2023 Fantasy Baseball Quality Starts Targets

Which Players Should You Target in Quality Starts Leagues

by Matthew Rosser
2022 Fantasy Baseball Week 3 NFBC FAAB

There are a few different ways to score a fantasy league and in more "forward-thinking" leagues, quality starts are the more popular category for pitchers. Above all, quality starts are used because, unlike wins, it doesn't depend on the team providing offensive support. There are a few ways to go when looking for your 2023 Fantasy Baseball quality starts targets.

Another consequence of the sabermetric revolution in baseball is the devaluation of the pitcher win.  Wins used to be the end-all, be-all for determining which starters moved the needle. However, as more stats became available, it became clear that another way to value pitching was needed.

A quality start is defined as six or more innings pitched with no more than three earned runs. It's far from perfect and has been surpassed by a myriad of other statistics and qualifications, such as the "new" metric, quality appearances. Still, it's been around long enough to become a scoring category option.

Below are a few quality start specialists to target at different ADPs in the first 10 rounds of your draft and stay tuned for the best of the rest table at the end.

2023 Fantasy Baseball Quality Starts Targets

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Sandy Alcantara, SP, Florida Marlins

Shovin' Sandy, as he is known by few, became the heir-apparent to the thoroughbred label that is seemingly going extinct.  The Marlins ace led the league in innings pitched and converted a quality start in 75 percent of his starts on his way to the 2022 NL Cy Young.

Alcantara ranks 23rd overall according to FantasyPros ECR, and carries an ADP of the exact same number. He does not have elite bat missing skills so he might be a little overpriced, but he pitches deep and well often enough to finish in the top tier of pitchers.

Alek Manoah, SP, Toronto Blue Jays

Alek Manoah burst onto the scene in 2021 and followed that up with a stellar sophomore year.  The 25-year-old finished 2022 with a 2.24 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 8.2 K/9.  He also had an incredible 81 percent quality start rate.

At an ADP of 49.6, Manoah is a prime candidate for a delayed SP1 selection and is my dark horse candidate for the 2023 AL Cy Young.  If he is available in the early fourth round, scoop him up. He won't make it back around to you in the fifth.

Framber Valdez, SP, Houston Astros

Framber Valdez was exceptional in 2022.  He turned in a 2.82 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and an 8.7 K/9 for the year, while converting an eye-popping 84 percent of his quality starts.  For reference, out of the 216 pitchers that recorded a quality start in 2022, the average quality start conversion rate is 37 percent. He also led the league in the category with 26.

Valdez has an ADP of 75.8, and he may be my favorite pitcher at their price in the game this year.  The 29-year-old has an incredible floor to build on and is probably going to end up going at half of his current ADP this time next year. If I haven't been clear, give me all of the Framber Valdez.

Kyle Wright, SP, Atlanta Braves

Everybody is looking for next year's Kyle Wright, but what about last year's Kyle Wright? The post-hype pitcher finally showed the promise that was flashed in the minors and delivered a 3.19 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and an 8.7 K/9 over 180.1 innings. The 27-year-old converted 63% of his starts into quality starts and was one of only thirteen pitchers to average less than 15 pitches per inning.

Kyle Wright is currently going at an ADP of 107.2 and that is juicy.  Given his age, efficiency, and history of volume, the braves could really turn him loose this year. If he only maintains, he should be able to get that quality start conversion rate into the seventies.

Best of the Rest

The table below is based on the following parameters: An ADP greater than 50, Quality Start Percentage greater than 50%, and a sub- 4.00 ERA.  Some players are rated higher than those discussed above, and that's okay. Utilize this table when you feel like a particular tier is drying up and you need some ideas.

NameECRADPGSQSQS%ERAWHIPK/9
Julio Urias5151.0311961%2.160.968.5
Zack Wheeler5452.8261662%2.821.049.6
Max Fried5758.2302170%2.481.018.3
Luis Castillo6062.0251768%2.991.0810.0
Kevin Gausman6164.8311755%3.351.2410.6
Zac Gallen6971.2311961%2.540.919.4
Yu Darvish7171.4302583%3.100.959.1
Joe Musgrove7979.8302170%2.931.089.1
Trison Mckenzie8889.2301860%2.960.958.9
Robbie Ray8989.4321856%3.711.1910.1
Logan Webb98100.4321959%2.901.167.6
Clayton Kershaw110113.6221255%2.280.949.8
Chris Bassitt124125.6301963%3.421.148.3
Lance Lynn136136.6211152%3.991.149.2
Jesus Luzardo138139.0181161%3.321.0410.8
Brady Singer180185.4241458%3.231.148.8
Lance McCullers Jr.189195.28563%2.271.249.4
Merrill Kelly196201.6331855%3.371.148.0
Mile Mikolas210218.8322269%3.291.036.8
Tyler Anderson226239.8281864%2.571.007.0
Jose Urquidy228241.6281554%3.941.177.3
Cal Quantrill269278.8321753%3.381.216.2
Martin Perez282290.6322372%2.891.267.7
Hayden Wesneski334339.84375%2.180.949.0
Johnny Cueto418385.0241875%3.351.235.8

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