RBI may be the most unpredictable statistic when it comes to the MLB in any given year. There are so many factors that determine if any one individual will have success in driving in runs. Some of this dependency comes down to where a hitter bats in the lineup, if players in front of him have success getting on base, and the number of at-bats received with runners in scoring position.
Naturally, superstar hitters tend to find themselves at the top of the leaderboard for RBIs by season’s end. Aaron Judge and Pete Alonso carried the load in 2022, both tying to top the MLB with 131 RBIs a piece. After that, there were numerous more professional hitters such as Jose Ramirez, Paul Goldschmidt, and Kyle Tucker. The one “anomaly” you may find on the top-10 list from last year was C.J. Cron, who compiled 102 RBIs in his second year with the Rockies.
The common denominator with all of these hitters? They all tend to bat between the two and four holes on their respective teams, and they tend to be on offensively-charged teams overall. Out of the top seven individual RBI leaders in 2022, six of them were on teams that ranked top 10 in the MLB in runs produced.
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RBI production is a key contributing statistic in the fantasy baseball world and important towards scoring all-important points throughout the duration of a season. Here are some of the 2023 RBI “sleepers”, like 2022 C.J. Cron, to look out for in the upcoming campaign.
Eloy Jimenez (OF – CWS)
Jimenez has essentially been a forgotten soul for the White Sox over the past few seasons. This has been, in large part, due to injury, as the 26-year-old has appeared in just 194 games since 2019. However, during his limited appearances, he has still managed to slash for a .280 average with double-digit home runs and 40+ RBIs.
Jimenez will be slotting right back into the cleanup spot for Chicago in 2023 and he will be batting behind a trio of on-base machines in Tim Anderson, Luis Robert, and Andrew Benintendi. There will be ample opportunities for Jimenez to knock in runs in this lineup. He will also be seeing more time out of the DH spot this season, which should help keep him healthier overall. Jimenez should finally have a chance for that 30+ home-run and 100+ RBI campaign in 2023 if he can manage to stay healthy for the first time in four years.
Christian Walker (1B – ARI)
Christian Walker is a real-life example of why the MLB is so mysteriously fun. Following a 2021 campaign where the now 32-year-old hit just 10 round-trippers, Walker broke out for 36 homers and 94 RBIs last season, ranking in the top 10 and top 20 of those respective categories. Now, Walker is expected to retain a role as the cleanup hitter for Arizona in 2023, in what should be an improved lineup.
Ascending second-year star Corbin Carroll should find himself on base a ridiculous amount this season, and Walker should be right there to knock him in an abundance of times. He will also have the benefit of Ketel Marte and Jake McCarthy in front of him as well, two additional players with plus speed that will score a lot of runs. Christian Walker was in the 72nd percentile in hard-hit percentage in 2022, and at the rate he finds gaps in the outfield, his RBI totals should have a chance to improve on his already impressive numbers from last season.
Jose Abreu (1B – HOU)
Abreu should be looking at a tick-up in RBIs in 2023, as he makes the move down south from Chicago to Houston for his first career stint with a new team. To Abreu’s benefit, he is moving into arguably the most potent offense in all of baseball. We are talking about a lineup so deep that Abreu will likely find himself in the five or maybe even six hole for the majority of the season.
Even being dropped in the order a bit should not be a problem for Abreu’s RBI production in the slightest. There will be unlimited chances for run-providing opportunities swinging behind the likes of Jose Altuve, Kyle Tucker, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, and maybe even Jeremy Pena at times. Abreu has mashed more than 100 RBIs in six of his nine professional seasons. He will have a surefire chance to return to those numbers as his 36-year-old campaign gets underway in a couple of weeks.
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