It is not an easy task to isolate a limited slate of top players for any position heading into the 2023 MLB season. Winnowing down a list of the top-five fantasy baseball starting pitchers from the many available arms that could post potential Cy Young award numbers and corresponding fantasy greatness is a difficult feat. When beginning this project, a dozen or better MLB hurlers that take the ball and climb the mound to begin games came into serious consideration to be profiled here. After much consideration, projections crunching, and contemplative pondering, a slate of aces has been selected. Check out our Top 5 Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitchers ahead of the 2023 MLB season. As you look for fantasy baseball sleepers and avoid those fantasy baseball busts this year, make sure you're targeting these five SPs early on in fantasy baseball drafts. Included below each ranked pitcher are our 2023 MLB projections that we have on the site for every player. Be advised that we may be changing the projected numbers posted below as we approach the start of the MLB fantasy baseball regular season. If you haven't already, check out Fantasy Alarm's FREE Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide to prepare for the season.


2023 Top 5 Fantasy Baseball MLB Starting Pitchers

1) Jacob deGrom, Texas Rangers


What are we seeking when we draft the ace of our pitching staff in fantasy? Superb ERA? Superior sub-1.00 WHIP? Strikeouts that roll up better than a batter per inning? deGrom checks all those boxes and then some. A guarantee of 200-plus innings? Well, that might be a small problem, given his track record over the past three seasons: a total of 224.1 IP over the past three seasons in total, just about what we project him to twirl from the hill this season. If he is back to full health, he has the potential to again be the best of all starting pitchers in baseball, a lofty status, indeed. In addition to his recent injury issues, the move to Texas, and a slightly less favorable home ballpark, together with a less formidable offense to back his pitching efforts there is some downside to the right-hander’s promise as your potential staff ace. 

2) Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees


Our second entry in the listing of best arms to select to serve as the ace of your fantasy pitching staff seems well suited in that position, given his two-time bridesmaid status as the AL Cy Young award winner, losing to teammate Justin Verlander in 2019 and to the Blue Jays’ Robbie Ray in 2021. He brings a four-seam fastball as his main offering while toeing the rubber, and last season, opposing hitters were able to catch up to that pitch more frequently than ever, resulting in a career-high 33 long balls. Fantasy owners are willing to overlook the occasional dinger in exchange for the massive number of swings and misses from the other teams’ batters. He added a cutter to his pitching repertoire in 2022, reducing his usage of the changeup and curve, and perhaps that new pitch can help him keep the ball in the park on a more regular basis.  

3) Sandy Alcantara, Miami Marlins


Coming off a career year, that resulted in his taking home the NL Cy Young trophy, it should be expected that some will expect a decline in production this coming season and will discount his value. As a workhorse that also provides excellent fantasy numbers, however, it is suggested that it would not be amiss to select the 27-year-old righthander as your cornerstone ace SP in 2023 drafts. He is essentially a three-pitch starter, with a 98-mph fastball that he complements with an effective slider that he throws with approximately the same velocity and a change with a six-mph delta. A slight uptick in ERA over his career-best 2.28 posted last season would not be unexpected, but providing his owners with a sub-3.00 ERA again is not out of the question. His home park is conducive to effectively subduing opposing offenses, even if is plays a bit more hitter-friendly that a few seasons ago. Expect excellent ratios and superb K production for the young ace of the Marlin staff once again.

4) Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers


If you are seeking validation that a pitcher can deliver the goods in his post-Cy Young award season, look no further than the Milwaukee Brewers’ ace, Burnes. He offered up another stellar WHIP below 1.00 (0.97) and kept his ERA below 3.00 again (2.94, granted coming in at half a run better than his 2021 effort, but still nothing to sneeze at), and he broke through the 200 IP limit for the first time in his young MLB career, to boot. Our projections have him racking up a stellar 12 K/9 rate for the upcoming campaign. If the three SPs profiled above have been snatched up when you get ready to select your ace, you should not be dissatisfied if Burnes is still on the board for you to add to your fantasy roster.

5) Carlos Rodón, New York Yankees



Granted, the former Giant SP is not projected to twirl 200 innings in 2023, but the Yankees obviously have great faith in his ability to produce, adding him to their stable of superb SPs and he lines up as the second option behind the hurler profiled a couple of paragraphs above, giving the Bronx Bombers a strong one-two punch on the bump, not that the back of the rotation with Nestor Cortes and Luis Severino are slouches on the hill. If he can continue to keep the ball in the park and continue to collect Ks at a rate of 10 or so per nine innings (our projections are a bit more modest, but he has shown those skills over the past couple of seasons, so…), and if his injuries are in the rear-view mirror, his move back to the AL could have him fighting with his teammate Cole for some hardware once all is said and done in 2023.

Certainly, there are other arms that could replace one or another of the five starters profiled above. Can Justin Verlander continue to excel at the age of 40? His 38-year-old teammate, Max Scherzer, shows little sign of slowing down. Shane Bieber, Zack Wheeler, Alek Manoah, Dylan Cease…the options are many when looking at ace-quality hurlers in the fantasy baseball world. We shall be discussing starting pitchers here on a weekly basis in the Fantasy Alarm 2023 MLB Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, so keep coming back for more SP discussion.


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