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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:

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Guys wearing nothing but raspberries, screaming to the camera, “We’re the Fram-Boys! We celebrate Framber Valdez with every fiber of our body, and our body is eight grams dietary fiber in every cup. And, go ahead, and give us a cup check! It’s filled with raspberries, wanna see?” Back to the studio for Astros’ announcer, Todd Kalas, laughing, “Those Fram-Boys! Sure hope they don’t stain any linens.” Framber Valdez (9 IP, 0 ER, 7 baserunners, 8 Ks, ERA at 2.50) just notched his 24th consecutive Quality Start. Framber heard to be celebrated here but nowhere else, because Amber Heard sued Johnny Depp and is in that sentence? On the next Povich! Yeah, I don’t know why, but Framber seems to be way below other similar pitchers in people’s minds. Here’s one for you: Framber Valdez or Sandy Alcantara? Sandy’s discussed in Cy Young terms; Framber is teammates to a guy who might win the Cy Young. Are Sandy and Framber Valdez that different? Are Framber and Sandy Alcantara that different for 2023 fantasy? I’m not being daft, here’s some peripherals: 8.5 K/9, 3.09 xFIP, 2.50 ERA vs. 8.1 K/9, 3.39 xFIP and 2.43 ERA. Any ideas which is which? The better peripherals? They’re Framber Valdez’s! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Rangers have called up Josh Jung. Heads over to Amazon to order a megaphone; sits by door to wait three to five days for shipping; argues with Cougs about how we should get Prime; being told we do have Prime, it’s just I don’t have Prime; we argue more, and, finally, the megaphone arrives after five days. I rip apart the packaging, and push button, but I need batteries. I beg Cougs for our Prime password, so I can get batteries quicker, she acquiesces, and the next day, when the batteries arrive, I load them into the megaphone, press the button and scream, “LET’S F***ING GO!” The asterisks were megaphone feedback. So, Josh Jung finally gets the call, and he’s a immediate add in all leagues. He’s got 60-grade power, and shouldn’t struggle to hit for a decent average. Has no speed, and you never know what a guy is going to do in only a month of time, but I’m here for the Rangers’ Ponce De Leon’ing to get Jung again, and so should you. 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?

Triston “Dr. Sticks” McKenzie is so skinny, he hula hoops with a Cheerio. McKenzie is so skinny he uses floss as toilet paper. I have a dad bod but want to identify as skinny–am I trans-slender? Triston McKenzie may get his nickname from his lack of girth, but last night McKenzie left no meat on the bone for the White Sox, as he fired 7 innings of two-ER ball while striking out a career-high 14 batters, lowering his ERA to 3.11 in the process. This wasn’t just a good game for McKenzie; it’s the continuation of at least the last month, as he’s got a 2.95 ERA over his last 33 IP, with a 28/8 K/BB. Pay no attention to the xERA of 4.04 and xFIP of 4.08, or the K% that’s has dropped 2 Ks per 9 IP from 2021, and enjoy the fantasy goodness Dr. Sticks is currently giving fantasy owners as the Guardians chase the AL Central division title. 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?

A young boy pulls on his grandfather’s sleeve. “Will you please read me a bedtime story, Paw-Paw?”
“Sure, Timmy, I’d be happy to. From the same book as always?” Off the child’s nod, the old man picks up the storybook, and reads the title, “The Dismantling of a Dream by Peter Angelos.” The old man opens the storybook, and begins to read, “In the summer of 2022, millions of people clamored for my Orioles to win. ‘Win!’ they shouted. And ‘Bleh,” I said. I wasn’t a vampire, per se, but I had been taking blood transfusions of millions of caterpillars right before they turned into a butterfly…” Dissolve to later, “…the bullpen was a point of contention. My underlings said we should keep our late-inning arms. At 93 years young, this might be the last chance I could see a good team. I told them, ‘A good team is one that is losing enough money for a healthy write-off.” Any hoo! The Orioles keep winning, which is somewhat hilarious since they’re seemingly trying to lose. Yesterday, the home run barrage began in the 1st with Ramon Urias (1-for-4, 3 RBIs), who hit his 12th homer. He’s had a great year because the expectations’ bar is so low, and I’m not talking the Royals or Rangers’ closers. Next up, hitting batting practice off Yusei Kikuchi (5 IP, 5 ER, ERA at 5.13) was Anthony Santander (2-for-3) and Ryan Mountcastle (2-for-3, 2 runs, 2 RBIs) in the 3rd. Surprised to see Santander’s home run total that far in front of Mountcastle. If only we had a BBC detective show that could look into that…Wait a minute! That’s Mountcastle on BBC at 9 PM GMT. Finally, Austin Hays (2-for-4) hit his 13th homer, and I was very happy to see this, because I put him in my weekly lineup at the last moment, and he pulled this home run over the left field fence that one can barely see from home plate, which is a great sign for his oblique injury that had sidelined him last week. Just another night in Baltimore, ending happily, like the O’s bottom line yielding subsidized financial reimbursement for a billionaire! 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?