See how good Seager can be in 2023
If Corey Seager's ADP remains in the 50s as we get deeper into draft season, then apparently I'll land him everywhere. Seager is currently No. 26 in my overall ranks and I'm tempted to nudge him into the second round. At 28 years old, he's in his absolute prime and coming off a year in which he had no luck on balls-in-play (.242 BABIP vs. career .317), except when they went over the fence (33 HR).
Seager's batted-ball profile wasn't unusual by his standards last season, so no worries there. He's among the hitters who can expect to benefit the most from MLB's new shift rules, which should mean he'll be a significant asset in batting average, not a liability. Assuming good health, a 90-30-90-.300 season is definitely realistic. — Andy Behrens
The prodigal son returns
There’s plenty of FUD out there regarding Fernando Tatis Jr., who’s coming off both a PED suspension and multiple surgeries. But this is someone who’s recorded a .292/125/116/48/31 per 162-game pace before turning 24 years old and while playing with one arm last season. Tatis is simply built different. And he’s younger than Vinnie Pasquantino!
I’ve never been more excited to draft someone falling to Round 2. — Dalton Del Don
Losing sleep over the newest Rodriguez in Seattle
I dare you to find someone ready to overdraft Julio Rodriguez earlier than me in 2023 (I'm kidding, don't do that — I don't want to compete with anyone).
I loved everything about Rodriguez's Rookie-of-the-Year-winning 2022 season. To think, it was his first taste of MLB action and he looked like a seasoned veteran at the plate — he struck out 145 times but still delivered a .284 batting average and a .345 OBP (and just a .345 BABIP!!!). He had the expected meh start to his Major League career, found his standing in the middle of the season, went through the usual August slump most first-year players suffer, and then went bonkers in September and the playoffs — this kid is legit.
We all know about the 30-30 power-speed potential, so no need to get into that too much here. Rodriguez has "superstar" written all over him, the new face of a Mariners' franchise that has had some legendary faces in the past. I'm all in — he hasn't dealt with injury like Ronald Acuña Jr. and he's seven years younger than Trea Turner. J-Rod is my No. 1 pick in 2023 fantasy drafts. — Mo Castillo
Flying with a pair of star Blue Jays
I know it won't be cheap to get fantasy shares of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. or Bo Bichette, but this is one party we don't want to miss out on. Both of Toronto's legacy kids are still in their early 20s, and the Blue Jays are bringing in the fences (which is expected to help offense more than a slight fence raising will hurt). Although Guerrero and Bichette are already stars, we probably haven't seen their best seasons yet.
Isn't it fun to ride the up escalator? — Scott Pianowski
A 30/30 threat without the helium
Give me Kyle Tucker, the perpetual second- or third-fiddle in the Houston Astros' real-world lineup who has turned into a fantasy superstar. The lanky, no-batting-gloves lefty has whacked precisely 30 homers in back-to-back seasons, and last season nabbed a career-high 25 bases. As a cherry on top, FanGraphs' depth charts project Tucker for a .275 batting average (others have it even higher) and 112 RBIs as part of the still-formidable Houston squad.
Why does he bubble up to a top priority for me? For one, I think he's a better bet to go 30/30 than some of his more hyped comparables, such as Braves star Ronald Acuña Jr. (perhaps being treated more conservatively after knee issues) and Mariners phenom Julio Rodriguez (who ran far less in the second half).
I like Tucker's stolen base upside for a counterintuitive reason: He's ... not that fast. Let me explain.
Tucker doesn't blitz the basepaths with pure speed. He instead stands out for efficiency. His 86.9% success rate on steal attempts is second among all runners with at least 50 tries since 2018. And the new pickoff rules that go with the pitch timer seem likely to give more opportunities to wily base-stealers. Consistent production with the bat and upside with the legs? Sign me up. — Zach Crizer