2023 MLB Fantasy: Five Most Disappointing Hitters Over the First Quarter

Julio Rodriguez of the Seattle Mariners

With about a quarter of the 2023 MLB regular season in the books, it’s time to take a look at which hitters have not exactly lived up to lofty expectations thus far. So, who have been the most disappointing hitters in the early goings of this season? Here’s our five picks.

Related: Five Takeaways from the First Two Months of the 2023 MLB Season

Jose Abreu

We start off this list with arguably the most disappointing player of this bunch in Astros 1B Jose Abreu. The 36-year-old has long been a contact and power machine, so it’s fair to say that many were excited to see how batting in an elite Astros lineup would affect his overall numbers. Abreu’s time in Houston, though, hasn’t gone well at all. Abreu hit just .215/.278/.256 with no home runs and 17 runs batted in over 45 games. The new Astro is among the league’s worst in both OPS and extra base hits.

One could point to a Chase% rate and terrible swing-and-miss numbers against breaking balls to suggest that Abreu is pressing at the plate, or is just having problems picking up pitches at the plate. If Abreu was making hard contact but striking out more at the plate, his average and home run numbers wouldn’t be all that concerning. However, that’s not the case.

Tim Anderson

We tried not to pick players who sustained an injury during this season, but White Sox SS Tim Anderson has accrued enough plate appearances to be concerned. Anderson, a career .286 hitter, is down to .252 after 29 games. The 29-year-old does have six steals on the season, but also only just six runs batted in. Anderson has never been known as a power hitter, but his .042 ISO would mark a career-low should that stand, as he’s only recorded five extra base hits.

Anderson’s value is tied to his ability to hit and score runs, but it’s been tough for fantasy owners to get either from the former All-Star this season. Part of that can be attributed to the White Sox’s struggles, but it’s tough to say that things have gone well for Anderson over the first quarter of the year.

Manny Machado

Padres 3B Manny Machado was a top-two round pick in most leagues after what was an incredible 2022 campaign that saw him finish in the top three of the NL MVP vote. But after the first quarter of the season, Machado hasn’t looked like the same hitter. Through 40 games (170 PA), Machado hit .231 with five home runs and 19 runs batted. While his strikeout rate (20.6%) this season is about the same as compared to 2022, Machado’s 39.0% Hard Hit% rate and 2.9% HR/PA would both mark career-lows should the season end today.

The 30-year-old’s seen a steady diet of breaking balls in 2023 and less fastballs. So far, that plan has worked.

Julio Rodriguez

Mariners outfielder Julio Rodriguez‘s numbers, in total, are not terrible whatsoever. The reigning AL Rookie of the Year hit seven home runs and drove in 21 over his first 200 plate appearances. However, Rodriguez’s .204 batting average is among the bottom 25 of the in league in batting average — not exactly what fantasy owners who likely took him in the first round had in mind.

Yes, Rodriguez’s K% rate is up from a year ago and the 22-year-old’s Chase% rate has jumped slightly. Yet, Rodriguez continues to hit the ball hard. Luck has not been on the youngster’s side thus far, but it’s hard to envision Rodriguez’s average to stay that low come the end of the year.

Trea Turner

Phillies SS Trea Turner, like Rodriguez, was a first-round pick in most formats. But even though Turner leads all NL players in total at-bats, the impact that the 29-year-old’s had on the Phillies can’t be looked upon in a positive manner. Even though Turner is on pace score almost 100 runs, the big-name signing from this past offseason hit just .256 with four home runs, six steals, and 11 runs batted in. Turner is on pace for considerably lower numbers from a year earlier, when he posted a 21 home runs, 27 stolen base campaign with 100 RBI.

One could look at his gnarly K% and Chase% rate — both of which have gone in the wrong direction — and infer that Turner is pressing at the plate. Whether he can get out of this funk soon, however, remains to be seen.

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