With the 2023 MLB fantasy season just around the corner, we have to take a look at the best closers. The top closers in the game can not only provide plenty of saves, but can also be a good source for accumulating strikeouts and keeping that team ERA down. Here’s a look at your top 10 closers entering the 2023 season.
10. Kenley Jansen
We’ll start off with new Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen. Despite missing time last season due to a heart issue, Jansen led all NL relievers in saves (41). No, the former Brave didn’t have the best ERA (3.38). But, he did provide stability for the Braves bullpen last season.
Given the losses the Red Sox lineup sustained this past winter, it’s fair to expect Jansen to be called to close out tight games on a regular basis. However, the question will be whether Jansen can avoid the IL in 2023.
9. Jordan Romano
Blue Jays reliever Jordan Romano turned in an impressive season as Toronto’s closer last season. Romano finished in a tie for the fourth-most saves (36) in MLB last season, and recorded a tidy 2.11 ERA over 64.0 IP.
Romano proved to be quite successful with his fastball/slider combo, and that should remain the case again if his command is up to par yet again.
8. Ryan Helsley
Cardinals closer Ryan Helsley proved to be an incredibly tough pitcher to hit in 2022. Among relievers that threw at least 40 IP in 2022, Helsley owned the seventh-best K/9 (13.1) rate, the fourth-most strikeouts (94), and the second-best WHIP (0.74) in baseball. Not to mention, the flamethrower also accumulated 19 saves along the way.
The one downside to owning Ryan Helsley is how many save opportunities Gio Gallegos snares away from the right-hander.
7. Raisel Iglesias
Seven relievers made our Top 100 Fantasy list for 2023, and Raisel Iglesias is one of those names, With Kenley Jansen no longer in Atlanta, the 33-year-old Iglesias is now the man for the Braves. Iglesias came over to Atlanta via trade last summer, and proved to be quite the pickup for the Braves. After the deal, Iglesias posted a .34 ERA and struck out 30 over 26.1 IP.
Iglesias, who has recorded 157 career saves, should be a high-quality option for fantasy owners this season.
6. Josh Hader
It’s safe to say that the 2022 season was one to forget for Padres closer Josh Hader. Hader, who owned the third-most saves (83) from 2020-22, posted an ERA (5.220 almost four full points more than the one he recorded in 2021 (1.23). Control issues dogged Hader, but he settled down come late in the regular season.
Traditionally, Hader has been a lock for 30+ saves. If things get back to normal, Hader should hit that total again in 2023.
5. Camilo Doval
The incredibly deceptive Camilo Doval turned in a strong year in 2022. Doval picked up 27 saves in 2022, good for a top-15 finish in 2022. The Giants reliever is one of the toughest relievers in the game to pick up, a great asset to say the least.
Given his stuff and delivery, it’s not crazy to expect a 30+ save season from Doval.
4. Ryan Pressly
Astros closer Ryan Pressly picked up 33 saves for the World Series champions last year. Across 48.1 IP, Pressly struck out 65 and owned a WHIP (.89) that ranked in the top ten in all of MLB among relievers. Pressly can beat hitters with his fastball, or throw opposing batters off with a tough slider and a curve.
Look for much of the same in 2023.
3. Devin Williams
With Josh Hader no longer in Milwaukee, the closer’s job in Milwaukee belongs to former NL Rookie of the Year Devin Williams. Williams, who owns arguably the best changeup in baseball, recorded 15 saves for the Brewers last season.
In a full season as closer, Williams could sit either at or near the top of the league in saves.
2. Emmanuel Clase
Guardians closer Emmanuel Clase posted a 9.5 K/9 in 2022 — a figure that’s lower than some of the ones the other relievers on this list recorded. But, that doesn’t tell the whole story. Clase stymied hitters with his cutter and slider, two pitches that didn’t get a ton of strikeouts, but plenty of weak contact. The 2022 AL Reliever of the Year led all of MLB in saves (42), and owned the fifth-best ERA (1.36) among relievers last year.
Armed with an overpowering arsenal, not much should change for Clase in 2023.
1. Edwin Diaz
Even though Edwin Diaz didn’t lead the league in saves last season, he put up astronomical figures for the Mets last season. Diaz led all relievers in K/9 (17.1) and total strikeouts (118) in 2022, all while he notched 32 saves for New York.
Diaz and his fastball/slider combination proved to be overwhelming in 2022. Given his elite stuff, one should expect Mets fans to hear plenty of Timmy Trumpet in the ninth inning of games yet again in 2023.