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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?

Major League Baseball isn’t supposed to look this easy this deep into a guy’s career. Miguel Cabrera’s got five homers on the year! Albert Pujols now has more homers than everyone in the league since August 14th, except for Aaron Judge, and he doesn’t have less homers than Judge, he has the same amount! All the hype about Judge and Pujols has same number of homers as Judge over the last six weeks! Pujols is 78 years old, and has 15 homers since August 14th! I don’t care if they’re meatballing him and Rob Manfred is sticking a PEDs needle in Pujols’s butt after he exits the shower. This is incredible. This isn’t supposed to be possible by a guy heading to the grand sunset over the bleachers. Yesterday, Albert Pujols went 2-for-2, 2 runs, 3 RBIs and his 23rd homer, as he hits .268. He’s having a better season than Eloy Jimenez! On top of everything yesterday, Pujols tied Babe Ruth for 2nd on the all-time RBIs list with 2,214. That is such an absurd number of RBIs. Go ahead, and average 110 RBIs for 20 years, and you get close! Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend 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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The White Sox have been homer-less all season. Not literally. But it’s been bad. Andrew Vaughn (1-for-3) hit his 16th homer. It is so wild that he leads the White Sox in homers. White Sox all went to the offseason seminar at the Ramada titled, “Arraez and Shine,” hosted by Luis. This September Eloy Jimenez (0-for-3, 1 run) became the first White Sox player in a month with five or more homers. On the reals, that’s awful. Is it the humidor? Tony La Russa muttering, “Bunt” from the hospital bed he’s had them tow into the dugout? Or something else? I’m not sure, but it’s comically bad. Though, yesterday was a reprieve. Yasmani Grandal (2-for-3) hit his 5th homer. Yasmani is generous, more like Yasbarelyani. Yoan Moncada (4-for-5, 2 runs) hit his 10th homer. I’m not joking when I say it looked like the White Sox were taking batting practice vs. Hunter Gaddis. Gaddis sounds like gibberish for “Got his ass,” and they did, indeed. Elvis Andrus (1-for-5) hit his 14th homer, and will once again be in this afternoon’s Buy column, because otherwise would be malpractice, and you’d sue me, and I’d have to relocate to Mexico under an assumed identity, and get mixed up with a bunch of anarchists. Finally, Gavin Sheets (1-for-4, 2 RBIs) hit his 13th homer. Fun fact! I call my toilet, “Havin’ Shits.” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Fresh goes better in life with Vientos, fresh and full of life! Ahh…The Metsmaker! Sorry, that was stuck in my head. Now, hopefully, it’s stuck in your head too. Mets called up their next great hitting prospect, Mark Vientos, after Starling Marte went to the IL. Can Vientos play outfield? Absolutely not. Can Vientos run? His speed has been described as “an 80-year-old baby crawling with tennis balls on its knees.” Can Vientos hit bombs? To the freakin’ moon! He kinda reminds me of a young Evan Longoria. Now take everything you’ve thought about Longoria over the last seven years, scrub it from your brain, and think about Longoria as if this is 2016. Your brain in 2016, “Rays should lock this Longoria guy up for another ten years! He’s amazing! Wait! They let Longoria go? Wow, what a mistake! They just let a perennial 30+ homer, .270 hitter go! Rays will be in last place for the next decade. What a bunch of losers!” So, your 2016 brain is kinda remembering correctly. Longo was good at that point. Mark Vientos can be good too. Prospect Itch has more concerns about his batting average in his top 100 prospects. For this year, do I want Mark Vientos in a redraft league? No, I’d want Eduardo Escobar. Or maybe even Evan Longoria. Anyway. here’s what else I saw this weekend 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?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I know it’s stone fruit season, but check out the plums on the Diamondbacks! They called up Stone Garrett (2-for-3). Mean’s while, Corbin Carroll remains a stone’s throw away. What’s that all about? This guy may be Stone, but it’s still Rock and Carroll to me! Garrett’s numbers are goofy, and goofy is good. 28/15/.278 in 385 ABs should definitely get the berries tingling. Here’s what Prospect Itch has said, “(Diamondbacks’) AAA numbers are always inflated, but Garrett’s plus power and .375/.430/.764 slash line look good enough to mix in with that lineup, at least. Garrett’s a guy with big raw power, who gains a little value in an environment where it’s harder to clear the fence. He’s looking at near-term playing time and has enough speed to help us in roto leagues if he gets the time. If only I had time to beat up Grey.” Dude, cmon! In an NL-Only league, I’m absolutely interested. In mixed leagues, I’m kinda wait-and-see for now, but that could change very quickly. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday 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?

Yesterday, Reid Detmers went 7 IP, 1 ER, 6 baserunners, 12 Ks, ERA at 3.62, as he threw an immaculate inning. Ya know what? There’s a lotta immaculate innings this year. I bet Rob Manfred has them using an immaculate inning ball. Detmers now has two huge starts this year (he no-hit the Rays earlier in the year) built around a rough patch, surrounding a demotion that was tagged “Fixer-upper,” and upper he fixer’d. Since he was recalled from his demotion, he’s been essentially lights-out (24 IP, 3 ER, 31 Ks). There was 9 BBs in those 24 IP, which is still a concern, but he looks like he’s on the standard path of ugly rookie year (last year), up-and-down year two (that’s right now) and next year will be the real breakout. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“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?