Welcome back to another week of the 2023 Fantasy Baseball Dynasty Rankings. After looking at players in Tier 8, this week the focus is on Tier 7 players – numbers 175-151 overall.
As far as advice on how I approach building a team in dynasty leagues, well, nothing has changed since last week. So there is no need to go over that. If you missed last week’s rankings, just go to the bottom of this wonderful list and click on the link. And like magic, you will be transported back to the past!
Like Players over 30?
I’ll give you a quick rundown of this week’s rankings. First, you are not going to find very many players who are over 30. In fact, only four players who are 30 or older are ranked in this tier. On the flip side, there isn’t an overabundance of players who are under 25. In fact, there are only four of those players.
These players have great upside but haven’t found their stride or have barely any time in the majors.
So, hope you like the Mid-20s
So what you will find is a strong group of players who are between 25-29, the players who can break out and become stars or simply be solid glue guys who help your team win because they provide solid stats across the board.
Everyone wants the star players, but more often than not, the team that has best depth is the team that wins a league championship.
Now, enough with the lovely banter. Let’s dig in and look at the 2023 Dynasty Rankings: 175-151.
Alec Bohm didn’t have a breakout season for Philadelphia in 2022, slashing .280/.315/.398 with 13 home runs and 72 RBI. But in his final 68 games, he slashed .285/.321/409 with seven dingers and 37 RBI. His xBA ranked in the 98th percentile and his career Hard Hit% is seven points higher than the MLB average. At only 26, I expect his power and fantasy value to increase.
Only 22, Riley Greene had a decent rookie season for the Tigers, slashing .253/.321/.362 with five homers and 42 RBI. He had a 9.3 Barrel% and a Hard Hit% of 45.2% (MLB average was 35.8%), ranking in the 77th percentile. Basically, Riley often hit the ball pretty hard. His problem was he hit it on the ground a lot as he had a 2.8% launch angle. Once he corrects that and starts lifting the ball more, his power numbers should improve and you will see more homers like this, especially with the new dimensions at Comerica.
Tampa Bay, the Land of Pitchers
If you like consistency, then you should like Drew Rasmussen. In 2021 he had a 2.84 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. In 2022 he had a 2.84 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. So that likely means that he will be around a 2.84 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP this season.
Taj Bradley may not be in the Rays rotation at the start of the season, but it is only a matter of time before he is facing major league hitters. He led the minors in 2021 with a 1.83 ERA over 103.1 innings at Low-A and High-A while striking out 123 and walking only 31. In Double-A the following season, Bradley had a 0.91 WHIP and 1.70 ERA in 74.1 innings with 88 strikeouts. He wasn’t as dominant after being promoted to Triple-A, posting a 3.66 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, but he is also only 21 and is a great upside dynasty pitcher.
Needs to Bounce Back
Let’s be honest, Jose Berrios had a terrible season for the Blue Jays in 2022. Yes, he had a 12-7 record, but he posted a 5.23 ERA and 1.419 WHIP. His ERA+ came in at 74 and his K/9 dropped to 7.8. Thus this question: why is he ranked here? Well, he is only 28 and until this past season his worst ERA+ in a season was 108 in 2020 (not counting his 2016 rookie season, in which he had a 53 ERA+ in 14 games).
He was ninth in Cy Young voting in 2021, when he had a 123 ERA+, a 3.52 ERA and 1.063 WHIP and 9.6 K/9. I am considering 2022 a blip for Berrios
Something to Prove
Remember when Cody Bellinger was good? The former NL ROY in 2017 and NL MVP in 2019 was dumped by the Dodgers after the season, leading Bellinger to sign a one-year deal with the Cubs after slashing .210/.265/.389 with LA in 2022. The bright spot is he did hit 19 homers, drive in 65 runs and steal 14 bases. Bellinger has something to prove, and being out of LA and in Chicago will give him the fresh start he needs.
High expectations followed Amed Rosario from New York to Cleveland following the Francisco Lindor trade. Is Rosario as good as Lindor? No, if he was, he would be ranked much higher. But Rosario is a consistent hitter. In 2021 he slashed .282/.321/.409 with 11 homers, 57 RBI and 13 steals. This past season he slashed .283/.312/.403 with 11 homers, 71 RBI and 18 steals. It is safe to pencil him for around the same season in 2023.
Liking the Upside
Reid Detmers sputtered the first three months of the 2022 season but kicked into gear in July and August (before fading in September). During July and August, Detmers posted a 1.97 ERA and 1.23 WHIP with a 10.8 K/9 rate. The only real blemish, which is something he struggled with much of the season, was a walk rate of 3.5 BB/9. Once he cuts down his walks, he can be a solid No. 2 level starter and perhaps add to his career no-hitter total of one.
Ezequiel Tovar made only nine starts for the Rockies last season and slashed .212/.257/.333. But I fully expect him to win the starting job this spring and quickly show why he is one of the team’s top prospects. He can hit for some power, especially in Colorado, and he has good speed. As a rookie, I can see 10 to 15 homers and around 15 steals.
Jeff McNeil didn’t hit with a lot of power last season (nine homers), but he drove in 62 runs and slashed .326/.382/.454, which is more in line with what he did from 2018-2020 compared to 2021 when he slashed .251/.319/.360. For what it’s worth, McNeil was an All-Star and won a Silver Slugger Award, and the fact he plays multiple positions adds to his value.
Simply put, I like Tarik Skubal. Before suffering a flexor tendon injury that could see him miss much of this season, Skubal was having a nice campaign for the Tigers with a 3.52 ERA and 1.16 WHIP while lowering his BB/9 rate down to 2.4. Opposing batters also hit only .237 against Skubal with a paltry 1.9% home run rate, thanks in part to a mid-90s fastball like this one that he can blow by hitters up in the zone.
Cleveland gave Josh Naylor ample playing time in 2022, and he rewarded the Guardians with a breakout season. He hit 20 home runs and drove in 79 while slashing .256/.319/.452. I may be pushing him a bit by ranking him here, but he is only 25 and I think he will duplicate this season in 2023 if not exceed it.
Older, but not Old
Ward had a breakout season in 2022, hitting 23 homers while slashing .281/.360/.473 in 135 games. His previous career high in homers was eight in 65 games in 2021 as he was a part-time player for the Angles since 2018. However, his home runs shouldn’t have been too surprising. During his career, he has a 42.2% Hard Hit% (MLB average is 38.9%) and a line drive (27.4%) and fly ball percentage (29.7%) that are above the MLB averages of 38.9% and 24.2%.
Marte saw a drastic drop in his slash line compared to his last two full seasons. He could bounce back, or .240/.321/.407 may be his new level of production. Obviously, I expect him to bounce back and be the player he was from 2019-2021 when he slashed .318/.374/.543 and hit around 15 homers.
Joining Ward on the Angels is Hunter Renfroe, who has a career slugging percentage of .490 and a 162-game average of 36 home runs and 91 RBI. Playing for Milwaukee in 2022, he slashed .255/.315/.492 with 29 home runs. No matter which team he plays for (the Angels are his fifth team in five seasons), Renfroe hits for power.
Clayton Kershaw is one of the players who is an exception to my guidelines. He is obviously on the downside of his career. However, he still produces for the Dodgers. He isn’t going to give you 180-200 innings anymore, but he is good for a solid 120 innings with a WHIP around 1.00 and sub-3.00 ERA and more than 9.0 K/9.
The Closer Section
Many of the better closers are basically the same, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to see Felix Bautista, Ryan Helsley and Devin Williams all grouped together. The trio also were not their team’s closer to start the season, showing that top closers can be found at any time.
Bautista was kind of like the Baltimore Orioles as a whole last season – coming out of nowhere to surprise everyone with a great season. Bautista had an outstanding rookie season with a 2.19 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and a 12.1 K/9 ratio. His fastball ranked in the 99th percentile, his K% ranked in the 97th percentile and his Whiff% ranked in the 92nd percentile. Oh, and he also has a nasty split finger fastball.
Helsley was dominant on the mound for the Cardinals, striking out 13.1 batters per nine and allowing only 48 base runners in 64.2 innings of work for a 0.742 WHIP. Giovanny Gallegos may steal a few saves here and there, but Helsley is the clear-cut closer for the Cardinals in 2023.
Williams has been a great pitcher for several years, but now he will be the full-time closer for the Brewers this season after taking over the role following the Josh Hader trade to San Diego. The former Rookie of the Year has a career WHIP of 1.07 and a career K/9 rate of 14.5. About the only knock on Williams is his high walk rate of 4.2/9 for his career.
Ready to Bounce Back
Ke’Bryan Hayes was the next superstar of the world when he burst onto the scene for the Pirates in 2020 by slashing .376/.442/.682 with five homers and 11 RBI in 24 games. Unfortunately, Hayes has not come close to equaling those numbers since and bottomed out last year, slashing .244/.314/.345 with seven homers and 41 RBI in 136 games. The one thing Hayes did show last year was his speed as he swiped 20 bases.
Those steals alone give him value. The fact he is only going to be 26 next season makes me believe he will get back to hitting closer to .275 with some extra power.
After breaking in with the White Sox in 2014, Chris Bassitt spent six seasons in Oakland before playing with the Mets this past season. Now with the Blue Jays, Bassitt has performed well no matter where he has pitched. He has a career 3.45 ERA and 1.20 WHIP and twice has finished in the Top 10 in Cy Young voting. He doesn’t blow the ball past hitters, as seen by his 8.2 career K/9 rate, but he is going to give you a solid start more often than not.
From the Vet to the Youngsters
Jesus Luzardo is the poster boy when it comes to what I said about young pitchers – they may have great talent, but it often takes a while for them to get over the hump of facing major league hitters. The Miami lefty had a 4.12 ERA/1.27 WHIP in nine starts with Oakland in 2020. With Oakland and Miami in 2021, those numbers jumped to 6.61/1.62 thanks to a walk rate that was 4.5/9 IP.
But Luzardo found his groove in 2022. In 19 starts, he had a 3.32 ERA and 1.04 WHIP while lowing his walk rate to 3.1/9. Additionally, his strikeout rate increased to 10.8/9, nearly a strikeout more than his career average. His K%, Whiff% and fastball velocity all ranked between the 85th and 88th percentile. Only 25, he is just scratching the surface of what he can do.
Last season was basically a lost year for Shane Baz as he missed much of the season due to a right elbow injury that eventually led to Tommy John surgery. One of the top prospects since being drafted in 2017, he struck out 10.8 batters per nine and allowed only 7.3 hits/9 during his time in the minors. He has an above average fastball, slider and changeup, and the Rays know how to find and develop pitchers. He will probably miss the 2023 season, but in a dynasty league, Baz is not to be overlooked.
Depending on where you slot Luis Arraez, his value either goes up or down. Had a great season at the plate, slashing .316/.375/.420, and for his career his slash line is .314/.374/.410. As a second baseman, that is great and really going to help your team. But the drawback when it comes to Arraez is his lack of power. His 162-game average is only six homers and 55 RBI. As a first baseman, those numbers aren’t exactly what you want from that position.
I’m pretty bullish on Tyler Stephenson, despite the fact he had a lost season in 2022 as he was limited to 50 games. When on the field, he slashed .319/.372/.478. In 2021, his slash line was .286/.366/.431, so he has proven he can hit. He does not have as much power as the other catchers, but he is good for 10-15 dingers to go with his solid slash line. He can also play first base, a position he started 17 games in 2021.
The End…Until Next Week
Thanks for reading. Next week I will break down my Tier 6 players, No. 150-126. Until then, have a great week.
In case you missed the Tier 8 rankings, just click on this magical link.