Fantasy Baseball: 10 players one analyst hopes to draft in 2023

Every year, I enter fantasy draft season with a few specific targets, and 2023 is no different. Although you will have to check back with me in late March to find out how well my plans came to fruition, here are 10 players I hope to select for many of my teams.

Aaron Nola (SP, Philadelphia Phillies)

Nola is everything I want in an ace. He’s ultra-durable, with his only injured list stint over the past five seasons being a 10-day COVID-19 exposure shutdown in 2021. And he is consistently excellent, having logged a 3.47 ERA, a 1.08 WHIP and a 10.4 K/9 since the outset of 2018. There is little separation among the aces this year, which makes me likely to pluck Nola once a handful of hurlers are off the board.

Triston McKenzie (SP, Cleveland Guardians)

I know the risks with McKenzie: He gives up plenty of fly balls and home runs. But the right-hander is terrific at limiting hard contact, which reduces base knocks and leads to an excellent WHIP. And last season, McKenzie made strides with his walk rate. The 25-year-old is the 28th starter off the board by Yahoo ADP, and my projections have him nearly 10 spots higher.

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Jeffrey Springs (SP, Tampa Bay Rays)

Springs burst onto the fantasy scene last year by logging a 2.46 ERA that included a 2.66 mark as a starter. The Rays clearly believe the 30-year-old has staying power in their rotation, as they agreed to a four-year contract in the offseason. The southpaw won’t be among MLB's innings leaders, but he could provide terrific ratios across 150 frames.

Raisel Iglesias (RP, Atlanta Braves)

In my opinion, Iglesias is being massively undervalued this draft season. The right-hander has been a solid closer for several years, and he was off to a fine start with the Angels in 2022 before shifting to a setup role down the stretch with the Braves. He was terrific with Atlanta (0.34 ERA, 0.84 WHIP), and the club is ready to put him back into the ninth inning. Iglesias should be a top-five closer but is currently the 11th RP off the board in Yahoo drafts.

Pete Alonso (1B, New York Mets)

Although first base is a deep position, I’m happy to draft Alonso in the second round as one of my offensive anchors. The slugger is among the top candidates to lead the majors in homers and RBIs, and as a career .261 hitter, he is slightly better in the batting average category than he gets credit for. The steals category is hard to predict due to the MLB rule changes, which makes me likely to anchor my lineup with some power hitters before taking the plunge into speed sources.

Pete Alonso #20 of the New York Mets is a fantasy star
Pete Alonso is one of Fred Zinkie's top fantasy targets in 2023. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Thairo Estrada (2B/SS/OF, San Francisco Giants)

Estrada was rarely discussed in fantasy circles last year, but with 14 homers and 21 steals, he was more productive than many managers realize. The soon-to-be 27-year-old has a clear path to regular playing time in a solid Giants lineup and is the type of late-round base-stealer I am targeting this year. At worst, Estrada should produce a respectable steals total, but he has the potential to rank among MLB leaders.

Josh Rojas (2B/3B, Arizona Diamondbacks)

With nine homers and 23 steals, Rojas produced a similar stat line to Estrada last year. But the D-backs infielder was more impressive, as he reached his totals in just 125 games. Rojas was caught stealing just three times in 2022, which should persuade Arizona coaches to give him the green light he needs to rank among the swipes leaders of 2023.

[2023 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | OF | SP | RP]

Jonathan India (2B, Cincinnati Reds)

India was a hot commodity in 2022 drafts after collecting 21 homers and 12 steals in his rookie season. The right-handed hitter dealt with nagging injuries throughout a disappointing sophomore year, which is going to allow shrewd managers to pick him up at a discounted draft cost. As a leadoff man who calls home to one of baseball’s best venues for hitters, India is going to get plenty of chances to stuff the stat sheet.

Willy Adames (SS, Milwaukee Brewers)

My interest in Adames is simple: I believe he is an excellent hitter.

The 27-year-old has flashed plenty of power as a member of the Brewers (51 HRs in 238 games), which is not surprising when factoring in the hitter-friendly nature of American Family Field. Although his batting average dipped to .238 last year, some of the blame can be traced to a .278 BABIP. Finally, Adames’ eight steals from 2022 show that he has just enough speed to take advantage of the new baserunning rules.

Adalberto Mondesi (SS, Boston Red Sox)

Mondesi will be a target for me in Yahoo leagues but not in deeper formats. In 10- or 12-team leagues, I can use a late-round pick on the speedster with the knowledge that I can fill his position via the waiver wire if he is felled by injuries for a third straight year. Mondesi is the most likely candidate to lead the majors in April steals and should retain that lofty perch as long as he stays healthy.