The List 4/3: Top 100 Starting Pitchers – Week 1.5 Fantasy Baseball 2023

Welcome to The List, where I rank the Top 100 SP for Fantasy Baseball every single Monday of the year.

Want an earlier update to The List? Join me on Mondays at 1:00pm ET as I live-stream its creation each week!

Have questions? My “office hours” are on Twitch 10:00 am – 12:00 pm ET Monday – Friday + the aforementioned stream of The List.

For each edition of The List, I have a set of rules to outline my thought process and how to best use these rankings. Please take note:

  1. This is 5×5, 12-teamer, H2H format focused. It generally is the same as roto as well, but make sure you adjust accordingly.
  2. We have two tables to review before the notes and rankings. First is an injury table that outlines where players would be relatively ranked if fully healthy. It’s the best way to tackle how to value players on the IL.
  3. If a player is on the IL or not confirmed inside the rotation, they aren’t on the List. That includes injuries and guys in the minors, but there are exceptions for players who are expected to be in the rotation but are being skipped this week.
  4. Second is a table of pitchers outside the Top 100 I considered. Please read this if you can’t find your guy.
  5. Since this is a 12-teamer, I heavily weigh upside in the back-half of the rankings. Tier 10 is likely going to underperform those in Tier 11 across a full season, but it’s in your best interest to chase Tier 10’s ceiling vs. settling for Tier 11’s floor.
  6. I’ve made a decision to limit labels to just one label per player, with few exceptions for a second. It streamlines the process much better and hopefully gives you a more targeted understanding of the player.
  7. The notes outline oh-so-much to help your team. Please read the notes if you can instead of just scrolling to the bottom.

Let’s get to the tables. First are all of our injured compatriots:

I made a decision last year: I removed the “Preseason tiers” and changed “tiers” to “Relative Rank” as it’ll be more consistent week-to-week — Tiers change while their relative rank does not.

Please understand that “70-80” does not guarantee the player will be exactly in that range when they return. Rankings are 100% relative to the landscape and while this table reflects where they would sit in a vacuum, it’s a fluid creature. Sometimes there are oh-so-many options, sometimes I want to see them healthy and stretched out again, and others we’re starving for pitchers and they jump higher than “70-80”. It’s a loose reference point and why it’s called “relative ranking.” It’s difficult to update this week-to-week and I apologize if the ranking is different when the player actually returns from the IL. I hope it helps!

One last point about that – often times pitchers need an extra week or two to ramp up once they do return to the majors. It’s why Still ILL exists and the “relative rank” you see is when those guys have shaken off their rust. Will they be back to normal in their first start or will they need a few? I have no idea! Those ranks are to show what I’d expect once they are fully back to normal.

Now let’s take a look at the pitchers I considered for the Top 100 but didn’t quite make the cut:

Other Pitchers I Considered (Not Ranked In Order)

Lastly, I heavily recommend you follow my daily SP Roundup that outlines all pitcher performances through the season, as each week’s update will reflect the comments and findings from those daily articles. If you’re unfamiliar with some of the players listed, I highly recommend that you read my 45,000+ Top 300 Starting Pitchers from February. Many things will have changed, but the root of my perception of these players is outlined there.

Let’s get to it.

Ranking Notes

  • This is your reminder to please read these notes as they’ll tell you plenty about why “someone moved up” or “why is he at #X?!”
  • Seriously. Read the notes.
  • I know there are going to a ton of comments about how can you have so many changes without some pitchers even playing yet?! or I hate how much these rankings change each week and I’m going to get out ahead of them here.
  • These rankings mostly change in the back-half of The List as that’s your waiver wire. Those aren’t the players you hold onto throughout the year like your SPs 1-4, which means we’re going to be a bit more chaotic and roll with the waves more aggressively. If I see elements that suggest a pitcher could be a Top 40 arm, I’m going to move up a ton from the 80s to the 60s.
  • In addition, it’s a weird point where I’ve lowered pitchers who haven’t even started yet. Why? Because other pitchers outperformed my expectations of them and I’ve readjusted my projection of them accordingly…which happens to be above players who haven’t started yet.
  • Also keep in mind these rankings were last updated 10 days ago, with every pitcher providing at least one spring training even if they haven’t started this season yet. There’s been a lot more info than it looks like.
  • Hoooo’k I hope that makes sense. If you disagree, that’s cool, I hope you at least grasp why I go with this approach. It’s been what I’ve done for almost 10 years now and it’s the simplest solution to all the problems of doing this list weekly in the first place.
  • Now back to the regularly scheduled programming.
  • Per usual, I don’t touch a whole lot of the Top 30 in the opening few weeks of the year unless there is something legit alerting me that there is something off from our pre-season assessment. That means the first two tiers have been untouched save for the removal of Justin Verlander.
  • Tier 3 saw three changes: An extension of its end, a one-spot drop of Zack Wheeler (I’m a bit concerned about his lack of command over the past few weeks) and Dylan Cease raising a spot after looking absolutely incredibly against the Astros. Boy do I hope that command sticks.
  • Tier 4 saw Zac Gallen take a small drop as he’s failing to replicate the same command of 2022, while Framber Valdez jumps a touch over George Kirby and Gallen. But it’s seven spots! Verlander, Rodon, Musgrove, Ray, Fried. Ahhhh.
  • The next tier has a few changes sprinkled in, but not a whole lot. Logan Webb gets rewarded for 12 strikeouts in six frames (that sinker movement is ridiculous), Logan Gilbert’s secondaries are more promising than I’ve seen for a bit, Jeffrey Springs was incredible against the Tigers, and Pablo López jumps up with his new slider and velocity.
  • I pushed up Freddy Peralta because the dang man is healthy at the moment. I’m still terrified of his low IP projection given his record of shoulder injuries, but on a per-inning basis, he deserves the attention at #34. I think I was a bit too low on him for that reason in the pre-season.
  • I’m stoked to watch Reid Detmers tonight as he boasted 95+ mph in his final tune-up outing. As long as the slider whiffs are there, too, Detmers could be a legit breakout arm.
  • The seventh tier begins with two disasters in Chris Sale and Chris BassittChris(no)Mas! It’s too early to react massively, but I elected to at least move Sale down a touch as we haven’t seen him soar with consistency for far too long. Just give us one luscious outing Sale, PLEASE. 
  • As for Bassitt, yes, it was terrible. He sat 1-2 ticks down and everything in the zone was jumped on by St. Louis. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and considering these ranks are for the future and don’t count yesterday’s games, I’m holding him near his last ranking.
  • I jumped up Alex Cobb inside the tier as I’m incredibly encouraged by his new slider. It’s the perfect addition to his repertoire, allowing him to use his splitter more as a weapon than a necessity.
  • There’s a great argument in favor of Kodai Senga having trouble in the first frame and then settling down into the man he’s supposed to be, but I see his splitter-heavy approach mixed with a high-velocity fastball that failed to record a whiff as a risky proposition throughout the year. Roster the man, but don’t have the highest of expectations.
  • In the eighth tier, it’s near the point where I did some major shuffling as we enter the back half of The List. I did some shifting around with some guys with excellent matchups ahead (Zach Eflin and Ross Stripling), and paired them with guys who looked solid early (Patrick Sandoval and Marcus Stroman) to craft the eighth tier.
  • I know Sean Manaea piggy-backed with Anthony DeSclafani today and these ranks reflect not knowing how well Manaea did. Keep in mind, I’m expecting Manaea to have 94+ mph velocity and regularly start after this.
  • The ninth tier is a mix of Toby types and some fun upside. Hayden Wesneski and Graham Ashcraft lead the way while Nick Martinez and Seth Lugo both feature a mix of great situation, good volume (both went seven innings!), and a solid ceiling, and Noah Syndergaard impressed me with a better slider and a fantastic changeup. They are good situations that I’m all for having rostered on my squads.
  • I had to give dips to both Luis Garcia and Jameson Taillonthough. I believe both will be solid plays throughout the season, but right now they shouldn’t be favored over arms in better situations.
  • After being completely out on Tyler Mahle a week before the season started, he was able to lift his velocity to 93 mph (not 94) and feature a better slider in his final spring outing. There’s a shot he can get close to normal and with a great matchup against the Marlins up first, he should be rostered right now. We’ll talk after.
  • To close out the tier, David Peterson, Eduardo Rodriguez, Tyler Andersonand Aaron Civale are general Toby types, but carry a bit more upside in each. Peterson has a wicked slider, Erod is flirting with 93 mph on his heater, Anderson could have his premium changeup, and Civale went 65% cutters + curves in his first outing.
  • I’m excited to watch Dylan Dodd in his first start with Atlanta. While Jared Shuster was sent to Triple-A, there’s a chance Shuster returns with Max Fried’s IL designation later this week, making Dodd’s rotation spot still in question a week or two down the line. If he comes out blistering hot against the Cardinals, he could be a massive play in all formats. The talent is there.
  • The start of the tenth tier continues the fun upside options but I’m not as sold as those in Tier 9. For example, Justin Steele had a solid fastball that allowed him to soar (will we keep seeing it?) and Clarke Schmidt wasn’t pristine and gets a tough matchup next time out, but he featured sliders 33% of the time and it could click as he’ll get many chances to produce.
  • I’m curious how Michael Grove will perform as the SP #5 for the Dodgers. He has the chance to grab the role and run with it as Tony Gonsolin is still on the mend + the Dodgers want to wait longer on promoting Gavin StoneKeep an eye on this one, especially with two cushy starts ahead.
  • Ryne Nelson was rewarded the fifth spot for the Diamondbacks despite sitting a tick or two down on his heater and there’s a chance it doesn’t matter with his premier fastball shape.
  • You see a three-spot drop from Matthew Boyd without him even starting yet and it’s simply because it’s the Astros and he’s not one of those must stashes at this point in the year. Hopefully he showcases talent that forces us to endure a tough schedule.
  • I watched the Carlos Carrasco start today and it was rough watching his velocity drop dramatically as the start went on. For a guy sitting 93/94 mph last year, he allowed a HR on an 88.7 mph pitch. Yeaaaaaaaah.
  • There’s a decent jump from Alex Woodbut it’s more basic shuffling + guys getting removed than a determined “I like Alex Wood” move. It’s the middle of the 70s, ya’ll. Don’t read too much into it.
  • Tier 11 is the tier of upside plays who I’m not all too thrilled about at the moment. Edward Cabrera still has to figure out his four-seamer’s inability to get strikes + a date with the Mets doesn’t inspire confidence. On the other side may be Tylor Megillwho has a solid slider but is still 1-2 ticks down from last season.
  • Mike Clevinger had a great performance against the Astros and is a solid play against the Pirates, but I’m not sure I buy him for the long term. It’s a slightly harder fastball and a better slider, but is it enough?
  • I don’t think I need to tell you my concern surrounding Jack Flaherty (seven walks?! 90/91 mph?! The shoulder is clearly still an issue), though Trevor Rogers and José Urquidy may have slipped under the radar. Rogers isn’t doing anything different from his 2022 rollercoaster, while Urquidy’s kitchen sink approach isn’t locked in and doesn’t appeal to me over the others. Don’t hold onto these guys in favor of something else that could stick around.
  • In the 12th tier, I want to be more in on MacKenzie Gorebut his schedule is just so dang rough ahead that I had to tuck him into the “hey, there’s upside if everything goes right” tier.
  • I watched the Michael Kopech start as I typed this and it was baaaad. Velocity is still not there, everything is hittable, and I’m just not interested in this headache whatsoever.
  • The rest of The List are all newcomers this year. Nick Pivetta gets the Pirates and could produce, Shintaro Fujinami is a Cherry Bomb through and through (even if we’ve seen two innings of cherry and one of BOMB), and the final tier all your Toby types. They aren’t for me to go after in 12-teamers, but hey, they are decent streaming options when the opportunities arise.
  • The #100 arm for this week goes to JP Searswho hasn’t made a start yet for the Athletics, but has sported a new slider in the spring. I think there’s a surprising amount of value as a streamer here for Sears and I recommend peeking at his week-ahead schedule frequently throughout the season.


Labels Legend

Aces Gonna Ace

Ace Potential

Injury Risk

Strikeout Upside


Quality Starts

Playing Time Question

Cherry Bomb


Ratio Focused

Streaming Option

Stash Option

Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

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