2023 Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep: Pros and cons for drafting every first-rounder

Whom to choose in the first round?

This is the most thoughtful decision in every draft, and I am determined to help you make it.

Note that I haven’t bothered to weigh up the benefits of being a starting pitcher. Particularly in the points league, I think Sandy Alcantara’s first-round pick is justified because of the volume he provides, but others argue that Corbin Burns is the better choice. And again, it depends on the format anyway.

So let’s just focus on the hitters you might consider in round 1, going through the pros and cons to help you determine which one suits you best.

I have listed them in the order that is most convenient for me, at least in the standard 5×5 scoring (i.e. skewer).

Case for: Not only did Aaron Judge hit an AL-record 62 home runs last year, he also hit 16 more than anyone else. It was the biggest gap between Nos. 1 and 2 of the season with someone scoring 60, showing how exceptional the referee is for power now that a juicy ball no longer levels the playing field. As a result, he was the best player in every scoring format, performing 50 percent better than No. 2 in standard 5×5 leagues.

Case Against: Yeah, but… a regression! Of course, he won’t hit 62 home runs again. What happens if he hits only… mmm, 50? Yes, what then? Or stolen bases! You should get them in the first round, you know, and he had… oh, 16 of his own. Frankly, I don’t think either argument has much water. There are fewer home runs and more stolen bases. Probably the biggest blow to Judge is that his massive 6-foot-7 frame didn’t always stick together throughout the season.

Case for: You won’t find a more consistent first round player than Jose Ramirez who always manages to show power, speed and all kinds of running. It just so happens that third base is the most important position to fill early this year. Ramirez is the only correct player in the first round, but four others (Manny Machado, Rafael Devers, Austin Riley and Bobby Witt) are knocked off the board early in the second round. They definitely won’t come back to you if you miss Ramirez. here, which means you’ll either be reaching for Nolan Arenado or playing a dangerous game of position with multiple fallback options.

Case Against: Ramirez has to sell out for flying balls to keep up the power figures he does, and his average can sometimes suffer, leaving him more in the .260 range than in the .280 range. Playing catch up in this category can be tricky and your first round picks are expected to provide a solid foundation for that. Ramirez lost some in the second half of last year, but it turned out he was playing with a thumb injury that has since been treated.

Case for: Ronald Acuna is arguably the best 40/40 season bet in all of baseball. He was three steals away from that in his final full season of 2019 and walked at the same pace before tearing his ACL in mid-2021. year. He also plays in the outfield, a position that drops sharply in the middle of the draft and doesn’t offer much choice in the second round.

Case Against: Yeah… about the torn cruciate ligaments. Akuna returned at the end of April last year, but struggled with pain from time to time, as well as looking at the plate not quite right as he lowered the ball to the ground and struggled to maintain a high quality of contact. Presumably one more offseason of rest is enough to solve these problems for the 25-year-old who already appears to be on the Hall of Fame track, but what if that’s not the case? What if old habits are hard to break and its mechanics remain clunky? It would still be a quality fantasy option, but a disappointment in third place overall.

Case for: Julio Rodriguez was touted as a 21-year-old rookie with 28 homers and 25 steals, as well as a batting average—and this was after Year 6 started with a 44. April to .394 in September, and the momentum is hoped to lead him to an even bigger sophomore season. And yes, he is an outfielder, which is absolutely what I want my first round pick to be (with the possible exception of Jose Ramirez).

Case Against: Rodriguez will need a longer second season to match this draft position. As good as he was last year, he was only the 15th best striker in our rating system. More worryingly, he went from 21 bases in the first half to four in the second, slowing down when the league was on high alert. His plate discipline is also not yet up to par with the other first round players, which poses some performance risk.

Case for: Of all the first round players, Trea Turner offers the best combination of averages and stolen bases, which some will tell you are the most important categories to fill in round 1. His move to the Phillies, combined with the new rules, encourages more bases. The theft could even send him back to the 40 stil threshold, which he hasn’t reached since 2018. There is not a single category in which he will leave you in the black.

Case Against: However, it won’t show home run totals at the level of most first round players, and as we move out of an era of more home runs and into an era of more base steals, I’d argue that a big home run total is actually more important than a big stolen base. base in the first round. At least it’s closer than most people think. More than anything, though, he’s not an outfielder, and while shortstops remain plentiful in the middle stages of the draft, the outfield is getting frighteningly fast. Round 1 is the best time to grab one.

Case for: At this time last year, we were all completely convinced that Juan Soto was the best hitter in baseball, and indeed, there is still reason to believe that he was. His cymbal discipline was still out of this world: he went 40 times more than he hit, and all the contacts he made were still of particularly high quality, placing him in the 85th percentile in average speed. exit and 91st percentile in exit rate. maximum output speed. As a left-handed hitter last year, he should benefit from this year’s shift ban and could also return to more running with new hitting restrictions.

Case Against: Could, should… but will it? Even I’m a little stunned that Soto became my No. 6 player after hitting .242 last year. At first I wanted to put Mookie Betts and Jordan Alvarez ahead of him, but… well, we’ll get to them soon. The low average didn’t matter much in the leagues on points because his plate discipline was very good, but in Roto it was the killer of the season. Again, there is every reason to believe that he will once again be the .322 hitter he was between 2020 and 2021, but there was every reason to believe he would be the same hitter last year as well.

Case for: Kyle Tucker was the only player to hit 30 homers and 25 steals last year, albeit by a narrow margin. Despite only hitting .257, he’s only a year away from hitting .294, and his 15.6 percent strikeout rate makes him more of a helper than a hindrance in this category. He is in deep roster and is a potential five-category contributor in a position that is very important to fill early.

Case Against: As far as the first rounds go, Tucker’s numbers are… OK. This is the guy you take when you don’t know who else to take, and since he plays outfield and is healthy at the moment, he was pushed a bit. Yes, it’s true that his batting average could recover, but it’s also true that his stolen bases could get closer to the 14 we’ve seen in 2021, even with new rules coming into effect. He’s not particularly fast, and he’s not part of a lineup that needs to make runs. Also, manager Dusty Baker prefers to hit him in the bottom half of the squad for some reason, which limits his scoring.

Case for: Jordan Alvarez’s percentile on his Statcast page reads like Steve Urkel’s report card. Mostly 100, sometimes 99. He was second only to the judge in average exit speed, hard hit rate, fire rate, xwOBA and xSLG, and these two are head and shoulders above the rest in the league in those categories. Clearly, you’re getting a four-tier monster here, and you don’t want anything more than stolen bases, and perhaps Alvarez’s home run ceiling is closer to Judge’s than last year’s 37 would suggest.

Case Against: While expectations for Soto and Freddie Freeman are low, Alvarez is the only first round player who will give you Nothing in the path of stolen bases and you might not enjoy playing catch up in this category until the end. (I’d say chasing middle and home runs is worse, but what do I know?) The real problem is that his hands keep hurting, which should make you wonder even though he went through the problem the last time. year, and the Astros said he would be fine on opening day.

Case for: You won’t find a more prolific scorer than the Dodgers’ leading forward. Mookie Betts always pays off well with the most often neglected statistic and shouldn’t disappoint with his combined home run and stolen base total. While it may be difficult to justify moving him off the field in Fantasy, he is expected to play more than second base this year and he will easily become the No. 1 pick at that position.

Case Against: First of all, the Dodgers roster probably won’t be as formidable this year after losing Trea Turner, Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger, so…


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