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5 Bounce-Back Outfielder Candidates for Fantasy Baseball

Akil Baddoo - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, MLB Injury News

Baseball is an interesting sport. It can be kind to players one year, and absolutely cruel the next. That would be the case for these five outfielders, who—after strong showings in 2021—had diminished offensive production in 2022. Therefore, in 2023, they are looking to bounce back in a big way for their respective clubs.

For some, injuries may have plagued them in 2022, limiting their plate appearances and ability to replicate their 2021 numbers. For others, it was their first year with a new team. That sense of unfamiliarity can sometimes throw a hitter off their game, so with another year under their belt and an offseason to adjust, it may help them return to form.

Let's take a look at some outfielder candidates who are primed for a bounce-back campaign in 2023.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball lineup tools and weekly lineup resources:

 

Nick Castellanos, RF, Philadelphia Phillies

Nick Castellanos was one of the most exciting players in baseball in 2021, finishing sixth in NL MVP voting with 34 home runs, 100 RBI, and a .939 OPS, which earned him his first All-Star game appearance. His 2022 campaign could not have been more different, though, with an OPS of .694 across 558 plate appearances. It was an extremely underwhelming effort that Castellanos hopes to leave behind in 2023.

Castellanos was candid with reporters at Spring training, claiming he wasn’t “comfortable” last season, but after an offseason of reflecting, he’s beginning to feel more like himself again. So far this spring, Castellanos launched an opposite-field home run—an encouraging sign from the 30-year-old. “That’s the swing I remember,” Phillies’ hitting coach Kevin Long said. “That’s him right there.” ATC projects Castellanos to hit 22 home runs and drive in 77 RBI, along with a .264/.314/.450 slash line. By all accounts, he appears primed for a bounce-back year.

 

Jesse Winker, LF, Milwaukee Brewers

Castellanos’ former teammate on the Cincinnati Reds, Jesse Winker, had a down year following an All-Star selection in 2021. He was traded to Seattle prior to the 2022 season, where he hit just 14 home runs alongside a .688 OPS. Winker didn’t replicate his 2021 numbers as the Mariners hoped, so he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers this past offseason.

Perhaps a change of scenery and a return to the NL Central will awaken the left-handed hitter who batted .305 and slugged .556 in 2021. Additionally, Winker has fantastic numbers at Milwaukee’s home stadium, American Family Field. In 32 games, Winker batted .344 with five home runs, 14 RBI, and 12 walks. Should he take advantage of his familiarity with the ballpark, it could be just what the 29-year-old needs to revive his bat in 2023. Overall, ATC projects Winker to launch 19 long balls and collect 58 RBI.

 

Eddie Rosario, LF, Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves 2021 NLCS MVP, Eddie Rosario, appeared in just 80 games in 2022, sidelined with an injury to his right eye, which affected his vision. He managed to produce five home runs and 24 RBI in the games he did appear in, but he certainly didn’t resemble the outfielder who helped the Braves to a championship in 2021. 

Luckily for Atlanta, Rosario’s vision has now returned to normal, and he will even compete in the World Baseball Classic in March, representing Puerto Rico. He’ll then return to left field for the Braves for Opening Day, looking to bounce back after a strange season. In fact, MLB.com pegged Rosario as a prime bounce-back candidate in 2023. ATC projects the 31-year-old to blast 11 dingers and knock in 45 RBI.

 

Joey Gallo, OF, Minnesota Twins

If there was ever a guy that needed a bounce-back year, it’s Joey Gallo. The former All-Star’s power has seemingly disappeared, but maybe his move to Minnesota and being out of large markets such as New York and Los Angeles is just what the slugger needs to return to form. 

Gallo has always been a strikeout machine but was able to offset that unsettling number with his power and impressive walk rate. Since he was dealt by the Texas Rangers to the Yankees at the 2021 deadline, however, he’s looked like a completely different player. The two-time Gold Glover signed a one-year, $11 million deal with the Twins this offseason, hoping to turn the page on a lost season and a half.

In turn, Minnesota is willing to take the chance on Gallo, who hit 38 home runs and drew 111 walks only two seasons ago. ATC projects the lefty bat to up his home run total from 19 to at least 24 in 2023, along with 77 RBI.

 

Akil Baddoo, OF, Detroit Tigers

Baddoo, a second-round pick in 2016, impressed with the Detroit Tigers in his rookie campaign in 2021. Across 124 games, he hit 13 homers, had 55 RBI, and stole 18 bags. However, he also struck out a whopping 122 times. Still, Detroit liked what they saw from Baddoo and awarded him with 107 starts.

2022 wasn’t an ideal follow-up to his solid rookie year. Baddoo spent a lot of time in the minor leagues and appeared in just 73 games at the big-league level. The 24-year-old managed a .275 batting average and a .839 OPS in the minors. Following the conclusion of the 2021 season, Baddoo seemed to factor in seamlessly to the Tigers’ plans, and now, he’s competing for a spot on their Opening Day roster.

Fortunately, Baddoo still has his speed—and his youth—on his side that could help earn him a potential spot. ATC projects Baddoo to hit eight home runs, knock in 33 RBI, and steal 15 bases.



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