For a majority of major league baseball teams, the season is over and players are taking some time off before gearing up for the 2024 season.

But in fantasy baseball, there is no offseason – especially in dynasty/keeper leagues. Owners are busy trying to figure out who they should keep or ditch as they try to put together the best roster possible before 2024 comes roaring into view.

With that in mind, welcome to the first installment of the 2024 Top Keepers. This week the spotlight falls on the relievers.

When it comes to relief pitchers, I take a different view of them compared to other positions. That is due to the fact that most relievers are very inconsistent and have a shorter shelf life compared to other positions. Relievers could have had a great 2022 season, giving you lots of hope that you have a key member of your bullpen this year, only to fall apart this season. I’m looking at you Rafael Montero and dozens and dozens of other relievers.

Knowing relievers are up and down, I don’t care as much about age of a reliever like I do other players, especially position players. If a reliever is 33 but has been consistent year after year, I’m going to take him just as quickly as I would a 25-year-old flamethrower who hasn’t figured it out on the mound yet.

Now, let’s get to the 2024 Top Keepers – Relievers.


While the majority of my rankings are with dynasty leagues in mind, the first player I am going to mention here is Felix Bautista of Baltimore. The truth is I had him as my top-ranked reliever. However, with the news that he is going to miss all of next season, it is hard to put him in the top spot. If you have no problem letting him sit on your IL all season or have the room to keep him, then he is a certain keeper.

But in leagues that limit the number of keepers, it is hard to keep a player who won’t contribute at all.

The other three players who just missed the cut are Kyle Finnegan of Washington and Jason Adam and Robert Stephenson of Tampa Bay.

Finnegan is listed here because he had 28 saves for the Nationals. But other than that, he is a pedestrian reliever, posting a 1.298 WHIP and striking out only 63 batters in 69.1 innings. I don’t think he should be the closer next season. But with the Nationals, you never know what they will do.

A Pair of Rays

For Stephenson, he was the lucky recipient of being traded to the Rays after starting the season in Pittsburgh. With the Pirates he was 0-3 with a 5.14 ERA and 1.429 WHIP with a 10.0 K/9 rate. Once the Rays got hold of Stephenson, he became a lockdown reliever. In 38.1 innings, he had a 2.35 ERA and 0.678 WHIP in Tampa while bumping his K/9 rate to 14.1.

Adam had 12 saves and 11 holds for the Rays with a 2.98 ERA and 1.01 WHIP to go with an 11.4 K/9 rate. I’m sure he will rack up some saves and holds next season and be a solid keeper as a reliever.


*Age as of April 1, 2024

40 Lucas Sims CIN 29
39 Jose Soriano LAA 25
38 Carlos Estevez LAA 31
37 Kenley Jansen BOS 36
36 James McArthur KC 27
35 Michael King NYY 28
34 Adbert Alzolay CHC 29
33 Joel Payamps MIL 29
32 Yennier Cano BAL 30
31 Reynaldo Lopez CLE 30

Jose Soriano and Carlos Estevez are sitting next to each other because one was the closer most of the season, the other has a great chance to be the closer in 2024.

Estevez was an All-Star for the Angels this past season, but that was thanks to a great first half in which he had a 1.80 ERA and 1.286 WHIP with 21 saves. The second half saw him post a 6.59 ERA and a 1.756 WHIP thanks to allowing 35 hits and 13 walks in 27.1 innings. Meanwhile, Soriano didn’t exactly dominate hitters in the second half of the season either. However, he has more upside than Estevez in a bullpen that won’t have anyone in a defined role entering 2024.

James McArthur? Really?

James McArthur may be a surprise reliever to see here considering he had a 4.63 ERA this past season. But his last month is what has me thinking he is the closer for the Royals in 2024. In 12 games in September/October, he allowed ZERO runs and only five hits in 16.1 innings for a 0.306 WHIP while striking out 19 hitters. Opposing hitters had a .096 average and .135 SLG against McArthur during this span.

With Bautista out for 2024, the closing job should fall to Cano – the role he has performed well in this season with Bautista out. Cano doesn’t strike out tons of batters, posting an 8.1 K/9 rate, but he doesn’t walk anyone either, issuing 1.6 BB/9 this season.


30 Hector Neris HOU 34
29 Brusdar Graterol LAD 25
28 Clay Holmes NYY 31
27 Alex Lange DET 28
26 Jordan Hicks TOR 27
25 A.J. Minter ATL 30
24 Paul Sewald ARI 33
23 Andrew Nardi MIA 25
22 A.J. Puk MIA 28
21 Matt Brash SEA 25

The stat that keeps Brusdar Graterol from being ranked higher is the fact he doesn’t strike batters out. In today’s world of relievers posting nasty K/9 ratios, Graterol posted a 6.4 K/9 rate. He doesn’t allow a lot of hits or walks, leading to a 0.965 WHIP, his second straight sub-1.00 WHIP season. But strikeouts count in fantasy leagues, and Graterol isn’t going to be a huge help there.

Paul Sewald is getting up there in age, but he continues to produce. This season between Seattle and Arizona he had 34 saves to go along with a 2.67 ERA and 1.15 WHIP while striking out 11.9 batters per nine.

Fishing for Marlins

The Miami Marlins had seven players record a save this year, with A.J. Puk and Andrew Nardi accounting for 18 of those. Puk led the Marlins in saves with 18 and had a 12.4 K/9 rate to go with a 3.97 ERA and 1.182 WHIP. Meanwhile, Nardi had a 2.67 ERA and 1.151 WHIP with three saves and 17 holds with an 11.5 K/9 rate. He likely won’t get the majority of saves next year, but if your league accounts for holds, he is a strong keeper to have.


20 Jose Alvarado PHI 28
19 Craig Kimbrel PHI 35
18 Hunter Harvey WAS 29
17 Evan Phillips LAD 29
16 Andres Munoz SEA 25
15 Emmanuel Clase CLE 26
14 Pete Fairbanks TB 30
13 Tanner Scott MIA 29
12 Bryan Abreu HOU 26
11 Ryan Pressly HOU 35

Right now, Jose Alvarado is ranked right behind Craig Kimbrel because if Kimbrel re-signs with the Phillies, he will likely remain as the closer with Alvardo pitching in high-leverage situations in the 7th and 8th innings and rack up holds (11 this year along with 10 saves). But it is only a matter of time before Alvardo claims the closer’s role. He had a 1.74 ERA and 1.16 WHIP while recording 13.9 K/9.

Kimbrel had a nice season (23 saves, 7 holds) with a 3.26 ERA and 1.04 WHIP while recording 12.3 K/9. But at his age, it is a matter of time before his closing days are over.

You may be asking “how can a player coming off a 44 save season be ranked 15th?” I’ll answer that question with these facts – Emmanuel Clase allowed nearly a hit per inning (68 hits in 72.2 innings) and had a very pedestrian 7.9 K/9 rate. I like my closers to at least average a strikeout per inning. Clase simply doesn’t do that.

The Future Closer…the Current Closer

Bryan Abreu found his footing as a reliever last year with a 1.94 ERA and 13.1 K/9. He followed that up with yet another outstanding season with a 1.75 ERA and 1.04 WHIP with a 12.5 K/9 and allowing only 44 hits in 72 innings. He is the closer of the future for the Astros, but that won’t happen until Ryan Pressly stops pitching well.

And Pressly had yet another solid season for Houston, finishing the year with 31 saves with a 3.58 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. The ERA doesn’t look great and the WHIP could be better. But if you take away the three outings in which he allowed three earned runs or more (done three times), he would have had a 2.27 ERA and 0.93 WHIP. He wasn’t always perfect, but more often than not he got the job done while averaging 10.2 K/9.


10 David Bednar PIT 28
9 Ryan Helsley STL 29
8 Jordan Romano TOR 30
7 Raisel Iglesias ATL 34
6 Alexis Diaz CIN 27
5 Camilo Doval SF 26
4 Jhoan Duran MIN 26
3 Edwin Diaz NYM 30
2 Josh Hader SD 29
1 Devin Williams MIL 29

David Bednar doesn’t play for a great team, but that shouldn’t keep you from keeping him on your roster. After recording 19 saves in 2022, he totaled 39 this season in 66 outings. He doesn’t have huge strikeout numbers, but he did strike out 10.7 batters per nine while only walking 21 in 67.1 innings.

Alexis Diaz is the type of player you look for when needing an anchor in your bullpen. His Whiff% ranked in the 95th percentile this past season while his K% was in the 90th percentile. Opposing hitters managed only a .239 batting average against his fastball and were even worse against his slider, managing a .153 average with a 37.9 Whiff%.

The Other Diaz

As we all know, a freak injury during the World Baseball Classic cost Edwin Diaz the 2023 season. It was obviously an early indicator of how the Mets’ season was going to unfold this year. While Diaz is now going to be one year older, he shouldn’t suddenly forget how to pitch. He was a top-five reliever after 2022 and I expect him to return to his dominant self in 2024.

Hader or Williams? Does it matter?

It’s hard to believe the Brewers had both of these pitchers in their pen at the same time. While everyone was stunned when they traded Hader, the team obviously knew what they had in Williams. Both pitchers put up outstanding numbers this season.

Hader had 33 saves with a 1.28 ERA and 1.10 WHIP while fanning 13.6 hitters per nine innings. For his career Hader has a 15.0 K/9 Rate and has recorded 33 saves or more each full season since 2019.

Williams has been outstanding for Milwaukee since debuting in 2019. For his career he has a 1.89 ERA and 1.03 WHIP and 14.2 K/9 rate. This past season he had 36 saves with a 1.53 ERA and 0.92 WHIP. In 58.2 innings of work, he allowed only 26 hits while striking out 13.3 batters per nine.

Right now, I give the slight edge to Williams as the top-ranked keeper, but the difference between these two pitchers is small and if you like Hader more, I’m not going to argue with you.

Come Back Next Week

Thanks for reading and come back next week for the 2024 Top Keepers – Starting Pitchers rankings.