- 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 I 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!
- Welcome to the top tier, Paul Goldschmidt. While he hasn’t been particularly spectacular for the last week, Goldschmidt continues to show that he’s likely to set career highs in four of the five major stat categories (home runs, RBI, runs scored, and batting average).
- Not a lot of changes here, but dropped Julio Rodríguez one spot just to signal my ever-so-slight concern about the lack of power since his return.
- I watched a little bit of Mike Trout and he looked like Mike Trout so I ranked him as though he’ll continue to be Mike Trout.
- Alex Bregman looks like an unstoppable hitting machine right now. The power wasn’t there for quite a while, though the plate discipline was always there. Some kind of light switch has been flipped on for Bregman since August 11, though—he’s got six home runs and seven doubles in those 12 games (52 plate appearances). Scandal aside, we’ve seen his power upside before and it’s very exciting.
- Anthony Rizzo is striking out a ton right now, but I think it’s just an extension of the Yankees’ overall struggles. When teams as a whole are doing poorly, it’s not uncommon to see weird stuff happen to individual players due to stuff like pressing at the plate or trying to do too much. It should be temporary, though. Heck, even Aaron Judge had a slump for about nine games!
- Xander Bogaerts is providing ratios and some counting stats, but the lack of homers is odd. Bogaerts is just not barreling the ball as he has for so many years, but I still think he could make whatever adjustment it is he needs to do.
- Adolis García was the first player this season to reach 20 home runs and 20 steals! He had a second-half meltdown in 2021 but he seems to be resisting that in 2022.
- Michael Harris II can’t stop. He won’t stop.
- Ditto Andrés Giménez.
- Whenever George Springer is healthy for a week or two, I have to move him up.
- Adley Rutschman continues to impress me with his control of the strike zone. It’s Juan Soto-esque.
- Bo Bichette has just refused to take a walk, and while the batting average and power have been acceptable in August, it’s hard to get steals or be consistent when you have a .270 OBP.
- Come back soon, Byron Buxton.
- The Josh Bell slump continues as he repeatedly hits the ball into the ground. The rolling chart below gives a good idea of how his production is correlated to his ground ball rate and that Bell is at his best when he has his ground ball rate below 50%.
Tiers 7 and 8 have a net +6 to all rankings.
- Bryan Reynolds has five home runs, two stolen bags, and a .275/.370/.500 line this month. That’s the Bryan Reynolds we’ve wanted to see.
- I’ve been hard on Christian Walker this season, but he’s hitting better than ever at the moment after a rather tough July. Part of Walker’s recent success may be his more aggressive approach in August — his walk rate of 7.9% is a far cry from his 13.5% walk rate in the first half. While walking less isn’t usually a good thing, Walker is also striking out less and putting more balls in play, and when you have power like Walker does, balls in play are usually a good thing.
- Jeff McNeil is a doubles machine right now, with 13 so far in August and 34 on the season. For reference, Paul Goldschmidt and Austin Riley also have 34 doubles, and only four players have more doubles than that.
- Christian Yelich isn’t at all what he hoped, but he does look like he could finish the season with close to 15 home runs and 20 stolen bases with a .260 batting average, so that’s cool I guess.
- My level of concern about Jorge Polanco‘s lack of power increases by the day.
- My level of excitement about Max Muncy‘s plentiful power also increases by the day.
- Alejandro Kirk is still making contact and getting on base, but he isn’t showing any of the power we saw earlier this season.
- Brandon Lowe has big power and upside, but he’s slumped a bit and the Rays have been sitting him way more often than we like to see. That’s a troubling sign.
- Tommy Edman‘s stolen base numbers have slowed down considerably in the second half (it’s essentially been cut in half) and when he’s not running, he’s not doing much for you.
- Brandon Nimmo is an amazing ratio contributor as he gets a heap of plate appearances at the top of the Mets lineup. The power and speed aren’t much to write home about, but he should continue to score runs and boost your average and/or OBP, and that’s tough to replace.
- Steven Kwan is locked in right now and there’s no questioning that the hit tool is elite. The fact Kwan is stealing way more bases than I anticipated is just icing on the cake.
- In his 150 plate appearances since being reactivated on July 7th, Ty France is slashing .207/.267/.333. It’s hard not to speculate that he’s playing through injury, and because of the fact that his home run upside was fairly low already, it’s particularly ugly for fantasy managers.
Tier 12 has a net +8 to all rankings.
- We can only hope that this injury doesn’t disrupt the groove Vinnie Pasquantino was in.
- Jake Fraley and Lars Nootbaar have been walking up a storm this month, and with them getting slotted into prime batting order slots, they are worth your attention in all formats.
- Oneil Cruz has massive talent and upside, but the plate discipline is so off right now that it’s understandable to move on in shallow redraft leagues.
- Vaughn Grissom! I can’t deny the production and the plate discipline have been excellent, particularly for a guy who never went to triple-A. I do have a few minor concerns (other than playing time when Ozzie Albies is healthy). First, he’s pulling everything, as in 68.3% ground balls. His first ball to the opposite field didn’t come until yesterday! He’s also hitting a lot of balls into the ground, which isn’t great for future power. That said, he looks electric right now and the upside is strong.
- Lots of new faces! At this point in the season, though, it’s all about your specific needs on a short-term basis. Consider this group and many in the Taxi Squad to be fairly interchangeable.
- I’ve added a few potential call-ups to keep an eye on, like Josh Jung and Gunnar Henderson. Stashing prospects in 10- and 12-team redraft leagues isn’t generally a good idea, but if you have the extra roster spot somehow it’s not that bad of an idea.
And now, once again, it’s time for the Hitter List:
|Tyler Naquin||OF||NYM||Rough few games, but mashes righties.|
|J.P. Crawford||SS||SEA||Plays a lot and puts the ball in play, but doesn’t do much else.|
|C.J. Abrams||SS||WAS||Not hitting or running, but the tools are there.|
|Kiké Hernández||2B/OF||BOS||Still batting seventh.|
|José Iglesias||SS||COL||Points league streamer, even hitting on the road.|
|Harold Castro||INF/OF||DET||Versatile and playing well.|
|Josh Jung||3B||TEX||Raking once again in the minor leagues.|
|Gunnar Henderson||OF||BAL||Call-up is imminent, and he’s doing well in double-A.|
|Corbin Carroll||OF||ARI||The outfield is crowded, but he’s a top-three overall prospect.|
|Leody Taveras||OF||TEX||Ice cold, but still a speed streamer in the right matchups.|
|Jared Walsh||1B||LAA||Still hitting fifth or sixth, but just very lost at the plate.|
|Nick Pratto||1B||KCR||Strikeouts are just too high right now.|
|Jo Adell||OF||LAA||Looking more and more like a 2023 play than anything else.|
|Ozzie Albies||2B||ATL||Should be back early or mid-September, if you can wait that long.|
|Shea Langeliers||C||OAK||Love that he’s getting time at DH.|
|Cal Raleigh||C||SEA||Power-hitting catcher with contact issues.|
|Brett Baty||3B||NYM||Strong plate discipline and power, but will he play?|
|Harold Ramírez||OF||MIA||Hit well before his long IL stint. Contact is the main tool.|
|Darick Hall||1B||PHI||Demoted due to roster crunch and a rough 10-day stretch.|
|Jarred Kelenic||OF||SEA||Why can’t he hit in the majors the way he does in triple-A? Ugh.|
|JJ Bleday||OF||MIA||Power and speed are there, contact isn’t there yet.|
|Luis Garcia||2B||WAS||On a rehab assignment.|
|Ji-hwan Bae||2B/SS||PIT||Having a great season in the minors could be called up in September.|
|Keibert Ruiz||C||WAS||I still really like the hit tool, but only in two-catcher leagues.|
|Jorge Soler||OF||ATL||Still on the IL, but hits for power when healthy.|
|Stone Garrett||OF||ARI||28 home runs in triple-A can’t be ignored.|
|Javier Báez||SS||DET||This kills me, but the hot streaks just aren’t there.|
|Jon Berti||INF||MIA||Speed-only guy, even when he sits he’ll pinch-run and steal.|
|Joey Wendle||INF||MIA||Cold and getting sat, but still leads off regularly.|
|Donovan Solano||2B||CIN||Points streamer. Limited power, but can make a lot of contact.|
|Elehuris Montero||3B||COL||Stream him in Coors, but note that he’s on a long road trip.|
|Isiah Kiner-Falefa||SS||NYY||Absolutely no power, but OK batting average and some speed.|
|Andrew McCutchen||OF||MIL||The wily old vet can still get hot, hits in heart of the order.|
|Shea Langeliers||C||OAK||More for two-catcher leagues, but power is intriguing. Watch the Ks.|
|Seth Brown||OF||OAK||Slowing down hard after a crazy two-week stretch.|
|Tony Kemp||2B/OF||OAK||Leading off most days, and can provide ratios and a little speed.|
|Jake McCarthy||OF||ARI||Speed streamer.|
|Isaac Paredes||1B/2B/3B||TBR||Hits in heart of the order, but has inconsistent playing time/production.|
|Nick Allen||2B/SS||OAK||Hit tool prospect who is on fire right now (141 wRC+ in August).|
|Joey Gallo||OF||LAD||Irregular playing time but taking tons of walks.|
|Dylan Carlson||OF||STL||Continues to be entirely too mediocre.|
|Nolan Gorman||3B||STL||He’s playing great, but barely playing. Just three games a week lately.|
|Rodolfo Castro||2B/SS||PIT||Power and speed are real, but the contact numbers might not be.|
|Trey Mancini||1B/OF||HOU||Plays less than regularly, but could shine in the right situation.|
|Daniel Vogelbach||1B||NYM||Power streamer, but better for OBP leagues.|
|Taylor Ward||OF||LAA||Was so legit to start the year, but it’s gone (possibly playing hurt).|
|Akil Baddoo||OF||DET||Finally getting on base and running, but no power yet.|
|Albert Pujols||1B||STL||Crushes lefties, can be streamed when the schedule is right.|
Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire | Design by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)
At this point should I be dropping Brandon lowe, Ty France, and Jorge Polanco in my 8 team league where there are players higher on this list are available (like Nate lowe)? Or could they end up being better rest of season? Thanks for the list again, appreciate the work you do every week. (My team is Sean Murphy, goldy, France, Miranda, Swanson, Kyle tucker, acuna, castellanos, Soto, polanco, cron, and Brandon lowe, so if you have suggestions on who to go for that would also be great (obviously you don’t know who is available) thanks so much)
In an 8-team league, I’d say yes. No point in waiting up for France, Polanco, or Lowe when similar production/upside is available. The replacement value in that league will likely be high enough that you can gamble plenty, miss, and turn out just fine.
Thanks so much for the advice. I think I will drop them. Honestly, forgot about cron, I guess after the 3 run shot I thought maybe he was back, but I’m not sure, do you think he is still worth having?
The Rockies are on a LONG road trip, so you can bench him for now. He’s a bit tougher to drop than the others though.
Really surprised to see Senzel listed here amid a completely punchless season (and at 1B, no less).
He got bumped to 2nd in the batting order and has a sneaky little power/speed blend to add to potential runs scored so I was very intrigued, but he’s done nothing with it. He’s totally interchangeable with the Taxi Squad. If this was an auction-style list, they’d all be $0-$2 players. He’ll likely fall off entirely if he doesn’t turn it around, especially considering that the rest of the Reds order has been better of late (Castellanos, Donovan, Moose, etc.).
Scott, I feel the Javy anguish. I’ve been fearful to let go but tonight may be the big break up. We had good times together but I need to move on.
Also, with one more unimportant dynasty regular season week, followed by 2, hopefully 4, playoff weeks, I’m trying to decide between Pollock and Nootbaar. Pollock has a good track record, but Nootbaar has the better schedule (and righties to boot).
I also have Tyler O’Neill and Tommy Pham, with the imminent return of Bryce Harper. I still have confidence in O’Neill.
So, in your opinion, AJ or Lars?