Success in fantasy baseball isn't about filling your roster with all of your favorite players. It's fun to build a team of players you love, but it won't win you your league. Success in this game is when personal preference meets opportunity. It's when your strong, informed opinion separates from that of your competition, good or bad. That's finding value.
That's not to say that we can't have favorites among players. If we didn't, how would we know when our opinion deviates from the norm? Sure, there are measures such as ADP or expert-league results or any mock drafts with which we experiment before the real deal, but you'll never truly know where those pockets of value reside until you actually sit down at your own league's draft table.
The most important task to undergo in advance of your draft is to take your own stands on players -- each and every one of them. Welcome to the space where I take my stands and share them with you: Presenting my annual "Tristan's List," 20 players that I expect to draft on a majority of my teams due to a particularly strong, positive opinion about each.
On this list, you won't find Juan Soto, Kyle Tucker, Luis Robert, Rafael Devers or Lucas Giolito, despite my very much liking all five. Who doesn't? They're household names in our game, meaning none can hardly be termed a prospective "value." I mention them simply because I think the premium you'll pay for each is worth it (although Robert's is -- and should be -- more affordable in points-based scoring).
No, this list runs a bit deeper than that, ranging from the fringes of the top-50 overall in my rankings to some final-round sleepers for those of you in AL- or NL-only leagues. As always, I've attempted to balance things. The list includes 10 American League and 10 National League players, 12 hitters and eight pitchers, and at least one apiece at each of the infield positions (as well as catcher).
Let's dive in.