All our fantasy baseball rankings for 2023 can be found inside our Draft Kit. Sign up to PL Pro to access all our 2023 player projections with our auction draft calculator.
Before we get started, I’ll briefly review my basic assumptions and philosophy:
These rankings assume a 5×5 head-to-head categories format with one catcher, one first baseman, one second baseman, one shortstop, one third baseman, three outfielders, two utility hitters, a shallow bench, and at least two IL spots. I am also assigning eligibility based on five starts at the position, so don’t be entirely shocked if your host site doesn’t list some of these guys at each position I list below. The scoring categories for hitters that I’m basing these rankings on are runs scored, home runs, runs batted in, stolen bases, and batting average.
Unlike deeper formats with an overall component like the NFBC, standard head-to-head leagues don’t put much of a premium on stolen bases. Additionally, the relatively high replacement level at most positions suppresses the value of players with high floors but low ceilings (like Jean Segura), so as we get to the later part of the rankings you’ll see that I value upside quite a bit more than safety.
There are leagues of all shapes and sizes out there, and I can’t possibly accommodate all of them in a single set of rankings. Don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments if you want to know whether a setting or situation would dramatically change a ranking, but in general, players won’t slide up or down more than one or two tiers (most will move even less) unless it’s an extreme or highly unusual scenario.
With that out of the way, let’s dive into the rankings!
1. José Ramírez (CLE), 3B
No surprises here. Ramírez is a five-category contributor with an elite floor and an elite ceiling.
Ramírez heads into 2023 as the king of the hot corner after finishing as fantasy’s best third baseman for the fourth time in five seasons (2018, 2020, 2021, and 2022). For what it’s worth, he also finished as the second-best third baseman in 2017. Not only has Ramírez been the top third baseman, but he has also finished as a top-five hitter overall in those four seasons as well. No other player in baseball can make the same claim (Trea Turner has been in the top five three times in that span, and Freddie Freeman has been there twice).
Due to the real depth drop-off at third, there are several good reasons to consider taking J-Ram as the top overall pick in your fantasy draft. If you choose to pass on Ramírez, there’s a very real chance that you will miss out on almost the entire next tier, and all of a sudden you’re going to be feeling the squeeze at third base after you’ve made just a single pick.
As long as J-Ram plays a full season—something he’s done in seven of the last eight years with his lowest games played total sitting at 129—he’s possibly the best bet in the game to finish as a top-10 overall player and a top-five hitter.
2. Bobby Witt Jr. (KCR), 3B/SS
Bobby Witt Jr.’s rookie campaign went as well as you could possibly hope as he notched 20 home runs and 30 steals with a solid .254 batting average. While those three things don’t come as a surprise, I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised to see that Witt scored 82 runs and drove in 80 runners—quite a feat when you play in the woeful Royals offense.
There’s still some development I expect to see from Witt. First and foremost, he needs to be able to get on base at a better rate. There are a few ways he can accomplish this, with perhaps the most simple being laying off more pitches that are out of the zone (his 37.3% o-swing rate was the 20th-highest mark among 130 qualified hitters).
It’s not that Witt misses too often or strikes out too much, it’s that he makes weak contact on those pitches. While we want Witt to be aggressive due to his bat-to-ball skills and plus power, we don’t want that power wasted on pitches he can’t do anything with.
The other path to getting on base would be being more passive overall—Witt hovered around the 75th percentile most of the year in terms of swing aggression—which would draw more walks. Witt did manage to walk at about a 9% clip over 123 games in Double-A and Triple-A back in 2021, and even a modest bump to his 4.7% walk rate in 2022 would help him get that .294 OBP over the .300 hump and closer to something like .310 or .315, which could help him steal a handful more bases and keep that run total north of 80.
3. Manny Machado (SDP), 3B
Durability and consistency are beautiful things. The last time Machado played fewer than 90% of the season was back in 2014, which is also the last time he slugged below .460. Machado has eclipsed 30 home runs in seven of the last eight full seasons, and in the shortened 2020 season he still managed to send 16 balls over the fence. Machado has also never hit below .256 in any season in the big leagues, and as a Padre, he’s batting .280/.352/.504 in 2,199 plate appearances.
Oh yeah, and Manny can steal some bases as well. He has at least five steals in each of the last six seasons, and at least nine in four of those six seasons. The rule changes surrounding steals (the limitation on pick-off attempts and the larger bases) could certainly impact a player like Manny as well, helping him reach double-digit swipes for the fourth time in his career (the most recent being in 2021).
A look at the stat lines from 2015 to the present will give you a good idea of what Manny can do. He’s a bankable 30 home runs and 100 RBI in this offense, and he’s likely to provide a plus in four of five categories while being neutral or possibly even better in steals. He doesn’t have the legs to steal 20 or more bags like J-Ram and Witt, but Machado can do just about everything else.
As a final note, for those in league formats that don’t put a premium on stolen bases (points leagues, leagues with more than 10 categories, or leagues where punting stolen bases is more effective than usual), I’d rank Machado ahead of Witt Jr.
4. Rafael Devers (BOS), 3B
I guess you could call Devers’ 27 home runs in 2022 a disappointment, as most of us expected 30 or more, but 27 probably represents something of a floor for a healthy Rafael Devers. Since his breakout in 2019 at the age of 22, Devers has consistently hit for power and average and, assuming he plays a full season, is a pretty good bet to hit those 30 home runs along with a batting average better than .275 and plenty of counting stats.
Because he doesn’t run and doesn’t have a strong supporting cast, Devers’ ceiling is a bit lower than Machado’s or Witt Jr.’s, but make no mistake—Devers is firmly in this tier of elite third baseman and doesn’t look to be leaving it any time soon.
5. Austin Riley (ATL), 3B
Things were a little scary due to the strikeout rate when Riley arrived on the scene in 2019, but in his last two seasons, he has improved his feel for the zone and kept his strikeout rate at or near a very reasonable 25%. That improvement has helped his batting average blossom, as he hit .303 in 2021 and .273 in 2022 to go along with those 71 combined home runs.
While Riley isn’t all that likely to hit .300 again over a full season, the improved discipline and the excellent Atlanta lineup give Riley four categories of plus production with speed being the only “flaw” in his game, as the two bases he stole in 2022 are the only two he’s ever stolen in 450 career games.
There’s really nothing in this profile that would give me hesitation about drafting Riley in the second round of fantasy drafts, and I really like pairing him with guys like Kyle Tucker or Bobby Witt Jr. from the middle of the first round. He provides a safe power floor (I’d be stunned if he falls short of 30 home runs) with plus ratios, and as long as you grab a little bit of speed with a few other early picks, Riley will help you get set up for a very pleasant fantasy season.
6. Nolan Arenado (STL), 3B
In his second season away from Coors, Arenado yet again delivered 30 home runs and 100 RBI—something he has done in every full season since 2016. Despite hitting .293 in 2023, Arenado doesn’t quite come with the high batting average floor of other hitters in this tier, and while he has significant pop, he’s not likely to hit 35 home runs either (you’ll have to “settle” for 30). In other words, the veteran Arenado can do all of the stuff the rest of this tier can do, he just has a little bit lower of a ceiling in most things.
The key to Arenado’s success in the last two seasons comes largely from career-low groundball rates and career-high pull rates—in short, he’s getting the ball in the air and yanking it to the pull field, which is a classic recipe for success for power hitters, particularly those who are over the age of 30. With every reason to believe that Arenado can continue this trend, he’s a safe bet to hit 28-30 home runs and drive in 90-100 runners with a .260-.270 batting average, even if he’s not all that likely to do a whole lot more than that.
In 12-team formats, I’m doing everything in my power to get at least one of the players from these first two tiers, and in a perfect world, I might even try to get two of them. Quite frankly, none of the bats below offer the kind of floor that you see from these six third basemen. Some can hit 30 home runs and some can steal bases or hit for a high average, but almost none of them can contribute so safely to at least four categories like the bats above. The next tier can sort of come close, I guess, but after that, it starts dropping off fast.
7. Alex Bregman (HOU), 3B
The 41 home runs from 2019 likely had a lot to do with the rabbit ball (and probably a scandal or two), and in the current offensive environment, I think we need to accept that Bregman is more of a 20-25 home run hitter than he is a 30 home run hitter. On the bright side, hitting 25 home runs and walking more than you strike out is a pretty good way to put up a ton of runs and RBI when you play for the Astros, so what he lacks in speed and power, Bregman makes up for in counting stats.
Apart from the time he missed in 2021 with injury, Bregman has been quite durable in his time in the big leagues, playing 155 or more games in four of the last five full seasons, and with Bregman going into his age-29 season, health concerns aren’t really something I’m worried about with him. While I wish he hit closer to .280 or .290 with that elite plate discipline, there’s nothing wrong with being a .260-.270 hitter. OBP league players, though, should note that Bregman has a good case to make to being added to the previous tier thanks to his .375 career OBP that he should get pretty close to again in 2023.
If you missed out on the first two tiers (which, unfortunately, will happen to at least half of us in a 12-team league), Bregman is the safest target and should probably move up your board. I don’t mind taking him as early as the late fourth or early fifth round, especially if you were able to pick up some high-end power with one of your first two picks and have a plan to address speed (or in leagues where punting speed makes sense, a plan to NOT address it).
8. Gunnar Henderson (BAL), 3B/SS
After just 34 games in the big leagues, several major projection systems are penciling in over 20 home runs with double-digit steals for the former top prospect—not too shabby at all right? On one hand, our PLV metrics had a lot of nice things to say about Gunnar, particularly related to his strike zone judgment and his improving decision-making skills:
While these are excellent developments that suggest he can improve his batting average and ratios at the plate, Gunnar does have one pesky little problem that trended in the opposite direction as the above. Our strike zone judgment and decision value stats do a great job highlighting that a player understands the zone and knows when to swing and when not to, but that’s only half the battle. When you swing, you need to hit the ball:
Strikeouts were a bit of a problem for Gunnar in the minor leagues, and unless he can find ways to make contact with more pitches when he chooses to swing—which he did well early on and could certainly improve on during the offseason and regular season—Gunnar’s batting average could be too limited to help him break into the higher tier of third basemen even if he surprises us with more power and speed.
9. Max Muncy (LAD), 2B/3B
You have probably heard the story about Muncy’s 2022—he chose to play through an elbow injury and it took roughly half the season before he really got his power and his swing back. Muncy’s batted ball profile (tons of pulled grounders and line drives with fly balls up the middle or the other way) really requires power to work out, and without it, he hit just .164 with a .320 OBP and .319 slugging (not a typo—his OBP was higher).
As he got healthier, he was able to punish the ball like the Muncy of old, as demonstrated by this rolling chart:
There’s 35-HR upside in Muncy’s bat, albeit with a .220 batting average, and no reason to believe the injury that plagues him in 2022 will impact him in 2023. OBP league managers should consider putting Muncy in the tier above, while the rest of us can move him up or down within this tier based on our power needs at that point in our drafts.
10. Eugenio Suárez (SEA), 3B
Suárez is a one-trick pony at this stage of his career, but thankfully, that trick is smashing home runs. Even as his contact ability has eroded and his strikeout rate has climbed to around 30%, Suárez once again managed to hit 30 home runs for the fourth consecutive full season. Sure, the batting average is atrocious and unlike the aforementioned Muncy, Suárez’s OBP isn’t an asset as much as it is simply neutral, but batting third in a hopefully improving Mariners’ lineup should give Eugenio a chance to drive in 90 or more runners as long as they let him and his .220 batting average continue to hit in such a prime lineup spot.
One other quick note—while Suárez has cleared 40 home runs in the past, he only did it one time, and that one time was in 2019. A more realistic power ceiling is something closer to 35, and the more realistic outcome is around 28-30.
11. Ty France (SEA), 1B/3B
Batting in front of Eugenio Suárez is sort of the antithesis of Eugenio Suárez, and that’s Ty France. France’s 20 home runs in 2022 probably represent the realistic ceiling for his power production as he doesn’t hit the ball particularly hard nor does he barrel the ball particularly often. That being said, France makes plenty of contact (a career 17.7% strikeout rate) and hits plenty of line drives, which keeps his batting average north of .270.
While France isn’t as likely to go on soul-crushing slumps as Max Muncy or Suárez, France also isn’t so likely to win you a weekly matchup practically by himself, either. France’s skill set is somewhat limited due to his complete lack of speed (he has two career attempts, and he got caught both times) and limited power, so his only path to counting stats and fantasy prominence comes via accumulation—France needs to play a lot near the top of the lineup and he needs his teammates to get on base and drive him home because he can’t really do that stuff on his own very often.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing—baseball is a team sport, after all—but it does limit his upside in exchange for a safe floor. That could be valuable based on how your draft has gone up until this point, but if you missed out on the top tier and are trying to shoot for the moon, you’ll want to aim elsewhere. Instead, France makes sense for folks who took risks earlier in the draft, either performance risks like José Abreu or Adolis García, or health risks like Jazz Chisholm or Luis Robert.
12. Jose Miranda (MIN), 1B/3B
So you know all that stuff I just said about Ty France? Well, Miranda is basically that same exact trope—he won’t run, but he can make a lot of contact and hit a lot of line drives. While Miranda lacks France’s track record, he does have a little bit of a history when it comes to hitting home runs as he hit 30 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A in 2021. While few think he could provide that kind of juice here in the major leagues, Miranda shouldn’t have too much issue hitting 25 dingers, and unlike France, there might be possible universes where Miranda flirts with 30 home runs in a season.
While France’s floor is safer than Miranda’s in batting average and counting stats, Miranda’s potential for a bit more pop provides just enough intrigue that I might look his way instead if I’m not in dire need of more bankable stats.
13. Matt Chapman (TOR), 3B
While it was nice to see Chapman get that strikeout rate below the dreaded 30% threshold, his propensity for pop-ups and flyouts kept his batting average at a paltry .229. For whatever reason, Chapman lives in my head as a big-time power bat capable of 35 or more home runs, but looking at the career totals and seeing his only foray into the 30-home run space was in that darn 2019 season, I think it’s time I resigned myself to accepting that Chapman is more of a 25-28 home run hitter than anything else.
Chapman is capable of scorching hot streaks and dreadful cold spells, but by the time all is said and done, I think we should see something similar to what we’ve seen the last two seasons, which is mildly disappointing. You’d think a guy with hard-hit rate above 50% and an average exit velocity above 92% in 2023 would have found a way to drive in more runners as part of the Toronto offense, but Chapman’s contact woes routinely dragged him to sixth or seventh in the order and limited that RBI total to just 76. I’d like to believe he can provide a bit more consistency and drive in 80 or more runners, but Chapman will need to either hit more home runs or at least hit fewer pop-ups to make that a reality.
14. Brandon Drury (LAA), 1B/2B/3B
I was admittedly surprised by how much Pitcher List’s own expected batting average (.248) and expected slugging (.477) supported what Drury did in 2022 compared to Baseball Savant’s numbers (.242 and .420, respectively). One of the primary differences between our expected stats and Savant’s expected stats is that we take direction into account while Savant does not.
In 2022, the league hit .222 and slugged .646 on fly balls. This makes sense, as fly balls that don’t clear the fences tend to land in a glove and not on the grass, and that means the expected stats for fly balls tend to be a bit sad. However, when it comes to fly balls, direction REALLY matters:
If you’re wondering how Brandon Drury found so much success in 2022 (and to a lesser extent, 2021), it’s from hitting and pulling more fly balls than ever before. His 22 home runs to the pull field ranked seventh in all of baseball, and Drury’s 52 pulled fly balls were the 14th most in baseball. While many will point to his time with the Reds and say Drury took advantage of Great American Ballpark (which he did), he’ll find the left field wall in Angel Stadium quite inviting—it’s only two feet further back than the one in Cincinnati, and the wall is several feet lower. In fact, Angel Stadium ranks seventh in home run factor for right-handed hitters, according to Statcast.
I’m not projecting Drury to hit 28 home runs again, but there’s evidence to suggest that he can hit 22-25 of them with a decent batting average if he can continue to pull fly balls. His positional flexibility only adds to his fantasy relevance, particularly with how shallow third base looks heading into 2023.
15. Ke’Bryan Hayes (PIT), 3B
In his first full season, Hayes hit just seven home runs with a .244/.314/.345 line with a meager combined run and RBI total of 96 in 136 games. That’s… not great. Not great at all.
While Hayes does a decent job avoiding strikeouts and takes his fair share of walks, there just aren’t many paths to fantasy relevance with that kind of batting line. The only reasons we are talking about him even now are that he managed to steal 20 bases and because despite his .345 slugging, he did have consistently high-end exit velocity. Granted, that exit velocity often came on grounders, but at least it was there.
As a prospect, Hayes was very well regarded, appearing as a top-10 prospect in baseball on multiple lists back in 2020 and 2021 with the hope that he could unlock some of the power he had on grounders into more line drives and 15-20 home runs. While Hayes has yet to hit more than 10 home runs in any season of his professional career, the speed provides enough of a floor that a tweak or two to his swing or approach could help him find 15 home runs and 15 stolen bases with solid ratios.
16. Luis Arraez (MIN), 1B/2B/3B
In 1,082 plate appearances since the start of 2021, Arraez has a .307 batting average, which is the third-highest batting average among qualified hitters in that span (only Freddie Freeman and Trea Turner have been better).
Now unlike the two players ahead of him on the batting average leaderboard, Arraez is very unlikely to provide meaningful contributions in power or speed. While he did set a career-high in both home runs and stolen bases in 2021, he did so with just eight home runs and four steals. With Arraez being traded to the Marlins earlier this offseason to be their new leadoff hitter, you can expect Arraez to provide three key contributions to your fantasy squad—runs scored, ratios, and position eligibility at first, second, and third.
Points league players can push Arraez up their boards considerably, as his ability to make contact and avoid strikeouts (he had just a 7.1% strikeout rate last season) is far more useful in that format than in ones that use categories. For the category folks, though, Arraez is more of a niche than a must-roster player. If you have picked up a lot of batting average risk in your draft (guys like Max Muncy, Brandon Lowe, Anthony Rizzo, Adolis García, etc.), Arraez can make a lot of sense as that middle infielder or utility guy who helps balance out those ratios. If you’re already set on ratios, though, you’re best off skipping Arraez as well as the next guy on the list.
17. Alec Bohm (PHI), 1B/3B
Fun fact—Bohm had a higher xwOBACON, or expected wOBA on batted balls, than Alex Bregman. In fact, it wasn’t even close (.383 to .337)! However, because Bohm’s harder contact mostly comes in the form of low-ish line drives, that power presents itself more as a high batting average with low-teens home runs instead of the 25 home run power that Bregman brings to the table.
Like Hayes, Bohm was once thought of as a prospect who could unlock power as he developed, but in Bohm’s case, that power just turned into more base hits and not high fly balls, which is good for batting average, but not for providing souvenirs to the folks in the outfield bleachers. Instead, Bohm should be seen as a safe-but-unexciting corner infielder who can likely hit better than .270, and while he won’t contend for a batting title like Arraez, he makes up for it by hitting double-digit home runs, albeit with no speed.
I’d be ready to get more excited about Bohm if he made his way to the top of the Phillies lineup, but with Turner, Schwarber, Hoskins, Realmuto, and Castellanos all likely locked into the top five spots, it’s hard to imagine Bohm getting any extended run as a table-setter while the team is healthy. That role would suit Bohm’s skills much better for fantasy purposes, and if it came to fruition, I’d likely move him ahead of Arraez and Hayes.
18. Josh Jung (TEX), 3B
Let’s start with a rolling chart, shall we? Perhaps his strikeout rate, considering his strikeout rate in 102 plate appearances in 2022 was a whopping 38.2%:
On one hand, he trended down, and that’s good! On the other, it ended up still on the wrong side of 30%. There really isn’t a path to major league success with that kind of strikeout rate unless you’re willing to take walks, but unfortunately, Jung walked less than 4% of the time between Triple-A and the big leagues, and that just won’t get it done.
We shouldn’t forget, though, that Jung was a heralded power prospect as recently as 2021 prior to missing the year with a foot injury, and prior to the injury, Jung had very reasonable strikeout rates and double-digit walk rates in the minors. Assuming Jung can get that strikeout rate back to even a somewhat reasonable level in the high-20s and walk even at a league-average rate, we could be looking at a 25-30 home run hitter on a Texas team that’s trying to buy as many wins as it can. Of course, the risk is that the strikeout rate stays high and Jung produces like a Joey Gallo who doesn’t walk. That’d be a very sad thing.
19. Ryan McMahon (COL), 3B
McMahon will play a lot, be a rather useful fantasy producer when at home with decent power and counting stats with a good average, and be nigh-unusable when on the road. This is the case for many Colorado hitters. Whether you want to deal with that is your business, but I generally don’t. I do realize that the final stats will come out looking fine—low-20s home runs, 70 or more runs and RBI, and a mediocre batting average (like .240-.250) and that’s fine if you need accumulation. There’s not a ceiling here, though, and every week he’s on the road he’s a liability.
Use McMahon in deep leagues or in formats where you can easily plug him in at home and sit him on the road. Don’t use him anywhere else.
20. Anthony Rendon (LAA), 3B/SS
I included this write-up in my Sleepers and Busts article for the Angels and am providing a trimmed-down version here.
This hurts because I really want to believe in Anthony Rendon. He was perennially undervalued in his days with the Nationals despite year after year of plentiful counting stats, outstanding plate discipline, and remarkable ratios. I mean, three consecutive seasons with at least 24 home runs, at least 180 combined runs and RBI, and a batting average north of .300 is a feat most of us have not forgotten.
After a strong first year with the Angels in the shortened 2020 campaign, things have turned south quickly for Rendon. He’s missed the 60-game mark in two straight seasons (technically three, actually, but he played in 52 of the 60 games in 2020 so I’ll give him a pass), and even when he has been on the field, Rendon has been a shadow of his former self.
In his last 105 games, Rendon is slashing a meager .235/.328/.381 with 11 home runs, good for a pedestrian 98 wRC+. In the rolling chart below (yup, already going there), you can see the decline quite clearly:
Now it’s easy to point to injury as the cause, and you’d be right as Rendon has been riddled with ailments over the last few seasons. You might even be tempted to label him a sleeper thanks to the incredibly top-heavy nature of third base in 2023 drafts.
While it’s great to dream about what a healthy Rendon batting fourth behind Trout and Ohtani could do (probably something like 20 home runs and 90+ RBI with strong ratios), keep in mind that the Angels have already begun hedging their bets on Rendon’s health by signing Brandon Drury and Gio Urshela. Along with Luis Rengifo (more on him in a moment, too), that makes three additional guys on the 26-man roster who can cover third base. I fully expect to see Rendon get ample days of rest even when healthy, putting a cap on Rendon’s potential contributions which are already weighed down heavily by the extreme injury risk.
I don’t mind taking chances on guys with playing time, performance, or injury concerns, but I do mind taking a chance on a guy who has all three.
21. Luis Urías (MIL), 2B/3B/SS
The .239 batting average probably doesn’t make you all that eager to add Urías to your queue or watch list, but the 25-year-old infielder has just enough pop and versatility to be interesting at the end of a 12-team roster. He’s unlikely to steal more than a handful of bases (even with the rule changes), but Urías does have 20-25 home run power and should provide 70 or more runs and RBI—especially if a few other Brewers like Jesse Winker and Garrett Mitchell are able to find success.
Folks in daily moves leagues that like to burn and churn the back of their roster (which is an excellent strategy if you have the time to manage it) might also take note that Urías has a career line of .281/.349/.456 against southpaws and could easily find himself batting third or fourth against them.
22. Luis García (WAS), 2B/3B/SS
García has been a force in Triple-A the last two seasons, putting up a wRC+ of 154 in 2021 and 129 in 2022, but has yet to turn that into success at the big league level. García’s calling card is his hit tool, and if all goes well, he has the contact ability to bat somewhere between .260 and .280 depending on how much power comes with it.
García doesn’t quite have the in-game power to become a 20-home-run hitter, most likely, but there’s plenty of room in deeper leagues for guys who can hit 15 home runs and provide a solid batting average.OBP league players should probably drop him down a tier, though, as García has yet to show a willingness to walk in the majors.
23. DJ LeMahieu (NYY), 1B/2B/3B
At this point, we can all agree that LeMahieu will not match his career high of 26 home runs in 2023. Based on the evidence we have, it’s safe to say that the power surge was a combination of playing well and the more offense-friendly ball. The more pressing question, and one that is harder to get an answer to, is whether he can go back to being a batting average contributor. LeMahieu’s limited power and lack of speed puts immense pressure on his batting average and counting stats to generate fantasy value, and it just hasn’t been there over the last two seasons.
There isn’t that much upside here, generally speaking, but if LeMahieu can hit .280 or better and climb out of the bottom of the Yankees’ batting order, he could be an interesting source of ratios and runs. If he can’t, LeMahieu isn’t really worth rostering in standard leagues.
24. Yandy Díaz (TBR), 1B/3B
In OBP and points leagues, you can bump Díaz up a tier, but in standard leagues, Yandy Díaz is basically Alec Bohm with huge biceps, a long injury history, and a love for hitting hard ground balls. He’s never played 140 games in a season, and as the oldest hitter on a squirrely Rays team, it’s hard to imagine him starting now. Kyle Manzardo, Curtis Mead, Jonathan Aranda, and Isaac Paredes are far more interesting to this organization long-term than Díaz, and there are only so many plate appearances to go around in the corner infield and DH spots.
You can stream Yandy in good matchups or when he’s hot, but he’s not the type of player you need to keep on your roster for very long, nor does the have the upside to make the decision to swap him out very difficult.
25. Justin Turner (BOS), 3B
Yup, he’s still here! Justin Turner has been in pro ball since 2006—the same year I graduated high school—and while he can still get on base as well as anyone (.350 OBP for six straight seasons), it’s hard to imagine the 38-year-old infielder hitting 27 home runs again as he did in 2019 and 2021 after notching just 13 as a Dodger last season. Turner is in Boston now as a DH, which is fine I guess, but this lineup is a far cry from the supporting cast he had back in LA, and I wouldn’t be entirely shocked if at some point the Red Sox started giving guys like Turner and Adam Duvall days off to get looks at Niko Kavadas, Ceddanne Rafaela, Jarren Duran, and other young players a look on the big league roster.
26. Christopher Morel (CHC), 2B/3B/OF
Morel has plenty of power and speed intrigue after hitting 16 home runs and stealing 10 bases in 113 games last season, but his 32.2% strikeout rate is a tough pill to swallow. Unfortunately, Morel didn’t really get better at making contact as the season went on, and if he continues to strike out 30% of the time or more, he’ll quickly find himself riding the bench a bit too often to make a difference in 12-team formats.
27. Josh Rojas (ARI), 2B/3B
Yes, Rojas stole 23 bases last season with a .269 average, but he no longer is leading off, no longer has a full-time role, and is on a team that has a ton of young players they’d rather play than Josh Rojas. Deep league players desperate for steals can give it a go, I guess, but this profile just screams role player who got more time than he should because his team was bad and the prospects weren’t ready.
Nothing wrong with a role player, of course, but it’s not what I want to go after in fantasy.
28. Jon Berti (MIA), 2B/3B/SS/OF
It wouldn’t be fair to say that Luis Arraez took his job because Berti kind of never had one in the first place. His 102 games played in 2022 were a career-high by nearly 20 games as he mostly operates as a bench/utility guy who also can run. That said, he just turned 33 and prior to 2022 he never had stolen 18 bases in any season at the big league level.
Should a couple of Marlins go down again and press Berti into action, go ahead and grab him off the wire for some steals—just don’t expect anything else.
29. Isaac Paredes (TBR), 1B/2B/3B
As a minor leaguer with the Tigers, Paredes was carried by his hit tool, but since joining the Rays via trade, he’s morphed his batted ball profile into a more pronounced pull hitter.
The results have a bit of a mixed result. On one hand, the 20 home runs in the majors were more than he had in any full year as a pro prior to 2022, and the plate discipline remained strong. On the other hand, that profile sapped his batting average, as he finished his time with the Rays hitting barely north of .200.
It’s worth noting that 8 of those 20 home runs all came in June, and Paredes never hit more than 4 in any other month. I take these kinds of spikes with a grain of salt, as it usually is just a wave of batted ball luck plus some hotness (if you believe in that kind of thing).
The batting average and playing time as a Ray are big question marks, but given a more robust role, Paredes could get back to 20 home runs (maybe even 25 if he plays 140 games), and if he can bat better than .230, there’s a useful utility player in there. He’s too difficult to trust in shallow or weekly formats without that role locked in, but keep your eye on Paredes. Austin Meadows was no throw-away piece, and the Rays are too smart to make that move without a plan.
30. Patrick Wisdom (CHC), 1B/3B/OF
At some point in 2023, the Pirates are going to send some bad pitchers to Wrigley who are prone to giving up home runs to right-handed batters. When that happens, Patrick Wisdom is going to be here to answer the call. He’s likely a platoon player heading into 2023, but that might actually do some good for Wisdom as he’s hit just .207 against right-handed pitching over his career.
Also considered: Jordan Walker (STL) – I’m still not convinced he will play more than 90 games. If you think he will play 120+, you can put him in Tier 6.
Photo by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)