First, let’s get some basics out of the way in terms of how to interpret these rankings. None of this stuff should come as any major surprise, but it never hurts to provide background:
- As a reminder, these rankings are geared toward a standard, daily, 12-team H2H redraft league, as that is typically the most popular fantasy baseball format. They will only factor in the five standard categories: Runs, RBI, Home Runs, Batting Average, and Stolen Bases.
- I would recommend not paying super close attention to the specific ranks of each player, and honing in more on the respective tiers that they’re in. Each tier represents a grouping of players that I think could arguably perform at a similar level, and/or carry similar levels of risk in terms of injury concerns or playing time obstacles. If Player X is ranked at #55 and Player Y is ranked at #65, but they’re in the same tier, it means that I personally like Player X a lot better, but think there’s a valid argument to be made for Player Y performing just as well.
- I take rankings like this as more of an art than a science. Every person’s rankings are influenced by their own biases, strategic philosophies, determinations of risk, and projections. It’s why no two rankings are ever exactly alike. Jon’s way of evaluating and ranking players has worked out well for Jon (and me) over the years, but it might not be a great fit for you. I can’t possibly predict your team’s specific needs, your league mate’s player evaluations, or your current waiver wire, and if I could it’d be weird. In a bad way.
- Yes, these ranks vary from the official PL positional rankings that I also developed in the offseason. That’s because these are only mine – no input from others. This is a safe space for me where I answer to no one but myself…and you if you leave a comment.
- I’m using 20 games as the threshold for the positional eligibility in the List. I have not included presumed eligibilities based on likely new positions. This is just a maintenance thing and we will update eligibility throughout the season. Feel free to let me know if I’m missing any!
And now a couple of notes on how I generally evaluate hitters before we dive in:
- I’ve gotten more level-headed over the years when it comes to weighing stolen bases, but I still think they’re incredibly valuable given how rare they’re becoming. Every steal is important, so don’t take those “chip-in” steals for granted. Finding steals at the end of the season can be a dogfight.
- If I did want to get some insight on whether what I’m seeing is new or if it’s just normal fluctuation, I’d use my favorite tool—the rolling chart. While we don’t have much for rolling data in 2022, you can see where they currently are on a rolling chart and see how it compares to their career trajectory.
- No stat is an island and they should all be taken in proper context. For ranking purposes, the primary starting points I use are plate discipline, wRC+, quality of contact metrics (also known as Statcast batted ball data), and lineup context. I also use various projections (some free, some I buy) and dollar value generators. Unlike Nick, I’ll also look at other rankings as I prepare my own to get a feel for how my colleagues are valuing certain players, positions, or stats. I recommend trying as many of these things as you can until you find what you like.
- Positional eligibility, and specifically multi-eligibility, is really neat but also isn’t a huge factor in many 10- and 12-team leagues anymore due to the prevalence of multi-eligible players. It’s of more value in deeper contests like the NFBC, or in leagues with limited roster moves (draft and hold leagues, transaction limits/costs, extremely short benches, etc.), but even then the value is fairly situational and context-dependent.
- On a similar note, I don’t really penalize players for only qualifying in the utility slot. At most, it is a mild inconvenience if a DH-only player is available at a great value and you already have filled your utility spots.
- If you’d like input on a player or have any feedback, your best bet is to reach out to me on Twitter (@ifthechufits) or in the comments!
Want more on how these rankings came together? Check out the podcast Hacks & Jacks featuring myself and Joe Gallina, which also happened to be a finalist for Best Baseball Podcast of 2021 by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA)!
- Ronald Acuña Jr. is incredible. Any fears you had about being eased in or not stealing bases should be gone now that he’s playing every day (though he did just sit to rest a sore groin). As long as he’s playing the rest of the season, he’s the king.
- I finally split the top tier in two, but really, it’s kind of like 1A and 1B. The top tier is a collection of guys I think could reasonably be your top overall player based on format or preferences. The second tier is made up of guys who all could be part of the first tier if they make a minor adjustment or even just have an extended hot streak.
- Mike Trout is still Mike Trout and that’s awesome. He’s not in the top tier due to the injury risk and lack of steals (I’d be surprised if he even got to five), but he’s still Mike Trout.
- Bo Bichette took a tumble here despite hitting MUCH better of late (.347 over his last 10 games) because I just had to move a few guys up due to their performances.
- Luis Robert is currently on a nine-game hitting streak, and now I’m wondering if he can stay healthy and be the 30 home run, 20 stolen base monster I know he can be. He’s made big adjustments to his approach and has cut the strikeouts all the way down to 13.3% despite a hyper-aggressive approach (he’s in the top-four in all three swing rates (outside, zone, and overall) much like his teammate Tim Anderson. The main difference, though, is that Robert has considerably more power potential. While Robert probably can’t keep up this kind of plate discipline forever, he’s only 24 and has at least a couple of seasons before we have to worry too much about his bat-to-ball skills.
- Not much to say about Tier 3, really. It’s mostly the same guys in mostly the same spots. I imagine that if we had to draft today, this would mostly be the second round, and the order would be more about who pairs best with your top pick than it is about clear talent differences.
- I’m still not worried about Cedric Mullins yet. Ask me again next week. Yes, this is the exact comment from last week with the exception of this sentence.
- Seiya Suzuki didn’t move! He is slumping a bit of late, which is totally normal for hitters who are in their debut season. Pitchers have adjusted, and now it’s Suzuki’s turn.
- If I knew Springer would play 130 games, he’d be comfortably in Tier 3. The problem is that I don’t think I’ll feel certain about Springer playing 130 games until he actually completes the 130th game.
- Anthony Rizzo‘s batting average should get better in time, but I’d start thinking of him as a .260 hitter at this point in his career instead of the .285 hitter he used to be.
- Jose Altuve extended his current hitting streak to eight games, and he already has four home runs this month. Altuve has 31 home runs in each of his last two non-shortened seasons, and while it might be tough to get there this year in the current environment and with him already having missed time, he should get pretty darn close.
- Jazz Chisholm Jr. is clearly seeing the ball much better than he did last season. He’s cut way down on the ground balls, though what’s also interesting is that he’s pulling the ball 52.1% of the time. Of course, batted ball stats can take quite a while to accumulate enough data to make a good sample, so it’s a bit too early to tell if any of these changes will stick around. What we do know is that he’s got a good shot at 25 home runs and 20 steals, and the batting average will be better than last season.
- I wish I could tell you what was going on with Marcus Semien and Trevor Story, but the best I can do is say that they might be pressing at the plate a little bit?
- No news is good news for Fernando Tatis Jr. and he’ll move up every week until I hear something bad or until he’s at the top of the list.
- Willy Adames leads all 22 qualified shortstops in home runs, runs scored, RBI, and walk rate. I was a tiny bit concerned about the low batting average, but then I noticed that his BABIP is close to 100 points lower than it should be, and Statcast gives him an expected average of .270. He’s probably more like a .250 to .260 hitter, but either way I am loving the power and plate discipline so far.
- Francisco Lindor is slumping again, hitting just .146/.205/.244 this month with a single home run and a stolen base. I think I’ve found just about the right tier for him, but I suppose we’ll see how this week goes!
- Christian Yelich continues to look like a new-but-different guy, and I still like him for 25 home runs and 15 steals. If someone thinks they are selling high, make a move.
- Tyler O’Neill is really struggling against offspeed and breaking pitches right now, and until he can make that adjustment, it’s going to be ugly.
- I still believe in Max Muncy. His plate discipline is still outstanding, but he inexplicably is slugging just .268 on fastballs. Since the start of 2018, Muncy has yet to finish a season slugging less than .594 against fastballs. In the other three seasons, he slugged over .600 against fastballs. That will fix itself.
- The Tigers are horribly lost right now at the plate, and Javier Báez is no exception. It’s hard to see how he can replicate last season’s success, but it’s worth noting that he’s kept the strikeout rate under control compared to last season, so maybe his floor is a little better than it has been in the recent past.
- The signs of life from Ketel Marte were a welcome sight—in his last 11 games, he has two home runs, a steal, 12 combined runs and RBI, and a 203 wRC+.
- I’m starting to get the feeling that Adolis García has a bit of Rougned Odor in him due to his great fantasy stats (four home runs, four steals, and 35 combined runs and RBI) and bad real-life stats (.200/.262/.364). There’s a lot of risk/reward in this profile, though it can also lead to 25-30 home runs and 15 stolen bases like we saw last season.
- I love Steven Kwan. There’s just something about the guys who just never go down on strikes that is incredibly charming to me. I expect oodles of hits and runs scored, even if it only comes with barely double-digit power and speed.
- Austin Meadows, Franmil Reyes, and Chris Taylor all took some major tumbles due to their continued struggle. In 10- and 12-team formats with just three outfielders, they are getting close to cuttable.
- In brighter news, though, Jeff McNeil made quite a climb after I realized he’s hitting .330. Forget all about the 23 home runs in 2019—that’s the rabbit ball effect—and focus on the .300 or better batting average and the counting stats that come with it.
- Do your thing, Josh Naylor! He’s showing off some of the power that has been locked up in ground balls the last few years with three home runs in his last two games and his hit tool remains outstanding. Jeez, the Guardians have a really scrappy lineup.
- Yasmani Grandal can’t keep making a habit of these slow starts. I still don’t think you can drop him, though. He just has too much upside in this lineup.
- I wasn’t sure I believed at all in Harrison Bader‘s improved strikeout rate from 2021, but so far in 2022 it has been fantastic. Making consistent contact was always a real issue for Bader, so if he’s worked that out there’s a chance he could be a 15-20 home run, 15-20 stolen base kind of player who hits somewhere between .230 and .250.
- AJ Pollock continues to struggle and has now hit seventh in the order twice in a row. I don’t mind dealing with his injury risk, but I can’t deal with that and performance problems at the same time. I’ve moved on in several shallow leagues.
- Eloy Jiménez is a premium hold but I’m not sure how to actually rank that. Just don’t cut him, OK?
- If you’re in a shallow-ish 10- or 12-team league, you can generally feel free to cut anyone in the last tier for something better, especially if you are using Yahoo’s default roster format (three outfielders, two utility spots, no corner or middle infield).
And now, once again, it’s time for the Hitter List:
Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire | Design by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)
88 for Joe I’ll take it. Any thoughts on Yepez? Really great notes this week, are you sticking with releasing this list on Thursdays moving forward?
Thanks Joe! And no – this is meant to be on Wednesdays, I’ve just had some scheduling issues.
And for Yepez, I truly know very little about him outside of stat lines and scouting reports. He had a strong triple-A season last year and was off to another strong start that he’s now carried into the majors. He’s worth an add if you have a burning crater at 1st and want a lotto ticket to chase a kid who could maybe hit 30 home runs in a dream season (though that’s REALLY speculative – I’d think about him as a streamer for now. If nothing else, he’s hot and I’m curious to see how he does against Webb, Rodon, and Megill heading to next week’s list.
Appreciate it man! Last thing, when India is back where do you think he would land on the list?
Never mind I see him there, my bad.
All good! Hope he can find his way back to his 2021 form ASAP.
Not yet! If he can play more than 2 weeks at a time AND produce more, then maybe.
Does that mean that you don’t buy into the 6 game hitting streak that Franmil had going most of the week as a sign of him righting the ship?
Correct, though I’m glad he did manage to hit a home run during the stretch. His hit streak showed the same sloppy plate discipline as his slump, so for all of our sakes I hope he stretches this hot streak out a little longer rather than going 0-8 with 5 strikeouts the following 2 games.
Bruuutal – thanks for your work!
Would you consider dropping him for Naylor at this point?
In very shallow leagues – yes. The deeper it gets, the more I think you need to hold on to the upside. The other thing to think about is whether your league-mates would actually add him before you did if you change your mind.
wong seems high. drop voit for him?
Yeah, I’d do that unless you really need power.
What are your thoughts about Justin Turner ROS? I really don’t need another 3B-only guy, but he was dropped in my keeper league and passed through waivers. I’d consider dropping Rowdy for him. (Neither would be a keeper).
Yeesh, he looks like he’s pretty old right now, and I probably should have dropped him further. He’s still got a good eye, but all of the quality of contact metrics are down, and he’s struggling against basically every kind of pitch. It’s possible that it’s just a single issue, but it feels like it’s a few issues at once. I’d reset expectations on Turner to like 20 home runs, 80 runs, 80 RBI, and hope that he hits north of .265 the rest of the way? Maybe the recent explosion he had against the Pirates might jump-start his bat?
I like Rowdy as a short-term lotto ticket, but he has yet to ever earn a job for a full season due to slumps and platoons. If I thought he’d be “the guy” all year, I’d have him even higher.
I’d keep Rowdy here unless you needed a safe play. If you’re shooting for upside, which is how I am interpreting your comment, keep Rowdy.
You interpreted my comment correctly. I think I just needed someone to talk me *out* of picking up Turner. I was doing all kinds of contortions to try to figure out how to add him and I couldn’t justify it.
Your faith in Muncy… is that even with the UCL issue? He is being very passive, to the point I wonder if he is be protecting that UCL, either because it hurts or he’s just scared.
I thought about that, but we haven’t heard much that he’s being bothered, plus his barrel rate seems fine (hard to get barrels when you’re hurt). The issue seems to be too many pop-ups and fly balls. I expect it to be corrected eventually—he’s too good and too aware of the strike zone to slump for too long.
Great stuff, as always, Scott! Torkelson seems a little lost at the plate, and now he’s lost from the list, dropping from #93 last week. Time to cut in a 12-team OBP?
Yes unless you have a REALLY deep bench or it’s a keeper/dynasty, and I’m very sad about it. I think he’s going to be a monster, but it might take a little while.
He ALMOST made the cut. COnsider him #151. He’d be in for sure if I thought he’d steal at least 5 bases but I’m pretty skeptical. The injury risk is an issue as well.
One day my boy Jorge Mateo will make the list…or ya know maybe not🤷♂️. Either way, great work as usual Chu. Thanks!
He very well could! He’s a prime post-post-post-hype sleeper and I love the speed, though the format these are primarily targeted for (H2H Weekly) doesn’t value speed like Roto.
If this were Roto, he’d be in the back 2 tiers.
Scott, thoughts on Luis Urias? Either him or Bohm are the bottom of my hitters and I may need to dump one for a streaming pitcher. Dynasty so I could keep Bohm for $0 next year and +$3 every year after. Keep up the good work!
Urias’s versatility generally makes him a better bench guy, so that’s my pick unless I need Bohm’s average or if Urias’s keeper cost is more than a few dollars higher.
Thanks again for this week’s list, Scott. So now it’s Sunday night, and even the Cardinals have benched Tyler O’Neill for two games in a row. In a 10-team H2H points league, how much more patience does one have to have?
Most points leagues don’t value steals, so it does depress his value. I suppose it depends on what is available, but I see a scenario where this is a reasonable thing.
Still no Estrada? i’m surprised
No Joc Pederson? Hitting top-4 spots in that giants lineup?
These delayed updates are getting old