopez here made me nervous because Jhoan Duran is probably the better pitcher but doesn’t have the experience. Duran was dominant last season. He had a 1.86 ERA with 89 strikeouts across 67.2 innings. Duran was utilized exclusively in high-leverage situations. Lopez was acquired from the Baltimore Orioles at the trade deadline last season and was one of the best closers in baseball. He hits triple digits but, unfortunately, had issues hitting the strike zone when he arrived in Minnesota. Lopez walked 14 batters in 22.2 innings and struggled with a 4.37 ERA. Lopez gets the nod out of Spring Training and forms a dynamic one-two punch with Duran to shorten games for the Twins. Both relievers should be highly sought after on draft day.

Warming Up: Jhoan Duran, Griffin Jax


Ryan Pressly (HOU)

Pressly is a dominant closer who sported a 2.98 ERA while recording 33 saves last season. He continued to dominate in the postseason through the World Series by throwing 11 scoreless innings and saving all six opportunities. Pressly is a top-five closer and should be a heavily-targeted reliever on draft day.

Warming Up: Rafael Montero, Hector Neris

Carlos Estevez (LAA)

Carlos Estevez escaped the hitters’ paradise known as Coors Field and signed with the Angels this offseason. Estevez has pitched reasonably well on the road (3.51 ERA) in his career but has limited experience closing out games. It will be interesting to see how the right-hander handles closing duties, but trusting your fantasy title dreams on Estevez or any Angels reliever will be challenging.

Warming Up: Ryan Tepera, Jimmy Herget

Trevor May (OAK)

The Oakland Athletics signed Trevor May this offseason, and he is now considered the favorite for closing duties. However, fantasy managers should not rush to seek out May on draft day. May is a solid reliever but has injury concerns and posted a lackluster 2022 season with a 5.04 ERA. In addition, he has never been a closer, so he is difficult to trust for fantasy managers. This looks like a closer-by-committee situation and considering it will occur on a projected 100-loss team, fantasy managers need to avoid it.

Warming Up: Zach Jackson, Dany Jimenez

Paul Sewald (SEA)

Paul Sewald recorded a team-high 20 saves and five wins as he served as the Mariners’ primary closer for the second consecutive season. He also tacked on eight holds with an impressive 12.3 K/9 rate, a career-best 2.67 ERA, and a 0.894 WHIP. The Mariners have capable reliever arms in Andres Munoz and Diego Castillo, who could step in if needed, but Sewald is an excellent second option to secure saves.

Warming Up: Diego Castillo, Andres Munoz

Jose Leclerc (TEX)

Finishing on a high note last season, Jose Leclerc seems to be the frontrunner for the closer role for the Rangers this season. Leclerc returned from Tommy John surgery, which has kept him off the mound for almost two seasons. Last season, he converted seven opportunities with a 2.83 ERA and a 10.2 K/9 ratio. Leclerc has the most closing experience among the other bullpen candidates, including Joe Barlow, Jonathan Hernandez, and Ian Kennedy. A short hook might be in play here, but Leclerc is the reliever fantasy managers should target late in their drafts.

Warming Up: Joe Barlow, Jonathan Hernandez, Ian Kennedy

National League


Raisel Iglesias (ATL)

Iglesias was dominant after being traded to the Braves from the Los Angeles Angels. The veteran right-hander recorded a 0.34 ERA, 0.835 WHIP, and 10.3 K/9 in 26.1 innings while with the Braves. Iglesias is a top-10 closer for fantasy managers this season.

Warming Up: A.J. Minter, Joe Jimenez

Dylan Floro (MIA)

The Miami Marlins did not have many save opportunities, but when they did, they turned to Dylan Floro. Floro posted 10 saves to go with his 3.02 ERA and 1.174 WHIP. Floro is a serviceable closer who won’t overpower batters and he averaged less than one strikeout per inning. With no young arms lurking, Floro is the de facto closer but not an exciting option.

Warming Up: Tanner Scott, Matt Barnes

Edwin Diaz (NYM)

Edwin Diaz is one of the top closers in baseball. Last season, Diaz posted an impressive 1.31 ERA with 32 saves. He recorded 118 strikeouts in 62 innings and 3.2 WAR. Diaz should be the unquestioned first closer off your fantasy draft board.

Warming Up: David Robertson

Seranthony Dominguez (PHI)

The Philadelphia Phillies own one of the deepest bullpens in baseball. Seranthony Dominguez is the incumbent closer and had a promising 2022 season, posting a 3.00 ERA, 1.137 WHIP, and recording nine saves across 51 innings. However, that success didn’t stop the Phillies from being active in the reliever market, trading for Gregory Soto and signing veteran closer Craig Kimbrel. Soto saved 30 games for the Detroit Tigers last season, and Kimbrel held 20 for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The bullpen will be a massive strength for the Phillies this season, but it will be frustrating for fantasy managers. This bullpen looks like another dreaded closer committee.

Warming Up: Craig Kimbrel, Gregory Soto, Jose Alvarado

Kyle Finnegan (WAS)

Kyle Finnegan is the primary closer for the Nationals and finished with 11 saves last season. His 9.5 K/9 should excite fantasy managers, but his 3.51 ERA and 43.8% hard-hit rate are pretty concerning. The Nationals have plenty of other options to throw out there. However, it looks like Finnegan’s job is safe for now, but it’s not a firm grasp.

Warming Up: Carl Edwards Jr., Hunter Harvey, Sean Doolittle, Alex Colome


Brandon Hughes (CHC)

There will be no shortage of competition for the closer role for the Chicago Cubs. One of the holdovers from last season, Brandon Hughes, performed well in his first big-league season. The southpaw was valuable in the setup role, recording eight saves and striking out 68 batters across 57.2 innings. However, Hughes took over the closer role from Rowan Wick last season, who blew five save opportunities but did manage to post nine saves. These relievers will form a committee that is best avoided by fantasy managers.

Warming Up: Rowan Wick, Michael Fullmer, Brad Boxberger

Alexis Diaz (CIN)

Alexis Diaz, brother of New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz, was a rookie sensation that came out of nowhere in Spring Training last season. Diaz continued to dominate on his way to cementing the closer role for the Reds. Diaz went 7-3 with a 1.84 ERA and 0.958 WHIP. He struck out 83 batters over 63.2 innings, recorded 13 holds, and posted 10 saves out of 14 opportunities. However, the sensation did have a hiccup with his control, walking batters at an alarming 4.7 BB/9 rate. While Diaz is in no danger of losing his closer role, his wildness is something to monitor.

Warming Up: Lucas Sims, Tejay Antone

Devin Williams (MIL)

Despite moving Josh Hader in a trade, the Brewers still have a formidable bullpen thanks to closer Devin Williams. Williams excelled in the closer role by posting a 1.93 ERA, 1.005 WHIP, and a dominant 2.01 FIP. In addition, Williams displayed his dominance with 14.9 K/9 and a minuscule .151 batting average against. As a result, the brilliant right-hander should be among the top closers selected in your fantasy drafts.

Warming Up: Matt Bush, Peter Strzelecki

David Bednar (PIT)

David Bednar cemented his role as the Pirates’ closer with an All-Star performance last season. The right-hander recorded a 2.61 ERA and saved 19 games for a Pirates club that lost 100 games. He walked just 7.6% of batters faced while striking out batters at a 32.9% clip, providing his fantasy managers with valuable peripheral stats and valuable saves.

Warming Up: Robert Stephenson, Will Crowe

Ryan Helsley (STL)

Helsley emerged as one of the best closers in baseball last season. The right-hander recorded 19 saves while posting a 9-1 record with a 1.25 ERA and 94 strikeouts across 64.2 innings. Helsley should be one of the top 10 closers drafted.

Warming Up: Giovanny Gallegos, Andre Pallente


Andrew Chafin (ARI)

The Diamondbacks are another team that is facing the dreaded closer-by-committee. There is a cast of relievers vying for the closer role, but no one stands out for fantasy managers to queue up at draft time. The Diamondbacks’ bullpen produced 33 saves last season and ranked last in the majors with 478 strikeouts. The best current closer option is left-hander Andrew Chafin, who had a 2.83 ERA and 1.17 WHIP across 64 outings with the Detroit Tigers last season. Again, however, a stable of relievers will be vying to close out games in Arizona, none of which should be on your fantasy radar.

Warming Up: Kevin Ginkel, Joe Mantiply, Mark Melancon, Miguel Castro

Daniel Bard (COL)

Daniel Bard quietly had a fantastic 2022 season, recording 34 saves and producing an outstanding 1.79 ERA. Bard yielded an impressive .162/257/.245 slash line, which is quite spectacular for the 37-year-old reliever. Bard is one of only two Rockies pitchers (Tyler Kinley) who had a sub-3.00 ERA on a Rockies club that lost 94 games last season. As a result, there is zero danger of Bard losing his closer role. The only issue with Bard is if he gets moved during the season and becomes a setup reliever for a contender, which will minimize his fantasy value.

Warming Up: Pierce Johnson, Dinelson Lamet

Daniel Hudson (LAD)

The Los Angeles Dodgers are coming off an MLB-best 111-win season. However, the Dodgers lost their incumbent closer, Craig Kimbrel, who signed with the Philadelphia Phillies, creating a massive hole at the back end of the Dodgers’ bullpen with significant fantasy implications. The Dodgers are not set at closer, and there are no definite answers among their current bullpen options. Veteran right-hander Daniel Hudson seems to be the frontrunner. Hudson posted a 2.22 ERA and 0.90 WHIP along with five saves but was limited to just 24.1 innings thanks to a season-ending torn ACL in June. He has the most experience, as he closed before, including closing out the 2019 World Series for the Washington Nationals. However, he should be included in a stable of relievers that will close out games for the Dodgers this season. It would not be a shocker that the reliever that leads the team in saves is not on the Dodgers’ Opening Day Roster. This situation must be monitored closely, as fantasy managers must keep tabs on this volatile bullpen situation.

Warming Up: Evan Phillips, Alex Vesia, Caleb Ferguson, Alex Reyes

Josh Hader (SD)

The Padres obtained the left-handed closer from the Milwaukee Brewers at last season’s trade deadline, hoping to upgrade their bullpen. Unfortunately, Hader was uncharacteristically struggling overall last season. Hader had a 4.24 ERA at the time of the move and pitched even worse while in San Diego with an unsavory 7.31 ERA. Nevertheless, Hader, who owns a 2.71 career ERA, overcame those struggles to shine in the postseason by allowing only one hit in five appearances. In addition, the southpaw reliever struck out 10 while yielding a .059 batting average against. Notwithstanding his rough stretch after the All-Star break last year, there is zero doubt who will be given the ball to shut down the opposing offense in each game.

Warming Up: Robert Suarez, Drew Pomeranz

Camilo Doval (SF)

The great news is that the Giants have a shutdown closer. The issue is getting the ball to their closer, Camilo Doval. The Giants’ bullpen posted a 4.04 ERA last season, and they set out to rebuild their bullpen this offseason. However, Doval has solidified the closer role by recording 27 saves out of 30 opportunities. The right-hander posted a 2.53 ERA, 2.98 FIP, 1.24 WHIP, and 10.6 K/9 across 67.2 innings last season. There is no real threat to Doval for saves, but the Giants possess a left/right combo with the rare set of twins in Taylor and Tyler Rogers to fill in if needed.

Warming up: Taylor Rogers, Tyler Rogers

Beyond our fantasy baseball content, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Baseball Tools as you prepare for your draft this season. From our free mock Draft Simulator – which allows you to mock draft against realistic opponents – to our Draft Assistant – which optimizes your picks with expert advice – we’ve got you covered this fantasy baseball draft season.

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Dennis Sosic is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Dennis, check out his archive and follow him @CALL_ME_SOS.

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