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 regarding weighing stolen bases, but I still think they’re precious 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 feel how my colleagues value 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. will continue to have dings and bruises throughout the season. Don’t panic. Even 120 games of Acuña is an elite player.
- I am not worried about Juan Soto and I’m not sure what it would take for that to happen.
- Byron Buxton has slumped ever so slightly of late, while Mookie Betts, Manny Machado, and Yordan Alvarez continue to shine.
- It was weird not totally shuffling the first three tiers, but I had hoped this day would come. There’s a sense of stability for me up there and it should be like that for you as well.
- You’ll see a lot of movement in Tier 4, but it’s largely the result of Nick Castellanos and Anthony Rizzo taking a tumble in the rankings due to recent slumps combined with the fact that neither has me convinced that they can rebound into what I saw from them earlier (for Castellanos it’s 2021 and for Rizzo it’s April).
- Trevor Story and Whitt Merrifield appear to be OK, don’t you think? The reason people like me are so hesitant to drop them too far in rankings is that they have the talent to have a week or two like we just saw from them and totally change their trajectory.
- Julio Rodríguez isn’t rostered in 100% of leagues and that’s befuddling to me. He has yet to go consecutive games without getting a walk or hit and has four home runs and three steals in his last 11 outings. THE FUTURE IS NOW.
- Fernando Tatis Jr. may begin swinging a bat soon which would likely solidify a timetable and likely vault him up this list. If you want to trade for him, this is a time when there’s still enough risk to get a discount.
- It’s unlikely that Tommy Edman will keep scoring runs at this pace, but then again, the Cardinals defy logic and sense when it comes to how much production they get from someone you’ve never heard of. The 10 home runs and 30 steals from last year look pretty legitimate, though!
- Salvador Perez was just starting to light things up when he sprained his thumb, and I still haven’t heard a solid timeline so that pulled him down the rankings a bit. It’s also worth noting that the number of legitimate catching options is slowly rising, which knocks off some of his value as well (since much of it is tied to how much better he is than the competition).
- The difference between the slumping players at the top of Tier 9 (Kyle Schwarber, Max Muncy) and the bottom of Tier 9 (Marcus Semien, Seiya Suzuki) is how quickly I think the turnaround could happen and how quickly they could catch up considering their lost production. Schwarber and Muncy, specifically, could still have a 10-game stretch where they club five or more home runs and we wouldn’t be THAT surprised, you know? Suzuki faces the challenge of making adjustments against new and better pitchers, while Semien just looks so lost and confused right now.
- I’m not sure where Seiya Suzuki will settle in as he continues to adjust to the game on this side of the Pacific, but I’m sure it’s a
top-75top-100 player. Well…sort of sure.
- Once you accept that Eugenio Suárez will have a bad batting average and strike out too much, you can see how there might be value in his 30 home runs and 90 RBI I expect him to have by the end of the season.
- Eloy Jiménez is meant to start a rehab assignment next week, which means he should be back sometime in June. GET EXCITED.
- Tier 12 has a lot of players I’m concerned about. In no particular order, they are: Yoán Moncada, Ramón Laureano, Franmil Reyes, Marcell Ozuna, Ryan McMahon.
- I really hope Alek Thomas gets moved up in the order soon. He deserves it.
- Adley Rutschman is here, and while he may not perform better than a streaming catcher yet, we know he will soon. I love that he was immediately plugged in near the middle of the order and that he’s DH-ing when he isn’t catching. Don’t be surprised if he shoots up this list in a hurry, especially for a catcher. Unless you already have a top-five catcher, grabbing Adley in a redraft is a fine play.
- If you’re in a shallow-ish 10- or 12-team league, you can generally feel free to cut anyone in the last tier or two for something better, especially if you are using Yahoo’s default roster format (three outfielders, two utility spots, no corner or middle infield). They’re just guys who have been interesting for one reason or another but may have dealt with slumps, have lower upsides, are injured, or some other random problem that befuddled me.
- I ADDED AN EXTRA 25 GUYS AFTER THE LIST! Don’t think too hard about their order – it’s just 25 names I also looked into while putting this together. Should I expand this section? Would you rather I just add 1-2 players from each position? TELL ME HOW TO SERVE YOU.
And now, once again, it’s time for the Hitter List:
Photo by John McCreary/Icon Sportswire | Design by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)
I see 150
Yeah seeing this too – working on it!
Any concerns with Josh Bell?
If I had one, it’d be that the power will be a bit lighter than I thought. Hard to say why, though it’s hard not to notice the near 1:1 strikeout to walk ratio. What he’s doing works awesome in real baseball so if his power outage is based on this change (which is pure and wild speculation) then it might not come back that strongly.
But no – I don’t have an actual concern.
Curious why Vlad Jr. hasn’t moved down at all, given how much he’s looked like his mediocre self from 2019-20 (avg. EV, launch angle, barrel rate all way down from last season; not playing in Dunedin or Buffalo anymore). Thanks!
I knew if I waited long enough that he’d hit a few home runs!
Honestly it’s just a trust thing. I believe in his ability to adjust.
Great work, Scott.
I think for spots 151-175, it would be interesting to highlight guys you think could be primed to shoot up the rankings and possibly even become season-long holds.
There is literally a section called “the next 25”
There is now, but for about an hour or two after publish I was trying to present the list a different way (that didn’t work at all because no one could see it but me).
Right, but he was asking what, specifically, to focus on in that section. That was my suggestion. Perhaps I could have been a little clearer and said to single out individual players from that “next 25” group who stand a good chance to shoot up the list quickly should their situation change (improved approach, increased opportunity, etc.)
Great add, Scott; great suggestion, Idles. If these “next 25” are players that are potential Top 108 (12 teams, nine starting hitters), then that’s very useful. Sean Allen does something similar for fantasy hockey for ESPN, and it’s a must-read each week.
Who would take Jeremy Pena over all of T9 and most of T8? Is it just me?
My good buddy Carl would agree! In a deeper league, I’d be ranking him higher for sure. That said, as a fantasy SS in a Yahoo default roster, it’s hard to be a difference-maker due to the depth of the position.
I like Carl. Carl is smart.
In a 12 team roto mixer, based on your rankings, is Tellez a sell-high and Muncy a buy-low?
Hey Mike! Yes, I would agree with that. Tellez is either a hold or a sell-high for sure, and Muncy can’t have ONLY lost contact quality while keeping everything else. That’d be bizarre.
Ah, and what to do about El Mago, is he fading into oblivion in the Motor City? Thanks for the list and comments. It is helpful.
This is who Javy is. He will look atrocious at times and like lightning in a bottle at other times. This is one of the bad times, but I don’t think the bottom has fallen out.
And I got dizzy looking for Austin Meadows? Is that an oversight, or has he fallen out of sight?
I really want Meadows to succeed but the team is apparently really concerned with this vertigo stuff. I want an update before adding him.
Thanks so much for adding The Next 25. In our deep league, there’s only one unrostered player in the top 150 (and only a few even in the +25). Surfacing anyone new to look at helps a lot!
Glad it’s useful, Joe!
I plan to expand this list as we go and as needed.
Gallo and C Joe do not belong anywhere near where they are ranked. I know this is ROS, but Joe doesn’t have the history to warrant this ranking — his production has been below replacement level for a while now. And Gallo has not shown anything like his history suggests since being traded to NYY. He’s only playing now due to injuries.
With all due respect.
You are smoking that good stuff if you think there are 17 hitters better than Rafael Devers.
Jose Ramirez called to let you know that your comment is laughably terrible. JoRam has double Devers’ RBIs in 40+ less PAs while playing on a vastly worse team. Also the K:BB on these two is silly different. Devers is no joke but let’s not get carried away here.
Love the column ….. solid rankings and great info … I look forward to it each week ………. but it might be time to call it what it really is: a Thursday article.
Life has been busy. It will still be released tonight.
JK it wasn’t, but it is now!