2023 Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep: First-year player rankings reveal new prospects for Dynasty leagues

Surely you have already seen my top 100 potential customers. You may even have looked at our perspective only imitation drafts just in case.

But what if you’re playing in the long-standing Dynasty league, where all the best players are already gathered? What if your league only has new players? What if your Dynasty league is running what has come to be known as the Year One Draft, the usual way of allocating all the new talent from the last calendar year? If yes, then it will probably appear soon.

Here is my top 25 for such a draft, consisting mostly of players drafted in 2022. International subscribers were also considered, but the trend seems to be moving away from their choice of at least 16- and 17-year-olds, who make up the bulk of the class. The wait is too long and the results are too unpredictable. The number of misses in recent years does not inspire confidence.

If you insist on choosing such a player, Mariners shortstop Felnin Celestin, Padres catcher Ethan Salas, and Dodgers shortstop Joandry Vargas are the best choices. However, I’ll re-emphasize that most of us would be better off choosing from the following instead…

1. Drew Jones, OF, Diamondbacks
Age: 19
Andrew Jones’ son shares many of his father’s traits, offering strength, speed and an unmistakable center field profile.

2. Jackson Holliday, SS, Orioles
Age: 19
Holliday, the only player to have been drafted ahead of Jones in real life, could make him the preferred pick in the leagues on points as well. He is also the son of major league player Matt Holliday.

3. Termarr Johnson, 2B, Pirates
Age: 18
It’s a testament to Johnson’s bat that he can be drafted fourth overall – no lower than high school – despite being 5’7″ tall and with a wobbly defensive eye.

4. Elijah Green, OF, Nationals
Age: 19
Green is a physical marvel with a wide range of results. He is also the son of a professional athlete, in this case Pro Bowl tight end Eric Green.

5. Brooks Lee, SS, Gemini
Age: 22
Of everyone in this ranking, Lee’s skill set may be the most optimized for the points leagues, defined in equal measure by good plate discipline and lack of speed, with potential results ranging from Alex Bregman to Xander Bogarts.

6. Kodai Senga, JV, Mets
Age: thirty
If you’re impatient, you’ll just take Senga, who qualifies as a tech-only freshman as a free agent from Japan and has the tools to be a successful pitcher in the short term.

7. Zachary Neto, SS, Angels
Age: 22
A strong pro debut lifted Neto’s shares in Fantasy, his strength playing better than expected as the Angels try to speed up his promotion to the majors.

8. Kevin Parada, C, Mets
Age: 21
Even with Francisco Alvarez on the verge of the Majors, the Mets used their first-round pick on a catcher who needed to move fast based on his student experience.

9. Jacob Berry, 3B, Marlins
Berry needs to hit enough to play in the majors to some extent, but whether he will hit with the necessary power to hold a first base job is a big question mark. He won’t make it to third.

10. Cam Collier, 3B, Reds
Age: 18
Collier followed the path of Bryce Harper, leaving school early and attending junior college, which put him ahead of the development curve and should remain at third base.

11. Jace Young, 2B, Tigers
Age: 22
Josh Young’s younger brother shows a similar game, only on the left side, but his defensive limitations do not give him the right to make mistakes in attack.

12. Gavin Cross, OF, Royals
Age: 22
No one in the 2022 draft class has statistically surpassed Cross, but he has been an outstanding player in college, beating less experienced pitchers, which gives him something else to prove.

13. Chase DeLother, OF, Guardians
Age: 21
DeLauter’s college record was exceptional, demonstrating strength, speed, and a disciplined approach, but the sample was small due to injuries, including a broken leg last year.

14. Spencer Jones, OF, Yankees
Age: 21
Between Jones’ 6-foot-7 body and a chart-leading exit speed, Aaron Judge’s comparisons are inevitable, but strikeouts can be a serious handicap on his way up the ladder.

15. Dylan Lesko, SP, Padres
Age: 19
The Padres showed extraordinary faith in the pitcher after Tommy John’s surgery, which made Lesko 15th overall, but his positive control and devastating fastball-shift combination should make it worth it.

16. Masataka Yoshida, o.f., Red Sox
Age: 29
Yoshida, another bumbling prospect, is expected to become a Red Sox hitter and must have the necessary basic skills, but home runs and stolen bases will be in short supply.

17. Dalton Rushing, C, Dodgers
Age: 22
No one in the 2022 draft class has done more to raise their stock in a couple of months than Rushing, the Dodgers’ second-round pick, who dealt a devastating blow to the junior minors. Defense, however, is a problem.

18. Cole Young, SS, Sailors
Age: 19
Young already excels with his percussion, which is good enough to project at least one more Jeff McNeil type, but it’s too early to rule out the possibility of him developing more strength.

19. Connor Prilipp, SP, Gemini
Age: 22
Tommy John’s surgery was the only reason Prilipp moved to the Twins in the 2nd round. His game plays from the angle of his hand and his slider is a truly elite step, registering a rotational speed in excess of 3000 rpm.

20. Cooper Hjerpe, SP, Cardinals
Age: 22
Lefty is the new king of funk, his one-of-a-kind delivery creates maximum extension from a low release point to a fastball that plays beautifully in the zone.

21. Ivan Melendez, 1B, Diamondbacks
Age: 23
The current Golden Spikes winner as the best college player is eclipsed in prospect circles as a true zero-offensive baseman, but his power from foul to foul draws comparisons to Pete Alonso.

22. Jett Williams, SS, Mets
Age: 19
It’s unlikely that the 5’8″ Williams will develop much strength, but he’s a good fit as a table setter, showing good contact skills, a confident approach and a lot of aggression on the base lanes.

23. Drew Gilbert, OF, Astros
Age: 22
Gilbert is a high-octane player who excels at throwing the bat to the ball, but his scouting record is a bit similar to Alec Thomas’s, raising questions as to whether he will provide the necessary power.

24. Brock Porter, SP, Rangers
Age: 19
The Rangers gave the right-hander a bonus in the first round to secure him with a fourth-round pick, and he has the advantage to justify it with a well-designed transfer and an optimal frame for speeding up.

25. Brandon Barriera, SP, Blue Jays
Age: 19
The barrier is extraordinarily advanced for a left-handed high school graduate, showing the makings of four-plus pitches, the ability to command each and enough physical projection to speculate at greater speed.


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