2023 Fantasy baseball and real-life predictions for the American League
Go here for Dalton's National League predictions.
1. New York Yankees
2. Tampa Bay Rays (wild card)
3. Toronto Blue Jays (wild card)
4. Boston Red Sox
5. Baltimore Orioles
New York Yankees
Gerrit Cole wins his first Cy Young award as his home run rate regresses … New York overcomes injuries to Carlos Rodón, Luis Severino and Frankie Montas thanks to Clarke Schmidt and Domingo Germán, who go down as two of the biggest starting pitcher draft steals … Josh Donaldson has a better fantasy season than Anthony Rizzo, while DJ LeMahieu bounces back with a productive campaign … Has there ever been a prospect who was a below average hitter in Triple-A (91 wRC+) and is projected to have a .670 OPS with as much helium as Anthony Volpe? … Michael King emerges as the Yankees’ closer, but N.Y. remains without a trip to the World Series since 2009.
Tampa Bay Rays
Brandon Lowe is a major bounce-back candidate whose career batting average jumps 42 points when not facing a shift … Randy Arozarena, Wander Franco and Pete Fairbanks all finish top-five among their fantasy positions in 2023 … Shane McClanahan has about as much upside as any starter in baseball, but there are also health concerns ... Kyle Manzardo empties FAB accounts when he’s called up midseason, while Cyler Glasnow is the best pitcher in baseball after he returns from an oblique injury ... Tampa Bay is better built for the postseason than fantasy managers, as the Rays win the American League.
Toronto Blue Jays
New dimensions in an already favorable hitter’s park help Vladimir Guerrero Jr. win the Triple Crown and MVP award, while Alek Manoah and Chris Bassitt disappoint fantasy managers … Matt Chapman hits the most homers among third basemen, and George Springer finishes as a top-10 fantasy outfielder … Ricky Tiedemann becomes one of the season’s best waiver-wire adds once he’s called up to Toronto.
Boston Red Sox
Rafael Devers finishes as the top fantasy third baseman, while Masataka Yoshida ends as a top-25 fantasy outfielder … Triston Casas scores 95-plus runs, while Adam Duvall records 95-plus RBIs … Chris Sale stays healthier than usual, but Corey Kluber and Brayan Bello go down as the most profitable Boston fantasy pitchers … Kenley Jansen is a fantasy bust … Reece McGuire is a deep sleeper who finishes as a top-15 catcher, while Adalberto Mondesi has quickly gone from over- to underrated in fantasy leagues; he’s projected to finish top-five in stolen bases while playing just 100 games!
Adley Rutschman proves to be more valuable to Baltimore than to fantasy managers, while Gunnar Henderson also disappoints compared to ADP ... Grayson Rodriguez and Kyle Bradish both break out, while OF Cole Cowser, 2B Connor Norby and SS Joey Ortiz are rookies capable of making a midseason impact in deeper fantasy leagues.
1. Minnesota Twins
2. Chicago White Sox (wild card)
3. Cleveland Guardians
4. Kansas City Royals
5. Detroit Tigers
I bet Byron Buxton (40/1) to hit the most homers in baseball while Max Kepler goes down as a fantasy steal … Bailey Ober eventually emerges as Minnesota’s best fantasy starter, while Jhoan Duran finishes as a top-five closer … Thanks to a sneaky-deep pitching staff, the Twins win the Central.
Chicago White Sox
Chicago’s roster is filled with bounce-back candidates, highlighted by a huge season from Luis Robert Jr. at the plate and Lucas Giolito on the mound … Andrew Benintendi saw a big upgrade in home parks, while Liam Hendriks could return sooner than expected.
Steven Kwan finishes as a top-20 fantasy outfielder, while Mike Zunino ends as a top-15 catcher … Triston McKenzie has ace upside, but he struggled mightily throughout spring and is now out due to "arm tightness" … Shane Bieber (Yahoo ADP 43.5) has a better fantasy season than Sandy Alcantara (27.1 ADP), while Josh Naylor (243.4 ADP) outproduces Vinnie Pasquantino (102.3) and Nathaniel Lowe (112.4).
Kansas City Royals
Brady Singer emerges as a true ace and finishes as a top-20 fantasy starter despite playing for the Royals, while Kyle Isbel and Franmil Reyes go down as fantasy steals in deeper leagues … Bobby Witt Jr. will likely improve, and his power/speed upside is made for fantasy. But it might be worth noting (or maybe not!) that Witt is costing a top-10 pick in NFBC Main Event drafts despite being a below average league hitter (99 wRC+) last season.
Austin Meadows bounces back with a nice campaign, but Spencer Torkelson continues to struggle … Trey Wingenter begins the year in the minors but ends the season as Detroit’s closer, while Matthew Boyd is the Tigers’ best starter by a wide margin.
1. Houston Astros
2. Seattle Mariners
3. Texas Rangers
4. Los Angeles Angels
5. Oakland Athletics
Jeremy Peña finishes as a top-five fantasy shortstop, while Framber Valdez wins 20 games … Yordan Álvarez is another threat to win every Triple Crown category whose health also needs to cooperate … Alex Bregman (74.0 ADP) has a better fantasy season than Nolan Arenado (35.7), while José Abreu (77.2) outproduces Paul Goldschmidt (19.4) … Hunter Brown faces stiff competition but narrowly beats Grayson Rodriguez to win the American League Rookie of the Year award.
The Mariners enter with a deep pitching staff (including an absolutely loaded bullpen that could frustrate fantasy managers as much as it helps Seattle) and an emerging superstar in Julio Rodríguez — who should be gone in the top three picks of fantasy drafts this year before becoming the consensus top pick in 2024 … Logan Gilbert, George Kirby and Teoscar Hernández all disappoint fantasy managers compared to their ADP, but Jarred Kelenic finally lives up to the hype.
Josh Jung finishes as a top-12 fantasy third baseman, while Jonah Heim ends as a top-10 catcher … Corey Seager is the league’s biggest beneficiary from the no-shift rules and produces a better fantasy season than Marcus Semien or Francisco Lindor ... Bubba Thompson is a sleeper to record 40-plus steals, while Dane Dunning eventually becomes a popular fantasy add even in shallow leagues … Will Smith leads the Rangers in saves, though no one on the team reaches 15 … Andrew Heaney is a dark horse Cy Young candidate who finishes top-five in strikeouts.
Los Angeles Angels
It looks increasingly likely that the best player in baseball will be traded before this season’s deadline … Jared Walsh is a fantasy sleeper, while Anthony Rendon records 100-plus RBIs … Taylor Ward finishes as a top-10 fantasy outfielder … Zach Neto is a popular 2024 fantasy sleeper, while Ben Joyce ends 2023 as L.A’.s closer.
Playing in a park that dramatically decreases run scoring/homers and in a lineup projected to score by far the fewest runs in baseball, Oakland is a fantasy wasteland. The A’s also haven’t declared a closer, will go with a six-man rotation and might be leaving for Las Vegas. At least the beloved coliseum once served the best Philly cheesesteak west of Philadelphia.