Hitter List 5/31: Top 150 Hitters – Week 9 Fantasy Baseball 2023

The top 150 hitters for 2023 fantasy baseball, plus a taxi squad.

Let’s get some basics out of the way regarding how to interpret these rankings. None of this stuff should come as any major surprise, but it never hurts to provide background:



  • Wander Franco has stolen six bases since this article last published. I don’t think anyone pegged him for over 25 steals this season — not even the most aggressive projection models — but here he is at 20 before June. Franco is pacing just short of 20 home runs, which is less surprising, but he won’t need many dingers if he keeps running and slashing .298/.362/.482 on baseball’s best team.
  • I am more terrified of Trea Turner’s descent by the day. That inability to connect on balls in the zone is very unusual for him and really goes against the type of hitter he tries to be.


  • Welcome back, Jose Altuve! He hasn’t run yet, but 11 hits (five for extra bases) in his first nine games is exactly what we hoped for. Altuve remains the heart and soul of this Houston lineup, so his return may also provide a spark for Kyle Tucker and others.
  • Bryan Reynolds has four extra-base hits in his last seven starts, including two triples! It’s great to see the power back on.



  • Until we have more of an estimate on Cedric Mullins‘ return, it’s hard to drop him further (and to rank him in general). Groin injuries can be pesky.
  • Daulton Varsho and J.T. Realmuto have fallen well short of expectations in 2023, and I could no longer justify keeping them so high on the list. They have the talent to turn it back around at any time, but they aren’t in the same tier right now as Will Smith and Adley Rutschman.



  • Eloy Jiménez looks healthy at this exact moment. That’s a good thing for fantasy and for baseball.
  • I like Josh Jung a lot, and you should keep hanging on through the future slumps. Jung is improving his ability to make contact as the season goes on, according to both PLV and in his actual strikeout rate.

  • Steven Kwan just can’t get the ball in the air, and there are only so many holes in the infield he can take advantage of. The plate discipline is strong, but the quality of contact is not. It doesn’t help that Cleveland’s offense is awful and that he isn’t running more like everyone else.





  • I’ve been underrating Josh Lowe, I admit it. The more I look at what he’s doing, the more I like it. For what it’s worth, I care more about him keeping his strikeout rate down than I do seeing his walk rate go up. This looks like a 20 home run, 20 stolen base player with upside, especially if they let this Lowe lead off a bit more.
  • Jonathan India’s play should have been enough to move him up in the rankings, but all of the chatter about India being the odd-man-out when Elly De la Cruz eventually gets the call has me worried. Reputable sites have mentioned it enough for me to think it may be more than just noise.
  • Nope, still no verdict on the ever-changing Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Maybe 20 home runs with good ratios?



  • Jarred Kelenic’s lack of plate discipline has me worried. Not “drop him” worried, of course, but this profile of low walks and high strike outs combined with his track record of soul-crushing slumps in the majors has me preparing for the worst.
  • J.D. Martinez looks like a vintage version of himself lately, though his age, injury history, and recent track record have me holding back at least a little.



  • Gunnar Henderson is turning it back on, finally, and while I’m not fully on board, his upside makes even slightly good news more exciting.
  • Jorge Soler is hitting home runs all over the place, and while the power is real, the streakiness is too.
  • Michael Conforto is the feature today, and of course he picks up a day-to-day tag right before I finish this thing up! Conforto has dramatically improved at the plate, with six home runs and 28 combined runs and RBI in his last 16 games with a .393/.426/.721 line (201 wRC+). The 19.1% strikeout rate also caught my attention—a significant improvement from early season results. Assuming he misses minimal time with this heel issue, there’s reason to believe that he could return to the type of player he was before his long layoff—a guy capable of 30 home runs and a high OBP.
  • Miguel Vargas just doesn’t do enough damage to the stuff he chooses to hit and it’s driving me nuts.
  • There are some signs of life from Brandon Lowe, but not a ton. He has the upside to hit 30 or more home runs and will generally do so in bunches, but he’s about a week or two from a big fall if we don’t see any power come out.



  • This tier is MASSIVE, and it’s because most of these guys could be cut in a shallow league with little need to debate if there is a cold streak or some kind of news update or even just a good feeling you got from watching a few at-bats.
  • Bryan De La Cruz continues to be strong at the plate, an extension of what he showed off in 2022. The real question is whether there is any upside to the profile. Is he more than a 20 home run, .275 hitter over a good full season, or will his aggressive nature keep the ratios down and limit the upside even further?
  • Matt McLain is getting hits in bunches, though Statcast suggests he’s getting more than his fair share of luck in terms of outcomes. The high strikeout rate will need to get corrected and he’ll have to find a bit more power for me to buy in as a top-15 shortstop for fantasy due to the depth of the position, and I’m just not sure he can get that power without striking out even more than he is now. McLain is a pretty good real-life prospect thanks to the speed and glove, but his fantasy upside feels limited.
  • As I’ve said in the past, Christopher Morel’s contact issues make his profile extremely volatile. These hot and cold streaks are par for the course.
  • I’ve added Francisco Álvarez in every league where I’ve needed a catcher.
  • Of the host of newcomers at the end of the list, I might be most interested in a turnaround of Mitch Haniger, who has shown strong power upside in years past and is most likely to keep an everyday job.


And now, once again, it’s time for the Hitter List:

And here’s the Taxi Squad, presented in no particular order:

Taxi Squad

Scott Chu

Scott Chu is a Senior Fantasy Analyst here bat Pitcher List and has written about fantasy baseball since 2013. He's also the inventor and mascot for Fantasy Curling (as seen the Wall Street Journal) and a 3x FSWA Award Finalist. In addition to being a fantasy analyst, he's a dad, animal lover, Simpsons fanatic, cartoon connoisseur, amateur curler, a CODA, and an attorney.

29 responses to “Hitter List 5/31: Top 150 Hitters – Week 9 Fantasy Baseball 2023”

  1. AP says:

    First of all, I’m a big fan of this list!

    I agreed with you dropping Trea Turner to Tier 2 last week, but I don’t feel like the extra drop this week is warranted.

    Since 5/22 he only has an 11.1 K%, which is backed up by Z-Contact of 85.9% and Contact of 78.5% which are more in line with last year and career norms. He also has an Avg. exit velo of 91 MPH in this time.

    Obviously small sample size, but this feels like a case of someone who started the season in a slump, started pressing which made it worse, and is now showing signs in the last week plus of getting back to his old ways but the hits just aren’t falling quite yet. I love him as a buy low if any owners are panicking.

    • Scott Chu says:

      Glad you enioy the list!

      Last 5 games have been better, but with SBs up across the league, how much value can I give a guy who still isn’t barreling the ball and who is running so much less than years past. My fear is that there isn’t a plus tool here to carry a top-15 rank. Top 30? Sure. But with the top end talent being so deep, it’s hard to justify keeping Turner over guys like Adolis Garcia and Wander Franco.

  2. Jim says:

    H Renfroe at 65 is a bad call.
    He is not a full time player.
    He is enduring a brutal month at the plate.

    The meager drop in rank says you’re not paying attention and are weighing way too heavily on past results.

    • Scott Chu says:

      Renfroe, as far as I can tell, is playing just about every day and batting fourth. The results have waned lately, but the approach has been fine and he’s still on pace for 20 home runs. Like other mashers, Renfroe is a streaky guy, but he’s a top-75 bat for me with his role and power. I guess a prolonged slump could pull him as low as the 80s or 90s, but I’d hesitate to go too much lower.

  3. Mike says:

    Great stuff. Corbin Carroll seems criminally low to me.

    And agree with half the blurb on McLain. Contact quality suggests regression but the plate discipline is actually great and way more mature than you gave him credit for. Low O-swing% and single digit SwStr%. The Ks will go down.

    • Scott Chu says:

      Thank you!

      Carroll might be a bit low, and he’s probably doing enough to be in that second tier conversation. I’ll have to dig a bit deeper next time. I dunno about CRIMINALLY low, but I can see the arguments to be bumped. Jeez, the top three or four tiers are just so deep these days.

      McLain does battle, but strikeouts were a problem in 2022 as well so it makes me nervous. Also, what does this batting average look like when he cools down (no one can keep up a 31.6% line drive rate for very long, not even Luis Arraez)? Is it enough in an incredibly deep SS class with one of baseball’s top prospects chomping at the bit to get to the Show?

      It’s less that I doubt McLain long turn, it’s more that I worry about how much run he gets when the heat wears off.

  4. John K says:

    Hi Scott,
    Always look forward to this list! Its become a weekly staple in my rotation, with your Hacks & Jacks pod – Big fan of your work.
    I’m rostering Ozuna after his recent heater, and thinking of cutting out of frustration after the Oakland series. I’m in a H2H categories league with OBP, HR, Steals, RBI, Runs, Total Bases. I’m thinking of cutting Ozuna for either Kirilloff, or Casey Schmitt (both fit my roster needs). Do you like Kiriloff best for floor & ceiling if that trio? Always liked AK, however I think AK has more playing time risk compared to Schmitt.

    Side note, rostering Renfroe, Kris Bryant, Gunnar on that same team – all struggling of late, so Schmitt, or Kirilloff help (only other 1B is Freeman, other options @ SS/ 3B are Bregman & Nico).

    • Scott Chu says:

      No issue cutting Ozuna. Go right ahead. I like Kirilloff more than Schmitt in terms of talent and upside. He does appear to be sitting against most lefties (though the Twins haven’t seen one in a while), so if he has three or four of them coming in a week, I guess I’d be concerned.

      FWIW, I’ve never been a believer in Schmitt, and over his last 13 games, he has a wRC+ under 60. He’s playing, but also hitting near the bottom of the order (Kiriloff bats 3rd or 4th whenever he plays).

      If Schmitt had 6 games and Kiriloff had 4-5, I’d still take Kirilloff.

  5. Goato says:

    Having kyle tucker 10 spots ahead of juan soto is interesting. Despite Soto’s horrific start he has still had a better season, and if you compare them over the last month it’s not close. Massively underrating Soto in this ranking. Generational hitter.

    • Scott Chu says:

      Soto has steadily been moving up as he continues to distance himself from his really rough stretches in late 2022 and early 2023. I expect Soto to continue to climb, but that inexplicable lack of ratios and his weird strikeout issues with lefties (albeit in a very small sample) still sits in the back of my mind.

      Tucker is also having a bad month, but with Altuve back, I have a feeling it’s going to be a hot summer in Houston. Both are top 2-3 tier guys even at their low points.

  6. Joe says:

    Scott, Thanks for your insights here and on H&J. It’s must reading and listening for me, pleasurable. I’m writing for your feel on the potential of Matt Mervis. I know the credentials and performance, but do you see, in that crystal ball on your shoulders, a glimmer of stardom?
    Thanks, Joe

    • Scott Chu says:

      There’s plenty of power in this bat, but like many other sluggers who swing hard, adapting to major league pitching has been a difficult process. Long term I think he can turn it around if he can get that strikeout rate below 25%. If it continues to stay high, I’m probably not that interested. He had sub-20% strikeout rates in triple-A, which is very encouraging.

      I’m not stashing Mervis in 10-12 team redrafts or anything, but he’s worth watching.

  7. Henry says:

    Spencer Steer can’t even make the taxi squad?

    • Chuck says:

      Steer has been gold for me lately. Yea, he deserves a Taxi Squad mention, at least. I’d be surprised if Scott disagrees.

    • Scott Chu says:

      The Taxi Squad is always missing folks. I actually roster Steer in Tout! He’s had one average month and one good month. He’s on par with anyone in the final tier or Taxi Squad.

  8. Warren Shinnamon says:

    What in the HECK am I supposed to do with Kyle Schwarber?? I’ve been benching him for a full month but also feel like dropping him would be an awful idea.

    • Scott Chu says:

      Schwarber does this every season. You have to play around it as best you can and know that an insane streak is coming. He had four or five stretches like this one last season and got to his numbers. I anticipate the same in 2023.

  9. Bigmike69 says:

    Scott, always look forward to this list, but when you talk about top catchers, how does Sean Murphy not crack the conversation? He’s been pretty dominant so far and has numbers on par with Adley, JT, Will and Daulton.

    • Scott Chu says:

      I wouldn’t be shocked if I get Murphy/Varsho/Realmuto closer together if things stay on this trajectory, but I can’t bring Murphy as high as Smith or Adley—the upsides are not similar, even if current production has been. I’m impressed with the strong start by Murphy, but I’m not fully convinced he can keep up this power pace or this batting average.

  10. Cool Guy 4 says:

    Curious to know roughly where you may consider slotting Luis Urias when he returns next week

    • Scott Chu says:

      Probably one of the last two tiers until we are sure he’s playing well. I was a fan in the preseason as a bench/back-end guy but the upside isn’t that high.

  11. WesMan21 says:

    If McCarthy keeps getting 3-4 bags and then 4-5 runs per week along with a decent avg, where does he land?

    I feel like he could end up being right behind Ruiz for ROS steals. Thanks Scott!

    • Scott Chu says:

      Every week he gets full-time PAs and plays decently well has him moving up.

      • WesMan21 says:

        Thanks Scott, I appreciate the input. Snagged him in 4 of 5 leagues I manage. Hope he is the shot in the arm for bags that I desperately need in some leagues. Lost Jazz in 3 of the 4 leagues.

  12. Chuck says:

    I had to cut the chord with Lars Nootbaar (for now). Just not the production I need to be a factor in my league. To remain in your Top 100 is a stretch.

    As always though, thanks for sharing your expertise, Scott!

    • Scott Chu says:

      He’s close to a big fall. He’s still leading off and showed just enough last week to have me give him one more week.

      As you can often see on this list, the drop from 100 to unmentioned doesn’t take long—but I like to be sure when it happens.

  13. Massimo says:

    What should we do with Carlos Correa in shallow redrafts? He’s been Tier 7-8 between 55-65 for all 9 weeks. June feels like when he typically turns it on, but something feels very off about his rest-of-season outlook.

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