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Five Outfielders To Target in 2023 Fantasy Baseball Drafts

Corbin Carroll - MLB Prospects Rankings, Fantasy Baseball Rookies Sleepers

Welcome back, fantasy baseball players. Welcome to this year’s edition of outfielders to target. I have a list of five outfielders to target around their ADP (or even a little earlier) who could help your fantasy team in 2023.

While looking at projections and past results, the list that follows was carefully crafted to give you an edge for the upcoming season. The players listed aren’t ones you should grab as your first outfielder but will help you chase a title. 

I hope you enjoy the list, and that it brings you to a conclusion on who you want to target for your upcoming drafts. Make sure to check out all the fantasy baseball projections and rankings RotoBaller has, as everyone here has been doing a great job getting us all ready for the 2023 MLB season. Let’s get on to the list. 

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Eloy Jimenez - Chicago White Sox

If you’re looking for a guy who (almost) does it all and don't want to pay a premium price for him, Jimenez is your guy. He has a very small number of holes in his game. His swing is powerful and controlled. He walked more and struck out less last season, and he plays in a good lineup. The only issue is his injury history.  

Jimenez has played in 139 total games over the last two seasons. Missing that sort of game action would usually turn me away from a player, but I just love the way Jimenez produces when in the lineup. The 6-foot-4, 240-pounder crushes the ball when healthy and is someone I will continue to draft. 

The Dominican is consistently towards the top of the league in max exit velocity, ranking in the 91st percentile in 2022 and 94th and 93rd in 2020 and 2019, respectively. He hasn’t registered enough events in the last two seasons, but in 2020, he was in the 98th percentile in hard-hit percentage. That type of power has equated to good outcomes in the box as well.  

The former Cub farmhand put up great numbers while in the lineup last season with a .295/16/54/40/0 line in 84 games. That extrapolates to 30 homers and 104 RBI over 162 games. That’s close to CUTTER projections for 2023. Coming in at .277/31/92/76/0, this is a guy that will help your team in four categories while not costing you a high pick, as his ADP is currently 78. 


Corbin Carroll - Arizona Diamondbacks

Do I want to draft the No. 2 prospect in the game as voted on by MLB.com and Baseball America? You bet I do. Do I want to spend at his current ADP of 81.3? You bet I do. This is an exciting player who has produced everywhere he’s played. He’s steadily climbed up prospect rankings and has the tools to be a top-notch fantasy player.  

The former first-round pick sprays the ball all over the field, as evidenced by his 37% pull percentage. The league average since 2015 is 36.8% and his 28.8% opposite field batted ball percentage is above the league average during that time. He hit 28 combined home runs in 2022 and stole 33 bases through three levels.  

Carroll is a speedster who doesn’t chase out of the zone much. At the end of 2022, Carroll had the highest sprint speed in the majors and chased balls out of the zone at a below-league average 26.4% of the time. That combination of speed and plate discipline bodes well for his stolen base totals at least, if not his batting average and counting stats. 

His .330 on-base percentage in the majors was good enough with his speed, but a .426 minor-league OBP is enticing. If he bumps that percentage up to .340, that will keep his stolen bases up. A 20/20 season should be in the works, and he could push for more swiped bags. CUTTER projections came in at .265/19/64/79/23 and I would put those at the low end of the spectrum with his talents. 


MJ Melendez - Kansas City Royals

Melendez didn’t have a burning rookie season, but he did enough to think some sophomore growth could occur and a nice outfield option could grow from it. Melendez made weak contact just 2.7% of the time, below the league average of 3.8% since 2015.  

His batted ball profile was like that of St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Tyler O’Neill and Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds. Melendez pulled the ball 43.5% of the time and put it in the air 32.7% of the time, showing he is trying to do damage when he’s at the plate. 

The sometimes catcher did plenty of damage in the minor leagues, leading it in home runs in 2021 with 41. That power was somewhat on display in 2022 during his rookie season when he hit 18 bombs in 129 games. 2023 should prove more fruitful in the home run department as CUTTER projects 23 for Melendez.  

As a former second-round pick, he has the pedigree of a great player and could be a great OF option in 2023, partly because he will have catcher eligibility as well. His barrel percentage, average exit velocity, launch angle, and expected slugging percentage were all above league average in 2022 and should continue to trend upwards with more seasoning. Melendez is currently ranked 138 by RotoBaller and has an ADP of 123.7.  


Taylor Ward - Los Angeles Angels

With an ADP of 132 and a RotoBaller ranking of 124, Ward is a no-brainer for me. He finished 2022 ranked number 90 on Razzball’s player rater, and that was while missing a handful of games due to injury. He hit .281 with 23 home runs and 22 doubles on the season. 

The former first-rounder finished 10th among outfielders with a 137 WRC+, proving he had an excellent all-around offensive season. Some of that was due to his 10.6% walk rate, which finished right behind Angels teammate Mike Trout. His 21.3% strikeout rate and .325 BABIP helped drive his average to the .281 he came in at. A 12.1% barrel rate and 42.4% hard-hit percentage point to him producing a similar average in 2023. 

The 29-year-old doesn’t have the biggest track record. He has just a year-and-a-half of production on his ledger but has the underlying numbers to back it up. Go after him a little earlier than his ADP if you don’t like some other names in the area, such as Kris Bryant or Seiya Suzuki. 

CUTTER projections have Ward at .272/21/70/78/6 for the 2023 season and I’m mostly right there with those numbers. I could see a few more steals from him and a few more long balls, which only pushes his value more. His 162-game average in the minors included 22 homers and 12 steals, and that might happen with a full, healthy season.  


Brandon Nimmo - New York Mets

The stats don’t jump off the page, but Nimmo has been a solid contributor since the start of 2020. He’s played just over two-and-a-half seasons in that time, accruing just 92 games played in 2021, but he’s done well over that span. Well enough to think his current ADP of 150.7 may be considered a steal.  

He finished 2022 as the 103rd player on Razzball’s player rater and that should be considered the baseline for the former No. 13 overall pick. Nimmo was above average in 2022 in most offensive metrics.

The 2022 season was a successful one for the lefty-swinger, who will look to build on last year in a good Mets lineup. The thing that stands out to me in the CUTTER projections is the .380 on-base percentage. That’s right around his .385 career OBP and can be considered the bottom line. That OBP is a big reason why CUTTER projects 101 runs scored. CUTTER also calls for a .277 average and 15 homers. That kind of production would return great value from one of your outfielders. 

There you have it, five outfielders you should be looking to draft for your fantasy baseball team in 2023. We have a couple in prove-it mode, a couple in breakout mode, and some who are underrated. None should be your number-one outfielder, but if a couple of them occupy a spot on your squad, you should feel good heading into the new season.  

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