2023 Dynasty Baseball RankingsDynasty BaseballGeneral


There was a time when the American League was packed full of good to great Designated Hitters, but now, even after the National League adopted it, most teams only use it now to give their starters a day off from fielding. So let us celebrate these guys, as they should primarily appear as their teams’ Designated Hitters in 2023.

1. Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 1)

Ohtani is #1 as a DH, and no one is close. The future Hall of Famer has shown a durability over the last two seasons usually reserved for a full time DH (appearing in 315 out of a possible 324 games) and not one who pitches every six days as well. Last season saw him improve his K rate by 5% (from 29.6% in 2021 to 24.2% last season) and while he stole less bases (11 last year compared to 26 in 2021) and hit fewer homers (34 last year to 46 the year before) he was still the 11th overall hitter in OBP leagues last season on the Razzball player rater. He hits the ball to all fields, his baseball savant page is full of red, and we are watching the best baseball player of all time, in real life, in real time. Do not miss a chance to see him in person, because you will tell your grandkids about it, as we may never see a player like this again. (Phil Barrington)

2. J.D. Martinez, Los Angeles Dodgers of Southern California (Age: 35, Previous Rank: 4)

Martinez had a down 2022 by his standards, as he battled some nagging injuries while playing for a subpar Red Sox team doing whatever it could to continually get worse as the season wore on. Overall, Martinez appeared accumulated 596 plate appearances, and while the 16 homers were the lowest amount he had hit since 2013 (excluding the Covid 2020 season) he still slashed a respectable .274/.341/.448 which helped a lot of fantasy teams out there. He always has hit Left-handed pitching well, and will be locked into the DH spot against them, but should not be in a platoon, either. If we temper our expectations and see a 25+ Home Run hitter with a lot of RBI opportunities in a stacked lineup, the juice is definitely worth the squeeze for the upcoming season. A draft pick in upcoming FYPDs may be all it takes for a contending Dynasty team to acquire his services. (Phil Barrington)

3. Harold Ramírez, Tampa Bay Rays (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 186 at OF)

Ramírez found a home last season in Tampa after spending the previous two seasons in Miami and Cleveland. While he doesn’t like taking walks (4.2% career walk rate) he also doesn’t strike out that often either (17.6% career). Last season he had a .300 batting average and a .343 OBP in 435 plate appearances, though only six home runs and three steals did not endear him to most fantasy managers. Ramírez saw most of his game time at DH, but also more than enough games to qualify at first base and outfield in 2023. A good bench bat to help with Average and OBP, but not much else. (Phil Barrington)

4. Nelson Cruz, San Diego Padres (Age: 42, Previous Rank: 5)

Father Time caught up with Cruz in 2022, posting the lowest wRC+ since 2008, a below-average 85, in 507 Plate Appearances for the Nationals, Cruz hit only ten homers and slashed an ugly .234/.313/.337, though he did, oddly, steal four bases (the most since 2014). Cruz still hit the ball hard, appearing in the top 81% (and above) in the league in HardHit%, Average Exit Velocity, and Max Exit Velocity. For the minimal investment, in a better situation, against left-handed pitching, Cruz may provide sneaky value to savvy managers in daily leagues for one more year. (Phil Barrington)

5. Seth Beer, Arizona Diamondbacks, (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 32 at 1B)

Is there a place for the Beer man on your Dynasty teams in 2022? Eh, I’m not so sure (which means no, but I am trying to be democratic so you read on a bit further). The Diamondbacks signed 37-year-old Evan Longoria (remember when he was a thing?) to be their primary DH, so if the team thinks he’s a better option than Beer, well, I’m going to listen to them. Though it really seems like Beer should have been given an opportunity as the Diamondbacks are not going to be a competitive team this season and he has only received 136 Plate Appearances at the big league level. If his name is Seth Johnson, do we even care that much about him? (Phil Barrington)

6. Franmil Reyes, Free Agent (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 3)

Like Cruz, Franmil hit the ball hard, when he hit it, last season. Probably was, he didn’t connect often, and he was cut from Cleveland and wound up on a Cubs team where at bats were available, though he couldn’t capitalize on them. He struck out more last year than any other big-league season, and his K rate has worsened every year he has been in the majors, up to 33% last year. He also walked at the lowest rate of his career, at 6%. A bounce back at his age is within the realm of possibilities, but it is dubious, as he has no team as of this writing. Reyes should get invited to some teams’ spring training and could be a DH on a team going nowhere. Reyes has topped 30 homers twice in his career and could be a worthy flier to take a shot on if he signs with a team prepared to give him everyday at-bats. I just don’t know how likely that is. (Phil Barrington)

7. Daniel Vogelbach, New York Mets (Age: , Previous Rank: 59 at 1B)

Vogelbach has bounced around a lot since 2020, playing on five teams before joining the Mets in late July last season. 2022 was his most productive as a professional when he hit 18 homers with a good .360 OBP and .793 OPS. Vogelbach could always take a walk, with a career 15.7% walk rate, while striking out at about the league average. Once he joined the Mets he did even better, with a .393 OBP. Right now roster resource has him hitting 6th in a great lineup, though as the strong side of a platoon, as lefties own him. He is most useful in daily leagues where you can sit him versus left-handed pitching. (Phil Barrington)

8. Will Frizzell, Washington Nationals (Age: 23, Previous Rank: Unranked)

I wrote up Frizzell just a couple weeks ago for the Prospect Spotlight, and to tl;dr it; he’s a big boy already a full-time DH at Single-A with light tower power, who won’t cost an arm and a leg to acquire in Dynasty Leagues, especially 16 team and larger ones. (Phil Barrington)

9. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers (Age: 40, Previous Rank: 6)

Miggy was one of the best hitters in the league for more than a decade, has two MVP trophies on his mantle, has appeared in 12 All-Star games, and will go into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. Though he probably should have retired a few seasons ago, it appears this upcoming one will be his last, as he told mlb.com back in November “I think it’s going to be my last year,” he said. “It feels a little weird to say that. I thought I wasn’t going to say that ever. But I think it’s time to say goodbye to baseball.”

His career batting average is .308, and let’s hope he can keep it above .300 for his career. Detroit really shouldn’t be playing him at all, so this may be a situation where, if he starts the season, say, 0-30, he retires gracefully, taking his $30 million salary and riding off into the sunset. (Phil Barrington)

10. Yermín Mercedes, Chicago White Sox (Age: 30, Previous Rank: 7)

The chubby ex-Catcher had such a fun debut in 2020, becoming the first player since 1900 to start his career with eight straight hits. His ego got a bit inflated, as he couldn’t keep up that torrid pace, and was eventually demoted, quit baseball via social media, and found himself on the Giants for 2022. He did play in 31 games for the Giants where he had a .325 OBP in 83 plate appearances. Mercedes spent a lot of time in the minors, where he never posted a wRC+ lower than 106, and is a slightly above-average hitter, who will probably find himself a spring training invite, or, at worst, a minor league deal. (Phil Barrington)

The Author

Phil Barrington

Phil Barrington

Fantasy player since 1999, specializing in OPS leagues. Accountant by day, fantasy writer by night. Spreadsheets are life.

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