MLB Opening Day is here and the 2023 fantasy baseball season is ready to get underway. The final cuts are being made to 26-man rosters across the MLB as Spring Training wraps up. There are still some MLB top prospects hanging around in camp, getting one last look and chance to make big-league rosters. We already know the fates of big-name guys like Jordan Walker, Anthony Volpe, Oscar Colas, and Ezequiel Tovar. However, there are still a few MLB prospects who could get called up early in the season. That could be important to note for early-season stashes and/or beating your league mates to the fantasy baseball waiver wire. Some of the players below could easily rise up fantasy baseball rankings and 2023 MLB projections in due time. Keep an eye on these guys moving up the MLB prospect rankings and possibly becoming top fantasy baseball rookies. So, with MLB Opening Day here, let’s take stock of the MLB top prospects that could be factors early in the season for our fantasy baseball lineups. 


2023 Fantasy Baseball MLB Top Prospect Updates

Grayson Rodriguez – RHP, Baltimore Orioles

We get it, Os’ fans and fantasy managers alike, you wanted Rodriguez up with the team after camp. However, we’ve got to think about his innings for a bit. The Orioles' pitching prospect was injured last year and pitched in less than 80 combined innings. That means this season, we can expect to see no more than between 120-130 combined — if we’re being generous — and Baltimore would rather have those for later in the year than the beginning. That’s the main reason he didn’t break camp with the big-league team. There’s no concern about stuff — his Stuff+ was equal to that of Sandy Alcantara this spring — it’s mainly just capping innings in the majors for a playoff run late.

Brett Baty – 3B, New York Mets

The Mets fans have shifted from wanting to see one highly-touted prospect with the team to another. Previously it was Francisco Alvarez who they wanted up, and sure some still do. However, it’s Baty — coming off a monster spring — that they’re now pushing to see in the majors. He did have a great spring and the tools are there for him to be an impact bat at the hot corner for New York, however, he’s just not ready yet. Last year, Baty played just six games at Triple-A Syracuse before a taste of the majors in late September. That’s just not enough time at Triple-A. If Baty gets off to a hot start there this season, and Eduardo Escobar struggles to hit, the switch could be made late in April. If you drafted Baty, hold him. If not, but someone on your bench struggles, go ahead and stash him.

Endy Rodriguez – C, Pittsburgh Pirates

Oh, Bucco fans hoping for good news or something exciting to happen for their team nearly got it this spring. Rodriguez was coming into 2023 Spring Training off of a torrid 2022 season that saw him hit .323/.407/.590 with 25 home runs, 39 2B, 95 RBI, 92 R, and four steals across three levels. That’s a great year for anybody but certainly, a guy whose main position is catcher. Rodriguez then kept hitting in spring at a tremendous clip, which gets us back to our first sentence. The biggest thing for Rodriguez, though – according to Pirates leadership – is that they want him playing every day and learning new positions. Why the new positions? Henry Davis. Davis is a top-catching prospect in the league and is more valuable behind the plate than anywhere else. That means that Rodriguez, who has played elsewhere, will become more of a utility man for the Pirates. This does a few things. It allows him to have his bat in the lineup more often, gives the Pirates flexibility in getting all of their young players into the starting nine each day, and it gives Rodriguez more value for us fantasy managers. So Rodriguez may take a bit longer to arrive, but he should be there mid-season to bring new blood to the Pirates’ lineup.


Gavin Stone – RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers are always in need of pitching. That’s what this comes down to. The rotation, as it’s currently constructed, isn’t exactly a murder’s row rotation. Stone pitched to a 1.48 ERA (mid 2.00s FIP) over 121.2 innings in 2022 between Double and Triple-A with a 168:44 K:BB ratio and 1.12 WHIP. There was a chance he would vie for a rotation spot in spring, but ultimately he fell short. The Dodgers are really only one injury away from needing another arm and are always bullish on spot starters in general. That’s where Stone comes in. If he gets off to a hot start in Oklahoma City, it shouldn’t take much time for him to come up to the Dodgers. That's even if Ryan Pepiot remains up with the big club, as they could always go to a six-man rotation and shield some of their arms from too many innings. Stone profiles as a mid-rotation arm with a solid K-rate when all is said and done.

Brandon Pfaadt – RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

At times this spring, it looked like Pfaadt would have no trouble making the team and was arguably considered the best arm in the Diamondbacks' system. The question for Pfaadt last year was: could he make his stuff missable enough while still hammering the strike zone? The resounding answer was yes. He threw 167 innings between Double and Triple-A with an impressive 218:33 K:BB ratio and a lowly 1.16 WHIP. That WHIP and his 3.83 combined ERA are doubly impressive considering it was in the PCL for a chunk of the season – including in a home park of Reno, which isn’t the least bit pitcher-friendly. Then came Spring Training, where he showed quite well. The Diamondbacks aren’t expected to compete in the NL West this year, so this is likely a move to further season Pfaadt and make sure last year wasn’t a fluke. Arizona's starting rotation isn’t terribly strong, so a solid start from Pfaadt should get him the call and give fantasy baseball managers a shot at cheap Ks.

Brennen Davis – OF, Chicago Cubs

Coming into 2022, Davis seemed to be on the brink of heading to Chicago and was thought of as a potential 30-30 outfielder. Then a back injury derailed his season and timeline. Davis then came back toward the end of the year and lit up the Arizona Fall League. While his 2023 Spring Training numbers weren’t great, neither is the outfield depth for the Cubs. If Davis’ skills show up in the first two months at Triple-A, he should be on the North Side before June. That's especially the case if some players on the big-league roster struggle, including at DH, where they currently have Edwin Rios slotted. Davis still has all of the skills that made him a darling of the prospect world coming into last year, he just needs to prove the back issues are behind him.


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