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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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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. 

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:

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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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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?

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?

Remember last year’s trade deadline spectacular? It was more entertaining than about 90% of the baseball games I watched this year or last. There was drama, there was betrayal and there was probably some families displaced from their homes but it sure was a lot of fun to watch unfold. Last year’s deadline fell on a Friday so maybe that’s why but it seemed more suspenseful. It’s still early sure, but all had been quiet, dot dot dot…(you know I’m gonna say something good cause I used the past participle!) until late Friday night the Seattle Mariners swung their Ds back in Astros general direction acquiring Ace flamethrower Luis Castillo from the Ms for an impressive package of prospects including Noelvi Marte, Levi Stoudt, Edwin Arroyo and Andrew Moore. I’ll leave the prospect gushing to The Itch but I know Marte and Arroyo are tippy-top talents with the Noelvi (.270/.360/.46, 15 HR, 55 RBI and 12 SB at High-A) considered one of the top 50 in the country. It’s the first big (sorry Benny) trade of the deadline and who many thought was the best pitcher available for trade. That’s because Castillo and his 2.86 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 90/28 K/BB would be a number one starter on any team. He’s been especially flames lately with a 1.93 ERA in July and batters hitting just .176 against him. The Mariners haven’t made the playoffs in over 20 years, and they’re hoping adding Luis to a rotation that includes Robbie Ray and Logan Gilbert will give them one of the more formidable staffs in the league. As for Castillo’s fantasy value, he moves to a better team and a pitcher-friendly park so LC should be able to improve upon the measly four wins he was able to muster in Cincinnati. With a postseason drought like Seattle’s I think we’re all rooting for the Ms, but only time will tell if this move will do anything to stave off the Astros. Now if only Kyle Lewis could stay healthy! Good luck with that!

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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Deejay, “Hey, welcome back to Bleday! We are your nonstop rap, hip-hop, trip-hop, bounce, cloud rap, road rap, Christmas rap, Hanukkah rap, Jerkin’, freestyle, trap, but no Jazz rap, he’s out with a stress fracture in his back. Now, let’s boogie for the 2nd half of the season!” Wait, that was me at the end. Was it clearly not me prior to that? Yes? Okay, great. So, JJ Bleday (2-for-4, 1 run and his 1st steal) was called up by the Marlins. Fun fact! Bleday is the rap station in Los Angeles. A less fun fact is Bleday was hitting .228 in Triple-A. He hits everything in the air, which isn’t bad for a power hitter, but it will mean not a lot on average, and, while he stole on Sunday, he doesn’t have a lot of speed either. Think a young Rhys Hoskins. Call him Mees Hoskids, because the JJ stands for Jar Jar. Bleday should see playing time, along with Bryan De La Cruz (2-for-4, 2 RBIs and his 7th homer), because Jorge Soler hit the IL, i.e., Bryan De La Soler is plug one. Bleday, plug two. De La Soler, plug one. Bleday, plug two. Anyway. here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?