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.
There is an important distinction to make for this ranking. Aside from needing three infielders in your lineup each week, there is no positional requirement. As a result, positional scarcity has no impact on these rankings. You can have all 1B, all SS or all 3B. They all count in the same spot. As a result, there’s no need to reach for players based on positional need, and that fact makes this list radically different than many available rankings. It also makes this a spot overflowing with strong options. Understanding that setup and planning accordingly will give you a huge advantage in drafts.
Check back throughout Spring Training for more content to help get you ready for all your Best Ball contests.
2. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays
I went back and forth between Jose Ramírez and Vlad in my top spot, but ultimately went with Ramírez since he has a little longer track record and a slightly more complete skill set. Ultimately, though, I’d rather let someone else pick between the two and take the other at a discount. They’re so, so close — basically 1 and 1A — with each significantly ahead of the pack.
Guerrero has such a high ceiling and will still only be 24-years-old on Opening Day. He could easily be the top fantasy performer at any position if things go his way, establishing himself as a true MVP candidate. His counting numbers were slightly lower last year with a full return to Rogers Centre after playing in Buffalo and Dunedin, but he still smashed 32 homers and ranked in the 90th percentile in average exit velocity, max exit velocity and hard hit rate.
With stolen bases only counting as much as a double, the scoring system for best ball slants towards power hitters like Guerrero. The Blue Jays adjusted the dimensions of Rogers Centre this offseason, too, which could make it even more homer-friendly — like he needed the help.
One underrated asset that Vlad brings is his durability. He has played 161 and 160 games the last two seasons with over 600 at-bats each year. He was dealing with some minor knee soreness which kept him out of the World Baseball Classic, but that should only make him more ready to roll on Opening Day.
With a strong lineup around him, he brings a high-floor in addition to his high-ceiling, making him a very early pick in Round 1 that I will definitely be thrilled to target.
11. Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres
Garion Thorne covered Tatis in his piece on ADP Outliers, discussing how the built-in safety of the format boosts certain players value. By the time we get to the end of April (20 games), Tatis is expected to be a full-go in the middle of the Padres’ potent offense. If he’s anything close to what he was before all the injuries and the drama, getting him any time in the third-round or later has the potential to be an absolute steal.
If you do go with Tatis, just be sure you have enough depth out of gate, as your fourth-best IF pick will basically be in a starting role for the first few weeks of the season.
Once you get past those weeks, though, having Tatis as a high-end producer should pay off. His per-162 averages of 48 homers, 116 RBI, 31 stolen bases and 125 runs scored are jaw-dropping. His career .399 wOBA and .303 ISO are supported by a 53.5% hard hit rate. As long as he’s close to where he was pre-injury, Tatis should be a great play the rest of the season.
30. Adley Rutschman, Baltimore Orioles
Even without the catcher eligibility factor, Rutschman has enough upside that I have to include him in my top 30. The 25-year-old was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 Draft and broke into the big leagues last year. From June 15 forward, he hit .272 with 13 homers, 42 RBI, a .379 wOBA and a .216 ISO. He not only had the most fantasy points in many scoring systems behind the plate, but he also ranked in the top 15 of all hitters over that span.
Rutschman spent a good amount of time at DH in 2022, so the Orioles seem set on keeping his bat in the lineup on an everyday basis. His extremely mature plate approach should allow him to continue his success, and the fact that he starts the season healthy and locked into the lineup makes him a great option to consider as your third infielder, possibly even your second if you are stocked at other roster spots.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
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.