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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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All the final 2022 fantasy baseball rankings for hitters are done. For those that skipped today’s title, this starts the top 20 starters for 2022 fantasy baseball. This is NOT for next year (caps for those who can’t read titles; supposedly it’s easier to read caps, I have my doubts). This is a recap. Will these affect next year’s rankings? Sure. Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know. Not entirely. Yes, entirely. Like when you had a knee replacement, this is a recap! To recapitulate the recap, these rankings are from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater. We’re (me’re) using it to fairly gauge our (my) preseason rankings. Anyway, here’s the top 20 starters for 2022 fantasy baseball and how they compared to where I originally ranked them:

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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:

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Tis the season to watch the scoreboard. My own teams are fighting down the stretch, and I’m looking their way more often than necessary. I’m hoping to write a postseason piece on my processes and outcomes, but I don’t want to jinx anything by starting early. 

For fantasy tweeters, it’s victory lap season. You might’ve seen a few threads already, typically in a shape like “What’d you get right and wrong this year?” Always worth our time to review the roads that brought us here, so I’ll be hopping back to March 30 to revisit my early season Brash Predictions 2022: Prospects Edition

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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:

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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?

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Welcome to your weekly edition of your Razzball fantasy baseball injury report, friends. There is only about one month of regular season baseball left, and quite frankly, this is no time for shenanigans if you want to move up the ranks in your leagues. You know who does have time for shenanigans? Aroldis Chapman who […]

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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:

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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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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:

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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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Remember when it was July and we were all watching Stranger Things for the first time and getting Covid for the fourth time and I mentioned that a lot of fantasy baseball leagues were a matter of weeks away from the playoffs? Hey Siri, tell me what I said a few weeks ago. Weird thing is, Siri could actually do that, but Siri just doesn’t want you to know they could do that. Just like I could tell you that Grey has been wearing the same pair of “lucky” socks since 2007, but he doesn’t want you to know that. ENYWHEY.

As we look into crystal ball that reveals the pitchers of the future, let’s take a special look to see which pitchers might take a breather along the way and become less useful for fantasy managers in the playoffs. Before we get too far, it’s worthwhile to note — this kind of discussion isn’t an exact science. However, there are factors that clue us in to which pitchers will be less or more useful to fantasy managers in the playoffs.

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