It was a wild offseason for the National League, one highlighted by Trea Turner’s lucrative ($300 million) transition from the Dodgers to Phillies, along with fellow shortstop Xander Bogaerts’ introduction to the NL, via the San Diego Padres and $280 mil of his own. Two of the absolute best shortstops in the game are anchored to the NL for quite some time now, not to mention Dansby Swanson and his $177 mil from the rebuilding Chicago Cubs.

It was a “keeping up with the Joneses” kind of offseason, one where one domino fell, then the next team said well, we can’t miss out on THIS guy now, too. The National League nearly welcomed Carlos Correa twice – to the Giants first, then Mets – but instead he landed back in Minnesota with the Twins. As consolation prizes, the NL also welcomes big names in Justin Verlander (Mets), Trey Mancini (Cubs), J.D. Martinez (Dodgers) and Kodai Senga (also Mets).

On the flip side, gone are Jacob deGrom (Rangers), Kenley Jansen (Red Sox), Justin Turner (also Red Sox), Josh Bell (Guardians), Tyler Anderson (Angels), Carlos Rodon (Yankees), Andrew Heaney (also Rangers) and Chris Bassitt (Blue Jays) amongst others. Now, as fantasy baseball analysts, it’s our job to unpack these moves and assess their impact on the landscape of the league. Let’s dive in deep and take a real good look at my projected win totals for each team, as well as fantasy implications across the board.

(Editor’s Note: This article was written on March 7th, transactions after this date are not noted.)

National League East

5. Washington Nationals

Last year: 55-107

2023 Vegas Over/Under: 59.5

Frascella’s Prediction: 52-110

Hitting: It’s never good when you sit down and think, okay, who is the best offensive player on this team – Jeimer Candelario, Joey Meneses or Dominic Smith? Maybe the latter can return to his one-year MVP form of the 2020 Mets? I honestly don’t even know what to say about this debacle of a team. Victor Robles always underperforms expectations, we all know Corey Dickerson will end up as a veteran bench player for a different team in the second half of the season, and I don’t believe Meneses can repeat his lightning-rod success because of a lack of legitimate protection in this light Nationals’ lineup. If I have to make a low-risk pick here, it’s Smith in a bounce-back scenario.

Pitching: This scares me even more than their hitting, honestly. Patrick Corbin is one of the absolute worst starting pitchers in baseball, Stephen Strasburg is healthy as often as your co-worker who calls out sick three times a week and Josiah Gray’s name value exceeds his technical pitching ability at this point in time. That leaves MacKenzie Gore as my only viable fantasy play in Washington’s bottom-tier rotation.

4. Miami Marlins 

Last year: 69-93

Vegas Over/Under: 75.5

Frascella’s Prediction: 77-85

Hitting: As the days of painfully annoying shifts fade away, Miami looks to slap some balls in the hole with Luis Arraez, Jean Segura, and Joey Wendle. Arraez should enjoy Miami’s spacious confines, so I expect his Tony Gwynn-like precision to continue this season. Jazz Chisholm is the obvious fantasy stud here, though I wish he had better lineup protection than fading veterans Avisail Garcia and Jorge Soler.

Pitching: I took Miami’s “Over” without even looking at their offense. As soon as I saw Sandy Alcantara, Jesus Luzardo, Trevor Rogers, Johnny Cueto, and Braxton Garrett, I knew the Marlins were going over 75.5 wins despite a tough division. It shakes out this way: Alcantara is basically the most consistent pitcher in baseball, Luzardo will be dominant if he can stay healthy, Rogers is in a great position to bounce back and Cueto’s mind games are as legendary as Taylor Swift’s. This starting rotation should have no problems getting the job done.

3. New York Mets 

Last year: 101-61

Vegas Over/Under: 94.5

Frascella’s Prediction: 91-71

Hitting: New York brings back the same core of five, and I can’t really argue with it: Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Francisco Lindor, Brandon Nimmo, and Starling Marte. As a diehard Mets fan who knows this team inside and out, I could make reasonable-enough arguments for regression from Lindor, McNeil, and Nimmo, but why knock the “safe” guys when this club has bigger fish to fry? Do they have enough in support when it comes to Mark Canha, Daniel Vogelbach, Tommy Pham, Eduardo Escobar, and Darin Ruf? I dunno, I don’t particularly like any of those guys at this point. The potential fantasy sleepers for this offense are young 3B Brett Baty and much-needed catcher Omar Narvaez.

Pitching: I hate this rotation, in theory. I just think a bunch of old veterans nearing retirement is a bad business model. Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer should be plenty effective during the regular season, but I worry about them when the playoffs roll around. As for regular season success, I can’t even expect the same from Jose Quintana nor Carlos Carrasco. On the bright side, the Mets have strong depth in David Peterson (keep an eye on a minor left foot injury) and Tylor Megill waiting in the wings.

2. Philadelphia Phillies 

Last year: 87-75

Vegas Over/Under: 89.5

Frascella’s Prediction: 92-70

Hitting: Bryce Harper (elbow) is on track to return around midseason in a strict DH role, but that simply isn’t enough time for me to give the Phillies the No. 1 spot in this division. I have some concerns about the Atlanta Braves (coming next), but none surpass only getting half a season from one of the most valuable baseball players on the planet. Offensively, I think Nick Castellanos is an obvious bounce-back candidate for Philly. In Harper’s absence, he’ll be asked to step up and supplement the production of Philly’s three top dogs: Trea Turner, J.T. Realmuto – the absolute best catcher in the game – and Kyle Schwarber the swat king. I do think Castellanos will respond. I also expect 3B Alec Bohm to take the next step up in his game.

Pitching: How can you not feel good about Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, Taijuan Walker, and Ranger Suarez up top? You’re gonna have to pay an arm and a leg for Nola and Wheeler in fantasy, but the price should be just about right to grab Suarez under the radar. I like Walker as a steadying force in the middle of Philly’s rotation, but I do believe he could be a regression candidate from a fantasy standpoint in deep leagues. I’ll probably only be drafting Nola, Wheeler, and Suarez from this group.

1. Atlanta Braves

Last year: 101-61

Vegas Over/Under: 96.5

Frascella’s Prediction: 95-67

Hitting: It’s scary when they start off the season with Ronald Acuna, Ozzie Albies, and Marcell Ozuna all ready to go. Austin Riley is one of the safest plays in all of fantasy baseball, though I personally can’t say the same of Michael Harris II (coming off a monster season). C Sean Murphy and 1B Matt Olson are equally safe fantasy options at their respective positions. I’m probably gonna end up with the most shares of Riley and Olson, here.

Pitching: I mentioned concerns in the midst of my Phillies’ blurb, and my main concern here is Kyle Wright. Any time I hear anything about “shoulder” or “elbow” this early in the year, I immediately start running for the hills. I also thought Wright outperformed his reality last season, so I won’t have any shares in 2023. In relativity to where they get drafted, we know what to expect from both Max Fried and Charlie Morton at this point. The WOW guy here is Spencer Strider – in my mind, he’s equal to the hype. Definitely one of the most desirable starting pitchers in fantasy this season, and deservedly so.

National League Central

5. Pittsburgh Pirates

Last year: 62-100

Vegas Over/Under: 67.5

Frascella’s Prediction: 65-97

Hitting: We finally start to feel better about the development of the Pirates’ organization when we look at 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes and SS Oneil Cruz as two of the impressive cornerstones of this club. But then again, in the back of my mind… they’re still the Pittsburgh Pirates. Vegas has them projected for more wins than the division-rival Reds, but I just can’t pull the trigger on that. Fantasy wise, OF Bryan Reynolds is steady and I like Pittsburgh’s pickup of 1B Ji-Man Choi (though he’s still a specialist against righties to me). You’re losing me with Andrew McCutchen and Carlos Santana, though. You want McCutchen as a fan favorite and team leader bringing along the youngsters? Fine. But either go all-in on the rest of your young players or don’t. I don’t view Santana as a necessity in any way here.

Pitching: Roansy Conteras and Mitch Keller are the only arms I’m drafting, here. 90-year-old lefty Rich Hill does an admirable job wherever he goes, but he doesn’t give us any length or depth of stats in fantasy. Stuff wise, I feel like JT Brubaker’s results should be better than they are, but he just never quite seems to put it all together. Maybe just because he’s a Pittsburgh Pirate.

4. Cincinnati Reds

Last year: 62-100

Vegas Over/Under: 65.5

Frascella’s Prediction: 67-95

Hitting: I absolutely love C Tyler Stephenson – if he can stay healthy, I think he’s easily one of the best fantasy catchers in the game. 2B Jonathan India is really the only other guy I can feel okay about. Wil Myers’ streaky production will come and go, and SS Kevin Newman? Just… yikes from a fantasy perspective.

Pitching: I’m giving the Reds the team edge over the Pirates because of this promising young trio right here: Nick Lodolo, Hunter Greene, and Graham Ashcraft. I also think SP4 Luis Cessa could be a deep sleeper in NL-Only leagues. Lodolo is the real deal through-and-through; I don’t have any significant concerns about him at the moment. I also wanted to fully endorse Greene – one of the most dominant power pitchers in the game – but then I saw his early spring start. If you watch the first link, then the second, I’m sure you’ll see what’s concerning to me: Greene is only 23 years young – so why does he appear to be getting heavy so quickly? Just seems like he came into camp a bit out of shape. I’d like to see him work some of that off before I go crazy over-drafting him based on 100+ mph fastballs.

3. Chicago Cubs

Last year: 74-88

Vegas Over/Under: 76.5

Frascella’s Prediction: 75-87

Hitting: I look at this offense on paper and I immediately think weird. I’m literally smiling right now, trying to figure this ball club out. OF Ian Happ and SS Dansby Swanson will lead the way for the Cubs, but what if they both over-performed last season? That’s certainly possible, right? Plus, Swanson had way more lineup protection in Atlanta and was in a contract year. I like 3B Patrick Wisdom as a high-upside boom-or-bust fantasy play, and I also like the momentum 2B Nico Hoerner has coming off the best season of his career. I don’t think I’m touching veterans Cody Bellinger, Eric Hosmer nor Trey Mancini.

Pitching: You feel good about Marcus Stroman, Jameson Taillon, and Justin Steele up top, but they are difficult to sort out from a fantasy perspective. I had some shares of Steele last season and was very happy with his performance when healthy. Stroman is steady, but we know we aren’t getting the strikeouts. Taillon really seems to have figured some things out – he’s probably my preferred play of the three this year.

2. St. Louis Cardinals

Last year: 93-69

Vegas Over/Under: 88.5

Frascella’s Prediction: 87-75

Hitting: We’re splitting hairs when it comes down to the Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers atop this division. The dynamic is very clear: The Cardinals have the offense and the Brewers have the pitching. For fantasy, we know exactly what to expect from Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Tommy Edman, and Willson Contreras – four of the most consistent at their respective positions. Tyler O’Neill is the Patrick Wisdom-like wild card here, and I like him quite a bit. Brendan Donovan is a strong fantasy utility player – valuable position flexibility for Daily – while Lars Nootbaar and Juan Yepez will both be getting extended opportunities to spread their wings. Put simply: This is a strong offensive unit.

Pitching: I feel the exact opposite about the Cardinals’ pitching: I won’t be drafting any of their starters. Jack Flaherty’s stuff needs time to work its way back up to snuff; I think Jordan Montgomery, Adam Wainwright, and Miles Mikolas are all in for regression and I’ve never liked Steven Matz. Ultimately, the Cardinals are going to have to slug their way to victories.

1. Milwaukee Brewers

Last year: 86-76

Vegas Over/Under: 86.5

Frascella’s prediction: 89-73

Hitting: This club really needs Christian Yelich to find some semblance of his old self. Without Yelich being a top-tier guy, the pressure is really on SS Willy Adames and newly-acquired OF Jesse Winker. 1B Rowdy Tellez will be forced to duplicate his production from last year, as well. The good news is here: William Contreras is one of my favorite fantasy catchers. I loved that trade for Milwaukee. Go ahead and fire up Willie as a high-end fantasy backstop.

Pitching: Razzball’s fearless leader – our very own Grey – is really selling me on Brandon Woodruff. At last check, Grey had Woodruff as his No. 3 overall starting pitcher behind Gerrit Cole and Brewers’ teammate Corbin Burnes. I’ve always loved Woodruff’s stuff, but I dunno – maybe I was worried about injuries or something? This year, Grey has me sold. Burnes, Woodruff, Freddy Peralta, Eric Lauer, and Wade Miley – slot for slot, that’s one of the best starting rotations in the game.

National League West

5. Colorado Rockies

Last year: 68-94

Vegas Over/Under: 65.5

Frascella’s Prediction: 63-99

Hitting: It’s Coors Field – guys are gonna mash. C.J. Cron, Ryan McMahon, and Kris Bryant are the safest plays here, while C Elias Diaz always catches my eye as an intriguing fantasy option. (Is this a great year for fantasy catchers, or what?) This offense isn’t as deep as years past, though. OF Randal Grichuk (sports hernia surgery) is already slated to miss the beginning of the regular season.

Pitching: Sometimes I look at the Rockies’ starting pitchers and think… how long has this roster been frozen in time? German Marquez, Kyle Freeland, and Antonio Senzatela are back for more pain, though Senzatela (knee) is on the shelf until at least May. Why are you even reading this? Don’t draft Colorado Rockies’ starting pitchers for fantasy.

4. Arizona Diamondbacks

Last year: 74-88

Vegas Over/Under: 74.5

Frascella’s Prediction: 72-90

Hitting: The Diamondbacks are gathering momentum as a “sleeper” for many pundits, but I’m gonna have to go the opposite way here. Who is really knockin’ my socks off for this offense – Ketel Marte? Christian Walker? I’m not particularly excited about any of these Arizona guys from a fantasy perspective. I do think new acquisition Lourdes Gurriel will hit for a high average, though.

Pitching: It’s Zac Gallen… then everybody else. I have Merrill Kelly in my regression table – along with the aforementioned Taijuan Walker, Kyle Wright, Jordan Montgomery, and Miles Mikolas – while Madison Bumgarner and Zach Davies could both get rocked any time they toe the rubber. If this team is going to be an effective sleeper, an awful lot will hinge on talented young starter Drey Jameson. Overall, I’m just not seein’ it for this club.

3. San Francisco Giants

Last year: 81-81

Vegas Over/Under: 81.5

Frascella’s Prediction: 83-79

Hitting: You know, it’s not about logic when it comes to these San Francisco Giants, right? It’s really just about manager Gabe Kapler. I really do feel like he steals some hard-fought victories for them. Because when you look on paper – well, are you jumping out of your chair for LaMonte Wade Jr., Joey Bart, Thairo Estrada, and David Villar? Mitch Haniger and Michael Conforto both “feel” like very Giant-like acquisitions, and this offense is gonna need them both. I don’t think I’m drafting a single player from this offense. Maybe Estrada every once in a while.

Pitching: Lookin’ good with Logan Webb, Alex Cobb, Sean Manaea, Ross Stripling, and Alex Wood. Webb is a consistent ace for this club, and Cobb seemed to have found a second gear last season (a la Charlie Morton as he advanced in age). Manaea should do much better here than he did in San Diego, while Stripling is always one of the most underrated pitchers in the game. I’ll probably have the most low-risk shares of Cobb and Stripling, here.

2. San Diego Padres

Last year: 89-73

Vegas Over/Under: 93.5

Frascella’s Prediction: 91-71

Hitting: Oh wait, you mean it’s a good thing to have Juan Soto, Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Xander Bogaerts in the same lineup? Wow, what an absolute joke. Just bananas. Jake Cronenworth should be a major benefactor this season, as well. 2B Ha-Seong Kim is coming off a career year, while Matt Carpenter and Nelson Cruz form the “big name” DH duo the Mets are mimicking on a lesser scale with nameless Daniel Vogelbach and Darin Ruf. These Padres are gonna mash.

Pitching: Uh oh, a fractured toe for Joe Musgrove is far from a good start for this rotation. Fantasy wise, we can feel pretty safe about the veteran combination of Yu Darvish and Blake Snell, while Michael Wacha is a bit trickier. Can he repeat last season’s astonishing success? Well, we know San Diego is a pretty comfortable place for starting pitchers. I expect Wacha to continue his momentum, provided he stays healthy, which has been a real problem for him in the past.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

Last year: 111-51

Vegas Over/Under: 96.5

Frascella’s Prediction: 98-64

Hitting: It’s never good when you lose Trea Turner, Justin Turner, and Cody Bellinger in the same offseason, but… take a second look. There’s no question that Trea is a megastar for fantasy baseball, but Justin and Cody? Justin is 38 years old and nearing retirement, and Bellinger is showcasing holes in his swing as gaping as Joey Gallo’s. So Trea’s the real loss here, but you feel a lot better about this offense when you remember that superstars Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts remain. They’ll be supplemented by Will Smith – one of the top two or three fantasy catchers in the game – along with three wild cards in Max Muncy, J.D. Martinez, and Miguel Rojas. If either Muncy or J.D. can return to form, it’ll be pretty smooth sailing for these reshaped Dodgers.

Pitching: This is why I – just barely – still have them as the team to beat in the National League. Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urias, Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May, Noah Syndergaard, and Ryan Pepiot. Kershaw – like the aforementioned Verlander and Scherzer – continues to dominate in his old age, while fellow lefty Urias is as steady and dependable as they come throughout the regular season. Gonsolin is coming off a career year for the ages, while May sometimes has the best pure stuff of them all. Syndergaard is reportedly hitting 97 with his fastball – enjoying the warm weather? – while Pepiot is one of the top three or four No. 6 starters in the game. This group is strong, top to bottom.

Don’t forget to tune in next time for my American League predictions!

John Frascella is a published baseball author who has been covering the game for nearly 20 years. Follow him on Twitter @LegendSports7 for all things fantasy baseball, football, and basketball. 

Frascella’s National League Power Rankings

  1. Dodgers: 98 wins
  2. Braves: 95
  3. Phillies: 92
  4. Padres: 91
  5. Mets: 91
  6. Brewers: 89
  7. Cardinals: 87
  8. Giants: 83
  9. Marlins: 77
  10. Cubs: 75
  11. Diamondbacks: 72
  12. Reds: 67
  13. Pirates: 65
  14. Rockies: 63
  15. Nationals: 52