Players to Target at Each Position in OBP Leagues

Matt Cohen identifies players to target in your OBP leagues

Spring training is a month away and it’s a fantastic time to start getting prepped for your 2024 fantasy season. For those of you looking for help in your OBP leagues, I’m here to do just that. I have compiled a list of offensive players at each position that I believe will be excellent targets for your team come draft time. And since I’m focusing on strictly OBP leagues, rest assured that while the players here may overlap with other leagues in terms of fit, these chosen players are the ones I see fitting best in this league format.

First, the caveats:

As you know, OBP leagues don’t care how you get on base, just so long as you do. If the averages are ugly, but the players rounding the diamond consistently, who are we to judge? Those are the types of players I’m identifying.

With that, I will be focusing on three key statistics- walk percentage, walk-to-strikeout ratio, and of course, on-base percentage (OBP). While there are certainly more analytical choices, these basic statistical categories will narrow our search down well enough to find what we need.

We always want to find the strikeout-less, walk-more type of players, especially if your OBP league is also a points league. This isn’t always possible, especially if we’re looking for better value later in the draft, so the player list will be a mix of lower and higher strikeout volumes.

Speaking of value, depending on position depth, I’m aiming for lesser-known on-base guys, later-in-the-draft-type players. We all know the gold standards in Max Muncy, Kyle Schwarber, and for you older fans like myself, Chris Davis. But we want draft value and these players can help get you that terrific value if you’re able to snag them. I will, however, pluck from the superstars at the position if the positional pool is shallow enough.

Let’s get to it!

Note: all statistical rankings are based on qualified hitters only




Adley Rutschman, Baltimore Orioles


Okay, okay, so this one isn’t exactly brain surgery. One of the best players on one of the best teams in baseball doesn’t scream sleeper. He’s surely a known quantity, but did you know he’s a great call for OBP leagues? Rutschman was 15th overall last season in walk rate, seventh in walk-to-strikeout ratio, and 12th overall in OBP. Positionally, he led all catchers in walk rate and walk-to-strikeout ratio. Post All-Star Break, he was ninth overall in walk-to-strikeout ratio and 23rd in OBP. He may be the first catcher off the board in any league, but for a position that’s pretty shallow for OBP leagues, Rutschman is worth the draft capital to select him.


William Contreras, Milwaukee Brewers


He may be the little brother of Willson, but he’s not little when it comes to his bat. Third at his position last season in walk rate and 37th overall, fourth at his position and 45th overall in walk-to-strikeout ratio, and 16th overall in OBP. Contreras should get the bulk of the looks behind the dish for the Brew Crew, and if his post-All-Star Break numbers are a trend (13th overall in OBP after the Midsummer Classic), look for Contreras to be spending his summer days standing on a base more than he’s crouched behind one.


First Base


LaMonte Wade Jr., San Francisco Giants


For a position that’s often rife with a mix of power and strikeouts, Wade is a refreshing change of pace at the cold corner. Last season, Wade finished tenth in walk-to-strikeout ratio and first at his position. He was also seventh overall in walk rate (first again at his position) and 13th overall in OBP, placing fourth at his position. If Wade can put up just a little bit more power, he’s a well-rounded fit, but for the guy who’s likely to be in the third or fourth tier of first basemen, you could do a lot worse.


Spencer Steer, Cincinnati Reds


A trendy pick last season to make the Reds roster and contribute right away, Steer put up some numbers to back up Queen City’s faith in him. In his first full season in the bigs, Steer finished 40th overall in walk rate, 47th in walk-to-strikeout ratio, and 29th in OBP. Those were middle-of-the-pack numbers positionally, and if he’s able to cut down on some of the strikeouts for you points leagues folks, he’s a great get if you wish to stock up elsewhere.


Triston Casas, Boston Red Sox


Many people saw this coming, but for your league’s purposes, Casas is a dude not to be forgotten. 35th overall in walk-to-strikeout ratio (really strong for a first baseman), 12th in walk rate, and 17th in OBP. How do those numbers sound to you? Second-half numbers are even better, posting a 10th-best walk rate and sixth-best OBP. The dude rakes, and while he may be higher on people’s draft boards, he is worth taking a little earlier if possible.


Second Base


Jonathan India, Cincinnati Reds


Whether India opens 2024 as a Red or something else remains to be seen, but for now, the 2021 NL Rookie of the Year is a keystone crusader for all OBP leagues. 49th overall in walk rate (14th at his position), 54th in walk-to-strikeout ratio (eighth), and 51st in OBP (seventh). These numbers may not look great, but plenty of people know that second base is a notoriously shallow position. If they want to go early with second base, let them, and reap the rewards when India is there later. Post-All-Star Break, he was 19th overall in walk rate, giving plenty of hope that once the trade rumors are finally laid to rest, he can lock in and be the on-base machine we know he can be.


Davis Schneider, Toronto Blue Jays


The Stache Man is a player to keep an eye on. He didn’t get enough at-bats to qualify, but had he, he would have finished 16th among second basemen with at least 140 plate appearances. Also, his walk rate and OBP would’ve placed him third overall amongst the positional players. If he can earn starting time on this offensive-loaded Blue Jays team, and all signs point to he can look for him to qualify and continue building on those strong on-base ways.


Brendan Donovan, St. Louis Cardinals


Another player who didn’t get enough at-bats to qualify, Donovan was another player who put up serviceable on-base numbers. At his position, he would have placed seventh in OBP, 10th in walk-to-strikeout ratio, and 24th in walk rate. If you’re looking for a deep, backup second baseman, Donovan’s your guy.


Third Base


Isaac Paredes, Tampa Bay Rays


For a position that’s plenty weak in OBP leagues due to its high power and high strikeouts theme, Paredes is a breath of fresh air compared to his positional colleagues. His power is sneaky, with 31 homers last season placing him fifth at his position. But Paredes can do more, as he finished 35th overall in OBP (third at his position), 43rd in walk rate (14th), and 32nd in walk-to-strikeout ratio (second). He could walk more, but he also doesn’t strike out a ton, comparably speaking. Get him, set him, and don’t think twice.


Max Muncy, Los Angeles Dodgers


As I said, this position is weak, so I had to go with a couple of gold standards here. Muncy had a down year in 2023, but the dude is a walking master class in on-base skills. His average was poor due to incredibly poor batted-ball luck, but he still managed to finish fifth overall in walk rate, 35th in walk-to-strikeout ratio, and 57th in OBP. Each of those placed first, fourth, and sixth, respectively at his position. Fine, maybe he could strike out less, but Muncy is still worth nabbing later in drafts, especially this year after a down year.

Also, if José Ramírez is available, just draft him and enjoy the ride.




J.P. Crawford, Seattle Mariners


This might be my favorite call of any player in this article. I love Crawford for so many reasons, but let’s focus on the reasons that relate to why you’re here. Did you know Crawford was 11th overall last season in OBP (second amongst shortstops), fourth in walk rate, and 11th in walk-to-strikeout ratio, the latter two of which he was first at his position? Yeah, he’s that good. Draft him with confidence after the glut of top-end, but less OBP-league effective shortstops are taken.


Geraldo Perdomo, Arizona Diamondbacks


Perdomo didn’t get enough at-bats to qualify but had he, he would’ve finished sixth at his position in walk rate, fifth in walk-to-strikeout ratio, and seventh in OBP for the NL pennant-winning DBacks. The guy may not be underrated for long, so snag him late while you still can.


Oneil Cruz, Pittsburgh Pirates


You may have gotten swept up in the madness that was Cruz Mania last season in the Steel City, but you also may have forgotten about him because he only played nine games before a season-ending leg injury. His numbers weren’t enough to qualify, but he looked like another OBP machine in the making. Given he’s coming back from injury and he’s regained his form, this could be a super late pick that might pay dividends later on in the season.


Left Field


Steven Kwan, Cleveland Guardians


We’ll start with the proven talent. All Kwan does is get on base. 48th in OBP (sixth amongst all left fielders), 52nd in walk rate (sixth), and sixth in walk-to-strikeout ratio (second). He doesn’t strike out and even with lower walk totals, the dude finds ways to get hits and get on base. Post-All-Star Break, Kwan finished first in walk-to-strikeout ratio. As a middle-tier outfielder, he locks down one of your outfield spots without dragging down your team with strikeouts.


Evan Carter, Texas Rangers


The darling of the world champs, Carter came on the scene late in the season for the Rangers and blossomed immediately, posting incredible numbers all postseason long. His 2023 numbers of course didn’t qualify, but had they, he would’ve finished 19th at his position in walk-to-strikeout ratio (not terrible for a rookie), sixth in walk rate, and second in OBP. Carter is likely going to need to make adjustments as teams have plenty of tape on him now, but should he, and continue refining his contact at the plate, Carter is a surefire pick.


Nolan Jones, Colorado Rockies


Another great player whose numbers didn’t qualify, Jones made fine work of the time he had in Denver last season. Had he qualified, he would’ve finished 13th amongst all left fielders in walk rate, 27th in walk-to-strikeout ratio, and fourth in OBP. Like Carter, he could stand to add more contact to his swing, but at 25, he still has some time to figure it out. Draft him late and enjoy the value.


Center Field


James Outman, Los Angeles Dodgers


Assuming Outman wins the starting job in spring training, and right now nothing is telling me he won’t, he might be the most consistent offensive player for the Dodgers after guys named Ohtani, Freeman, and Betts. Last season, Outman finished 21st overall in walk rate, fourth at his position, 84th in walk-to-strikeout ratio, good for eighth among center fielders, and 33rd in OBP, fourth at his position. He was even better after the All-Star break, finishing third overall in walk rate and 12th in OBP. He may be the best surprise no one seems to see coming, but if you’re smart, you’ll snag him and make others regret the day they passed him up.


Jack Suwinski, Pittsburgh Pirates


The Pirates are quietly putting together a strong offensive squad, and Suwinski is a huge part of that. Last season, Suwinski finished 11th in walk rate (second), 65th in walk-to-strikeout ratio (sixth), and 33rd in OBP (fourth). He also quietly put up 26 homers and 74 RBIs, so don’t worry too much about losing in other league categories. Suwinski has you covered across the board and draft him with ease.


Lars Nootbaar, St. Louis Cardinals


Nootbaar is an addition here for what he was able to do in the second half of the season. During that stretch, he was 18th overall in OBP, ninth in walk-to-strikeout ratio, and eighth in walk rate. I expect those numbers to continue and as such, will be drafting him late and enjoying the incredible value.


Right Field


Seiya Suzuki, Chicago Cubs


Suzuki isn’t just on this list because he plays for my hometown team. Suzuki was an on-base beast last year when healthy, finishing 44th overall in walk rate (sixth for right fielders), 62nd in walk-to-strikeout ratio (sixth), and 28th in OBP (fourth at his position). He also was 22nd in OBP in the second half of the season, so this doubles machine will provide tremendous value so long as he remains healthy.


Will Benson, Cincinnati Reds


With another weak OBP category, I had to go with another player who didn’t qualify. That shouldn’t be a problem this coming season, as Benson put up supreme numbers to earn a starting role on the 2024 Reds. Among right fielders last season, Benson would have finished seventh in OBP, 10th in walk rate, and among right fielders with 300 plate appearances, he was 18th in walk-to-strikeout ratio. Benson has room to grow but can be a finishing touch on your team come draft time.

Matt Cohen

Matt Cohen is a Fantasy Baseball here bat Pitcher List. In addition to being a fantasy writer, he's a dog lover, Simpsons fanatic, hiker, baker, and teacher.

4 responses to “Players to Target at Each Position in OBP Leagues”

  1. Michael says:

    I was for sure Brandon Nimmo was going to be on here? Is there a reason he was omitted? I do like your list as one of my leagues has OBP as a category so keep up the good work.

    • IdliAmin says:

      I was just about to ask the same question. Nimmo just posted career highs in HRs, barrel rate, hard-hit rate, max and avg exit velo, and he still doesn’t chase (91st percentile chase rate). He doesn’t steal bases, though that maybe that could change given that he has the requisite speed, it looks like he’s going to be playing LF (less demanding physically), and he has the security of a lucrative, long-term deal. He’s a 130 wRC+ machine because his on-base skills give him such a high floor, and he’s put together back-to-back healthy seasons (he missed the last few games of 2023 because of something I can’t remember, but he still exceeded 150 games).

  2. Jack says:

    Nolan Jones… “draft him late and enjoy the value.” Uhhhh… his adp is in the mid 50s.

  3. Cecil says:

    What baseball are you watching that makes you assume there is anyone that can challenge Outman’s CF spot?

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