There is about a week left before the baseball season begins, which is the final stretch for fantasy baseball drafts. We have all done our research. We know what positions are deep, which ones we must draft earlier, and more. In addition, we see what statistics or categories we may need to be more aggressive for early in drafts and which we can wait for in the later rounds.
With all this prep, we also have some targets at each position. Especially targets outside of the obvious first few rounds. In this article, I will discuss a player at each position I am looking to target throughout the draft. Of course, there are more players on my board, and one always has to have alternate plans if things do not work out. But for me, these are some players I have circled as players I am looking to draft if everything goes my way on draft day.
Must-Have Player Lists
- Players the Experts Draft
- 10 Must-Have Players
- Pat Fitzmaurice’s Must-Have Players (Premium)
- Joe Pisapia's Must-Have Players (Premium)
- Pat Fitzmaurice's Must-Have Players (Premium)
- The Welsh's Must-Have Players (Premium)
- Justin Mason's Must-Have Players (Premium)
- Kelly Kirby's Must-Have Players (Premium)
- Mike Kurland's Must-Have Players (Premium)
- Michael Waterloo's Must-Have Players (Premium)
William Contreras (MIL – C)
Contreras is coming off a strong 2022 season where he hit 20 home runs and hit .278 over 97 games for the Braves. He split time at catcher and DH, as they wanted to get him into the lineup thanks to his offensive production and his 13.4% barrel rate and 46.6% hard-hit rate.
Contreras’ production was great for 97 games, but now he enters 2023 as the primary backstop for the Brewers after the Braves traded him this offseason. Projections have him only playing 120 or so games, but I believe the Brewers want his bat in the lineup as much as possible, and I am leaning toward 140 games. If he can do that, he could hit 25-30 home runs with solid counting stats and an excellent batting average. He is a top-10 fantasy catcher and a significant target if you do not go catcher early.
Rowdy Tellez (MIL – 1B)
It’s Rowdy time in 2023. Last season, he hit 35 home runs while driving in 89 runs, but he only hit .219. Rowdy was quite unlucky in the batting average department, as he had a career-low .215 BABIP, and his xBA was .252. However, he also continued to put up outstanding quality-of-contact metrics, and a big 2023 should come, as I think he hits over 40 home runs and wins the N.L. home-run crown.
Thairo Estrada (SF – 2B, SS)
Last season, Thairo played in 140 games, by far the most in his career, and hit 14 home runs and stole 21 bases. He can play all over the field, evident by his 2B and SS eligibility. The Giants even want to play him in the outfield some this season. Estrada should run a ton this season while also hitting 15 or so home runs. He is a charming power and speed source later in drafts.
Willy Adames (MIL – SS)
I have a bit of a Brewers obsession this draft season. They have many mid-round power options, and Adames is another one. Last season, he hit 31 home runs with 83 runs scored, compiled 98 RBIs, and stole eight bases. Those were all career highs for Adames. The downside was hitting .238, which could be attributed to a career-low .278 BABIP. However, the batting average should bounce back while the power is legit. Shortstop is a top-heavy position, but it drops off quickly, and Adames is one of the last shortstop targets I am all about this season.
Ryan McMahon (COL – 3B)
Year in and year out, I am a sucker for McMahon. He provides 20 home-run power with decent counting stats and a batting average of around .250. At his ADP, that is solid. He usually has 2B and 3B eligibility, but this season he only has 3B; well, at least for a bit, as he should be the starting 2B this year, only increasing his value. McMahon is excellent for a later 3B target due to the shallow position, but he also makes for a nice MI or CI option.
Randy Arozarena (TB – OF)
Arozarena is one of my most rostered players this draft season. He brings 20+ home-run power with the ability to steal over 20 bases, and you do not have to pay a first- or second-round draft price. He should regularly hit atop the Rays’ lineup, and they will let him run wild. Besides the power and speed, he will also contribute 90+ runs scored. He is a top fantasy talent at a discount, which I have gladly been drafting everywhere.
Adolis Garcia (TEX – OF)
After a breakout 2021 season, Adolis backed it up with 27 home runs and 25 stolen bases in 2022. He lowered his strikeout rate from 31.2% to 27.9% while his batting average rose to .250. Garcia should be in line for another 20/20 season, which is very valuable at his draft price. As the draft goes on, there are not too many 20/20 bats, so Garcia is a major fifth- or sixth-round target.
Kevin Gausman (TOR – SP)
Gausman has become a reliable fantasy ace in recent years, yet he is not even close to being drafted as one. He has thrown at least 174 innings in the last two seasons while having an ERA of 3.62 or lower in three straight seasons with a K-BB over 22.8%. Gausman has been elite, which should not change in 2023, making him a significant target as my SP2 or SP1 if I punt early pitching.
Reid Detmers (LAA – SP)
Detmers had a rocky start to the 2022 season, but after a short trip to the minors and a pitch mix change, he dominated in his final 13 starts with the Angels. Detmers had a 3.04 ERA to go with a 25.8% strikeout rate. His velocity is up this spring, and he may be ready to take another leap in fantasy production in 2023. I love Detmers this year.
Raisel Iglesias (ATL – RP)
It’s tough to love too many late closers, so I’ll roll with Iglesias, as he is one of the last lockdown closers in drafts. Iglesias was outstanding last season even after he was traded to the Braves, and he became a setup man for Kenley Jansen. Iglesias had 17 saves last season with an excellent 2.47 ERA and 26% K-BB. Iglesias has consistently put up great strikeout numbers, saves, and ratios. Iglesias should be circled on your draft boards if you wait on closers.
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