Top 5 Sleeper Outfielders for 2023 Fantasy Baseball Season
By Larry Rupp
Opening Day is right around the corner, which means fantasy baseball drafts are as well. While building the core of your roster around top players is a good start, identifying sleepers are different positions is what will put your squad over the top and help you secure that coveted championship.
With that in mind, here are our top 10 fantasy baseball sleepers at the outfielder position for 2023.
2023 Fantasy Baseball OF Sleepers
5. Matt Vierling, Detroit Tigers
The Tigers dealt one of their best relievers this past offseason in exchange for a package of players that includes outfielder Matt Vierling. He has a clear path to playing time in all three of the outfield slots considering the inconsistency of younger players like Akil Baddoo. The 26-year-old showed glimpses of power across two major league seasons with Philly, logging a slash line of .260/.309/.374 with 52 runs scored, 15 doubles, 8 home runs and 9 stolen bases in 151 games. His strikeout rate improved nearly 7.0% from 2021 to 2022 as well. Vierling went 7-for-15 with 2 home runs in spring training and is being undrafted in many leagues. Picking him up with one of your final selections is worth a shot.
4. Jake Fraley, Cincinnati Reds
Many fantasy managers are going to overlook the Reds roster entirely as it finished the 2022 season ranked 23rd in runs per game (4.00). Someone is going to have the be the main contributor, though, and outfielder Jake Fraley has a great chance to be that someone. Fraley owns a 12.7% walk percentage and 29.0% hard hit percentage in his career, suggesting that he can get on base and hit the long ball with relative ease. After all, he tallied 26 walks and smacked 12 home runs in just 68 games last season. He could be a player that gets elevated from a bench spot to a starting spot on your roster if he can stay healthy and provide that same level of production in 125 or more games.
3. Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Arizona Diamondbacks
Fantasy managers know to avoid recency bias when trying to identify top targets during drafts. Yes, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. had a down year in 2022 as he posted a career-low .400 slugging percentage and 5 home runs. This is the same guy that tallied 21 home runs and 84 RBI in 2021 and slashed .308/.348/.534 in 2020, though. Gurriel actually logged career-best marks in strikeout rate and walk percentage last season, which goes to show that his power production may have simply been an outlier. He's going to hit in the middle of an improving Diamondbacks team and can be taken as one of your bench OF right now. That is a small price to pay for a player that could finish as a top-40 option at his position.
2. Trent Grisham, San Diego Padres
There's no denying that 2022 was a season to forget for Trent Grisham as he slashed .184/.284/.341 across 152 games. However, there's a lot to like about his chances of bouncing back. The 26-year-old is going to see an everyday role due to his elite defensive skills out in center field. That means he will be hitting toward the bottom of a Padres lineup that averaged 4.34 runs per game last year (No. 8 in NL). Grisham has shot to set a career-high in RBIs and his floor seems to be around 60 runs, 15 home runs and 10 stolen bases. That is perfectly fine for a player being taken as the 93rd OF off the board (according to FantasyPros) as it cannot be said about many other players around that spot.
1. Taylor Ward, Los Angeles Angels
Taylor Ward was one of the most popular waiver wire pickups of the 2022 MLB season as he slashed .347/.459/.686 with 10 home runs across the first two months of play. A shoulder injury seemed to hinder him throughout the summer, but he finished his breakout season by slashing .353/.397/.579 with 7 home runs over his final 36 games. Ward is much more the player he was at the beginning and end of the 2022 season than he was in the middle. He'is expected to hit leadoff ahead of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, which means he's going to see a lot of pitches to hit as opponents will not want to walk him. Combine that fact with his underrated power and he has the upside of a top-20 outfielder, but is one being taken outside the top 30.
Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.
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