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Fantasy Baseball Expert Rankings Analysis: Late February (2023)

by Scott Youngson | @jscottyoungson | Featured Writer
Feb 28, 2023
Dylan Cease

Regression concerns have seen Dylan Cease’s ranking take a hit in February.

In early February, before the start of Spring Training, we started our 2023 draft preparations by identifying trends in the Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR). Camps are now in full swing, and spring games have started, so let’s take another look at the ECR and see what’s changed.

Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit

Late February Expert Rankings Analysis

Top 100 Players with Biggest Ranking Changes

Player Early Feb Rank Late Feb Rank Rank Change
Corbin Carroll (OF – ARI) 87 78 -9
Dylan Cease (SP – CWS) 36 44 +8
Jose Abreu (1B, DH – HOU) 91 83 -8
Gunnar Henderson (3B, SS – BAL) 107 100 -7

Carroll and Henderson are two of MLB’s most exciting prospects, and both are expected to be in the lineup on opening day. The two rookies have 20+ HR power and good speed – especially Carroll, who could steal 20 or more bags this season with the larger bases. Abreu landed in perhaps the perfect spot in Houston. The RBI machine should see plenty of opportunities in the Astros’ loaded lineup. Cease had a breakout year in 2022, but his control remains an issue, as he walked nearly four batters per nine last season. His low BABIP and HR/FB% and high LOB% last season also flag some regression.

Top 300 Players Rising the Most

Player Early Feb Rank Late Feb Rank Rank Change
Masataka Yoshida (OF – BOS) 282 229 -53
Wil Myers (1B, OF – CIN) 300 263 -37
Kodai Senga (SP – NYM) 286 255 -31

Yoshida brings excellent on-base skills from Japan and is a leadoff candidate for the Red Sox. The Zeile Consensus Projections have him pegged for 17 HRs, 70 runs, 64 RBI, and a .290 average next season. Signing with the Reds should be good for Myers’s fantasy value, as he should see plenty of plate appearances in a hitter-friendly ballpark. Senga profiles as a solid middle-of-the-rotation option for the Mets with strikeout upside. The 30-year-old rookie was one of Japan’s best pitchers over the last decade and could pay big dividends to fantasy managers.

Top 300 Players Dropping the Most

Player Early Feb Rank Late Feb Rank Rank Change
Liam Hendriks (RP – CWS) 155 262 +107
Frankie Montas (SP – NYY) 194 282 +88
Aaron Ashby (SP, RP – MIL) 223 288 +65

All three pitchers are dropping due to injury concerns. Hendriks is battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and it is anyone’s guess what his status for the season is at this point. Montas had shoulder surgery on February 22 and will miss at least the first half of the year. Ashby is suffering from shoulder fatigue and isn’t expected to be ready until mid-May at the earliest.

Players who Experts Like much more than ADP

Player ECR ADP Variance
Jose Siri (OF – TB) 301 509 +210
Luis Garcia (SP – HOU) 190 379 +189
Jake Fraley (OF – CIN) 265 388 +124
Manuel Margot (OF – TB) 271 391 +120

Siri is borderline draftable in the experts’ eyes but not on drafters’ radar at all. The Rays tend to get the most out of their players, though, making him an intriguing late-round flier, given his power and speed potential. Luis Garcia’s name may be the biggest obstacle for drafters. There are currently three Luis Garcia’s in MLB – make sure you draft the right one! Drafters aren’t buying Fraley’s abbreviated 2022, in which he hit 12 HRs with a .208 ISO in 68 games for Cincinnati. If Fraley can keep his K-rate down, as he did last year, he could pay off as a depth option. Margot is another player who missed considerable time in 2022 but was productive when he played.

Players who Experts Like far less than ADP

Player ECR ADP Variance
Craig Kimbrel (RP – PHI) 289 220 -70
Evan Phillips (RP – LAD) 278 221 -61
Travis d’Arnaud (C – ATL) 280 225 -60

It’s conceivable that Kimbrel will turn things around after a rough 2022 and emerge as the Closer for his new club. However, outside of 39 games for the Cubs over the first half of 2021. the veteran hasn’t been very good since 2018. Phillips was terrific last year and could be again in 2023. However, it appears that the Dodgers will be going with a Closer committee this season, which limits his fantasy value. D’Arnaud will be relegated to backup catcher and DH in 2023 after the Braves acquired Sean Murphy (C – ATL) in the offseason. He’s probably only fantasy viable in two-catcher leagues.

Players with the Largest Variances in the Rankings

Matt Mervis (1B – CHC) 236 1144 373 230
Trevor Story (2B – BOS) 140 865 281 138
Gregory Soto (RP – PHI) 182 509 281 103

Mervis will almost certainly open the 2023 season in Triple-A after the Cubs added Eric Hosmer (1B – CHC) and Trey Mancini (1B, OF, DH – CHC) this offseason. How long he’ll stay there is the driver of his high variability in the rankings. Given that Hosmer isn’t that great an obstacle, the prospect could be up sooner than expected. Story underwent surgery on his UCL in January and will be out until at least July. Those optimistic about a quick return and good production once he’s back are ranking him in the mid-100s, while some appear to be writing him off entirely for 2023. Soto will compete with Kimbrel, Seranthony Dominguez (RP – PHI), and Jose Alvarado (RP – PHI) in a crowded Phillies bullpen for saves this year. He’s not off to a great start, as visa issues have delayed his arrival at camp. Needless to say, there are a wide variety of outcomes for Soto’s 2023 fantasy prospects.

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