- 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 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!
- Juan Soto’s plate discipline has found a new level as a Padre, as he now has nine walks and two strikeouts so far in August. It’d be hard for him to overtake José Ramírez as the top dog in fantasy due to not stealing a ton of bases, but it’s not impossible.
- You can shuffle this tier around all you want and I wouldn’t mind. I almost did, actually, then realized my assessment of these players hasn’t actually changed.
- Upon a successful return and maybe a few games to look at him, Fernando Tatis Jr. could move to Tier 1.
- Julio Rodríguez will be activated for the weekend series, so get him back in every lineup. I’m now quite glad I never moved him that much.
- All of the movement you see here is from players dropping. I didn’t actually move anyone up intentionally.
- Starling Marte was the first faller, if only because it seems clear that the Mets are never going to let him run the way we hoped.
- Eloy Jiménez looks healthy. If he stays that way for even a bit longer, we could see even more of his potential power and batting average shine through.
- C.J. Cron was the second faller, mostly because it’s been a cold second half for him so far (.197/.238/.342, 42 wRC+). He’s come to live a bit these last few games and if he has a nice and steady homestand, he could move back to the top of this tier.
- Adley Rutschman has been a hero in the second half, sporting a 194 wRC+ and 15 runs scored thanks to a .520 OBP over 75 plate appearances. That’s ridiculous for any player, but especially a rookie. Don’t worry about the zero home runs, as those will come. Right now, appreciate that we’re seeing a new generation of fantasy backstops come into their own.
- Speaking of, I’m slightly worried about Alejandro Kirk, who has been among the worst fantasy catchers the last few weeks. His rise in the rankings is because I’m stubborn and because of other players falling due to injuries.
- Brandon Drury gets a bump because it’s overdue, not because he’s been particularly great lately. He still has a great spot in a strong lineup. The stats will come.
- Jorge Polanco just isn’t showing any power lately and that’s…bothersome. Seriously, his slugging percentage is 60 points below his OBP since the Break. Yuck.
- Trey Mancini looks better than Ryan Mountcastle right now and I’m very surprised that I’m saying that.
- Boy, Mitch Haniger looks like the guy last year who hit 39 dingers and had 210 combined runs and RBI, doesn’t he? The fun twist is that this team is playing even better than they did last season, so he could be just as good (or better) on a per-plate appearance basis.
- I took Trevor Story at the end of the Too Early Mock Draft and I already regret it. No idea what’s wrong with these Red Sox hitters but it’s not fun.
- Whit Merrifield only has three extra-base hits and one steal in his last 51 plate appearances. I had hoped the new team would give him a boost, but apparently, all it got him was his booster. Hey-oh!
- Andrew Vaughn has been good in his August appearances so far, hitting .400 with power in 31 trips to the plate. C’mon, Andrew, show us that next level. We know it’s in there. Take this strong plate discipline and combine it with more power. Please. Before La Russa does something insane.
- Jorge Mateo has really taken control of his plate discipline, and my only question is how high the strikeout rate goes in his next slump and how long it stays that high. If it’s short and sweet, I could see bringing him up another tier or two thanks to that power and speed that has always been there but sandbagged by his plate skills.
- Kris Bryant is dealing with more injury problems so I just had to pull him down. He’s worth stashing, but I can see why you might be wildly frustrated.
- Marcell Ozuna is not the powerhouse I thought he’d be. He might just be a streaky and mildly above-average fantasy outfielder. That’s fine, I guess.
- If Jurickson Profar still hits leadoff when Tatis returns, it’s going to be a big correction bump. If he doesn’t, he stays right here.
- Seiya Suzuki’s upside seems further away than I thought it would. The power isn’t what I hoped for and the plate skills continue to be erratic.
- Josh Naylor might be a slightly worse version of Ozuna.
- Hey Max Muncy! Welcome to the part of the 2022 season where you hit like crazy for two months. Right?
- You can cut any of these guys that fell in shallower leagues (including 12-team Yahoo leagues using Yahoo’s standard rosters).
- Keep Jose Miranda, though.
- Nick Gordon has speed, some power, and a nice spot in the Twins lineup. Scoop him up everywhere you need speed.
- Cody Bellinger looks a bit better this month and you never know when that turns into something bigger. Ditto Josh Donaldson. Ditto Jesse Winker.
- I added a few options if you’re looking for specific stats. Just look for the “Cheap” and you’ll find them.
And now, once again, it’s time for the Hitter List:
|Spencer Torkelson||1B||DET||Doesn’t need to be stashed in redraft. =(|
|Ji-Man Choi||1B||TBR||He’s a decent platoon bat for fantasy. Stream against a bad RHP.|
|C.J. Abrams||SS||SDP||It’s a new team, but he’s not starting right now.|
|Kiké Hernández||2B/OF||BOS||Had a setback in his recovery. Valuable when leading off.|
|Connor Joe||1B/OF||COL||Points leaguers will be slightly more interested. Stream at home.|
|MJ Melendez||C||KCR||Made some adjustments, viable streamer.|
|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||Cheap source of RBI. Heating up a bit.|
|Jake Burger||3B||CWS||Had a hot 2-3 weeks, not so good the rest of the time.|
|Aaron Hicks||OF||NYY||Worried about his durability and the crowded outfield.|
|Jorge Alfaro||C/OF||SDP||The strikeout rate is catching up to him.|
|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||Rebound/hot streak candidate.|
|Esteury Ruiz||OF||SDP||Might not get a chance to crack the lineup in Milwaukee.|
|Luis Rengifo||2B/SS||LAA||Making a ton of contact and hitting in the middle of the order.|
|Mike Yastrzemski||OF||SFG||Just a guy, for 12-team outfield purposes.|
|Wilmer Flores||1B/2B/3B||SFG||Flexible and dependable, usually.|
|Eric Hosmer||1B||BOS||Curious about what the heck is going on.|
|Bryson Stott||2B/SS||PHI||Keeps going up and down but is good for points leagues.|
|Nick Pratto||1B||KCR||Not the greatest debut but there’s a lot of talent here.|
|Matt Carpenter||OF||NYY||Still think he should platoon with Donaldson, who ain’t hitting.|
|Jo Adell||OF||LAA||Trading Marsh away gives him playing time – can he perform?|
|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 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.|
|Leody Tavares||OF||TEX||Cold as ice, but he’s explosive so keep him on the watch list.|
|Travis d’Arnaud||C||ATL||He hits fifth for a good team.|
|Triston Casas||1B||BOS||They’d need to send Dalbec down, and I’m not sure they will.|
|Jarren Duran||OF||BOS||Still leading off, but still not hitting well.|
|Jonah Heim||C||TEX||Premium streaming catcher.|
|Yasmani Grandal||C/1B||CWS||Cut him unless it’s a two-catcher league.|
|Edward Olivares||OF||KCR||Injured. Power and speed if healthy and if the Royals keep him up.|
|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.|
|Jarred Kelenic||OF||SEA||Still looks awesome, just needs a spot to open up. Premium stash.|
|Luis Garcia||2B||WAS||Bat heating up again, too bad everyone is gone.|
|Franmil Reyes||OF||CLE||The mighty has fallen. He could get his mojo back but don’t wait up.|
|Keibert Ruiz||C||WSH||Being a rookie catcher is hard.|
|Cavan Biggio||1B/2B||TOR||Hitting well of late, albeit with very limited power.|
|Elias Díaz||C||COL||Stream him on those homestands.|
|Alex Kirilloff||1B/OF||MIN||Injured again.|
|Andrew McCutchen||OF||MIL||The scrappy vet can go on runs and is sometimes useful.|
|Nicky Lopez||2B/SS||KCR||This team needs to steal even more bases than before.|
|Jon Berti||2B/3B||MIA||How much will he play when he returns, and how much will he run?|
|Ha-Seong Kim||2B/SS||SDP||Days are numbered but hitting and the lineup is awesome.|
|Thairo Estrada||2B||SFG||Let’s see how quickly he bounces back from a concussion.|
|Donovan Solano||2B/3B||CIN||Hot corner eligibility and a .326/.379/.465 line is intriguing.|
|Joey Wendle||2B/3B||MIA||Do-everything infielder has been hot, but best used in points leagues.|
|Gio Urshela||3B||MIN||Playing time is safe, but mostly just provides batting average.|
|Isiah Kiner-Falefa||SS||NYY||Cheap steals.|
|Mark Canha||OF||NYM||Cheap OBP.|
|Nick Madrigal||2B||CHC||Cheap batting average (hopefully).|
|Hunter Dozier||1B/3B/OF||KCR||Someone has to drive in the Royals runners…right?|
|Joey Gallo||OF||LAD||I’m rooting for him, and he has a chance to play.|
Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire | Design by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)