Top Fantasy Prospects for 2023: Carroll, Rodriguez headline top 10
Say it with us: March! The month that brings us MLB Opening Day arrives tomorrow. You already know this, but fantasy draft season is here in all of its chaotic beauty. No matter where you are in your draft research there’s plenty of time to prepare. With our 2023 Rotoworld Baseball Draft Guide, you can enter every draft ready to roll. We looked at its starting pitcher rankings and relief pitcher projections last week, but we’re looking at the game’s youth this time around. Everyone loves prospect projections, and that’s why we’re diving into the Draft Guide’s top impact prospects for this year’s fantasy landscape.
This jam-packed edition has all the information and features you need to prepare for every single draft. Equipped with in-depth player profiles, positional rankings for multiple scoring formats, projections, tiers and positional reports, managers can feel confident navigating the 2023 fantasy landscape. Plus, the draft guide features exclusive columns from our experts, in addition to mock drafts, statistics, scoring leaders and more.
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Prospects play a massive role in fantasy baseball. Whether you’re in a dynasty, keeper or season-long league, impact youngsters can often provide instant boosts to multiple fantasy categories early on or as late-season heroes. Look at Julio Rodriguez, the Mariners’ emerging phenom, who has quickly cemented himself as a consensus first-round pick in drafts this year. J-Rod is just one young stud in a group of many across the sport, from Bobby Witt Jr. to Michael Harris and so many more. That’s why it’s imperative to enter your drafts with a sound understanding of when to target prospects, as they can be useful bench stashes or immediate producers. In our Draft Guide’s top prospects for 2023, you’ll find in-depth profiles on how each player could pan out for the year and why they’re worth drafting.
Let’s dive into Chris Crawford’s Top 12 and see the profiles for the top five.
1. Corbin Carroll, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
Why he can help: Carroll was able to register a 1.035 OPS in the minors, and then more than held his own in 2022 with 15 extra-base hits in 32 games with an .830 OPS upon promotion to Arizona. The former first-round pick has plus tools across the board with the power/speed combination fantasy managers look for in first-round picks, and his ability to make hard contact suggests that a decent – if not better – average will come along with it. Simply put, there’s just too much to like about Carroll’s game to not have him in the top spot.
Why he might not: For all of Carroll’s ability, he’s only been able to show it in a combined 174 professional games since being drafted in 2019, and some of that is due to the fact that he’s dealt with injuries the past two seasons, including missing all but seven games in 2021. He’s also not likely to get many RBI chances hitting at or near the top of the Arizona lineup, so he may only be a four-category player in 2023.
2. Gunnar Henderson, SS/3B, Baltimore Orioles
Why he can help: Henderson took a massive leap forward in 2023 while establishing himself as one of the elite prospects in the sport, and he was able to post a very respectable .788 OPS in his 34 games with Baltimore after his promotion. The 21-year-old has the tools to contribute across the board in most fantasy formats, and while he may play third base in the long term, he should have shortstop eligibility in the majority of leagues for 2023.
Why he might not: Henderson struck out 34 times in 132 plate appearances, and he will likely have some swing-and-miss issues at the highest level. The Orioles lineup is still a work in progress as well, so RBI opportunities may not come on a consistent basis for the rookie infielder. While he is a well above-average runner, he only attempted two thefts while he was with Baltimore late last year.
3. Josh Jung, 3B, Texas Rangers
Why he can help: Jung missed the majority of the 2022 season with a torn labrum in his left shoulder, but he was able to get back on the field in July and he showed off impressive power in his return while earning time with the Rangers to end the campaign. The former Texas Tech star has shown the ability to make hard contact to all parts of the field as well, so there’s a good chance that he’ll be able to contribute in the average category.
Why he might not: Jung did not show off his plus hit tool in the minors nor in his time in Texas, and he had significant contact issues in the process (39 strikeouts in 98 at-bats in the majors). He’s also a so-so runner who is unlikely to put up more than a handful - at most - of stolen bases.
4. Esteury Ruiz, OF, Oakland Athletics
Why he can help: Ruiz stole a whopping 85 bases in 114 games in the minors while slashing an impressive .332/.447/.526 and hitting 16 homers in the process. After being traded from the Brewers to the Athletics in the Sean Murphy three-way deal, the 24-year-old has a chance to be an everyday player for the A’s in 2023, and his line-drive swing along with 80-grade speed gives him a chance to contribute in at least two categories.
Why he might not: It’s very unlikely that Ruiz is going to provide a significant number of homers because of his size and contact-oriented swing, so he’s going to have to be exceptional in the average/steals category to make a significant difference. It’s also worth pointing out that his success didn’t translate in a small sample in the majors as seen in a .171/.194/.257 slash.
5. Ezequiel Tovar, SS, Colorado Rockies
Why he can help: Tovar was considered a sleeper prospect coming into the 2022 season, and he didn’t disappoint with a .927 OPS in his 71 MiLB games. While his best tool is his glove, the 21-year-old shortstop has a great chance to hit for average with his line-drive swing from the right side, and his power should play up in the friendly confines of Coors Field.
Why he might not: Even in those friendly confines, expecting more than 15 or so homers from Tovar is expecting too much when you remember half his games won’t be in Denver. He also is more of an opportunistic runner than a burner, so his stolen base total isn’t likely to be an overwhelming number, either.
6. Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
7. Triston Casas, 1B, Boston Red Sox
8. Miguel Vargas, 3B/OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
9. Jordan Walker, 3B/OF, St. Louis Cardinals
10. Curtis Mead, 3B/2B, Tampa Bay Rays
11. Brett Baty, 3B/OF, New York Mets
12. Kyle Harrison, LHP. San Francisco Giants
If you want to see the full top prospect list with in-depth profiles, in addition to everything else the Rotoworld Baseball Draft Guide offers, be sure to purchase your copy today for $19.99 here. And don’t forget to take advantage of our special Draft Guide Bundle offer where you can get ALL THREE draft guides -- Baseball, Football and Basketball -- for $44.99. Check it out here!