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Players the Experts Draft (2023 Fantasy Baseball)

Players the Experts Draft (2023 Fantasy Baseball)

The 2023 fantasy baseball season will be here before we know it. That means it’s time for you to prepare for your fantasy baseball drafts. Beyond our draft prep articles and mock draft simulator, we will have you covered with 2023 fantasy baseball rankings. You can find our updated 2023 fantasy baseball expert consensus rankings here. And beyond that, we’ll even give you the players the experts are targeting in their personal fantasy baseball drafts. Let’s take a look at a few players the experts are picking this fantasy baseball draft season.

Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit

Expert Must-Have Players (2023 Fantasy Baseball)

Joe Pisapia’s Must-Have Players

Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS – SD)

So, let me get this straight… you’re giving me a top-five overall talent in the second round? Yeah, I’m taking that every time. In fact, ignore the 20 overall ADP, and take Fernando Tatis Jr. at the turn in every snake draft. Heck, take him before the turn!

In 2021, Tatis Jr. played just 130 games, but what a 130 they were. He hit 42 bombs, stole 25 bags and hit .282. Oh, and he nearly scored and drove in 100 runs. Yes, 2022 was a lost season. Yes, he’ll miss the first few weeks with a suspension. However, the hope is that this incredible talent has matured and learned from his mistakes. He’s also square in the middle of arguably the best lineup in baseball and likely to see more time in the outfield with the addition of Xander Bogaerts this off-season. That’s a good decision and a way to keep Tatis healthy.

Ignore the suspension, and draft him aggressively at the discount. I recently stole him for $35 in a salary cap draft myself. This may also be the last time the window is open to steal him away in keeper/dynasty formats. One last note, don’t be concerned with any slow start. He missed an entire season, and there’s bound to be some rust. Before you know it, Tatis Jr. will again be in the “best player in the game” conservation.

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Chris Welsh’s Must-Have Players

Blake Snell (SP – SD)

Snell started the year off injured and had a horrible first two months that equaled a 5+ ERA. During those two months, his K% was 30 and 20. Starting in July, Snell never had a K% under 34% or an ERA over 3. From July 1, Snell had the fifth-best K% among all starting pitchers at 35.1% and tied for the fourth-best K/9 with Carlos Rodon at 12.9. Snell’s two main secondary pitches, the slider and the curveball, both equaled just under 40% of his usage. Each had a Whiff% over 40, which is elite.

His ability to go deep into games is always a question (and lowers him a little in quality start leagues), but coming in at 111 in drafts is a steal. His upside is a top-10 pitcher if he can stay healthy and get that insanely talented offense run support on his side. Snell is my number one post-100 pitcher target.

Check out all of The Welsh’s must-have players here partner-arrow

Justin Mason’s Must-Have Players

Jarred Kelenic (OF – TB)

The fantasy industry buries top-tier prospects that struggle early in their Major League career. This has only gotten worse in recent years because of the success of so many young prospects that have turned into superstars because it makes the ones that don’t succeed quickly. Kelenic was considered a “can’t miss prospect” two years ago, and while he has struggled a ton in the Majors, he continued to be dominant in the minor leagues, which gives me some hope that he will figure it out in the big leagues at some point. He spent the offseason retooling his swing, and all reports have been great from spring training. He even hit two home runs in his first spring game. I think this is the year we finally see the breakout.

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Mike Kurland’s Must-Have Players

Jesus Luzardo (SP – MIA)

There really is a lot to like about Jesus Luzardo entering 2023. At just 25-years-old he is entering his prime and we saw him take a massive step forward last year. In his first full season with the Miami Marlins, Luzardo posted a 3.32 ERA with underlying metrics suggesting it was earned:

  • 3.39 xERA
  • 3.12 FIP
  • 3.11 xFIP
  • 3.28 SIERA

He also posted an above average K-BB% of 21.3% and did all this with a BABIP of .256 and a LOB% of just 71.7%. Essentially the results lacked any factor of luck being involved. The success came on the back of a pitch mix last year where we saw more curveballs and changeups and less fastballs. Something we often see pitchers turn to in today’s game. The slight uptick in velocity last year was a nice added bonus.

Something of note: An injury limited him to just 100.1 IP last year. This comes with a career high of 124.1 IP in 2021. So realistically expecting around 150 IP seems fair and will cap the overall potential in the process. That is factored into the current ADP. You should not be too concerned about the health as he returned from injury and finished off the season pitching at least six innings in eight of the final nine games of the year. We also saw the velocity inch back up closer to what he was throwing pre-injury.

Check out all of Kurland’s must-have players here partner-arrow

Kelly Kirby’s Must-Have Players

Corbin Carroll (OF – ARI)

Projections have Carroll in the 15 HR, 20 SB range, but I think this is underestimating his ability to run. I think the fastest player in baseball, with new baserunning rules, who had an 88 percent success rate in the minors, will be on the run a lot. The Diamondbacks have turned into an intriguing team, and while the concerns about the sophomore slump/adjustment exist, I continue to pick him as my “let’s see how high this ceiling can go” guy.

Check out all of Kelly’s must-have players here partner-arrow

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 – that optimizes your picks with expert advice – we’ve got you covered this fantasy baseball draft season.


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