It might only be early November, but 2023 fantasy baseball leagues are already in full swing. And with these early 2023 drafts comes early 2023 Fantasy Baseball ADP for all of us degenerates to digest, dissect, and analyze. It’s still VERY early, so ADP will surely change over the coming months, but it’s fun to dig in to early data to see what range certain players are in, what trends are popping up, and so much more. After starting with infielders the other day, I’ll be diving into the always exciting outfield position today.
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Early 2023 Fantasy Baseball ADP Thoughts
Attack This Position Early
Yes, I’m aware I said this about 2nd base and 3rd base as well in the infield article a few days ago. It’s going to be a delicate balance early in drafts securing these positions, but I’m going to try and come out of every draft with at least two outfielders, preferably three, in the first 150 picks or so. Why? Well, quite frankly, the middle rounds are a scary place for outfielders. There are some decent options sprinkled in, but the vast majority of options aren’t stocks I want to hitch my wagon to. Does anyone still even use that expression?
This is the strategy I used in my first DC of the year out at First Pitch Arizona. Grabbing those two outfielders in the first two rounds wasn’t my game plan when I sat down, but that’s just how the board fell with my 2nd round pick literally falling into my lap. We’ll get to that in a second.
The Top Is Sexy
As usual, the top-tier talent at this position is loaded with some of the best fantasy assets in the game. Right off the bat, Julio Rodriguez and Aaron Judge will cost you a top-6 pick. And if you were hoping to get Ronald Acuña Jr at any sort of discount, good luck with that. He’s currently going within the top-4 picks on average. After those three, the quartet of Kyle Tucker, Mookie Betts, Juan Soto, and Yordan Alvarez round out the first-round outfielder ADPs. Bryce Harper is going in that range as well, but he’ll only be UTIL-eligible to begin the season. Keep that in mind during your drafts. After Alvarez, there’s a slight drop to Mike Trout around pick 25.
Overall, we’re seeing 22 outfielders going inside the top 100 picks on average, 34 inside the top 150, and 42 inside the top 200. In a 10 or 12-team league, this position is easier to manage. But in 15-team leagues or deeper, that dreaded middle-round area comes at you awfully quickly. Even in my FPAZ DC where I got Betts and Soto in the first two rounds, my OF3 ended up being Christopher Morel because I waited too long to grab my OF3. While I love getting those two at the top, I’m not exactly thrilled with having Morel as my OF3.
Plenty of Volatility
I’ll never 100% avoid a player in drafts, but I’ll avoid many at ADP. That’s especially true for a handful of players at this position where there’s a copious amount of volatility throughout. Using a top-90 pick on Byron Buxton. No thanks. How about a pick around 100 on Tyler O’Neill? I’ll pass. Kris Bryant at 109 shouldn’t be intriguing for anyone either. The talent, while good, has regressed from his early-career surge, and Bryant always seems to be dinged up or limited by some ailment.
As we get further down the ADP list, there are plenty of players that bring more questions than answers due to durability, performance, or playing time concerns. Will Whit Merrifield or Lars Nootbaar play enough? Is Joey Meneses for real? Can Harrison Bader remain healthy? Those are just a few.
There’s even plenty of volatility and uncertainty at the top. Can Acuña return to top-5 levels (I believe he can)? Is Tatís Jr going to return a positive ROI? Or even play enough? Can Luis Robert and Mike Trout remain healthy?
Notable Specific Player ADPs
Remember that 2nd round pick I mentioned above? Well, that was Juan Soto at pick 21 overall. Let me say this as clearly as I can: JUAN SOTO SHOULD NOT BE GOING OUTSIDE OF THE TOP 10-12 PICKS IN DRAFTS. And yes, I was shouting just now. Words can’t even begin to express how ridiculous it is to hear people say Soto is overrated due to him slumping in the 2nd half and having a season fit for a mere mortal instead of a fantasy baseball god. Even in a down year, Soto still had a .401 OBP, 93 runs, and 27 home runs. Oh yeah, he’s still only 24 years old. If he falls past the top eight picks or so, scoop him up and thank your league-mates for the value.
One player I was especially interested in seeing where his ADP landed was 2022 rookie sensation, Michael Harris II. In our early 2023 mock draft episode of Fantrax Toolshed, I picked Harris 28th (we did 32 picks), and mentioned that I thought this is roughly where his ADP would land. Well, through 17 drafts, his ADP sits at 28 on the dot. Even with some regression in his 2nd season, I’m not opposed to grabbing him in this range given his power/speed upside. Sure, the AVG could drop a little bit, but even a .270/20/25 season in a loaded Atlanta lineup will make the pick worthwhile.
Moving about 40 picks lower, if you want to scoop up Corbin Carroll in your drafts, it’s going to cost you a pick in the 60-70 range of your drafts. And if he gets off to a hot start in spring training, that cost is only going to rise. Carroll has the upside to blossom into a fantasy star in his first full season, and we saw this pick range with Bobby Witt Jr last season. Does that seem a bit high for a rookie with little experience? Sure does. However, Carroll has the skills to be an impact player in 2023 and could easily cut his ADP in half for 2024 drafts. I’m not opposed to the ADP.
Where Are The 2022 Breakouts Falling
Steven Kwan, CLE (136.3): This isn’t an ADP I hate, but I just don’t know how much ROI you can get here. Kwan has a solid floor given his BA upside and ability to steal 20 bags in a full season, but his power metrics are less than inspiring and don’t hint at him jumping into double-digit homers next season.
Jake McCarthy, ARI (147.2): I’m definitely on board with this ADP. And unlike Kwan, I believe there’s a bigger chance of McCarthy returning positive ROI this season. The main reason for that is his elite speed along with his ability to produce double-digit home runs and a solid AVG.
Joey Meneses, WAS (220.9): I’m not hinting that he’s going to be 2023 version of 2022’s Frank Schwindel, but I’m not going near him at a near top-200 ADP. There are plenty of other options at this position to go after rather than wonder if Meneses can return positive ROI at this spot.
Lars Nootbaar, STL (230.8): In real life, I’d like to have Lars Nootbaar on my team. But in fantasy, that St. Louis outfield is already crowded and Jordan Walker is approaching in a hurry. I’m not necessarily questioning the talent, but I am questioning if the playing time will be there to justify this ADP.
Media Credit: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire
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