The plan for today’s article is pretty complex in its simplicity. I set out to build a championship-level redraft team for 2023 using only rookies from 2022. 

C: Adley Rutschman

C: MJ Melendez

1B: Jose Miranda

2B: Vaughn Grissom 

3B: Bobby Witt Jr.

SS: Oneil Cruz

MI: Jeremy Peña 

CI: Gunnar Henderson

This infield is good. Might not win us the league, but getting steals all around the diamond puts us on a winning path. Not just because speed is increasingly rare but because these steals come from middle-order hitters with power.  

Catcher is a pretty clear win. I suppose the Sal Perez team has a leg-up on you if they’ve got anyone in the C2 spot, but aside from that, we’ve got a top-of-the-scale catching duo. 

Second base might be tough if Atlanta can’t find room on their All-Star team for Vaughn Grissom. Dansby Swanson is a free agent though, and either Grissom or Albies could slide back over to short, where they spent much of their prospect lives. 

Jeremy Peña’s spot on the team is tenuous at best. Josh Jung could be started at CI, pushing Witt to the middle, Gunnar to third and Peña to the bench. Spencer Torkelson is also a person. I’d take Matt Mervis over any of these guys, I think: “these guys” meaning Jung, Tork and Peña. Feels crazy to say it out loud, but that’s just how the truth feels sometimes. 

Miguel Vargas gets a look in that CI spot if he finds an angle on some playing time. 

Vinnie P is holding down the Utility spot in this configuration, but it might be smarter to just put him at CI and slide Peña into Util where he’ll find some stiff competition for at bats. 


OF: Julio Rodriguez

OF: Michael Harris II

OF: Corbin Carroll

OF: Joey Meneses

OF: Steven Kwan

U: Vinnie Pasquantino 

This outfield is where the project began as I realized you probably couldn’t build this team in a redraft league. I guess maybe if you put together some kind of miracle auction, but I doubt that. Maybe you could land Julio and Harris with a medium-late first-rounder or turn pick, but I think Julio’s going to settle inside the top five, and Harris will be gone by pick 25. Even if you build this dynamite outfield duo, you have Witt, Strider, Cruz, Henderson, and Kirby all coming off the board in quick succession. Doubt you can catch ’em all. 

I’m curious to see how the draft price of Joey Meneses fairs in the off-season echo chamber. He has to be on this team because batting average is a tough category, and he’s been a monster this season, but he’ll also be the cheapest of this infield to acquire on draft day and for pretty good reason. We’ve seen his profile fizzle and fade before, but he’s been a lot better than the typical  late-career rookies who pop, and his at bats and lineup spot seem about as secure as they get. He should’ve been a big leaguer long ago, anyway. He’s got 24 games in the outfield, so even though he feels like their everyday first baseman for next year, we get another year of putting him in a tough spot to fill. 


P Spencer Strider

P George Kirby 

P Joe Ryan 

P Hunter Greene

P Roansy Contreras 

P Nick Lodolo

P Felix Bautista

P Jhoan Duran

P Alexis Diaz

When I began building this team in my head during a run, I thought we’d have no chance to compete on pitching. Would need some free agent adds. That in fact the rookie crop of pitchers coming up in 2023 will be better than this year’s group. 

Now that I’m seeing the whole of it, I’d be happy to roll with this pitching staff. I love closers, as you may know, and this team has plenty of closers. I love all three, and fourth man Brandon Hughes is good, too. He’d probably edge out the worst match-up of the week among the three middle starters if I were setting early-season weekly lineups. You don’t lose much in the Win column but gain a lot in the rates and saves if you go 5/4 early season in a deep weekly league. 

Strider is out with an oblique injury. Here’s hoping that’s all it is and he’ll be back like Aragorn in Return of the King in season two. 

George Kirby was everything we could have hoped for, pitching 126 innings across 24 starts with a 3.21 ERA and 1.17 WHIP, recording an 8-and-4 win-loss record in the process. I think it’s fair to map a little development onto his game, given the coaching staff’s success with Logan Gilbert and Kirby’s plus command, which tends to age better than any pitching trait. 

Greene, Lodolo and Contreras might be tough on the Wins column, especially with the unbalanced schedule on the way out, but seventh starter Hunter Brown could help if luck’s on our side. Hopefully Ryan and the aces can pile up the dubs. 


Seven-man bench:

Gotta have Rangers 3B Josh Jung. He’s striking out a lot, but that makes sense as he shakes off the rust. Likely to start more weeks than not once he gets rolling. 

I don’t want to miss Rockies SS Ezequiel Tovar. Might have to cut him if the Rockies do their thing with him, but so it goes. 3B Elihuiris Montero has a good case, too.

Makes sense to take Astros RHP Hunter Brown for similar reasons. Better to have him and get frustrated when he doesn’t have a role than to not have him at all. 

Cubs LHP Brandon Hughes is going to return his draft price next year and then some.  

Same goes for Cubs OF Seiya Suzuki, I guess. 

Dodgers 3B Miguel Vargas would be easy to move on from him if the opportunity just isn’t there but hard to acquire if the playing time materializes. 

Diamondbacks RHP Drey Jameson builds in some redundancies we’ll need on the pitching side. Pitching development team is rocking and rolling under Brent Strom, and I feel like this is a rising tide team for 2023. 

In summary, this might not be the best team in a 2023 redraft league, but I’d be thrilled to have it and think I’d be seeing dollar signs on my way out the draft or auction. I’m sure there’s been a rookie class that could do this before. I don’t remember any, but I’m also in rhythm with this season in a way I’ve never been, I think. 2022’s rookie class was a unique stew of covid-delays and CBA delays and Olympic delays and cheap-team delays, and the damn just kind of broke. I’d bet against next year’s rookie crop coming anywhere close to this one, but maybe we’re just entering a new reality where teams start trying to field their best team rather than playing for some hypothetical title ten years down the road. Even if that’s the case, the wellspring of minor league talent is just not overflowing the way it was last winter. In fact, the hitters who missed the starting lineup here might be able to hold their own against next year’s team, though I suppose that’s complicated by the guys like Henderson and Carroll who could be on both teams. Like I said, complex in its simplicity. I had to make so many rules just to get myself to the finish line! But hey, I’m here now! Hope you enjoyed the jog!

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter. 


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5 months ago

Hey Itch,

I’m playing in a 20 team keeper league 6×6 (BB & QS) with 10 players to keep at no cost. I rebuild the last two years and have a team that fits with this article. Right now i have 11 keeper candidates for the next season:

C: Adley Rutschman
1B: Vinnie Pasquantino
2B: CJ Abrams
3B: Bobby Witt
SS: Oneil Cruz
OF: Riley Greene, Kyle Tucker, Andrew Vaughn
UTL: Vaughn Grissom

SP: Tyler Glasnow, Brady Singer

At the moment Singer would be the first Player to not keep from my team. The 9 hitter would be a starting lineup in our league. Do you think that this hitting lineup could content in the next years and which hitter could be upgraded?

I built my team around hitters from the 2019 draft and Carroll or Jung would be a nice addition to my lineup, i will try to trade for them in the offseason. Who would fit my team better?

Thanks for your answer.

Ian Draheim
Ian Draheim
5 months ago

This is fun, nice job. My home league is 10 teams, we keep 12 so the young studs have big value. I’ll be keeping a handful of these guys as I loaded up after missing the playoffs. I’ll probably have to cut loose one of Kirby, Lodolo or Triston McKenzie. I’m leaning towards McKenzie as he maybe has the least upside. Thoughts? Or I could keep Triston too and throw back Miranda or Vinnie P but I favor offense in this league (OBP league btw). Plenty of time to figure it out anyway… TIA

5 months ago

I’m putting CJ on this squad…he has been much better over the last month.

5 months ago

Outstanding work Itch! Love to get a bunch of them for 2023, some real nuggets! I’d be thrilled to have Witt, Julio, Harris II, and Strider. Keep up the good work, love it

Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
5 months ago

Def a roster I’d love! Now that Framber’s last start has me looking at 2nd instead of 1st in my 12 team keeper roto (keep 8), I’m looking ahead to finalizing my keepers. Some fortunate but tough choices from the below. Here’s who I’m currently planning to keep, with other options below. Would love your thoughts! Thanks!

Current 8 (2023 prices; $260 budget)
$38 Acuna
$21 yordan
$8 Harris II
$12 Adolis
$7 Gunnar
$11 O Cruz
$4 Strider
$3 C Javier

Other Options
$25 Devers
$8 Wright
$16 Eloy
$14 valdez

Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
Reply to  Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
5 months ago

I should add that in this league SP1s go for $30+, SP2s $20+

Reply to  Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
5 months ago

Sounds like my 16tm keeper where top 10 bats go tor $50 and good closers $35.

5 months ago

Itch, I want to thank you for helping me have a productive season. This was supposed to be the last year of my rebuild, and I came in 2nd place out of 18 teams in my 6×6 dynasty (the only one to challenge the top guy). The future is bright with stars up and down the roster and lots of good youth. You deserve a lot of the credit as I’ve sought your advisement frequently over the past 2.5 years. Thank you.

Final question for 2022 Regular Season:

I have the option to acquire Andres Gimenez. Edman is my 2B, with Grissom backup (if he stays there for more than another year). No MILB at 2B on the roster.

He wants Amed Rosario and Grissom for Gimenez plus something meh (Mateo, Outman).
He would also accept Rosario and E. Ruiz for Gimenez and Gore.

I’m trying to get Gimenez for Rosario plus one or two of the following: Herget, Sewald, Oswaldo Cabrera, Evan Carter. He has yet to bite.

Would you meet his demands on either offer? Is Gimenez worth it?

Thanks, Itch! Looking forward to your off-season good!


Reply to  Philip
5 months ago

So, we worked out a deal. I’m still curious what you thought about the above question, but the final rendition was:

I give: Rosario, Oswald Cabrera, Sewald
He gives: Gimenez

5 months ago

Morning Itch!

Thanks for the write up! Thats quite a team you have put together.

16 team HTH Dynasty League

Which from this group to hold? (2) ahead of the FYPD

Kerry Carpentier
G. Figuereo

Brandon Drury is he a hold or a sell for 2023 16 team HTH Dynasty?

Reply to  junior56
5 months ago

One more question Itch How likely or unlikely is Varsho to still get reps at C in the future.

5 months ago

Hi Itch!

Better 2 dynasty holds

J Susana
G Gonzalez
L Montes
M Bleiss

Same for this C, which 2 would you keep to 2023?

G Sanchez
L Campusano
Y Diaz.

Thanks a lot!

5 months ago

Morning Itch! 13 team dynasty 5×5…keep 1…Brandon Pfaadt over Domingo German…Tyler Anderson or Braxton Garret? Thank you! I could drop Josh Rojas…but I love what’s happening in the desert!

5 months ago

14 Team Dynasty. Who are the 4 odd men out?

Jarren Duran, James Outman, Juan Yepez, Kerry Carpenter, Aranda, Will Brennan, Olivares, Aquino, Bleday, Waters, Jurickson Profar, Gavin Sheets, Ramon Urias, Adam Duvall, Jose Barrero.

Thank you in advance for your expertise!

Reply to  Dude
5 months ago

Also, I didn’t plan on keeping Joey Bart but is he a keeper above any of the above?