Please see our player page for Jose Berrios to see projections for today, the next 7 days and rest of season as well as stats and gamelogs designed with the fantasy baseball player in mind.

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?

Welcome back to our year-end awards show! If there’s any issues with the award ballots, don’t look at me. These were all tabulated at the accounting firm of Fried, Tellez and Bregman. Stop giving them the evil eye, German Marquez! You might be wondering why I’m hosting. Well, at the last minute our other host had to back out. Sadly, Joe Buck couldn’t be hair. I mean here. HAHA…Wait a second! Why is Will Smith, the catcher, coming on stage? *smack* Ow! It was a joke about Joe Buck’s hair. Damn! Now, before we get to our first award, I just want to thank everyone. I appreciate all of you, except Jonathan India. Okay, now onto the awards, without which you’d have no idea who was the best and worst hitters and pitchers this year, and you’d be left giving out your own awards and no one cares if your “Low sodium tomato soup in a sourdough bowl” won your “Whitest Lunch Of All-Time” award. Stop making up fake awards! Leave that to me. Anyway, here’s the year-end awards for the best and worst of 2022 fantasy baseball:

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Shh…That was what I was saying yesterday. I was like a librarian with my index finger pressed to my collagen-filled lips. I was lowering the shades of my house hoping no one passing by would see how well Luis Severino was pitching. My phone rang; it was a telemarketer, and I talked to them for 45 minutes because I knew if they were talking to me, then they couldn’t be watching Luis Severino and getting excited for him for 2023 fantasy. One less person who’s going to be get all Jazzy Jeff’d for Luis Severino. I don’t need people seeing that! Yesterday, Luis Severino went 7 IP, 0 ER, zero hits, 1 walk, 7 Ks, ERA at 3.18, as he was throwing speedballs by everyone, just peppering 98 to 100 MPH fastballs into the 7th inning, like it was nothing. For 2023 fantasy, Luis Severino will be going around the number three fantasy starters, and be on my short list for guys who can be an ace. I’m already thinking about the Luis Severino sleeper. I wrote a Jordan Montgomery sleeper last year, so being on the Yankees won’t preclude that possibility. Severino’s going to get all that 2023 shine! Now, that you’ve read this, set fire to your computer so no one else can read this and know how good Severino was yesterday. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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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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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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?

Frequent commenter, PK, said the other day, “We have Hunter Greene, and now Hunter Brown in the big leagues. Just need a Hunter Orange to complete the redneck trifecta!” And I haven’t stopped thinking about that, so now you also have to think about it. Hey, PK, save the genius stuff for me! Or, Hunter Brown (6 IP, 0 ER, 3 hits, 1 walk, 5 Ks), as was the case yesterday in his MLB debut. At some point, the Astros have to stop creating top flight arms, don’t they? Wait a second! You know how the A’s went from attracting fans with OBP to allowing fans to have sex in the bleachers (sorta true, google it, if you don’t believe me), from Moneyball to NoMoneyball to Hornyball. Maybe the Astros are going from the Cheaty Cheaty Bang Bang Scandal to some other scandal we don’t know about yet that turns guys like Framber into aces. Mentioned this on the podcast the other day, which is on Youtube, and will be out on our regular podcast channel today, when discussing Hunter Brown. Astros get so much more from their starters than anyone expects. Why? Is something suspicious going on? Sorry, cheat once and I always think you’re cheating. With Hunter Brown, people actually expect nasty stuff, and with good reason. He has a filthy 85 MPH curve, 96 MPH slider — that’s right, 96 MPH! That’s the fastest slider in the majors this year, outside of deGrom — and a 97 MPH fastball. If you didn’t watch him, all the pitches looked devastatingly good. Now’s the time when I turn this back into the here and now and for this year, you’re likely better off with the Streamonator than holding Brown. Also, holding Brown is how one gets sepsis. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

First thing you do in Cincy? Eat some spaghetti with chili. Second thing you do, take a picture by the Harambe statue in front of the Cincy Zoo. Third thing you do, make a wager with Pete Rose’s bookie. Fourth thing, tell people that like Johnny Bench used to hold seven baseballs in his hand, your daddy used to hold eight. Then, when asked, you show your father’s picture, which is Jimmy Connors. Fifth thing you do, is go to Great American Park and hit some homers. Tyler O’Neill (2-for-4, 3 runs, 3 RBIs and his 11th and 12th homer) knows what’s up; Albert Pujols (2-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs and his 15th homer) knows how to hit the special baseballs marked by Manfred “Easy Fly” as he marches towards 700; Corey Dickerson (3-for-5, 2 runs) hit his 5th homer as he stays about as hot as anyone; TJ Friedl (1-for-4 with his 3rd homer) goes bang-zoomie, and is challenging Corey Dickerson as one of the hottest schmotatoes in fantasy; Stuart Fairchild (2-for-4 with his 4th homer) has three homers in four games as he keeps pace with Dickerson and Friedl; Chuckie Robinson (1-for-4, 2 RBIs and his 1st homer)…well, who the fu*kie is Chuckie Robinson? Is he What We Do In The Shadows’s Colin Robinson’s child that he had with that doll? So, Tyler O’Neill has been a real Richard Chamberlain in the side of his owners. Ya know, Chamberlain played a Thorn and O’Neill plays for the Cards, who are birds, so he’s a Thorn Bird. Are y’all following or do you need more crumbs? Honestly, I think O’Neill’s been hurt this year. This was supposed to be the year he cemented himself in the top 20 overall. Instead, he fit our fantasy teams for cement boots. His Launch Angle is down; his HardHit% is down; ground balls are up; listen, nothing’s working. If he has been hurt, then 2023 Tyler O’Neill could be a nice bounce back candidate next year. His price will definitely be much cheaper — “barely at all” is my guess. Can he bounce back? Absolutely. If the price for Tyler O’Neill in 2023 fantasy is where I think it might be, Tyler O’Neill is going to find himself on quite a few sleeper lists. For this year, I like him if he’s hot, but I stopped holding my breath. *lowers head, barely audible* Because I’m wearing a snorkel! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Gnats are bringing up their 1st rounder from 2020, Cade Cavalli, who sounds like someone from Laguna Niguel who is on The Hills: Rebooted. “Hey, Cade, I know you drove my Ferrari last night into our pool, and your father and I are not mad, but Dad is disappointed, and I’m too zoinked on quaaludes to really care.” Kristin Cavallari’s new boy-toy, Cade Cavalli will make his MLB debut on Friday. He made the top 100 fantasy baseball prospects for dynasty leagues. Does that mean his pitches dy…*pinkie to mouth*…nasty?! Die nasty? No? Yeah, I don’t know either. Here’s what Itch said previously, “A late convert to full-time pitching, Cavalli brought some untapped upside to the MLB draft and landed at 22nd overall to the Nationals, who are never afraid to snag a first-round arm talent with question marks. Cavalli thrived as a pro and climbed three levels, dominating in A+ and AA before getting knocked around in his first tour through Triple-A. Cavalli suppressed home runs and induced ground balls all year, striking out 175 batters in 123.1 innings along the way. He’s a thick 6’4” 235 and looks like a linebacker on the mound. Love to see him flatten Grey.” Not cool, man! That was from the preseason, and Cavalli has looked much better this year in Triple-A. With all that said (here’s where I reveal I just wasted your time), I’m not grabbing Cavalli in any mixed leagues, but I will be cyclops’ing him. Especially if he’s hanging with Heidi, Spencer and Lauren. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The MLB playoffs are still a month away, but your fantasy baseball playoffs are practically here! Your starting pitching philosophy changes dramatically when the stakes are high and time is limited. If you’re a strong team in the playoffs, you’ll want to use pitchers with confident outcomes. If you’re a weak team, you might need to make some risky pitcher plays to stay in the running — but nobody expected the #6 seed to advance anyway, right? When the expected outcome is “lose,” you should take every risk you can to put variance in your favor and win. 

Let’s jump right in to the actionable items. As mentioned last week, I am no longer providing the hierarchical ranks — the data window of remaining MLB games is insufficient to move the ranking needle on up-and-coming pitchers. 

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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:

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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?