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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?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ah, the end of August. The dog days of summer. Beautiful sunsets, smoking barbecues, poolside beverages chilled to an icy goodness…everything is almost perfect…unless you are gearing up for BACK TO SCHOOL! I’m sure that parents of those ‘super active’ kids are more than ready to send their little darlings back to their respective buildings […]

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Paul Goldschmidt went 3-for-4, 3 runs, 5 RBIs with his 32nd and 33rd homer. Au Shizz twizz! Paul Goldschmidt leads the NL in batting average; Goldy leads the NL in RBIs; Au Shizz is two behind the NL league leader in homers (The Schwammer). That’s right, Goldy could be the first NL Triple Crown winner since Ducky Medwick in 1937. Since Ducky Medwick won that Triple Crown, MLB has changed the baseballs five times in the last six years; Rob Manfred has invented something called ghost runners, and they’re not wearing full-body sheets; there were 7-inning doubleheaders that everyone hated except Rob Manfred, and Cheez Whiz was invented. That’s all the major things since 1937. That’s all of them. Don’t try to do a google for more. *rips Google out of hands* I said no more googling! Usually by mid-August, I make these ledes slightly geared towards 2023 fantasy, but I don’t know what there’s to say on Paul Goldschmidt other than he was incredible in the 1st half (.330/.414/.590), and he’s actually gotten better in the 2nd half (.350/.425/.728). If you thought Au Shizz was Old Shizz, you misread the shizzuatation. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Bro…bro…bro…I’m not saying bro…Bro…bro…bro…I’m trying to say broke! I’m emotional devastated that Lucas Giolito (3 IP, 7 ER, ERA at 5.34) is so broke. Does Lucas Giolito look at a pile of garbage and think he’s looking in a mirror? I’ll be honest with you, I’ve seen piles of trash that have more redeeming qualities. Get a good pile of recyclables and maybe they can turn into something worthwhile. A Coke can might have another life as a bulk 10,000 count thing of paper clips. Lucas Giolito has no future as a paper clip. Was looking at Lucas Giolito’s stats for 2023 fantasy, and he seems like he should be much better, but also there’s a point where, “Is the juice worth the squeeze?” Speaking of juice, the God of Minute Maid, Alex Bregman went 4-for-6, 4 runs, 6 RBIs and a double slam (17, 18) and legs (1). Something that was mentioned on the Mets game the other night, that I haven’t mentioned nearly enough. Big power hitters who can hit 40 homers weren’t that affected this year (they were talking about Pete Alonso). Players who hit wall-scrappers? They were absolutely affected, and, unless the ball is altered, we’re never seeing a 30+ homer year from Bregman again. Looking at his 41-homer year now in 2019 stands out like Waldo in a Where’s Waldo cartoon, when being looked at by Waldo’s mom. A mother knows. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

A crucible is a trial or challenge faced by a protagonist, where they endure a challenge and come out new and improved. Kind of like the time Grey brought us to Chucky Cheese as a “team building” exercise. Naturally, we all started sumo wrestling in the ball crawl pit, only to find that Grey had released several crocodiles among the balls. Where did he get the crocodiles, you ask? I dunno, I didn’t ask — I spent most of the evening consoling Son after he lost his big toe. But after that “Chucky Crocodile” experience, we emerged as a bonded team, readier than ever to do battle on the fantasy baseball front.

A lot of you are in that fantasy crucible right now. About 50 games remain in the season; I round up because I only work in base ten numbers. So, about 10 starts remain for your favorite hurlers, constituting about 25% of the season. Rankings fail more than ever now: playoff teams will rest their aces, non-playoff teams will give cups of coffee to their minor leaguers, and a quick search of the baseball news sites indicates some teams are talking six-man rotations already.

Of course, “rotation” can be loosely construed because minor league relievers are plentiful and can eat up plenty of innings. From August 17, 2021 until the end of the 2021 season, Paul Sewald made 26 appearances and made 26 IP. Comparatively, Logan Gilbert — the top starter for the Mariners last year — made 8 appearances and pitched 42 IP in the same span. Over on the White Sox, Michael Kopech made 16 appearances and notched 23 IP in the same span. Kopech pitched as many innings over the final bit of 2021 as did Carlos Rodon, who ran out of steam and watched his fastball velocity plummet. Sometimes, your fantasy dream is as much about letting go of players who have run out of steam as it is about finding new, shiny players.

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?

This Jacob deGrom (5 2/3 IP, 2 ER, 2 baserunners, 12 Ks, ERA at 2.53) is among the best pitchers ever. I don’t know what’s changed for him in recent years, but he’s gone from one of the best pitchers in the league to one of the best pitchers ever. He’s Walter Johnson in color. He’s Bob Feller on the back of a motorcycle doing 101 MPH, holding out a four-seamer. He’s “Aw Shucks” Bob Gibson. The last time Jacob deGrom carried a perfect game into the 6th, it was broken up by Clint Barmes, who was an all-world sleeper who could hit anyone. Yesterday, the Braves were deer meat without a Clint Barmes to turn to. DeGrom now has the most strikeouts in his first 200th career games (1,523). The problem, of course, deGrom looks gassed at 70 pitches. He is the Icarus of pitching. One of the best ever for just a moment in time. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Engine revs. It’s the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile. Only instead of a Oscar Mayer hat on its front hood, it’s wearing a Padres cap. It’s staring down a lonely country road. Directly, a mile down, aimed right at it is the Dodgers’ team bus. The Dodgers’ team bus revs.

A half mile in front of each of them, at the midpoint is “1st place in the NL West.” What we have here is a game a chicken. Who will get there first? Behind the Dodgers’ team bus wheel is Magic Johnson. Behind the Padres’ pimped-out Weinermobile is the San Diego Chicken. “You’re going mano a chicken? With the Chicken?! This is not a game you want to play, Magic?” That’s the actor who played Magic in the Showtime series on HBO shouting at Magic. “A Showtime series on HBO? Are you talking riddles, Albright?!” That’s the voice inside my head. Back to the white hot asphalt! The San Diego Chicken guns it towards the Dodgers’ team bus! Magic slams down the gas!

Careening down the road, the Chicken bawks, “They need to lose some extra weight!” To get up to speed, the Padres throw out MacKenzie Gore, C.J. Abrams, Robert Hassell III, James Wood and Jarlin Susana. For Magic to get the Dodgers to increase speed, he throws out an anecdote about him hugging Isiah Thomas at half court. “You need more speed, Magic!” The actor who played Magic in the Showtime HBO series screams. Magic says, “Have you heard about the one of me and Clyde the Glide?” It’s not enough! The San Diego Chicken is the type that drives right towards a big trade and waits for the other team to swerve. It ain’t afraid — it accepts that Gore is sometimes necessary.

So, Juan Soto goes to the Padres. They have Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Sexy Dr. Pepper? Um…

Seriously…

Like seriously seriously…

Fun the Jewels, Macho Manny and Sexy Dr. Pepper. Guys and five lady readers, I am doing a horny. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?