[brid autoplay=”true” video=”1233324″ player=”13959″ title=”2023%20Razzball%20Draft%20Kit%20Starters” duration=”218″ description=”Starter Targets for 2023 Fantasy Baseball00:31 Yu Darvish1:26 Luis Severino 2:11 Edward Cabrera” uploaddate=”2023-01-31″ thumbnailurl=”https://cdn.brid.tv/live/partners/9233/snapshot/1233324_th_1675190616.jpg” contentUrl=”//cdn.brid.tv/live/partners/9233/sd/1233324.mp4″ width=”480″ height=”270″]

The top 40 starters for 2023 fantasy baseball fall roughly in the 75 to 125 overall for those of you who are wondering where we are overall, and, of course, when the rankings are done I will be along with a top 500 overall to show you exactly where we are. Think of this set of starters as your number twos and number threes, but, again, I will have a pitchers’ pairing tool to help with that too. I give and you receive. Ho, ho, ho, that’s me giving and you receiving. Also, Razzball Subscriptions are up and running, and that comes with our online Fantasy Baseball War Room. Here’s Steamer’s 2023 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2023 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers. All projections included here are mine, and where I see tiers starting and stopping are included. Anyway, here’s the top 40 starters for 2023 fantasy baseball:

NOTE I: All my rankings are currently available on Patreon for the price of a Starbucks coffee, if you get one of those extra grande frappuccino jobbers. Don’t wait for the rankings to come out over the next month, and get them all now.

NOTE II: Free agents are listed as just that and not yet projected. Once a guy signs, I will write out their blurb and add in projections, or remove them, if they sign in an unfavorable place. They are ranked currently where I think they might be if they sign on for a full-time job.


21. Framber Valdez – This tier started in the top 20 starters for 2023 fantasy baseball. This tier goes until Gallen. I called this tier, “Bon varyäge.” As for Framber, my calls for the Astros fans to dress like raspberries with berets on Valdez start days, and call themselves the Fram-boys has fallen on deaf ears thus far, but that hasn’t stopped me from starting a Petition dot org. Valdez’s ground ball rate is 66.5%. The next closest starter with 150+ IP was Logan Webb, who had a 56.7% rate. I don’t even know the first way to search this, but I have to think the difference of almost 10% between the top ground ball rate and the next best has to be some kind of record. “Hello, Guinness World Records? Yeah, I have a great one for you today. Yes, this is Grey. No, I don’t call every day. That’s obviously a lie, you’re not in your office on Sunday. No, goodbye to you, sir!” Guess they don’t want to know about the Framber “some kind of record.”  2023 Projections: 16-5/3.03/1.17/189 in 202 IP

22. Zac Gallen – It’s funny how stats work. Gallen was great for two years in 2019 and 2020, then looked awful in 2021 (4.30 ERA), but now after another great year in 2022, instead of 2021 being the beginning of a pitcher becoming mediocre, it’s clearly more of an outlier. Hey, I never said it’s haha funny. Last year, Gallen had a 9.4 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 3.31 xFIP, and has a career 3.09 ERA. Again, I’m asking you if any other position is this stacked? I get it, you need at least six starters, but there’s about fifty more to choose from, so I wouldn’t worry about that. Also, in how Ketel Marte became a 7-homer hitter, the humidor seems to have done its thing in Arizona for Gallen. Or “thang” if that’s how the humidor gets down. A once-prone-to-homers Gallen had his HR/FB% nearly halved. Gallen chomping on a cigar, “Making room for my balls in the humidor.” Um…okay. 2023 Projections: 12-8/3.24/1.02/192 in 181 IP

23. Hunter Greene – This is a new tier. This tier goes until Ryan. I call this tier, “Get fitted for a tuxedo shirt now.” After the season, there’s gonna be so much excitement and congratulations rolling in from your fantasy baseball championships, you won’t have time to get fitted for your tuxedo shirt then, so now’s the time. This tier is gonna get yo’self some championships. This is the tier where you’re going to win or lose your league. This is the tier last year where you found McClanahanananananananan, Manoah, Dylan Cease, Trevor Rogers and Sean Manaea. Okay, they’re not all gems, but these are the starters I am most excited about and will be drafting repeatedly without caution over and over again and again, same sentiment, same sentiment, same sentiment! I love all of these starters. You’ll notice some sleeper posts. In case you get the one starter this year that ends up like Rogers or Manaea, I’m not advising it, but you could prolly just draft three starters from this tier and stream, and be fine in shallower leagues (or maybe even deeper ones). At least three of these guys will be in the top 20 starters next year. Also, you might find yourself thinking, “Yo, Grey, if I were a female or into males, you and I would snog, but some of these guys are ranked way too high.” That’s fine, draft them when you need to, i.e., look at their ADP and draft them a round or two before that.

To help with my pitchers’ pairing tool update, I’ve kept most tier names the same (you’ll get over your outrage), and looking at this tier of “Guys I Gotta Get!” is just exhilarating. I feel like I have Viagra rushing through every extremity. My thumbs are hard. I cannot express to you how happy each of these guys makes me. People out there drafting a fading Gerrit Cole and I’m taking Greene and McKenzie, and gonna take all that hoo-ha to the bank.

As for Greene, already gave you my Hunter Greene sleeper. It was written while conquering my fear of thinking every duck is plotting against me. 2023 Projections: 10-7/3.72/1.16/209 in 164 IP

24. Nestor Cortes – In Coolwhip’s sleeper of Cortes last preseason, he called him a magician, and it truly is the best analogy there is for Nestor. Nestor barely throws 90 MPH, but it’s irrelevant because he shows you more looks than your interior designer. *cough* Boujee analogy! *cough* Think that’s boujee, Nestor has more release points than Jackson Pollock. What, am I writing for The New Yorker now? Get a grip, Grey! You’re the voice of the people not the 1%! I know, Random Italicized Voice, sorry, thanks for talking me down. Nestor is the “Rock Hudson in Pillow Talk” of his day (haha, I’m really not trying to make obscure analogies.) Rock was gay, and if he were alive today, he’d be open (you’d hope, at least), and wouldn’t be starring in Pillow Talk, since he had to feign gay. Yes, a gay Rock Hudson pretended to be gay to get a girl. Ah, the 50’s. Anyway, Nestor is Rock Hudson because last year was the best year in recent memory to get guys on deception, and he was the best to do it. Last year was the year to throw 91 MPH and be an ace. Will that continue this year? Until we see different, I have to assume it will. Can’t just guess that everything we saw last year will simply evaporate, i.e., Rock Hudson is about to star in the Pillow Talk sequel. These references are so crazy current, right? 2023 Projections: 13-7/3.41/1.05/174 in 171 IP

25. George Kirby – There really are so many Rock Hudsons this year. Kidding. Well, I’m not totally kidding, but I won’t torture you with another blurb about Rock Hudson. Kirby is of the same mold sorta — 9+ K/9, 1.5 BB/9 — but the velocity is 95 MPH and we might actually be way underestimating Kirby. This is kinda ranking him for him to repeat, but why can’t he take a step forward? How big of a step forward? Anywhere from an Andre the Giant-sized step forward and a 11+ K/9 to go with that pristine walk rate to more of an Altuve-sized step forward and Kirby keeps mostly his last year intact. Last year when he was 55th overall for starters on the Player Rater. Ah, before you tut-tut, let me tsk-tsk you and point out he only had eight wins and only threw 130 IP. If he had 13 wins and thirty more innings, he would’ve been around the 30th best starter. 2023 Projections: 12-8/3.32/1.14/166 in 161 IP

26. Joe Ryan – Already gave you my Joe Ryan sleeper. It was written while dancing under the pale blue moonlight. 2023 Projections: 14-7/3.21/1.07/181 in 177 IP

27. Zack Wheeler – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Rodon. I call this tier, “Raining cold water on the pants tent.” This is just a tier of guys who could be good, but Redd Foxx would call you a big ol’ dummy if you drafted any of them. Ain’t no thing in my chicken and wing combo, but, hell, if I’m paying full price for any of these guys. I am ye of little faith while listening to Faith No More after ripping Faith Evans out of my Word Up magazine, while guessing LIARS every day for Wordle. I’ve given you so many starters who I like up until this point, I’m just taking a little breaksie and giving you some starters I’m out on.

As for Wheeler, I hinted to you that if you wanted to put down a silly futures bet about Nola in the top 20 about him winning the Cy Young, that you’d have to cut me in. Samesies for Wheeler. Could see one of those guys winning 20 games and just being so good that everyone next offseason is going to be like, “Weird, not sure why I didn’t draft Wheeler or Nola in every league when it was so obvious in retrospect.”

So, if Wheeler could win the Cy, why bury him in the rankings? Why put him in an unfavorable tier? Putting out my feelers about Wheeler, and I’m getting the scared heebie-jeebies. Wheeler had forearm inflammation last September, but the team wasn’t concerned, he wasn’t concerned, and I’m saying, “Cool, but I am still concerned.” He returned to pitch well in the playoffs, and he might’ve just been sore from a long season, and they wanted to rest him. Then again, he had shoulder issues in March/April. This is a tough one, because I really like Wheeler, but, for those who think this low ranking is total crackers, he was 26th on the Player Rater last year for starters, so I’m only really expecting a slight step backwards. He’s a 9+ K/9, barely-2 BB/9 and 3.00 ERA pitcher, but can’t count on him for more than 160 IP, and even that feels more tenuous, and we all know “tenuous” makes U a zero out of us 10’s. 2023 Projections: 10-6/3.31/1.05/164 in 158 IP

28. Kyle Wright – Last year I told you to avoid Ian Anderson, who you might forget was being drafted around this spot last year. This year I’m saying samesies on Kyle Wright. I don’t know who the Braves have conjured up yet to be this year’s Kyle Wright, but the Braves only get one year from these out-of-nowhere starters. It’s the deal they made with the devil. I’m not 100% joking either. Maybe like 78% joking.

Last year Anderson was really being drafted as a top 30 starter, and this year he’s not even in the Braves’ rotation. Will this year be the year Bryce the Elder graduates to random Braves’ ace? Maybe. Maybe Jared Shuster; possibly Darius Vines. Maybe Darius Rucker. Someone besides Wright? That’s what I’d put my money on, but I just deposited a check for twelve dollars so I could cover a check I made out to get a coffee, so what do I know? Well, I do know, Wright has pretty meh stuff and looks a lot like Manaea going into last year. Barely a 8.5 K/9, and a strong possibility for a 3+ BB/9. I could be all wet, but Wright looks all wrong.  2023 Projections: 12-9/3.63/1.22/161 in 174 IP

29. Robbie Ray – One can get mesmerized by tight pants. Are they painted on? Is that a mole or a sunflower seed in his back pocket? Questions run through one’s mind, and, before you know it, you’re intrigued for all the wrong reasons. Robbie Ray might’ve got me last year with his Dutch Boy-painted on slacks, but I’d go to sleep saying his peripherals were worth last year’s price and wake saying the same. His stats now are a 10 K/9, and 3 BB/9 with a home run allowed problem, and they’re not as alluring as his previous year 11.5 K/9, 2.4 BB/9. Could he get back to 2021’s stats? Oh, baby got back, that’s how we got in this situation. Ray could back that thang up, but there’s too much risk for the cost. I’ll supplement my strikeouts elsewhere this year. 2023 Projections: 13-10/3.76/1.18/215 in 191 IP

30. Blake Snell – This tier is filled with flakes. Or maybe I’m the flake. Just guys I don’t trust without 100% sound reasoning. No, I take that back, it’s Flake Snell, and his past four years of ERAs: 4.29, 3.24, 4.20, 3.38. Bret Saberhagen called and wants his career back! Or at least send him a nickel for stealing his shizz. As a Saberhagenmetrician, I should be able to field Snell on the good years and discard on the bad years, but guess what years I rostered him? Oh, yeah! The 4.29 ERA and 4.20 ERA years. Even throwing away that nonsense, and he still only has one year where he’s passed 129 1/3 IP. This is not an ace. Maybe he’s a number two if you like ulcers. Do you like tasting blood after biting your lip? Then fine, be my guest. Won’t be me though. 2023 Projections: 10-7/3.79/1.24/166 in 127 IP

31. Carlos Rodon – Here’s what I said this offseason, “Yankees are absolutely stacked:

  1. Gerrit Cole
  2. Carlos Rodon
  3. Luis Severino
  4. Nestor Cortes
  5. Frankie Montas

Which makes it so weird that they’re going to Wandy Peralta with the ALCS on the line. Wait, ever since I bought this DeLorean off eBay I have no idea what time I’m in. Is this October of 2023? *looks down* Oh, I’m wearing a loincloth. I know when I am now. It must be in the 70’s in the San Fernando Valley. Carlos Rodon became a jewel in my crown of lovelies this past season. I didn’t want him, but Donkey Teeth insisted we draft him in our Main Event, and I fell in love. That Donkey Teeth also had us draft Maikel Franco is another thing entirely. He’s truly special when he’s healthy. Uh, Rodon, not Maikel or Donkey. Last year, his 12 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 2.91 xFIP (!) tells pretty much the whole story. His HR/9 was .6, and that might go up, as he does give up a decent number of fly balls. But it is a ton of weak contact, 290-foot outs. Wait, you can get 290-foot home runs in Yankee Stadium. He’s going to be great in the AL East, in Yankee Stadium, everywhere. As long as he’s healthy. If healthy, yes. That’s the riddle that we don’t know, like why did E.T. want to phone home? You can’t call other planets. E.T. was dumb if you ask me.” And that’s me quoting me! UPDATE: Out with a forearm strain. 2023 Projections: 8-4/3.43/1.15/124 in 99 IP

32. Chris Bassitt – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Sandoval. I call this tier, “Sideways bosom.” There’s safety in numbers. The number three, for unstints, is safe. The number 3 also looks like a sideways bosom. What’s more comforting! These pitchers should be a fantasy number 3 like a sideways bosom. This is a repeat of last year’s fantasy number three tier name, because I like to keep things samesies for when I put together my pitching draft tool. It makes things easier for me.

As for Bassitt, here’s what I said this offseason, “Signed with the Jays. Usually my love for starters ebbs and flows, like any great Saberhagenmetrician, but I find myself loving Bassitt every year. *pats head* Whatta good boy! Maybe it is my love for dogs that finds its way into my Bassitt passion, my Passitt. It’s just so hard to not love a guy with command like he has. Not as a number one, clearly, but he’s a solid number three always and forever, Dog almighty!” And that’s me quoting me! 2023 Projections: 12-10/3.61/1.17/171 in 189 IP

33. Logan Webb – Sold y’all that Webb was a number two last year, and now I’m saying he’s more of a three, which means he’ll be a two-point-five. What’s a two-point-five starter? It’s one Bartolo Colon. Sorry, I was reading his biography, “Doing the Bart Man: My Adventures with 18 Women and 35 Sons and Daughters,” and it read, “Bartolo is two-point-five” then I turned the page and it was “kilos.” Now, I’m not sure what a two-point-five starter is. I guess one that is halfway between a number two or three? Could it be that simple? I suppose. Webb wasn’t a 9.6 K/9 last year as he was in 2021, but last year’s 7.6 K/9 feels like it’s selling him short. Love the park, and the division’s got some layups, but that matters less this year because of the unbalanced schedule. By the way: We just had to know how a Rangers vs. Pirates matchup would play, huh? Webb feels about as safe as they come, basically Bassitt, which is my show tune for this tier. It’s Suddenly Seymour for fantasy baseball. Humming, “Basically Bassitt…” 2023 Projections: 11-8/3.41/1.14/168 in 187 IP

34. Clayton Kershaw – Is this the first year in Kershaw’s career that I’m saying it’s good to draft him? It might be. I don’t remember because it’s been 15 years! Well, technically, I don’t have to remember 15 years ago to know if I said you should draft Kershaw in, say, 2019. Any hoo! It sounds real crackers to say I told you never to draft Kershaw. Call me Clackershaw. Because I’m super dumb. “Though, if I could defend myself, Your Honor. Five ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I didn’t say I think Kershaw sucks, don’t draft him no, no. I said he’s great, but overpriced. By the way, lady in the front row, I love that ‘Eat Arby’s’ t-shirt you’re wearing. I’m sorry, Your Honor, it would’ve been criminal for me to not to say anything.” 2023 Projections: 10-4/3.07/1.04/117 in 112 IP

35. Jordan Montgomery – Love JoMo more than most. By the way, if you found our site by googling Rock Hudson and JoMo, welcome! His 8 K/9, and barely a 2 BB/9 is just enflaming my nethers. Okay, if you found our site by googling Rock Hudson, JoMo, and enflaming my nethers, then why not just stay and learn about baseball? Fine, if you found us by googling Robbie’s tight pants, Rock Hudson, JoMo, and enflaming my nethers, then start a fantasy league. You should never leave the site. Bit surprised I’m the only one that finds JoMo’s 3.48 ERA last year and excellent peripherals interesting for a number three, but, alas, looking at his ADP and it’s way after this. You should be able to grab him easy. All right, if you googled “Grab him easy…” 2023 Projections: 13-7/3.56/1.11/166 in 184 IP

36. Joe Musgrove – How many freakin’ pitchers are there? Brucely, I don’t want this many starters being good because before long other people are going to catch on that they don’t need to draft starters so high. It’s only been like this for a decade, so, ya know, they’re just taking a little while longer to catch on. Last year, Musgrove went 9.2 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 2.93 ERA and gives up no hard contact. That’s everything Musgrove, which sounds like the sign you have hung on your garage door. No one wants your Hunger Games Funko Pops. Just donate them to a charity that needs doorstops. Let Funko Katniss help them out, literally. UPDATE: Broke his toe and will miss at least a few weeks. 2023 Projections: 10-8/3.17/1.07/149 in 150 IP

37. Luis Garcia – Yooooooooooooo, Adrian, I did it! I ranked Rocky I as a number three! *realizing something* Wait, why am I screaming at hanging meat in a butcher? You’re not Adrian. I really need Mickey to cut my eyes so I can see. Luis Garcia has the requisites to be in this tier. 8+ K/9, solid command, but I could easily see looking back at this blurb next year, and thinking I sold Rocky I short, because he’s entering his third full year as a starter, right when guys tend to break out. If he goes 9.5 K/9, under-2.5 BB/9 and keeps the ball in the park (his biggest issue), then I could see a 2.75 ERA and him moving above Framber for next year.  Yeah, there really are a ton of starters. 2023 Projections: 12-5/3.59/1.11/178 in 174 IP

38. Patrick Sandoval – Was a sleeper last year for me and what did he do: 9.1 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 2.91 ERA, 3.67 xFIP and 26.4% Hard Contact, which was 8th in the majors for starters with 140 IP. This goes back what I was saying in my Steven Kwan blurb in the top 40 outfielders. Sometimes, guys break out and everyone agrees, a little too much. Other times, you have guys like Sandoval who I call a sleeper, they do well, and no one cares still the next year. Have no real idea why that is. He’s coming off a near-150 IP of a 2.91 ERA and 9+ K/9 year, and he’s still a steal in drafts. Sandoval: The Every Year Sleeper. 2023 Projections: 12-7/3.34/1.27/168 in 161 IP

39. Jeffrey Springs – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until the top 60 starters for 2023 fantasy baseball. I call this tier, “Bosom buddies.” This tier is you being optimistic. This tier is you chasing bliss, but there’s a chance you’ll never get there. This tier is slightly different than the top 40 starters for 2023 fantasy baseball tier, Sideways Bosom. They’re potentially higher upside guys in this tier, but with a higher level of risk. In other words, the safety of the bosom doesn’t feel as strong with them. They’re friends of the bosom. Call ’em Bosom Buddies. In general terms, these guys are risky number threes, high number fours. Think of it this way about my starter rankings, in general. The last tier was safe number threes. This is riskier number threes, and the next is number threes I don’t want. It’s kinda like that with each starter number. Safe numbers twos, sexy number twos, and number twos that are number twos as in turds were in the top 40 starters post.

As for Springs, already gave you my Jeffrey Springs sleeper. It was written being so at peace I floated away.  2023 Projections: 10-6/3.08/1.05/166 in 153 IP

40. Jesus Luzardo – Already gave you a Jesus Luzardo sleeper. It was written while saying, “No way, man.” 2023 Projections: 8-9/3.21/1.06/164 in 142 IP