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Chris Clegg's 2023 Dynasty Rankings: 1-25
Its Dynasty Rankings Season! Here are my top-25 players!
1. Ronald Acuña Jr., OF, ATL
After spending a ton of time debating, I landed on Ronald Acuña Jr. as my number one overall player for dynasty leagues. With that being said, this is a tier of six players, and I think each represents an argument for the top spot. Acuña had a bit of a down year in 2022, coming off of his torn ACL. He still managed to steal 29 bases and added 15 home runs in 533 plate appearances.
It was encouraging to see Acuña stealing bases, as that is something most expected to tail off a bit after this injury. The knee was still not full strength, and Acuña was banged up multiple times throughout the season. He did not get to the power you might expect, mainly because of the rehabbing knee. despite that, he still managed to post a 49.7 percent hard-hit rate, a 91.2 mph average exit velocity, and posted the best contact rates of his career.
Now 25 years old, Acuña is ready to get back on the field at full strength and show he is capable of a 40/40 season that he nearly did in 2019.
2023 Peak: .285 40 HR/40 SB. Likely Outcome: .270 30 HR/30 SB
2. Julio Rodríguez, OF, SEA
Julio Rodríguez burst onto the scene last year as the game’s top prospect. As a 21-year-old, Rodríguez slashed .284/.345/.509 with 29 home runs and 25 stolen bases. He has already established himself as one of the game’s best hitters and a fantasy superstar.
Rodríguez hits the ball hard and has elite sprint speed. He posted a 98th-percentile sprint speed and a hard-hit rate that ranked 95th percentile. Some are concerned he stole just four bases in the second half of the season, but some of that had to do with team philosophy as the Mariners were contending down the stretch. You could put Julio Rodríguez number one here, and I wouldn’t argue.
2023 Peak: .295/35 HR/25 SB. Likely outcome: .280 30 HR/20 SB
3. Yordan Álvarez, OF, HOU
Yordan Alvarez is the best hitter in the game, and I don’t say that lightly. Alvarez combined elite plate discipline, contact skills, and power. If he had any element of speed to his game, he would be the top dynasty asset. Despite the speed, I have an aggressive ranking on Alvarez because he has pushed the knee concerns behind him at this point, and you can rely on him to be a massive boost in batting average and power. Last year he posted a .306/.406/.613 slash, and every expected stat was higher than his actual production. Give me a .300/35+ HR season from the 25-year-old for the foreseeable future.
2023 Peak: .325/45 HR. Likely Outcome: .290/35 HR
4. Fernando Tatís Jr., SS/OF, SD
If any player can produce a 50 home run, 30 stolen base season, it is Fernando Tatís Jr. He missed the entire 2022 season due to wrist and shoulder injuries, plus a suspension. We are still unsure what he will look like upon return. But the talent level is too much to pass up here.
Despite just a 125-game projection due to his suspension, The Bat X projects Tatís for 36 home runs and 22 stolen bases. In 130 games in 2021, he posted 42 home runs and 25 stolen bases, so it’s far from crazy. If Tatís lost any value in your dynasty league, trade for him now.
2023 Peak: .285/35 HR/25 SB. Likely Outcome: .270 27 HR/20 SB
5. Shohei Ohtani, UT/P, LAA
*If you play in a daily lineup league where you can move Ohtani each day, move him to number one in these rankings in a tier of his own.
Shohei Ohtani is the best player in the world, plain and simple. No player in baseball does what he does. The hitter Ohtani produced a 34 HR/11 SB season last year, while the pitcher version threw 166 innings with a 2.33 ERA and a 33.2 percent strikeout rate. I’m not sure what else I need to add. If a daily league, he is a cheat code. In a best ball he is a cheat code. the tough decision in a weekly league is whether to put him in as a hitter or pitcher.
2023 Peak: 185 IP/2.30 ERA/250 K. .280/45 HR/15 SB
Likely Outcome: 165 IP/3.20 ERA/215 K. .270/35 HR/10 SB
6. Kyle Tucker, OF, HOU
Kyle Tucker starts the second tier of dynasty players with a case to make a jump into the top tier. A few things have hindered Tucker from being higher: lineup spot and batting average. Tucker has had his moments, though, as he hit .294 in 2021, and the shift ban in 2023 could lead to more hits for the lefty.
Tucker was shifted 91.3 percent of the time last season and had a shifted BABIP of .244 and an un-shifted BABIP of .425. I expect an increase in batting average this year, probably closer to a .275-.280 mark. If Tucker gets moved to the top of the lineup and succeeds without the shift, he moves to tier one.
2023 Peak: .290/35 HR/25 SB. Likely Outcome: .275/30 HR/20 SB
7. Bobby Witt Jr., SS/3B, KC
Bobby Witt Jr’s 2022 season was not talked about enough. He spent the first few months of the season as a 21-year-old and hit 20 home runs and stole 30 bases. His batting average was just .254, and he posted an OBP below .300, which I guess has to lead to concern. There is still room for growth for Witt on top of the fact he has third-base eligibility. You are mistaken if you discount Witt for a sub .300 OBP at 21 years old. Buy low in your dynasty league if someone feels that way about him.
2023 Peak: .270 28 HR/30 SB. Likely Outcome: .260 23 HR/25 SB
8. Trea Turner, SS, PHI
Trea Turner is the first player on the list who will turn the dreaded 30 years old this season. He signed a massive deal with the Phillies that will keep him around until 2033. He has been the most consistent fantasy player over the last five years next to Freddie Freeman. You ideally want to go younger in a startup draft, but Turner is a safe lock to provide 20+ home runs and 25-30 stolen bases. Since 2019, he owns a .311/.361/.509 slash with a per/600 PA of 22 home runs and 29 stolen bases. I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Don’t look beyond three years in dynasty; be comfortable with Trea Turner if you roster him.
2023 Peak: .330/28 HR/40 SB. Likely Outcome: .300/20 HR/30 SB
9. Aaron Judge, OF, NYY
I never like buying a player coming off a career season, and it feels like this ranking is a bit of a reflection of that with Aaron Judge. Judge will turn 31 in April and is coming off one of the best seasons in baseball history. He mashed 62 home runs and is returning to New York on a massive deal. Don’t expect 60 home runs again or even 16 stolen bases. But you can rely on Judge to give you a massive power boost without a zero in stolen bases.
2023 Peak: .310/60 HR/10 SB. Likely Outcome: .290/45 HR/5 SB
10. José Ramírez, 3B, CLE
I have been told that his value goes when José Ramírez’s speed goes. I am not sure that is the case. Despite playing through a thumb injury from the beginning of June on, Ramírez still managed to slash .280/.355/.514 with 29 home runs. He stole 20 bases providing a huge boost, especially given his third-base eligibility. A fully healthy Ramírez in 2023 could easily clear 30 home runs and still provide a high-end stolen base total. From August 1 on last year, Ramirez hit just .266 with eight home runs and six stolen bases. Was it due to the thumb injury? I think it is possible.
2023 Peak: .285/35 HR/30 SB. Likely Outcome: .270/30 HR/20 SB
11. Mookie Betts, OF, LAD
Mookie Betts is about as consistent as they come. Except for a slightly down 2021 season where he stayed hurt(back, forearm, shoulder, allergic reaction, illness, hip), he has been steady. Yes, that was a lot of injuries this year. Betts even missed time in 2022 with fractured ribs and still hit 35 home runs.
Betts has a career 86.2 percent contact rate and a 93.5 percent zone-contact rate, both elite. Betts may not have the best max exit velocity, but who cares, considering he hits the ball consistently hard and barrels it well. Max exit velocity has been proven not to be that useful(My article on that). Two straight seasons with a batting average below .270 leave some questions, but we are still talking about a .293 career hitter. Betts is 30 years old now, but he is still as safe as they come and should be for the next three to five years.
2023 Peak: .290/35 HR/15 SB. Likely Outcome: .275/28 HR/10 SB
12. Juan Soto, OF, SD
The Juan Soto ranking may make some people gasp a bit. You are probably asking why I hate Juan Soto. Check out the latest Toolshed Pod, where I discuss it in depth.
The absurd number of walks hurts Soto first and foremost. He is only 24 years old, so Soto could prove this ranking wrong. It is important to note that Juan Soto is a world-class hitter, but being a great hitter does not necessarily translate to fantasy baseball production.
Since Soto debuted, he has posted a career slash of .287/.424/.526. That is elite, so what is the issue? Again, being a world-class hitter does not equal fantasy production. Do you know the highest Juan Soto has ever finished on the Razzball player rater? It was 14 in 2020. Even in his 2019 season, where he posted 34 HR/12 SB/110 R/110 RBI, Soto finished 19 on the rater. The player rater is not an end-all-be-all, but it is a reasonable estimation of how valuable players are in a given year for fantasy. Walking 110 to 150 times a season limits your at-bats, hurting your chance at home runs and counting stats.
Soto checks all the boxes when you look at his savant page. Last season he posted a 12.4 percent barrel rate(in line with his career average), a 91 mph average exit velocity(a two mph drop from 2021), and a 113.2 mph max(a 3.4 mph drop from 2021). Even though some metrics fell slightly, they were all still 85th percentile or higher for MLB hitters. So why has Soto only cleared 30 home runs once in his career? It starts with the walks, limiting his chances of hitting the ball out of the park. Ground balls have also been an issue. Outside of posting a 41.6 percent rate in 2019, we have seen ground ball rates of 53.7, 51.6, 52.7, and 47.1 percent. He does not hit a ton of balls in the air, and despite posting a near-career high fly ball rate in 2022, he still only managed 27 home runs. Soto has proved he can get to solid numbers, as we saw 34 in 2019, but that was also the fun, bouncy ball season where 59 hitters reached the 30 mark. Soto hits the ball hard but hasn’t materialized it into elite game power.
I have questions about how much he will run at the top of the Padres lineup. His sprint speed and his stolen base attempts have declined sharply. His line drive has steadily dropped over the last four years, hurting his BABIP. I like Soto, but I’m not infatuated with him as a can’t-miss dynasty player. But the floor is very safe, and the good news is you likely won’t see another 2022 season from him again.
2023 Peak: .300/35 HR/7 SB. Likely Outcome: .280/30 HR/5 SB
13. Bo Bichette, SS, TOR
Bo Bichette flirted with 30/30 in 2021 with a .298 batting average. A poor start to 2022 had some concerned, but Bichette still finished with 24 home runs and 13 stolen bases with a .290 average. Over the season's final two months, Bichette hit ten home runs, stole six bases, and slashed .345/.386/.562 with a 93.1 mph average exit velocity.
Bichette is a bit of a compiler and, unlike Soto, does not walk often. The 24-year-old still has plenty of upside and I would expect production somewhere between 2021 and 2022. Even with a disappointing season in 2022, Bichette still finished 17 overall on the Razzball Player Rater.
2023 Peak: .310/30 HR/20 SB. Likely Outcome: .290/25 HR/15 SB
14. Vladimir Guerrero JR, 1B, TOR
I still see arguments that Vladimir Guerrero Jr is a better hitter than Yordan Alvarez, and I just don’t see a case there. We saw Guerrero’s peak in 2021 as he hit 48 home runs and posted a .311/.401/.601 slash. It was an incredible season, but he took a step back in 2022. Guerrero has massive power but hits the ball on the ground too much. He does a lot of things well at the plate but pounding the ball into the ground is a bit of a concern to me. But the good thing is there is still a high floor with Guerrero, which makes him a great draft pick early on in a dynasty startup.
2023 Peak: .295/45 HR/5 SB. Likely Outcome: .280/35 HR/5 SB
15. Austin Riley, 3B, ATL
Austin Riley and Rafael Devers are splitting hairs for dynasty rankings. Over the last two seasons, Riley has posted a .288/.358/.529 slash with an average of 35.5 home runs per season. Devers numbers are very similar. But, for 2023, Riley will have a much better supporting cast around him. Riley has steadily improved his zone-contact rate and lowered his chase rate every season as a professional. He smokes line drives and has a healthy batted-ball distribution of GB/LD/FB. Riley improved his average exit velocity by 2.5 mph in 2022 and saw his barrel rate be a career-high 15.7 percent. He is also still 25 years old and coming into his own.
2023 Peak: .300/40 HR. Likely Outcome: .280/35 HR
16. Rafael Devers, 3B, BOS
As I mentioned, you are splitting hairs between Riley and Rafael Devers. Devers signed his long-term deal to stay in Boston but just needs others around him in the lineup. Between 2021 and 2022, Devers has a .287/.355/.521 slash, averaging 32.5 home runs per season. Where Riley is a zero in stolen bases, Devers can chip in five. The run and RBI total lends itself to Riley for 2023 unless the Red Sox make a couple of big trades. Devers is six months older than Riley. Flip the coin and take your pick. I love both at a shallow 3B position.
2023 Peak: .300/35 HR/5 SB. Likely Outcome: .285/30 HR/3 SB
17. Corbin Burnes, SP, MIL
Ah, we have finally made it to our first pitcher in the dynasty rankings. Corbin Burnes just turned 28 and has been as elite as any SP since 2020. Burnes posted an 8.82 ERA in 49 innings in 2019 with Milwaukee before making some tweaks and breaking out in 2020. Over those three seasons and 428.2 innings, Burnes has posted a 2.62 ERA, a 0.96 WHIP, a 33.4 percent strikeout rate, and a 6.4 percent walk rate. Burnes has a true five-pitch mix, and three of those pitches have a 46.7 percent whiff rate or better. There are a lot of great arms, but Corbin Burnes is the dynasty SP1.
2023 Peak: 210 IP/2.50 ERA/255 K. Likely Outcome: 190 IP/3.00 ERA/240 K
18. Pete Alonso, 1B, NYM
Pete Alonso mashes baseballs, plain and simple. Since he debuted in 2019, he has led all hitters in baseball with 146 home runs. In three full seasons(excluding 2020), he has 130 home runs. For those counting at home, that is averaging 43.3 home runs per season. Alonso has improved his zone-contact rate every season and posted a career-best 87.8 percent rate in 2022. His contact rate has increased every season as well. Alonso is now 28, but this is the kind of profile that ages well for fantasy purposes.
2023 Peak: .275/50 HR/5 SB. Likely Outcome: .265/40 HR/3 SB
19. Sandy Alcantara, SP, MIA
Sandy Alcantara is an elite innings eater who can work extremely deep into starts. He led all baseball with 228.2 innings pitched last season and posted 205.2 in 2021. That is 434.1 innings, and the next closest pitcher between the two seasons is Adam Wainwright with 398. Alcantara does not have the elite arsenal or strikeout rate of Burnes, but he is highly efficient and has a well-rounded four-pitch mix. Draft Burnes for upside, draft Alcantara for safety, and a high floor.
2023 Peak: 230 IP/2.50 ERA/220 K. Likely Outcome: 210 IP/3.00 ERA/200 K
20. Bryce Harper, OF, PHI
Bryce Harper will be out until around the All-Star break due to Tommy John surgery. He played through a torn UCL last year and still mashed throughout the season and then dominated in the postseason that helped the Phillies to the World Series. Even with the messed up elbow, Harper posted a 92.1 mph average exit velocity and a 47.9 percent hard-hit rate. He has below-average contact skills but is aggressive on pitches in the zone and takes advantage. The downfall to taking Harper is that he will likely be UT only for both 2023 and 2024, which hurts his fantasy value. Drafting Harper in a dynasty draft sets you back in 2023, which is worth considering when taking him.
2023 Peak: (Half-season) .280/15 HR/5 SB. Likely Outcome: 250 PA/.270/10 HR/5 SB. *Numbers are tough to predict right now with his status.
21. Manny Machado, 3B, SD
The every-other-year dominance for Manny Machado lives on. In even years since 2016, Machado has posted batting averages of; .294, .297, .304, and .298. His home run outputs in those seasons were 37, 38, 16(2020 season), and 32. In odd years, those numbers have been; .259, .256, and .278, with 33, 32, and 28 home runs. This seems completely random but interesting to look at. Machado will opt out of his contract after 2023, so you can expect him to be at his best. The 30-year-old feels like a safe bet for 30 home runs, ten stolen bases, and a respectable batting average. The floor is exceptionally high here, and you know the type of production you will get from Machado.
2023 Peak: .300/35 HR/15 SB. Likely Outcome: .280/30 HR/10 SB
22. Michael Harris II, OF, ATL
Michael Harris II burst onto the scene in Atlanta as a 21-year-old who had only played 43 games above High-A. Harris posted a 19 home run and 20 stolen base season in 441 plate appearances in Atlanta with a .297/.339/.514 slash. Some have concerns that there was plenty of fools gold in Harris’ profile. The concerning stats are a 41.7 percent chase rate and a 56.2 percent ground ball rate. If you have concerns about Harris’ power, don’t. He posted a 10.1 percent barrel rate and a 45.1 percent hard-hit rate in the Majors. In the Minors, he had a 109.2 mph 90th percentile exit velocity and a 49.6 percent hard-hit rate with an 84 percent zone-contact rate. Harris has posted high ground ball rates throughout his career, but the MLB rate was a bit of an outlier. The chase rate was high but seven percent lower in the Minors. Despite the flaws, Harris still had a near 30/30 pace with a near .300 batting average and was only 21 years old. Think he can’t make adjustments? I certainly do.
2023 Peak: .300/30 HR/30 SB. Likely Outcome: .270/25 HR/20 SB
23. Gunnar Henderson, SS/3B, BAL
There is not much questioning the top two prospects in baseball at this point. Gunnar Henderson and Corbin Carroll are the consensus top two, but it varies on how people have them ranked. I land on Gunnar for the number one spot, but it is splitting hairs.
Henderson put on an impressive showing in the Minors and his small sample in the Majors last year. Across 503 MILB plate appearances, Henderson blistered baseballs to a 107.2 mph 90th percentile exit velocity. For reference, MLB average last year was 103.7. He also hit the ball consistently hard, with a 92.2 mph average and a 52.7 percent hard-hit rate.
Henderson displayed great plate discipline as well. He had just a 17.8 percent chase rate in the minors. That number stayed impressive in his 132 plate appearance MLB sample.
The biggest question of Henderson is his ground ball rate. It was a bit high at 59.8 percent in the Majors. It was not much better in Triple-A at 50.3 percent. But that is not who he has been throughout his career.
Henderson made a swing adjustment before 2022 to make better contact on high fastballs. If that caused the rise in ground balls, it was an okay trade-off. Henderson hit 23 home runs last year as a 20 years old for part of the season. If he corrects the ground ball rate, there is a 30-home run bat with sneaky speed.
2023 Peak: .280/30 HR/15 SB. Likely Outcome: .260/20 HR/10 SB
24. Corbin Carroll, OF, ARI
As I stated, you are splitting hairs between Gunnar and Corbin Carroll. I think right off the bat, some people question Carroll’s power and believe that his home run totals were inflated by him playing in hitter-friendly environments. While there is some truth to that, Carroll still posted high-end exit velocities. His 106.2 mph 90th percentile exit velocity and 89.9 mph average are both impressive for someone who is 5’10/165 lb. A 47 percent hard-hit rate shows that Carroll can get to power.
In the past, Carroll has been billed as a double-plus hitter. I am not quite there, but there is tremendous plate discipline like Henderson. In the Minors last season, Carroll posted an 80.7 percent zone-contact rate and a 75 percent overall contact percentage. His chase rate was also below 20 percent, like Henderson.
Where Carroll is a game-changer is with his speed. He is the fastest player in baseball. He topped out at 30.7 feet per second, topping Bobby Witt Jr.’s 30.4 ft/sec.
Henderson may have a power advantage, but Carroll is a safe bet to steal 30 bases and maybe even more in the new environment. You can’t go wrong with Gunnar Henderson or Corbin Carroll on your dynasty teams.
2023 Peak: .290/25 HR/30 SB. Likely Outcome: .270/18 HR/25 SB
25. Mike Trout, OF, LAA
Mike Trout is one of the best to play the game. There is no questioning that. Despite not reaching 500 plate appearances last season, he still managed 40 home runs and slashed .283/.369/.630. He has become more injury-prone over the last three years, but the production is elite when he is on the field. Trout will turn 32 towards the end of next season, but the skillset should age well as long as he is healthy. His speed is gone, as Trout has stolen just four total bases since 2020. But Trout is a reliable bet for a strong batting average, OBP, and plenty of home run power.
2023 Peak: .300/45 HR. Likely Outcome: .280/35 HR. *This depends a lot on health.
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