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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.

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Major League Baseball isn’t supposed to look this easy this deep into a guy’s career. Miguel Cabrera’s got five homers on the year! Albert Pujols now has more homers than everyone in the league since August 14th, except for Aaron Judge, and he doesn’t have less homers than Judge, he has the same amount! All the hype about Judge and Pujols has same number of homers as Judge over the last six weeks! Pujols is 78 years old, and has 15 homers since August 14th! I don’t care if they’re meatballing him and Rob Manfred is sticking a PEDs needle in Pujols’s butt after he exits the shower. This is incredible. This isn’t supposed to be possible by a guy heading to the grand sunset over the bleachers. Yesterday, Albert Pujols went 2-for-2, 2 runs, 3 RBIs and his 23rd homer, as he hits .268. He’s having a better season than Eloy Jimenez! On top of everything yesterday, Pujols tied Babe Ruth for 2nd on the all-time RBIs list with 2,214. That is such an absurd number of RBIs. Go ahead, and average 110 RBIs for 20 years, and you get close! Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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I know what you’re all doing. Counting down a New York slugger to home run immortality. Great! Me too! Pete Alonso (4-for-5, 3 runs, 5 RBIs and his 39th homer) moves to within 34 of tying Barry Bonds. That is so laughably funny. You can have an insane year and still be almost half away from Bonds. That’s like Aaron Judge vs. everyone else this year. Almost. Still not quite as ridiculous, but close. Wait, Pete Alonso secured an even more important record — the new Mets’ RBI record (128). So, it’s been truly a fantastic year for Albombso, as he hits .270, and has a legit shot of a top five slot on the Player Rater. A lofty status for a guy who runs like he’s an insect in molasses, though, he does have five steals. For 2023 fantasy, I could see Pete Alonso still being underrated because there is no real speed, and his average this year might be considered fluky-ish, as he’s more of a .255 guy. Think you are selling him short though. For hitters with the most homers in his 1st four seasons, only three guys have more than Alonso: Ralph Kiner, Pujols and Eddie Mathews. 40 homers is the new 60 homers, and do you want a guy who is as much a lock for 40 homers as anyone? Then Albombso! Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Well folks (leaving the comma out makes it sound like you live in a well and you’ll emerge like The Ring and I like that aesthetic) — you’re either in the fantasy baseball playoffs, or you really love reading me week in and week out. Probably the former, but I’ll pretend it’s the latter. Some leagues have already finished, like the Tout Wars Daily Fantasy League that our own MattTruss claimed second place in this year. Congrats Truss! Other leagues are entering their first (or second!) round of playoffs right now. RCLs and best ball leagues go until the last day of the season. So, let’s put it this way: as long as you’re here asking questions, I’ll keep posting. Sound fair?

That said, as we’re down to less than a month of MLB baseball, it’s less and less useful for me to tell you how a pitcher might regress. So, just as we did away with the rankings about a month ago, we’re going to continue shifting the format of this column to help everybody with their pitching plans throughout the fantasy playoffs. We’ll combine some news, some pitcher pickup options, and cover some matchups to target or avoid. As always, toss your questions down in the comments, and I’ll do my best to not embarrass myself or yourself or Greyself. Grey’s elf? What is this, The Lord of the Rings?

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Friends, the Queen of England died this week. However, that news overshadowed the news about Keibert Ruiz’s balls. It may come as a surprise to at least some of you that I am not a cisgender man. Thus, I have never experienced being hit in the testicles. However, when I read that Keibert Ruiz took […]

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Corbin Burnes (8 IP, 1 ER, 3 baserunners, 14 Ks, ERA 2.93) held the Giants to one run as he struck out 14. The last guy to hold down the Giants like that was David in the Bible…*Starts sobbing* I’m sorry! I can’t go on! The Queen! She’s gone! What a way to ruin the end of The Crown! No one even gave a spoiler alert! Maybe rather than mourning the Queen’s death, we should be celebrating that Reggie Jackson finally succeeded. Hope someone was filming it, hate to miss out on a Naked Gun sequel. So, Corbin Burnes is once again the best pitcher in baseball or what? In 2023 fantasy, there’s gonna be a lot of pitchers drafted first, I imagine. Corbin Burnes might be one of them, but I bet he’s not the majority’s choice. Of course, I won’t be interested in a starter that early, but I also don’t see anyone else I trust as much as Corbin Burnes for the top 2023 fantasy baseball pitcher. Definitely not Gerrit Cole; maybe Dylan Cease; possibly Shane McClanhananananannanannananananan if he were healthy, but he’s not. Corbin Burnes has the 6th best K-BB%, 7th best xFIP, 5th best K/9 and is remarkably durable and youngish. For 2023 fantasy, it seems hard to twist myself in enough knots to look at anyone else as the best starter. Though, I’d love to Cease up Dylan. Oh, well, long live King Burnes. Anyway. here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Corbin Carroll sat yesterday against the historically significant southpaw, Bailey Falter (6 1/3 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 6 Ks, ERA at 4.08). Torey Lovullo, fantastic on MTV’s The Challenge, benches Corbin Carroll after two games is such big-brain’ing. Never underestimate the dumbness of any of this. Oh, and if this is because the new CBA says a guy who starts the year with the team, and wins the ROY can get the team a draft pick, then the thing that was supposed to reduce service time manipulation, is actually manipulating it further HAHAHAHAHAHA–falls over, fainting. A nice man dressed like Colonel Sanders waves a fan on me to awaken me. “Colonel Sanders, is that you?” “Looks like you can KF-see straight,” and he snaps his fingers, disappearing. What was left was the hottest bat in the majors, Jake McCarthy (1-for-4) and his 6th homer, and 2nd homer in as many games. I was worried about Carroll taking McCarthy’s job, but now I think McCarthy’s locked into everyday at-bats, and Carroll might sit here there. Carroll’s still worth rostering everywhere, but absolutely the same for McCarthy. On the 30-day Player Rater, Jake McCarthy is a top 10 guy. Overall! My goodness. He’s also barely rostered in any leagues. He’s got power (3 HRs in the last month), speed (8 SBs), and is hitting near-.330 over the last 30. Get in on McCarthy, before the Reds win. Not the Cincy Reds. I’m talking Commies. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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If you’re anything like me, you’re currently in grass-stained covered sweatpants trying to eek out an extra minute of summer before the kids go back to school. Or, apparently, for most of you southerners, your kids have been in school for like two weeks. Somewhere out there, there’s SouthernwhereBlair who writes for RassBalls and discusses tight-pantsed pitchers. Or maybe that’s just me projecting my best self. Thanks, therapy! ENYWHEY. Let’s spend the next 1800 words discussing our favorite pitchers and why they make our pants tight.

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And-Gim isn’t just Pam from The Office’s requested guest list plus one. And-Gim isn’t just someone remembering late their favorite characters on Taxi. “And-Gim And-Gim number nine, on the New York Transit Line, if my train goes off the track, pick him up, pick him up, pick him up! Back on the scene, crispy and clean, still 23 with an outside chance for 20/20/.300!” Okay, that last part didn’t rhyme. Yesterday, Andres Gimenez went (4-for-8, 5 RBIs and his 13th and 14th homer, hitting .312) in the doubleheader. Gimenez is averaging about four homers a month, and has seven steals already this month. If he gets ten steals in a month, well, I don’t want to wake up Mr. Prorater — “Did you know your uncle spends more time on Facebook than Jonas Salk spent on polio?” — Oh, shut up, Mr. Prorater! Andres Gimenez is in that delicate area where if he loses just a little power and speed in 2023, then he becomes a 15/15 guy and that’s a little yawnstipating, but he’s also on the precipice of becoming a 20/30/.300 guy, and that’s top 25 overall guy. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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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?