Breaking Down Every Closing Pitcher in 2023 – AL West

The AL West has always been a very competitive division in the past years. The AL West is home of the reigning World Series champs the Houston Astros. The division includes other very competitive teams which are the Texas Rangers, Oakland Athletics, Los Angeles Angels, and finally the Seattle Mariners

(*Notice* Closing pitchers listed in this article are the projected closers, not official)

Breaking Down AL West Closers

Houston Astros – Ryan Pressly 

Ryan Pressly is one of the most dominant closers in MLB. The 34-year-old RHP is looking to have another successful year as the Houston Astros closing pitcher.

In 2022, Pressly had 33 saves in 37 save opportunities also recording great numbers such as his 2.98 ERA and 0.89 WHIP in 50 games. Pressly was also a huge part of why the Astros won the World Series in 2022. He appeared in five games, allowing no runs and even recording two saves.

The Astros closer even played for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic this spring. Pressly did not disappoint for Team USA, notching a big save to help Team USA advance to the quarter-finals. As Pressly still remains as one of the best closers in baseball, the Astros will be relying on him to seal multiple close games for the 2023 season. 

Los Angeles Angels – Jimmy Herget

The Los Angeles Angels are in a sticky situation with their closer role. They traded away their closer, Raisel Iglesias, during the 2022 trade deadline to the Atlanta Braves. With that trade, multiple players were used to close out games. Players such as Jimmy Herget, José Quijada, Ryan Tepera, and Aaron Loup were all in the mix as the closer.

Angels manager Phil Nevin seems to not worry too much about not having a set closer. But for now, RHP Jimmy Herget seems like he will get the most chances as the ninth-inning guy. Herget had a great 2022 season putting up numbers such as a 2.48 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, and recording nine saves. Herget is known for his sidearm release which can really throw hitters off. If the Angels were to pick Herget as the Angels closer. I feel he can become a great closer not just for the Angels but in MLB. 

Oakland Athletics – Trevor May

On Dec 16, 2022, the Oakland Athletics signed veteran RHP Trevor May. The 33-year-old reliever is looking to help lead the young A’s bullpen and also take on the role of a closer.

Athletics manager Mark Kotsay currently has not made a final decision on who will be seeing the most time in the ninth inning. May is coming off an unimpressive 2022 season recording a 5.04 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, in only 25 innings pitched. Even with the downfall season, May did have some good things in 2023 too.

Trevor May had a 37.3% whiff rate on his four-seam fastball which ranked fifth-highest among MLB relievers. The veteran is looking to prove people wrong in 2023 with the A’s and have a successful season. 

Seattle Mariners – Paul Sewald 

32-year-old RHP Paul Sewald turned his career around after coming to Seattle. With multiple successful seasons on the Mariners, manager Scott Servais seems like he will turn to Sewald to be their 2023 closing pitcher.

Sewald had a 2.67 ERA, K/9 rate of 12.3, and 20 saves in the 2022 season. Nothing other to say other than Sewald will be looking for another successful season in 2023 and everyone is expecting him to do just that. 

Texas Rangers – Jose Leclerc

Texas Rangers manager Bruce Bochy doesn’t seem to have an official set closer for the 2023 season. It seems that the ninth-inning role will be split between Jose Leclerc and Will Smith.

Leclerc had a good 2022 season with the Rangers. The 29-year-old reliever posted a 2.83 ERA and logged seven saves in the 2022 season. Leclerc started his 2022 season on the 60-day IL recovering from Tommy John surgery. If Leclerc can stay healthy throughout his 2023 season campaign, the RHP will definitely solidify his role as the Rangers closer.

READ MORE: AL Central breakdown, AL East breakdown

Main Image: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

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