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We’ve gone over the final 2023 fantasy baseball rankings for hitters and the top 20 starters. This is different than Final Fantasy rankings where you rank Final Fantasy 1 thru Final Fantasy 15. That’s hardcore nerd shizz! This is simply fantasy baseball — we’re softcore nerds like Emmanuelle is to porn. So, there’s no more of these godforsaken recap posts left. You’re welcome. I, my over-the-internet friend, will be talking next about 2024 rookies. Let’s boogie to the next year, boogiers! Anyway, here’s the top 40 starters for 2023 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

21. Merrill Kelly – His strikeouts went way up. The thing that stands out to me is he started throwing a slider. At 34, never too old to learn a new trick, appizzarently. What’s interesting is he threw it almost exclusively vs. righties. Makes sense logically, ball coming from right goes bye-bye left. Oddly, it didn’t really make a difference in his overall numbers vs. righties. Well, besides the Ks. Preseason Rank #58, 2023 Projections: 12-8/3.61/1.15/163 in 192 IP, Final Numbers: 12-8/3.37/1.19/187 in 177 2/3 IP

22. Max Scherzer – Here’s a good illustration of pitching ranks, maybe all ranks. Scherzer was a top five to ten starter drafted. I ranked him 9th. Let’s assume he went ninth for this recap. The difference between that ranking and where he ended up was 13 draft spots in pitchers. Merrill Kelly was a pitcher difference of 37 spots. Which felt more pronounced? How poor Scherzer did vs. his rank or how great Kelly did for his ranking? Maybe that’s life, looking at the glass half empty, but it sure feels like Scherzer was a bigger disappointment than Kelly was some great discovery, right? Preseason Rank #9, 2023 Projections: 15-6/2.63/0.96/191 in 164 IP, Final Numbers: 13-6/3.77/1.12/174 in 152 2/3 IP

23. Justin Verlander – Kinda funny going back and reading the stuff I was saying in the preseason about Scherzer/Verlander. Was almost like Preseason Grey forgot one big intangible: the Mets. Verlander’s stats took a bigger dip than Scherzer, much bigger than a one-spot difference here. There might be a case that if both are healthy, Scherzer is still a top 20 starter; Verlander’s harder to make that case about. Of course, counting on the health for either guy? That ship sailed this year. Preseason Rank #8, 2023 Projections: 17-5/2.54/0.94/196 in 179 IP, Final Numbers: 13-8/3.22/1.13/144 in 162 1/3 IP

24. Shohei Ohtani – Since I didn’t have a chance to talk about Ohtani in the hitters, here we go. His numbers are ridiculous. A top two hitter and a top 25 pitcher isn’t real life. I feel like a kid after his first taste of nitrous. Are we floating? What is real life? This is not it. Truly sucks that he hurt his elbow. Think he was around the top 15th starter, before the injury. His velocity was down, and his pitching didn’t “look” right for about a month before that. His hitting eventually was impacted too, and he still went 44/20. I’m old enough to remember that being as good as you could hope from anyone, because I’m not less than six months old and can remember shizz! Preseason Rank #17, 2023 Projections: 12-6/2.67/1.04/194 in 154 IP, 101/37/106/.264/13 in 544 ABs, Final Numbers: 10-5/3.14/1.06/167 in 132 IP, 102/44/95/.304/20 in 497 ABs

25. Sonny Gray – If he won 17 games — same as Zac Gallen, which is not crazy on a team that won its division — Sonny Gray would’ve been the 4th best starter in fantasy, roughly as good as, you got it, Zac Gallen. Preseason Rank #54, 2023 Projections: 10-7/3.64/1.17/150 in 153 IP, Final Numbers: 8-8/2.79/1.15/183 in 184 IP

26. Eduardo Rodriguez – Thought the days of Ed-Rod being great were behind us. He got crap for not wanting to be traded to the Dodgers, but his home park likely helped him, and, for fantasy, you prolly would’ve been clobbered if he went to the NL West and Dodger Stadium. If we’re being honest, Ed-Rod was decent last year, but also lucky on all his peripherals. Preseason Rank #104, 2023 Projections: 7-12/3.94/1.31/144 in 158 IP, Final Numbers: 13-9/3.30/1.15/143 in 152 2/3 IP

27. Michael Wacha – In his last 260 IP, he has an ERA around 3.25. Those are all games started. Not saying he’s the most underrated, but he Mos Def is not rated properly. Preseason Rank #121, 2023 Projections: 9-6/4.12/1.27/110 in 126 IP, Final Numbers: 14-4/3.22/1.16/124 in 134 1/3 IP

28. Jesus Luzardo – Wrote a sleeper for Jesus, and that’s the good word! Like a member of a congregation, “Preach!” That’s also why I won’t write another one this year, but his numbers are eye-poppingly on the verge of greatness. Preseason Rank #40, 2023 Projections: 8-9/3.21/1.06/164 in 142 IP, Final Numbers: 10-10/3.63/1.22/208 in 178 2/3 IP

29. Jose Berrios – This sonava– Okay, unlike what I say for a few of these guys, like, “I ranked this guy 50 picks later, but actually liked them,” that’s not true on Berrios. I hated him. I’m still coming to terms with not hating him again next year, but I think we’re making real progress. I’ve re-costumed all my “I hate Berrios” teddy bears into “Lance Lynn Murdered My Ratios” Bob the Builder plushies. Preseason Rank #110, 2023 Projections: 10-10/4.36/1.31/156 in 174 IP, Final Numbers: 11-12/3.65/1.19/184 in 189 2/3 IP

30. Mitch Keller – Not sure how anyone can look at these starter recaps and think starters are predictable. You either have to think I’m an idiot, and then why are you reading? Or think starters are unpredictable, hence met with suspicion. For unstints, does it really makes any sense that Keller would have five more wins than Sonny Gray? Good to see Keller begin to throw a cutter and unlock more strikeouts and *whispering* another level. Preseason Rank #115, 2023 Projections: 6-13/4.14/1.36/149 in 165 IP, Final Numbers: 13-9/4.21/1.25/210 in 194 1/3 IP

31. Aaron Nola – In the top 20 starters, I said something like next year it might be Wheeler then Nola in the rankings, after being Nola then Wheeler this past preseason, and, the year after, it might be switched again. Y’all are as much to blame too! Because if I were to rank Nola ahead of Wheeler next year, you’d revolt, saying that Nola sucks, when pitching is just unpredictable. Though, we can predict Nola will allow a shizzton of homers. One thing recapping starters has shown me, if a guy goes around 200 IP and gets 200+ Ks, he can basically be awful in ratios, because no pitchers throw that many innings anymore. Preseason Rank #10, 2023 Projections: 16-5/2.76/0.98/227 in 201 IP, Final Numbers: 12-9/4.46/1.15/202 in 193 2/3 IP

32. Tyler Glasnow – I was way off on how many innings Glasnow would throw this year, and, sorry I have to undercut that criticism a little bit, I was still only five weeks of innings off. Not sure why I missed by so much. My guess is I anticipated another injury from him, because there’s always other injuries from him. Preseason Rank #75, 2023 Projections: 6-4/2.71/0.96/114 in 82 IP, Final Numbers: 10-7/3.53/1.08/162 in 120 IP

33. Jordan Montgomery – In a sea of unpredictable starters, I absolutely nailed JoMo’s ranking and projections. Wow! I think that might be my best one ever. Now I just need to nail 130-ish other starters. Preseason Rank #35, 2023 Projections: 13-7/3.56/1.11/166 in 184 IP, Final Numbers: 10-11/3.20/1.19/166 in 188 2/3 IP

34. Nick Pivetta – Hey, we have our first middle reliever! Or at least you wished he was a middle reliever. Think conventional wisdom says a player is who they are by the time they reach their 30s, but I think more accurately it is “a hitter is who he is.” Pitchers unlock another level at times, and Pivetta is a great example. He had a 11.5 K/9 and bazinga. Some can be attributed to his middle relief (3.07 ERA as reliever, 4.66 ERA as starter), but he was starter for our purposes. Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 10-9/4.04/1.12/183 in 142 2/3 IP

35. Tanner Bibee – Wildly unrelated but I just saw a football player’s name was Equanimeous St. Brown, and I complain about not remembering if it’s Zack with a K, a C or an H! So, I’ll be real with you, I think Bibee was better than the 35th best starter. His Wins might be dragging him down a little; same with his Ks, but give me that ERA. Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 10-4/2.98/1.18/141 in 142 IP

36. Nathan Eovaldi – Rankings for some of these guys is misrepresenting my thoughts. I told everyone to draft Eovaldi, and drafted him myself. If you were to take out the 20 or so starters I said not to draft before starter number 72, Eovaldi might’ve been in the top 50, but we won’t try to sell too hard I ranked pitchers better than it seemed, other than that selling of exactly that. As for Eovaldi specifically, he can’t maintain velocity for longer than three months, which kills his full season value every year. Preseason Rank #72, 2023 Projections: 11-9/3.71/1.21/159 in 166 IP, Final Numbers: 12-5/3.63/1.14/132 in 144 IP

37. Joe Ryan – Was another sleeper of mine, and, sigh, things were so much better in the 1st half — 3.70 ERA vs. 6.09 ERA! Six point oh nine, my man! Also, if I ranked a pitcher with a 4.51 ERA, as Ryan has, in the top 40 starters in the preseason, you would’ve said, “Grey, handsome face, but real dumb brain.” And I would’ve agreed with you! Preseason Rank #26, 2023 Projections: 14-7/3.21/1.07/181 in 177 IP, Final Numbers: 11-10/4.51/1.17/197 in 161 2/3 IP

38. Charlie Morton – It’s fair to ask at this point, were there actually forty top 40 starters or closer to 33-ish top 40 starter? We’re here, so it seems there were 40, but also: Are we sure this is a top 40 starters list? Charlie Morton had a 1.43 WHIP. I just vomited onto my desk and it spelled out, “Gross.” Preseason Rank #50, 2023 Projections: 12-7/3.76/1.17/192 in 167 IP, Final Numbers: 14-12/3.64/1.43/183 in 163 1/3 IP

39. Bailey Ober – Similar to Eovaldi, I said to draft Ober, but also, similiarly, I wrote a sleeper post for Ober two years ago (as I did with Eovaldi). I kinda love guys who don’t walk anyone. It’s, like, my one good trait. That and not biting my nails. Preseason Rank #85, 2023 Projections: 7-6/3.47/1.12/98 in 109 IP, Final Numbers: 8-6/3.43/1.07/146 in 144 1/3 IP

40. Yusei Kikuchi – What a perfect way to end the starters’ recaps. A starter who was a streamer in most leagues, and you never would’ve guessed he was a top 40 starter. Fantastic year, starters. Y’all suck! Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 11-6/3.86/1.27/181 in 167 2/3 IP

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Scott
Scott
1 month ago

Grey,

I need your help. My league is having an expansion draft, I need to expose 16 players at the bare minimum and not sure who to expose for it. The two salaries at the end of each name are what the sakary was in 2023 and what it would be in 2024. This is my roster:

1 C Henry Davis PIT $5.00 $6.00
2 C Jonah Heim TEX $5.00 $6.00
3 C J.T. Realmuto PHI $27.00 $30.00
4 1B / 3B Alec Bohm PHI $8.00 $10.00
5 1B Freddie Freeman LAD $36.00 $38.00
6 1B Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. TOR $11.00 $13.00
7 1B / 2B / 3B / SS Jared Triolo PIT $5.00 $6.00
8 2B / 3B / SS / OF Jon Berti MIA $5.00 $6.00
9 2B / SS / OF Mookie Betts LAD $51.00 $52.00
10 2B / 3B / SS / OF Tommy Edman STL $20.00 $23.00
11 2B / 3B Nolan Gorman STL $6.00 $8.00
12 2B Ketel Marte ARI $9.00 $11.00
13 2B / 3B / OF Weston Wilson PHI $5.00 $6.00
14 3B / SS Royce Lewis  MIN $6.00 $8.00
15 3B Jose Ramirez CLE $40.00 $42.00
16 3B / SS Bobby Witt KC $6.00 $8.00
17 SS Bo Bichette TOR $13.00 $15.00
18 OF Yordan Alvarez HOU $11.00 $13.00
19 OF Kerry Carpenter DET $5.00 $6.00
20 OF Jasson Dominguez NYY $5.00 $6.00
21 OF Steven Kwan CLE $6.00 $8.00
22 OF Chas McCormick HOU $5.00 $6.00
23 OF Luis Robert, Jr.  CWS $18.00 $21.00
24 OF Julio Rodriguez SEA $6.00 $8.00
25 OF Mike Trout LAA $44.00 $45.00
26 OF Kyle Tucker HOU $13.00 $15.00
27 OF Taylor Ward LAA $5.00 $6.00
28 UT / SP Shohei Ohtani LAA $16.00 $18.00
29 SP Ian Anderson ATL $5.00 $6.00
30 SP / RP Sam Bachman LAA $5.00 $6.00
31 SP Walker Buehler LAD $34.00 $36.00
32 SP Luis Castillo SEA $28.00 $31.00
33 SP Kutter Crawford BOS $5.00 $6.00
34 SP Max Fried ATL $21.00 $23.00
35 SP Kevin Gausman TOR $18.00 $21.00
36 SP Cristian Javier HOU $20.00 $23.00
37 SP / RP Ben Joyce LAA $5.00 $6.00
38 SP Mitch Keller PIT $6.00 $8.00
39 SP Clayton Kershaw LAD $26.00 $29.00
40 SP / RP Michael King NYY $8.00 $10.00
41 SP Sawyer Gibson – Long DET $5.00 $6.00
42 SP Robbie Ray SEA $15.00 $17.00
43 SP Max Scherzer NYM / TEX $35.00 $37.00
44 SP Kodai Senga NYM $5.00 $6.00
45 SP Luis Severino NYY $13.00 $15.00
46 SP / RP Jeffrey Springs TB $8.00 $10.00
47 SP Justin Verlander NYM / HOU $15.00 $17.00
48 SP Brandon Woodruff MIL $21.00 $23.00
49 RP Jason Adam TB $6.00 $8.00
50 RP Felix Bautista BAL $6.00 $8.00
51 RP Alexis Diaz CIN $6.00 $8.00
52 RP Jason Foley DET $5.00 $6.00
53 RP Ryan Helsley STL $6.00 $8.00
54 RP Liam Hendricks CWS $23.00 $25.00
55 RP Jeff Hoffman PHI $5.00 $6.00
56 RP Raisel Iglesias ATL $15.00 $17.00
57 RP Chris Martin BOS $5.00 $6.00
58 RP Hoby Milner MIL $5.00 $6.00
59 RP Evan Phillips LAD $6.00 $8.00
60 RP Ryan Pressley HOU $16.00 $18.00

Scott
Scott
Reply to  Grey
1 month ago

i am considering these players:

1) Berti
2) Edman
3) T. Ward
4) K. Crawford
5) Sawyer Gibson – Long
6) R. Ray
7) Severino
8) Hoffman
9) Milner

Scott
Scott
Reply to  Scott
1 month ago

i need at least 7 more

slimjim13
slimjim13
1 month ago

Grey quick keeper question

Gausman $18 or Freddy P $12

J Duran $3 or E Carter $3

Thanks for all of you help n season and out!!

slimjim13
slimjim13
Reply to  Grey
1 month ago

Thanks

Harley Earl
Harley Earl
1 month ago

I play in two leagues that use walks as a category, so like you, I love guys that don’t walk anyone!!! Both leagues use walks as a way to deter teams from loading up on SPs just for Ks and Wins. It’s a great category to balance things out.

So, my question is, how do you see Ober moving forward to 2024? Taking another step forward, basically the same, or taking a step back?

Harley Earl
Harley Earl
Reply to  Grey
1 month ago

I love this reply! Thanks!!!

RoarOf84
RoarOf84
1 month ago

Do you think Gleyber or Ketel are keeper worthy in a 10-team h2h cats league with 12 keepers per team?

RoarOf84
RoarOf84
Reply to  Grey
1 month ago

Got an early preference?

bigbear
bigbear
1 month ago

Looks like Gray and Ryan will be draftable again. Pivetta was awesome to have and will probably scratch the itch again in 2024.

I’m a little surprised to see Morton this high honestly. He was a guy I thought about dropping multiple times. Don’t remember if I did or not! Lol

VinWins
VinWins
1 month ago

Here they are by the final rank on the Razzball Player Rater, showing their ADP in the final week of RCL drafts (20).

68 Merrill Kelly 207 ( 19 drafts )
74 Max Scherzer 46
76 Justin Verlander 46
78 Shohei Ohtani 2
81 Sonny Gray 220 ( 19 drafts )

85 Eduardo Rodriguez 274 ( 5 drafts )
92 Michael Wacha ND
98 Jesus Luzardo 141
100 Jose Berrios 217 ( 19 drafts )
103 Mitch Keller 272 ( 4 drafts )

106 Aaron Nola 31
107 Tyler Glasnow 193
110 Jordan Montgomery 159
114 Nick Pivetta 272 ( 4 drafts )
122 Tanner Bibee ND

123 Nathan Eovaldi 249 ( 18 drafts )
124 Joe Ryan 125
129 Charlie Morton 154
131 Bailey Ober 278 ( 2 drafts )
136 Yusei Kikuchi ND

VinWins
VinWins
Reply to  VinWins
1 month ago

12 of the next 20 were taken in 1 or 0 drafts.

138 Braxton Garrett ND
140 Shane McClanahan 40
143 Bobby Miller ND
150 Dane Dunning ND
153 Matt Strahm ND

159 Tarik Skubal ND
161 Dean Kremer ND
168 Taijuan Walker 294 ( 7 drafts )
171 Joe Musgrove 125
174 Tyler Wells ND

182 Bryce Elder ND
185 Kyle Gibson ND
188 Seth Lugo ND
198 Julio Urias 63
203 Wade Miley ND

209 Max Fried 69
212 Brandon Woodruff 34
217 Aaron Civale 288 ( 1 draft )
218 Cristian Javier 58
222 Marcus Stroman 276 ( 11 drafts )

VinWins
VinWins
Reply to  Grey
1 month ago

None of the undrafted made it into the top 20, though Bradish was only drafted 3 times and ended up ranked 10.

VinWins
VinWins
Reply to  Grey
1 month ago

That’s true. Or you could be like me and use Wacha for 4 starts and get ratios of 5.14/1.62. And that was in the 1 league where I had good ratios (3.46 ERA – I had 3.90 or higher in 7 of 10 leagues).

VinWins
VinWins
Reply to  Grey
1 month ago

Yeah, nobody believes in Wacha:

Apr 13, 2:45 AM Claimed (FA) by Vin Frequent
Apr 14, 8:54 PM Dropped by Vin Frequent
May 14, 9:11 AM Claimed (FA) by Tofu Munchers
May 16, 7:20 AM Dropped by Tofu Munchers
May 19, 2:10 AM Claimed (FA) by Vin Frequent
May 25, 1:41 AM Dropped by Vin Frequent
May 28, 9:49 PM Claimed (FA) by Hal Incandenza’s Baseball Enjoyment
Jun 23, 10:12 PM Dropped by Hal Incandenza’s Baseball Enjoyment
Jul 3, 9:57 PM Claimed (FA) by More Like Smoketown
Aug 15, 6:38 AM Dropped by More Like Smoketown
Aug 17, 1:05 AM Claimed (WW) by Vin Frequent
Aug 27, 5:20 PM Dropped by Vin Frequent
Aug 31, 1:24 PM Claimed (FA) by Livin’ on a Prayer
Sep 10, 7:02 AM Dropped by Livin’ on a Prayer
Sep 12, 2:49 AM Claimed (FA) by Little Lebowski Urban Achievers
Sep 14, 3:37 AM Dropped by Little Lebowski Urban Achievers
Sep 18, 9:15 AM Claimed (FA) by Little Lebowski Urban Achievers
Sep 19, 6:56 AM Dropped by Little Lebowski Urban Achievers
Sep 23, 1:04 PM Claimed (FA) by Little Lebowski Urban Achievers

bigbear
bigbear
Reply to  VinWins
1 month ago

He’s the frat chick…

DrEasy
DrEasy
1 month ago

Wonder where Seth Lugo ended up; I loved him! Mostly just streamed him in good match-ups, and he was super predictable. His blow-ups mostly happened when he wasn’t on my roster. His very last start (8.2 shutout innings!) was just the cherry on top.