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.
Happy Saturday, Razzballers! The countdown to the post-season continues. This week in “There Goes My Season!” you will find appearances from Byron Buxton, Tyler Wells, Garrett Whitlock, Nick Senzel, Trevor Rogers, Eric Stout, and a few suspected others. In the cruelest twist of fate, Ozzie Albies broke his finger one day after returning from the […]
Jerry Tomato Realmuto (5-for-5, 2 runs, 2 RBIs and his 20th homer, hitting .278) is leading the pack for catchers once again on the Player Rater. Jerry Tomato, just sitting on the top of the heap, telling everyone to ketchup. The cream of the crap hasn’t smelled this bad in a while. Salvador Perez flew so close to the sun last year, that Sal Icarus made us forgot what good catchers are actually capable of when they’re being nice, good little catchers. J.T. Realmuto reminding us that 20-something homers and a .275 average is all you can hope for. Ha, that sounds so nihilistic. German accent, “Das nein else to hope for. Das boot catchers. Excuse me, not boot, how do you say in English das punt. Yes, dat one.” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
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:
Julio Rodriguez (2-for-3, 2 runs) slammed (26) and leggsed (25) his way to history. Arod once went 40/40 for them, which begs the question, “Why don’t the Mariners sign more Rodriguezes?” Didn’t they learn from Baltimore when they stopped signing Robinsons? So, Julio Rodriguez becomes the fastest to 25/25 in just 125 games, beating Mike Trout (128 games), and Julio Rodriguez becomes the fastest to be the apple of my eye. The bounce in my step. The who in my ha. The cha-ching on my register. The Chachi on my Happy Days. The hill in my soap box derby. The wind beneath my Barbara Hersey wings. The TV without the motion smoothing. The cooler that holds a backup kidney if I need one. Belting at the top of my lungs, “You are my sunshine. My only sunshine!” BDon and I talk in the video at the top of the page about where do Aaron Judge and Shohei Ohtani fall in the 2023 fantasy baseball drafts, but Julio Rodriguez in 2023 fantasy? Is he any later than top 5? Before or after Judge? Ohtani? I’m not trying to commit just yet, but they’re all gonna be in that general vicinity. “General vicinity” is a fantasy baseball ‘pert’s greatest hedge. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Corbin Burnes (8 IP, 1 ER, 3 baserunners, 14 Ks, ERA 2.93) held the Giants to one run as he struck out 14. The last guy to hold down the Giants like that was David in the Bible…*Starts sobbing* I’m sorry! I can’t go on! The Queen! She’s gone! What a way to ruin the end of The Crown! No one even gave a spoiler alert! Maybe rather than mourning the Queen’s death, we should be celebrating that Reggie Jackson finally succeeded. Hope someone was filming it, hate to miss out on a Naked Gun sequel. So, Corbin Burnes is once again the best pitcher in baseball or what? In 2023 fantasy, there’s gonna be a lot of pitchers drafted first, I imagine. Corbin Burnes might be one of them, but I bet he’s not the majority’s choice. Of course, I won’t be interested in a starter that early, but I also don’t see anyone else I trust as much as Corbin Burnes for the top 2023 fantasy baseball pitcher. Definitely not Gerrit Cole; maybe Dylan Cease; possibly Shane McClanhananananannanannananananan if he were healthy, but he’s not. Corbin Burnes has the 6th best K-BB%, 7th best xFIP, 5th best K/9 and is remarkably durable and youngish. For 2023 fantasy, it seems hard to twist myself in enough knots to look at anyone else as the best starter. Though, I’d love to Cease up Dylan. Oh, well, long live King Burnes. Anyway. here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
About a month ago, we joined hands in a prayer circle and prayed to the Ghost of Tommy John that he wouldn’t claim the elbows of any of our fantasy starters. So far, so good. Tommy John must have approved of our sacrifice of Coolwhip and offerings of Orange Julius! Thank you for your service to Razzball, Whip, and please don’t haunt us. We were just trying to win! But for real, Whip is alive and kicking and that Orange Julius in fresh in my hand, ready for slurping through a hot dog straw.
The majority of y’all who are still attending my weekly starting pitcher therapy sessions are here because you’re in the fantasy playoffs. If so, drop me a line in the comments and let me know what you need, friend! For everybody else, I assume you’re here either because of inertia, my jokes, or you just want to see if I somehow lose my sanity and tell you to spend all of your dynasty bucks on Sandy Alcantara. The latter will never happen.
Let’s jump in and see what we can do for your fantasy playoffs!
Just yesterday, Prospect Itch featured Corbin Carroll as the number one prospect to stash, and now he’s called up. Maybe Itch can make things happen with his words, which is why I’m worried when he talks about locking me in the trunk of a car and driving me into the desert. Also, driving into the desert is Corbin Carroll! Hashtag nailed it! He’s not looking for holes though, and he’s got no holes in his swing. He was also number one on Itch’s Top 25 for Dynasty Leagues. I don’t know if Gunnar Henderson is called up this year, my guess is no, but I wasn’t sure on Corbin Carroll either. I did give you a buy on him about six weeks ago, where I said, “Corbin Carroll has to be on the short list of 2023 ROY candidates if he stays down. Yeah, yeah, keyword: Short. Hardy har har! You tall guys think you’re so cool! ‘Hey, look at me, I can get cereal down without standing on a chair!’ Aren’t you fantastic?! Sounding like an alien who is just discovering old HBO shows, Corbin Carroll is under six feet. Much like Mookie Betts with both power, speed and average. He is the total package like Paul Orndorff.” And that’s me quoting me! I grabbed him in my shallowest league, and I would grab him in any league. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:
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:
The Rangers must be looking for a Bubba sparks to rock it very well, because they’re calling up outfielder, Bubba Thompson (1-for-3). Looking at my fantasy team with no speed, “Ah, yeah, I found you, team with an outfield that is booty.” Seeing Prince Fielder’s poster in the Hall of Legends in Arlington, singing softly, “Booty, booty, booty, booty, rockin’ everywhere.” Walking into the VIP section of the loge deck, “Hit the player’s club for bout a month or two,” rubs pluot on shirt, “Get it ripe, get it right, hit it with a bite.” Okay, sorry! Bubba Sparxxx makes me laugh. So, the Rangers are calling up Bubba Thompson, whose minor league numbers are eye-poppingly gorge: In 80 games at Triple-A, he hit 13 homers and .303, with 49 steals. Get it ripe, get it right, steal a base on sight! He was in Itch’s top 60 outfielder prospects, and, one love to Itch, but even if he wasn’t, and he had 49 steals in a half season, I’d be interested, because the speed category for all of my fantasy teams is booty, booty, booty, booty, suckin’ everywhere. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
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:
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: