Ranking this position this time of year can be a ludicrous undertaking given how closely value is tied to role. A single transaction could change everything, and there are many transactions still to come.

But I think I've come up with 20 relievers who will be closing or at least favored to close at the start of 2023. (Well, 19 plus Spencer Strider, who's actually a starting pitcher). Edwin Diaz and Kenley Jansen are free agents, which means they could end up claiming the role from one of the others depicted here, but given how many quality teams are currently without a closer, I suspect they won't.

It's an encouraging development given how strict bullpen roles have fallen out of fashion in recent years, and I'm not suggesting that all of these relievers, particularly those in the back 10, are in line for a 100 percent share of their teams' saves. But there's more certainty now than at this point last year.

Note that the focus here is standard 5x5 scoring (such as Rotisserie leagues), but scroll a little further and you'll see my rankings for points leagues.  

Top 20 relief pitchers for 2023
Edwin Diaz New York Mets RP
Diaz reemerged as the premier closer with a walkout song that became the talk of baseball and a K/9 rate (17.1) that lapped the field. He'll look to cash in this offseason but is sure to close wherever he winds up.
Emmanuel Clase Cleveland Guardians RP
He's a bit unconventional in that he gets it done by sawing off hitters rather than striking them out, but he still brings the heat with a cutter that peaks at 102. He followed up a 1.29 ERA in 2021 with a 1.36 ERA this year.
Josh Hader San Diego Padres RP
His bizarre midseason meltdown damaged his ERA beyond repair, but he was back to mowing down hitters by the end of the season and into the playoffs. In his final 14 2/3 innings between the two, he allowed no earned runs while striking out 23.
Devin Williams Milwaukee Brewers RP
It took a while to become conclusive, but Williams indeed inherited the role vacated by Hader at the trade deadline and is just as dominant thanks to his Bugs Bunny changeup. There's no reason to doubt him after three years of such mastery.
Liam Hendriks Chicago White Sox RP
The Aussie showed occasional vulnerabilities this year and is turning 34 before the start of next year, but the overall numbers were still about as good as you could ask for. He rounds out a clear tier of five at the top of the position.
Spencer Strider Atlanta Braves SP
Strider is far and away the most appealing RP-eligible starting pitcher for 2023. It matters more for points leagues, where I'm inclined to rank him No. 1, and if not for the recent premium placed on high-volume saves guys in 5x5 scoring, he'd be No. 1 in that format, too.
Raisel Iglesias Atlanta Braves RP
The Braves have said they'd like to bring Kenley Jansen back, but for now, I'll presume they won't. One reason is because they have Iglesias under contract for the next three years, and he had a 0.34 ERA in 28 appearances for them down the stretch.
Felix Bautista Baltimore Orioles RP
The Orioles dealt their closer at the deadline but wound up with an upgrade in Bautista, who put together a 2.19 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 12.1 K/9 as a rookie. The opportunities should be ample on a team transitioning into contention.
Jordan Romano Toronto Blue Jays RP
Romano enters 2023 as a proven commodity, having held down the closer role from start to finish with ratios nearly as good as during his breakthrough 2021. He got better as the season went on, too.
Ryan Pressly Houston Astros RP
Pressly's troublesome right knee is likely to land him on the IL a time or two, but he closes for one of the most formidable teams in baseball and has a 2.39 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 11.9 K/9 since joining it midway through 2018.
Kenley Jansen Atlanta Braves RP
The longtime Dodger was one of two pitchers to record 40-plus saves (the other being Clase) in what could be his only season with the Braves. His long history in the role will ensure he remains in it, but he does have an ERA over 3.00 in four of his past five seasons.
Ryan Helsley St. Louis Cardinals RP
Helsley's ratios were so good that he was actually the No. 2 RP in standard 5x5 scoring despite recording only 19 saves, but it's hard to repeat a 1.25 ERA and 0.74 WHIP year after year. He'd rank higher if not for the likelihood of Giovanny Gallegos stealing chances.
Camilo Doval San Francisco Giants RP
Shocking though it may be, manager Gabe Kapler appears to have settled on using Doval like a conventional closer. All but one of the right-hander's appearance from July 1 on saw him enter in the ninth and/or finish out the game. He can be a bit wild, though.
Paul Sewald Seattle Mariners RP
Though manager Scott Servais still played it fast and loose with the roles, Sewald was more or less the Mariners closer for the final two-thirds of the season, though upstart Andres Munoz will keep him looking over his shoulder in 2023. The ratios will be killer regardless.
Peter Fairbanks Tampa Bay Rays RP
Predicting who will lead the Rays in saves from one year to the next is a fool's errand, but maybe Fairbanks will be the exception. He got almost all the chances from mid-August on and dominated to the tune of a 1.13 ERA, 0.67 WHIP and 14.3 K/9.
David Bednar Pittsburgh Pirates RP
Bednar has the look of a conventional closer, and we're quickly running out of those. But he has a durability problem and a Pirates problem that together serve to dampen enthusiasm a bit.
Daniel Bard Colorado Rockies RP
If we were going simply by the numbers Bard put up -- 34 saves, a 1.79 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 10.3 K/9 -- he'd rank much higher, but how much faith can you put in a 37-year-old with an uninspiring track record and the misfortune of pitching half his games at Coors Field?
Scott Barlow Kansas City Royals RP
Though he finished with 24 saves, Barlow wasn't always handled like a conventional closer by manager Mike Matheny, and maybe that changes under a new regime. There's still a question of how many chances he'll get for a team that just lost 97 games.
Alexis Diaz Cincinnati Reds RP
Edwin's brother made a strong impression as a rookie with a 1.84 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 11.7 K/9 and the lowest opponent batting average other than Helsley. He appeared to settle into the closer role by season's end, but manager David Bell isn't to be trusted.
Gregory Soto Detroit Tigers RP
Despite making a joke of it the year before, manager A.J. Hinch actually did stick with Soto as his closer in 2022, making him one of just 10 relievers with 30-plus saves. He's not really that caliber of reliever, though, recording less a strikeout per inning with a bloated walk rate, so his grip on the role is tenuous.

What changes in points leagues?

1. Spencer Strider, Braves
2. Edwin Diaz, free agent
3. Emmanuel Clase, Guardians
4. Josh Hader, Padres
5. Devin Williams, Brewers
6. Liam Hendriks, White Sox
7. Raisel Iglesias, Braves
8. Felix Bautista, Orioles
9. Jordan Romano, Blue Jays
10. Ryan Pressly, Astros
11. Kenley Jansen, free agent
12. Ryan Helsley, Cardinals
13. Camilo Doval, Giants
14. David Bednar, Pirates
15. Daniel Bard, Rockies
16. Paul Sewald, Mariners
17. Scott Barlow, Royals
18. Gregory Soto, Tigers
19. Peter Fairbanks, Rays
20. Alexis Diaz, Reds