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Best Ball Players to Avoid (2023 Fantasy Baseball)

Best Ball Players to Avoid (2023 Fantasy Baseball)
cameraBest Ball Players to Avoid (2023 Fantasy Baseball)

In our previous inaugural MLB Best Ball article here, we took a look at some key draft day targets for the 2023 season. Some notable points included looking for powerful outfielders and elite starting pitchers early in drafts, before rounding out roster builds with value infield options.

Known for extreme nuance when it comes to scoring, there will always be players to “avoid” in Best Ball just as there are players to target. It is very important to understand Best Ball’s scoring format for this reason. As noted, most Best Ball scoring systems reward power (XBH and HRs) for hitters and quality starts and strikeouts for pitchers overall. For that reason, it is more beneficial to draft those types of players whenever applicable.

For example, Andrew Benintendi and Trey Mancini tend to be drafted very close to each other in most draft formats as it stands. While Benintendi is preferable overall to Mancini, especially in roto-formatted season-long leagues, I will find myself drafting Mancini ahead of him in a Best Ball league each and every time.

Last season, Benintendi had nearly a 70-points (!!) higher batting average than Mancini and got on base at a much higher clip. Mancini still ended up outscoring him by nearly 60 points in Best Ball formats. The reason for this? Home runs. Mancini ended with 23 in 2022 to just five by Benintendi. Deciding between these two “types” of players in Best Ball can truly be the difference of advancing deep into these huge-pool tournaments.

Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit

Best Ball Players to Avoid

Here are some other players to avoid in Best Ball drafts as the offseason winds down.

Corbin Carroll (OF – ARI) 

While I have previously hyped up Carrol in former MLB fantasy articles, the value is simply not there for the young stud anymore in Best Ball formats. Carrol has been pumped up in Best Ball circles ridiculously over the past month-plus, and his ADP now sits at a gawky 44.1 on Underdog. This is simply too high given the expected return.

Carrol will lead off for Arizona in 2023 but he is projected to hit for a middling average with low-mid double-digit homers. The key to his production should come in the form of stolen bases, especially given the increased bag size this year. As one of the fastest players in baseball, there is undoubtedly theoretical 20-20 upside for the 22-year-old in 2023.

Carrol just has the feel of being much more valuable in season-long leagues than in a Best Ball format. There are better options around him right now such as Dylan Cease, Shane McClanahan, Nolan Arenado, and Teoscar Hernandez. If you were able to get some shares of Carrol closer to his 100.0 ADP when Best Ball season initially kicked off, you are golden. But the mid-forties are just too rich for my blood.

Ozzie Albies (2B – ATL) 

Expending a mid-round pick on a player that has struggled with injuries for multiple seasons is always a scary concept. This is true for Albies, who has battled through issues in two of the past three years, and was limited to just 64 games in 2022. When healthy, Albies has the ability to be a force to be reckoned with, given his career .271/.322/.470 slash line.

The argument for fading Albies right now is the infield depth within the 2023 Best Ball landscape. There are numerous available options to be had both around Albies current ADP and for many rounds after. His ADP is lined up with alternate big infield names like Jose Abreu, Xander Bogaerts, and Jazz Chisholm Jr. Wander Franco, Vinnie Pasquantino, and Jeremy Pena can be had even later than that. The risk on Albies does not feel worth it when there are so many better options to be had at later points in the draft.

Chris Sale (SP – BOS)

Sale is a clear fade for me as the average 42nd pitcher off the board in Best Ball drafts right now. It has been no less than five years since we last saw Sale in prime form, and the lanky southpaw has appeared in just 36 games since the conclusion of the 2018 season.

Sale will be 34 years old as the 2023 season gets underway, and he will be playing for a Red Sox team that is expected to finish at the bottom of their division. The veteran’s innings are sure to be limited at the beginning of the year, and likely throughout the course of the regular season. This is especially problematic in Best Ball, as many scoring systems reward a starting pitcher’s ability to record quality starts. Sale may not receive the benefit of even being allowed to pitch that deep into games.

It is impossible to know if Sale will be able to return to his dominant strikeout form in 2023. It is even more difficult to know if he will finally be able to stay healthy for the first time in what seems like forever. Recent history tells us those chances are not likely. I will be leaving it to my co-drafters to take the chance on a player that seems unlikely to provide a true difference at the position in Best Ball this season.

Hunter Brown (SP – HOU)

Brown is another young player whose hype has begun to build over recent days. This is following reports that the 24-year-old is expected to crack the Astros’ Opening Day rotation in 2023.

Brown has impressive fastball velocity, yet rounded out his career in the minor leagues with a near 4.00 ERA and a league average BABIP. He should be slotted in as the Astros’ fifth pitcher in the rotation and unlikely to pitch deep into games out of the gate. There is also no guarantee Brown will stick around with the major league club should he struggle early on. His current ADP is low enough to grab a share here and there, but I wouldn’t be selling out for Brown with alternative options still on the board.

Beyond our fantasy baseball content, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Baseball Tools as you prepare for your draft this season. From our free mock Draft Simulator – which allows you to mock draft against realistic opponents – to our Draft Assistant – which optimizes your picks with expert advice – we’ve got you covered this fantasy baseball draft season.

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