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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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It’s been an incredible season! This marks my final article of the year, and it’s been a blast writing about streamers for the past six months. This final month has been chaotic with rotational changes, and this week could be the worst of them all. We have an abbreviated three-day week to end the regular […]

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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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Tis the season to watch the scoreboard. My own teams are fighting down the stretch, and I’m looking their way more often than necessary. I’m hoping to write a postseason piece on my processes and outcomes, but I don’t want to jinx anything by starting early. 

For fantasy tweeters, it’s victory lap season. You might’ve seen a few threads already, typically in a shape like “What’d you get right and wrong this year?” Always worth our time to review the roads that brought us here, so I’ll be hopping back to March 30 to revisit my early season Brash Predictions 2022: Prospects Edition

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Usually start writing these posts after the game has concluded, but for the Orioles game yesterday, I started working on the Anthony Santander lede about five hours before the game ended. The game was like: Run, run, five runs, seven runs, eleven runs, then fifteen pitcher changes. Has the game ended? I don’t know, and, at this point, it’s no longer my concern. Anthony Santander (3-for-5, 3 runs, 3 RBIs and his 32nd and 33rd homer) is my concern. He now has four homers in the last two games; six homers in four games; 33 homers in 153 games–Wait, that becomes less impressive again. Santander becomes the 2nd player in MLB history to homer from both sides of the plate in the same game four times in a season, joining Ken Caminiti, who did it during his MVP year. Six homers in a four-game span hasn’t been done since the hottest schmotato of all-time, Luke Scott. During Luke Scott’s run, he actually went on Fallon with a schmotato that resembled him. Crazy times. Lucky the season’s gonna end soon or Anthony Santander would pass Judge in…*does quick math*…twelve days. For 2023 fantasy, I bet Santander is still underrated even though he has a 18.6% strikeout rate (excellent for a power hitter), 14.5% HR/FB (not at all obscene), and expected stats that back up just about everything he’s doing. Is he Anthony Santander or Anonymity Santander? Damn, Guy Fawkes, don’t be so Anonymous. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Last week is a good representation of the closing month of the fantasy baseball regular season. We had our top recommendation pushed back, and he didn’t even make a start. That sort of crap happens way too often this time of the season, and it makes picking streamers more challenging than ever. With that said, […]

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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:

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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:

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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:

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So, the Trent Grisham/Luis Urias trade is still being sorted it seems. If you’re the Brewers and Padres, do you think you won or lost the Urias/Grisham trade? Or do you think it’s a push and decide to go back to the well like Baby Jessica and try one more? How you answer that decides whether or not you make the Josh Hader trade, right? Since that Hader trade was made, it must mean both teams thought they won the Grisham/Urias one. Right? You don’t trade with a team that just fed you an L, do you? Well, I’m here to say the Brewers won that trade, and I think they won this trade too, but I’m a big fan of trading away closers, so I am biased. Yes, even top tier ones. With that said, I do think it’s odd the Brewers made this trade — appearing like sellers — as they are leading the NL Central.

The trade in full:  Josh Hader to the Padres for Taylor Rogers, Robert Gasser, Esteury Ruiz, and Dinelson Lamet. Do the Brewers just have such a “We can fix him” mentality they just have to take on messes? Oh man, the Brewers are Kate Hudson. That makes Taylor Rogers Matthew McConaughey; Dinelson Lamet is Paul Rudd and Esteury Ruiz is John Krasinski. What an All-Star cast of lovable losers that the Brewers, excuse me, Kate Hudson, er, I mean, Brewers need to fix! Looking at this from the other side, is the move from Taylor Rogers to Josh Hader worth the multiple players being sent away? Who’s the buyer here? Who’s the seller? Who’s the Boss!? Kinda like the Josh Hader trade because if you look at it at first, you’re like, “Brewers got hosed,” but then you look at it more and you’re like, “Padres got hosed,” but then look at it more and you’re like, “No, the Brewers definitely were hosed.” The Josh Hader trade is the Mona Lisa smile of trades.

So, Josh Hader is clearly the new closer in San Diego. Truly hope Devin Williams gets a chance to be the Brewers’ closer, but it’s been floated that the Brewers might like him in setup and roll Taylor Rogers out there for saves. Floated by whom? Me, right now, in these last few sentences. As for Esteury Ruiz, he was sent down, and Lamet is likely to be used in a similar role as in San Diego, for now, at least. Unless Kate Hudson can work her magic! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I was really pleased with how last week’s article played out. Hunter Greene, Alex Cobb, Ranger Suarez, and George Kirby all played well as our pitching streamers, while Wilmer Flores and Ji-Man Choi balled out in the hitting section. That makes for a few good consecutive weeks, and I feel as though we have a […]

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