Relief pitcher rankings: Lock-down closers are an endangered species

With more and more MLB teams turning to closer committees, the importance of having a lock-down source of saves has risen considerably. On the other hand, relief pitchers who demonstrate an ability to produce in high-leverage situations can occasionally take over the closer's role during the season -- as Ryan Helsley, Felix Bautista, Camilo Doval and Clay Holmes did last year.

In the National League, the Mets' Edwin Diaz was the undisputed No. 1 until he suffered a season-ending knee injury at the World Baseball Classic. David Robertson looks like the early favorite as his replacement. The Phillies loaded up on bullpen arms during the offseason, so keep an eye on whether Seranthony Dominguez, Craig Kimbrel or someone else assumes the ninth-inning role.

In the American League, the Guardians' Emmanuel Clase led the majors last season with 42 saves and is a good bet to do so again. All-Star closer Liam Hendriks is out indefinitely while battling non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, so Kendall Graveman is his likely successor in Chicago.

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Relief pitcher rankings

  1. Emmanuel Clase, Guardians AL1

  2. Josh Hader, Padres NL1

  3. Ryan Pressly, Astros AL2

  4. Jordan Romano, Blue Jays AL3

  5. Raisel Iglesias, Braves NL2

  6. Ryan Helsley, Cardinals NL3

  7. Felix Bautista, Orioles AL4

  8. Devin Williams, Brewers NL4

  9. Camilo Doval, Giants NL5

  10. Kenley Jansen, Red Sox AL5

  11. Clay Holmes, Yankees AL6

  12. Alexis Diaz, Reds NL6

  13. David Bednar, Pirates NL7

  14. Jhoan Duran, Twins AL7

  15. Andres Muñoz, Mariners AL8

  16. Pete Fairbanks, Rays AL9

  17. David Robertson, Mets NL8

  18. Scott Barlow, Royals AL10

  19. Seranthony Dominguez, Phillies NL9

  20. Paul Sewald, Mariners AL11

  21. Jose Leclerc, Rangers AL12

  22. Daniel Bard, Rockies NL10

  23. Alex Lange, Tigers AL13

  24. Craig Kimbrel, Phillies NL11

  25. Jorge Lopez, Twins AL14

  26. Evan Phillips, Dodgers NL12

  27. Dylan Floro, Marlins NL13

  28. Kendall Graveman, White Sox AL15

  29. Giovanny Gallegos, Cardinals NL14

  30. Jason Adam, Rays AL16

  31. Taylor Rogers, Giants NL15

  32. Kyle Finnegan, Nationals NL16

  33. Liam Hendriks, White Sox AL17

  34. James Karinchak, Guardians AL18

  35. Trevor May, A's AL1

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fantasy baseball rankings: Top 35 relief pitchers for 2023