Ranking the 5 AL West closers entering the 2023 season
2) Paul Sewald - Seattle Mariners
Paul Sewald's career looked like it was going nowhere as he posted a 5.50 ERA in four seasons as a member of the Mets. The Mariners gave Sewald a chance on a minor league deal prior to the 2021 campaign, and the right-hander hasn't looked back since.
Sewald had a 3.06 ERA in 62 appearances for Seattle in 2021 serving primarily as a set-up man, but he did record 11 saves. Sewald began this season as a set-up man again but pitched his way into more save opportunities. Sewald converted 20 of his 25 opportunities while also tacking on eight holds.
Overall, Sewald had a 2.67 ERA in 65 appearances in 2022. He's armed with a fastball opponents hit just .144 against and a slider which opponents hit just .148 against. He's really good, and should be a solid closer in 2023.
1) Ryan Pressly - Houston Astros
Ryan Pressly was nothing more than a solid reliever in his six seasons as a Twin. Ever since the Astros traded for him at the 2018 trade deadline, he's transformed into one of the league's best relievers. He made the all-star team as a set-up man in 2019 which is incredibly hard to do. He took over the closer role in 2020 and hasn't looked back since.
Pressly missed some time with injury this past season but had one very dominant stretch. From June 25th to July 24th Pressly made nine appearances and pitched 10 innings. In those innings he did not allow a single baserunner and struck out 17. He essentially threw 10 perfect innings. Even though he's not a starting pitcher, to do that in consecutive outings is very hard to do.
Pressly recorded 33 saves in 37 opportunities and threw 11 scoreless innings while converting all six of his save opportunities in the postseason. Just a dominant season from the Astros closer who should be very good once again in 2023.