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Best Ball Avoids for Fantasy Baseball Drafts

Bryce Harper - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, MLB Injury News, DFS Lineup Picks

Welcome to our fantasy baseball best ball draft avoids for the 2023 season. The fantasy baseball season is right around the corner. For those fantasy managers looking to get an edge on their 2023 leagues, best ball formats are an awesome way to get an early look at where players are being drafted in terms of ADP and evaluate which players have a stock price that is likely not to return full value for their price tag.

One key piece to drafting in set-it-and-forget-it leagues is the ability to take a completely different approach compared to your normal redraft and dynasty baseball leagues. While best ball formats can present the ultimate in risk-reward options in drafts, we often advocate for the opportunity to let your other league members make the mistake of drafting volatile assets.

Here’s a list of five land mines that you can avoid in best ball this season.

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Fantasy Baseball Best Ball Avoids

Ozzie Albies - 2B, Atlanta Braves

ADP 65.1

Not only did Ozzie Albies deal with a myriad of health issues last season but according to recent reports, he underwent offseason shoulder surgery and is not yet 100%. Luckily, the surgery was a clean-up and not anything extreme but we should take not regardless.

Albies is a talented player who is as good in fantasy as he is in real life at full strength. However, if he is not 100% to start the season, he could not only underperform but fall out of favor in the lineup order. The Braves' lineup is arguably baseball's best and if Albies is hitting in the lower third to start the season, that is bad news for his fantasy value and not worth his top-100 cost.


Bryce Harper - OF, Philadelphia Phillies

ADP - 67.5

Bryce Harper underwent Tommy John Surgery shortly after the Phillies' postseason run and his timetable for return is just before the All-Star Break in July according to most recent reports. While this may be true, the likelier scenario is Philadelphia brass holding him out until after the Break if not later, especially in the case that they are safely within the playoff race. The Phillies added star Trea Turner over the offseason and have plenty of young, emerging talent that complements their all-star core. They are likely in no rush to bring back their superstar asset after significant surgery no matter what reports say.

Not only that but there is also the consideration of the performance impact elbow surgery will have on Harper in his first season back. We've seen talented hitters like Corey Seager and Rhys Hoskins undergo TJS in the past and both witnessed serious output dips. Luckily, both hitters regained form once two seasons removed and did not deal with any lasting effects. Harper is a greatly talented hitter but even at a discount, he is unappealing.


Dansby Swanson - SS, Chicago Cubs

ADP - 77

Dansby Swanson is definitely closer to the hitter he was between 2020 and 2022 rather than at the start of his career but swapping his place at the top of the Braves offense for the top of the Cubs' offense is quite the dip for an above-average hitter. Swanson's appeal comes in his steady approach and in typical fantasy formats, his ability to contribute across all five categories. Unfortunately, Swanson is now surrounded by an offense that should significantly impact his run and RBI numbers. The Braves ranked 7th in total offense by wRC+ in 2022 while the Cubs ranked 20th--quite the gap.

Swanson could make up part of the difference by stealing more but even so, expected stats suggest he overperformed his average a decent bit (actual .277 vs expected .257). If his average were to dip that much he would completely sink in value and it is feasible given that teams may pitch to him differently with a weaker offense surrounding him.


Kyle Wright - SP, Atlanta Braves

ADP - 103.1

Kyle Wright broke out in 2022 after carrying half a decade of prospect hype. Wright was a former first-overall pick who dominated every level of the minors but could not crack the major league rotation due to his lack of command and general inconsistency. After his fourth failed year in the majors, he broke out and performed as a very good SP2. Now, he is priced alongside pitchers who have more than one year worth of fantasy value on their resume.

Not only is Wright's price gaudy, but he also received a cortisone shot in his shoulder and is still ramping up for spring training. There is no news of significant injury, however, he did just pitch a career-high number of innings (180 1/3rd) along with a playoff appearance. Wright is extremely talented and could build on his 2022 breakout but at cost, he is better off avoided.


Chris Bassitt - SP, Toronto Blue Jays

ADP - 110.1

Chris Bassitt is another notable mover this offseason. His season in New York was fantastic as he pitched a career-high 181.2IP and produced a stellar 3.42 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. Bassitt is now coming off of his 3rd stellar fantasy season in a row but now, his move to Toronto may reveal the cracks in his armor. Bassitt is not a great pitcher based on underlying metrics such as xFIP and SIERA.

Throughout his career, he has typically overperformed them on the surface which is would be quite notable if not for the fact that his home parks throughout his career (Oakland Coliseum and Citi Field) were the two friendliest pitcher parks in all of baseball.

Chris Bassitt Career Stats Home/Away:

  • Home: 376.1 IP, 2.68 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 16.7% K-BB, 3.87 xFIP
  • Away: 36 1IP, 4.26 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 12% K-BB, 4.61 xFIP

Moving to Rogers Centre would not be as much of an issue if not for the fact that the outfield walls are moving in and creating an even more hitter-friendly environment. Over the past five years, the field has ranked about average for hitters and pitchers (already a downgrade for Bassitt). Now, there is no telling how well bats may play, especially lefties given that right and center field are moving in. Bassitt is not worth drafting at his cost given that he may be closer to a JAG than a top-25 SP.


Other Notable Players to Avoid

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