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!
Check out the Hacks & Jacks podcast 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)!
Also, Week 9’s list had a TON of movement, which is why there is considerably less this week.
- No change here.
- Yordan Alvarez is the total package and may be the most fearsome power hitter in the league. He can do everything but run fast, and he’s done it every time he’s in the lineup. The 24-year-old southpaw has dealt with health issues before, particularly regarding his knees, but after playing 144 games last year and remaining on pace to get to 145 or more games this year, I’m gearing up to call him a top-five player in the league. As long as he shows he’s truly healthy and hits like he’s shown he can, he’ll show how elite he can be. For those punting steals in H2H category leagues, I’d consider offering guys like Trea Turner or Mookie Betts for him. You might even be able to get a little extra out of it.
- Kyle Tucker has four home runs and two steals to five strikeouts so far this month. I should make a stat of home runs and steals to strikeouts. That’d be fun.
- If you’re thinking of asking me why Bryce Harper went down despite being one of baseball’s best hitters for the month, stop and consider how I moved two players above him, yet his rank only dropped by one. That’s how these lists work.
- THIS TIER IS REALLY REALLY GOOD. The first two rounds are going to feel VERY deep next season if this keeps up. It’s also really compact.
- Last week, I said “I’m not “worried” about Juan Soto. I’m still not, but I have to note that his batted ball profile is not improving and that his line drive rates are as low as they’ve ever been. If that batting average is going to rebound, he needs to convert those grounders to line drives. On the plus side, the plate discipline, OBP, power, and stolen bases all look normal.
- The strikeouts will be a red flag for many, BUT ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED BY BYRON BUXTON? He’s such an explosive player that in 10- and 12-team formats I’m willing to deal with his health issues.
- Tim Anderson will be back before the next Hitter List, which is perfect because I really want to see if he attempts a steal in his rehab. It’d make me feel a whole lot better about the groin injury and how the White Sox will handle him if he attempts a swipe or two.
- In standard formats, Paul Goldschmidt and Pete Alonso all have cases to be made as the top first baseman going forward. Goldy is more balanced and is an OBP monster while Polar Bear Pete’s prodigious power provides a path to 40 or more home runs. Heck, 35 might be the floor for this guy.
- I don’t know where Freddie Freeman’s power went, but I miss it and I’m worried about it and I hope it knows I still care about it.
- I said last week that putting Julio Rodríguez over Starling Marte (who I have repeatedly mentioned as a 2022 comp for J-Rod), could happen soon. Soon is now, in part because Starling Marte has been caught stealing five times so far on the season, tying his total from 2021 despite 39 fewer stolen base attempts. To put this in proper perspective, Trea Turner didn’t even have 39 steal attempts in 2021.
- Ozzie Albies was in this tier but will be out for at least the next 2 months. Unless you have a lot of IL spots or you’ve been very fortunate on that front, it is very hard to hold a player who may not return until September. The best advice I can provide is this: Can you even make it to September without that roster or IL spot available? I moved him down to 150 for now.
- Tommy Edman and Bobby Witt Jr. keep on keeping on and I absolutely love it. Both are candidates to move to the next tier, as is José Abreu.
- Teoscar Hernández is hitting better of late in terms of contact and doubles, but the lack of home runs is still concerning. He, Nick Castellanos, and Matt Olson could all tumble soon due to disappointing power and contact numbers.
- I hate ranking Francisco Lindor. Get me off this ride.
- Taylor Ward gets the benefit of the doubt for at least one more list. Maybe two.
- Carlos Correa will once again struggle to reach 120 games played, but when he plays he continues to be phenomenal. He’d be lower on this list if I focused on deeper formats.
- Josh Bell showed some power, but I’m holding steady until I see more.
- Willy Adames’s low batting average isn’t from a loss of plate discipline but instead from a surge of fly balls that has continued in the short sample he’s shown since emerging from the IL. It’s hard to hit for a high average like that, but 25 or more home runs should be there.
- I don’t hate Wander Franco—he just hasn’t begun baseball activities yet and until he unlocks the power I know he has, he’ll have to stay outside the top-50 hitters.
- Daulton Varsho is struggling hard and isn’t walking, but I hope he can make some adjustments soon. It’s a good test for the young catcher.
- Jeremy Peña isn’t moving too far until I have a timeline. Missing 10-15 days doesn’t change much for me.
- Dansby Swanson is now locked into the second spot in the Atlanta lineup and should continue to reap the rewards. He’s been known to be streaky but just hang in there.
- Whit Merrifield hasn’t even sniffed a stolen base attempt in over three weeks and with the way Bobby Witt Jr. is playing, I’m not sure they need him to. This could turn into a freefall really fast.
I’m looking at dealing for Bregman but am concerned his xstats are inflated because of his pull% and the ball. Do you see anything that points to lower skills or is bregman a target for keeper leagues? Would you move a top 30-40 SP for him? Turning on @HacksandJacksPL right now!
— Jeremy Moore (@jkmo_6) June 15, 2022
- Listen to this week’s Hacks & Jacks podcast for more on the above tweet, but in short, I think teams have figured out Bregman and he hasn’t been able to adapt. I’ll add an informative rolling chart comparison that’s a bit odd and that suggests Statcast may not know what to do with Bregman as the expected movement doesn’t resemble the real one. Let him be on someone else’s roster, Jeremy. I think the real results are more telling of his fantasy situation.
- Jake Cronenworth is on fire in June, hitting .340/.435/.604 so far in June with five doubles and three dingers. Glad I kept believing.
- Alejandro Kirk hits fourth for the Blue Jays and is a catcher. That’s good.
- If I knew that Tony La Russa was being removed as manager, Andrew Vaughn would have been up here a while ago. Here’s to hoping that the White Sox don’t screw with him again by changing his role every game and benching him after he does well.
- I overcorrected on Tommy Pham last week and now it’s better.
- Chrisitan Walker is up here, but this ranking represents what I believe to be close to his ceiling (which is what he’s displaying for us right now). I don’t anticipate him being higher than this at any time. He’s an ideal trade candidate due to expected stats having a hard time dealing with his profile.
- Michael Harris II is clicking on all cylinders and I think Atlanta will be moving him to a better spot in the order soon. He needs to be on rosters in all leagues.
- Now that I am sure Brandon Drury still has a starting role, he’s here. Let’s see what happens. He’s had a long and below-average career, but the world is a random place.
- Joey Gallo hit for some power recently, but doing that out of the nine-hole is no fun and I am fine with cutting him you don’t want to deal with this anymore.
- Nathaniel Lowe is a wildly streaky hitter and has been really hitting well lately. You’ll likely cut him when he gets cold inevitably, but if you need a first baseman with power on your bench, this is one to target.
- It’s been a slow start for AJ Pollock but he’s heating up now and could fly up the list if he just goes back to what he’s been his entire career.
- With players like Connor Joe, who are relatively unknown commodities, I’ll be a bit stubborn and hold a ranking for a bit until I’m sure of what I’m seeing. Connor Joe looks a lot like a very average hitter who has a good role. His career line through 129 games is .255/.351/.386, and that feels about right. Points leaguers get some extra juice here due to the contact, but that’s about it.
- Anyone talented enough to make the Majors can be brilliant or putrid for 50 at-bats regardless of true talent. Please remember that.
THE NEXT 32
- I’d be fine if you’d rather roster one of these players than the folks in Tier 13 if you have a rationale. At this point, it’s a lot of prospect speculation and hitter versions of a Toby.
And now, once again, it’s time for the Hitter List:
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