This season, DraftKings is bringing its popular Best Ball contests to Major League Baseball. This format gives players a chance to draft a fantasy baseball team for a season-long competition that requires no active in-season management but still provides a full season of drama and competition.
You can find all the details, scoring and rules for the format in this overview post along with links to the rest of our season preview content.
Last week, I gave my top 30 starting pitchers, my top 30 outfielders and my top 30 infielders. This week, I’m diving even deeper into the rankings. Check out my 31-60 starting pitcher rankings that dropped Tuesday and my 31-60 outfield rankings in this post.
My colleague Garion Thorne has also been highlighting some sleepers and busts at each position as part of our Spring Training preview for Best Ball. Be sure to check back for more content to help get you ready for all your drafts throughout the next few weeks.
|Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
36. Steven Kwan, Cleveland Guardians
In most rankings coming into the season Kwan is ranked much higher, even cracking the top 20 in many formats. In general, I’m not down on Kwan — I’m actually a big fan of his contact-heavy skillset and love his potential hitting atop an underrated Guardians lineup.
However, Kwan just isn’t the right fit for this scoring format that rewards power and doesn’t penalize striking out. He’s a fine pick in the 30s once the top power options are off the board, but ranking him any higher would mean taking him over players that have a much higher ceiling. Remember, only your top three OF scores count each week. While Kwan does act as a good safety net if you’ve made high-risk, high-reward picks in other spots, don’t overdraft him based solely on his batting average, which is much more valuable in other scoring formats.
That being said, Kwan’s rookie year was outstanding. He hit .298 with six home runs and 19 stolen bases, all while ranking in the 100th percentile of strikeout rate with only 60 in his 638 plate appearances. His run scoring and stolen base potential matched with his elite contact rate should continue to make him a safe Best Ball pick for most of the season. Just don’t overreach for the Guardians' young corner outfielder.
39. Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies
Harper is one of the most interesting picks to watch in Best Ball drafts. His ADP early in the DraftKings Best Ball drafts is alarmingly high as the expectation is he’ll miss almost half the season recovering from Tommy John surgery. His June or July return will set you up beautifully for the rest of the season with an elite power-hitting outfielder, but you’ll need to build in extra depth at the position to cover until he’s back on the field.
Last year, Harper led the Phillies to the World Series, but only had 18 home runs in 99 games during the regular season, posting a .369 wOBA and .227 ISO. The injury risk is real even when he returns and the ZiPS projection of 127 games seems extremely optimistic. THE BAT projections have him at 75 games with 15 homers with a very good .381 wOBA and .233 ISO.
Since the latter projection seems closer to what to actually expect, he does make a lot of sense if you can grab him as your fourth outfielder in standard-sized leagues. Just don’t reach for him too early based on name recognition and his postseason success. If you do draft him, make sure to build in plenty of contingency plans in case he suffers a setback, sustains another injury or starts slow after his extended layoff. Counting on Harper in a starter’s spot is extremely risky.
49. Michael Conforto, San Francisco Giants
Once you have your starter spots locked in, there are some good options that bring a lot of upside in this part of the rankings. Conforto could end up being a steal at this point if he can return to his production levels from a few seasons ago.
He missed the entire 2022 season recovering from shoulder surgery, but the Giants still gave him a two-year deal (with a potential opt-out). He just turned 30, so he should still have plenty of baseball left if he can put the shoulder issue behind him. In Spring Training, he has shown that is a real possibility, going 7-for-23 and already smashing four home runs.
While Spring Training numbers can sometimes be overplayed, the fact that his power is back and he’s hitting so well should lock him into a middle-of-the-order spot in the Giants lineup. He hit 27, 28 and 33 home runs, respectively, from 2017 to 2019, so the power potential is definitely real.
58. Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Arizona Diamondbacks
Another player who should be in the middle of the lineup for his new team and is going under-drafted is the Diamondbacks’ offseason acquisition, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Gurriel came to Arizona as part of the Daulton Varsho trade, and he should be lined up to play regularly in the outfield and hit in the middle of a promising young Diamondbacks offense.
Gurriel did have wrist surgery this past offseason, and that injury may explain why his power dropped last season with the Blue Jays. He only hit five homers in 121 games after smashing 21 long balls in 141 games in 2021. He did raise his batting average to .291 last year with a career-low strikeout rate, and if he can get some of that power back, he could end up being a steal at this spot.
He’s expected to have a consistent enough role to be a strong safety pick at this point if you took high-risk players like Harper early on, but he also brings a high ceiling if he thrives at Chase Field and becomes a key contributor for Arizona. His offensive numbers pre-injury would be an absolute steal at this point in most Best Ball drafts.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is z.thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.