Note: If you’re here via the Grey’s Rankings page, then this is my first go-around of closer rankings. The updated, post-free-agent-frenzy rankings are right here.

Well hello there, Razz-folken!

Sorry, I’m working my way through Stephen King’s Dark Tower series (on Book 6 of seven — fantastic, trippy, masterful stuff), which contains some very interesting folken indeed. So that’s where that came from.

I’ve got some news for y’all. I am no longer the Injury Guru around these parts. I had my fill of ’em last year, let me tell you. Not sure my brain could handle tracking all that madness for another season (assuming we even get a full one…). Alas, the ever-so-talented-and-witty Keelin Billue will be manning the Ambulance Chasers column. Instead, I’ve become the official Bullpen Guru of Razzball! In addition to the weekly SAGNOF recaps, I’ll be in charge of our brand-spankin’ new Bullpen Chart, tracking who’s closing and who’s setting up across the MLB. Side note: I’m still waiting for the day SVHD becomes the standard category.

What I’ve got for y’all is just a good old-fashioned tiered ranking (catered toward the 12-team standard 5×5 audience). I could pretend I’m doing this for the people, but really this is as much for me as it is for you, dear reader. I’ve had my fantasy hockey helmet on, helping Viz over the on the Razzball Hockey side of things. Haven’t paid the best attention to the goings on in MLB — I could use a little brush up on how bullpens are looking.

Welp, I’ll quit dillydallying and get right to it. I’ll update these rankings eventually as things change throughout the course of the offseason. Some big names are still homeless as of now (you can find notes on them under the rankings themselves). These rankings stem from a combination of my genius brain and Rudy’s projections, which of course you can see over on the World Famous Razzball Player Rater.

I lied; I’ve got a little more dillydallying to do. I want to make it clear this is a focus solely on guys in closer situations. I’m looking at this through the lens of saves. I would personally rather own a Devin Williams type than a crappy closer like Cole Sulser in most instances, but I didn’t want to jumble up my tiers with guys who aren’t likely to get saves with any kind of regularity. Devin Williams, Craig Kimbrel, Jonathan Loaisiga, etc. do not appear in what you’ll see below. Maybe I’ll get around to some HAGNOF rankings, but you can always pop over to the Bullpen Chart and the Player Rater to find guys to help you with holds. And one last note: even though you see numbered rankings, they’re more of a formality. I treat everyone pretty much equally within their respective tiers, and it could shake out to where any one of them could out-rank the other. Is that a cop out for “hindsight is 20/20” purposes? Maybe! Oh, and the stats you see are 2021’s totals. Duh.

Tier 1 – The Elite

1. Liam Hendriks – 8-3, 38 SV, 2.54 ERA, 2.34 FIP, 0.73 WHIP, 42.3 K%, 2.6 BB%

  • Probably fantasy’s #1 RP again. Why not? There’s not a safer RP to own the Mr. Hendriks. Don’t think Kimbrel challenges him for his role at all (and might get traded anyway). On our 2022 Preseason Player Rater, guess who tops the chart? It’s a conservative $ total in my opinion…he finished with a value of $26.9 (good for #33 overall!) last year and I figure he gets close to that again.

2. Josh Hader – 4-2, 34 SV, 1.23 ERA, 1.69 FIP, 0.84 WHIP, 45.5 K%, 10.7 BB%

  • If Hendriks isn’t #1, it’s Hader.

3. Raisel Iglesias – 7-5, 34 SV, 2.57 ERA, 2.83 FIP, 0.93 WHIP, 37.7 K%, 4.4 BB%

  • Will the Angels win enough to give him 40 saves? 50?! He could do it! Ugh, hell, maybe he’s #1. He’s got the chops for it.


Tier 2 – The Great

4. Jordan Romano – 7-1, 23 SV, 2.14 ERA, 3.15 FIP, 1.05 WHIP, 33.6 K%, 9.9 BB%

  • Gotta like the Blue Jays this year, even sans Semien. Romano should be one of fantasy’s top RP, assuming they don’t do something stupid and sign someone else to take his place. Rudy’s got him as the #10 RP, which still falls within this tier in my book, but I’m not gonna be surprised if we seem him Top 5. Had a 13.8 K/9 paired with a 2.7 BB/9 from August forward.

5. Edwin Diaz – 5-6, 32 SV, 3.45 ERA, 2.48 FIP, 1.05 WHIP, 34.6 K%, 8.9 BB%

  • Is this finally the Mets’ year?! That Scherzer guy should help. Oh and that Starling Marte guy, too. And don’t forget Canha and Escobar! Diaz could feasibly lead the majors in saves and provide elite ratios and Ks doing it. I’ve really only got him Tier 2 because of his tendency to blow up in a big way. From a fantasy standpoint, if he’s feelin’ it (and the Mets are actually winning games), he’s capable of being every bit as valuable as the three guys in Tier 1.

6. Ryan Pressly – 5-3, 26 SV, 2.25 ERA, 2.06 FIP, 0.97 WHIP, 32.4 K%, 5.2 BB%

  • Safe, safe, safe. And very good. Astros get Verlander back this year, in case you forgot. No reason to believe Pressly can’t be one of fantasy’s best. Currently sits at #4 in the preseason Player Rater for RP.

7. Emmanuel Clase – 4-5, 24 SV, 1.29 ERA, 2.11 FIP, 0.96 WHIP, 26.5 K%, 5.7 BB%

  • Closed out 2021 like a damn champ. Let’s see it for a whole season, eh? Barely walked a soul in the second half, which is of course very encouraging. Clase looked broken right after the Sticky Crackdown, giving up 11 H, 9 R, and 6 ER in his next 7.1 IP…but after that? Only 16 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, and 33 K in his final 32.2 IP. I’m assuming (and praying) he doesn’t split time with Karinchak.

8. Blake Treinen – 6-5, 7 SV, 1.99 ERA, 2.88 FIP, 0.98 WHIP, 29.7 K%, 8.7 BB%

  • If Jansen comes back, forget you ever saw this. If he doesn’t, then Treinen should wreck (unless they sign a different closer I guess). Had 39 SVHD in 2021 and will mos def be a major force in those leagues whether or not he’s closing.

9. Will Smith – 3-7, 37 SV, 3.44 ERA, 4.17 FIP, 1.13 WHIP, 30.7 K%, 9.9 BB%

  • The Braves are good, he’s good, and his job is safe. His ratios leave a little to be desired, however. But for fantasy purposes, pretty easily Tier 2 assuming 1). health and 2). the Braves don’t sign someone to challenge him.

10. Aroldis Chapman – 6-4, 30 SV, 3.36 ERA, 3.99 FIP, 1.31 WHIP, 39.9 K%, 15.6 BB%

  • Sticky Stuff crackdown hurt him for a while, but he mostly righted the ship at the end. 43.8 K% in the final month (but also a 12.5 BB%). That splitter tho! Player Rater has him as the #5 RP, yet he’s cheaper on draft day than some of the others in this tier. He’s a little risky, won’t lie to ya, but I expect at the end of the year we’ll still see him among the saves leaders and with a lot more strikeouts than innings pitched. Ain’t that what you really want in a closer for fantasy?


Tier 3 – The Good

11. Giovanny Gallegos – 6-5, 14 SV, 3.02 ERA, 2.75 FIP, 0.88 WHIP, 30.6 K%, 6.5 BB%

  • This is a tougher one. Gallegos could keeping closing, or it could be he’s more of a fireman role than outright closer. 38 SVHD in 2021, so SVHD leaguers needn’t worry one way or the other. Capable of Tier 2 fantasy production, if’n you ask me, but the lack of full clarity on his role prevents me from putting him there. As STL’s closer last year, he was great, with 11 SV and a 21:5 K:BB in the month of September alone. I don’t see much reason to doubt he’s a fantasy stud if he’s the clear #1. But, there’s a new manager in the Lou, and Jordan Hicks should be ready to pitch again. Interesting situation.

12. Lucas Sims – 5- 3, 7 SV, 4.40 ERA, 3.00 FIP, 1.11 WHIP, 39.0 K%, 9.2 BB%

  • No Antone this year practically solidifies Sims as the closer, barring a free agent signing. Amir Garrett certainly ain’t it, and Hembree/Givens/Brach are all free agents for now. The biggest hurdle for Sims is himself…gotta stay healthy. That K rate is for real.

13. Corey Knebel – 4-0, 3 SV, 2.70 ERA, 3.22 FIP, 0.95 WHIP, 32.9 K%, 11.4 BB%

  • Gotta assume for now that he’s the man in Philly. And assuming health, he’s very good. Small sample alert, but he allowed just 1 R and boasted a 14:3 K:BB in his final 12.2 IP. Really he was damn near untouchable since he returned to action in August. Just has to get those walks down, but he could be a cheaper source of steady saves.

14. Lou Trivino – 7-8, 22 SV, 3.18 ERA, 3.78 FIP, 1.25 WHIP, 21.6 K%, 11.0 BB%

  • No one contending for his role at the moment, but that could change if the A’s sign someone. Lack of Ks and that walk rate is worrisome and it made me hesitate to even lump him here instead of Tier 4, but for now I’m leaning toward volume leading to good fantasy results.


Tier 4 – The Fine

15. Matt Barnes – 6-5, 24 SV, 3.79 ERA, 3.21 FIP, 1.12 WHIP, 37.8 K%, 9.0 BB%

  • We all know how bad he was there for a while, but he wasn’t terrible in September. This depends on if Whitlock gets looks or if he’s a starter.

16. Dylan Floro – 6-6, 15 SV, 2.81 ERA, 2.81 FIP, 1.22 WHIP, 23.0 K%, 9.3 BB%

  • Floro was Miami’s clear closer from August onward, finishing Aug./Sep./Oct. with 3 W, 13 SV, and a 23:7 K:BB in 23 IP. Can we expect that pace over the course of a full season? Probably not, but I’m willing to bet Mr. Floro ranks as one of the better SV-only fantasy guys in 2022 if he’s a full-time closer. The Marlins offense isn’t the scariest, but that staff is sneaky good as is, and maybe Lizard King steps it up and Sixto can come back strong.

17. Scott Barlow – 5-3, 16 SV, 2.42 ERA, 2.63 FIP, 1.20 WHIP, 29.7 K%, 9.2 BB%

  • Good closer on a very bad team. With the way pens look these days, it’s nice to have a guy who gets leaned on in the 9th, and that seems to be the case for Barlow in KC.

18. Taylor Rogers – 2-4, 9 SV, 3.35 ERA, 2.13 FIP, 1.14 WHIP, 35.5 K%, 4.8 BB%

  • Twins aren’t as scary as they have been in recent years. It goes a long way that Rogers (for now) doesn’t have any real competition for his job, and I love that K-BB%.


Tier 5 – The Okay

19. Joe Barlow – 0-2, 11 SV, 1.55 ERA, 3.45 FIP, 0.83 WHIP, 24.3 K%, 10.8 BB%

  • Had success last year, and the Rangers bigly improved their offense. But still, they’re the Rangers. Not sure their pitching will compete. Kinda concerning difference in ERA/FIP and also in the K-BB% department. That’s what’s keeping me from bumping him to Tier 4. Rudy’s model is not much of a fan, either. He’s way down at #38 on the Player Rater, so maybe I’m the doofus here, though I’m optimistic Texas is better and he is their main guy closing out games. The possibility of Jose Leclerc coming back and eventually taking the closer role is looming as well.

20. Andrew Kittredge – 9-3, 8 SV, 1.65 ERA, 2.56 FIP, 0.96 WHIP, 27.3 K%, 5.1 BB%

  • Tempted to put him down in Tier 6 cuz the Rays always juggle relievers, but they’re also good enough that he’s worth at least a bump to Tier 5. In a vacuum that assumes he’s a clear #1, he’s like a Tier 3 guy.

21. Mark Melancon – 4-3, 39 SV, 2.23 ERA, 3.36 FIP, 1.22 WHIP, 22.3 K%, 9.4 BB%

  • The surprise of the season last year, Melancon led the majors with 39 SV. Please, please, please do not draft him expecting a repeat of 2021. Please. He won’t repeat as saves leader, and I do not like his lack of swing-and-miss stuff in general. He’ll have a place on fantasy rosters, just not a prominent one. At one point last year, the D-Backs went an entire month-long stretch without a save. I didn’t think that was even possible!

22. David Bednar – 3-1, 3 SV, 2.23 ERA, 2.69 FIP, 0.97 WHIP, 32.5 K%, 8.0 BB%

  • Like Scott Barlow, he’s a very good closer on a s*** team. Stratton got more saves as the year wound down, but Bednar is easily the better of the two so I’m sticking to my guns and trusting he’ll become the #1 option. Such value as that carries on a team like Shittsburgh.

23. Gregory Soto – 6-3, 18 SV, 3.39 ERA, 4.14 FIP, 1.35 WHIP, 27.5 K%, 14.5 BB%

  • Tigers have some capable guys back there, but I figure Soto gets the first crack. Yucky walk rate caps his upside (and shortens his leash).

24. Rowan Wick – 0-1, 5 SV, 4.30 ERA, 3.17 FIP, 1.35 WHIP, 29.0 K%, 14.0 BB%

  • Who else closes for the Cubs? The Cubs will suck, though, and I absolutely love to see it.

25. Carlos Estevez – 3-5, 11 SV, 4.38 ERA, 4.03 FIP, 1.49 WHIP, 22.2 K%, 7.8 BB%

  • Rox will be poopy as hell and he’s not very exciting anyway. Borderline bad, in fact.

26. Kyle Finnegan – 5-9, 11 SV, 3.55 ERA, 4.52 FIP, 1.48 WHIP, 23.1 K%, 11.6 BB%

  • Ditto, except replace “Rox” with “Nats.”


Tier 6 – The Timeshare Question Marks

27. Camilo Doval – 5-1, 3 SV, 3.00 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 1.04 WHIP, 33.9 K%, 8.3 BB%

  • Potentially hella good and Tier 4 or 3 worthy. Not even close to 100% he’s the main man, though, and it’s hard to believe San Fran will be as good this year sans Gausman anyway. If this turns into a three- or two-horse rodeo with McGee and/or Rogers, then his 5×5 stock tanks significantly. SVHD value should be very nice regardless.

28. Jake McGee – 3-2, 31 SV, 2.72 ERA, 3.35 FIP, 0.91 WHIP, 24.3 K%, 4.2 BB%

  • Man, I had completely written McGee off for, like, the rest of his career. Then he goes and has an amazing season (I mean, who expected that kind of season from the Giants in the first place). Like in the note on Doval above, it’s not a sure thing how this pen shakes out. Maybe there’s a timeshare early on until someone pulls ahead, or maybe it’s just a timeshare all the way around. *Shrug emoji*

29. Tyler Rogers – 7-1, 13 SV, 2.22 ERA, 3.28 FIP, 1.07 WHIP, 16.9 K%, 4.0 BB%

  • I’ve got Rogers here as a very soft maybe for saves, but it became the McGee show for the most part in the second half. If anyone’s sharing time with McGee for saves, my money’s on Doval. Rogers is likely valuable in SVHD formats again, but his lack of Ks make him the lesser option of the three.

30. Garrett Whitlock – 8-4, 2 SV, 1.96 ERA, 2.84 FIP, 1.10 WHIP, 27.2 K%, 5.7 BB%

  • Potentially in the rotation or potentially a Tier 3 (or 2??) type closer. Remains to be seen! His SP/RP eligibility should be fun to manipulate on platforms where he has it.

31. Peter Fairbanks – 3-6, 5 SV, 3.59 ERA, 2.70 FIP, 1.43 WHIP, 29.6 K%, 11.1 BB%

  • I expect Crazy Eyes to get some save chances, but I can’t rank him up with Kittredge since he’s quite a step down in caliber. But for SVHD leagues, I like him a fairbanks amount. *Wink emoji*

32. Paul Sewald – 10-3, 11 SV, 3.06 ERA, 3.08 FIP, 1.02 WHIP, 39.4 K%, 9.1 BB%

  • Mariners got Mr. Tight Pants Robbie Ray and should be a playoff contender. It’s just not clear who will do what in this pen (see note on Giles below in the injuries section). I’m a big fan of Sewald in SVHD leagues regardless. There’s a real chance Giles is healthy and is just the clear #1 closer, so he could make Sewald and the rest of the Seattle pen not worth your time in SV-only. They did sign Giles knowing he’d miss an entire year, so I’d expect him to get first crack at proving that a wise decision on their part. I’m refraining from putting Giles here since there’s not clarity on his status right now.

33. Drew Steckenrider – 5-2, 14 SV, 2.00 ERA, 3.35 FIP, 1.02 WHIP, 21.7 K%, 6.4 BB%

  • See above. Giles’s health determines whether or not Steckenrider has SV-only value, but should have plenty of SVHD value either way.

34. Diego Castillo – 5-5, 16 SV, 2.78 ERA, 3.74 FIP, 0.98 WHIP, 32.2 K%, 7.3 BB%

  • See above, but he’s my #4 guy in this pen if Giles is healthy. Maybe that’s enough to make him irrelevant even in SVHD leagues.

35. Pierce Johnson – 3-3, 0 SV, 3.18 ERA, 3.12 FIP, 1.25 WHIP, 31.2 K%, 11.1 BB%

  • Probably will be in the saves mix? Remains to be seen if they lean on him or if they pull a Rays and overthink things.

36. Luis Garcia – 1-1, 2 SV, 3.24 ERA, 2.72 FIP, 0.99 WHIP, 25.2 K%, 5.9 BB%

  • Was a successful setup man in STL. Could very well be in the closer mix for the Dads. Could be quite valuable in SVHD leagues.

37. Emilio Pagan – 4-3, 0 SV, 4.83 ERA, 5.22 FIP, 1.17 WHIP, 26.2 K%, 6.8 BB%

  • Might get relegated to middle relief duties with the arrival of Garcia. Pagan isn’t great, but I’ve got him here for now.

38. Tyler Wells – 2-3, 4 SV, 4.11 ERA, 3.63 FIP, 0.91 WHIP, 29.0 K%, 5.4 BB%

  • Meh. He’s pretty good, I suppose. Definitely will be in the closer mix and could easily at least be one of the better guys from this tier if he’s a clear #1.

39. Cole Sulser – 5-4, 8 SV, 2.70 ERA, 2.98 FIP, 1.12 WHIP, 28.4 K%, 8.9 BB%

  • Same deal for Sulser.

Notable Free Agents

Kenley Jansen – 4-4, 38 SV, 2.22 ERA, 3.08 FIP, 1.22 WHIP, 30.9 K%, 12.9 BB%

  • Probably jumps straight to the closer role wherever he signs. He’ll shake these tiers up once that happens! Walks were a major concern for a while but he got it right as the season went on.

Collin McHugh – 6-1, 1 SV, 1.90 ERA, 2.29 FIP, 1.02 WHIP, 30.1 K%, 5.3 BB%

  • Doubt he becomes a closer anywhere, and he may not even factor all that much into SVHD formats given he could be an opener or long reliever type. Was untouchable for most of the season, so I’m interested to see where he goes and how he’s utilized.

Ryan Tepera – 0-2, 2 SV, 2.79 ERA, 2.73 FIP, 0.88, 30.8 K%, 7.9 BB%

  • Potentially could be in the saves mix for someone. Almost certainly will be a strong SVHD guy regardless.

Andrew Chafin – 2-4, 5 SV, 1.83 ERA, 2.98 FIP, 0.93 WHIP, 24.1 K%, 7.1 BB%

  • Ditto.

Richard Rodriguez – 5-4, 14 SV, 2.94 ERA, 4.04 FIP, 0.93 WHIP, 16.7 K%, 4.0 BB%

  • Relevancy depends on where he signs. He wasn’t much of a setup man in Atlanta, but they had a lot of guys doing things. Worth noting he had a 5.45 FIP post-Sticky Crackdown (2.25 FIP prior).

Adam Ottavino – 7-3, 11 SV, 4.21 ERA, 3.96 FIP, 1.45 WHIP, 25.7 K%, 12.7 BB%

  • Another one whose relevancy depends on where he goes. Unimpressive ratios. He got worse as the season went on, posting a — excuse me, I just threw up in my mouth a little — 10.85 FIP in his final 11 appearances.

Alex Colome – 4-4, 17 SV, 4.15 ERA, 4.23 FIP, 1.40 WHIP, 20.0 K%, 7.9 BB%

  • Meh. I don’t see much relevancy this year, but I said that last year and he got way more saves than I would have predicted. We’ll see where he signs.

Mychal Givens – 4-3, 8 SV, 3.35 ERA, 4.54 FIP, 1.37 WHIP, 25.0 K%, 12.5 BB%

  • Another I don’t see much from in 2022.

Hansel Robles – 3-5, 14 SV, 4.43 ERA, 4.30 FIP, 1.38 WHIP, 25.6 K%, 12.5 BB%

  • Has plenty of closing experience, so he could factor in somewhere. He’s not all that good, though, so I wouldn’t expect much from him.

Ian Kennedy – 3-1, 26 SV, 3.20 ERA, 4.75 FIP, 1.10 WHIP, 27.2 K%, 7.5 BB%

  • Kennedy is kind of intriguing. Numbers were pretty good last year, and he tied Pressly as the #11 saves guy in the league. Like basically everyone on this list except Jansen, it depends what uniform he will don come Spring.

Jake Diekman – 3-3, 7 SV, 3.86 ERA, 4.46 FIP, 1.34 WHIP, 31.7 K%, 13.0 BB%

  • Still has pretty good strikeout stuff but you obvs wanna see fewer free passes. Could be a SVHD dark horse somewhere.

Brad Hand – 6-7, 21 SV, 3.90 ERA, 4.58 FIP, 1.27 WHIP, 21.9 K%, 9.4 BB%

  • Pfft, more like Bad Hand amirite. I’m not sure this guy is relevant at all for much longer. But maybe he signs for like Colorado or Washington again and gets back into the mix. Pure speculation, but it would take a team like that for him to be on my radar.

Heath Hembree – 2-7, 9 SV, 5.59 ERA, 4.34 FIP, 1.19 WHIP, 34.2 K%, 9.9 BB%

  • He’s better than that ERA suggests. Could be on my SVHD radar but I doubt he’s closing anywhere.

Notable Injuries

Tejay AntoneBasically guaranteed to miss 2022. Tommy John.

Ken Giles – Coming off Tommy John and questionable for start of season. Mariners pen gets even messier once he’s in the picture. If 2019 was any indication, I’d bet he jumps straight to the closer role and finishes like a Tier 2 guy. Again, don’t think they signed him not to give him a chance to close when healthy.

Nick Anderson – Elbow surgery has him out until August at the earliest. Probably another wash of a season for him, sadly.

Jose Leclerc – Also coming off Tommy John and likely out until at least June.

Kirby Yates – Another who’s coming off Tommy John and likely out until July.

Drew Pomeranz – Forearm injury has been a recurring thing, but for now he’s probable for start of season. Could factor into the save mix straight away, if that’s the case. He’d still go in my Tier 6.

Welp, there you have it! Fun fact: this is the first time I’ve ever attempted to “rank” anyone at any position in any sport in my fantasy career. Where do you agree/disagree? Let me know in the comments! I’m a high school English teacher by day, so I’m used to plenty of ‘tude and combativeness. Come at me.

I do some fantasy baseball as well as some fantasy hockey here at Razzball. Find me on Twitter: @jkj0787. DMs are always open for questions, comments, concerns, complaints, etc. Odds are good I’m drinking black coffee, dark beer, or some form of bourbon at any given time.