George Kirby: Seattle Mariners Fantasy Baseball Advice for 2023
To say George Kirby announced his presence in the league last year could be one of the biggest understatements. Scouts have always heralded his elite control, but the former first-round pick took things to another level in 2022. Kirby showed poise during the stretch run, added a two-seamer on the fly, and pitched some big innings in the playoffs. So, what does Kirby's 2023 look like from a fantasy perspective?
Most outlets rank Kirby in the third tier, with the best being the #36 rated starting pitcher overall. The three primary fantasy baseball services (ESPN, CBS, YAHOO) show that the estimated average draft position (ADP) is #113. These ratings, especially the ADP, are a little low. The 25-year-old became a different pitcher as the year progressed. From July 1 through the end of the season, Kirby pitched to the tune of a 2.92 ERA, 1.81 FIP, 1.19 WHIP, 4.7% walk rate, and a 26.5% strikeout rate, with the strikeout rate reaching its highest later in the season (28.6% from July 2 – August 24).
The critical fantasy stats (ERA, SO, WHIP) are Kirby's game and will continue to be so this year. One key factor is the team's stance on his innings limit. He ended up with 138 innings between the regular season and playoffs. There is a good chance he could get up to 160 innings in 2023, which equals a couple more starts. Statistical estimates are a little down on the Mariners (minus Julio Rodriguez), which explains why the major fantasy baseball services projections seem light.
My fantasy projections are more bullish. If Kirby lands somewhere in the middle of the big three, and my estimates, He will end the year as a Top 25 starting pitcher. If you can snag him in the suggested ADP range (113), he'd be a steal and a deciding factor in your league. On the other hand, Kirby might be your draft's darling, and someone could pick the budding ace in the 80 range. It depends on if he is that guy you reach for on draft day. If you're asking me, hit the Draft George Kirby Button in the 8th round and get ready for a wild ride.