Rowdy Tellez was quite the steal last year in drafts, especially in the power department. In the 2023 Fantasy Baseball Season, fantasy managers wonder who will be this year's Rowdy Tellez.
First, let's get through the red tape of defining what parameters I'm looking for a player to qualify as this year's Rowdy Tellez. Like Tellez, the player has shown power potential in previous seasons (like Tellez's 2019 21-home run season), but the player is all but forgotten due to either a new location or injuries. I'm especially looking for hitters who have shot at 30-plus home runs or slightly close to that range. In 2022, Tellez's ADP was at 280, so that is the vicinity where the candidates are currently being drafted in 2023.
Now that I'm done with all the nerd stuff, let's dig into the fun stuff and see if we can find this year's Rowdy Tellez!
2023 Fantasy Baseball: This Year's Rowdy Tellez
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Austin Meadows, Detroit Tigers, ADP: 274
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Meadows had another season derailed by an injury. The ankle injury bothered him in his first season with Detroit because he couldn't muster one home in the 36 games he played in 2022. But Meadows says he is feeling healthy and better than ever (they all say that in the spring).
Meadows has a solid career 9.4 percent barrel rate, close to Tellez's 12.9 barrel rate in 2022. We had seen Meadows get close to that type of barrel rate in 2019 when he had a 12.5 barrel rate. If he can stay healthy, he is almost an automatic guarantee for 30-plus homers.
He doesn't have to stay healthy for an entire season to achieve 30-plus home runs; he has to hit the 130-game mark. In the two seasons where he played 130 or more games, Meadows walked with 33 home runs in 2019 and 27 in 2021. I know he has played five seasons in the majors and only stayed healthy for two, but his draft price has the injury concerns baked into it.
Meadows can provide more value for fantasy managers than Tellez did in 2022. Meadows has far better plate discipline skills; he has a career .259 batting average, whereas Tellez had a .219 AVG in '22.
Remember, Meadows is only 27 years old; he is still very young to recover from his injuries and has room to grow into his untapped power. Plus, the outfield is shallow this year. You'll have to take chances if you want to compete, especially in five outfielder leagues.
Jarred Kelenic, Seattle Mariners, ADP: 297
Everyone has been waiting for Jarred Kelenic to have a breakout like his teammate Julio Rodriguez, but he has struggled at the plate preventing his breakout.
Fantasy managers have all but given up on Kelenic ever living up to his number-one prospect pedigree, but he still possesses the power skills that made fantasy managers salivate. Even in a small sample in 2022, Kelenic was in the top six percent of the league in max exit velocity. He has the kind of power that would put him among the likes of Aaron Judge and Yordan Alvarez, but his strikeout woes kept him from that.
Kelenic had a terrible 33.7 percent strikeout rate in 2022, but he can even improve that rate slightly. He'll be a sure thing for 30-plus home runs. It's likely that this young 23-year-old player can improve his plate discipline to become a power phenom. He is practically free at his current draft price and could provide a massive uptick in power. Yes, he'll drain your batting average, but remember, Tellez wasn't a huge boost in average, either.
Jared Walsh, Los Angeles Angels, ADP: 398
No one is drafting Jared Walsh. His 2021 breakout season of 29 home runs and an incredible .275 AVG are a distant memory for drafters. Last season was so terrible for Walsh that he appears more toxic and uglier than the Toxic Avenger. But the burned feelings from 2022 are going too far for Walsh.
Before 2022, he was in the league's top half in max exit velocity. He was in the top six percent in 2021 and the top ten in 2020. Last season, his power didn't entirely dissipate. He was in the 82nd percentile in max exit velocity, 72nd percentile in averaged exit velocity, and 65th percentile in hard-hit percentage. They are not in the upper echelon, but he is still quite above league average.
If Walsh can improve on hitting against lefties just slightly, he'll play his way out of the platoon he is projected to be in and could quickly recapture his hitting skills from the 2021 season.
Don't be surprised if this time next year, and we write an article called this year's Jared Walsh.
Jorge Soler, Miami Marlins, ADP: 292
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Speaking of forgotten power heroes of yesteryear, Soler is a prime candidate for some cheap power (In fact, this article was once the This Year's Jorge Soler a few seasons ago).
Soler was in the 99th percentile of max exit velocity in 2022. So even as he enters his ninth season in the majors, there are no signs of decline. In fact, he has been at the top of the league in max exit velocity since 2015.
A back injury cut Soler's 2022 season, but he was on track for 29 home runs until the injury. Fantasy managers don't member that two seasons ago, Soler was able to rack up 27 home runs in 2021 after a few down years. He can bounce back and hasn't lost any power, so Soler may be the safest bet at being this year's Tellez.
Maybe, fantasy managers are scared away by Marlins park, but it is not much different from Kauffman Stadium, where Soler had most of his power success.
Wil Myers, Cincinnati Reds, ADP: 335
Myers had too short of a season in 2022 to examine any of the data, but Myers had a decent 107.8 max exit velocity in 2021. Even if you look at Myers' 2022 stats, he had a respectable above-league average 30.1 hard-hit percentage.
Most of Myers' production took place in San Diego, one of the worst parks for hitters, but now Myers is heading to Great American Ballpark, a hitter's heaven. Great American Ballpark is the number one park for right-handed home runs. You can sneeze, and a ball will turn into a home run in that ballpark.
I don't think Myers will cross the 30-home run mark, but he'll come very in his new ballpark.
Spencer Torkelson, Detroit Tigers, ADP: 305
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Torkelson was a sleeper pick last season and failed to live up to his sleeper status. Now he is living in the basement on draft boards this season.
Torkelson didn't flash extreme power prowess like Walsh, Kelenic, and Soler, but Torkelson flashed some above-average power that could blossom for this young prospect. He had a 41.8 percent hard-hit rate, which was way above the league average of 22.1 percent. It's the same for his averaged exit velocity and max exit velocity.
One bright spot for Torkelson's 2022 stats is that he improved in every hitting category in the season's second half. The longer he spent in the majors, the better his plate discipline. Having an entire season as the Tigers' first baseman could help Torkelson take more chances and unleash his power on the fantasy community.
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