- 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.
- Anyone talented enough to make it to the big leagues can be brilliant or putrid for 50 at-bats regardless of true talent. Heck, it could even last a month with no change in potential or skill. It also could be wildly meaningful. We can’t and don’t know which of these will be true until it’s over, though track record, scouting, and trends give us hints.
- 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)!
Just so you all are aware, instead of “The Next 30”, I decided to convert it to a “Taxi Squad” and leave little blurbs for each player. Enjoy!
- Ronald Acuña Jr. will be a 25/25 guy with a .280 average if he plays 120 games. He’s a 30/30 guy if he plays 135, and a 40/40 guy if he plays 150 (which can’t happen in 2022).
- José Ramírez is still finding ways to get better. It’s becoming silly, really. When you factor in durability and position, it’s becoming harder and harder not to put him at the top.
- A very slow start to June and a trip to the IL is enough to push Mookie Betts down near the bottom within this VERY tight tier. My long-term evaluations have changed marginally, but this section of the list is just very, very close.
- I can’t stress enough that this tier is really tight and a lot of it is preference based on what I’ve seen and how I play. If they’re in this tier, then I think they’re in the discussion as one of the top-10 fantasy hitters going forward. This tier goes to rank 14, and honestly, the hitters in the next tier all have the upside to bump up into this tier.
- Shohei Ohtani, and specifically Ohtani that is a pitcher and hitter in one (or as I call him, Combohtani), is the #1 pick in daily leagues until further notice. This is a generational talent.Ok, maybe I’m a little worried about Juan Soto. 104 of his plate appearances have ended in a ground ball, and he has a .154 batting average on those grounders with a -15 wRC+. Is there some luck dragging him down? Sure, but don’t think that better luck will give him the boost he needs. In 2021, he ranked 20th in average exit velocity on ground balls (89.4). This year, he ranks 203rd (84.0). Unless he hits those grounders with more authority, or better yet, turns them into fly balls or lines drives, he’s going to struggle to maintain a useful batting average.
- Not only is Luis Robert on a 12-game hitting streak, but he’s also on a four-game extra-base streak and multiple-hit streak. A Luis Robert hot streak is a very fun time.
- Tim Anderson has not tried to steal a base in the majors or minors since his injury; however, he did return with back-to-back games with multiple hits. With those, he has achieved multiple hits in 22 of the 42 games he’s appeared in this season. Unbelievable.
- I just need to see Freddie Freeman clear the fences a few times to feel better. He does have four extra-base hits in his last three games, so hopefully that gets the home run juices flowing.
- Bo Bichette is slumping pretty hard at the moment after heating up near the end of May. I’m watching his power output closely—he had tons of doubles in May only to see them evaporate in June. Adjusting is part of the game, and he’ll stay in this tier if he shows he can start turning it around soon and stop the slump before it gets too much worse.
- No one is complaining about Jazz Chisholm Jr.’s .182 batting average this month thanks to the six dingers and four swipes, but the 35.1% strikeout rate will need to get better if the batting average is going to get above the Mendoza line.
- George Springer has injury concerns again. If he’s OK, he stays in this tier. If he’s not, well, crud.
- Bobby Witt Jr. is legit, folks. He might not be done moving up, especially if he proves he can continue to make adjustments as struggles arise.
- We’ve been waiting for Josh Bell’s power and now it’s here! In his last 51 trips to the plate, he’s slugging .769 with nearly as many walks as he has strikeouts.
- I still believe in Taylor Ward and think you should too. He’s made too many successful adjustments to get stumped now.
- Adolis García dropped his strikeout rate about five points and just won’t stop hitting and stealing. This might not be the last big jump for him if he keeps it up because this profile looks like a 30 home run, 20 stolen base player with a .250 batting average.
- So much for Ryan Mountcastle suffering due to the new dimensions at Camden Yards, eh? He’s added considerable power in 2022 and everything is looking up. He has a 0.6% weak contact rate per Statcast, and everything under the hood looks fantastic. I’d be willing to buy high here if people in my league thought this was a fluke.
- Is ranking all the catchers right next to each other lazy? Probably, but also I know I don’t feel strongly enough to push one of the four clearly above the rest.
- It seems like Jeremy Peña will be back soon, and I don’t want to move him much until he’s back or until he suffers a set-back.
- Jorge Polanco is out again and has no clear timetable, though it shouldn’t be too long. That said, he continues to fight injury issues and I need to see more good at-bats to justify such a high ranking within such a deep position.
- Whit Merrifield is showing all the signs of life you want. He’s making contact again and stealing bases again. Don’t ask for more right now, because that’d just be greedy.
- I moved Rhys Hoskins back up a bit but I still think the overall skill set is mostly the same as we’ve seen before.
- Gleyber Torres might just be repeating the results of his rookie year and that’s just fine. 25 home runs and a smattering of steals are all I need.
- Alejandro Kirk will keep moving up as long as he keeps playing every day for a rebounding Blue Jays offense. I’m actually surprised Moreno hasn’t seen more time, but Toronto can’t afford to take Kirk out of the lineup.
- At some point, you just accept that Joc Pederson is on one of those benders of his. The batting average will probably come down eventually, but you can use 2019 as a benchmark for what Joc can do in hot years.
- If I were a Pirates fan I’d be furious when I found out the 6’7 human highlight reel known as Oneil Cruz was not on the team from day one.
- Lots of movers in this tier, though most of it is finally acting on hunches I’ve had for a bit.
- I don’t see enough hope in Alex Bregman right now to feel like he’s a tweak away from shooting up the ranks. Chaulk it up to whatever you want but he’s not a power hitter anymore.
- Michael Harris II looks like he could quickly become a 25 home run, 25 stolen base type of player. Does any team know how to find outfielders quite like Atlanta?
- It’s going to look like I was moving a ton of players up and down in their tier, but honestly, it’s just where players kind of “ended up”.
- Franmil Reyes coming back to go 1-5 with a home run and four strikeouts was scripted, right? It’s too on the nose.
- In his last six games, Javier Báez has three doubles, a triple, two home runs, two steals, one walk, and just two strikeouts. I’m not predicting a hot streak as much as I’m saying that it looks like one is starting and not to miss out. You don’t need to believe in Javy to reap the rewards. You just need to plug him in a hole in your lineup and see what happens for a week.
- Riley Greene might not show off much power at first but the Tigers clearly seem committed to getting him playing time. He’s got a plus hit tool and plus power, and based on his 29.4% walk rate through his first four games, he seems to have figured out the MLB strike zone.
- Justin Turner should be held in deeper leagues, but if you don’t have a required corner infield spot in a 10- or 12-teamer, you can let him go if you want. The upside is largely in ratios and RBI, as the power is fairly replaceable.
- Max Muncy might be toast. There’s just nothing there to get excited about unless you can get Tony La Russa to walk the batter in front of him on a 1-2 count every game.
- Look at all the newbies!
- Alex Kirilloff looked great in triple-A, but he always looks good in triple-A. I need to see a sustained better approach and consistent playing time to move him up.
- Turns out that Chris Taylor just doesn’t seem to be doing anything interesting, and as a guy with limited power and speed to start with, he needed to do a lot more than what he’s done to be a plus fantasy hitter.
- Jon Berti is mostly just a Mets killer but stolen bases are stolen bases, plus he can hit for average.
And now, once again, it’s time for the Hitter List:
|Austin Meadows||OF||DET||No idea why he’s been so bad.|
|Bryson Stott||2B/SS||PHI||One hit in his last 26 plate appearances.|
|Cavan Biggio||2B/3B||TOR||Has an OPS of .856 in 71 PA since rejoining the everyday lineup.|
|Kiké Hernández||2B/OF||BOS||Had a set-back in his recovery.|
|Esteury Ruiz||2B||SD||Raking, obviously, but how does he even get on this roster?|
|Gabriel Moreno||C||TOR||Will he get an opportunity to play more before Jansen returns?|
|Garrett Cooper||1B/OF||MIA||On-base streak of 13 games, but limited pop and speed.|
|Isaac Paredes||2B/3B||TB||Plate discipline is good, ball keeps clearing fences.|
|Jack Suwinski||OF||PIT||Doubt this lasts but at least it’s fun.|
|Jake Burger||3B||CWS||Power is there but hitting .125 with 50% strikeout rate in last 5.|
|Jeter Downs||SS||BOS||Called up, but don’t add him in 10- or 12-teamers yet.|
|Joey Gallo||OF||NYY||I’m tired of this. Plenty of other power sources.|
|Jorge Mateo||SS/OF||BAL||Best used as a streamer against teams vulnerable to speed or in deep roto leagues.|
|José Iglesias||SS||COL||Points league streamer when he’s at home.|
|Jose Miranda||1B/3B||MIN||Kiriloff’s return pushes him back to the bench for now.|
|Josh Lowe||OF||TB||Plate discipline was improved in last triple-A stint.|
|Juan Yepez||1B||STL||121 wRC+ in June, though his role has been reduced.|
|Jurickson Profar||1B/2B/OF||SD||Injury replacement guy. That’s it.|
|Luis Urías||2B/3B/SS||MIL||Three doubles in his last four games is neat.|
|Mitch Haniger||OF||SEA||Could move up fast if/when he starts rehab and looks OK.|
|MJ Melendez||C||KC||Expect ups and downs as he grows in MLB.|
|Myles Straw||OF||CLE||If you’re relevant despite hitting .121/.194/.136 this month, you must be a rabbit.|
|Nick Pratto||1B||KC||Hitting better than Vinnie but not great.|
|Orlando Arcia||OF||ATL||2B eligible soon.|
|Oscar Gonzalez||OF||CLE||Cooled off quick. Can he rebound?|
|Ozzie Albies||2B||ATL||If you have plenty of IL room, keep him.|
|Patrick Wisdom||1B/3B/OF||CHC||Better plate discipline this month but slugging .349.|
|Randal Grichuk||OF||COL||Maybe someone in your league thinks he’s better than this. I don’t.|
|Spencer Torkelson||1B||DET||Looking better and not overmatched.|
|Steven Kwan||OF||CLE||Tons of contact-first hitters out there right now. He’s just another one.|
|Travis d’Arnaud||C||ATL||Hits fifth for a good team.|
|Triston Casas||1B||BOS||Great plate discipline with 30+ home run power at peak.|
|Tyler Stephenson||C/1B||CIN||Had cast removed.|
|Vinnie Pasquantino||1B||KC||Hitting just .206/.297/.333 in June in triple-A|
|Yasmani Grandal||C/1B||CWS||At least you can keep him on the IL.|
Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire | Design by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)