- 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!
- José Ramírez stands alone at the top with the injury to Ronald Acuña Jr. It’s more of a durability thing than anything else, and I reserve the right to bring Acuña back at any time to Tier 1 if he looks healthy.
- The other reason Ronald Acuña Jr. dropped into Tier 2 is just how deep it is. I’d pick J-Ram first every time in a draft that started today, but the next twelve picks? Beats me.
- You can shuffle this tier around all you want and I won’t really argue much.
- Mookie Betts was slumping before the injury, and it’s just enough to slide him down into a very good third tier. It’s hard to imagine him going into a lower tier if healthy because he’s one of the few players who can make a legitimate push to be a top-five player when clicking and has done it before.
- I hoped Freddie Freeman would show off some power, and since I wrote that he’s slugging .600. He’s back to the big three at first base, though it will take a bit more to convince me he should be a top-tier player again.
- Good to see George Springer back so quickly, though durability will always be a concern.
- I’m hesitant to move Jazz Chisholm Jr. too much further down until I have some ideas of the timeline for his return.
- I don’t dislike Xander Bogaerts or anything, it’s just that the top talent in the league is becoming so strong that players who don’t steal bases need to be truly elite to be in the top-25.
- Josh Bell has been on fire—he’s on a 13-game on-base streak where he’s slashing .400/.500/.778.
- Speaking of hot first basemen, Matt Olson has turned the power on as well. With a surge here and there on top of his baseline production, it’s not hard to imagine him reaching 35 home runs for the third time in four seasons.
- It’s hopefully a minimum IL stay for Ty France.
- Good news from Fernando Tatis Jr. is good news for baseball. The young talent in MLB has been on full display in 2022, and this guy has barely even had a chance to shine.
- Taylor Ward has a home run, a stolen base, and a .378/.425/.541 line over his last nine games and I’m still really bullish on him. If folks in your league think he’s a flash in the pan, I’d be asking them to put their money where their mouth is and trade him to me. He hits in front of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, for crying out loud.
- Alejandro Kirk is the new top catcher and is a shining example of why I love players who flash a strong hit tool. It also helps that he now has a 1.142 OPS in 93 plate appearances this month with more walks than strikeouts and five home runs in his last 10 games.
- Austin Hays currently looks like a 25-home run hitter who can keep his batting average above .270. If he shows off more power or batting average (the latter is much more likely), he could move up again. His fantasy profile isn’t really that much different than Ty France.
- Daulton Varsho and J.T. Realmuto are likely frustrating for fantasy managers right now if only because they’re too good to cut and struggling right now. That said, it wouldn’t be that weird for either one to be the top catcher of the second half thanks to their ability to steal bases mixed with solid power.
- Bregman has hit much better in June, and while he’s unlikely to ever be a 30-home run hitter again, he could be a 20-25 home run hitter who hits for average. I’d take that.
- Whit Merrifield is doing more stuff than he was, but it’s still not very much stuff. Also, the complete lack of power is a real drag.
- Eloy Jiménez is hitting just .160 in 25 rehab plate appearances since his setback, but at least he’s not hurt again.
- Trey Mancini has been better than you probably realize. He was certainly better than I realized. I won’t spoil it for you, though. Go take a look.
- Someone in Atlanta better tell them to move this Michael Harris II guy up in the lineup. This rookie can ball.
- Adley Rutschman just needed a little time. He’s sporting a 206 wRC+ over the last 14 days with three home runs and a stolen base.
- Surgery for Bryce Harper likely puts him out until late August or so. This is a conservative ranking for now, but it could move a lot as we get more news. I probably wouldn’t consider cutting him until it’s a lock that we’ll get less than a few weeks from him.
- Franmil Reyes isn’t worth the headache for me but if he is for you this is probably where to rank him?
- Riley Greene hasn’t flashed much power yet but the .436 OBP in his opening 39 plate appearances is fantastic. He also hit his first double and stole his first base over the last few days.
- I’m not sure when Salvador Perez will be back, but the new strength at catcher makes him much less valuable in fantasy than initially anticipated.
- Isaac Paredes has been a curiosity of mine and I’m so excited that I get to feature him here. He’s got an awesome hit tool and that’s where the power is coming from. He’ll always make contact, though I wonder if he can really parlay this crazy hot streak into something sustained and if the Rays will let him play every day to make that happen.
- Jesse Winker and Yoán Moncada are showing some signs of life and that’s very exciting. I’m not super confident either one breaks out, but they deserve to be on this list while they’re hitting due to what we’ve seen them do in the past.
And now, once again, it’s time for the Hitter List:
|Esteury Ruiz||2B||SDP||Still wondering how he gets on the roster.|
|Ji-Man Choi||1B||TBR||He’s a decent platoon bat for fantasy. Stream against bad RHP.|
|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.|
|Rowdy Tellez||1B||MIL||He’s a decent platoon bat for fantasy. Stream against bad RHP.|
|Gabriel Moreno||C||TOR||Will he get an opportunity to play more before Jansen returns?|
|Garrett Cooper||1B/OF||MIA||Limited pop and speed, but consistent.|
|Josh Harrison||2B||CWS||Fills lots of roles, but this won’t last. Stream it.|
|Jack Suwinski||OF||PIT||Still just feels like a guy who is hot.|
|Jake Burger||3B||CWS||Had a hot 2-3 weeks, not so good the rest of the time.|
|Jeter Downs||SS||BOS||The debut was not ideal, but there’s talent here.|
|Jorge Alfaro||C/OF||SDP||This is fun. Just let it be that.|
|Jorge Mateo||SS/OF||BAL||Speed streamer.|
|José Iglesias||SS||COL||Points league streamer when he’s at home.|
|Yonathan Daza||OF||COL||Points league streamer when he’s at home.|
|Avisaíl García||OF||MIA||He’s going to heat up at some point.|
|Juan Yepez||1B||STL||.303/.294/.727 line in the last 10. Not a typo on the OBP.|
|Jurickson Profar||1B/2B/OF||SDP||Injury replacement guy. That’s it.|
|Luis Urías||2B/3B/SS||MIL||131 wRC+ with good discipline in his last 10.|
|Mitch Haniger||OF||SEA||Could move up fast if/when he starts rehab and looks OK.|
|MJ Melendez||C||KCR||Expect ups and downs as he grows in MLB.|
|Myles Straw||OF||CLE||Speed streamer.|
|Nick Pratto||1B||KCR||Needs to cut the strikeouts to get the call.|
|Orlando Arcia||OF||ATL||Hitting .277 as the starter, but limited power and speed.|
|Oscar Gonzalez||OF||CLE||Waiting a bit longer to see if he can make the adjustments.|
|Ozzie Albies||2B||ATL||If you have plenty of IL room, keep him.|
|Patrick Wisdom||1B/3B/OF||CHC||You know what he is, and sometimes that’s what you need.|
|Randal Grichuk||OF||COL||Maybe someone in your league thinks he’s better than this. I don’t.|
|Spencer Torkelson||1B||DET||Still looks better and isn’t overmatched.|
|Steven Kwan||OF||CLE||Points league streamer when facing DET/KC/bad pitching a bunch.|
|Travis d’Arnaud||C||ATL||He 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||Getting healthy, but want to see the power first.|
|Jonah Heim||C||TEX||Premium streaming catcher.|
|Yasmani Grandal||C/1B||CWS||He had a good second half last year, I guess.|
|Edward Olivares||OF||KCR||Are they done messing with this poor guy?|
|Brandon Belt||1B||SFG||Streamer when he heats up, but rarely healthy.|
|Luis González||OF||SFG||Hitting .224 in June and now on the IL.|
|Tyrone Taylor||OF||MIL||If he gets back to the top of the lineup, he’s worth a look.|
|Yuli Gurriel||1B||HOU||He hits in a good spot for a good team.|
|Chris Taylor||2B/OF||LAD||Does a little bit of everything, but less than we want.|
Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire | Design by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)