I just completed a Best Ball Baseball Draft on RTSports. If you are not familiar with these contests they are great and I highly suggest playing them. I'll get more into that later.
Last season I was only able to compete in four leagues but did very well in them overall. I had won two of my four leagues and finished top-16 overall with one of the teams. This was thanks to a prototype version of the Draft Cheat Sheet that you can access by becoming an All-Access Member today!
RTSports Best Ball Baseball Draft
Become an All-Access Member to get access to our award-winning rankings, draft tools and more.
If you are already a member, sign in.
Going to give a brief overview of the setup and scoring format for the best ball leagues on RTSports. They are 10-team, 26-round drafts that you compete for $10,000 as the overall winner, for just $20.
You need to draft...
- 16 Total Starters
- 10 Bench Spots
- 1 Catcher
- 1 First Baseman
- 1 Second Baseman
- 1 Third Baseman
- 1 Shortstop
- 3 Outfielders
- 1 Utility Player (any hitter)
- 7 Pitchers
Scoring is as follows...
|Batting Category||Point Value||Pitching Category||Point Value|
|Stolen Base||2||Earned Runs||-1|
|Hit by Pitch||1|
After looking at the scoring, my strategy going into these drafts is the same as last season, draft great hitters early.
Now that is tricky because in points leagues and especially RTSports Best Ball leagues, the top pitchers go quickly. However, with the scoring favoring high OPS players, I want those players above all. This strategy did well for me last year and expect it to do the same this season.
I do end up drafting pitchers earlier than I want to though, only because the drafts force you to.
Another strategy I take in best ball is trying to get an early catcher. Now, this is even more important in two-catchers leagues, but it is still something I strive to do. You'll see below I was not as successful in this draft, however, I still like the one I got.
The next strategy I take into drafts is making sure I have depth. The biggest thing with Best Ball is there are no waivers or trades, so the team you draft is what you get all season. With that in mind, having reserves in every position is very important. This also raises the value of players who have multi-position eligibility a bit, since they help you cover more positions in any given week.
The last strategy I want to mention is with pitching. Most favor starting pitching due to their boom potential due to the IP points, wins and more. However, closers should not be ignored. Your good closers can and will be better than a lot of starters in many weeks.
Think about it, a starter that pitches one game has a stat line of 7IP, 2ER, 7K, 1W, 1QS, 2BB, earns 28.5 points. If a closer enters a game twice in a week and has a stat line of 2IP, 2SV, 4K, 0BB is 22 points.
Now I know you're thinking the starter still scored more than the closer. Think about it though, that took almost a near-perfect outing from the starter to outperform a closer who came in a did their job twice. If they don't perform that well, getting both the win and quality start, then the closer out scores them easily. It is just something to keep in mind during drafts as closers usually get pushed down the draft board.
Below is an image of my draft board. I was team three. You can click on the image to enlarge it or you can view the board in your browser.
I was lucky enough to get the third pick as I really want to start off with either Aaron Judge, Juan Soto or Jose Ramirez. Right off the bat we see somebody put pitching ahead of where it should be and take Corbin Burnes at No. 2. This leaves me with my second favorite pick, Juan Soto.
I thought about taking a pitcher with my next pick, but as there were a ton left on the board I went with another OPS leader in Pete Alonso. He was an easy pick, especially since the first base position is rather weak this season.
My next pick was a pitcher. I was hoping Aaron Nola would come back to me, unfortunately, he did not. Instead, I took Carlos Rodon. I know that seems early over guys like Brandon Woodruff, Jacob deGrom and more, but the cheat sheet likes him thanks to a larger win total projection than some of them.
Bo Bichette is the next pick. The cheat sheet and I like him a bit more than some. I like the pick but do regret it after the fact a little after seeing how late the rest of the shortstops went. I might have been a bit better served to take a second baseman here, but I think I was able to save myself later pretty nicely.
More snipes as my next pick come as I wanted Yu Darvish, but Luis Castillo is a nice consolation prize. Darvish is ranked a tad higher for me here due to teams win totals helping, but you can only deal with what the board deals you.
Middle Round Picks
The next few picks were Alex Bregman, Randy Arozarena and Logan Gilbert.
I really liked the Bregman pick as I think he is the last of the reliable third baseman in the draft. Arozarena is not an OPS monster, but provides in other categories enough to be a great second outfielder.
Logan Gilbert was my first regret, I was researching a bit and ran out of time and panic-picked this one. He is a fine pitcher, but he lacks the strikeout potential that can make up for bad outings and I'm not sure the 13-win total is going to be replicated. Looking at the draft I would have been better off taking a positional player and waiting on another pitcher given the depth.
A few more picks I want to highlight are Andrew Gimenez, Jordan Romano and Charlie Morton.
Gimenez is a great addition to this team. At second and short eligible he gives me extra flexibility for later in the draft. Romano is the a great example of paying attention to good closers who can be more valuable overall than starters.
Morton is later in the draft, but is being severely overlooked. He has been very dependable in recent years, which goes a long way in best ball leagues. Also even at age 39, he is striking out a ton of batters with K/9 rates over 10 the last two seasons. Oh, don't forget that he is on a good team, so the wins will come.
Late Round Picks
In these rounds, I go after team needs a lot, but also try to reach for upside.
Brandon Nimmo, Raisel Iglesias and Gleyber Torres are my favorite picks here.
Nimmo had been near the top of the cheat sheet for a few rounds. I passed on him because I did not need an outfielder, but also because the cheat sheet told me that his ADP was much later. Thankfully taking the chance on the ADP was right and I got a great value.
Iglesias being a second, near elite, closer that I was able to draft late reinforces the fact that they should be valued much higher.
I had a lot of other players on my mind when I drafted Torres. However, due to me drafting of Gimenez, who had eligibility at second and short, it allowed me to take a chance on Torres. If he can repeat what he did last year, he will be very valuable for me as Gimenez can move to shortstop if Bichette get injured or has a down week.
These are absolutely where I take my chances. I definitely subscribe to the thought that you need to be safe in building your core with best ball. Once that core is built though all bets are off.
Once I have that core, I take my risks. Tyler Mahle, Seyia Suzuki, Roansy Contreras and Romon Loreano are my risk picks. I'll recap them with bullet points.
- Mahle was once a top pitcher, striking out 10 per nine. Last year the rails fell off a bit. In one of the last rounds I'm happy to take the chance on him
- Suzuki was a highly regarded player last season as he came over from the KBO. Things didn't go as planned, but he had a solid second-half. I'm in
- Contreras has all the talent in the world, but control issues hold him back. At this point in the draft I'm fine hoping he can give me a few spike weeks that help.
- Loreano is a great player who is injured far too often. As my last pick I'm hoping he gives me 100 games and those weeks he plays I bet he is my lineup more often than not.
Be prepared for the upcoming season by checking out all of the 2023 Fantasy Baseball content on Fantasy Six Pack.