Fantasy baseball roundtable: Who is the No. 1 pitcher?


We’re still a week away from the start of spring practice games, but fantasy baseball season planning has officially begun!

With that in mind, and with so many imaginary baseball managers starting the process of figuring out which players to target in their drafts, we asked another seemingly simple question to the fearless duo of Tristan H. Cockcroft and Eric Carabella. Read on to find out what they had to say about it.

Who will be the #1 pitcher in fantasy baseball in 2023?

Tristan H. Cockcroft: That’s where Shohei Otani makes a more compelling case, but it’s hard for me to rate a pitcher who is likely to still manage his workload to be 30 starts and 200 IP short of some of the other candidates.

In the league, I’ll take Gerrit Cole. Did you know that not only is he the only pitcher to have made at least 30 starts and hit at least 240 batters in each of the last four full seasons (2018-19, 21-22), but he also has a 22% (4 of 18) of the total number of such seasons for this period of time? League success on points depends almost entirely on innings and strikeouts, and track record is important in predicting these two categories.

However, Corbin Burns had 33 starts and 243 strikeouts in 2022, which tempts me as he seems more proven now. However, the New York Yankees have a better chance of hitting Cole every fifth day than the Milwaukee Brewers with Burns.

Eric Carabelle: Fair points there and Cole might be the safest an ace for fantasy purposes, but it’s hard to just ignore his rather elevated 3.39 ERA over the past two seasons. He was also unlucky. Last season, Cole’s BABIP was .269. Yes, he wins and misses bats, and he keeps runners off base (although home runs remain a problem), and honestly, I rate him No. 2 among pitchers, but I switched to Burns as the best option.

Burns actually finished well ahead of Cole by Sportzshala Player Rating in both of the last two seasons, posting a cumulative 2.69 ERA in that span — and with the best lash every season and comparable strikeouts. Burns also surpassed Cole in innings last season, so any question of reliability or longevity with Burns seems reckless. He is cool!

I will probably remove every player if top 20 selection is required to get them, however, focusing more on offense in categories/roto formats and see how far Justin Verlander and/or Max Scherzer fall. I suspect that you are much more eager to fill early pitches in points formats.

Cockcroft: Yes, and especially in our new standard scoring format, where you only have to fill seven pitcher slots, and you have to squeeze every last number you can out of fewer spots on the roster. I need a top-notch pitcher now even more than I did back then, as I’m more inclined towards fluid hand movements and faster spins on either side of the ball. Aces like Cole and Burns are much more likely to be “locked” in my lineup when the spare pool at each hit point starts with the 11th player (or shortly thereafter, if you count DH and the bench, and the 31st or shortly thereafter for outfielders).

I know I didn’t pick him here as my No. 1 pitcher either, but you’ve also markedly lowered Ohtani in the overall skewer rankings, and since we’re only discussing his pitching contribution here, where would you place him? ? I’d put him in about 12th place, but only that low because he wouldn’t match the innings of most (if not all) of the 11 pitchers I’d put ahead of him.

However, in roto Otani’s service line would not be more valuable because of the best odds and strikeout rate? It’s hard for me to understand that Otani isn’t in the top five overall picks of any draft, making him the only player – and again, that’s an answer to another question again – because of how well some parts of his skill set are perfect for anyone format.

Karabel: Otani was great last season and certainly answered any concerns about the longevity of his unique, multifaceted and historic role. However, volume matters when evaluating each skill set. For Ohtani, the lack of starts/IP should be a factor, albeit a minor one. Can he pitch 150 innings? This is hardly a guarantee, and the expected free will gives us few clues as to its use. I have Ohtani firmly in the top 10, which proves that my concerns (whether statistical or otherwise) are minor. As always, know the rules of your league, especially when it comes to Otani. This can absolutely affect whether Otani is the clear top pick in your drafts or the later first round pick.

Cockcroft: As for Otani, I think it has more to do with his longtime team model of six people and using “Otani resurrections”. At least at the end of last year, the Angels moved away from both a little. These days are gone every is the pitcher worried about longevity since there is so much talk now about 200+ innings overall and 40+ innings increasing year on year due to health issues?

I would say that the daily transaction hook in our game greatly increases the value of Otani, and in points league it is the “Wayne Gretzky in 1982” cheat code. Fun fact Otani: His average of 17.6 points per game was fifth among pitchers with at least 10 starts, behind only famous people Verlander (20.3), Jacob de Grom (18.9), Scherzer (18.8). ) and Sandy Alcantara (18.1). . Otani was also sixth in the ERA, 12th in the WHIP, second in strikeouts, and seventh in total wins (wow, on this team!), which speaks to his conscientious roto bonafides.

I wonder if we (and that’s “we” in the industry) are vastly underestimating his potential impact, clinging too hard to his absence due to injuries in 2019-2020, which were actually all related to his recovery from Tommy’s surgery. John. At least that’s the question we should all be asking ourselves at this point in the draft.

Karabel: I agree that we need to stop labeling Otani as injury prone. The truth is that in our new game, potential superstars are more valuable than ever – if at all possible – because the active lineups are smaller. Otani is one of baseball’s brightest stars and building around him, no matter the format, seems pretty wise. Like it used to be with Gretzky.


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