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The World Series begins Friday, meaning the MLB offseason is just around the corner. But there never really is an offseason as the action just changes from the field to the front office.

And just like the majors, there is no offseason when it comes to fantasy baseball. Fantasy baseball GMs are already thinking about next year, and that is especially true for those who are in keeper leagues.

Since the last pitch of the regular season, those who play in keeper leagues have been looking at trade targets to shore up weaknesses exposed during this past season and wondering who the top keepers are going to be in 2023 fantasy baseball.

Well, I’m here to try to help you with that last part of the sentence – who are the top keepers for next season. Each week I am going to reveal my list of top keepers for 2023, starting with relievers. Next week I will focus on starting pitchers before going around the infield and then ending with the top outfielders.

A CRAZY GROUP

Before we move ahead, a disclaimer about relievers. The three things we know about relievers are this:

They are wildly inconsistent from year to year
They are wildly inconsistent from year to year
And they are wildly inconsistent from year to year

The inconsistent play even takes place during the season, with Josh Hader being a prime example of that. If there is one position that could use a dartboard to help with the rankings, it is relievers. Thus, these rankings are based a little on past performance, a little on the eye test and a lot of what my gut is telling me.

Unlike other positions, where age weighs in heavily for my top keepers, the age of a reliver doesn’t factor in as much. It may move them down the list if I think other relievers on the staff can become the closer in 2023 (I’m looking at you, Jose Alvarado), but if they are proven closers and also 33, I’m fine with that.

Also, I am assuming that most keeper leagues don’t just use saves but also have holds or saves+holds. A deep league doesn’t just showcase closers. A real pitching staff has starters, middle relievers and closers, so this list features top closers and setup men.

With that in mind, let’s get on with the Top 40 keepers for 2023 – reliever edition.

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The plan for today’s article is pretty complex in its simplicity. I set out to build a championship-level redraft team for 2023 using only rookies from 2022. 

C: Adley Rutschman

C: MJ Melendez

1B: Jose Miranda

2B: Vaughn Grissom 

3B: Bobby Witt Jr.

SS: Oneil Cruz

MI: Jeremy Peña 

CI: Gunnar Henderson

This infield is good. Might not win us the league, but getting steals all around the diamond puts us on a winning path. Not just because speed is increasingly rare but because these steals come from middle-order hitters with power.  

Catcher is a pretty clear win. I suppose the Sal Perez team has a leg-up on you if they’ve got anyone in the C2 spot, but aside from that, we’ve got a top-of-the-scale catching duo. 

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I realize that some of you beautiful people out there may have your H2H Championship this week, and I don’t want to leave any of you hanging!  If you have read this article all season long, you know that you should always play your studs!  Don’t get too cute, they have gotten you this far.  This is designed to give you that competitive edge that feels like cheating but isn’t!  It’s the first time a Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contestant introduced a glass of water to dip the bun.  Dip those buns, Razzballers!  (Welcome new readers who googled Nathan’s Buns.  Sorry, it didn’t produce what you were looking for.  You can find those pics on page 11).  

Welcome back from Page 11.  Now let’s turn our focus to your Championship Week!  I would love to see everyone’s championship score!  Screenshot it to me @natemarcum on Twitter.  I will enter all winners into a drawing for a nice little prize!

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Houston relievers Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressly are scheduled to hit free agency this winter. The pair has 35 saves between them this season. Maybe Houston brings someone back. Maybe they anoint Hector Neris (or Ryne Stanek) the guy coming out of camp. Regardless of what the team does, it’s difficult to envision a scenario that excludes RHP Bryan Abreu from the ninth-inning picture, unless you’re building the scenario around injury or poor performance. Command has eluded Abreu at times, so that’s not out of the question, but you could say the same about a lot of relievers. And just so you know, this whole post idea sprung from the fact that Abreu was available in a lot of my leagues despite looking like an obvious closer in 2023 and beyond. 

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

“The best part of any candy bar is the stuff inside the chocolate, so I want a candy bar where the nougat, cookie wafer, crushed peanuts are on the outside of the chocolate. Mouth feel matters too, so the crunchy bits on the outside need to have a soft, chewy texture. Swiss and dutch chocolate are for losers. This candy bar needs to made in The Lou, so I want Missouri chocolate. What is Missouri chocolate? Whatever Willie McGee likes. Willie, please wave.” Willie McGee waves from the back corner of the conference room. We see now Lars Nootbaar holds court in front of the Lars Caandy people. He continues, “Also, I want it to be written “caandy baar” on all the bars. Two A’s, so we need to change all signage around this 5-mile-wide candy empire, that I’ve cordoned off with traffic cones. If you want to work for Kit Kat, get out now! The door’s over there! The only Snickers I want to hear about are chuckles at the water cooler when Willie McGee makes a joke! Do you understand me?” Lars is now screaming into one exec’s face, who is beginning to cry. “Wipe those tears from your face, and go make me a candy bar! Two A’s!” Lars Nootbaar isn’t just a demanding candy CEO, building a nougaty empire, he’s also been one of the hottest bat in the majors for the last month. On the 30-day Player Rater, he’s in the top 40 overall, and he’s now leading off on most days vs. righties. Since the Cards are famous for creating players, it’s only appropriate that they went into a 7/11’s candy aisle and got an idea. This hot Nootbaar won’t melt in your hand, or your fantasy team, so grab him, before he quits baseball to be a full-time candy CEO, like Willy Wonka, who was originally drafted to be a closer, until he discovered he was better stopping Gobs. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hard to believe that September is right around the corner. Seems like yesterday we were panicking about a potential short season. As we look ahead, it’s important to play your leagues out, as managers could have already turned their attention to football. Even if you’re low on budget, it’s important to always bid on players. […]

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

It’s September call-up season, or SZN if you’re crazy hip. Down like a clown. Fresher than def. Only MLB scaled back the number of call-ups a team can do to make it less obvious teams were manipulating time. (That’s why I think, at least.) So, I debated Corbin Carroll, Gunnar Henderson, or Josh Jung for the lede vs. Keston Hiura. Guess which one I went with. Go ahead, I’ll give you five guesses, if you can’t get it, just be lucky you haven’t accidentally suffocated yourself in your own drool. Any hoo! Time for some pictures! Who doesn’t like pictures? First two pictures are Keston Hiura in 2020 and the 2nd two pictures are Keston Hiura in 2022.

You, “Ooh! Fun! Like one of those games where you have to figure out the difference between two pictures only this one is figuring out the difference between the top two pictures and the bottom two. Oh! I know! That’s a different pitcher! Clever, because it’s two different ‘pictures,’ so you made it different pitchers! You can’t get me! So, if you have no other picture games for me, I’m gonna take a nap…” And, with that, you remove your two glass eyes and place them in two glasses of water. You, “Hope I don’t drink them.” Okay, so what you might’ve missed is Hiura’s 2022 stance is much more closed, and his giant leg kick is reduced. He went from stepping over a dwarf to tip-toeing into the room.  For all hitters — all hitters — Keston Hiura has the best OPS vs. righties when sorting by only 90 plate appearances. That’s insane. He has a better OPS (1.120) than Aaron Judge, Yordan Alvarez, Juan Soto, Bryce Harper– EVERYONE! That’s crazy. His slugging percentage vs. righties is .704, which also leads the league. He’s also apparently hanging out too much with Pollock and can’t hit lefties, which is very odd for a righty, but you just switch him out when he faces those that use the weird scissors. Not exactly a fresh-faced call-up, but you can see why I wanted to highlight Keston Hiura with those pictures. Places glass eyes back in head, “Oh! Those are Keston Hiura?” Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In most H2H leagues, this is the final week of the regular season.  I reflect on this week as I have watched Pujols and Molina make their final journey around the MLB before they leave for good.  Well, as far as we know!  Pujols has gone on record that even if he doesn’t get to 700, he will retire.  I believe that about as much as I believed he was 19 when he joined the Cardinals.  I think it would be an awesome situation to watch Albert come back next year (if he doesn’t get 700 this year) and have all of America watching his every AB in hopes of 700.  Then again, the swan song for Pujols and Molina hasn’t exactly been one that I had imagined.  I can remember when Mariano Rivera was retiring, he was getting rocking chairs made of broken bats, gold records, and terrifying sand sculptures.   Derek Jeter received a ticker tape parade with every stadium he visited, and yet Pujols and Molina pale in comparison.  Sure, Molina doesn’t deserve the send-off that Jeter or Mo had gotten, but Pujols deserves so much more than what he has gotten.  Hell, the Red Sox and the Cubs gave him the same gift, the #5 from their scoreboards. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?