Baseball. Welcome back. After another winter, we are approaching another baseball season, and that means we are also approaching another season of Fantasy Baseball. Now it is time to set your lineups with the help from the 2023 Fantasy Baseball Hitting Planner for 3/30 - 4/9.
Yes, another year of believing we won the league during drafts only for it to fall apart a week or two into the season. At least, that is usually the case for me. Hopefully, this is the year we all take home our Fantasy Baseball championships and earn bragging rights over our friends, family, coworkers, or whoever it is we compete against.
Of course, we are all committed to being the best seeing as we are here at Fantasy Six Pack looking up the expert (and my non-expert) advice one finds here. Good luck to everyone. Let us jump into the Hitting Planner.
2023 Fantasy Baseball Hitting Planner (3/30 - 4/9)
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2023 Fantasy Baseball Week 1 Schedule
Team to Target
Boston Red Sox
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The Red Sox had a disappointing season in 2022 and would love to come out strong in 2023. Boston followed that up with a conflicting offseason that saw star shortstop Xander Bogaerts head West but also saw them extend franchise third baseman Rafael Devers. They added Masataka Yoshida, Adam Duvall, and Justin Turner and hope to see Triston Casas take the next step.
The season opens up with the Orioles, Pirates, and Tigers.
The Orioles are a fun team with young budding young stars giving fans a reason to be excited. The pitching may be messy this year, especially with top prospect Grayson Rodriguez not making the roster due to a poor Spring. They are projected to start Kyle Gibson, Dean Kremer, and Cole Irvin to begin the year, and while these guys are solid pitchers, none strike fear into an opposing lineup. Add in an up-and-down bullpen behind Felix Bautista and the Red Sox might find some runs to open the season.
The Pirates have stars such as Oneil Cruz & Ke'Bryan Hayes giving the Buccos hope for a strong future. The pitching is a touch behind the young stars right now and the entire staff is projected to have an ERA over 4.00. The three projected starters look to be Roansy Contreras, Johan Oviedo, and Mitch Keller, who could be great pitchers but will need time to develop. The bullpen behind David Bednar is also suspect.
Finally, the Tigers are in a precarious spot with their future. Especially seeing as two of their young starters, Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal, are sidelined for some time. A rotation with projected ERAs in the mid-4s and a weak bullpen screams opportunity for the Red Sox.
Team to Avoid
I think the Arizona Diamondbacks could be a fun team in 2023 and feature some fun players to watch not only this year but in the near future. If all goes well, this could be a team on the verge of contending soon.
A common theme so far for me has been growing pains. A young team like Arizona might experience some growing pains. Especially when one sees their opening schedule. They open with 4 in Los Angeles against the Dodgers, then travel to San Diego for two, and play the Dodgers again for four more games. There might not be a tougher ten-game stretch of the season for the Diamondbacks this year.
Both the Dodgers and Padres were at the top of the league in pitching in 2022 and look just as good this year. The Dodgers will run out Julio Urias, Dustin May, Clayton Kershaw, Noah Syndergaard, and top prospect Ryan Pepiot. That has the potential to be one of the better staff in baseball this year and will force plenty of offenses to struggle. The Diamondbacks are the team that drew the short straw and will need to fight early to score runs.
The Padres rotation may not be as deep and they could be without Joe Musgrove for a while. However, the Diamondbacks will most likely see Yu Darvish or Blake Snell in one of the two games. Add in what looks to be a decent bullpen and it might be a slow start for the snakes.
Player(s) to Start
This section will sometimes include two players. However, with it being week 1, I know we are wanting to start the guys we drafted and justify our draft capital. I understand that and will not argue it. I will, however, give a player I like this year that could get off to a fast start and also a guy who might start slow.
Marcell Ozuna, DH/OF, Atlanta Braves
Marcell Ozuna has been the center of controversy over the last two years and also has stunk at the plate. Not great for a guy who is mostly thought of as a Designated Hitter and not a great start to me convincing you to start him. I know.
This is also a guy who the Braves tried to move for a bad contract and who lost his spot in the lineup last year. The Braves also brought in several other names to compete for left field and time at DH meaning Ozuna's path to playing time was not as obvious. He would need to be a boy scout off the field and prove himself during Spring Training.
The Braves did come out and say he would be on the Opening Day roster earlier this spring but they did not say in what role. He would have to earn the trust of the team and the coaching staff. This spring, Ozuna has hit .321/.368/.491 with 1 HR, 9 R, and 8 RBI. This includes 6 doubles and a lot of quality contact this spring with good exit velos. It is a small sample size after a really poor two seasons but a .859 OPS is encouraging and the Braves are paying him decent money. He will play and could get off to a hot start to prove he belongs on a roster with championship aspirations.
Player(s) to Avoid
Cody Bellinger, OF, Chicago Cubs
I am all aboard the Cody Bellinger bounce-back train. However, I am not expecting a quick start that sees him face Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff in the opening series and potentially Jacob deGrom the following week. Sure there is a stretch where he plays the Reds (I might still play him there), but Bellinger has not contributed to our rosters for a couple of years now.
He is worth a flyer but is he worth a risk in the first week of the Fantasy Baseball season? It probably depends on if the league has 3 OF spots or 5 OF spots and I completely understand that. I am just saying I would consider other possibilities to open the season and let the volatile bat of Bellinger show me what it could be before I potentially take a sub .200 average to start my year.
I want him to bounce back, I really do, but I am skeptical it could be a fast start. He is a great personality that would be good for baseball if he gets right again but it is not guaranteed. There is also the possibility that the Cubs lineup is not any good around him, which will prevent his opportunity for runs and driving anyone in.
Thanks for reading the 2023 Fantasy Baseball Hitting Planner (3/30 - 4/9). I hope you get some value out of it! As we advance into the season, we will get more in-depth and have more teams/players to cover. The first few weeks of the season are always a learning process and that goes for us fantasy experts too!
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