2023 MLB Bounce-Back Players

Luis Robert White Sox

In the early draft season in the high-stakes market, some hidden gems will be discounted due to poor years or injuries. The goal is to find overlooked, mis-priced players that have a chance to reach their previous, expected ceilings. These 2023 MLB Bounce-Back Players have the potential to be huge difference-makers on draft day.

Here’s a look at my top five 2023 MLB bounce-back hitters to target this spring. And don’t forget to check out my extensive Fantasy Baseball Outlooks for all 30 MLB teams. 

 

1 – OF Luis Robert, Chicago White Sox

Over the first week of March in 12-team formats in the NFBC, Robert has an ADP of 43 as the 31st hitter drafted. After doing the first run of the projections, he ranked fourth in FPGscore (9.87). That fell more in line with his expected value in 2022 (late first round). Over the past two seasons, Robert missed 158 games. He hit .307 over his last 655 at-bats (166 games) with 96 runs, 25 home runs, 99 RBIs, and 18 steals. When at his best, Robert will hit over .400 when putting the ball in play. Plus, his RBI rate (18) has been excellent over the past two seasons. His ceiling points to a five-category stud and a player worth fighting for in drafts.

2 – OF Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers

Heading into the March season, Yelich falls into a steady veteran category. Most drafters won’t fight for him due to his regression in batting average over the past three seasons (.205, .248, and .252 – .327 over 1,063 at-bats in 2018 and 2019). In addition, he only has 35 home runs since 2019 over 1,174 at-bats, compared to 80 home runs in his best two years. In 2022, Yelich finished 46th in FPGscore (2.35) for hitters. This season, his ADP (115) ranks as the 71st hitter off the board. His swing path delivers a ton of growth balls, but the change in shift rules should lead to a spike in batting average. However, I don’t expect a massive uptick in power without more JUICE in his bat or more loft on his swings. Either way, Yelich is a solid, steady piece to the puzzle who should outperform his ADP.

3 – OF Cody Bellinger, Chicago Cubs

After a step back in production in his sophomore year (.260/84/25/76/14 over 557 at-bats), I was all over Bellinger for a breakout the following season. He set career highs in runs (121), home runs (47), RBIs (115), and steals (15). This led to the third-best fantasy output behind Ronald Acuna and Christian Yelich. His best area of growth in 2019 was his approach (strikeout rate – 16.3 and walk rate – 14.4). Over the past three seasons, his bat has been exposed at the plate, highlighted by his rising strikeout rate (27.3) and fading walk rate (6.9). As bad as Bellinger was in 2022 (.210/70/19/68/14 over 504 at-bats), he still finished 91st in FPGscore (-0.67). In the offseason, Bellinger signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Cubs. This will force him to play at a more productive level in 2023 if he wants a lucrative long-term contract. At the very least, Chicago will hit him higher in the batting order while drawing a more favorable home park. The change in shift rules should also help his confidence at the plate. His ADP (186) ranks him as the 110th hitter selected in early March.

4 – OF Lourdes Gurriel, Arizona Diamondbacks

Over 708 at-bats in 2020 and 2021. Gurriel hit .285 with 90 runs, 32 home runs, 117 RBIs, and four steals. He looked poised to build off his growth last season. Unfortunately, a hamstring issue cost him many games while also losing his power swing. Gurriel had a sharp decline in his average rate (1.371 – 1.688 in 2021 and 1.734 in 2021), leading to only five home runs. The Arizona Diamondbacks have an intriguing outfield, almost forcing Gurriel to earn more at-bats at DH. His ADP (240) in early March ranks as the 146th batter off the table. I expect him to hit in the middle of the Diamondbacks’ batting order while offering a .280/20/80 skill set with 500 at-bats.

5 – 3B Anthony Rendon, Los Angeles Angels

After his 2019 season, the Los Angeles Angels scooped up Rendon in free agency for $245 million for seven seasons. Over his first two years with LA, he missed 219 games with underwhelming stats (.235/39/11/58 over 383 at-bats). When at his best from 2017 to 2019, Rendon hit .310 over 1,582 at-bats with 286 runs, 83 home runs, and 318 at-bats. The attraction to him is hitting behind Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, creating plenty of scoring opportunities. Rendon is the 18th third baseman selected in the high-stakes market with an ADP of 211. I don’t expect him to reach his previous ceiling, but help in batting average with 20 home runs and 80 RBIs seems more than fair for the investment.

 


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About Shawn Childs 944 Articles
Shawn Childs has been a high stakes Fantasy baseball and football player since 2004 where he had success in his first season (three titles and $25,000 in winnings). In early years of the high stakes market in Fantasy baseball, he was ahead of the curve in player evaluation, draft value, and free agent bidding setting up four top-five finishes in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. He has four AL-only Auction titles, one NL-only title, and five Main Event titles plus an overall title in 2012 at RTFBC (netted $10,000). This success led to an induction into the NFBC Baseball Hall of Fame. His success in the high stakes market led to a career in providing Fantasy Baseball and Fantasy Football content. On the football side, he’s competed and won in all different formats – auctions, draft championship, main events, and high-dollar leagues. He won 2nd place overall in the 2014 Most Accurate Salary Cap Expert contest at FantasyPros. As a dual-sport player, it was natural to transition to the daily games where he is a “swing for the fences type of guy.” Childs has appeared in one FanDuel NFL Live Final and one DraftKings NFL Live Final, a season-ending tournament which led to a couple of chances to win over $1,000,000.