Fantasy baseball roundtable: Who is the No. 1 hitter?


The day has finally arrived. Pitchers and catchers started reporting. In other words, the Super Bowl is over and the fantasy baseball season may officially be on the rise = Opening Day is approaching!

With that in mind, and with so many imaginary baseball managers starting the process of figuring out which players to target in their drafts, we asked a seemingly simple question to the fearless duo of Tristan H. Cockcroft and Eric Carabella. Read on to find out what they had to say about it.

Who will be the #1 hitter in fantasy baseball in 2023?

Tristan H. Cockcroft: You’re a sneaky, sneaky devil asking that kind of question, not just asking who’s #1 player! You know that I would be on the Shohei Ohtani bandwagon as our league points ranking as he is far from first overall. Unfortunately for me, he’s not #1 on either side of the ball if we’re asking these questions in isolation.

In the leagues in terms of points, my No. 1 striker is still Juan Soto. I know we don’t project him for the most points – that honor goes to Jose Ramirez – but Soto’s extremely high level stands out compared to other candidates. He is the only player who can claim at least 490 point projection from any major projection system. Also, even in a terribly poor season, he finished 14th (among forwards) with 437 fantasy points. He is in a much better position to succeed, and should get 490+ points in 2023.

Eric Carabelle: The answer obviously depends on your league’s scoring format, but as our category/roto ranker, I have to go with Trea Turner. He finished second last season behind Aaron Judge. Player Ratinga real favorite of the five categories with excellent performance and durability.

I thought about Ramirez, who finished sixth in the rankings in 2022, but Turner is averaging higher, stealing more bases, didn’t have thumb surgery in the offseason and moved to a more hitter-friendly home stadium this winter. Turner gets the nod, although it’s hard not to notice his absence from your first round in points formats. Perhaps you could explain why things are so different depending on the scoring format.

Cockcroft: Turner has two big mistakes in points-based leagues. He’s walked less than the league average in the last two seasons, and he’s not a starting pitcher. In those two years, he was the 8th and 10th fantasy point hitter, trailing top players on base like Ramirez and Freddie Freeman (the forwards who finished ahead of him every year). He was also the No. 19 and No. 28 player in that format, dropping so far because of the advantages given to top starting pitchers. I love this guy a lot and would put him at number one in the skewer league, but no matter how many times I’ve looked at the predictions during Turner’s heyday over the past couple of years, there are always 10-15 more clearly better picks. for league points.

Julio Rodriguez and Bobby Witt Jr., two of your first-round players, fit the same description for scoring. I love players, but I only “like” skills that earn points. The highest value in points leagues is walks, contact, elite strength and/or run production, and the luck of staying completely healthy.

Which brings me to my struggles when considering “best bet”. What O Freeman? For me, he is in the top 10 (albeit eighth), but he is not in your top 10. However, he delivers a strong ROI every year and his contact quality records are as good as any other baseball player.

Karabel: Yes, I have Freeman in 11th place, and, I confess, I am not enthusiastic about this. It deserves the best because of its reliability and durability. I don’t have serious concerns, but I think others (Jordan Alvarez, Mookie Betts, Witt) have a big advantage in roto scoring. Freeman hit just 21 home runs. He can’t drive Turner anymore and the Dodgers haven’t really replaced him. Freeman’s BABIP hit .360 for the second time in three seasons. Theft should drop.

Either way, I think he’s perfect in tandem with Betts or Witt as first/second round picks. The first two rounds are all about attack for me, and I admit that I focus on the SB’s potential if it’s applicable and not too big. I’m assuming you don’t pay much attention to stolen bases in your preferred format.

Cockcroft: It’s not so much that stolen bases should be ignored in the points league, but that they are the gravy for my mashed potatoes. Last season, nine of the 12 players who stole 25-odd bases also finished in the top 50 in either total points scored or points per game average (at least 50% of their teams’ games played). This group would have averaged only 0.06 fewer points per game if not for their stolen base contributions. I love that Judge had 16 interceptions, Freeman had 13, and Kyle Schwarber had 10, but even so they would have gone from first, third, and 26th in offensive scoring to first, third, and 28th without any or points from these stolen bases. See? It’s just sauce, and you know how much I love sauce.

Ultimately, a stolen base is worth one point on our standard Sportzshala scoring system. A run earned is worth one, a walk is worth one, and a double is worth two, and there are many more of these categories. Last year, only 24 players stole 20+ bags or scored 20+ points in this category. Guess how many of them had at least 10 takes, which was also worth 20+ points? There were 320! It’s not that steals don’t have any weight, it’s just that if a player can’t hold onto the other three underrated categories, he’s just not worth the investment in the draft (see: Berti, Jon).

Karabel: If we’ve learned anything from this exercise, it’s that you know your league’s rules for scoring and everything better, because that really sets the value for Otani, Turner, and everyone else. Oh, and pass the sauce!


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