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Points League Draft Targets (2023 Fantasy Baseball)

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Mar 12, 2023
OBP/Points Leagues Draft Targets (2023 Fantasy Baseball)

Points leagues are a nice change of pace from the traditional roto and category formats that we know so well. I often recommend points leagues for people who are just getting into fantasy baseball or those who have played fantasy football for a long time as an easy transition to the 162-game marathon that the baseball season is.

Now, I always add a disclaimer to any piece of points league content that I write because it’s impossible for us to cover the exact parameters of your league. It’s a fun – yet challenging – part of the format, as each league will have different values, so we try to cover as close as we can to a universal setting, but just know that you have to tweak your rankings and evaluations on a player to make sure they fit your league.

Below are players who I have been targeting in points leagues throughout the season who have a higher value than they would in category-based drafts.

Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit

Points League Targets

Brandon Nimmo (OF – NYM)

I’ll take Nimmo anywhere I can get him, as he’s the type of player whose skillset is directly made for points leagues. He’s projected to have more than 600 plate appearances by every model not named ZiPS, and last year was his first sub-14% walk-rate season since 2016 – but he still had a 10.5% mark. What’s more, his OBP hasn’t dipped below .338 in his career, and that was in his rookie season. He’s an absolute steal in drafts and is a points-league specialist.

Daulton Varsho (C, OF – TOR)

I typically fade catchers in general, but especially in points leagues since they are smaller rosters. But with Varsho, it’s different. He’s expected to lead the position in plate appearances, stolen bases, and runs while finishing top-3 in home runs and RBIs. I’d like to see a higher OBP, but I’m willing to take the hit there, given that he’s going to get a ton of opportunity as the everyday left fielder for the Blue Jays.

MJ Melendez (C, OF – KCR)

I’ve been out on Melendez at his draft cost, but with a 10.6 expected BB%, to go along with 18 home runs, Melendez is a solid value in drafts – especially since he has dual eligibility. I’ve been a little hesitant to project him for more than 500 plate appearances, but it seems like I’m alone on that island, as The Bat has him for 548. He’s a solid value, as his .228 average won’t drag you down in the format.

Hunter Brown (SP, RP – HOU)

So his outing on Monday wasn’t great, as he completely imploded in the second inning. I’m writing it off, and it’s easier to do so in a points-based league. Brown has the valued RP tag attached to him, which makes him one of the best SPARPs (starting pitcher as relief pitcher) to target in points leagues. The value you get in having him in your RP spot over a traditional RP can’t be overstated.

Garrett Whitlock (SP, RP – BOS)

Like Brown, Whitlock is another pitcher I’m targeting to fill my RP slot. The Red Sox are stretching him out and plan on having him start. The projections think they are telling the truth, too, as he’s projected for an average of 20 starts across the models. I think he’ll be capped at five innings or so per start, but there’s a lot of value in him, given that he’ll be in the rotation and is eligible as an RP.

Joey Gallo (OF – MIN)

OK, this is gross. I know it. You know it. But the thing is, the one thing we can’t say is that Gallo doesn’t know how to draw a walk. The Bat has him for a 14BB%, which is the fifth-highest mark in all of baseball. It’s pretty much in line with where he’s been throughout his career. If your league penalizes you a full point for strikeouts, he’s hard to take. But if it is only -0.5 per strikeout – as it should be – Gallo is easier to draft, especially if he’s going to lead off for Minnesota.

Giancarlo Stanton (OF – NYY)

If you look at 2022, you’ll see a .297 OBP for Stanton. That’s … not good. But that’s a clear outlier throughout his career, as his career mark – including 2022 – is .354. Like Gallo, the strikeouts can be tough to swallow, but he’s a very sneaky points-league guy, given his typically high OBP.

Max Kepler (OF – MIN)

Kepler is a very boring player to draft, but boring can be good! His walk rate has been 11 percent or higher in four of the last five seasons, and the projections expect his home run total to bounce back to the high teens. What’s more, he’s a lock to finish with an OBP around .320-.325, giving depth to a position that feels more shallow in category-based leagues.

Miles Mikolas (SP – STL)

You hear me say it all of the time, but my favorite thing to target is opportunity. For pitchers, that comes in the way of innings. Now, with a pitcher like Mikolas, he walks a thin line, given his lack of stuff. While he won’t give you the strikeouts, he will give you a ton of innings per start and throughout the season, with a low WHIP and ERA. He’s the perfect heavy-volume pitcher that increases his value in the format.

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Michael Waterloo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @MichaelWaterloo.

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