It’s pure chaos atop the pitching ranks in 2023, without a consensus No. 1 fantasy ace and a growing cult of drafters who prioritize 70-inning relievers over 190-inning starters. In a year without an older Pedro or Kershaw to provide clarity and order, things quickly descend into tribalism. Some of us have abandoned all starting-round pitchers, preferring to build rotations from late-game fliers and prospects, the latter boosted by offensive waivers. to each their own.
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We certainly have no shortage of polarizing top-of-the-draft pitchers to discuss, as none of this is entirely without red flags. Let’s start with a player who troubles fantasy managers at least as much as he troubles opposing batters.
Head here for the most polarizing hitters of 2023,
Jacob deGrom, SP, Texas Rangers (31.5 ADP)
We can say with confidence that deGrom’s innings will be of the highest quality imaginable. Hopefully, everyone can agree with this. Over the past two seasons, he has struck out 14.3 batters per nine innings while producing a dead-ball-era ratio (1.90 ERA, 0.63 WHIP) with absurd control. He has struck out more than 13 hitters for every walk he has issued over the past two years. Healthy degrom is as good as it gets – arguably as good as it got in the fantasy era. If we can guarantee that he will pitch 150 innings in 2023, he will definitely rank as the top starter of all.
And therein lies the problem. We haven’t seen deGrom even frame 100 since 2019 and he’s only thrown 156.1 over the last two years. Since the spring of 2021, he has been sidelined multiple times due to elbow, shoulder, forearm and oblique problems. He is actually dealing with his side/oblique injury right now. projection systems are everywhere On his innings forecast for 2023. No one is going to issue any guarantees regarding their assignments. Again, all we can say is that when he pitches, it’s going to be great for as long as it lasts.
For me, dgrom is much easier to sell in the Yahoo default roto format than anywhere else. Around here, the public game includes a very reachable innings cap, meaning even an 80 or 90-IP season from deGrom could be of immense value. As such, it deserves a bump (or a downgrade) depending on your platform. Plus, if you enter a draft specifically with upside in mind, this is your guy.
Spencer Strider, SP, Atlanta Braves (ADP 26.2)
A lot about Strider actually resembles a classic closer, including triple-digit velocity, silly K-rate (38.3 K%) and fastball/slider arsenal — and, obviously, facial hair. And don’t forget about the after k mor:
The Strider is simply a delight, statistically and aesthetically. Last year, he struck out 202 batters in just 131.2 innings while posting a 2.67 ERA and 1.00 WHIP at age 23. He walks occasionally, but that’s less of a concern when no one can really hit your stuff (.179 BAA). ,
It’s fair to question whether Strider can essentially remain a first-class elite starter over the long haul, one two pitch arsenal, but on the other hand, those two pitches are the most powerful in the game, He makes his way down the polarizing list mainly because no one knows where to pitch his innings; He certainly isn’t reaching 200 (not many do), and projection systems have him anywhere from 120 to around 170. Strider suffered an oblique injury at the end of last season and has had a UCL repair in recent days, but he is fully healthy at the moment, enjoying a dominant spring.
If you want to join Dalton Delle Donne in rating Strider worse than the No. 3 starter entering 2023, I get it. Like deGrom (but for different reasons), Strider is another guy you might feel better off with innings bound in the traditional Yahoo default format. In our game, you mainly need to care about the K-rate, not the total Ks.
To be perfectly honest, Bieber only makes this list because, for the second year in a row, people are going out of their way to announce that they won’t draft him — like this guy over here, This is possible because Bieber is a clear exception among early-round starters in that he doesn’t throw a billion miles per hour. In fact, its pace has declined in each of the last two seasons.
But well… Let us go, Bieber managed to strike out 198 batters last season while allowing only 36 walks in 200.0 innings. His ERA was 2.88 and his FIP was 2.87. It’s hard to look at his year and decide that the surface-level stats were an accident of luck. bieber just has too much Deep arsenal that includes more than one highly effective wipe-out pitch, He’s an artist, a master technician, a tunneller’s tunneller, He’s given us four straight seasons of good to great and he’s clowning people this spring:
Bieber is one of the best bets among all starters to reach 200 innings, which is a huge number in the current era. Even though some of you are (again) avoiding him in the draft, I consider him one of the safest high-end starters in the player pool.