Fantasy Baseball 2023: NL East players to target in drafts

Fantasy Baseball 2023: NL East players to target in drafts

Fantasy baseball analysts Scott Pianowski, Dalton Del Don and Andy Behrens reveal the player they're targeting on each NL East team. The reason behind their selections could be tied to draft value, a star they want to build around or someone they’re going out of their way to take.

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Atlanta Braves

Injuries made a mess of Ozzie Albies’ 2022 season, but he’d already established himself as a 20/20 threat (or better), and he’s just 26 years old. Second base is a messy position beyond the upper tiers, too. — Andy Behrens

Ronald Acuña Jr. saw his power drop dramatically and his defense suffer during his return from MCL surgery last season. He made up for it, though, by stealing the second-most bases (29) in the NL despite playing in fewer than 120 games. Acuña is expected to be much healthier this season after playing through considerable pain in 2022, when he also experienced bad luck in HR/Brl%. Steamer is projecting a modest 30/40 season in fewer than 150 games. Acuña is the No. 1 player on my board. — Dalton Del Don

Matt Olson hit the low end of his range last year and still returned 34 homers, 103 RBIs and an average close to the fantasy median. He should bounce back closer to his 2021 form, now fully comfortable in his new city and league and no longer dogged by those pesky defensive shifts. — Scott Pianowski

New York Mets

Kodai Senga stacked up several brilliant seasons in Japan, his spring has been plenty impressive, and his arsenal is full of delights. Few Mets are as likely as Senga to outproduce their ADPs. — Andy Behrens

Tylor Megill had a 2.43 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and a 9.7 K/9 rate in his first six starts last year before an implosion and injuries ruined the rest of his season. He’s battling David Peterson to open the season in New York’s rotation with José Quintana out indefinitely. Megill lost 15 pounds in the offseason (BSOHL alert!) and is a fantasy sleeper while playing in arguably baseball’s best pitcher’s park. — Dalton Del Don

I like the angle Dalton outlined, but I’ll side with David Peterson, a strikeout ace who needs only modest control improvement to become a major fantasy factor. — Scott Pianowski

Philadelphia Phillies

Kyle Schwarber is coming off a 46-homer season, and he’s likely to be one of the bigger beneficiaries of the new rules on defensive shifting, so let’s not think of him as a severe liability in batting average. He managed to swipe 10 bags last season, too. If healthy, he can go 100-40-100-10. — Andy Behrens

Brandon Marsh cut his K% down to 6.5% and saw his wRC+ jump from 79 to 114 after getting traded to Philadelphia last season (his batting average also increased 60-plus points). He has 20/20 potential as the Phillies' starting center fielder and gets to hit in a park that boosts lefty power. Darick Hall is also a deep sleeper for cheap homers and could even hit in the middle of Philadelphia’s lineup until Bryce Harper’s eventual return. — Dalton Del Don

A forearm injury cost Zack Wheeler a chance at Cy Young contention, but he hasn’t missed significant time in five years. He has posted a 3.20 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP in that run, with better than a strikeout per inning. Wheeler is one of the safest SP1s on the board, affordably ticketed at a Yahoo ADP of 57.3. — Scott Pianowski

Miami Marlins

The only thing that has held Edward Cabrera back to this point is health. When he’s right, he’s capable of delivering a pretty fair impression of an ace. He has struck out 103 batters in 98.0 career major-league innings, and he’s having a strong spring for Miami. — Andy Behrens

Jazz Chisholm Jr. isn’t going to help batting average with his high strikeout rate, but he’s poised to be a fantasy monster even while playing in Miami. He racked up 32 homers and 35 steals across 677 at-bats in the past two injury-shortened seasons, including an impressive 139 wRC+ before he suffered a back fracture last year.

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Chisholm is set to hit leadoff for the Marlins, and THE BAT X projects him to record the second-most steals in baseball this season. Chisholm and Aaron Judge were the only players with 12-plus stolen bases and a 16%+ barrel rate in all of baseball last season, so a special 2023 fantasy campaign could be in store. — Dalton Del Don

Jean Segura is still offering category juice into his 30s; he posted 10 homers and 13 steals last year despite missing 64 games. He’s now one of those boring veteran values you can look for outside the top 200, and he’ll add third-base eligibility early in the season. — Scott Pianowski

Washington Nationals

CJ Abrams is a sneaky candidate to lead the NL in stolen bases, and he’s generally still on the board in a draft’s final rounds. He swiped 42 bags in 114 career minor-league games while slashing .331/.385/.511. — Andy Behrens

Keibert Ruiz isn’t being drafted as a top-12 fantasy catcher in Yahoo leagues despite being one of the few backstops slated to hit in the middle of his lineup. Ruiz also sported an expected batting average (.277) in the top 10% of the league last season and could easily hit better in 2023. — Dalton Del Don

Maybe all Joey Meneses needed was a chance to play; he posted some fun stats in the minors but was always blocked until last year. A conservative projection for Meneses still lands around 25 homers and 75 RBIs; this is a reasonable chance worth taking around Yahoo ADP 185. — Scott Pianowski