Rookie Hitter Tiers 2.0

Rookie Hitter Tiers 2.0

This article is part of our Farm Futures series.

A lot has changed in the six weeks since I published the Rookie Hitter Tiers 1.0, so it's time for Volume 2.0. These tiers are for 2023 value only. I've got the players ranked within tiers, but in the case of Jordan Walker, I'd have him ranked third after Corbin Carroll and Gunnar Henderson. He's not a lock to be up on Opening Day and is therefore in the Spring Job Battles tier.

For each player, I've included their position eligibility, NFBC 15-team Draft Champions ADP from Feb. 22 - March 8 as well as my NFBC player shares from my five completed draft-and-hold teams, four FAAB leagues and five NFBC Gladiators (23 rounds, no bench/FAAB).

Up Opening Day

Corbin Carroll, OF, Diamondbacks (ADP: 63, Shares 6/14)

Gunnar Henderson, 3B, Orioles (ADP: 88, Shares 4/14)

The best of the best. Carroll is a potential top-half of the first round fantasy selection during his prime and Henderson could offer a very rare five-category spread of production from third base. Since Vol. 1, Henderson's ADP has stayed the same and Carroll has moved up almost a full round (previous ADP was 73). I understand the push on Carroll, and think he is still a worthwhile pick if you've only got one source of speed from your first three or four picks. Henderson remains a solid pick as well, given the five-category potential and high floor stemming from excellent swing decisions and role security.

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Miguel Vargas,

A lot has changed in the six weeks since I published the Rookie Hitter Tiers 1.0, so it's time for Volume 2.0. These tiers are for 2023 value only. I've got the players ranked within tiers, but in the case of Jordan Walker, I'd have him ranked third after Corbin Carroll and Gunnar Henderson. He's not a lock to be up on Opening Day and is therefore in the Spring Job Battles tier.

For each player, I've included their position eligibility, NFBC 15-team Draft Champions ADP from Feb. 22 - March 8 as well as my NFBC player shares from my five completed draft-and-hold teams, four FAAB leagues and five NFBC Gladiators (23 rounds, no bench/FAAB).

Up Opening Day

Corbin Carroll, OF, Diamondbacks (ADP: 63, Shares 6/14)

Gunnar Henderson, 3B, Orioles (ADP: 88, Shares 4/14)

The best of the best. Carroll is a potential top-half of the first round fantasy selection during his prime and Henderson could offer a very rare five-category spread of production from third base. Since Vol. 1, Henderson's ADP has stayed the same and Carroll has moved up almost a full round (previous ADP was 73). I understand the push on Carroll, and think he is still a worthwhile pick if you've only got one source of speed from your first three or four picks. Henderson remains a solid pick as well, given the five-category potential and high floor stemming from excellent swing decisions and role security.

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Miguel Vargas, 1B, Dodgers (ADP: 209, Shares 0/14)

Josh Jung, 3B, Rangers (ADP: 231, Shares 0/14)

Triston Casas, 1B, Red Sox (ADP: 226, Shares 0/14)

Oswald Peraza, SS, Yankees (ADP: 273, Shares 1/14)

Garrett Mitchell, OF, Brewers (ADP: 273, Shares 0/14)

Ezequiel Tovar, SS, Rockies (ADP: 228, Shares 0/14)

Esteury Ruiz, OF, Athletics (ADP: 226, Shares 0/14)

Spencer Steer, 3B, Reds (ADP: 395, Shares 0/14)

There is a great chance that these eight hitters will break camp on Opening Day rosters. Vargas was in the Spring Job Battles tier in Vol. 1, but the Gavin Lux injury should give us confidence Vargas will break camp with close to an everyday role. He is the most well-rounded prospect in this tier, and his ADP has jumped five rounds since Vol. 1. I had Ruiz atop this grouping on the first volume, but when I've had the chance to battle test these rankings, I prefer trying to land Peraza or Mitchell when I need speed, as they also have the upside to steal 20-plus bases and I think they have more job security and better power/hit tools than Ruiz. Peraza's ADP is up 50 spots over the last six weeks. Jung, Casas and Steer won't run. I expect Jung to make more contact this year than he did as a rookie, especially since he has a full spring training and won't be getting thrown in the deep end while coming back from injury. Casas is better in OBP leagues than AVG leagues and will struggle against lefties, but he could still hit 25 home runs. Tovar's home park and job security belie his current skills. 

Spring Job Battles

Jordan Walker, 3B, Cardinals (ADP: 194, Shares 0/14)

Well, the price on Walker is about to get out of hand, if it isn't already. He put on an exhibition that included 920 feet worth of home runs Saturday in front of roughly 30 fantasy analysts from the First Pitch Florida conference, so the hype won't be slowing down until he struggles in the big leagues. He has the talent to pay off a high pick, but I'm not interested in riding this hype wave in 2023. There's a greater chance he hits for a low average and fails to get 500 plate appearances as a rookie than many care to acknowledge. At this point I'd say there's a greater than 50 percent chance he opens in the big leagues, and if he's up, he'll be playing regularly.

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Oscar Colas, OF, White Sox (ADP: 320, Shares 0/14)

Brett Baty, 3B, Mets (ADP: 364, Shares 0/14)

Curtis Mead, 3B, Rays (ADP: 525, Shares 3/14)

Maikel Garcia, SS, Royals (ADP: 533, Shares 1/14)

James Outman, OF, Dodgers (ADP: 482, Shares 1/14)

Colas and Baty's ADP is up roughly 60 spots in the last six weeks. Garcia's ADP is up over 200 spots (thanks Rob Silver) in that span. Mead is the best prospect in this tier and the least likely to open the year in the majors, but if they sign him to a long-term extension, as has been rumored, his ADP would shoot up. We shouldn't care about spring performance for the majority of players, but it matters with these five, both offensively and defensively. Garcia and Outman are the two from this tier who can help with stolen bases.

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Will Brennan, OF, Guardians (ADP: 458, Shares 2/5)

Brice Turang, SS, Brewers (ADP: 422, Shares 0/5)

Jordan Diaz, 2B, Athletics (ADP: 610, Shares 4/5)

Justin Dirden, OF, Astros (ADP: 750, Shares 0/5)

Nolan Jones, OF, Rockies (ADP: 433, Shares 0/5)

Drew Waters, OF, Royals (ADP: 566, Shares 0/5)

Brennan could open the year in a fourth outfielder role. He's a much better hitter than Myles Straw, but Straw is a much better defender. That said, Brennan is one injury away from having a prominent role. Turang could get squeezed to start the season after Milwaukee brought in several low-upside journeyman infielders this offseason. Even when he's up, I expect Turang to hit in the bottom third of the lineup while sitting against lefties. I truly believe Diaz is one of Oakland's best hitters, and he's a young potential building block, so while he probably won't break camp, he should be fantasy relevant sometime in the first half. Dirden is the big helium guy in this tier. I saw him live this past weekend and was really impressed by his size and athleticism (I wrote his outlook on the site). Dusty Baker is also a fan, and Dirden's ability to play all three outfield spots while offering more offensive upside than guys like Chas McCormick and Jake Meyers makes him a dark-horse candidate to steal a roster spot this spring. With Jones, he could be a great home streamer in NFBC and daily leagues, but he'd probably be in a platoon with Elehuris Montero or Mike Moustakas, and he won't be usable on the road in most formats. Waters was in the Up Opening Day tier on Vol. 1, but he is now likely to open the year on the injured list. I still think he'll get a shot to play regularly early in the year once healthy.

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Ji Hwan Bae, OF, Pirates (ADP: 508, Shares 1/5)

Alec Burleson, OF, Cardinals (ADP: 634, Shares 0/5)

Ryan Noda, 1B, Athletics (ADP: 542, Shares 0/5)

This is the unlikely role/unlikely impact group. Bae has not impressed thus far in camp and is basically just a speed flyer in fantasy. Burleson is big-league ready but buried on the Cardinals' depth chart. Noda is a Rule 5 pick who will likely open with a bench role and may be limited to a lesser role for most of the season, even on Oakland's lackluster roster.

The Catcher Renaissance

Logan O'Hoppe, Angels (ADP: 265, Shares 1/14)

Francisco Alvarez, Mets (ADP: 356, Shares 0/14)

Endy Rodriguez, Pirates (ADP: 393, Shares 0/14)

Bo Naylor, Guardians (ADP: 354, Shares 1/14)

It used to be rare for me to have more than two or three catchers in my top 100. Now I have 10(!) in my top 100, including these four. I don't want to roster more catchers than I have to in dynasty leagues, but productive catchers are always in high demand in redraft. These four should be heard from at some point. O'Hoppe is the only one who should start the year as his team's primary catcher, but the other three could eventually gain that honor. I ranked Alvarez (UT-only to start the year), Rodriguez, Naylor in order of how many plate appearances I'd project them for this season, but Alvarez/Rodriguez is kind of a toss up in that regard.

Summer Stashes

Sal Frelick, OF, Brewers (ADP: 469, Shares 0/14)

Anthony Volpe, SS, Yankees (ADP: 350, Shares 0/14)

Matt Mervis, 1B, Cubs (ADP: 348, Shares 3/14)

Royce Lewis, SS, Twins (ADP: 528, Shares 0/14)

Colton Cowser, OF, Orioles (ADP: 640, Shares 1/14)

Frelick is awesome but unlikely to break camp with Milwaukee due to not being on the 40-man roster. Volpe could be up soon if Oswald Peraza or Gleyber Torres gets injured, but I am viewing him as a stash only and not buying the notion that he's legitimately competing for a roster spot. It's a similar story with Mervis, and since I drafted him on a bunch of teams in November and December, Chicago has not only brought in Trey Mancini and Eric Hosmer, but Edwin Rios as well. Mervis will surely open the year at Triple-A, and he will have to wait until Hosmer is playing poorly and/or Rios is injured again. Lewis, who can play any position on the field, should be an option in Minnesota around the All-Star break. He has arguably the highest fantasy ceiling in this tier and I believe the highest performance floor, given what he showed last season. I don't expect the Orioles to rush up their top prospects this season, but at least Cowser has fewer internal competitors than his infield counterparts.

Long Shots

Jordan Lawlar, SS, Diamondbacks (ADP: 655, Shares 1/5)

Zach Neto, SS, Angels (ADP: 748, Shares 0/5)

Zac Veen, OF, Rockies (ADP: 614, Shares 0/5)

Elly De La Cruz, SS, Reds (ADP: 426, Shares 0/5)

Everson Pereira, OF, Yankees (Undrafted)

Evan Carter, OF, Rangers (Undrafted)

Kyle Manzardo, 1B, Rays (ADP: 557, Shares 1/5)

Jackson Chourio, OF, Brewers (ADP: 721, Shares 0/5)

Jasson Dominguez, OF, Yankees (ADP: 743, Shares 0/5)

I'm sure at least one of these talented prospects will not only get to the majors but have some success. Lawlar will be working on improving his defense while also putting his advanced bat to the test in the upper levels. Geraldo Perdomo and Blaze Alexander probably each deserve a look at shortstop before Lawlar gets that spot permanently, but if he's kicking down the door this summer and nobody is standing in his way, we could see him even before the Corbin Carroll/Gunnar Henderson timeline. The Angels' depth chart suggests to me they either don't know what they're doing or they think Neto will be ready sooner than later (or both). Veen keeps producing in advantageous conditions both this spring and in the Arizona Fall League. Regardless of how fast scouts think he is (unanimously not a burner), there's no denying he loves attempting steals, and that's more than half the battle. I don't think Veen or De La Cruz will be ready to hit big-league pitching even if they do arrive ahead of schedule, but they're talented enough to prove me wrong. Despite the fact I took Manzardo in an early NFBC 50, the more I think about it, the more I think the Rays will keep him down until at least September, regardless of how well he is playing. Pereira, Carter, Chourio and Dominguez are true long shots to be up this season, at least prior to September.

Best of the Rest

ORIOLES

Connor Norby, 2B (ADP: 693, Shares 0/5)

Joey Ortiz, SS (ADP: 678, Shares 3/5)

Jordan Westburg, SS (ADP: 695, Shares 0/5)

BLUE JAYS

Addison Barger, SS (ADP: 699, Shares 1/5)

Otto Lopez, SS (ADP: 745, Shares 0/5)

Spencer Horwitz, 1B (Undrafted)

ASTROS

Yainer Diaz, UT (will add C eligibility) (ADP: 596, Shares 1/5)

Corey Julks, OF (ADP: 707, Shares 0/5)

Pedro Leon, OF (ADP: 740, Shares 0/5)

Joe Perez, 3B/OF (Undrafted)

Will Wagner, 2B/3B/1B (Undrafted)

Korey Lee, C (ADP: 694, Shares 0/5)

REDS

Christian Encarnacion-Strand, 3B (ADP: 618, Shares 0/5)

CUBS

Brennen Davis, OF (ADP: 702, Shares 0/5)

Miguel Amaya, C (Undrafted)

Alexander Canario, OF (Undrafted)

BREWERS

Joey Wiemer, OF (ADP: 720, Shares 0/5)

RANGERS

Dustin Harris, OF (ADP: 729, Shares 1/5)

Justin Foscue, 2B (ADP: 750, Shares 0/5)

GUARDIANS

Gabriel Arias, 3B (ADP: 716, Shares 0/5)

Brayan Rocchio, SS (ADP: 741, Shares 0/5)

George Valera, OF (ADP: 729, Shares 0/5)

DODGERS

Michael Busch, 2B (ADP: 562, Shares 0/5)

Jonny DeLuca, OF (Undrafted)

TWINS

Matt Wallner, OF (ADP: 732, Shares 2/5)

Brooks Lee, SS (ADP: 741, Shares 0/5)

Edouard Julien, 2B (ADP: 595, Shares 0/5)

Austin Martin, SS (ADP: 749, Shares 0/5)

RED SOX

Enmanuel Valdez, 2B (ADP: 730, Shares 0/5)

David Hamilton, 2B/SS (Undrafted)

Niko Kavadas, 1B/DH (Undrafted)

NATIONALS

Jake Alu, 3B (ADP: 698, Shares 0/5)

TIGERS

Justyn-Henry Malloy, OF (ADP: 747, Shares 0/5)

Andre Lipcius, 3B (ADP: 740, Shares 0/5)

Parker Meadows, OF (Undrafted)

Ryan Kreidler, SS (ADP: 726, Shares 0/5)

Wenceel Perez, 2B (Undrafted)

Donny Sands, C (Undrafted)

MARINERS

Cade Marlowe, OF (ADP: 750, Shares 0/5)

WHITE SOX

Jose Rodriguez, 2B/SS (Undrafted)

Lenyn Sosa, 2B (ADP: 742, Shares 0/5)

Bryan Ramos, 3B (Undrafted)

ROYALS

Tyler Gentry, OF (ADP: 749, Shares 0/5)

Nick Loftin, OF (ADP: 746, Shares 0/5)

Samad Taylor, 2B (ADP: 729, Shares 0/5)

ATHLETICS

Tyler Soderstrom, 1B/C (ADP: 698, Shares 0/5)

Zack Gelof, 2B (ADP: 742, Shares 0/5)

Lawrence Butler, OF (ADP: 750, Shares 0/5)

CARDINALS

Moises Gomez, OF (ADP: 748, Shares 0/5)

Ivan Herrera, C (ADP: 750, Shares 0/5)

METS

Mark Vientos, UT (Undrafted)

Ronny Mauricio, 3B/SS (ADP: 729, Shares 0/5)

PADRES

Eguy Rosario, 3B (ADP: 733, Shares 0/5)

MARLINS

Jordan Groshans, 3B (ADP: 696, Shares 0/5)

Xavier Edwards, 2B/3B/SS (Undrafted)

Jacob Amaya, SS (Undrafted)

ROCKIES

Michael Toglia, OF (ADP: 650, Shares 0/5)

PIRATES

Travis Swaggerty, OF (Undrafted)

Canaan Smith-Njigba, OF (Undrafted)

Ryan Vilade, OF (Undrafted)

Malcom Nunez, 1B/3B (Undrafted)

Matt Gorski, OF (Undrafted)

Jared Triolo, 3B (Undrafted)

Liover Peguero, SS (ADP: 750, Shares 0/5)

DIAMONDBACKS

Blaze Alexander, SS (ADP: 724, Shares 0/5)

Dominic Fletcher, OF (Undrafted)

Jorge Barrosa, OF (Undrafted)

GIANTS

Casey Schmitt, 3B (ADP: 742, Shares 0/5)

Brett Wisely, 2B (ADP: 750, Shares 0/5)

Heliot Ramos, OF (Undrafted)

Colton Welker, 3B/1B (Undrafted)

ATLANTA

Braden Shewmake, SS (Undrafted)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
James Anderson
James Anderson is RotoWire's Lead Prospect Analyst, Assistant Baseball Editor, and co-host of Farm Fridays on Sirius/XM radio and the RotoWire Prospect Podcast.
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