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21 League-Winners (2023 Fantasy Baseball)

Luck, planning and skill normally all play equal roles in determining who wins your league’s fantasy baseball championship in the end. In fantasy sports, the line between victory and defeat can be thin. But this is especially so in baseball – a game rife with plenty of variables, randomness and frequent overly lucky or unlucky performances. This is why it’s necessary to target as many heavily undervalued players as you can, especially as you head deeper into your draft.

The more you acquire, the higher your odds are of having enough difference-makers that will push your team to the title. To aid you in your championship journey, we’ve summoned our featured analysts to share their insight on which undervalued players have high-end, league-winning potential.

Fantasy Baseball League-Winners for 2023

Which one hitter do you believe will be this year’s league winner (i.e., a player drafted late who delivers top production, such as Nathaniel Lowe in 2022)

Spencer Torkelson (1B – DET)
“I’m not sure I really *believe* Spencer Torkelson will be a league-winner this season, but I do believe the chances of it happening are greater than zero. At the very least, he’s the type of player I’m more than willing to take around pick 300 in my draft in an effort to bet on talent. Taking a chance on Torkelson is taking a chance on pedigree, as he was a no-brainer first overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft after one of the more impressive offensive collegiate careers in recent history. Torkelson was a consensus top-5 prospect in baseball heading into the 2022 season, and then he … stunk. Out loud. And yet, as a 22-year-old rookie, he was better than league average in both average and max exit velocity, and also hard-hit percentage. And this spring training he’s continued to hit the ball hard, even if it hasn’t led to many home runs yet. I’m not saying Torkelson is a surefire bet to take the league by storm in 2023. But he wouldn’t be the first elite prospect to take longer to adjust to big league pitching than expected, only to figure it out and take off in a major way in his second go-round. And that’s a profile I’m more than happy to take a swing on as late in drafts as he’s going.”
Ryan Wormeli (FantasyPros)

Rowdy Tellez (1B – MIL)
“Rowdy Tellez is currently being drafted outside of the top-150, but he could easily be a top-50 player this year in fantasy. He put up career highs in runs, home runs and RBI last year: his first full season in Milwaukee, which is a nice HR-hitting park for left-handed batters. Aside from being virtually a zero in stolen bases, the average was the only thing keeping him from being a top-50 player last season. But his xBA has been in the .250-260 range recently, and the shift rule changes could really help a lefty like Tellez. If he brings that average up, he’ll finish up there with the likes of Jose Abreu (but you can get Rowdy 75 picks later in drafts).”
Bart Wheeler (Hail to Fantasy Football)

Jordan Walker (3B – STL)
“Jordan Walker (186 ADP) is more of a question of when, not if, he’ll make an impact in 2023. He posseses all the traits one looks for in a young star player. Despite never playing above AA, Walker is crushing big league pitching this spring and was dominant at every level of the minors he played in ’22. Walker also qualifies at 3B, a position that doesn’t offer a whole lot of depth to get excited about. Even if he lands in AAA for a month or two, even four months of Walker at 3B eligibility, with his upside, could be a huge boost for any fantasy offense. ”
Joe Pisapia (FantasyPros)

Oscar Gonzalez (OF – CLE)
“Oscar Gonzalez is a hitter I’m sticking my neck out for this season, ranking him about 75 spots higher than consensus. Like last year’s breakout, Nate Lowe, Gonzalez stands at 6-4 (but with more muscle) and has no problem making contact and hitting for an excellent average. Like Lowe back in 2021, Gonzalez is a launch angle adjustment away from unlocking his full power potential. Hitting in the heart of the Cleveland lineup over a full season, 30 HR, 80 RBI and a .300 average are all achievable at an ADP close to 200 overall. ”
Pierre Camus (Fantasy Endgame)

Ha-Seong Kim (3B,SS – SDP)
“I want to draft Awesome Kim everywhere I can. His current ADP is 275, which is a draft day steal. From year one to year two in the bigs, his walk rate increased (7.4% to 8.8%), strikeout rate decreased (23.8% to 17.2%), batting average increased (.202 to .251) and on-base percentage increased (.270 to .325). He has middle and corner infield eligibility (SS/3B) and will soon have second base eligibility as well. He will have plenty of opportunity to increase his RBI with the offensive firepower San Diego has in front of him, as he should hit 7th. I am banking on 15 bombs and 15 bags with the potential for more. Kim is dedicated to his craft and was a .294 hitter in the KBO. I can see him finishing the year with a .275+ batting average.”
Todd D Clark (The Fantasy Fix)

Ryan McMahon (2B,3B – COL)
“Ryan McMahon (ADP 201) qualifies at 3B and will very quickly get eligibility at 2B once the season starts, meaning he can fill the two shallowest positions in fantasy this year. McMahon comes with 20+ home run power and is projected for 8-10 steals, but I think he could easily exceed these counting stats. His BB% is in the 78th percentile and above 90 in AvgEV and MaxEV. He still plays 81 games at Coors, and he should be out there every day because, y’know, they’re the Rockies. He has a great chance to be a league winner because of his position(s) and potential. ”
Kelly Kirby (FantasyPros)

Oneil Cruz (SS – PIT)
“This year’s league winner may be hitter Oneil Cruz, SS, Pittsburgh Pirates. The raw talent is there, but he is going to have to avoid any prolonged slumps during the season. He has an outside chance of a 40/40 season, with a 30/30+ season being more likely. ”
Jeff Boggis (Fantasy Football Empire)

Tyler Stephenson (C – CIN)
“Tyler Stephenson could be a difference-maker at the perennially thin catcher position. Injuries limited Stephenson to only 183 plate appearances last year, but the talented 26-year-old is ready for liftoff and should bat in a prime spot in the Reds’ lineup. Stephenson has a .296 batting average and .823 OPS over 533 career at-bats, with 18 home runs and 86 RBI. Cincinnati wants to keep his potent bat in the lineup, so Stephenson will also be used as a first baseman and designated hitter when he isn’t catching. If he can stay healthy, Stevenson has a chance to be a top-three fantasy catcher.”
Pat Fitzmaurice (FantasyPros)

Wil Myers (1B,OF – CIN)
“He couldn’t have landed in a better place. There won’t be any pressure on him in Cincinnati, and the Great American Ballpark was friendlier to hitters than Coors Field last year! Brandon Drury had a career year in four months with the Reds last season. Jake Fraley had a .903 OPS in the second half. Myers is more talented than both of them. If he can stay healthy, he’s in for a monster season.”
Scott Youngson (Pitcher List)

Jarred Kelenic (OF – SEA)
“It wasn’t that long ago that we were talking about Jarred Kelenic being the next big thing. His first couple of years in the majors have been tough to say the least, but his ADP has completely plummeted. He’s going after pick 250 and has been on a tear this spring, hitting .410 with an OPS north of 1.300, as well as adding three steals. It’s just spring, and he’s struck out nine times while drawing just two walks, but that’s still an improvement in his K% from last year, and we could use something to get excited about when it comes to Kelenic. ”
Tristan Davis (SEMO Fantasy Sports Podcast)

Brandon Belt (1B – TOR)
“Watch out for Brandon Belt in Toronto. Yes, he’s coming off an injury-plagued disaster of a season (.213 average, 8 HR in 78 games) that ended with knee surgery, but he’s healthy this spring and is slated to be the Jays’ DH. Just one year earlier, the Baby Giraffe hit a career-high 29 homers in just 325 at-bats with San Francisco, and now he’s moving to Toronto, where he’s poised to take full advantage of the shortened distances to the power alleys. The kicker: despite his injury issues, he’s had barrel rates in the 94th percentile or above each of the past two seasons. ”
Steve Gardner (USA Today)

What one pitcher do you believe will be this year’s league winner (i.e. a player drafted late who delivers top production, such as Tony Gonsolin or Kyle Wright in 2022)

Edward Cabrera (SP – MIA)
“Edward Cabrera is going well past the 200th pick in most drafts, though that might start to creep up a bit if his spot in the Marlins’ rotation becomes official. As the SP71 off the board, Cabrera offers tremendous upside potential if he can take another step in his development. The soon-to-be 25-year-old greatly improved his changeup in 2022, and trusting it more helped him bring his ERA down to 3.01 on the season. And if you take out his two worst starts of the year, against the Astros and Dodgers, Cabrera’s ERA was 1.88 across his other 12 starts. The workload is a concern, of course, considering he pitched just 71.2 innings last year and only completed six innings three times. He also walks too many batters, which doesn’t help him pitch deep into games. But the talent and raw stuff is undeniable, and the Marlins have shown a history of developing pitchers with Cabrera’s ability. At 25 years old and entering his first full (and hopefully healthy) season, his ceiling is much higher than his ADP suggests.”
Ryan Wormeli (FantasyPros)

Kodai Senga (SP NYM)
“The Mets signed 30-year-old Kodai Senga to a five-year contract this offseason after a solid career with SoftBank of the Japanese Pacific League, and I’m not sure anyone has more potential as the SP89 based on current ADP. He didn’t pitch for Japan in the WBC, and that has allowed us to see him in limited work in Spring Training. His fastball has averaged in the high 90s to go along with that nasty “ghost” fork. He’s coming off a season with a sub-2.00 ERA, and he has been better than a strikeout per inning pitcher in Japan. If that translates right away to the majors, he could be a steal in fantasy drafts.”
Bart Wheeler (Hail to Fantasy Football)

Jesus Luzardo (SP – MIA)
“Jesus Luzardo has had the pedigree to be a potential ace for years now. In 2022, Luzardo turned in a stellar 100 IP that saw him strike out 120 batters with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. Poor health has continuously plagued him, but if he can deliver 150-160 innings of that same pace of productivity, he’ll win many fantasy a baseball championships. At ADP 152, that’s about as late as you can find someone with true #1 type ability. ”
Joe Pisapia (FantasyPros)

Reid Detmers (SP – LAA)
“Reid Detmers flashed in 2022, especially when he no-hit the Rays in his sixth start of the season. The end result wasn’t overwhelming, with a 7-6 record, 3.77 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and less than a strikeout per inning. He has seen a big jump in velocity this preseason and is having an excellent spring, which should lead to more Ks and less trouble with runners on base. Detmers has the pedigree to make the kind of leap that turns him into an ace. ”
Pierre Camus (Fantasy Endgame)

Reid Detmers could be a league-winner going after pick 200. The last three months of 2022, he had a 3.04 ERA with a 25.8% strikeout rate. In spring training, he has seen an increase in velocity in all four of his pitches, touching 96 on the fastball, which is leading to lots more whiffs. If these improvements can stick, the Angels could get a breakout from Reid Detmers in hopes of a playoff appearance.”
Tristan Davis (SEMO Fantasy Sports Podcast)

Garrett Whitlock (SP,RP – BOS)
“Garrett Whitlock If you could acquire a top-tier pitcher for less to nothing, you would jump on that opportunity. Whitlock is that sort of gem. Basically an afterthought in most drafts, Whitlock will not start the year in the rotation, as he needs a couple more starts to ramp up from his season-ending hip surgery in ’22. In 151.2 big league innings, he has rocked a 1.06 WHIP, 5.1-to-1 K-BB ratio, 0.95 HR/9, and a 3.07 SIERA, that ranks with the top 15 in the starting pitcher rankings. His four-pitch mix is elite, and he offers SP/RP eligibility. If he gets 20 starts in Boston’s rotation, he will pay off nicely, and you will acquire a sinister laugh.”
Todd D Clark (The Fantasy Fix)

Trevor Rogers (SP – MIA)
“While some may call me a masochist for this, I think Trevor Rogers (ADP 258) can only go up from the disaster he was in 2022. His projections suggest it’s possible that he could return to more than a strikeout per inning, and his K/BB rate should go back above 3. Hitters batted 90 points higher against his fastball in ’22 than ’21, which is also projected to normalize. Imagine a world where he gets anywhere near his 2021 numbers from the 22nd round, and here’s your league winner.”
Kelly Kirby (FantasyPros)

Dustin May (SP – LAD)
“This year’s league winner may be starting pitcher Dustin May of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He plays in a pitcher’s park, has excellent arm velocity, receives ample run support and can throw four different pitches at a hitter. What’s not to love?”
Jeff Boggis (Fantasy Football Empire)

Brusdar Graterol (RP – LAD)
“Brusdar Graterol has a consensus ADP of 353 overall, but it seems only a matter of time before he’s closing games for the Dodgers, one of the best teams in baseball. A 6-1, 265-pound tank who earned the nickname “Bazooka” during his years in the Twins organization, Graterol has a 3.37 ERA and 1.11 WHIP over 116 MLB innings. Fellow Dodgers reliever Alex Vesia was quoted by the Los Angeles Times as saying Graterol has “the best stuff on the planet.” I don’t think Vesia or Evan Phillips will be able to keep the 24-year-old Graterol from ascending to his rightful spot atop the Dodgers’ bullpen early on, and it seems unlikely that the 36-year-old Daniel Hudson will seize that role whenever he comes back from a torn ACL. (Hudson’s recovery has reportedly been less than smooth.)”
Pat Fitzmaurice (FantasyPros)

Noah Syndergaard (SP – LAD)
“Thor was mediocre last year in his return from Tommy John surgery, but he’s another year removed, and with a team that gets the most out of its pitchers. Mark Prior is one of the best pitching coaches out there, turning Gonsolin and Tyler Anderson into All-Stars last season. Syndergaard is in a great spot to return to fantasy relevance.”
Scott Youngson (Pitcher List)

Tyler Anderson (SP – LAA)
“Why doesn’t anyone believe in Tyler Anderson? He limited hard contact in his breakout 2022 season extremely well, a skill that can carry over to his new home in the O.C. Although he doesn’t get a lot of strikeouts, he gets ahead of hitters and had 2.57 ERA and 1.00 WHIP with the Dodgers … which no one seems to believe happened, based on his preseason ADP. His best attribute is getting opponents to hit his pitch. He had a 95th percentile chase rate last year (and 94th in 2021).”
Steve Gardner (USA Today)

Beyond our fantasy baseball content, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Baseball Tools as you prepare for your draft this season. From our free mock Draft Simulator – which allows you to mock draft against realistic opponents – to our Draft Assistant – which optimizes your picks with expert advice – we’ve got you covered this fantasy baseball draft season.


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