After seven weeks of highlighting the top 175 dynasty players, we are finally at the finish line of the 2023 Dynasty Rankings. Today is Christmas and Opening Day merged into one fantastical moment as the final 25 players – the Tier 1 group – are unveiled.
What You Won’t See
When selecting from the top dynasty players, I lean heavily towards hitters. So, in this tier, there are only three pitchers, four if you count an athlete who is out of this world.
You also are going to see a lot of players aged 30 or younger. Of the 25 players in this tier, only two players are older than 30. It’s pretty obvious why, but in case you need it explained – you want the top players for as long as possible, so youth is the obvious choice when building a dynasty team.
What You Will See
While Tier 2 features nine middle infielders, this tier is heavy on outfielders – 10 to be exact. These players don’t just hit homers or for average or just steal bases. These are the five- and four-tool players that lead dynasty teams to championships.
And if you have been asking yourself where the top corner infielders have been during the countdown, well they are here as nine corner infielders grace this tier.
With that said, let’s get on with the 2023 Dynasty Rankings: Players 25-1.
Note: Listed age is as of March 31, 2023
Just Stay Healthy!
Staying healthy has not been easy for Luis Robert. His on-field talent is amazing, but he cannot stay on the field, which is kind of what is expected of baseball players. He appeared in only 68 games in 2021 and 98 this past year. When healthy, Robert hit 12 homers, drove in 56 runs, and stole 11 bases for the White Sox while slashing .284/.319/.426. His career OPS+ in 122 and his 162-game average produces 26 homers like this one, 95 RBI, and 19 steals.
Want more numbers? Glad to provide them. His career Barrel% is 10.9 (MLB average is 6.7%) and his K% is 22.8, right on target with the MLB average of 22.1%. And that strikeout rate is has dropped each season (32.2% to 20.6% and then 19.2% last year). I may be bullish on Robert, but he is only 25 and too good to pass up.
Not Afraid of This Fish
Should Sandy Alcantera have won the NL Cy Young last season? Maybe, maybe not. Do I rank him 24th because he won the Cy Young Award? Absolutely not. I rank him 24th because of the consistent improvement he has made from season to season.
Since 2019, his first full season with the Marlins, Alcantara’s ERA has gone from 3.88 to 3.00 to 3.19 to 2.28. His ERA+ has been 110, 152, 132, and 178. So far, a good trend has been set. What about strikeouts, you may ask? This is where he doesn’t have great improvement, going from 6.9 k/9 to 8.4, 8.8, and then 8.1. Not great, but the number I really like is his BB/9 ratio. That has gone from 3.7 in 2019 to 3.2, 2.2, and 2.0 last season. In turn, that has seen his WHIP go from 1.318 to 1.190, to 1.075, and then 0.980 in 2022.
No matter how you slice it, he has become a better pitcher each season. There are no indicators that he is suddenly going to revert to his rookie form in 2019.
The Old Man
There is nothing you can say bad about Freddie Freman. He has won an MVP award and finished in the Top 10 in voting five other times. He is going to hit for average and have a great OBP and is good for 25 or so home runs and 90 to 100 RBI. Yes, he is 33, but have you seen him tail off at the plate the last few years? I know I haven’t.
From 2017-2019, his 162-game average slash line was .303/.392/.543 with 33 homers, 108 RBI and nine steals. From 2020-2022, his numbers look like this – .317/.410/.527 28-101-10. Not a significant difference at all, and there is no reason to think he is suddenly going to forget how to hit over the next four to five years.
Surprise! Another Young, Talented Braves Player
When the Atlanta Braves called on Michael Harris II to take over in center field, he took advantage of the opportunity and never looked back. Making the jump from Double-A, Harris ended up winning the NL ROY after slashing .297/.339/.514 with 19 homers, 65 RBI, and 14 steals in 114 games. Put that into context over 162 games, and that is 27 homers, 91 RBI, and 28 steals.
The power was somewhat of a surprise as he hit only 16 homers in 739 minor league at-bats. Thus, there is a chance his 19 homers are at the top end of the scale for him. But I don’t see it that way. He hit those 19 homers despite having an average launch angle of 4.5%, compared to the MLB average of 12.1%. He barrels the ball at a 10.1% rate, so if he just gets a little more consistent lift to the ball, that home run total, over 150 games, could soar past 30 to go with his above-average speed.
A True Ray of Light in Tampa
I love Shane McClanahan and feel brilliant for snagging him in my dynasty leagues when he was an “unknown.” The lefty followed up a solid 2021 rookie campaign with a fantastic 2022 All-Star season. Just look at all those red dots in the graphic above. Those dots means he was really good – and he will remain really good.
McClanahan posted a 2.54 ERA and 0.93 WHIP with a 10.5 K/9 rate and 2.1 BB/9 rate thanks to a four-pitch mix that hitters can’t handle. His fastball produced Whiff% of 24% while hitters had a 44.6 Whiff% against his changeup and 46.4 Whiff% vs. his slider. Basically, every pitch McClanahan throws, hitters can’t hit. Kind of like that in pitchers, don’t you?
Trout at No. 20? Really?
Do you reward the career of Mike Trout, who many consider the best player in the game outside of Shohei Ohtani? Or do you rank Trout on the next five years – in which he will still be really good, maybe just not the best?
Trout is still a great hitter, but he is also on the injured list as much as he is on the field. In only 119 games last year, he walloped 40 homers and drove in 80 runs while slashing .283/.369/.630. The only thing he really doesn’t do now is steal bases. Could I be ranking Trout too low? Possibly, especially if he actually plays in 140 or more games this year. But because of his injury history and age, I’m comfortable ranking him 20th.
This Polar Bear is Hot
The Rookie of the Year in 2019, Pete Alonso’s worst power year in a full season is 37 homers and 94 RBI. In the 2020 COVID year he hit 16 homers and drove in 35 in 57 games. His 162-game average is 45 home runs and 116 RBI. T
His power, like how he hit this line drive over the fence, is nothing to sneeze at, and he is not Joey Gallo at the plate. Alonso has improved his batting average and OBP each season since 2020. The average has gone from .231 to .262 to .271 last year while his OBP has increased from .326 to .344 to .352. Meanwhile, his strikeout percentage has dropped every season, going from 26.4% in 2019 to 18.7% last year.
Manny Machado has been producing at a high level for years, and 2022 was no different. In 2022 he put together another monster season as he slashed .298/.366/.531 with 32 home runs, 102 RBI, and nine steals.
Since joining the Padres in 2019, Machado’s 162-game average is 34 homers, 106 RBI, and 10 steals with a slash line of .280/.352/.504. Take away the 60-game 2020 season, the last time Machado played less than 150 games in a season was in 2014. He is on the field every day and he produces every day.
Austin Riley had a breakout season in 2021 when he hit 33 homers, drove in 107 runs, and slashed .303/.367/.531. The question entering 2022 was can Riley duplicate that season? I think he proved 2021 was not a fluke.
All he did last season was slug 38 homers, drive in 93 runs and slash .273/.349/.528. He ranked in the 95th percentile or higher in average EV, max EV, hard hit%. xwOBA, xSLG and barrel%. And he is only 25! How much better was Riley than the average third baseman in 2022? Take a look at this – .247/.316/.409 – that is the average slash line for the position as a group, with 21 homers and 77 RBI.
The Red Sock
Meanwhile, Rafael Devers had yet another solid season despite having to deal with his pending free agency as he slashed .295/.358/.521 slash line to go with 27 homers and 88 RBI. For Devers, 2022 was actually a down year for him as his 162-game average is 33 home runs and 107 RBI.
But as you can see above, the drop in power is more than likely a blip. He will continue to hit for power and average and be one of the best third basemen in the game for years to come.
Brewing up Nasty Pitches
It would have been tough for Corbin Burnes to match his 2021 Cy Young season, but he came close, as the chart above somewhat shows just how good he was. He finished with a 2.94 ERA and NL-leading 243 strikeouts in 202 innings of work. For the second straight season, he posted a sub-1.00 WHIP (0.965).
Burnes threw his cutter 55.4% of the time this season and hitters managed only a .213 batting average and he limited opposing batters to an overall average of .197. Meanwhile, his curve, changeup, and slider produced whiff percentages of 47.7, 46.7, and 49.7. Burnes is a stud and is my top-ranked pitcher (ahead of Ohtani the pitcher, not Ohtani the freak-of-nature player).
The Guardian of Cleveland
A long time ago, I had Jose Ramirez in my minor league system. I traded him for some veteran hitter to help me down the stretch. That trade was so awesome, I can’t even remember that hitter as Ramirez now haunts me.
A switch-hitter, Ramirez has topped 100 RBI in three of the last four full MLB seasons and his 162-game average is .279/.354/.503 with 27 home runs, 95 RBI, and 25 steals. Since 2017, he has finished third, third, second, sixth, and fourth in the MVP voting. Did I mention he also has speed? His career 162-game average is 25 steals. After stealing 10 bases in 2014 and 2015 when he played in only 68 and 97 games respectively, he has failed to steal fewer than 17 bases in a full season. Ramirez can basically do it all as a fantasy hitter.
Still One of the Best
Mookie Betts is one of the best right fielders in the game, finishing eighth or better in the MVP voting six times, including a fifth-place finish last season after slashing .269/.340/.533 with 35 homers, 82 RBI, and 12 steals. It was a very nice rebound season after he hit only 23 homers and drove in 58 runs in 2021 with a .487 SLG. For his career, he is a career .293 hitter with an OBP of .368 and SLG% of .520.
It does appear the days of Betts stealing 20-plus bases are over as he has swiped 16 or fewer bases every year since 2019. But he still has reached double digits during each of those seasons and there could be an increase in steals this year thanks to the new rules limiting throws to first and the bigger bases.
What a Season!
What is there to say about Judge? Even non-baseball fans know what he did last year (in case you forgot, he slashed .311/.425/.686 with an AL record 62 homers, 131 RBI, and 16 steals). OF his 177 hits, 35% of them flew over the fence! An amazing 51.8% of his hits were either a double or a home run. Judge is simply a great athlete who has turned himself into a great hitter. He was a .257 hitter in 2020, then .287 in 2021 before topping .300 this past year while maintaining a strikeout rate of 25% – above league average but by less than three percent.
But there is no way Judge can duplicate his 2022 season. The 16 steals are the first time he has ever topped nine in a season. I would be stunned if he approaches 62 homers again, though 45 is easy to believe. Judge is 30-years-old, and he isn’t going to fall off a cliff power-wise. But his best years are not ahead of him.
A Year to Forget
Probably no player is more excited about the upcoming 2023 season than Fernando Tatis Jr. Tatis is one of the most talented players in baseball, but 2022 was a bust thanks to an injury and then a PED suspension that will carry over into the start of this season. But just look at what he did in 2021 when he hit 42 home runs, drove in 97, stole 25 bases, and slashed .282/.364/.611 at the age of 22!
His 162-game averge during his brief career is a .292/.369/.596 slash line with 48 homers, 116 RBI and 31 stolen bases. But he has been brittle during his career thanks to his aggressive style of play in the field. The Padres will be moving Tatis to the outfield this season in hopes of keeping him on the field. If you believe he will remain healthy all season once he returns, then he certainly is a Top 10, if not Top 5, player. But right now I’m not ready to believe he will remain healthy.
Where is His Weak Spot?
Since winning the AL ROY in 2019, Yordan Alvarez has been one of the best pure hitters in the game. He hit 27 home runs his rookie season in 87 games and then added 33 in 2021 and 37 this past season while finishing third in MVP voting. Alvarez, however, is just more than a masher at the plate as he is a true hitter at the place.
Alvarez has a career slash line of .296/.384/.590 and his career 162-game average is 43 homers and 125 RBI. And as you can see by his MLB Percentile Rankings, he is at the top of nearly every hitting category while maintaining a great walk percentage with a relatively good strikeout rate. Alvarez can do it all with his bat, hit the inside pitch, the outside pitch, the pitch down in the zone or up in the zone. He is a pitcher’s nightmare.
Look, Up In the Sky…
OK, Shohei Ohtani may not be Superman, but he is a superhuman freak on the baseball field. He can hit, he can pitch, he can run. He literally does it all. The chart on the top is his Percentile Rankings as a hitter last season while the chart on the bottom are his rankings as a pitcher. Simply stated, he is one of the best hitters and one of the best pitchers in baseball.
As a hitter, he is coming off a season in which he slashed .273/.356/.519 with 34 homers, 95 RBI, and 11 steals. As a pitcher, he had a 2.33 ERA last season with a 1.012 WHIP and an 11.9 K/9 rate. Just as impressive was his 5-to-1 K/BB ratio, helping Ohtani finish fourth in the Cy Young race and second in the MVP voting.
The only reason why Ohtani isn’t ranked higher is due to the fact that depending on your league, he may be on your team as a hitter but on another team as a pitcher. As two players he is not the best hitter and he is not the best pitcher. But if your league treats him as one player, allowing you get to use him as both a hitter and pitcher, then Ohtani shoots up the rankings into Group 1, possibly as the top-ranked player.
Taking His Game to Philly
Trea Turner is 29 and has established himself as one of the best all-around athletes in baseball. Coming out of college, his scouting grades listed him as a 55 hitter with 75 speed and 40 power. But when he broke in with the Washington Nationals, he showed he was more than just a speedster. In 73 games played in 2016 he hit 13 home runs to go with 33 stolen bases. The next season, in only 98 games, he hit 11 homers and stole 46 bases.
Turner doesn’t run as much as he used to, but he still stole 27 bases in 30 attempts for the Dodgers last year. But as mentioned earlier, he isn’t just a base stealer. His career slash line is .302/.355/.487. In 2022, he slashed .298/.343/.466 with 21 homers and 100 RBI. And those numbers came at Dodger Stadium, which is not nearly as hitter-friendly as his new home in Philadelphia is.
MVP Candidate for Years to Come
Vladimir Guerro didn’t replicate his 2021 season this past year, but that would have been hard for anyone to do. All he did was lead the league in home runs, OBP, slugging, and OPS+ at the age of 22. But his follow-up season saw him hit 32 homers and drive in 97 runners while producing an .818 OPS and a 132 OPS+ at the young age of 23.
He did see his walk rate fall from 12.3% in ’21 to 8.2% this past season, but that is no reason to boot him down the rankings. Over the last two years, Guerro has hit 80 home runs and collected 208 RBI. Guerro can hit and he will do so for many years to come.
A Very Overlooked Star
Kyle Tucker hit 30 homers, drove in 107 runs, and stole 25 bases this past season. Do you know who else reached those numbers? No one. No other player in baseball in 2022 hit 30+ homers, drove in 100+ runs, and stole 25+ bases. And one could argue it was a down year for him as he slashed .257/.330/.478.
Compare that to 2021 when he slashed .294/.359/.557 with 30 homers, 92 RBI, and 14 steals. For his career, Tucker has a .502 SLG and .837 OPS. He also had a strikeout rate under 16% the past two years. What does that mean? It means the Astros lefty is quickly proving himself to be one of the top right fielders, and overall players, in baseball.
Will Be Back To His Old Self
Ronald Acuna Jr. was having a great season in 2021 before suffering an ugly knee injury. In 82 games, he had 24 homers, 52 RBI, and 17 steals with a .283/.394/.596 slash line. Perhaps the knee injury lingered in 2022 – either physically or mentally, but Acuna’s season was not close to his normal production he hit only 15 home runs and slashed .266/.351/.413, though he did steal 29 bases. His 162-game average is .277/.370/.517 with 38 home runs, 93 RBI, and 34 steals.
At the age of 25, there is no way I am considering this past season a trend when it comes to Acuna’s power. As you can see from the chart, he was still way above average in Average EV, Max EV, Hard Hit%, Barrel% as well as xwOBA, xBA, and xSLG. Last season was a blip and I expect he will be back to launching 30 or more homers in 2023.
The Tools Are Outstanding
Witt had a great rookie season, hitting 20 homers with 80 RBI and 30 steals while slashing .254/.294/.428. While he struggled more in the second half compared to the first as pitchers adjusted to him and he wore down, he’s only 22 and will undoubtedly improve and be a yearly 30-30 threat.
Bo Knows Baseball
Bo Bichette has been outstanding since joining the Blue Jays in 2019 at the age of 21, posting a career OPS+ of 127. This past season he slashed .290/.333/.469 with 24 homers, 93 RBI, and 13 steals, falling in line with his career 162-game average (.297/.340/.491, 28-99-19).
Bichette’s average EV last season (91.9 mph) ranked in the top 9% in baseball and his XBA (.278) ranked in the top 8% and his Hard Hit% (50.3) ranked in the top 6%. Only 25, he hasn’t even entered the prime of his career, meaning he has years and years of top production remaining.
Don’t Let His Finish Fool You
Juan Soto did not play well for the San Diego Padres after the 2022 trade deadline. His numbers with the Padres were dreadful, slashing .236/.388/390 with six home runs and 16 RBI in 52 games. Still, his combined numbers with the Nationals and Padres left him with 27 home runs and 62 RBI with a slash line of .242/.401/.452.
But this is dynasty baseball, and one-half season should not keep you from wanting to have Soto on your team. For his career, Soto has a .287/.424/.526 slash line with a 162-game average of 33 homers, 98 RBI, and 10 steals. He also has more walks in his career (508) than strikeouts (448). With free agency looming, look for Soto to have a monster year in an insanely deep San Diego lineup and continue to be a stud for years to come.
Power, Speed…He Has it All
As good as Witt was during his rookie season, it didn’t come close to what Julio Rodriguez did for the Mariners last season. Considered a top prospect in baseball for several years, Rodriguez lived up to the hype en route to winning the AL ROY Award. Rodriguez showed off his power, slugging .509 with 28 homers 132 games.
He also has speed, swiping 25 bases. Oh, and he can hit as well, hitting .284 with a .345 OBP, and there is like room for improvement in that area as in his three minor league seasons, he slashed .331/.412/.543.
Pitchers may have thought they were figuring Rodriguez out as the season progressed. From May through August, his slash line got worse each month, dropping to a very pedestrian .240/.288/.413 slash line in August. But when the Mariners needed him down the stretch as they made their playoff push, Rodriguez came through with a .394/.456/.747 slash line with seven homes and 10 RBI in 19 games.
That is the stuff of a superstar.
This is the End
Thanks for reading and I hope you have enjoyed the series. Thankfully (or maybe not), you have not heard the last of me as the weekly Top Dynasty Keepers articles will roll out. So be ready for that as we slowly roll to Opening Day.
In case you missed the earlier rankings: