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A new week, a new group of players to rank!

Welcome to this week’s edition of 2023 Top Keepers. The focus this time around is on starting pitchers.

As a group, I like starting pitchers more than relievers. At least with starters you don’t get the wild inconsistency that you get from relievers. Yes, a starter can have a bad year or one can come out of nowhere to have a great season. But as a whole, there is a little more projectability with this group.

Sticking with Youth

Unlike my top reliever’s list, where talent is the top factor in determining who the top keepers are, age plays more of a factor in these rankings. When it comes to keepers, I am giving a little more weight to dynasty leagues, and age plays a huge factor in that. If 27-year-old Zac Gallen is comparable to 31-year-old Kevin Gausman, then give me the 27-year-old Gallen.

Injuries also knocked pitchers down a little more than they do in my position rankings. I’m always a little weary of pitchers coming back from injuries. I probably shouldn’t since they always seem to bounce back these days. But nevertheless, I am not one to easily change my ways. So sorry, Jack Flaherty, for being in Tier 5. But perhaps you should stop getting hurt or at least post great numbers when you return from an injury.

A quick note: ages are as of now and obviously the team is who they played for this past season. Teams may change for 2023, ages certainly will.

Anyway, enough of the banter. Let’s get rolling with the Top 2023 Keepers – Starting Pitchers edition.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Aaron Judge went 4-for-5, 3 runs, 4 RBIs with his 58th and 59th homer, hitting .316, as he tightens his claim on the AL MVP. I’m Team Ohtani, but I will say that the Yankees are so bad outside of Aaron Judge — Giancarlo’s hitting .209! Judge for MVP is a perfectly reasonable argument to make. He truly is having an amazing season. On the Player Rater, he has about twice as much home run value as the third best home run hitter in the league, Yordan Alvarez. That is truly remarkable. But, just because that’s remarkable doesn’t mean he’s going to get to 74 homers for the home run record. National sportswriters counting down Aaron Judge homers like he’s not 14 away from the record with 16 games to play are just trying to generate clicks. Also, anyone saying Maris’s record is the real record is having a break from reality, let them be. It’s dangerous to wake them from their dream state. By the by, the case for Ohtani is quite simple — he’s a top 5 starter and a top 10 hitter. It will be Aaron Judge though, I’m not living in denial. Too much heat on Judge this year. For 2023 fantasy, Aaron Judge is gonna be so fascinating. Wouldn’t be shocked if we see him at number one overall for some, and as late as ten overall if he signs with a lesser team. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

(NOTE: THIS POST WAS RELEASED EARLY THIS WEEK ON OUR PATREON. IT’S $10/MONTH)

Giants’ President Farhan Zaidi puts some soil on top of a newspaper clipping of Jonathan Villar’s DFA’ing. Waters it every day for five weeks straight, then what slowly crops up from it is David Villar. Do they have to now feed and take care of David Villar or does he take care of himself? Are there rules to caring for a newly sprouted David Villar? I don’t know, but there’s nothing Farhan Zaidi can’t do. Zaidi is the original Zaddy, amiright? What is a Zaddy? I have no idea. In order to give you some cold hard facts (facts that I place in an Igloo at the foot of my bed), I went to look at the Giants’ lineup to make sure David Villar was an everyday starter, and that team is so hilariously bad. Their lineup is, “What happens when reasonably thought-out platoons go very bad.” Joc Pederson should be in a platoon? Okay, and so should Lewis Brinson. LaMonte Wade Jr.? He’s gotta be in a platoon, and so should Austin Dean! J.D. Davis? Oh, he must be in a platoon. Great, because Wilmer Flores has to be in a platoon too! The only problem? One of these platoons would be fine, but to have seven of them? Ha, my gawd, bro. That’s awful. Someone said they could have an entire lineup of platoons, and no one asked if they should. So, is David Villar in a platoon? I don’t think so. He seems to be the only one not in a platoon. Of course, the only reason any of this matters is because he’s been crazy hot, and has big-time power. In 84 games in Triple-A, he hit 27 homers, and .275. In the majors, his average is likely not going to ever be that high, but the ball off his bat might. Bam! Hashtag nailed it! Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Fresh goes better in life with Vientos, fresh and full of life! Ahh…The Metsmaker! Sorry, that was stuck in my head. Now, hopefully, it’s stuck in your head too. Mets called up their next great hitting prospect, Mark Vientos, after Starling Marte went to the IL. Can Vientos play outfield? Absolutely not. Can Vientos run? His speed has been described as “an 80-year-old baby crawling with tennis balls on its knees.” Can Vientos hit bombs? To the freakin’ moon! He kinda reminds me of a young Evan Longoria. Now take everything you’ve thought about Longoria over the last seven years, scrub it from your brain, and think about Longoria as if this is 2016. Your brain in 2016, “Rays should lock this Longoria guy up for another ten years! He’s amazing! Wait! They let Longoria go? Wow, what a mistake! They just let a perennial 30+ homer, .270 hitter go! Rays will be in last place for the next decade. What a bunch of losers!” So, your 2016 brain is kinda remembering correctly. Longo was good at that point. Mark Vientos can be good too. Prospect Itch has more concerns about his batting average in his top 100 prospects. For this year, do I want Mark Vientos in a redraft league? No, I’d want Eduardo Escobar. Or maybe even Evan Longoria. Anyway. here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Frequent commenter, PK, said the other day, “We have Hunter Greene, and now Hunter Brown in the big leagues. Just need a Hunter Orange to complete the redneck trifecta!” And I haven’t stopped thinking about that, so now you also have to think about it. Hey, PK, save the genius stuff for me! Or, Hunter Brown (6 IP, 0 ER, 3 hits, 1 walk, 5 Ks), as was the case yesterday in his MLB debut. At some point, the Astros have to stop creating top flight arms, don’t they? Wait a second! You know how the A’s went from attracting fans with OBP to allowing fans to have sex in the bleachers (sorta true, google it, if you don’t believe me), from Moneyball to NoMoneyball to Hornyball. Maybe the Astros are going from the Cheaty Cheaty Bang Bang Scandal to some other scandal we don’t know about yet that turns guys like Framber into aces. Mentioned this on the podcast the other day, which is on Youtube, and will be out on our regular podcast channel today, when discussing Hunter Brown. Astros get so much more from their starters than anyone expects. Why? Is something suspicious going on? Sorry, cheat once and I always think you’re cheating. With Hunter Brown, people actually expect nasty stuff, and with good reason. He has a filthy 85 MPH curve, 96 MPH slider — that’s right, 96 MPH! That’s the fastest slider in the majors this year, outside of deGrom — and a 97 MPH fastball. If you didn’t watch him, all the pitches looked devastatingly good. Now’s the time when I turn this back into the here and now and for this year, you’re likely better off with the Streamonator than holding Brown. Also, holding Brown is how one gets sepsis. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

And thus the Gunnar Henderson Era begins, not with a whimper but with a cocking of a ballpoint pen, and the cursive of a signature by the 108-year-old Peter Angelos, signing the contract to bring Gunnar up to the majors. “Gunnar, bend down to hear what Mr. Angelos wants to tell you!” His agent yells to him. Gunnar obliges, and Peter Angelos just blehs like Dracula. It’s a fantastic scene, and one Gunnar shouldn’t soon forget. Gunnar won’t be forgotten by fantasy baseball people either, i.e., Us! (Jordan Peele’s second best film. Though, after Get Out, I think they’re all tied, if we’re being honest. Any hoo!) Gunnar Henderson is everything you want — speed, power, contact. He’s Bobby Witt Jr., but better. Call him Better Witt Jr. Actually, call Bobby Witt Jr., a poor man’s Gunnar Henderson. Call him Slingshot Henderson. Itch had Corbin Carroll way above Gunnar Henderson in his top 25 prospects, and, honestly, I don’t know why. You can ask him. Gunnar’s not even particularly high on his top 10 Orioles prospects. Perhaps Itch was once bullied by a 23-year-old who was balding and looked like Cal Ripken Jr. Who’s to say? I’m grabbing Gunnar in every league. With only a month left, he might do nothing, but Gunnar also might immediately click click boom. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Gnats are bringing up their 1st rounder from 2020, Cade Cavalli, who sounds like someone from Laguna Niguel who is on The Hills: Rebooted. “Hey, Cade, I know you drove my Ferrari last night into our pool, and your father and I are not mad, but Dad is disappointed, and I’m too zoinked on quaaludes to really care.” Kristin Cavallari’s new boy-toy, Cade Cavalli will make his MLB debut on Friday. He made the top 100 fantasy baseball prospects for dynasty leagues. Does that mean his pitches dy…*pinkie to mouth*…nasty?! Die nasty? No? Yeah, I don’t know either. Here’s what Itch said previously, “A late convert to full-time pitching, Cavalli brought some untapped upside to the MLB draft and landed at 22nd overall to the Nationals, who are never afraid to snag a first-round arm talent with question marks. Cavalli thrived as a pro and climbed three levels, dominating in A+ and AA before getting knocked around in his first tour through Triple-A. Cavalli suppressed home runs and induced ground balls all year, striking out 175 batters in 123.1 innings along the way. He’s a thick 6’4” 235 and looks like a linebacker on the mound. Love to see him flatten Grey.” Not cool, man! That was from the preseason, and Cavalli has looked much better this year in Triple-A. With all that said (here’s where I reveal I just wasted your time), I’m not grabbing Cavalli in any mixed leagues, but I will be cyclops’ing him. Especially if he’s hanging with Heidi, Spencer and Lauren. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Stands from a folding chair, and clears throat. I’m in the back of a church. Around me a group of people who look like they need a cigarette. The group leader asks me to introduce myself. “Hi, I’m Grey, and it’s my first time here.” Everyone murmurs hi to me. I force a smile. Then, I continue, “Yesterday, I not only thought about a perfect game happening while it was in the process of happening, but I also mentioned it to my wife, Cougs. It was me, who jinxed Drew Rasmussen.” Everyone nods their head. One guy who’s wearing a Steel Panther shirt says, “I did the same during Armando Galarraga’s.” Reactions from the group members, they can’t believe he jinxed Armando. I continue, “That makes me feel better, actually. Armando’s jinx is much worse than mine.” Steel Panther Guy screams, “I jinxed it, but I inadvertently caused instant replay to be adopted!” As he stormed out of the room. The leader swallows hard, “Um, thanks for sharing, Grey.” So, I turned the TV onto Drew Rasmussen (8 1/3 IP, 1 ER, 1 hit, 7 Ks, ERA at 2.80), and his Maddux perfecto just in time to jinx him. Sigh, my bad. The trade of Willy Adames for Rasmussen has ended up working for both teams, and for all involved in fantasy. Rasmussen has been mostly Yesmussen with a 7.4 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, and 3.68 xFIP as he throws a slider that’s mostly unhittable (.212 BAA), and not just by the O’s. His 38.6% HardHit% would be around Sandy Alcantara, Gerrit Cole and Kevin Gausman. I blame myself for yesterday’s perfect game lost in the 9th, but, in 2023 fantasy, Rasmussen is going to be undervalued, even though the Rays haven’t had a bad pitcher in, like, ten years. (Hyperbole to make a point; don’t tell me about Yarbrough.) Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So, the Trent Grisham/Luis Urias trade is still being sorted it seems. If you’re the Brewers and Padres, do you think you won or lost the Urias/Grisham trade? Or do you think it’s a push and decide to go back to the well like Baby Jessica and try one more? How you answer that decides whether or not you make the Josh Hader trade, right? Since that Hader trade was made, it must mean both teams thought they won the Grisham/Urias one. Right? You don’t trade with a team that just fed you an L, do you? Well, I’m here to say the Brewers won that trade, and I think they won this trade too, but I’m a big fan of trading away closers, so I am biased. Yes, even top tier ones. With that said, I do think it’s odd the Brewers made this trade — appearing like sellers — as they are leading the NL Central.

The trade in full:  Josh Hader to the Padres for Taylor Rogers, Robert Gasser, Esteury Ruiz, and Dinelson Lamet. Do the Brewers just have such a “We can fix him” mentality they just have to take on messes? Oh man, the Brewers are Kate Hudson. That makes Taylor Rogers Matthew McConaughey; Dinelson Lamet is Paul Rudd and Esteury Ruiz is John Krasinski. What an All-Star cast of lovable losers that the Brewers, excuse me, Kate Hudson, er, I mean, Brewers need to fix! Looking at this from the other side, is the move from Taylor Rogers to Josh Hader worth the multiple players being sent away? Who’s the buyer here? Who’s the seller? Who’s the Boss!? Kinda like the Josh Hader trade because if you look at it at first, you’re like, “Brewers got hosed,” but then you look at it more and you’re like, “Padres got hosed,” but then look at it more and you’re like, “No, the Brewers definitely were hosed.” The Josh Hader trade is the Mona Lisa smile of trades.

So, Josh Hader is clearly the new closer in San Diego. Truly hope Devin Williams gets a chance to be the Brewers’ closer, but it’s been floated that the Brewers might like him in setup and roll Taylor Rogers out there for saves. Floated by whom? Me, right now, in these last few sentences. As for Esteury Ruiz, he was sent down, and Lamet is likely to be used in a similar role as in San Diego, for now, at least. Unless Kate Hudson can work her magic! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

For what it’s Cronenworth, I wrote this prior to the news the Yankees were acquiring Andrew Benintendi:

Let’s make it 2-for-2 off the bat and DFA Joey Gallo! That would also be a better hitting line than Gallo’s ever had. The Mets got the Yanks so shook after a walk-off win they went out and acquired a guy who can’t even play in Toronto in the playoffs. Doesn’t seem like the smartest of trades, but I’m sure Cashman did his research. So, the assumption is Hicks goes to the bench (finally!), and Benintendi goes out to left field. Then what happens when Giancarlo returns, and they trade for David Peralta and Matt Carpenter hits 6 homers in a week and the sky is falling! I don’t know. Benintendi is clearly helped by this move, due to the stadium and lineup, but he does have a very flat Launch Angle and kinda makes baby contact, so I don’t think this boosts Benintendi to, say, a top 20 outfielder. He’s around a top 40 outfielder now, and I’d say he’s top 30 now. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?