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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?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Rocco Baldelli asked to see James Karinchak’s hair this past weekend to see if he had any foreign substance in there, to see if he was cheating, and I said, in my head, “Karinchak is getting a call from the manager, so that makes Baldelli a Karencheck,” and now Karencheck pulled Joe Ryan (7 IP, 0 ER, 2 walks, 9 Ks, ERA at 3.83) from a no-hitter in the 7th with 106 pitches thrown. Karencheck! You wanna make new rules, MLB? (By the way, in the video at top of this post, it’s this week’s podcast, where BDon and I discuss the new rules — it’s about 10 minutes in.) How about this new rule, no matter what, if the player is healthy, they have to pitch if there’s a no hitter? Make that a rule, you sissies! *puts chew in bottom lip, accidentally swallows chew, vomits up chew and vomit spells out “THAT’S WHAT REAL MEN DO”* My vomit is calling you out, Karencheck! Joe Ryan’s peripherals are 9.3 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 4.40 xFIP and a hilariously terrible ground ball rate (26.6%), so he’s very susceptible to homers, and that burned him at times this year. How’sever, Joe Ryan for 2023 fantasy, I’m still a believer, as long as he doesn’t show up at camp with a dead arm (lots of IP this year). He’s a rookie, who had excellent command in the minors, and hasn’t scratched that surface yet. Joe Ryan for 2023 fantasy will be an ace or need to be shutdown in the spring with arm issues. Roll that dice, you momma’s boys, and don’t make me spell out things in my vomit anymore! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Rangers have called up Josh Jung. Heads over to Amazon to order a megaphone; sits by door to wait three to five days for shipping; argues with Cougs about how we should get Prime; being told we do have Prime, it’s just I don’t have Prime; we argue more, and, finally, the megaphone arrives after five days. I rip apart the packaging, and push button, but I need batteries. I beg Cougs for our Prime password, so I can get batteries quicker, she acquiesces, and the next day, when the batteries arrive, I load them into the megaphone, press the button and scream, “LET’S F***ING GO!” The asterisks were megaphone feedback. So, Josh Jung finally gets the call, and he’s a immediate add in all leagues. He’s got 60-grade power, and shouldn’t struggle to hit for a decent average. Has no speed, and you never know what a guy is going to do in only a month of time, but I’m here for the Rangers’ Ponce De Leon’ing to get Jung again, and so should you. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Well Razzfolks, I spoke too soon in last week’s edition of Razzball Ambulance Chasers. In this edition, we are chock full of injuries. So, Grey cannot lay me off yet, right? RIGHT? Last week, the Cincinnati Reds descent into madness continues as five Reds, including Joey Votto, hit the IL. Across the country, the Padres […]

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Itch and I were having a discussion yesterday and I’m going to paraphrase it here:

Itch, “I know the Cubs are not good. I just cannot remember a trade as weird as the Jordan Montgomery thing. Why would the Yankees trade Jordan Montgomery for Harrison Bader? Like, you find out the guy (Bader), is hurt you cancel the trade, you don’t trade for him on purpose. They (the Yankees) had a deal in hand for someone, is the story Cashman is leaking?”
Me, “Yeah, but it’s not why. We’re missing a piece of the details. People being told, ‘The Yanks had a deal in place’ or ‘Jordan Montgomery wasn’t making the playoff rotation, and the Yankees need defense because Aaron Hicks is awful’ are not real reasons. That’s just what they’re feeding people. We do not know the real reason. We’re missing a piece that makes the trade make sense, and, without that reason, we will never know.”
Itch, “I meant to text my brother. Who is this? Grey? I want to punch you so bad.”

We may never know why the Yankees traded Jordan Montgomery (9 IP, 0 ER, 1 hit, zero walks, 7 Ks, ERA at 3.08), but it wasn’t because he’s a bad pitcher. He was a sleeper last year for me, and I think people still underestimate him. He won’t blow you away with strikeouts for 2023 fantasy either. His ground balls are up (not literally) going from 42.7% to 47.1%. His command is immaculate (1.7 BB/9), down almost a full walk per nine. That is my one concern about him for 2023 fantasy. When you have a 7.8 K/9, you kinda have to be perfect with your command. You lose a fraction of that command and your ERA goes from 3.30-ish to 3.85+. Usable, but not nearly as lovable for this JoMosexual. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The baseball world got some disappointing news Friday night when San Diego Padres shortstop slash motorcycle rider slash drug user slash all around cool guy Fernando Tatis Jr. was handed a 80 game suspension by Major League Baseball after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. WTF FTJ, PEDs!? SMH. I can think of some other […]

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“HAHAHAHAHAHAHA–”
“–Breathe, Grey! Come back to us! We’re losing him!”
“Someone put out a cape, I think I’m going to faint like a damsel.”

Granted, I don’t know much about basketball, but he compared himself to LeBron? Yo, has Jeimer Candelario had a break from reality? I guess tying Aaron Judge with the most homers in the 2nd half with four can play tricks on your ego. Yesterday, Jeimer Candelario (2-for-5, 3 RBIs) hit his 10th homer, and 4th in the last week. He was a sleeper of mine this past offseason — not great, Bob! — but he is hot now. By the way, his ten homers leads the Tigers in homers, and that is so freakin’ funny to me. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?