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)!
- The top tier is largely unchanged, though Vladimir Guerrero Jr.‘s recent prolonged slump and José Ramírez‘s non-slump have finally convinced me to flip them.
- Aaron Judge is a monster and while health will always be an issue, I don’t mind.
- As a general note, guys who move down in this range aren’t being “moved down” as much as it is someone else moving up.
- Pete Alonso and Paul Goldschmidt have really separated themselves in my mind at first base and look to be close to a tier of their own unless Matt Olson can close the gap.
- Jazz Chisholm Jr. is showing skills that suggest a higher floor than I originally anticipated, and that’s a big deal for a young player like him. The drop in strikeout rate, the elevated walk rate, and the consistent power and speed have me feeling like this could be one of those peak years for him where he makes a run at a 30-30 season. Even if he’s not THAT good, 25-25 seems well within reach.
- 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.
- Dropping Wander Franco wasn’t easy, but I just worry about the cap to his counting stats. He’s still an incredible player, but his 2022 fantasy impact may be slightly limited compared to expectations.
- I love rolling charts, and I love this rolling chart especially. Taylor Ward is showing that he can make adjustments and that when he does, he can sustain the success AND improve. That’s rare. That’s special. That’s why he keeps moving up.
- I featured Bobby Wiit Jr. today because he’s exciting and because I’m not worried about this four-game hitless streak. He still looks like a kid who could hit more than 20 home runs and tally more than 20 stolen bases this season, and this rolling chart shows me that the power (which can take a bit of time to show up even when a guy starts making contact) is starting to lock itself in.
- Ty France and Daulton Varsho have been good lately, but I was already kind of accounting for that with my aggressive ranks for them in shallow formats.
- I consider holding Semien steady in the ranks this week to be a step in the right direction. I don’t have much more to say on him than that right now, though.
- I probably could have dropped Kris Bryant here but I can’t help but think that if he does get healthy, he could be a monster in the second half. If he struggles to even get healthy, though, it could be a long tumble.
- Other than Jeremy Peña, who continues to solidify his place in our hearts, Tier 10’s upward mobility is mostly just the product of a few hard falls (Max Muncy, Joey Gallo, Seiya Suzuki, Alec Bohm, etc.).
- Eugenio Suárez is probably going to hit 30 home runs and have close to 150 combined runs and RBI when the season is done. Sure, his batting average will barely be above .210, but there are a lot of folks out there who probably don’t care about that last bit and want the counting stats. He’s available in about a quarter of Yahoo leagues and nearly half of ESPN leagues, and in ESPN especially that should be corrected.
- Randal Grichuk is very disappointing and if he gets hot on his next homestand I’d be looking to move him for an upgrade at nearly any other position.
- Joey Gallo is either a hold or a buy-low. Accept the reality that no one likely wants to trade for him, and if they do, they do not want to trade anything valuable. In 10-team leagues, there are weirder plays than dropping him.
- I firmly believe that Javier Báez will get hot and do some fun things again, but I don’t know when that will be. What I do know is that his glove is too good for the Tigers to put on the bench, and their lineup isn’t deep enough to bury him, so opportunities will keep coming.
- Alec Bohm needs to make a lot of contact to be relevant and he isn’t doing that right now. He’s droppable in a lot of shallow formats if he’s merely a utility player or bench guy. He’s a floor play and doesn’t help those looking for a lottery ticket.
- Nolan Gorman looks great, sure, but that 34% strikeout rate in 147 triple-A plate appearances scares me. You can obviously feel free to add him for power upside, but he won’t fly up these ranks until he shows he can hit all types of pitches for more than a few games.
- In a single-catcher league, I don’t care what you do with Yasmani Grandal unless it’s an OBP league.
- Speaking of, Christian Walker remains buried despite results because it’s ALL against fastballs. In fact, it’s been just fastballs his entire career, and I’m not the only one who knows that. He’s hot right now, but teams will stop feeding him four-seamers and he’ll turn back into a streaky and fringey power hitter.
- I love Luis Arraez but I also recognize that his lack of power and speed means that his production requires a lot of support. He got a lot of it last week due to a ton of favorable matchups (hope you heard me call him out at the start of last week on the First Pitch Podcast!) and he’ll have plenty of good matchups going forward. He might be one of the best high-floor bench bats out there, even if the long-term ceiling is very capped.
- I ADDED AN EXTRA 30 GUYS AFTER THE LIST! Don’t think too hard about the order – it’s just 30 names I also looked into while putting this together.
And now, once again, it’s time for the Hitter List:
Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire | Design by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)
Great article, per usual! Quick note to say that your have Tork listed twice; on the Top 150 and the Next 30
Thanks Eric! The phony Tork has been replaced in the Next 30 with Cal Mitchell, who was recently called up by the Pirates. I did also sneak in Oneil Cruz, who has been performing better of late in triple-A.
Tork is like the Highlander; there can only be one!
How in the ever living fck is Lindor ranked all the way down at 63rd?
Good catch – he should be 53.
But not better because I know if I bump him more he’ll do that vanishing act again.
Why does Connor Joe move up some when he’s been terrible lately & his exit velocity been bad, too? Also, Teoscar moves down after he’s finally started hitting? He’s been hitting the ball hard
1. Connor Joe didn’t move, really. It’s just that Muncy, Seiya Suzuki, and Joey Gallo fell.
2. For the month of May, Teoscar Hernandez hit .171/.232/.263 with 1 HR, 1 SB, and just 14 combined R and RBI.
Thanks for this! Couple of observations…
1) Man, you really like Connor Joe!
2) Where’s some love for Joc?!
1) Do I? I kept him where he was because he’s still the leadoff hitter for the Rockies and still has more home games left on this homestand. If he’s still not hitting (which is very possible), he’ll move down next week.
2) I forgot about Joc. He’ll be added shortly.
I honestly expected you to drop Connor Joe a bit this week after his lack of power and inconsistency over the last month. I am officially relieving myself from Joe Stan duties and am putting my full support towards stanning Julio moving forward.
That’s always the right stan. Julio Rodriguez is going to be a star.
I might be a week late on Joe, but I suppose we will see!
Is that actually Alek Thomas at 114, or is it supposed to be someone else who plays 1B/2B?
Thanks for the hard work on this. BTW: Alek Thomas is OF not 1B and 2B.
Required weekly reading, Scott. Thanks!
You have Kike at 147 and again at 170 (150+20).
In a 12 team roto mixer and a need for SB’s, would you trade 1 for 1 Soto for Acuna even with the inherent injury risk?
Yes. It’s bold but I love it.
Vaughn that low is a borderline hate crime!
At least I still seem to like him more than Chicago’s management does.
I know that this is a tough list. A few random observations:
Tyler Stephenson is a lot better than AR and KR at the same position.
Belly in the top 100 is pretty wishful thinking.
I am not sure what Verdugo offers.
Pham is only rosterable in deep leagues.
Varsho is garbage with everyday ABs.
Jorge Polanco is not a top 50 player.
I can’t imagine why Marsh would be a top 150 player.
Who the heck is Juan Yepez?
How is Cronenworth much better than streaming? Chris Taylor is the same guy – if they start for you, then you have some problems.
I will take Blackmon over Joe.
Adames is way too high for my taste.
The only thing Benintendi has done this year is have a high BABIP.
Grichuk isn’t a top 100 guy.
Some of this gets worked out naturally. The rest appears to just be differences in talent evaluation over current performance.