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Closer Rankings for 2024 Fantasy Baseball… Which Will Change…

We love rankings, don’t we?  And every year we think they are so important and often find, that they are not. With that in mind, let’s look at the top 50 closer rankings for the 2024 fantasy baseball season.  A caveat: This list will probably change multiple times before the end of March.  That being said, here goes.

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2024 Fantasy Baseball Closer Rankings

  1. Edwin Diaz: Diaz will be the first closer off the board in most drafts. Diaz is fully healthy and may have been back in September if the Mets had been involved in meaningful games He is going to get you 30+ saves, good ratios, and perhaps more than 100 strikeouts.
  2. Josh Hader: Signed to a megadeal with the Houston Astros, Hader will be the closer on an excellent team. Hader has earned over 30 saves every season except the pandemic-shortened 2020. He is usually one of the first three or four closers off the board in most fantasy baseball drafts. Hader had two wins, 33 saves, a 1.28 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and a whopping 85 strikeouts in 56.1 innings.
  3. Jhoan Duran: This could be the year that Duran ascends to the top tier of the closer rankings. Duran earned 27 saves last year and notched 84 strikeouts in 62.1 innings and was good for a 2.45 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. His ADP will likely continue to escalate; if you want him, you’re going to have to pay up. He looks ready for a 30+ save season with good health. I might be slightly higher than most on Duran.
  4. Devin Williams: Williams is an elite closer. Williams posted 36 saves in his first full season as closer, with eight wins, a microscopic 1.53 ERA, a .92 WHIP, and 87 strikeouts in 58.1 innings.  Some people will cite the walk rate (12.1%) as a concern, but the ridiculous 37.7 K% makes that feel like nitpicking.  Draft with confidence as one of the top five closers this spring.
  5. Emmanuel Clase: There has been speculation around the Cleveland Guardians potentially trading the talented Clase. Clase led all of baseball last year with 44 saves, but there were some blemishes: 12 blown chances and nine losses.  Clase is not a big strikeout pitcher with 64 in 72.2 innings.  Clase has had two seasons in a row with over 40 saves which makes him arguably the most valuable relief pitcher in fantasy baseball.  While you might prefer a guy with more strikeouts, Clase is brilliant at limiting walks: 3.7 BB% in 2022, and 5.3 BB% in 2023. Clase struggled in September but there were some grumbles of overuse in Cleveland. Perhaps new manager Stephen Vogt will use him a little less in 2024?
  6. Camilo Doval: Doval has a lock on the San Francisco Giants’ top job. Doval, based on his track record, ability, and seeming job security, will likely be one of the first five closers off the board in drafts this spring.  Doval had six wins, 39 saves, and a 2.93 ERA and 1.14 WHIP to go with 87 punchouts in 67.2 innings.
  7. Jordan Romano: Romano quietly has been a terrific closer for the Toronto Blue Jays. Romano had 36 saves, a 2.90 ERA, and a 1.22 WHIP with 72 strikeouts in 59 innings and cemented himself as the closer. He was lost for part of the season due to a balky back.  Something to watch for this spring before investing, but if healthy, Romano could be a top-five closer this year.
  8. David Bednar: Is there a more underrated closer in baseball? Bednar continues to be their cornerstone in Pittsburgh, and the Pirates’ top brass appeared to ignore offers for him at the last trade deadline. And you can understand why: tied for second in all of MLB with 39 saves with a tidy 2.00 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. Bednar appears poised for another 30+ save season but expect some regression in the ratios.  Draft Bednar with confidence for the saves.
  9. Andres Munoz: Munoz is one of the most electric arms in the game.  He became the primary closer last year after what seemed like years of waiting, earning 13 saves and 14 holds to go with four wins, a 2.974ERA, a 1.27 WHIP, and 67 strikeouts in 49 innings. That blood red we love to see on Statcast?  It’s all over Munoz’s page. But Munoz does have a checkered injury history, including a long recovery from heel surgery that delayed his 2023 start, and a deltoid strain that kept him out from April through June.  If you roster Munoz, you might want to have a plan B due to his availability issues from time to time. It is also important to keep in mind that manager Scott Servais likes to mix and match in the bullpen.  Should Munoz be healthy and the top option, he could easily earn 30 saves.
  10. Tanner Scott: Can Scott repeat the tremendous 2023 season he had? Scott should get the first opportunity to close games after a very successful season in 2023. Scott had nine wins, 24 holds, 12 saves, and a 2.31 ERA with a 0.99 WHIP and 104 strikeouts in only 78 innings.  Scott had a whopping 33.9 K% and was able to cut the walks down to a more manageable 7.8%.  Scott historically has lived on the edge with the walk rate, which was a career-high 15.9 in 2022. Should he be able to keep those gains, he could be a top closer, but any regression could easily cost him the job in Miami.  Scott has three of his wins and nine of his saves in September. We will need to pay attention to Spring Training.
  11. Paul Sewald: Sewald proved to fill the need for the Arizona Diamondbacks down the stretch in 2023. Sewald was acquired from the Seattle Mariners right at the trade deadline and took over as the full-time closer in Arizona.  Sewald was good for 34 saves in 2023, to go along with a 3.12 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP, and 80 strikeouts in 60.2 innings.  The 32.1 K% is nice, and he limits hard contact as evidenced by his 94th percentile average exit velocity at 85.9 MPH.
  12. Raisel Iglesias: Iglesias holds the top job in Atlanta.
  13. Pete Fairbanks: Fairbanks is an electric closer but has never thrown more than 45 innings in a season. Fairbanks had 25 saves, a sparkling 2.58 ERA, and a 1.01 WHIP, to go along with 68 strikeouts in 45.1 innings.
  14. Craig Kimbrel: Kimbrel had a nice season in Philadelphia last year: eight wins, 23 saves, a healthy 3.26 ERA, and 94 strikeouts in 69 innings. Home runs remain an issue; he gave up 10 homers last year, but seven of those were solo shots, so he limited damage.  Kimbrel should have one more good season in him at age 35.
  15. Ryan Helsley: Injuries have limited Helsley, but when he is right, he is one of the best relief arms in the game. With health, he should close for the Cardinals in 2024. Helsley had a year for the ages in 2022, and most pundits expected some pullback from that historic season.  Yet Helsley struggled with health on his way to a scant 33 appearances.  The fastball velocity remained elite at 99.7 MPH and the slider was effective as well. Helsley ended the 2023 season with 14 saves.
  16. Alexis Diaz: Diaz finished the season with nine wins, 37 saves, a 3.07 ERA, a 1.19 WHIP, and 86 punchouts in 67.1 innings.  While six of those wins came after the All-Star Break, only 11 of the saves did, as the second half was a study in control and command issues.  The 4.61 ERA and 1.43 WHIP after the ASB give pause, but the 30.1 K% makes me believe that he could be an excellent closer again with a clean slate to begin 2024.
  17. Jose Alvarado: Alvarado appears to sit atop the hierarchy in Philadelphia. But the Phillies have several guys who could be used to get saves. Alvarado earned ten saves last year with 64 strikeouts in 41.1 innings to go with a 1.74 ERA and 1.16 WHIP.  Alvarado also threw in 11 holds. This ranking might be too high.
  18. Adbert Alzolay: Alzolay should have the top job in Chicago. Alzolay posted 22 saves last year for a resurgent team.  Looking at his pitch mix, we can see that he relied more heavily on his slider in 2023, up to 45% from about 33% in 2022.  With that change, he also added two ticks to his velocity on it as well (85.4 MPH to 87.5 MPH), while also reducing his four-seam fastball usage from about 37% to 21%.  In the process, he lowered his BB% to 5.1, which was a career-best for Alzolay.  Alzolay would appear to be the closer without competition going into 2024. Beware though: there was a forearm issue late in the season and Alzolay struggles to get left-handed hitters out.
  19. Kenley Jansen: Jansen is the subject of trade rumors, but if he remains in Boston, he will get the save chances. Jansen was his usual sturdy self in 2023: three wins, 29 saves, a 3.63 ERA, and 52 strikeouts in 44.2 innings, all while throwing his vaunted cutter 79% of the time. He did have some health issues, dealing with Covid-19 and hitting the IL for good in mid-September with hamstring issues.
  20. Evan Phillips: The Los Angeles Dodgers have resisted upgrading the back end of their bullpen, leaving the bulk of saves to Phillips. Phillips quietly earned 24 saves last year to go with six holds, a 2.05 ERA, and a minuscule .83 WHIP.
  21. Alex Lange: Lange is the de facto closer in Detroit but this feels shaky at best. There were several times last season where poor performance bumped Lange out of the job, but he did finish 2023 as the closer in Detroit. Lange features a terrific curveball that he throws about 59% of the time and has a high whiff percentage at almost 49%. He throws a sinker to right-handed batters and a change-up to get left-handed hitters too and has a 51% groundball rate.  Sounds good, but the problem is the 15.6 BB%, which was in the bottom 1% of all major league pitchers.  If he could cut that in half, you’d be looking at an excellent closer. Something to watch this spring.
  22. Mason Miller: Miller is a tough guy to prognosticate this year based on the unknowns of his health and his role. Miller was in the 97th percentile for fastball velocity in a limited 33.1 innings last season.  Miller will eventually return to a starting role, but in an attempt to limit his innings and keep him healthy, a to-be-determined bullpen role will be his spot in 2024. He could be the closer, or perhaps he could become a multiple-inning weapon out of the bullpen.
  23. James McArthur: McArthur helped many fantasy players win championships late last season, McArthur earned four saves while striking out 23 in 23.1 innings with a 4.63 ERA and a minuscule .94 WHIP. Don’t let the ERA fool you: he gave up seven runs in his MLB debut in late June but didn’t surrender a run in his last 12 outings which included all four of his saves.  A zero ERA, .28 WHIP, and 15 punchouts in 14.1 innings in September maybe opened some eyes.
  24. Matt Brash: Brash is one of the top high-leverage relievers out there without a closer job at this time. Brash stepped into a high-leverage role and was outstanding: nine wins, four saves, 24 holds, a 3.06 ERA, a 1.33 WHIP, and a whopping 107 strikeouts in 70.2 innings. He was successful in part because he cut his walk rate to 9.4%.  That’s still a little high and could go in either direction in 2024. But he should return to his eighth-inning role and be able to chip in with a few saves on days Munoz needs a break.  Brash is the type of reliever who has tremendous value even if he is not closing games. Brash could give you better stats than a mediocre fifth starter for your fantasy teams. I think Brash will double-digit saves this year.
  25. Robert Stephenson: Stephenson had three wins, one save, nine holds, and a 3.10 ERA with a .98 WHIP.  Stephenson also had 77 punchouts in 52.1 innings. But those numbers do not tell the whole story. Stephenson was pitching badly in Pittsburgh when the Rays acquired him in early summer, and when the Rays get a pitcher, as a fantasy player, pay attention. Stephenson was second in MLB with a 30.4 K-BB%, behind only Felix Bautista. His 38.3 K% was third in MLB, behind only Felix Bautista and Aroldis Chapman. He could easily close in Los Angeles.
  26. Clay Holmes: Holmes is the current closer for the New York Yankees. Holmes picked up 24 saves and 71 punchouts in 63 innings, proving he can get the last three outs of games.
  27. Kyle Finnegan: Finnegan enters the season as the de facto closer in Washington. Yet he earned seven wins and 28 saves in 2023.  Perhaps those looking for strikeouts and ratio help discredit him, but if you’re chasing saves late, there are worse candidates. However, my feeling is that Hunter Harvey is a better pitcher.
  28. Robert Suarez: I think he starts the season as the closer for San Diego. How long he holds, the job, we do not know.
  29. Yuki Matsui: Matsui could challenge for the top job in San Diego. Matsui is 28, left-handed, and had 236 saves over nine seasons while closing games for Rakuten in the Pacific League. Matsui is small, at 5’8″ and 160 pounds, using a max effort delivery that he has trouble at times controlling. Being on the smaller side, there may be some durability issues in the long MLB season.  On top of that, he has had issues with control despite the impressive saves totals.  Several scouts see him as a middle reliever in MLB with the ability to get both lefties and righties out.
  30. Justin Lawrence: In all honesty, the situation in Colorado is one to avoid unless you become desperate, for saves.  Lawrence should be their top guy but these could be painful saves for your ratios. Lawrence had an up-and-down season in 2023, winning four games, saving 11, and earning 11 holds with a 3.72 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. Lawrence is average at generating strikeouts with a 23.9 K%, and an 11 BB% doesn’t help his case either.
  31. Carlos Estevez: Estevez had an interesting season, earning 31 saves to go with 78 strikeouts in 62.1 innings. But it was a tale of two halves for him: 2-1, 1.80 ERA, 21 saves, and a passable 1.29 WHIP before the All-Star Break.  After: 3-4, 6.59 ERA, 10 saves, and a bloated 1.76 WHIP. My best hunch is that he doesn’t hold the job for long unless he gets off to a hot start, not with Robert Stephenson waiting in the wings.
  32. Hunter Harvey: It would not be surprising at all if Harvey acceded to the top spot in Washington. Harvey is a post-hype reliable reliever when healthy. Harvey was finally healthy in 2023, and put up four wins, 19 holds, and 10 saves to go with a 2.82 ERA and .94 WHIP.  Should Finnegan be ineffective or be traded, Harvey would seem to be the heir apparent.
  33. Jose Leclerc: Jose Leclerc is in a position to close after a successful postseason in which he earned four saves despite being a highwire act at times.
  34. Jason Adam: Adam would be the heir apparent to Fairbanks in Tampa Bay should he miss time with injuries or be ineffective.
  35. A.J.Minter: Should Iglesias falter at all, the Atlanta Braves have an in-house option in Minter. Minter led the Braves with 15 holds to go with three wins, 10 saves, and 82 strikeouts in 64.2 innings.  Not much help in the ratio categories at 3.76 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. While we can’t ignore the ratio stats, Minter was misused as the closer early on in place of the injured Iglesias and had a bloated ERA of 6.66 at the end of May.  He righted the ship (except for eight walks in September) and finished with a 1.85 ERA after the arbitrary All-Star Break a 31.5 K%.  Draft Minter for holds and strikeouts.
  36. Bryan Abreu: Abreu is one of the preeminent setup men in baseball.  Many will likely bump him down due to the presence of Hader and Pressly, but their mistake could be your gain.
  37. Abner Uribe: Uribe oozes the stuff you want in a closer but is blocked by arguably the best in the game, Devin Williams, in Milwaukee. But should Williams get traded, he could be the heir apparent.
  38. John Brebbia: As of this moment, you can make a coherent argument that Brebbia will get ninth-inning opportunities on a forsaken Chicago White Sox team. Who else is there?  Jesse Chavez? Tim Hill?  Prelander Berroa?  For now, the safest bet appears to be Brebbia….but…
  39. Michael Kopech: I still think Kopech ends up in the bullpen and with the dearth of options on the South Side, why couldn’t he close?  I will hang up and take your criticism now.
  40. Yennier Cano: Cano took over admirably for the injured Felix Bautista last year, but profiles better as a high-leverage setup guy.  The Kimbrel signing hurts his chances for any saves.
  41. Shelby Miller: With a little luck, Miller could end up the closer in Detroit. I do not trust that Lange and Jason Foley serve best in the closing role.
  42. Erik Swanson: A premier setup man in Toronto, he could end up with saves should Romano’s balky back act up again.  So could Nate Pearson, who appears to be forgotten about by fantasy players.
  43. Andrew Nardi: Nardi was in the 99th percentile with an 84.6 average exit velocity and the 92nd percentile in K% at 30.8.  He should be a good candidate for holds setting up Scott. Nardi had eight wins, 17 holds and three saves to go with a 2.67 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 2023.
  44. Jeff Hoffman: Hoffman is another of the intriguing arms in the Philadelphia bullpen.
  45. Orion Kerkering: Kerkering was impressive down the stretch for the Phillies and was the pitcher of the year in the organization in 2o23.  Kerkering should be a big weapon in the Philadelphia bullpen in 2024. He’s definitely on the must-watch list and could be a late-round saves target depending on your league.
  46. Kevin Ginkel: Ginkel had nine wins, four saves, and five holds while serving multiple roles last year and had a 2.48 ERA and .98 WHIP. The key to his success seemed to be a change to his pitch mix, adding an exploding slider to a fastball that he works high in the zone
  47. Trevor Stephan: Stephan had 28 holds last season to go with seven wins, two saves and a 4.06 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. Stephan had a September to forget: 12.54 ERA and three losses while surrendering 13 runs in 9.1 innings.  He should return to the same role in 2024.  Again, questions of overuse plagued the end of his season.
  48. Julian Merryweather: Merryweather earned five wins and two saves, to go along with 17 holds and 98 punchouts in 72 innings. Could get a shot at closing if Alzolay falters or is hurt.
  49. Other names to be aware of: David Robertson, Prelander Berroa, Lucas Erceg, Josh Sborz, Kirby Yates, Hector Neris, Lucas Sims, Joel Payamps, Trevor Megill, Andrew Kittredge, Aroldis Chapman, Colin Holderman.  Any of these could move into the top 50 in the coming weeks.

Are you on board with Mike’s Closer Rankings? For more of the great fantasy baseball rankings and analysis you’ve come to expect from FantraxHQ, check out our full 2024 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit! We’re here for you all the way up until Opening Day and then on into your championship run.


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