On-base percentage is one of my favorite categories to watch. It's a key Moneyball statistic that drives the point of creating runs by playing small ball. The players listed here are some of the best at playing small ball and are the 2023 Fantasy Baseball OBP targets.
The lists include a trio of New York Mets, a St. Louis Cardinals sophomore, and the OBP king over the last five seasons.
Below these players are the honorable mentions. The Honorable mentions are also great at getting on base, but there are too many to discuss.
2023 Fantasy Baseball OBP Targets
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Juan Soto, OF, San Diego Padres
The king of on-base percentage is none other than Juan Soto. He is tied with Mike Trout for the highest OBP since 2018 (.424), Soto's rookie year.
Soto is certainly not underrated in Fantasy Baseball, but he needs to be mentioned due to his dominance in this category. He is a guaranteed first-round pick but a top-3 pick in OBP leagues.
Brendan Donovan, 1B/2B/3B/OF, St. Louis Cardinals
One of my favorite players in baseball is Brendan Donovan. During his rookie season last year, his on-base percentage reached .424. This was the fourth-best among all players with at least 400 plate appearances.
Donovan is the premier sophomore to target in OBP leagues. On top of his elite on-base percentage, Donovan is also a candidate to bat leadoff for the Cardinals this season and could reach 100 runs if he does.
Brandon Nimmo, OF, New York Mets
Brandon Nimmo has the 10th-best on-base percentage since he entered the league in 2016. Despite this, he is still ranked outside the top 30 outfielders this season. This is surprising as Nimmo is coming off a career-best season where he belted 16 home runs, scored 102 runs, and drove in 64 RBI.
His OBP last year was below his career average, but Fantasy managers should not worry. He is still one of the best players to target in this category.
Mark Canha, OF, New York Mets
Mark Canha has been in the league since 2015, but at first, he wasn't known for his on-base percentage. It was in 2019 when he revamped his style to be more of an OBP guy.
Since 2019 Canha has the 13th-best OBP, just behind MVP Paul Goldschmidt. Canha is ranked outside the top 80 outfielders on the Fantasy Six Pack rankings, making him one of the best late-round OBP targets.
Jesse Winker, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
From 2017-2021 Winker recorded the 11th-highest on-base percentage in Major League Baseball. However, Winker is coming off the worst season of his career. Naturally, he is being discounted in Fantasy Baseball. FantasyPros lists his ADP at 249.
Despite this career-worst season, Winker still finished in the top 40 among qualified batters in OBP. While some may think Winker might never live up to his potential, I think he will get back to his career average OBP (.374).
Jeff McNeil, 2B/OF, New York Mets
The New York Mets are among the best teams at getting on base. In 2022 they recorded the second-best on-base percentage (.332), just behind the Los Angeles Dodgers (.333). This is due to the hard work of Canha, Nimmo, and Jeff McNeil.
McNeil has been an elite on-base machine since his rookie season in 2018. During this time, McNeil has recorded the 20th-best OBP among all players.
Fantasy Six Pack currently ranks McNeil 12th among second-base eligible players. However, according to FantasyPros Consensus ADP, McNeil is being drafted at an average draft position of 182. This low ADP makes McNeil a sleeper, especially in OBP leagues.
Luis Arraez, 1B/2B, Miami Marlins
It's no surprise to see the 2022 American League batting champion on this list for OBP targets. Last season Arraez recorded the 11th-best OBP among qualified batters. Despite this, Arraez is being drafted outside the top 200 picks, according to FantasyPros.
At just 25 years old, we have yet to see the best from Arraez. I'm buying into him this season, especially in OBP leagues.
The honorable mentions are here to give managers extra 2023 Fantasy Baseball OBP Targets. The stats listed are from the 2022 regular season, and the players are sorted by OBP+. (However, the chart allows users to sort it using any column.)
Baseball-Reference states this about OBP+ "Adjusts OBP to account for ballpark and the league that player played in. In addition, the number is "normalized," so that the median is 100."
This means anything over 100 is considered above average. The 20 honorable mentions all have an OBP+ of at least 109.
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