Chad Young’s 2023 Ottoneu C Rankings

I didn’t start this series until January last year (which was already this year!) but I wanted to get out a bit earlier in 2023 (which is still 2022) as trade season is well underway. This comes with some risk – a number of players are still unsigned, trades are still to come, not all projections are available, etc. – but I think the risk is worth the reward, don’t you?

As in past years, before I share the list, I want to share some notes on my process.

All of my Ottoneu Position Rankings: C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | SP | RP

  1. Tiers > Ranks. The specific order of the rankings is less helpful and less meaningful than the tiers. MJ Melendez might be #10 and Tyler Stephenson might be #11, but Stephenson is closer to Danny Jansen (#15) for me than he is to Melendez (I suspect this is the first of many rankings people will yell at me about). I am always open to discuss my rankings – and I will change them based on convincing feedback – but moving guys around within the tiers just doesn’t matter much. If you want to argue, tell me who is in the wrong tier entirely.
  2. Format Matters. These are for Ottoneu FanGraphs points format, but can be used fairly effectively for SABR Points (bats are slightly more valuable; for pitchers things vary more) and 4×4 (which values the same skills if not the same way).  Also note that, compared to roto leagues (4×4 or 5×5), points leagues have a steeper value curve, so the most expensive players are not quite so expensive in roto. The biggest difference, of course, is that 5×5 values SB highly and this format does not. For 5×5, there are a ton of other rankings out there, including right here on FanGraphs. Make sure to note that redraft rankings are not the same as keeper rankings, and Ottoneu will be more similar to keeper or dynasty. Finally, while it won’t be a full ranking, I’ll be sharing my top tens at each position for 5×5 keeper leagues as part of the Keep or Kut podcast.
  3. Projected P/G are the Basis but not the Ranking. On each table, you will see a projected P/G for each player. For this list, those are based on the Depth Charts projections as of 11/30. You’ll note, however, that I didn’t simply put the top projection first and then work down the list. A few things can cause me to break from the projections. Playing time and role, age and track record, future value and possible breakout potential are all factors that could cause me to move someone around. For example, Melendez is well below J.T. Realmuto for me, despite a better projected P/G, while Shea Langeliers is ahead of Yasmani Grandal. The former is because I think the projection is low on Realmuto, given his track record and his 2022 performance, while the latter is because I think the risk presented by Langeliers comes with more long-term potential reward than the risk with Grandal.
  4. One Position at a Time. Players are ranked for just one position at a time, and will only be ranked at positions where I think they might be/should be used in fantasy. Last year, I didn’t rank catchers at any other spots, but I found myself using Daulton Varsho as an OF; this year I plan to include Varsho, Cooper Hummel and others in my OF rankings, but do not plan to rank Christian Bethancourt 베탄코트 at 1B.
  5. N/A Means Not Enough Data. If the P/G column reads N/A that either means the projection doesn’t exist or the playing time was too small and I decided to ignore it.
  6. Tiers are Pre-Inflation. In practice, this means these tiers are most applicable to first-year leagues, but you can also adjust for inflation for your league. If you expect 20% inflation in your league, the top tier at C becomes $24-$30.


Ottoneu FanGraphs Points C Rankings
Tier Rank Player Eligibility Projected P/G Notes
$20-$25 1 Alejandro Kirk C 5.72 He wasn’t quite the best hitting C in baseball last year, but he was close and he had a ton of PA, too.
$20-$25 2 Adley Rutschman C 5.05 Am I jumping the gun putting him this high up? Maybe, but he was awesome last year and there is still some projection there.
$20-$25 3 Will Smith C 5.31 As good as anyone and had the second most PA among C in 2022.
$20-$25 4 J.T. Realmuto C 4.79 It’s probably not smart to bet against him being the best, but age is often unkind to C – remember how we felt about Grandal a year ago?
$15-$19 5 Daulton Varsho C/OF 4.94 If I were more confident in the playing time situation for others in this tier, he would probably be a bit lower down.
$15-$19 6 William Contreras C 5.14 I am very curious how he is used in 2023 and fully prepared to regret leaving him outside my top 5.
$15-$19 7 Willson Contreras C 4.71 Landing spot and role could move him up – talk of the Astros using him as a DH/LF, for example, is intriguing.
$10-$14 8 Sean Murphy C 4.54 If he gets moved, bump him up – Oakland has hurt him a lot; his .349 road wOBA has him closer to the first tier than this one.
$10-$14 9 Salvador Perez C 4.76 The fall off in 2023 wasn’t a surprise, and it could get worse, but hard to see him outside the top 10.
$10-$14 10 MJ Melendez C/OF 5.11 I think his reputation in Ottoneu circles outpaces his production so far, but Statcast data suggests there could be some power coming.
$6-$9 11 Tyler Stephenson C 4.47 I am probably low on him, given how effective he was last year, but he has a long injury history and that makes him riskier than the guys above him.
$6-$9 12 Francisco Álvarez C 4.98 The upside is tremendous and Steamer projecting him for 4.98 P/G (6th best) is tantalizing.
$6-$9 13 Cal Raleigh C 4.57 He made big strides with his power in the second half and while I don’t think he will be a high BABIP guy, I don’t think he’ll be as low as .226 either.
$6-$9 14 Keibert Ruiz C 4.69 I still believe in the talent and would love to buy low.
$6-$9 15 Danny Jansen C 4.94 Guarantee me equal playing time next year, and I take him over Raleigh and Melendez.
$3-$5 16 Logan O’Hoppe C 4.74 Is O’Hoppe better than some of the names above him? Probably. Do I want to rely on that for my team today? Nah.
$3-$5 17 Shea Langeliers C 4.34 I like O’Hoppe a bit more, but generally feel similarly about where I ranked them.
$3-$5 18 Travis d’Arnaud C 4.33 He was much better last year than people seem to realize. He will also be 34 before Opening Day and might be second best on his own team.
$3-$5 19 Bo Naylor C 4.38 If you want to tell me Moreno is better, I won’t argue, but I like the upside and I think he gets more 2023 playing time, though trades could change that.
$3-$5 20 Gabriel Moreno C 4.59 I worry about playing time as well as whether or not his power will play in Ottoneu.
$1-$2 21 Yasmani Grandal C 4.50 He was better last year than the numbers show, but his walk rate went down and the power cratered and that’s kind of all he has.
$1-$2 22 Austin Nola C 4.14 Nola’s HR rate was never fully supported by his Statcast data and the last couple years his barrel rate has tanked. I don’t expect that to bounceback now.
$1-$2 23 Christian Bethancourt C/1B 4.13 Plenty of strike outs, too few walks, and meh power? Projection is strong, so I won’t push him down too far, but I don’t love the profile.
$1-$2 24 Joey Bart C 3.54 I am higher on him than most at this point, and I will bail out early if it isn’t working, but he is going to keep getting chances.
$1-$2 25 Endy Rodriguez C 4.79 Still think we are a year early on him and I don’t love betting on C prospects who aren’t ready to debut.
$1-$2 26 Mitch Garver C 4.43 He’s probably the third choice catcher for his team, but of the three, he is the best bat, so if he plays, maybe he could be useful?
$1-$2 27 Cooper Hummel C/OF 3.92 This is a purely a speculative play, as he doesn’t have a clear role and his 2022 wasn’t inspiring, but the minor league track record is interesting.
$1-$2 28 Jonah Heim C 3.99 Heim appears to be a strong defensive catcher, which should keep him in the lineup, but all he is doing in the lineup is blocking more interesting bats while making outs.
$1-$2 29 Elias Díaz C 4.11 Just use him at home (.326 wOBA last year) and he is useful, but you might only get 150-200 PA out of him.
$1-$2 30 Eric Haase C/OF 4.08 His projection per game is sub-replacement level, but he’s worth a couple bucks if you can monitor his usage and only start him when he is set to get 4+ PA.
$1-$2 31 Yainer Diaz C/1B 4.60 Diaz is an underrated prospect with good power for a C, but the Astros value Maldonado’s catching and I am not sure Diaz will break through.
$0 32 Diego Cartaya C NA He looks special but I am just not going to roster a C who has yet to reach Double-A.
$0 33 Henry Davis C NA Ok, yes, he has reached Double-A, but he hasn’t been good there and Cartaya is more exciting.
$0 34 Carson Kelly C 4.08 As of now, he has a job and that works in his favor, but the bat projects as replacement level for Ottoneu Points leagues, and that is assuming a nice bounceback from 2022.
$0 35 Max Stassi C 3.44 Should Stassi and Kelly be in the $1-$2 tier given they have jobs and have been good in the past? Maybe.
$0 36 Sam Huff C 4.24 Huff started regularly down the stretch and was effective, but I suspect he is stuck behind Heim and possibly Garver for the most part. If he moves up the depth chart, he’ll move up here too.
$0 37 Matt Thaiss C/1B 4.41 I don’t see where he gets playing time, but he has hit in the minors.
$0 38 Luis Campusano C 4.30 He feels like a disappointment but he only has 92 MLB PA, so the jury is still out – but he needs to actually play to matter.
$0 39 Connor Wong C 4.50 Check out that project points per game! Where did that come from?
$0 40 Christian Vázquez C/1B 3.76 He likely outproduces some of the folks above him this year, but the upside and long-term value are nothing exciting.
$0 41 Victor Caratini C 3.83 Milwaukee should upgrade but if they don’t, I guess he needs to be listed.
$0 42 Francisco Mejía C 3.76 Given he has been better vs. LHP and the Bethancourt appears to be the starter and is righthanded, I wonder if he is on his way out of favor in Tampa?
$0 43 Nick Fortes C 4.28 He’ll be on some watchlists for me, given his MLB track record, but his numbers in the minors are not inspiring.
$0 44 Tom Murphy C 3.87 His career has been so up and down, but if he gets a role as the small side of a platoon, he could have some limited value.
$0 45 Ryan Jeffers C 3.76 Age 25 is about the right time for Jeffers to run with the job if he is going to, but he needs to show more with the bat for that to matter in fantasy.
$0 46 Mike Zunino C 3.63 Zunino’s two strong seasons came due to unsustainable BABIP (2017) and unsustainable HR/FB rate (2021).
$0 47 Gary Sanchez C 3.89 I can’t do it again with Sanchez.
$0 48 Martín Maldonado C 3.14 The Astros value him highly, and I get that, but it’s not for his bat.
$0 49 Jose Trevino C 3.59 Like Maldonado, but think he is more likely to lose his job.
$0 50 Omar Narváez C 3.75 The bottom of this list includes some guys who sometimes hit but may not find a place to play, and he is the best of them.
$0 51 Luis Torrens C 3.51 Shows flashes with the bat but nothing more and I don’t expect enough time or production to help next year.
$0 52 Jorge Alfaro C 3.49 He could be a better hitter than some of the guys ahead of him, but he also might not get a major league job at all.
$0 53 James McCann C 3.22 Just a matter of time until he is out of the way in New York. Maybe Opening Day.
$0 54 Tucker Barnhart C 3.07 Someone will pick him up to be a backup, I assume.

A long-time fantasy baseball veteran and one of the creators of ottoneu, Chad Young's writes for RotoGraphs and PitcherList, and can be heard on the ottobot podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @chadyoung.

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1 year ago

Thanks for getting these lists started early this year. They are super helpful for trade decisions and roster planning!