Lists are fun. Lists can be a little silly, too.
Let’s have some fun today.
Periodically during the fantasy baseball season, I will examine all 30 MLB rosters to try to figure out which teams have the most fantasy juice. I've put plenty of thought into it, but it's also a subjective exercise. Your list would surely be different. See it for what it is, a fun way to get ready for the season and to occasionally revisit the ranks during it.
Again, this is about a team’s collective fantasy value. The best teams in baseball will collect at the top spots, but this isn’t strictly a measure of overall team strength. We’re just looking for the numbers, gamers.
Game on. Happy Opening Day.
30. Oakland Athletics
Esteury Ruiz is a fun player and Seth Brown has been underrated for over a year. But I dare anyone to name the rest of this lineup, 1 to 9. There's no there there.
29. Detroit Tigers
They don't have a single fantasy commodity inside the top 150 this month, and the first player off the board, Javier Baez, I wouldn't touch on a bet. Eric Haase isn't a bad catcher on a budget. I worry the cheese has gone bad for Austin Meadows.
28. Washington Nationals
I'll say this, they have five players I can stomach at a reasonable ADP — Joey Meneses (classic late bloomer), Keibert Ruiz (prospect on the rise), CJ Abrams (classic post-hype case), Kyle Finnegan (clear closer) and maybe even Lane Thomas (leadoff man with some category juice). All that said, this is still the worst roster in the National League. To illustrate how quickly rosters turn over, look how absurdly loaded this team was during the 2019 World Series run.
27. Pittsburgh Pirates
You squint and you see some reasons for optimism. Oneil Cruz is a spectacle. Bryan Reynolds is a quiet across-the-board contributor. David Bednar can hold down the ninth. Mitch Keller looked like an improved pitcher this spring. Unfortunately, there's not much depth past those guys.
26. Colorado Rockies
No top 100 ADP players on the Coors Field-boosted Rockies? It's a sad day. At least Kris Bryant looked healthy all spring, and maybe Ryan McMahon can outkick his reasonable ADP, expected to slot in the 3-hole. As usual, run away from every Colorado pitcher, and that includes closer Daniel Bard. I'd like to see Jurickson Profar find a way to 500 at-bats.
25. Chicago Cubs
I give Hayden Wesneski a strong chance to be the rotation's best starter, and Nico Hoerner will be a fun player, good on offense, sharp on defense and ready to cover multiple positions. I was all set to chase Seiya Suzuki's sophomore year before an early-spring injury.
24. Boston Red Sox
It's the worst lineup they've had in maybe a decade, despite retaining Rafael Devers and adding the interesting Masataka Yoshida. I'm surprised the market has pushed Chris Sale into the middle rounds, given that he's made a piddly 11 starts in three seasons.
23. Kansas City Royals
The top of the lineup is delicious, even if you're not spooked by Bobby Witt's OBP. But the lineup isn't deep and the rotation doesn't have much past Brady Singer. There are three legitimate contenders in the AL Central, and once again, Kansas City isn't one of them.
22. Arizona Diamondbacks
Corbin Carroll and Zac Gallen are the buzzy names here, but the secondary pieces aren't bad. Christian Walker is probably the most affordable 25-30 homers you can find. Lourdes Gurriel is healthy and ready for a bounce-back, Jake McCarthy has a little pop and plenty of speed. Gabriel Moreno has a path to 500 at-bats.
21. San Francisco Giants
I always want to bet on the pitches they bet on, and versatile Thairo Estrada was one of my most common spring targets. But can they fix Michael Conforto and Mitch Haniger? That's where I'm dubious.
20. Texas Rangers
Marcus Semien has been mispriced all spring and by now you've surely heard about how Corey Seager should crush in post-shift life. But I wouldn't touch Jacob deGrom anywhere close to his ADP, and although Adolis Garcia is a category juice compiler, his swing-and-miss game brings plenty of average risk.
19. Cincinnati Reds
Maybe the lineup isn't quite nine-deep, but there are 4-5 hitters I'm excited to roster, especially when you consider the home park. Tyler Stephenson is one of our favorite fantasy things, a full-time player who's not burdened with everyday catching. The rotation also has three upside stars right at the top. This will be a fun team.
18. Cleveland Guardians
They're a little like the AL Central's version of the Rays, a shrewd organization that does a lot of little things well. But the injury to Triston McKenzie might be the hit that keeps them from another playoff run. The Josh Bell acquisition was a perfect move.
17. Baltimore Orioles
They're poised to contend and they have four top-100 players; when's the last time we said that? Here's hoping they're proactive with a Grayson Rodriguez promotion.
16. Miami Marlins
The pitching staff is fun, though we're all worried if Sandy Alcantara can overcome his mediocre defense. Jazz Chisholm is a 20-40 season waiting to happen, assuming the defensive change doesn't mess with his head and the spring arm soreness isn't a legitimate concern.
15. Minnesota Twins
Their two critical players are at the top of the ADP board — Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa. If they can get 130 games out of Buxton and, say, 140 from Correa, they're the AL Central favorites. But is that a bet you're comfortable making? I like investing in this pitching staff and feeling good about the defense. Joe Ryan, Pablo Lopez and Tyler Mahle all make sense at their respective ADPs.
14. Los Angeles Angels
Not the easiest team to rank. Shohei Ohtani is an overload and Mike Trout is still a star, even if the bags have left and he's to some degree an injury risk. But then what? Can Anthony Rendon stay healthy? Are Brandon Drury and Taylor Ward as good as they looked last year? Is this the season Reid Detmers or Patrick Sandoval take a major step forward? Does Luis Rengifo belong in an everyday lineup?
13. Tampa Bay Rays
They do so many things right and regularly outkick the component stats, though it is a little frustrating to see so much lineup jockeying on a day-to-day basis. Is Wander Franco going to be mostly an average-driven fantasy player, or is he ready to add category juice to his profile? Shane McClanahan is my pick for AL Cy Young.
12. Los Angeles Dodgers
It's still a good team, but it's not the juggernaut we're used to. Trea Turner left. Gavin Lux got hurt. Walker Buehler isn't in the mix. Clayton Kershaw is still terrific, but it's with a target of around 135 innings. Max Muncy, Dustin May, Miguel Vargas and J.D. Martinez are four critical players from the middle rounds. I'm also curious to see if James Outman can find a regular gig in the outfield.
11. St. Louis Cardinals
The lineup is a dream, and the defense is angelic. But how good is the pitching? No member of the starting staff goes inside the top 150, which should tell you something. And as much as I love Willson Contreras' bat, the staff is going to miss Yadier Molina's world-class defense.
10. Chicago White Sox
A sleeping giant here. So much talent. Just about everything went wrong last year, and Tony La Russa was the wrong manager at the wrong time. I’ve proactively drafted 5-6 guys from this roster all spring. Just give them an average batch of luck for six months and they’re back in the playoffs.
9. New York Yankees
You have my permission to draft Aaron Judge as early as you want, Gerrit Cole is too good not to win a Cy Young sometime, Anthony Rizzo is a perfect boring value vet and Anthony Volpe looks ready to hit the ground running. But given the injury concerns to Carlos Rodon and Luis Severino, I will not be surprised if the Yankees miss the playoffs.
8. Milwaukee Brewers
Two legitimate aces up front, Devin Williams is a bonafide closer and Willy Adames has been comically underrated for two years. Even if Christian Yelich doesn't get back to star form, there are other fun players to draft here — Rowdy Tellez, Freddy Peralta, Jesse Winker among them.
7. Philadelphia Phillies
A shame they don't have their full roster, with Bryce Harper down three months and Rhys Hoskins out for the year. But Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler are relaxing aces to watch, Kyle Schwarber is a perfect modern player and Alec Bohm and Bryson Scott are priced for easy ADP profit.
6. Seattle Mariners
I give the Mariners a legitimate chance to steal the AL West from the Astros. The rotation has four legitimate No. 2s (and maybe Luis Castillo qualifies as an ace), and the offense has a mix of ascending talents and established veterans. This is a club worth staying up late for.
5. Houston Astros
Are they headed into a year from hell? Injuries kept dinging them all spring, and they're also dealing with the loss of Justin Verlander. I still want pieces here — Jeremy Peña remains underrated, and Alex Bregman returned to form after his wrist got right last year. The staff has three or four possible aces, too. But the lineup isn't as deep as what we're used to, and too many key players are less than 100 percent as the season opens.
4. New York Mets
They'll go as far as their two superstar aces will take them. But the offense has destination players, too, especially Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor, still in their primes. I'd like to see Jeff McNeil finally command some quality lineup real estate.
3. Toronto Blue Jays
My pick to take the competitive AL East, with so many legacy bats on the front nines of their careers. The fences are coming in, which should offset a slight raise in the fence height. There are also a couple of plausible Cy Young contenders on the staff, and a lights-out closer in Jordan Romano.
2. San Diego Padres
With three top 20 players and seven inside the top 100, this is obviously a designation roster. Is Juan Soto done running for good? How quickly does Francisco Tatis Jr. return to form after the layoff? Was Josh Hader's blip last year anything serious to worry about? Nonetheless, this is the best roster in the NL West, and it's been a while since we've said that.
1. Atlanta Braves
It's the deepest lineup in baseball, and there are Cy Young candidates on the staff, too. Appointment television. Go chase those Ronald Acuña Jr., Austin Riley and Matt Olson props.