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.
I ranked my top 30 starting pitchers earlier this week, and today we’ll focus on the top 30 outfielders. There are a few unique elements to the Best Ball format that dramatically impact certain players on this list. Shohei Ohtani is eligible as an outfielder, but only his offensive numbers will count toward your team. He’s “only” one of the best hitters in the game for Best Ball contests.
Check back throughout Spring Training for more content to help get you ready for all your Best Ball contests.
|Ronald Acuna Jr.
|Michael Harris II
1. Yordan Alvarez, Houston Astros
There are so many elite outfielders that I actually prefer not to pick too high in the draft order and instead wait for who represents the best value. If you’re early, though, and choose to fill an outfield spot, I’d make Alvarez my top selection.
Air Yordan put on quite the show last year with 37 home runs, a .427 wOBA, a .306 ISO and 97 RBI in 135 games. He was second only to Aaron Judge in ISO, wOBA, wRC+ and hard-hit rate in the Majors. He also ranked only behind Judge in barrel rate and average exit velocity, according to Statcast. Everything went right for Judge, he stayed healthy and earned his huge contract at 30-years-old. Alvarez is five years younger and didn’t have everything go his way last year, leaving room for improvement. According to ZiPS, he has the highest projected wOBA and wRC+ of any hitter for this coming season.
Alvarez proved his clutch ability last postseason and has the potential to continue trending upward in the heart of a potent lineup. Hopefully, the Astros are smart enough not to play him too much in the outfield and that the hand injury that has delayed his start to Spring Training is a non-issue by the time Opening Day rolls around.
Since the scoring system is weighted towards power rather than speed, as highlighted in this post, it makes sense to go with a big bat at the top of the draft rankings. Health is key, as always, but Alvarez brings enough upside that he’s worth a swing for the fences.
9. Kyle Schwarber, Philadelphia Phillies
With the scoring system tilted towards power and away from speed and batting average, Schwarber climbs into my top 10 outfielders. He’s coming off a career-high 46 homers last season, while he also posted 94 RBI hitting out of the leadoff spot for most of the year. With Trea Turner in town, he should get even more RBI chances by sliding down to second the batting order, and he also could get a boost from not facing the shift.
The one thing you’ll always here in any analysis of Schwarber for fantasy is that the strikeout rate is high, but that doesn’t matter in Best Ball scoring, so don’t let that scare you off. He has been surprisingly durable and has reliably mashed wherever he has played. He should be poised for more success as the Phillies look to legitimize their 2022 postseason run.
17. Eloy Jiménez, Chicago White Sox
Jimenez brings an incredibly high ceiling if he can just stay healthy. He only played 84 games last year due to multiple leg injuries, but still hit 16 home runs with a .205 ISO, a .370 wOBA and a 144 wRC+.
For high-upside players like Jiménez with injury red flags, I’m willing to reach a little and try to absorb the risk by taking “safer” options to fill out my bench. Remember, in this scoring system, your top three OF scores count each week. If Jiménez is your second OF taken, he should deliver above-average production for as many weeks as he’s in the lineup. There are plenty of ways to build insurance policies into later rounds to mitigate Jiménez’s risk.
27. Kris Bryant, Colorado Rockies
Bryant is one of the most interesting ADPs to watch this year. He’s just 31 and should be an amazing option as the anchor of the Rockies offense in the rarified air of Coors Field. The problem is that the first year of his seven-year deal in Denver was a total washout. He played just 42 games and hit just five home runs. It seems absolutely insane, but he has still never homered at Coors Field as a member of the home team.
If he’s healthy, he has an extremely high ceiling and could be one of the best outfielders on the board. Granted, after last season, that’s a major if. He seems to be healthy this spring and had been putting on a show. Depending on how much risk I have in my first couple of outfielders, Bryant is definitely an option I have to include in my top 30 outfielders due to the upside he brings.
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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.