2023 Dynasty Fantasy Positional Rankings: Pitcher

Image credit: Corbin Burnes (Photo by Kayla Wolf/Getty Images)

Pitchers are an enigmatic position in dynasty leagues. Veteran dynasty players have probably at one time or another experienced the disappointment in investing in pitching prospects. At any time it seems that a pitcher—not just developing prospects but even MLB stalwarts—can lose a season or more due to injury, with a full recovery not necessarily a guarantee. At the same time, championship teams in dynasty leagues tend to have aces in their rotation. In other words, having a deep crop of pitchers in dynasty leagues is absolutely necessary … but it’s treacherous to try to grow and cultivate a staff.

Our rankings are targeted specifically for dynasty leagues, with a focus on balancing a variety of scoring formats. The foundation for pitching begins with strikeouts and walks: maximize the former and minimize the latter. This is not just because strikeouts and (avoiding) baserunners (ie. WHIP) are common categories—but because earned run average and other ERA estimators are highly predicted by the quantity and ratio of strikeouts to walks. The goal of these positional rankings is to provide the best possible order based on an expected value of three to five years, which means older, productive veterans are discounted and may be ranked alongside or even behind prodigious talents yet to debut.

Keep all of this in mind when considering your team’s needs and the context of your league. If you are trying to compete in 2023, you should prefer Justin Verlander over Grayson Rodriguez (who we have ranked back-to-back), but some of your league mates, especially those not competing, would likely prefer Grayson Rodriguez in a trade.

We also blended starting pitchers and relief pitchers together for these rankings because we want to assess their value, irrespective of role, based on what we think is their most likely outcome on the mound. If you only want to know the ranking of relief pitchers, you can filter out the starting pitchers and the remaining relief pitchers are listed in order.

Because so many pitchers are rostered in fantasy leagues, we have expanded this list to include more than 200 pitchers.

1. Corbin Burnes, MIL

2. Gerrit Cole, NYY

3. Shane McClanahan, TBR

4. Spencer Strider, ATL

5. Sandy Alcantara, MIA

6. Aaron Nola, PHI

7. Shohei Ohtani, LAA (pitcher only)

8. Brandon Woodruff, MIL

9. Jacob deGrom, TEX

DW Target: deGrom has a reputation for being elite when on the mound—almost assuredly the best in the game right now—but he is oft-injured. This discourse has been so pervasive recently that in redraft leagues he is typically the eighth pitcher (including relievers) selected, despite being the consensus best pitcher per appearance in the game. As a result—and because he is over 30 years old—he is also being downgraded in dynasty ranks. I believe that the market is over-correcting. Even though he will be 34 years old on Opening Day, he would be expected in 2026 (his fourth season from today) to still have a K-BB% of around 23% and an ERA less than 3.50. Those are the same projections that Gerrit Cole has this year.

10. Carlos Rodon, NYY

11. Shane Bieber, CLE

12. Luis Castillo, SEA

13. Alek Manoah, TOR

14. Dylan Cease, CHW

15. Julio Urias, LAD

16. Zac Gallen, ARI

17. Max Fried, ATL

18. Zack Wheeler, PHI

19. Cristian Javier, HOU

20. Tyler Glasnow, TBR

21. Kevin Gausman, TOR

22. George Kirby, SEA

23. Max Scherzer, NYM

24. Nick Lodolo, CIN

GP Target: Over his final 14 starts in 2022, Lodolo went five or more innings 11 times. His 30% strikeout rate, .213 batting average against and 1.14 WHIP ranked seventh, 14th and 31st among qualified starters after the all-star break. Lodolo is a special lefthanded starter with a combination of good traits. His unique angle allows his fastball and slider to tunnel, and he displays unusual power on his pitch mix for a player with Lodolo’s arm slot and pitch movement profile. His ability to keep the ball on the ground is an excellent trait for a Reds starter. I’m buying Lodolo in all formats. 

25. Hunter Greene, CIN

26. Justin Verlander, NYM

27. Grayson Rodriguez, BAL

28. Emmanuel Clase, CLE

29. Triston McKenzie, CLE

30. Joe Musgrove, SDP

31. Edwin Diaz, NYM

32. Framber Valdez, HOU

DW Fade: Valdez led the league with 26 quality starts in 2022 thanks to a 1.16 WHIP and 2.82 ERA. Most impressively, he led the league in groundball rate at 66.5% (Logan Webb was second among qualified starters with a 56.7% rate). Valdez will be 29 years old and, playing for the Astros, will get a lot of wins. So, why is he a fade? He is definitely a solid pitcher who should have sub 3.50 ERAs for three or more years, but in standard roto leagues, because he has a lower strikeout rate, he actually doesn’t provide as much value as one would think and his ceiling is not much higher than how he performed last year. For example, in 15-team leagues with nine pitchers rostered per team (135 pitchers drafted), by my calculations, he is “only” the 28th-best starter (and 35th overall pitcher). He is being valued much higher than that by the market. I do want to emphasize that he is still a good pitcher who has an extremely high floor.

33. Eury Perez, MIA

34. Logan Gilbert, SEA

35. Andrew Painter, PHI

36. Luis Severino, NYY

37. Dustin May, LAD

38. Blake Snell, SDP

39. Robbie Ray, SEA

40. Nestor Cortes, NYY

41. Yu Darvish, SDP

42. Logan Webb, SFG

GP Fade: To be clear I don’t dislike Webb, and for formats that use quality starts, like points leagues, Webb holds greater value due to his ability to go deeper into starts. However, his lack of swing-and-miss stuff is concerning, particularly in a season where rule changes will likely benefit lefthanded hitters who put the ball in play. Webb ranked in the bottom 15 of qualified starters in strikeout rate in 2022. To further complicate matters Webb’s splits noticeably favor right-on-right matchups, as lefties hit .262/.326/.404 against him. I’m avoiding Webb in most formats, as there are higher-upside options in the late No. 2 to No. 3 starter range in 12-team mixed leagues. 

43. Josh Hader, SDP

44. Freddy Peralta, MIL

GP Target: Peralta dealt with shoulder tightness throughout the second half of 2022. It caused Peralta to drop out of the World Baseball Classic—he was slated to join the Dominican Republic roster. Despite the late season injury, Peralta has shown no rust this spring and looks poised to once again slot into the Brewers rotation behind dual aces Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff. While Peralta’s 2022 was not as valuable as his 2021 for fantasy, according to many ERA estimators he was better. A full, healthy season from Peralta might be a risky bet, but the upside is that of a top 15-20 starter in all formats. 

45. Joe Ryan, MIN

46. Kyle Wright, ATL

47. Walker Buehler, LAD

48. Kodai Senga, NYM

49. Ricky Tiedemann, TOR

50. Jesus Luzardo, MIA

51. Shane Baz, TBR

52. Jordan Romano, TOR

53. Lucas Giolito, CHW

54. Hunter Brown, HOU

55. Pablo Lopez, MIA

56. Devin Williams, MIL

57. Luis Garcia, HOU

58. Aaron Ashby, MIL

59. Felix Bautista, BAL

60. Clayton Kershaw, LAD

61. Andres Munoz, SEA

62. Tony Gonsolin, LAD

63. Gavin Williams, CLE

64. Kyle Harrison, SFG

65. Ryan Helsley, STL

66. Jordan Montgomery, STL

67. Chris Sale, BOS

68. Brandon Pfaadt, ARI

69. Drew Rasmussen, TBR

70. Chris Bassitt, TOR

71. Raisel Iglesias, ATL

72. Trevor Rogers, MIA

73. Bobby Miller, LAD

74. Camilo Doval, SFG

75. Ryan Pressly, HOU

76. Brayan Bello, BOS

77. Gavin Stone, LAD

78. Edward Cabrera, MIA

79. Brady Singer, KCR

80. Jeffrey Springs, TBR


81. Reid Detmers, LAA

82. Lance Lynn, CHW

83. Andrew Heaney, TEX

84. Jose Berrios, TOR

85. Jhoan Duran, MIN

86. Patrick Sandoval, LAA

87. Clay Holmes, NYY

88. Tyler Mahle, MIN

89. Jack Flaherty, STL

90. Tarik Skubal, DET

DW Target: Assuming Skubal returns from his UCL injury in 2023 back to form, he is being undervalued. His peak projections—again, assuming he returns fully healthy—are on par with a No. 2 starter, yet he is not being valued as highly. I’m betting on a return to form.

91. David Bednar, PIT

92. Roansy Contreras, PIT

93. Mick Abel, PHI

94. Kenley Jansen, BOS

95. Garrett Whitlock, BOS

96. Sonny Gray, MIN

97. Cade Cavalli, WAS

GP Sleeper: After a tough beginning to Cavalli’s 2022 season with Triple-A Rochester, he made an adjustment to his pitch usage and saw immediate results. Cavalli leaned into his plus, possibly plus-plus curveball, using it in lieu of his fastball and slider, and it led to excellent results. In Cavalli’s final 13 starts with Rochester he racked up a 2.10 ERA, a 1.02 WHIP and a .187 opponent batting average while striking out 28.4% of batters he faced. This spring Cavalli has been clocked as high as 98 mph with his fastball while showing improved feel for his slider and changeup. 

98. Tink Hence, STL

99. Jon Gray, TEX

100. MacKenzie Gore, WAS

101. Tanner Bibee, CLE

102. Jameson Taillon, CHC

103. Frankie Montas, NYY

104. Charlie Morton, ATL

105. Nathan Eovaldi, TEX

106. Alex Cobb, SFG

107. Hayden Wesneski, CHC

108. Eric Lauer, MIL

109. Justin Steele, CHC

110. Lance McCullers Jr., HOU

111. Miles Mikolas, STL

112. Merrill Kelly, ARI

113. Luis Ortiz, PIT

114. Taj Bradley, TBR

115. Ken Waldichuk, OAK

DW Sleeper: Waldichuk has been one of my favorite targets in dynasty leagues this year. Per my projections, he should peak at a strikeout percentage of 25% and a walk percentage of 8% with an ERA of about 3.70. That doesn’t sound fantastic, but it is essentially how Yu Darvish and Triston McKenzie are expected to perform this year. Because it is not elite performance (think of a Jose Quintana-type career arc)—and because he is not likely to get many wins for a subpar Athletics team—he is not being highly valued. I think that is a mistake.

116. Braxton Garrett, MIA

117. Kyle Bradish, BAL

118. Eduardo Rodriguez, DET

119. D.L. Hall, BAL

120. Mike Soroka, ATL

121. Daniel Espino, CLE

122. Sean Manaea, SFG

123. Peter Fairbanks, TBR

124. Aaron Civale, CLE

125. Zach Eflin, TBR

126. Jose Urquidy, HOU

127. Kyle Muller, OAK

128. David Peterson, NYM

129. Bryce Miller, SEA

130. Michael Kopech, CHW

131. Bailey Ober, MIN

132. Alexis Diaz, CIN

133. Dylan Lesko, SDP

134. Daniel Bard, COL

135. Tylor Megill, NYM

136. Kenta Maeda, MIN

137. Scott Barlow, KCR

138. Ryne Nelson, ARI

139. Wilmer Flores, DET

140. Paul Sewald, SEA

141. Alex Wood, SFG

142. Carlos Carrasco, NYM

143. Liam Hendriks, CHW

144. Jose Leclerc, TEX

145. Steven Matz, STL

146. Max Meyer, MIA

147. Drey Jameson, ARI

148. Tanner Houck, BOS

149. Chase Silseth, LAA

150. Ross Stripling, SFG

151. Matt Brash, SEA

152. Ranger Suarez, PHI

153. Marcus Stroman, CHC

154. Cal Quantrill, CLE

155. James Karinchak, CLE

156. A.J. Minter, ATL

157. Cody Morris, CLE

158. Tyler Anderson, LAA

159. Owen White, TEX

160. Seranthony Dominguez, PHI

161. John Means, BAL

162. Kyle Muller, OAK

163. Jackson Jobe, DET

164. Nate Pearson, TOR

165. Jack Leiter, TEX

166. Jorge Lopez, MIN

167. Brock Porter, TEX

168. Jose Quintana, NYM

169. Gordon Graceffo, STL

170. Brusdar Graterol, LAD

171. Daniel Hudson, LAD

172. Adbert Alzolay, CHC

173. Jake Eder, MIA

174. Ryan Pepiot, LAD

175. Quinn Priester, PIT

176. Matthew Liberatore, STL

177. Jacob Misiorowski, MIL

178. Robert Gasser, MIL

179. Jarlin Susana, SDP

180. Zach Plesac, CLE

181. Josiah Gray, WAS

182. Jose Suarez, LAA

183. Jason Adam, TBR

184. Mitch Keller, PIT

185. Cade Horton, CHC

186. Brandon Hughes, CHC

187. Giovanny Gallegos, STL

188. Spencer Turnbull, DET

189. Noah Syndergaard, LAD

190. Mason Miller, OAK

191. Griff McGarry, PHI

192. Kendall Graveman, CHW

193. Graham Ashcraft, CIN

194. Garrett Crochet, CHW

195. Taijuan Walker, PHI

196. AJ Smith-Shawver, ATL

197. Bryan Abreu, HOU

198. Martin Perez, TEX

199. Bubba Chandler, PIT

200. Diego Castillo, SEA

201. Rafael Montero, HOU

202. Connor Prielipp, MIN

203. Brandon Barriera, TOR

204. Prelander Berroa, SEA

205. Keegan Thompson, CHC

206. Collin McHugh, ATL

207. Nick Martinez, SDP

208. Alex Vesia, LAD

209. Joey Wentz, ATL

210. Owen Murphy, ATL

211. Craig Kimbrel, PHI

212. Landon Sims, ARI

213. A.J. Puk, MIA

214. Jose Alvarado, PHI

215. Kyle Finnegan, WAS

216. Carlos Estevez, LAA

217. Trevor May, OAK

218. Reynaldo Lopez, CHW

219. Robert Suarez, SDP

220. Clarke Schmidt, NYY

The Next Prospects: who will be next to join the list?

1. Yosver Zulueta, TOR (55/High)

2. Blake Walston, ARI (55/High)

3. Luis Serna, NYY (55 Very/High)

4. Dax Fulton, MIA (50/High)

5. Ky Bush, LAA (50/High)

6. Mason Montgomery, TBR (50/High)

7. Gunnar Hoglund, OAK (50/High)

8. Robby Snelling, SDP (55/Extreme)

9. Hayden Juenger (50/High)

10. Ben Kudrna, KCR (50/High)

11. Jacob Miller, MIA (50/High)

12. Bryan Mata, BOS (50/High)

13. Daniel Palencia, CHC (50/High)

14. Nick Nastrini, LAD (50/High)

15. Taylor Dollard, SEA (50/High)

16. Nick Frasso, LAD (50/High)

17. Noah Schultz, CHW (55/Extreme)

18. Landen Roupp, SFG (50/High)

19. Frank Mozzicato, KCR (50/High)

20. Emmet Sheehan, LAD (50/High)

21. Sean Burke, CHW (50/High)

22. Marco Raya, MIN (55/Extreme)

23. Ty Madden, DET (50/High)

24. Keaton Winn, SFG (50/High)

25. Victor Lizarraga, SDP (50/High)

26. Cristian Mena, CHW (50/High)

27. Emerson Hancock, SEA (50/High)

28. Gabriel Hughes, COL (50/High)

29. Jordy Vargas, COL (55/Extreme)

30. Jackson Rutledge, WAS (50/High)

31. Cole Wilcox, TBR (50/High)

32. Peyton Pallette, CHW (55/Extreme)

33. David Festa, MIN (50/High)

34. Adam Mazur, SDP (50/High)

35. Matt Canterino, MIN (50/High)

36. Carson Seymour, SFG (50/High)

37. Jackson Ferris, CHC (55/Extreme)

38. Norge Vera, CHW (55/Extreme)

39. Will Warren, NYY (50/High)

40. Jackson Cox, COL (55/Extreme)

41. Erik Miller, SFG (50/High)

42. Carson Whisenhunt, SFG (50/High)

43. Mason Black, SFG (50/High)

44. Drew Thorpe, NYY (50/High)

45. Mike Burrows, PIT (50/High)

46. Randy Vasquez, NYY (50/High)

47. Bryan Woo, SEA (50/High)

48. Jake Bennett, WAS (50/High)

49. Thomas Harrington, PIT (50/High)

50. Jared Jones, PIT (50/High)

51. Chase Petty, CIN (50/High)

52. Connor Phillips, CIN (50/High)

53. Anthony Solometo, PIT (50/High)

54. J.T. Ginn, OAK (50/High)

55. Brandon Williamson, CIN (50/High)

56. Slade Cecconi, ARI (50/High)

57. Eric Silva, SFG (50/High)

58. Cole Winn, TEX (50/High)

59. Levi Stoudt, CIN (50/High)

60. Kyle Nicolas, PIT (50/High)

61. Mitch Bratt, TEX (50/High)

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