Fantasy Baseball Best Ball Primer
Do you want to draft more Fantasy Baseball leagues but don’t want more in-season management? Best ball formats may be an excellent option for you! If you are eager to get drafting for 2022 like me, give best ball a shot. There are plenty of great sites you can play on, including right here on Fantrax. If you are new to best ball drafts, this primer should help you get started.
With baseball nearing the finish line, are you ready to jump into fantasy hoops? From joining a public league with our Fantasy Basketball Commissioner to trying one of our Classic Draft Contests, there are plenty of ways to play Fantasy Basketball on Fantrax!
Best Ball Fantasy Baseball, What Is It?
So, what is a best ball league? A best ball league is a 12-team, season-long league with a 40-round draft. You mean it is that simple? Yes, you literally draft a team and leave it. There is no in-season management such as trades or waiver wire claims. The players you select in your draft stay on your roster all season. If you prepare and excel in the draft, you will succeed in a best ball league. You can follow along with your league standings all season or check it at the end of the year. There is zero commitment from you after the draft.
You can play best ball leagues on several sites, but we would suggest playing right here on Fantrax. Fantrax’s best ball leagues consist of 12 teams who draft a 40-man roster. Your lineup will automate each week based on the top score at each position. While your roster will include 40 players, the computer will select the top 22 each week based on position. Here is the positional breakdown below.
It is also important to note that players are only available at their primary position. Therefore, someone like Shohei Ohtani will have only OF eligibility. Players also do not have multi-position eligibility on Fantrax best balls. Take this into account when drafting.
Fantrax Best Ball Scoring
Best ball scoring varies depending on the site in which you play. It is imperative that you know your league’s scoring. All best ball leagues are points format but vary from traditional points scoring. You can check out the table below to see the scoring format for Fantrax best ball leagues.
|Hitting Stat||Points||Pitching Stat||Points|
As you can see, hitters receive one point for each hit, walk, run, and RBI. Home runs and stolen bases are both worth three points apiece. The scoring for hitters is pretty balanced overall.
On the pitching side, the scoring is not as simple. First off, pitchers get 1.5 points apiece for each inning pitched and strikeout. Unlike hitters, pitchers can lose points. For each earned run allowed, the pitcher will lose 1.5 points. For each walk+hit allowed, the pitcher will lose 0.5 points. Pitchers can receive the most points from saves (6 points), wins (3 points), quality starts (3 points). This gives closers value as well as starters on good teams who earn wins.
In 2021 only four of the top 20 scorers were pitchers. On the flip side, 35 hitters scored more than 500 points last season. Just nine pitchers reached the 500 point mark. Thirty-one pitchers reached the 400 point mark, while 94 hitters eclipsed 400. Based on this, I land somewhere in the middle. High-end starting pitching is important, but the high-end bats will likely give you the highest point total. With that being said, let’s take a look into some best ball draft strategies.
Best Ball Strategy: The Draft
Make Sure You Draft Depth
Having depth on your roster seems like common sense. But without multi-positional eligibility, you must have multiple backups at every position. If your starting first basemen gets injured for the season, you need a quality replacement.
You will also be starting 13 positional players, as you saw earlier. It is essential to have plenty of quality bats, as well as those who accumulate at-bats. In the back end of drafts, you want to find boring value players that play every day or have a spot in the starting rotation. This makes all the difference.
I made a mistake last year of dreaming on the upside of prospects like Bobby Witt Jr. and Jarred Kelenic. Witt never got the call, and Kelenic struggled. It would have been better to use the two roster spots on players like Adam Duvall or Joey Votto.
There is no magic formula on how you should construct your roster. There are various ways you can build your roster and win, as long as you have depth like we previously discussed. But, with the 40-man Fantrax roster, I prefer to draft 23 hitters and 17 pitchers. With catchers not providing great production, I would like to get one of the big three in Sal Perez, J.T. Realmuto, and Will Smith. After that, I want one more catcher that will go late in drafts but be the starter on his team.
At the other four infield positions, I prefer three players at each position. In the outfield, I like to have nine players to cover your five spots. Having almost a backup for each outfield spot is crucial as injuries are likely to occur. It also enables you to have players fill out the three utility spots that will count each week.
When drafting hitters in best ball, a few categories are worth focusing on that you likely don’t in standard roto leagues. The first is walks. A player who draws a lot of walks scores well in best ball while adding minimal value to a roto league.
While batting average is a major aspect of a 5×5 roto league, you can almost completely ignore it in best ball. Yes, hits are essential, but walks, home runs, and stolen bases can take you a long way. Take Joey Gallo, for instance. This season, he hit below the Mendoza line and still finished as the 30th best hitter in best ball thanks to 111 walks and 38 home runs. He finished as the 47th ranked hitter for 5×5 roto leagues.
Home runs and steals are worth three points, making them the highest valued hitting categories for best ball. If you find players who consistently put up good power/speed numbers, you will be rewarded. It is also important to remember that a 20/20 player like Randy Arozarena accused just as many points from home runs plus stolen bases as a player like Matt Olson, who hit 39 home runs but stole just four bases.
When you look at the scoring chart for Fantrax best ball format, saves may entice you to draft closers given the six-point total. But, it is essential to remember that innings pitched and strikeouts matter for points.
For reference, Liam Hendricks accumulated the most points for any relief pitcher last season. He averaged 6.84 points per game in best ball formats. If he pitches three times a week on average, he will have around 20 points per week. Meanwhile, 71 starting pitchers averaged 11 or more points per start. Therefore, if you have a two-start pitcher, they are more likely to count in your lineup than a reliever. Draft starting pitcher heavy in best ball.
But, when drafting starting pitching, what should you look for? Pitchers who can accumulate innings and get strikeouts. Wins a flukey stat that is hard to count on year to year. If a pitcher goes deep into games consistently, they significantly increase the chance of getting a quality start, which is just as valuable as a win.
I have no problem not drafting a single reliever in best ball drafts. I would rather stack 17 starting pitchers over any reliever.
Best of luck to you in your Fantasy Baseball drafts this offseason. Jump into a best ball draft, and I hope this guide will help you out! In the meantime, check out our offseason work on FantraxHQ.
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