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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?

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?

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?

Guess what, y’all?! A new Spencer Torkelson dropped! No, he’s nothing like that old Spencer Torkelson! For one, he’s not young! He’s more like a new older Spencer Torkelson! For two, the Tigers are calling up Kerry Carpenter because they have no conceivable reason to keep him down anymore, because of the stats he was putting up in the minors — .316/.384/.653 with 30 home runs and 75 RBIs in 96 games between Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo. That’s the Mecca of Ohio. It’s why it’s called Holy Toledo. He was on a recent prospect stash list by Itch, and I say stop stashing and start doing! Comerica Park sucks. More like Crummica! Owned it! But someone making that good of contact with that sorta power is worth a look in deeper mixed leagues. Let’s see if Carpenter can drum up some offense and make the Tigers’ stop feeling like Rainy Days and Mondays. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

From Trade Deadline insanity with Juan Soto to a new Royals’ middle infielder. Is that a sad trombone playing Narco by Blasterjaxx, the come-out music for Edwin Diaz? Not cool! By the way, if you don’t know Narco, you should. It’s trumpetilicious. So, with Whit Merrifield shipped off, uh, shipped towards Toronto, not sure if he can get in there, Michael Massey (2-for-3) was called up, and could see at-bats at 2nd base for the Royals. Why do we care, am I right? “Give it to me straight, Grey, I don’t have time for too much jibber-jabbering!” That’s you. Fair enough, Massey was a top 100 prospect for Itch, and he said, “Can argue for Michael Massey higher than this (in the rankings), especially if you’re seeking short-term help. He’s been a successful hitter his whole baseball life: something I always like to see. It’s rarer than you might think. Much rarer than Grey saying something dumb.” That’s not nice, man! In 33 Triple-A games, Massey went 7/4/.325 with a 24.5% strikeout rate, but he’s a high hit tool guy. Kinda reminds me a young Benintendi. Call him Youngintendi. For now, just 15 team mixed league worthy or deeper, but the monocle is on the cyclops. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ah, the smell of a new clubhouse! This week marks our favorite time of year: where winning MLB teams acquire great players to make their championship runs, and where losing teams sell their top players for minor leaguers nobody will see until 3 years from now [stares at Simeon Woods-Richardson]. If you’re a fan of a team that’s buying, congrats! I hope you get a Juan Soto in your “Christmas in July” stocking that hangs over the fire pit. For the rest of us that sing the praises of teams who are classic “selling” teams, may your up-turned cocktail glasses bring you solace.

Let’s check in on the deals and rumors!

Please, blog, may I have some more?