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.
- 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.
- Shohei Ohtani is everything, and in daily leagues where he is a DH/P, he’s the top overall pick by a WIDE margin. It’s almost like cheating.
- Trea Turner is having a fairly typical year for someone of his caliber, but something I hadn’t noticed until now is just how much better he is than the rest of the pack at the keystone.
- You can shuffle this tier around all you want and I won’t really argue much.
- Juan Soto isn’t hitting for much power (his slugging is high, but barely above his OBP) BUT he’s hitting and healthy and that’s enough for me right now.
- Julio Rodríguez is incredible. Not only is he improving his strikeout rates (see the chart below) but he’s improving against sliders and curves, hitting .361 against those types of pitches with an admirable 43% hard-hit rate.
- Mixed up how the first few tiers are structured to better align with the concept of “players are mostly interchangeable within tiers”.
- Jose Altuve stole a few bases lately and while I don’t expect more than ten steals or so (less if they pull away with the division), he could definitely go 30/10 with excellent ratios and a boatload of counting stats.
- Josh Bell is still raking and I hope he never stops.
- Randy Arozarena will drive you nuts with volatility but that’s OK – he’s a premium
- Jazz Chisholm Jr. is still a bit of an enigma for me but as far as fantasy profile is concerned he’s a poor man’s Arozarena who has been a bit up and down with strikeouts.
- Carlos Correa is healthy and therefore he’s crushing the ball.
- Ty France falls here because of how important volume is to his fantasy production. That said, points league players should have him 1-2 tiers higher based on their settings due to the amount of contact he makes.
- Jorge Polanco was way too low compared to his peers, so I fixed it.
- Jared Walsh is having a really, REALLY rough stretch right now. In his last 10 appearances, he’s hitting .139/.139/.139 with five singles and two runs scored and a 38.9% strikeout rate. The Angels as a whole had a bit of a rough patch, being the worst offense in baseball over the last two weeks with a pitiful .605 OPS as a team. These things can be a bit “contagious”, but as the team turns it around, so will Walsh.
- Had to put in a mini tier here of guys who I really found to be tough for me to rank besides knowing I wanted to rank them together. Hayes and Bregman “feel” different than the rest of the tier since they’re not mashers, but I see a lot of similar value here.
- Kris Bryant is hitting .345/.367/.483 since returning and finally notched some extra-base action in back-to-back games. He can still be very, very good.
- Alex Verdugo, at time of writing, is on a 14-game hitting streak. He’s never going to be a power hitter, but he could provide very strong ratios and good counting stats for the rest of the season for the Red Sox.
- Michael Harris II is struggled against breaking balls in June, sporting just a .181 xBA on the 123 sliders and curves he saw. He actually just hit his first home run off a slider, though, and four steals in his last nine games. I love that he’s finding new ways to be productive and it bodes well to his future.
- Eugenio Suárez isn’t hitting the ball quite as hard as he had been, but he’s taking walks (12.9% walk rate) and hitting .254. If this is what he looks like when he’s not on a power surge, I’ll take it.
- Lots of guys look like they’re getting a bump in ranks, but that’s merely attrition. Lots more guys moving down than moving up right now.
- Harrison Bader is taking part in baseball activities. Woo!
- I love seeing Seiya Suzuki and Justin Turner showing possible signs of turning their trajectories around. Get them in your lineups.
- Isaac Paredes could take a tumble if/when he slumps but I just love his contact skills and that he’s found a way to unlock power. Players can change their batted ball profiles in-season as they adjust to how they’re being attacked, and I wonder how it’ll change as we go.
- He hasn’t started out with a bang, but Vinne Pasquantino is controlling the strike zone incredibly well.
- Oh hey, is Max Muncy turning it around? I’m asking because I don’t want to jynx it.
- AJ Pollock needs a very strong list before I stop including him entirely. The return of Eloy Jiménez could turn him into a platoon bat.
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.|
|C.J. Abrams||SS||SDP||Hit tool will show up eventually.|
|Kiké Hernández||2B/OF||BOS||Had a set-back in his recovery.|
|Connor Joe||1B/OF||COL||Points and OBP leaguers will be slightly more interested.|
|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.|
|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||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 heating up a bit.|
|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 in 2021 and 2022, but hasn’t caught up to MLB pitching.|
|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.|
|Bryson Stott||2B/SS||PHI||The hit tool is back with a VENGEANCE, 10:1 BB:K ratio last 2 weeks.|
|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||He’s a 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||Fractured foot and striking out too much.|
|Jonathan Schoop||1B/2B||DET||Heating up a bit, power may be coming soon.|
|Jarred Kelenic||OF||SEA||Looks awesome in triple-A right now, .952 OPS and decent plate discipline.|
Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire | Design by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)
nvm; CTRL+F fail! (Sure wish I could delete a comment)
I got you!
Scott, is Keibert Ruiz worth holding onto in a dynasty league, or can I consider him a streamer? Haase, Kelly, Narvaez, Raleigh, Diaz, Contreras available.
Thanks in advance for your opinion,
Hey Joe! Looking at the current state of catcher, I’m starting to think that the depth at catcher is going to be much better in the next few years. Ruiz is part of that conversation, even if he’s still adjusting to the big leagues.
In a redraft or shallow keeper, I’d say cut bait and stream. In dynatsy, it’s probably worth holding as the options you showed are not at all inspiring.
Just letting you know, I see you decided to put Wisdom in the top 150, but you forgot to remove him from the taxi squad. I was waiting for wisdom to get bumped up in the top 150, as I believe his 3rd base position makes him very valuable alone as there are so few good ones. As someone who plays in a small 8 team league and needed to have wisdom, while France was on the IL, shows that the position helps his value a lot. Glad he made it this week and great job on the list again, I use the list as a great way to check the value of players and that helps a lot with deciding on trades, You clearly understand the true value of players, unlike the people who base everything just on rankings and what they have done in half a season (or even those who just base it on one good or bad week). Thanks for the list.
Really appreciate the kind words, B! I’d agree that 3B eligibility is a boon for Wisdom, and he’ll always be one of these back-end of the list/top of the taxi squad guys, though his power, eligibility, and playing time give him more upside than I initially thought he’d have. Since June 1, he’s been staying below that dreaded 30% strikeout rate while keeping the walk rate up, which to me makes him something like a budget Eugenio Suarez? Eugenio might beat him a little on average and his track record adds a little more floor to the equation, but otherwise, it’s similar and he’s a useful piece in a lot of scenarios.
Great stuff, as always, Scott. You ranked Eddie Rosario at 104 before he went on the IL in April, but now he doesn’t even make the taxi squad. Is that due to the emergence of Michael Harris?
You’re basically there! He started the season as a leadoff candidate for a good offense and by the time I created the Taxi Squad, I was concerned he’d be a platoon guy (he’s not good enough to roster as a platoon guy – Steady Eddie is an accumulator).
I’m surprised he’s played as much as he has and that he is hitting 5th/6th. I’ll likely plug him on the Taxi Squad next update just for that, but he’s one of these guys who is more likely to be on and off the TS than on and off the HL. Durability and a .280-.290 AVG year to year were his halmarks. An injured 30-year-old OF-only guy with no speed and hits .250-.260 with a sub-.450 slugging percentage is a description that fits a LOT of guys.
Hopefuy Eddie shows he’s more than that.