2023 Fantasy Baseball Ideal Draft Targets: Trea Turner, Ronald Acuna Jr. & More!
With fantasy baseball draft season in full swing, I’ve had the opportunity to put quite a few mock drafts under my belt. I’ve tried out a few different strategies and have landed on a few that seem to be producing teams I like. I’ve also been drafting different players to see how I feel about them versus the players I passed up in that round.
I’m ultimately starting to get a sense of which players I like in which rounds, and while I don’t want to get stuck on a player going into a draft, I like having a short-list of favorites to fall back on just in case I get stuck deciding between various players.
Here’s a list of my 10 favorite hitter targets – one for each of the first 10 rounds (using our ADP tool):
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Trea Turner, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers
Your first-round pick is obviously very much influenced by your draft spot, but let’s assume we’re somewhere around 9-12. Turner is going 10th on our ADP tracker so he may not fall to you in the later part of the round, but I’ve also seen him fall to the teens. If he’s sitting there toward the latter half of the round, grab him at a position of scarcity and lock in for a season where he hovers around .300 with 100-plus runs, 20-25 home runs, 30-plus steals, and the potential for 100 RBI. There’s nothing wrong with Manny Machado, Mookie Betts, or Vlad Guerrero Jr. here, but Turner is my guy in Round One.
Ronald Acuna Jr. OF, Atlanta Braves
I wouldn’t blame anyone for liking Julio Rodriguez" data-toggle="modal" data-target="#player-pop-up" href="/mlb_player_news/Julio_Rodriguez/">Julio Rodriguez or Mike Trout in this round, but I’m going all-in for Acuna here. Is he riskier than Rodriguez? Yes. Does he have more upside? Also yes. Acuna has 30-30 potential and could easily produce first-round value if he can stay healthy a full year removed from his ACL tear. He’s still only 25 years old and is a steal if you can get him toward the latter half of the second round.
Fernando Tatis Jr. SS, San Diego Padres
Tatis is even riskier than Acuna, but he has just as much upside as anyone in the draft. And like Turner, he also plays a position of scarcity so if you miss on Turner you can draft for first-round upside here. The risks with Tatis persist, but he provides 30-30 potential in a loaded lineup that could give him the opportunity to score 100 runs and drive in 100 runs. If he’s too risky for you, I also like Marcus Semien and Paul Goldschmidt in this round.
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Bobby Whitt Jr, SS, Kansas City Royals
I’m sensing themes of shortstops and players with Jr in their last name here… If you’ve taken either of the aforementioned shortstops, skip Whit and go with Austin Riley or Ozzie Albies. If you haven’t, go for another guy with 30-30 potential (fine, maybe more like 25-30). He’s in a sub-par lineup, but he should still put up enough runs and RBI to provide better than fourth-round value.
Michael Harris II, OF, Atlanta Braves
Some people might not care about average and try to lock down home runs with Kyle Schwarber here (and I won’t argue with them), but I’m looking at Harris here. And I promise I’m not trying to force in guys who are the second of their family name. Harris carries some risk as he’s a tad unproven. But if all goes well, he provides Acuna-lite upside with the potential for something like 20 home runs with 30 steals and close to a .300 average (realistically more like 18 home runs with 27 steals and .295, but close enough).
Luis Robert, OF, Chicago White Sox
Robert is another HIGH upside guy (and I’m talking first or second-round high) who comes with some risks. I wouldn’t stack him with other risky guys like Acuna and Tatis, but I wouldn’t be mad if I came out of the first six rounds with two of those three. Robert is still only 25 years old and has the potential to for a high average while pushing for 25-25. There are safer guys like Bryan Reynolds and Jose Abreu who are totally fine to snag here, but I’m not shying away from Robert.
Tommy Edman, 2B/SS, St. Louis Cardinals
Depending on your league, you should get dual-position eligibility with Edman. He’s going to (likely) be leading off a great lineup, so 100-plus runs should be an attainable total for him. And he could push for 15 home runs and 30 steals. That’s great production for a guy who is eligible at both middle infield positions.
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Corbin Carroll, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
I’m still swinging for the fences here (though Anthony Santander is a great option if you want to reign in the risk a bit) with the favorite for National League Rookie of the Year. Carroll has 15 home run, 30 steal potential and could be a league-winner if he’s able to hit his potential this year. Buzzy prospects are always risky, but Carroll is a guy I’m willing to roll the dice on.
Jazz Chisholm, 2B/OF, Miami Marlins
Chisholm provides multi-position eligibility along with a ton of upside. He’s coming off an injury-plagued season, so that’s a little worrisome. BUT he was on pace to hit 35 home runs and steal 30 bases before he got hurt. I don’t think he’s about to turn into a 30-30 guy all of a sudden, but there’s legit potential for 20-25 home runs with 25-30 steals here. That type of upside combined with dual-position eligibility in the ninth round? Sign me up.
Oneill Cruz, SS, Pittsburgh Pirates
Last, but not least, another shortstop. There are other great targets here like Rhys Hoskins or Teoscar Hernandez, but I’m going with more upside potential. Cruz has legit 25-25 potential (though something like 21-26 is more realistic). While doesn’t hit in a great lineup and has an average that might drag you down a bit, Cruz offers a ton of upside and has found his way onto a lot of my mock draft rosters.
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