Fantasy Baseball: 10 players one analyst hopes to draft in 2023

Every year I enter fantasy draft season with a few specific goals, and 2023 is no different. While you will have to contact me at the end of March to see how well my plans have worked out, here are 10 players I hope to pick for many of my teams.

Aaron Nola (IP, Philadelphia Phillies)

Nola is all I want from an ace. He’s very resilient: his only IL stay in the past five seasons was a 10-day outage from Covid exposure in 2021. And he’s consistently excellent, racking up a 3.47 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 10.4 K/9 in early 2018. There is little division among aces this year, so I will most likely rip Nola out as soon as a handful of hurlers are off the board.

Triston McKenzie (SP, Cleveland Guardians)

I know what Mackenzie is risking: he’s turning down a lot of balls and home runs. But the right-hander is amazing at limiting hard contact, which reduces ground impact and results in a great WHIP. And last season, McKenzie made great strides in walking speed. The 25-year-old became Sportzshala!’s 28th starter. ADP and my forecasts show that it is almost 10 positions higher.

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Jeffrey Springs (SP, Tampa Bay Rays)

Springs burst into the fantasy scene last year with a 2.46 ERA, including a 2.66 starter. The Rays clearly believe the 30-year-old will remain in their rotation as they signed a four-year deal in the offseason. The left-hander won’t be among the MLB leaders in innings, but he can put in an amazing 150-frame record.

Raizel Iglesias (RP, Atlanta Braves)

In my opinion, Iglesias is heavily underestimated this season. The right-hander has been a solid player for several years and had a great start with the Angels in 2022 before moving into a prep role with the Braves. Iglesias was a terrific player for Atlanta (0.34 ERA, 0.84 NITA) and the club is ready to bring him back in the ninth inning. Iglesias should be closer to the top five, but he is currently ranked 11th on Sportzshala! Drafts.

Pete Alonso (1B, New York Mets)

Although first base is a deep position, I am happy to have Alonso in the second round as one of my offensive anchors. The batter is among the top candidates for a major lead in homers and RBIs, and as a career .261 hitter, he’s slightly better in the middleweight category than he’s been credited for. The steal category is hard to predict due to MLB rule changes, which will likely see me cement my lineup with some heavy hitters before diving into the sources of speed.

Pete Alonso, number 20 on the New York Mets, is a fantasy star.
Pete Alonso is one of Fred Zinky’s top fantasy targets in 2023. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Tyro Estrada (2B/SS/OF, San Francisco Giants)

Estrada was rarely discussed in fantasy circles last year, but with 14 homers and 21 steals, he was more productive than many managers realize. The soon-to-be 27-year-old, 27, has a clear path to regular playing time in a solid Giants roster and is the type of end-of-round base stealer I’m targeting this year. At worst, Estrada should throw a decent amount of steals, but he has the potential to become one of the leaders in MLB.

Josh Rojas (2B/3B, Arizona Diamondbacks)

With nine homers and 23 steals, Rojas posted the same stats as Estrada last year. But the D-backs infielder was more impressive, as he reached his tally in just 125 games. Rojas has been caught stealing just three times in 2022, which should convince the Arizona coaches to give him the green light he needs to rank among the top hackers in 2023.

[2023 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | OF | SP | RP]

Jonathan India (2B, Cincinnati Reds)

India was a hot commodity in the 2022 draft after he compiled 21 homers and 12 steals in his rookie season. The right-handed forward dealt with nagging injuries during a disappointing sophomore year that would allow shrewd managers to pick him up for a reduced draft price. As a leader who calls home to one of baseball’s best hitting spots, India will get a lot of chances to fill in the stats.

Willie Adams (SS, Milwaukee Brewers)

My interest in Adams is simple – I think he is a great striker.

The 27-year-old showed a lot of strength with the Brewers (51 points in 238 games), which is not surprising given the friendly nature of American Family Field. And while his average dropped to .238 last year, some of the blame can be attributed to the .278 BABIP. Finally, Adams’ eight interceptions in 2022 show he has enough speed to take advantage of the new basic running rules.

Adalberto Mondesi (SS, Boston Red Sox)

Mondesi will be my target at Sportzshala! leagues, but not in deeper formats. In leagues with 10 or 12 teams, I can pick a speedster in the late round knowing that I can fill his position through waivers if he goes down with injuries for the third year in a row. Mondesi is the most likely candidate to lead the Majors in April steals, and he should maintain that high position as long as he stays healthy.


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