February 21, 2023, 3:23 pm
We are so close to real baseball. Spring training games are right around the corner and pretty soon it will be Opening Day for Major League Baseball in 2023. Of course, with that comes another fantasy season to prepare for and countless players and stats to comb through in preparation for your drafts.
I’ve always loved making lists, dating back to when I was a little kid, and ranking my favorite movies, athletes, foods, and all kinds of other ridiculous things, so doing fantasy baseball rankings for the first time was a (mostly) enjoyable process for me, although I may be sporting a thinner hairline with a sprinkling of grey before it is all said and done.
Enough of the preamble, let’s get into it!
1 Trea Turner 2 Bo Bichette 3 Fernando Tatis Jr 4 Bobby Witt Jr 5 Corey Seager 6 Francisco Lindor 7 Xander Bogaerts 8 Oneil Cruz 9 Dansby Swanson 10 Tim Anderson 11 Tommy Edman 12 Willy Adames 13 Wander Franco 14 Jeremy Pena 15 Carlos Correa 16 Amed Rosario 17 Javier Baez 18 Thairo Estrada 19 Ezequiel Tovar 20 Nico Hoerner 21 Adalberto Mondesi 22 Luis Urias 23 Bryson Stott 24 CJ Abrams 25 Jorge Mateo
I haven’t really made many “Hot Takes” with my rankings, as you will see. Trea Turner is still the clear #1 for me at short, and you can make a compelling case for him at 1.01 in any draft. He might just be the highest floor player across fantasy considering his ability to go for a 30/30 season and with a .300 batting average.
I have Bobby Witt Jr. probably a little lower than most people will. I feel like we are expecting way too much out of the sophomore and we are drafting him at his peak price, and even though he was great last year, he wasn’t a first-round player. I understand the appeal of the “new toy”, so to speak, and also the fact that he has third-base eligibility, but there are safer options available in the middle of the first round that have done it many times before and also won’t hurt your batting average in the same way that Witt does.
I think the market is a little bit low on Xander Bogaerts. He’s going from a bad lineup to arguably the best in baseball, and I think there is a legit shot at him getting to 200 R+RBI, not to mention a ~.300 average and close to double-digit steals. He’s recently been going off the board as the 12th SS, and that just feels wrong. Anderson should be a target for a lot of people. His draft price has gone down several rounds from previous years, and it’s mostly because he missed half of the season last year. he hit .301 with six home runs, 50 runs, and 13 steals in 79 games, a very solid pace over a whole season, and yet we are seeing him fall to the end of the top-100 in drafts. There’s a ton of potential value there.
I think there is a good chance we see Javy Baez really bounce back this year. We’re still talking about a relatively young guy (30) who was a fantasy stud not that long ago (31 HR, 18 SB in 2021). Granted, he struggled in his first year as a Tiger, as many players do in the first year of a big contract, but the community has essentially written him off. I am always willing to buy into players whose price is discounted because of an off-year (especially in year one of a new deal) and it’s also worth noting that the walls are coming in at Comerica Park in Detroit. We could very easily see him return to the 25 HR mark.
I am very excited to see what Ezequiel Tovar can do over the course of a full season at Coors Field. Every single public projection system has him going for double-digit steals and homers, to go along with at least a .267 average, and that is probably a bit too conservative. I could very easily see a 15-15 season from him while hitting at a .280+ clip. I see him as a big steal outside of the Top 200 picks.
I nearly included Adalberto Mondesi in my top-20, but thought better of it, Still, he comes in at 21 because of the ridiculous per-game production you can expect from him when healthy. I know, I know, he’s not going to be healthy for a full year, but what if we get even 100 games out of him as most projection systems expect? That would put him in the top-20 pretty easily. He might be the toughest player to rank just because if he was healthy for even 3/4 of a season, he could return first-round value. At his current draft price, I think he’s worth a shot.
CJ Abrams has the potential to break out this year, and even though my rank on him (24) is a touch lower than his current ADP (20) for shortstops, I really like him for 2023. He will get all of the playing time that he can handle for the lowly Nationals, and could be in line for a 10 HR, 20 SB season. His counting stats probably won’t be thrilling in that lineup, but the power-speed combo is well worth taking a shot on, considering he is still being drafted outside the Top-200.