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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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He’s done it! He’s done it! He’s done it! Aaron Judge (2-for-7, 2 runs) has hit his 62nd homer, and moved within 11 homers of Barry Bonds’ home run record! Incredible! Honestly, I’m kinda surprised no American League hitter had hit 60+ homers all during the wild, raucous 90s and early aughts when players testes were at their smallest and their biceps were at their biggest. The most shocking record still of the steroids era? With all the juicing going on, Bruce Bochy still had the biggest head. As mentioned before, this is one of the greatest seasons of all-time. Even Rudy was looking at the historical Player Rater the other day and was like, “This is the best season since the depression!” I didn’t ask him if he meant 2008, because I don’t like when he mutes me. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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“Hey, yo, long-time listener, first-time caller, this is Jimmy from Dyker Heights. The Mets, guy, are killin’ me with the freakin’ James McCann, guy. I said to my ma, “Ma, what are the Mets doing, guy, they’re throwing away everything they’ve built this year to have this stunod behind the plate. Why don’t they try callin’ up what’s-his-face Francisco Alvarez. He’s the future, right, guy? The right guy, guy? You know what I’m sayin’ here, guy. Jesus effin Christ, ma, lower your freaking Dean Martin, I’m on the phone with WFAN! I read on Razzball dot com this Prospect Itch guy said a few months ago, and I quote, ‘A rare backstop in that Francisco Alvarez features plus athleticism and foot-speed, Alvarez stands alone atop minor league catcher mountain after Adley Rutschman joined the Orioles. Alvarez generates easy loft from a strong natural uppercut. After demolishing A ball for 15 games, Alvarez got the quick bump to A+ and struggled a bit before surging to finish with 22 HR and 6 SB in 84 games. That’ll play. His 12/24.6 BB/K rate ain’t too shabby either, especially considering he was 3.9 years younger than his average competitor.’ Badda bing badda boom, call this guy up, guy!” So, Jimmy from Dyker Heights got his wish, and Itch’s words speak to the excitement we should have for Francisco Alvarez next year. For this year? Well, if you wanna try to catch lightning in a bottle by all means, guy. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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This fall on Disney+ It’s LoGi! A Seattle Mariners pitcher,  Logan Gilbert (6 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 11 Ks, ERA at 3.13) discovers his worst case scenario is still better than 95% of pitchers and decides to show them suckas. Critics rave, “He really shows them suckas.” “Suckas be shown,” another critic pronounced. “Showing suckas isn’t easy, but It’s LoGi makes it seem effortless.” The thing with starting pitchers is there’s just too many of them. In 2023 fantasy, the Scherzers, Coles, deGroms whoevers will be drafted early, but at a certain point, all those schmohawks drafting starters early will let up on the gas and draft hitters. While those hitters are being drafted, guys like It’s LoGi will just be sitting there, and you’ll be like, “Did I really just draft a starter who had a barely-3.00 ERA last year at pick 75?” And the answer is, as always, yes. There’s just so many pitchers that guys always fall through the cracks. Then next year It’s LoGi is again a 2.95 ERA guy and everyone like, “Damn, I can’t believe I drafted Gerrit Cole in the first 15 picks when I could’ve waited for It’s LoGi.” Yeah, no kidding. It’s always like this. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Hey everybody! This article will wrap up my 2022 starting pitcher analysis. I’ll explain my rankings process, highlight some notable successes, and highlight the deficiencies. Along the way, I’ll teach you how to build your ranking sheet from Razzball data! If you’re the kind of person that thinks managing an Excel sheet with 3,000 data points is fun, this article is for you!

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Justin Verlander (6 IP, 0 ER, no baserunners, 10 Ks, ERA at 1.87) is built different. At 39 years of age, he is dominating like he’s in his 20s. He’s doing things that have never been done before, while just coming back from Tommy John surgery. He truly is remarkable. I have an idea about how he’s performing so well, but to test my theory, I need to sleep with Kate Upton. I will talk to my wife, Cougs, and I will need to get Justin and Kate’s permission, as well. For science is how I will pitch it, and I’ll need to pitch better than Justin to get this to fly. I believe this is a sacrifice all four of us can make. I will be making perhaps the biggest sacrifice. For 2023 fantasy, what will Justin Verlander do as an encore after this season? His peripherals (8.9 K/9, 1.5 BB/9, 3.36 xFIP) look basically the same as his first Cy Young award that he won back in 2011, and, he should win his third this year. There’s no way I’m betting against Justin Verlander next year, not until everyone involved lets me sleep with Kate Upton to see if that has magical powers. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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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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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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Went over the top 25 last week and the comments reminded me to point something out about these rankings. In an effort to be as objective as possible, I am presenting them in the exact order of their projections. One of the great things about points leagues is how straightforward they are. That being said, the exact ranking that an individual player has next to his name isn’t important. In many cases, players are clustered together with four or five guys separated by only a couple points. This basically groups everyone into tiers, afterall, a single homerun one way or the other could shift a guys projection up or down multiple spots in the rankings. The moral of the story is, don’t read too much into what rank a guy holds on this list. Best of luck in the second half and may you bring home that championship. And now, on to the best of the rest.

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For what it’s Cronenworth, I wrote this prior to the news the Yankees were acquiring Andrew Benintendi:

Let’s make it 2-for-2 off the bat and DFA Joey Gallo! That would also be a better hitting line than Gallo’s ever had. The Mets got the Yanks so shook after a walk-off win they went out and acquired a guy who can’t even play in Toronto in the playoffs. Doesn’t seem like the smartest of trades, but I’m sure Cashman did his research. So, the assumption is Hicks goes to the bench (finally!), and Benintendi goes out to left field. Then what happens when Giancarlo returns, and they trade for David Peralta and Matt Carpenter hits 6 homers in a week and the sky is falling! I don’t know. Benintendi is clearly helped by this move, due to the stadium and lineup, but he does have a very flat Launch Angle and kinda makes baby contact, so I don’t think this boosts Benintendi to, say, a top 20 outfielder. He’s around a top 40 outfielder now, and I’d say he’s top 30 now. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?