2023 Fantasy Baseball Overvalued Pitchers

by Dennis Sosic
2023 Fantasy Baseball Overvalued Pitchers

Now that the Super Bowl is over, fantasy baseball prep takes over.

In my last article, I provided pitching gems with five Undervalued Pitchers. that Fantasy managers should queue up.

Let's go in the opposite direction and find out who the pitchers are not so eager to select in the 2023 Fantasy Baseball Overvalued Pitchers.

2023 Fantasy Baseball Overvalued Pitchers

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Alex Manoah, SP, Toronto Blue Jays

Alex Manoah had a breakout season in 2022. He went 16-7 with a 2.24 ERA and 0.99 WHIP while yielding a .200 batting average across a career-high 196 innings. Manoah developed as the team's ace and finished third in the AL Cy Young award voting.

Manoah will be a highly sought-after starter heading into your fantasy drafts this spring. However, he is also a regression candidate that fantasy managers need to monitor. His 2.24 ERA is over a run lower than his 3.31 xERA, and his 83 LOB percentage makes you doubt that we will see a similar season in 2023.

There are concerns about his arm and body handling this increased usage from last season. Manoah pitched 111.2 innings in his rookie season, and we witnessed a substantial 85-inning jump to 196.2 innings last season.

Additionally, the Blue Jays revealed stadium changes that will result in the outfield fences being moved, impacting pitching in Toronto. Manoah produced an above-average 41.90 FB%, so we could see the right-hander cough up more long balls this season.

Manoah is the Blue Jays ace, but fantasy managers should hesitate to jump on Manoah as one of your top two starters, which is where he is currently being drafted. The upcoming regression will result in the Blue Jays' right-hander being overvalued.

Dustin May, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers

Dustin May made only six starts last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2021. May produced a 4.50 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in those six starts, with an 8.7 K/9. The more significant concern was his lack of control, as he walked 4.2 batters per nine innings across 30 innings.

May is projected to be the Dodgers' fifth starter this season. That designation has pushed up his ADP, especially concerning the Dodgers' ability to produce pitchers whenever required. He has some upside, but fantasy managers should not get carried away.

The rustiness was apparent last season, and his pitches were not sharp, leaving May with a short hook in the rotation. The Dodgers brought in veteran righty Noah Syndergaard, and the Dodgers never have a shortage of available pitchers ready to step in. May will be eased back into the rotation, and a proposed innings limit also limits his fantasy value.

Chris Sale, SP, Boston Red Sox

If it seems like Chris Sale is always injured, it's because he genuinely is. Sale has only thrown for 57.1 innings and made 14 starts over the past three seasons.

Sale is one of the most dominant baseball pitchers when he is healthy. Since 2017, he has averaged 13 strikeouts per nine innings, yielding a 3.09 ERA and 0.998 WHIP.

Sale will be 34 years old and looking to get back on the field and stay healthy when the MLB season starts in March. The southpaw has endured some horrible luck with injury across the last three seasons, but he is scheduled to start Opening Day on March 30 against the Baltimore Orioles.

Sale made two starts last season, pitching 5.2 innings, but fantasy baseball is challenging enough without concerning yourself with a starting pitcher who manages to find injuries where they don't exist. A fantasy manager will bite the bullet and select Sale at his current ADP of 160.0, which is not a hefty price but make Sale another manager's headache.

Justin Verlander, SP, New York Mets

His track record speaks for itself, with three Cy Young awards and a Pitching Triple Crown. Justin Verlander returned from two lost seasons to his first season back from Tommy John surgery to produce an MLB-best 1.75 ERA with a 2.66 xERA and 0.829 WHIP across his 28 starts.

Verlander signed with the New York Mets this offseason to team up with another veteran ace Max Scherzer to form a formidable one-two punch at the top of the Mets' starting rotation. Unfortunately, Verlander will be 40 years old by the time the first pitch is thrown out of the 2023 MLB season.

Obviously, the talent is still there, and his 2022 stats are tremendous and probably won many fantasy championships for managers who took the plunge with him last season. However, one adage that fantasy managers should avoid is not to pay for last year's stats. Currently, Verlander is being drafted as the 11th pitcher overall., which is at the fantasy ceiling for the future Hall-of-Famer.

Investing in an early-round pick is drafting Verlander at a Cy Young level. Unfortunately, Father Time is undefeated, resulting in a downgrade in fantasy production. Steamer and ZIPS project Verlander to post 12-14 wins with an ERA ranging from 2.84-3.56. Those expectations seem more reasonable than his outstanding season, but they overvalue Verlander enough to warrant serious concerns.


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