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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?

We’ve gone over the final 2022 fantasy baseball rankings for hitters and the top 20 starters. This is different than Final Fantasy rankings where you rank Final Fantasy 1 thru Final Fantasy 15. That’s hardcore nerd shizz! This is simply fantasy baseball — we’re softcore nerds like Emmanuelle is to porn. So, there’s no more of these godforsaken recap posts left. You’re welcome. I, my over-the-internet friend, will be talking next about 2023 rookies. Let’s boogie to the next year, boogiers! Anyway, here’s the top 40 starters for 2022 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hey, let me ask you something, are we shipping Roger Maris Jr. and Aaron Judge‘s mom? What? Why are you booing me? Okay, serious-serious question, how many changes of clothes does Roger Maris Jr. have with him in Toronto? Okay, serious-serious-serious question, isn’t Roger Maris Jr. actually just Roger Maris but with an asterisk? Stop throwing tomatoes at me! I can’t use all my Roger Maris Jr. material anywhere else. So, Aaron Judge (1-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs) hit 61, becoming, what, the seventh most prolific home run hitter in a season? Honestly, when you really stop to think about what Barry Bonds did, it’s truly remarkable. I don’t care if he was sticking Babe Ruth’s DNA in his butt and Ted Williams’s DNA in his male sack, it’s freakin’ impressive! Aaron Judge? Also, incredibly impressive. I’m not going to lie, when I hear stuff like, “He becomes the first player to have 130 runs and 130 RBIs in the same season since 2007,” and how he’s almost 20 homers higher than anyone else in the majors, I get extreme FOMO for any teams of mine that don’t have him. His 60/20/.315 with 130/130 might be the best fantasy season any of us witness. Or at least until Barry Bonds returns at the age of 58 with Hack Wilson’s DNA in his arm, Ruth’s in his butt and Williams’s in his sack. Let’s go! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

WooWeeWooWaa.mp3. HolyCow.wav. Sound of eyes popping from Sylvester the Cat. Kyle Bradish did what? Kyle Bradish did:  8 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 2 hits, zero walks, 10 Ks vs. the Astros. I’m sorry, but I’m gonna sue somebody for making my heart pitter-patter too fast. Who do I contact for that? Oh, no, I’m…*puts handkerchief to forehead, faints into a beanbag that’s wearing Giancarlo jersey and pasted-on magazine face of his* Oh my goodness, I’m talking like a Southern belle. So, Streamonator‘s got steam rising from its robot ears that was so gorgeous. Looking at Kyle Bradish big picture, long-term, for 2023 fantasy baseball, and, well, he’s got four pitches — 95 MPH fastball, 87 MPH slider, 83 MPH curve, and 90 MPH change. His command is kinda atrocious, though better in his 100+ IP in the majors than it was in the low minors. Maybe he’s figured out something here as he turns 25. Not going to write him off completely, because Camden is now one of the best pitchers’ parks, and his stuff was solid in search of command. If the command’s there, I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s a name we go back to next year. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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:

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“With that trade, the Giants will now be seeing if they can turn a Harry Styles Chia Pet into a halfway decent 2nd baseman. We just now he’s not gonna wanna ride the pine!” Announcers laugh, but, before they can finish, the Harry Styles Chia Pet slaps a ball over the fence for a three-run shot. “I’ll tell ya what, Jon, that Harry Styles Chia Pet has got some pop!” Okay, so Lewis Brinson (1-for-4 and his 3rd homer, and 3rd homer in two games) isn’t quite turning a Chia Pet into a major league All-Star, but it’s not that far off. As Jesse would scream in Breaking Bad, “The Giants can’t keep getting away with this!” ‘This’ being turning cast-offs from other teams into bona fide major leaguers. Of course, Giants turning Lewis Brinson into something would be their “making the Statue of Liberty disappear” of player reclamations, but they did it with Wilmer Flores, J.D. Davis…They got someone named B. Johnson in right field, and I half expect it to be Boris Johnson, after losing 10 Downing. Do I think Lewis Brinson is fixed for 2023 fantasy? I’m not sure he’s fixed for this week! but he’s clearly hot and show be rostered until further notice. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Not since Rollie Fingers’s mustache left his face in the middle of the night in July, 1979, and impregnated my mother, during one of her weaker moments, after being told her ravioli wasn’t as good as her mother’s, has a mustache had such a remarkable evening. Yes, I’m saying that to you today. The mustache that impregnated my mother that usually laid on the upper lip of Rollie Fingers was not as great as Spencer Strider‘s. Do you know how hard it is for me to admit this? Spencer Strider (8 IP, 0 ER, 2 hits, zero walks, 16 Ks, ERA at 2.67. ) is having such a ridiculous season his ERA is 2.67; his xFIP is 2.33. That’s right, he’s been unlucky! Spencer Strider came into the year with a 45-grade from Fangraphs. Itch ranked Strider behind Langeliers and Cristian Pache in the Braves’ system. This is not to disparage either. This is to say, no one saw this coming. For 2023 fantasy, Spencer Strider can’t get better, can he? I just told you, he’s been unlucky! His command could get better; his strikeouts are prolly maxed out. I don’t see Strider getting better, maybe staying similar for 2023 fantasy. That’s still really good! I wouldn’t be shocked to see Spencer Strider as my 1st pitcher selected in some leagues in 2023 fantasy. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s actually as in Brett “Beatty” — not “Batty,” because I know in your head, you see Brett Baty and think Batty. Oh, yeah, I know what is going on in your head. You’re thinking I also pronounced it Brett “Batty.” Wrong, Slick Rick, the Ruler! I’m in your head, but you’re not in my head! In my head, I like to pronounce Brett Baty’s last name “Bat-Why,” and with a flourish like it’s Pad Thai. I’ll tell you Bat-Why! Bat-Why because just last week he landed on Itch’s top 25 prospects for dynasty leagues, where he said, “Brett Baty has no business in AA. He’s repeating the level after posting a 118 wRC+ in 40 games last year, and he’s slashing .355/.427/.655 with eight home runs in his last 26 games. Who’s in charge of this stuff? What’s happening here? This is dumb, so I think somehow Grey’s behind it.” Okay, not cool. Bat Why’s numbers at Double-A ended up 19 HRs, .312/.406 in 89 games, as he was finally promoted to Triple-A after Itch’s insistence, and he’s continued to hit there too. The Mets need a third baseman with Eduardo Escobar IL’d and Baty is being called up. I Bat-Why’d on all my teams where I too need a third baseman. He could be the last big call-up. By the why, who doesn’t need a 3rd baseman? The one team who drafted Jo-Jo-Ram in your league? Cool, not me, which is why I Bat-Why’d and that’s Bat-Because. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Orlando Arcia went down with a hamstring strain and some teams would’ve just cobbled together a makeshift shortstop out of available major league pieces. A Frankenshortstop, so to speak. And it might’ve been fine, might’ve ran into a hot day or three from whoever they Ehire’d. That’s the kind of shizz other teams do! Not the Braves! I love the Braves for this, by the way. They promote their prospects like they’re Tim McGraw singing Live Like You’re Dying. They’re on a bull named Fu Manchu, and they promote their guys! Love it! Of course, sometimes with pitchers, they come up, surprise hitters for three to six months, then fade into obscurity, unable to handle setbacks. But who cares about that now? Their sticks come up and stick. Yesterday, they promoted Vaughn Grissom from Double-A, where he was 3/7/.363 in 22 games, after going 11/20/.312 in High-A. He appeared in Itch’s Top 50 prospects, and now appears on all of my teams, because I love me some rookie nookie! Plus, he got a slam (1) and legs (1) in his major league game (2-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs), and the homer was an absolute moonshot over the Green Monster. Haven’t been that impressed by a Braves’ rookie debut since Jason Heyward’s! Okay, that’s not fair, but trying to put things in perspective. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?