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Top 15 rookies for the 2023 MLB season: Corbin Carroll, Gunnar Henderson headline deep class

The 2023 Major League Baseball rookie class is one the deepest in recent memory. There is a good chance 75% of this year’s top prospects start the season in the majors.

Expected playing time has a huge role in determining which rookies make our preseason list. The top two prospects in baseball rank first and second. And while the Brewers’ Jackson Chourio is the third-best overall prospect, he doesn’t appear due to the likelihood he spends all of 2023 in the minor leagues.

Here are this year’s most impactful rookies, 11 of which made their MLB debuts late last season:

1. Corbin Carroll, OF, Diamondbacks

Carroll is one of the most explosive rookies to come around in the last half decade. A former first-round pick, the 22-year-old made his MLB debut last August, showcasing a feel for hard contact and blazing speed. Carroll, a patient hitter, will find lots of opportunities to get on base. His ability to hit for power and average while stealing bases should acclimate him to fantasy rosters well.

Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll was named USA TODAY's 2022 Minor League Player of the Year after he hit .307/.425/.610 with 24 homers and 31 stolen bases over three levels before being promoted to the majors in late August.
Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll was named USA TODAY's 2022 Minor League Player of the Year after he hit .307/.425/.610 with 24 homers and 31 stolen bases over three levels before being promoted to the majors in late August.

2. Gunnar Henderson, 3B, Orioles

Henderson ranks second on our list by the slightest of margins. The 21-year-old also debuted in the majors at the end of August, slashing .259/.349/.440 with four home runs in 116 at-bats. Henderson is noted for his ability to make hard contact. In his short MLB sample, his average exit velocity was 92 mph, four ticks higher than MLB average and identical to his minor league data. He’s patient and a plus runner with the potential for double-digit steals.

3. Miguel Vargas, INF, Dodgers

The 23-year-old Vargas is expected to be the Dodgers’ opening-day second baseman, a position where he’s made just 27 starts in his minor league career. Vargas has a career .313/.390/.488 minor league slash line. He doesn’t impact the ball like Carroll and Henderson. However, he makes contact, utilizes the entire field and can also steal double-digit bases. He has average over-the-fence power for now.

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FANTASY RANKINGS: Top 250 overall players for 2023

POSITION RANKS: How the players stack up against their peers

4. Masataka Yoshida, OF, Red Sox

Yoshida is a 29-year-old outfield import from Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan who signed a five-year, $90 million contract this offseason with the Red Sox. Yoshida batted .336/.449/.559 last season in Japan thanks to a patient, spray approach at the plate. He’s apt at finding holes across the diamond. Most of his power (21 HR in 2022) comes from his pull side. As a left-handed hitter in Fenway Park, it’s likely his power totals will drop off from his numbers in Japan.

5. Josh Jung, 3B, Rangers

The 25-year-old Jung made his MLB debut last season after coming back from February labrum surgery. Jung struggled getting to consistent hard contact in the majors, slashing a meager .204/.235/.418. However, he did hit five home runs, and scouting contacts in Arizona believe Jung has rediscovered the explosion in his swing.

6. Triston Casas, 1B, Red Sox

Casas, a former first-round pick, struggled with consistent contact quality in his first taste of the majors. However, when he made hard contact, it was immense, slugging five home runs, including three to the opposite field, in 76 at-bats. The 23-year-old left-handed hitter has an above-average hitting foundation and produced high exit velocities in the minors, but the angles have not been there for him to display over-the-fence power yet.

Mets pitcher Kodai Senga posted a 1.94 ERA and 1.06 WHIP last season for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in the NPB's Pacific League.
Mets pitcher Kodai Senga posted a 1.94 ERA and 1.06 WHIP last season for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in the NPB's Pacific League.