Fantasy baseball: How to approach MLB rule changes for 2023

Jose Berrios and Gerrit Cole are both coming off relatively down seasons compared to expectations, making them interesting for dynasty and keeper leagues. Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Grinding out the final week to bring home your fantasy baseball championship is the primary goal for managers right now, but it won't be long before attention is shifted to planning in keeper and dynasty formats. While it's always a challenge, the new MLB rules changes bring even more considerations to the fantasy table. What follows is a general review of how to design a keeper or dynasty freeze list and then some ways to get a head start on your league mates by speculating how the new rules may affect roster construction and drafting strategy.

Before diving in, it's important to distinguish between keeper and dynasty leagues. There isn't a textbook definition, but dynasty leagues involve keeping your players in perpetuity while keeper formats are characterized by frequent roster turnover via expiring or cost-prohibitive contracts. After the initial draft, most of the players available in a dynasty format are emerging prospects and fringe veterans. Meanwhile, a keeper league draft has everything from established stars to fledgling prospects. The objective of a dynasty league is designing a roster capable of competing for several seasons while a keeper league has a shorter window to win, but the ability to retool is much faster.

Player evaluation in each format is similar. The difference is freeze list construction. One of the tenets of a keeper league freeze list is favoring hitting over pitching. In a true dynasty league, rostering a couple of elite starting pitchers is paramount, and since they usually aren't available via trade, the key is drafting them as prospects or identifying under the radar arms on the verge of a breakout. Holdover players in keeper leagues often address a position or categorical strategy, both of which may be affected by the impending MLB rules changes.