Let's face it: most of us are done for 2023. We've set our last lineup. We've spent our last FAB dollar. We've regretted ever uttering the name Lance Lynn.

Time to talk 2024, then, and what better place to begin than at the beginning, with the first two rounds. You'll get your chance to pore over them in a minute, but let me first direct your attention to the fact there are only two starting pitchers. Whether because of the shift ban, the pitch clock, the continued sticky substance crackdown or some other factor entirely, differentiation within the pitching ranks became a major issue in 2023 (you may have heard me reference "the glob" on the Fantasy Baseball Today podcast). If you're going to pay up for a pitcher, you better make sure he gives you a real advantage, and only two meet that criteria for me.

You would think the lack of pitchers would thin out the hitting ranks faster, but it certainly doesn't feel that way. Ronald Acuña is of course an easy No. 1, but you could make the case for as many as eight hitters at No. 2. You could make the case for as many as 16 belonging in Round 1 and another 10 belonging in Round 2. Between the record-setting stolen base totals, the resurgent home run totals and the improved success on balls in play, the 2023 season offered more paths to Fantasy greatness while also raising the threshold for it. So if a particular stud feels too low to you, it's not your imagination. It's just that somebody has to be pushed down.

Note that these rankings are for traditional Rotisserie leagues (i.e., 5x5 scoring). I address Head-to-Head points leagues further below. 

Round 1
Ronald Acuna Atlanta Braves RF
He's already the first player with 30 homers and 60 steals in a season and is closing in on 40/70. What's gone underappreciated are the improved contact skills, which have yielded a batting average that would lead the league most years.
Bobby Witt Kansas City Royals SS
Witt is about to become the fourth ever player with 30 homers and 50 steals, but because Acuna has him beat on both fronts, it's flown under the radar. Though he's tried valiantly to close the gap in the second half, he's still under-performing his expected stats, which tells you all you need to know about his upside.
Julio Rodriguez Seattle Mariners CF
A second-half surge has clarified Rodriguez's standing among the elites. It's a close call between him and Corbin Carroll, who's an even better base-stealer, but Rodriguez is the better power hitter -- and with room still to improve in that regard.
Corbin Carroll Arizona Diamondbacks LF
Carroll is one of three first-rounders with a realistic shot at 50 stolen bases, which is a considerable advantage given that 40 may be too much to ask from any of the others. The repeated shoulder flare-ups do raise the concern of a more significant injury coming to light, though.
Mookie Betts Los Angeles Dodgers RF
The top four are such prolific base-stealers that it's hard to justify ranking Betts higher than this, for as good as he's been in 2023. But to be fair, it's more likely he takes a step back than sets a career high in home runs for the third consecutive year ... right?
Freddie Freeman Los Angeles Dodgers 1B
Freeman has made stolen bases a part of his game the past couple years and remains the best bet for batting average among early-round picks. Batting high in the Dodgers lineup assures him massive run and RBI totals, and his surplus of doubles makes him more like a top-three player in points leagues.
Kyle Tucker Houston Astros RF
After taking a step forward with stolen bases but a step back with batting average in 2022, Tucker has delivered the best of both worlds this year but has nonetheless been overshadowed by the names ahead of him on this list.
Spencer Strider Atlanta Braves SP
The homogenization of starting pitching this year makes it unclear who exactly is deserving of an early-round upcharge, but Strider offers such a big strikeout advantage that you can trust he's a pick well spent.
Fernando Tatis San Diego Padres RF
Though he was considered not so long ago to be Acuna's peer, it's fair now to wonder if Tatis' past PED use inflated his power or if his 2022 shoulder surgery compromised it. But even if his 2023 is his new normal, he's still a 30/30 threat.
Aaron Judge New York Yankees RF
Judge was batting .291 and on better than 50-homer pace when he messed up his big toe in early June. He hasn't been the same since returning and could use an offseason of rest to get right, but we should be careful not to overcorrect just because he didn't live up to his No. 1 overall price tag.
Corey Seager Texas Rangers SS
Seager is finally having the season that the underlying numbers hinted he was capable of, and it's been everything we hoped it would be. His lack of stolen bases pushes him down some in standard Rotisserie scoring, but he's been the third-best hitter on a per-game basis in Head-to-Head points scoring.
Yordan Alvarez Houston Astros DH
The endless string of injuries gets a little frustrating, but one of these years, Alvarez is going to hit somewhere in the neighborhood of .315 with 50 homers. He's a lot like Judge in that way, actually.
Round 2
Matt Olson Atlanta Braves 1B
A second consecutive 50-homer season might be a bit much to ask from Olson, and we've seen his batting average fluctuate over the years as well. But you know he'll be among the league leaders in home runs and continue to deliver massive run and RBI totals in the Braves lineup.
Jose Ramirez Cleveland Guardians 3B
In a year that upped the threshold for Fantasy greatness, Ramirez's production kind of just stayed the same, which is why he's gone from being a perennial top-five pick to just a second-rounder. But there's nothing wrong with him, per se.
Trea Turner Philadelphia Phillies SS
Turner's furious finish has helped to salvage his first year in Philadelphia, but the overall numbers still hint of decline. Given that his stolen base output no longer stands out like it once did and the data makes him out to be more like a .270 hitter than a .300 hitter, I'm promoting a better-safe-than-sorry approach.
Gerrit Cole New York Yankees SP
It's easy to nitpick Cole's 2023, but if you compare it to the rest of the league rather than his past self, it's hard to say he was any less than dominant. His reliability counts for a lot at a time when all pitching expectations have been subverted.
Shohei Ohtani Los Angeles Angels DH
Pitching is off the table for Ohtani in 2024, but it sounds like he could be ready to DH at soon as Opening Day. That would be enough to make him a first-rounder in Fantasy still if not for the possibility that his hasty recovery from UCL surgery impacts his productivity, as we saw for Bryce Harper this year.
Juan Soto San Diego Padres LF
It's time to cry uncle on Juan Soto, whose first-round standing relied on a batting average expectation that he hasn't been able to meet the past two years. He'll meet it again someday, but you risk forfeiting too many home runs and stolen bases by continuing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Bryce Harper Philadelphia Phillies DH
The two-time MVP returned sooner after Tommy John surgery than anyone thought possible, and it took him a couple months to regain his power stroke. But his second-half production shows he's all the way back and ready to deliver the numbers that have made him an early-round fixture.
Pete Alonso New York Mets 1B
Olson had the better performance than Alonso this time around, but the two are more alike than the seven spots' difference here would have you believe. Alonso had been the better bet for batting average prior to this year, and it's reasonable to think his midseason wrist injury has contributed to his career-low mark.
Jose Altuve Houston Astros 2B
A couple of IL stints have obscured the fact that Altuve is enjoying a late-career resurgence -- one that first became apparent in 2022. He's been the fifth-best hitter in terms of Head-to-Head points per game and deserves to be drafted ahead of fellow second base standouts Ozzie Albies and Marcus Semien.
Francisco Lindor New York Mets SS
Lindor has become something of a batting average liability in recent years, but he's big on counting stats and represents one of the last safe bets for considerable home run and stolen base production. Plus, shortstop may thin out quicker next year than we've grown accustomed to.
Rafael Devers Boston Red Sox 3B
Nobody will mistake Devers for a first-rounder at this point, but the 26-year-old is a reliable power bat who has shown the capacity to hit .300. He's one of several hitters you could justify taking here.
Austin Riley Atlanta Braves 3B
Riley's past three seasons have been remarkably similar, so you can trust what you're getting in terms of home runs, RBI and runs scored. You might opt for him over Devers just to get more exposure to the Braves lineup, but the Red Sox third baseman has the higher batting average ceiling.
Why not ____________?
Ozzie Albies Atlanta Braves 2B
Though a justifiable choice in Round 2, Albies has been pushing the limits of what he's capable of power-wise and continues to get more credit as a base-stealer than he deserves.
Cody Bellinger Chicago Cubs CF
A repeat performance in 2024 would make Bellinger well worth a second-round pick, but both his track record and exit velocity readings suggest it's far from a guarantee.
Bo Bichette Toronto Blue Jays SS
The 25-year-old's days as a base-stealer appear to be over, and his power is trending the wrong direction, too.
Vladimir Guerrero Toronto Blue Jays 1B
The data suggests that Guerrero's monster 2021 is still possible, but after back-to-back years of falling short (well short this year), it's foolish to presume.
Marcus Semien Texas Rangers 2B
Semien's combined home run and stolen base total falls just a little short of second-round standards, and filling second base is no longer the priority it used to be.
Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels CF
The fractured hamate bone may have been a fluke, but it continues a pattern of a poor health for a player who's showing his age in other ways, too.

For H2H points

Round 1
1. Ronald Acuna, OF, ATL
2. Mookie Betts, 2B/OF, LAD
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B, LAD
4. Aaron Judge, OF, NYY
5. Corey Seager, SS, TEX
6. Yordan Alvarez, OF, HOU 
7. Kyle Tucker, OF, HOU
8. Bobby Witt, SS, KC
9. Julio Rodriguez, OF, SEA
10. Corbin Carroll, OF, ARI
11. Matt Olson, 1B, ATL
12. Juan Soto, OF, SD
Round 2
13. Jose Ramirez, 3B, CLE
14. Fernando Tatis, OF, SD
15. Spencer Strider, SP, ATL
16. Gerrit Cole, SP, NYY
17. Shohei Ohtani, DH/SP, LAA
18. Bryce Harper, 1B, PHI
19. Trea Turner, SS, PHI
20. Pete Alonso, 1B, NYM
21. Jose Altuve, 2B, HOU
22. Marcus Semien, 2B, TEX
23. Alex Bregman, 3B, HOU
24. Rafael Devers, 3B, BOS