Trea Turner was arguably the number one pick going into drafts this spring. Although Ronald Acuna Jr. was close behind, there was every expectation that Turner would anchor fantasy lineups with 30/30/100 production. Fantasy writers alike agreed and much of our position seemed validated by Turner’s performance in the World Baseball Classic where he belted five home runs. Alas, with a poor start to the season, Turner was hitting .238 with five homers and seven steals entering June. In another lesson to trust the talent, he has warmed up in the last two weeks hitting .315 with five steals and a few bombs. Hopefully you did not sell low and trusted your draft plans as he is still a top five hitter the rest of the season. Sometimes we have to remain confident in the talent and prior performance especially with the top hitters in the league. Let’s see where he and the rest of our stars fall in this week’s edition of the Top 100 Hitters for the rest of the 2023 fantasy baseball season.
- Justin Turner – At 38 years young, Justin Turner is continuing to provide steady value for fantasy owners. After delivering a breakout game on Friday night (2 HR and 6 RBI), Turner is on pace for 22 dingers, 80 RBI and 90 runs with a respectable .272 average across 150 games. Playing in all but three games this season for the Red Sox, we must respect consistency. Relegated to corner infield roles in our fantasy lineups, Turner is not lighting the world on fire, but he is providing positive value across the board and that type of player drives championship teams.
- Gunnar Henderson – The favorite going into the season for Rookie of the Year in the American League, Henderson was slow to get going. Over the last 10 days, Henderson has been absolutely scorching with a .438 average, four longballs and a combined 17 runs and runs batted in. The Orioles have been pumping out valuable fantasy assets this year and Henderson looks to be coming into his own. If he can keep the strikeouts in check, Henderson is in for a strong second half of the season.
- Corbin Carroll – Speaking of Rookie of the Year candidates from the pre-season, Corbin Carroll is staking his case not only for ROY, but also for Most Valuable Player. While a certain Mr. Acuna might have something to say about that award if I must predict the future, Carroll will at least have a seat at the table. Over the last two weeks, Carroll has turned up the heat in Arizona with five homers, three steals and 27 runs and RBI combined. Easily on pace to return a full season line with 30/40 results, more than 100 runs and a .300 average, he has been everything fantasy owners had hoped for and more. It is hard to see a first-round next year where he is not considered. I would argue that he has been more impressive than Julio Rodriguez and his breakout last year, but the hype has not followed as loudly. He is already a top 25 hitter and begging for more.
- Pete Alonso, Mitch Haniger, Brandon Lowe, Yordan Alvarez, Vinnie Pasquantino, Aaron Judge, Max Muncy – I think this list could go on, but there have been a rash of injuries to top hitters the last few weeks. Ranging from short term ailments like Max Muncy’s hamstring to season ending devastation with Vinnie’s Labrum (side note, why does anything said about Vinnie sound like it is from a mob movie?). Hopefully these gentlemen quickly heal but their value diminishes quick as we are already three months into the season.
- Nolan Gorman – There has been much written about the improvements at the plate made by Gorman so far in 2023. I personally agree that he has made measurable improvements, but he still has an overall volatile profile. Prior to June, Gorman was showing patience with an improved 26% strikeout rate and since the beginning of the month half of his at bats have ended with a walk back to the bench. As the season has progressed, we have seen the league adjust to Gorman’s adjustments. In 2022, he struggled with the fastball and chased more than he should have. In 2023, he figured out how to be more patient and hold off those pitches and capitalize on mistakes in the zone. Now the league appears to be adjusting back. In May and June Gorman has seen fewer and fewer fastballs and more breaking balls inducing his struggles. He has adjusted before, but it won’t be overnight.
- Luis Matos – We lose Mitch Haniger and gain a young athletic Matos. Strong plate discipline where he may walk more than he strikes out with mid-range power and speed are a strong combination. Looking at his profile, the upside is elite. While there is likely an adjustment period, at his peak I see 20/20/.300 potential. Just 21 years old, the AAA results in only 24 games have to be tempting with seven homers, six steals and a strong .398 average.
- Bo Naylor – The Guardians appear to be moving forward with youth at the catcher after designating Mike Zunino for assignment. It is expected that Naylor will take his place and get his first extended taste of the Majors. In a league where catching talent has been thin, Naylor represents 20+ homer power with reasonable .250 average potential. If you have a catching need, Naylor is worth a gamble while we watch to see how he adjusts to big league pitching.
- Jose Abreu – Don’t look now, especially if you made the decision to move on, but Jose Abreu is starting to hit. Since the calendar turned to June two weeks ago, Abreu is hitting .302 with three home runs and 13 RBI. Historically a better warm weather player, Abreu might just be figuring things out. If he is available, I would grab him as he has the chance to really pad those run production stats.