Would You Rather: Draft Mookie Betts or Cody Bellinger in 2020 Fantasy Baseball Season

Tristan Jung
Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts' fantasy outlooks are great, but Bellinger might have the edge.
Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts' fantasy outlooks are great, but Bellinger might have the edge. / Will Newton/Getty Images

The biggest trade of the offseason is finally complete. Mookie Betts is now a Los Angeles Dodger, further cementing the Dodgers’ status as National League favorites. Despite a last-minute snag after the Red Sox changed their minds on acquiring the Minnesota Twins’ pitcher Brusdar Graterol, the deal is officially done.

The Dodgers are set to have two top-five fantasy players in their everyday lineup with Cody Bellinger and Betts. Since most fantasy teams aren’t lucky enough to have both, let’s break down which star outfielder you’d rather have for the fantasy baseball season.

Mookie Betts Fantasy Outlook

After winning the AL MVP in 2018, Betts established himself as a premier fantasy option. However, in 2019, Betts slipped from his otherworldly 2018. He was still well above-average, but his OPS dropped from 1.079 to .915 and he hit three fewer homers, despite playing 14 more games.

That being said, while his .295/.391/.524 batting line was still excellent, it was significantly worse than Bellinger’s output in 2019.

For 2020, Betts still projects to be a great fantasy option. He has consistent 30-homer, 20-steals potential, gets on-base at a great clip (he posted a career-high 13.7 percent walk rate in 2019), and has scored over 100 runs in each of his last four seasons.

However, there’s enough of a sample size to show that his 2018 home run rate (32 homers in 136 games) could be an outlier. By traditional stats and Statcast hitting profile, 2018 stood out for exit velocity, hard-hit percentage, and barrel percentage. With those power numbers, Betts is slightly riskier in terms of floor.

Cody Bellinger Fantasy Outlook

Bellinger’s first half in 2019 was legendary. In those 88 games, he produced enough for an entire season, clubbing 30 homers, 71 RBI, and slashing an absurd .336/.432/.692. Although he slowed down a bit in the second half, he still had an excellent .913 OPS in that stretch, enough to earn him the NL MVP award.

Compared to Betts, Bellinger projects to be much better power hitter in 2020. He could be in for another 40-homer season, at the very least. As long as Bellinger continues his amazing improvement in plate discipline— he significantly raised his walk rate and cut strikeouts in 2019— he will be a superstar.

Critically, Bellinger also chips in all the areas where Betts would seem to have an advantage. He stole 15 bases in 2019, just one fewer than Betts, and had a better walk rate and batting average. His Statcast contact profile was also better than Betts'.

Bellinger had an advantage in hard-hit percentage, weighted on base percentage (wOBA) and expected batting average (xBA). This wasn't a flash in the pan either, as Bellinger had a similarly impressive contact profile in 2017.

Right now, Bellinger’s better power numbers puts him at a slight advantage. While both players have a lofty ceiling, Bellinger’s reliable power numbers mean that he’s more likely to reach it.

However, the addition of Betts to the stacked Dodgers lineup boosts both players’ fantasy outlook, as they should be able to benefit from each other’s success.

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Tristan Jung is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Tristan Jung also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username tristan1117. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.