We are right around the corner from Opening Day. Literally, it’s just a few days away, giving us another marathon season ahead of us.
Most drafts have wrapped up by now, and while those are the most fun part of any fantasy league, it’s not the most important part.
In fact, in-season management plays a huge role in the success of a fantasy team, and one of the ways to do that is by tracking prospects who can make a difference between you being sent home empty-handed or raising the trophy at the end of the season.
Prospects can be tricky because they are so tempting (shiny-toy syndrome), but they come with a ton of risk in redraft leagues that we tend to overlook because they are, well, exciting.
Top 15 Fantasy Baseball Rookies (2023)
Here are the top 15 I expect to make an impact for fantasy managers this season.
- Gunnar Henderson (3B/SS – BAL) – He still counts as a prospect, as he hasn’t used up his eligibility just yet. He offers a perfect blend of power and speed that fantasy managers look for, as well as an advanced approach at the plate with a double-digit walk rate. The strikeouts are a little bit concerning, but he’s a superstar in the making.
- Corbin Carroll (OF – ARI) – Like Henderson, he hasn’t used up his prospect eligibility yet, having a cup of coffee in the big leagues last year. He’s blazing fast, with a 25/25 season with a .260 average not being out of the question.
- Jordan Walker (3B/OF – STL) – The will he or won’t he was answered when it was announced that Walker would, in fact, make the Cardinals out of Spring Training. He doesn’t walk as much as you’d like him to compensate for the strikeouts, but the power upside is enormous.
- Anthony Volpe (SS – NYY) – Volpe forced the Yankees’ hand by breaking camp with the team. I’m slightly tempering my expectations, but a 20/20 season is possible. He showed good power and better plate discipline in spring.
- Grayson Rodriguez (SP – BAL) – Ugh. We hoped that Rodriguez would make the Orioles out of camp, but he didn’t have a great Spring Training. Regardless, it won’t be long until he’s up, and he was going to be on an inning limit anyway. I trust him fully as a rookie.
- Kodai Senga (SP – NYM) – It’s the time for the older rookies, as Senga brings immediate high-level experience to the Mets. I’m expecting SP3 numbers out of the gate for him.
- Masataka Yoshida (OF – BOS) – Like Senga, Yoshida is an older rookie with the experience to produce right away. His plate discipline is other-worldly, being one of four players projected for a BB% higher than 10 and a K% lower than 13.
- Josh Jung (3B – TEX) – Jung’s rookie season last year was ruined by injuries, so it’s time for a second chance. He doesn’t have the highest ceiling, but the floor can make him a top-15 third baseman.
- Tristan Casas (1B – BOS) – He had a semi-scary injury in Spring Training, but his hand seems to be fine. I love the power opportunity for Casas in Boston, and he’s a more well-rounded player than Bobby Dalbec was.
- Miguel Vargas (1B/2B – LAD) – The Dodgers’ lineup looks … different. And Vargas will be one of the key pieces they are counting on to contribute. I’m expecting a good bit of power and a solid .270 average from Vargas this year.
- Ezequiel Tovar (SS – COL) – Power? Yes, please. Speed? Yes, again. In Coors Field? Oh, hell yeah.
- Hunter Brown (SP/RP – HOU) – Brown has a huge opportunity ahead of him, but he did struggle a bit in Spring Training. Nevertheless, he has a great upside, and he can deliver SP3 production.
- Brett Baty (3B – NYM) – Let’s see what the Mets need Baty to work on in Triple-A. He’s already an advanced bat and has proved he can hit at the big-league level.
- Esteury Ruiz (OF – OAK) – Do I trust the bat? No, not at all. But you’re automatically on the radar when you steal 85 bases in the minors in one season.
- Luis Ortiz (SP – PIT) – It’s the Pirates, so we don’t know how long Ortiz will be in Triple-A. But with the J.T. Brubaker injury and Vince Velasquez being, well, Vince Velasquez, Ortiz’s electric stuff should force their hand in short order.
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Michael Waterloo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @MichaelWaterloo.