MLB Opening Day 2023 has arrived and first pitch is just hours away, but injuries have already piled up before the 2023 MLB season has even begun. The latest involves Cleveland RHP Triston McKenzie getting shut down due to a shoulder strain after leaving just one inning into Sunday's spring training game. The 25-year-old was one of the top starting pitchers in 2023 Fantasy baseball drafts after going 11-11 with a 2.96 ERA last year. McKenzie was slated to start the second game of the season, but he could miss up to eight weeks due to the injury.
McKenzie's stock has plummeted in 2023 Fantasy baseball rankings, as his injury could lead to him being one of the 2023 Fantasy baseball busts. Many owners will be avoiding him with their 2023 Fantasy baseball picks, but he could have value as a waiver wire addition. Before going on the clock in any 2023 Fantasy baseball drafts, be sure to see the Fantasy baseball rankings 2023 and cheat sheets from the proven computer model at SportsLine.
Last season, SportsLine's Projection Model identified several top Fantasy baseball sleepers, breakouts and busts, including Reds first baseman Joey Votto. The team at SportsLine was all over Votto as a Fantasy bust from the start after a resurgent 2021 season that saw him going as one of the top 12 first basemen off the board in 2022 Fantasy baseball drafts. After slashing .266/.375/.563 with 36 homers and 99 RBI the year prior, Votto slashed .205/.319/.370 with 11 home runs and 41 RBIs in 2022. He finished outside the top 45 players at his position and anybody who followed SportsLine's advice avoided a major headache.
Their model is powered by the same people who powered projections for all three major Fantasy sites. And that same group is sharing its 2023 Fantasy baseball rankings and cheat sheets over at SportsLine, helping you find Fantasy baseball sleepers, breakouts and busts long before your competition. Their cheat sheets, available for leagues on many major sites, are updated multiple times every day.
Any time more MLB news comes out about the updated 2023 MLB schedule or Fantasy baseball injuries, the team at SportsLine updates its projections. Go to SportsLine now to see these proven Fantasy baseball cheat sheets.
Top 2023 Fantasy baseball sleepers
One of the 2023 Fantasy baseball sleepers the model is all over: Cardinals starting pitcher Miles Mikolas. Mikolas made 33 starts for St. Louis last season, posting a disappointing 12-13 record.
Despite the losing record, the right-hander made the All-Star team in 2022. He finished the year with a 3.29 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 153:39 K:BB over 202.1 innings. Mikolas features elite control, and an outstanding defense behind him should give him a high floor in 2023. Those factors are a big reason why SportsLine's model has identified the 34-year-old as one of its top 2023 Fantasy baseball sleepers.
Top 2023 Fantasy baseball breakouts
One of the 2023 Fantasy baseball breakouts the model is jumping on: Rockies shortstop Ezequiel Tovar. The 21-year-old Venezuelan is a consensus top 25 prospect entering the 2023 MLB season and the expectation is that he'll be the everyday shortstop for Colorado this season. Tovar has developing power with above-average speed and a high-level hit tool that should translate to big numbers at Coors Field.
Tovar slashed .319/.387/.540 in 71 games last season while playing in Double-A and Triple-A then saw nine games of action in the majors as a September call-up. He had 14 home runs and 17 stolen bases in that half-season in the minors, and that power should play up at baseball's most hitter-friendly park. That's why Tovar is ranked ahead of Nico Hoerner and Anthony Volpe, who are both being drafted at least two rounds earlier on average.
Top 2023 Fantasy baseball busts
As for players to avoid, the model has pinpointed Brewers first baseman Rowdy Tellez as one of its biggest 2023 Fantasy baseball busts. He rejoined the team last week after playing for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic, going 0 of 3 with a strikeout in his first spring training game after returning. Tellez avoided the arbitration process by agreeing to a one-year, $4.95 million contract in January.
He struggled with consistency last season, batting a career-low .219, despite hitting a career-high 35 home runs. The 27-year-old is expected to have an everyday role at first base this season, but his batting average last year is enough to make him a player to avoid. He is being drafted ahead of first basemen such as Joey Meneses, Miguel Vargas and Triston Casas, who are all better picks than Tellez in the model's rankings.
How to find proven 2023 Fantasy baseball rankings
SportsLine's model is also high on a surprising starting pitcher who lands in the top 10 of its positional rankings. This player is barely going off the board in the top 125 picks, but is projected to outperform starters such as Aaron Nola, Shane McClanahan and Brandon Woodruff. This pick could be the difference in winning your league or going home with nothing. You can only see who it is here.
So which 2023 Fantasy baseball busts, breakouts, and sleepers should you target or fade in your drafts? Visit SportsLine now to get 2023 Fantasy baseball rankings for every single position, all from the model that called Joey Votto's disappointing season, and find out.