- 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 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 left little blurbs for each player. Enjoy!
- In case you’re wondering, I have José Ramírez roughly a dollar higher than his peers. I don’t buy Home Run Derby issues until a player specifically states they hurt themselves or something during the event, and the depth at third base is still a bit scary. In some formats or in some philosophies, I can see why you’d merge Tier 2 into Tier 1. I’m not going to yet, though.
- I moved Juan Soto up because, if you’ve been reading this piece, you’ll know that I love how he’s finally started to elevate the ball. Ain’t no way the Home Run Derby messes that up, and it’s easy to see him finishing as a top-five hitter the rest of the way.
- You still can shuffle this tier around all you want and I won’t really argue much.
- Freddie Freeman found his power a few weeks ago and never looked back.
- Paul Goldschmidt has been in a bit of a power outage lately, but it is not at all concerning. He drops because Freeman has been sensational, that’s all.
- I already have ranked Julio Rodríguez close to as high as I can, but I’ll move him up a spot or so every week that he gives me a reason. The Home Run Derby, for all that it is and isn’t, was a reason to move him up. I can’t say enough good things about this young outfielder.
- Rough July so far for Tim Anderson but guys who swing as often and as hard as he does are bound to go through funks here and there. Stay the course.
- Bo Bichette stole some bases, so that’s cool. Not hitting quite as well as he wants to be hitting, I’m sure, but he can make adjustments.
- Can you tell that I couldn’t decide where to make a tier break? When that happens, I’ll generally just let the tier get bigger. No arbitrary tier breaks here!
- Francisco Lindor has been good, but don’t forget that it’s been a wild ride to get here.
- Every time I hear news that indicates Fernando Tatis Jr. is closer to returning, he moves up.
- I hoped I’d get more news on Jazz Chisholm Jr., but until I do I don’t want to move him. He’s too explosive.
- Marcus Semien continues to rake, but I’m hesitant to move him up because another slump is always around the corner, and his slumps are particularly devastating.
- I’m keeping Ty France at 52, but his margin for error is extremely thin. He needs to play every day and hit consistently to be a top-50 to top-75 player as he doesn’t provide much power and has no real speed. He’s a premier accumulator but that’s a tough path to follow unless you can avoid volatility.
- Yup, those are my top five catchers: Will Smith, Alejandro Kirk, J.T. Realmuto, Daulton Varsho, and Willson Contreras. I don’t have any preferences strong enough to argue with anyone about how you order them.
- If I knew Eloy Jiménez was healthy I might be bolder with this ranking. I am also not sure what it will take for me to feel like he’s “healthy”.
- Michael Harris II only knows how to move up the Hitter List. He’s not aware that players can go down and I don’t feel like telling him. I also don’t need to. He also doesn’t know this exists.
- Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Andrés Giménez have both been rock solid for fantasy managers for over a month now and I don’t see a reason why that has to change.
- The streaky-but-strong Brandon Lowe came back to what appears to be full-time plate appearances out of a premier spot in a good lineup. That’s how you jump 42 points. I was sure they’d platoon him because, well, they’re the Rays, but playing him like this is almost even more Rays than platooning him since it caught me very off-guard. I don’t usually care much about first-half and second-half splits, but just because it furthers my argument for jumping him up over 40 spots, here’s Lowe’s second half from 2021: 18 home runs, 101 combined runs and RBI, a .959 OPS, and a 162 wRC+.
- I’m warming up to Christian Yelich as a 20/20 hitter who has a weirdly low slugging percentage due to his batted ball profile that’s chock-full of line drives and ground balls.
- Come on, Ke’Bryan Hayes, show us how exciting you can be. Please. The people of Pittsburgh need you.
- I refuse to drop Nelson Cruz much further until I’m sure he’s cooked. I saw him effortlessly flick too many balls into the stands against my Tigers to look at this reasonably.
- I didn’t drop Jared Walsh before, but then he seemingly became a platoon guy in the series leading up to the All-Star Break. That’s a killer if it sticks, but if he’s back to full-time at-bats this week I’ll lift him up a tier or so.
- Brandon Drury is doing a lot of weird stuff as a 29-year-old journeyman utility player but he’s doing it so consistently that I’m done questioning it unless it changes significantly.
- Oneil Cruz and Adley Rutschman are going to be really really good and they could start being that very very soon.
- Luis Arraez is finally slugging .500 like I always hoped. He’s hitting more home runs than I ever thought he would and I expect some of that to turn back into doubles, but even so, he’s been a revelation this season.
- Seiya Suzuki isn’t hitting for power nor walking and it’s weird because it’s not necessarily bad—just different. Let’s see how this plays out.
- Isaac Paredes still has an awesome hit tool, but a reduction of playing time due to the return of Brandon Lowe and some recent struggles of his own could put his spot on this list in major jeopardy.
- I don’t have anything worse to say about Max Muncy or Franmil Reyes right now, which is the 2022 equivalent of good news. Both power hitters could turn it on at any time, but in shallow leagues I can see why you’d choose not to wait around.
- I’m paying very close attention to Aaron Hicks and Matt Carpenter. They are tearing the cover off the ball (Carpenter especially, as he has been July’s best hitter by a huge margin), but also could be role players at any time. Both have excellent plate skills and can take walks if they aren’t getting their pitches. As both get more playing time, expect them to move up.
- Brendan Donovan’s next move is off this list and he’s replaceable in most 12-teamers.
- If you need speed, Esteury Ruiz is a good speculative add. He’d been hitting at an insane clip in the minors to force this promotion, though I remain unconvinced that he’s going to carve out a huge role beyond speed and contact specialist this season. He’s ranked because he’s playing, and that alone was a surprise.
- Ozzie Albies claims he could return in a month, and if I totally believed him I’d rank him a lot higher than this. I can’t totally believe him yet, though, since he’s not playing games yet nor do we know when he will be.
- I’m not sure how to rank Wander Franco.
- Jarred Kelenic is going to be a monster. He’s got a 144 wRC+ in July down in triple-A with a 13.1% walk rate and a 19.7% strikeout rate. He’s not Julio Rodríguez but there’s a reason we were so excited for him.
And now, once again, it’s time for the Hitter List:
|Spencer Torkelson||1B||DET||Despite bad batting line, he’s closer to breakout than many think.|
|Ji-Man Choi||1B||TBR||He’s a decent platoon bat for fantasy. Stream against bad RHP.|
|C.J. Abrams||SS||SDP||Arrival of Ruiz to the roster makes a log jam.|
|Kiké Hernández||2B/OF||BOS||Had a set-back in his recovery. Valuable when leading off.|
|Connor Joe||1B/OF||COL||Points leaguers will be slightly more interested. Stream at home.|
|Gabriel Moreno||C||TOR||Being a rookie catcher is hard.|
|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.|
|Joey Votto||1B||CIN||I won’t stop you from believing.|
|Jake Burger||3B||CWS||Had a hot 2-3 weeks, not so good the rest of the time.|
|Jeter Downs||SS||BOS||Just not getting any playing time yet.|
|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 heating up a bit. Rebound candidate.|
|Jonathan India||2B||CIN||Has looked even worse since coming back, somehow.|
|Jurickson Profar||1B/2B/OF||SDP||Injury replacement guy. That’s it.|
|Skye Bolt||OF||OAK||Dominated in triple-A, but hasn’t caught up to MLB pitching.|
|Wilmer Flores||1B/2B/3B||SFG||Flexible and dependable, usually. Particularly hot right now.|
|MJ Melendez||C||KCR||Expect ups and downs as he grows in MLB.|
|Bryson Stott||2B/SS||PHI||Keeps going up and down but good for points leagues.|
|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.|
|Aledmys Díaz||INF/OF||HOU||Playing a lot right now and hitting really well.|
|Randal Grichuk||OF||COL||Maybe someone in your league thinks he’s better than this. I don’t.|
|Sean Murphy||C||OAK||Volume catcher who can hit for some power sometimes.|
|Josh Donaldson||3B||NYY||I think Carpenter is going to take his job.|
|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||He’s a streamer when he heats up, but rarely healthy.|
|Darick Hall||1B||PHI||Looks like a regular ol’ power hitter.|
|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.|
|Christopher Morel||2B/OF||CHC||Hits ninth too often for me right now.|
|Jonathan Schoop||1B/2B||DET||Heating up a bit, power may be coming soon.|
|Jarred Kelenic||OF||SEA||Looks awesome in triple-A, slashing .306/.419/.778 in July.|
|Keibert Ruiz||C||WSH||Being a rookie catcher is hard.|
|Matt Carpenter||1B/2B||NYY||The veteran southpaw will have good spurts when he plays.|
|Jose Miranda||3B||MIN||A poor man’s Bryan Reynolds or Ty France.|
|Leody Tavares||OF||TEX||Getting the majority of the time in CF, used to be a prospect.|
|Andrew McCutcheon||OF||MIL||The scrappy vet can go on runs and is sometimes useful.|
|Jake Meyers||OF||HOU||Playing well in place of Brantley and Alvarez.|
|Jon Berti||2B/3B||MIA||How much will he play when he returns, and how much will he run?|
|Akil Baddoo||OF||DET||I REALLY want him in the top-150, but needs to win a full-time role.|
|Mike Yasztremski||OF||SFG||Feels like “just a guy” for fantasy outfield purposes.|
|AJ Pollock||OF||CWS||He should be so much better and hitting 2nd but he isn’t.|
|Jurickson Profar||2B/2B/OF||SDP||Leads off but super boring.|
Photo by John McCoy/Icon Sportswire | Design by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)