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 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)!
- Juan Soto takes a tumble despite incredible plate discipline because he just isn’t doing enough damage. The two home runs in the last 10 games are cool, but the .200 batting average and three measly RBI are not cool.
- Yordan Alvarez is dealing with a bit of a power outage and it may be due to his injured right hand. He expects to be back in the lineup Friday, and hopefully, he can hit a home run or some doubles in the weekend series to help calm fears that he’s going to be a dud in September.
- The ratios are suffering a little lately for Julio Rodríguez but I’m not really concerned at all. I just realized that I still like Kyle Tucker just a hair more for the rest of 2022, though it’s likely I rank Julio ahead of Tucker to start 2023.
- I love getting a chance to feature Trout, and what better opportunity than a 30-plate appearance stretch where he hit four home runs and posted a 202 wRC+? The fact is that Mike Trout looks fine, despite all of the worries about the rare issue he’s dealing with. Injuries can be managed, and there’s no reason Trout can’t be an elite player for the rest of the season.
- Bryce Harper is back on the field and that means he’s a top-25 player.
- The ratios for Eloy Jiménez but he’s been healthy for all of August and only just hit his third home run of the month. He’ll need to have five to seven home run months to be ranked up here.
- Michael Harris II just won’t stop. What a player. He finds ways to be successful every single week.
- Kyle Schwarber has been a bit slow coming back from injury, so I moved him to the bottom of this tier.
- Byron Buxton isn’t traveling with the team quite yet but I’ll keep him in this tab in hopes that by the time I write this article again, he’ll be active and I won’t have to do anything with his rank.
- It’s good to see Bryan Reynolds having a strong month. He’s hit six home runs, stolen two bases, and put up a .272/.359/.495.
- Here is the complete, unabridged list of the first basemen with a better wRC+ in August than Nathaniel Lowe: Paul Goldschmidt. Thank you for your time.
- On one hand, Josh Bell is on a nine-game on-base streak where he’s hit a pair of doubles and a pair of home runs to go with a 20.5% walk rate and just a 12.8% strikeout rate. That’s exactly the Bell I’ve wanted to see in a Padres uniform. Now if only he could take care of that 56% ground ball rate he’s had on this streak, we could start seeing some major production.
- Is C.J. Cron back in Colorado yet? They get six games next week back home against the Brewers and Diamondbacks, and hopefully, he can make up for this brutal stretch as he’s hit just .247/.291/.381 in August.
- Tommy Edman is just one of several Cardinals who are hitting well, though Edman stands out for fantasy due to that stolen base upside.
- DJ LeMahieu has slumped along with almost every other Yankee hitter, and while he’s still a decent bet for solid ratios in September, those facing head-to-head playoffs in shallower 10- and 12-team leagues could be forced to look for other players if ratios aren’t a concern. He just doesn’t offer enough other production right now.
- Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is dangerously close to plummeting even further on this list. He just looks terrible right now and has all month.
- Justin Turner only has one home run since being activated from the IL on August 9, but his ratios are fantastic, he has a double in four of his last five starts, and he gets to pile up counting stats in the middle of that Dodger lineup.
- Ryan Mountcastle keeps getting caught in long slumps and it just can crush you in fantasy. In a fantasy playoff scenario where you have plenty of power, he’s a tough guy to hold on to.
- Max Muncy’s magic has worn off a bit lately, and it may stem from a knee injury he’s playing through. I’m keeping a close eye on it.
- J.D. Martinez probably isn’t totally cooked or anything, but even getting on base in nine of his last 10 games hasn’t done much to improve his ratios—his OBP is still well under .300 in those 10 games despite the streak.
- I almost featured Lars Nootbaar for this piece, and I still might next week. This stretch of Joey Votto-esque plate discipline is extraordinary and he’s doing it in an ideal position as the leadoff man for baseball’s hottest offense. Runs and ratios can be tough to come by, and Nootbaar brings both and also some pop.
- This is what we’ve wanted from Tyler O’Neill since the start of the season. He should be scooped up in every league where you need power and speed.
- Jake Fraley continues to be a good add in OBP leagues for power and speed. He doesn’t have the amazing discipline of Nootbaar or the upside of O’Neill, but he’s solid.
- Yandy Díaz is back to being a contact guy in the same vein as Luis Arraez and David Fletcher, but with a bit more power upside while being more prone to slumps and being sat.
- Jorge Mateo isn’t showing the same plate discipline he did while he was hot, and that’s a bit alarming to me. I’d like to see that come back or else I’ll have to keep dropping him.
- Joey Meneses keeps putting the ball in play and having good things happen and maybe I shouldn’t question it so much.
- Vaughn Grissom has finally slowed down, so let’s see if he can make his adjustment quickly as he did at every other level.
- I’ve made no secret that I love Riley Greene and he had a fantastic week for the Tigers. I’d love to see him build on that because this is truly a special bat who could be a big-time fantasy contributor as soon as 2023.
- Welcome to the show, Gunnar Henderson and Corbin Carroll! Both are elite prospects, though I think Gunnar has a more clear path to plate appearances regardless of who takes the mound for the opponent. Carrol is going to play plenty, but there’s a weird number of left-handed bats on the Arizona roster between him, Jake McCarthy, Dalton Varsho, and Alek Thomas. Against left-handers, it’s pretty certain that at least one of them will sit. Gunnar, on the other hand, has a ton of guys he could steal plate appearances from without impacting development because the Orioles don’t really need to worry about Rougned Odor or Ramón Urías or their impact on the team’s future.
- A lot of slumping and injured guys here, and based on needs, you could interchange any of these guys with a player on the Taxi Squad.
- Jake McCarthy might lose a little playing time to Corbin Carroll but he’s been an elite base stealer in the second half.
- Isaac Paredes is showing great plate discipline and power, and his versatility might help you overlook the one or two games a week where he gets benched.
- 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.|
|Michael A. Taylor||KCR||OF||Power and speed come in flashes, but it’s there.|
|Kris Bryant||OF||COL||Not sure we see him for more than 10-15 games.|
|Leody Taveras||OF||TEX||Ice cold, but still a speed streamer in the right matchups.|
|Wander Franco||SS||TBR||Injuries have made this a lost season.|
|Corey Dickerson||OF||STL||The guy can still hit righties, I’ll give him that.|
|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||Strikeouts are catching up to him.|
|Drew Waters||OF||KCR||Love the plate discipline he’s shown lately.|
|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.|
|Nick Madrigal||2B||CHC||Decent ratios but just nothing to go with them.|
|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 Brewers have a really soft schedule for the next few series.|
|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.|
|Brandon Lowe||2B/OF||TBR||Injury, poor performance, and spotty plating time.|
|Trent Grisham||OF||SDP||Slumping badly of late.|
|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.|
|Lane Thomas||OF||WAS||Slugging .604 over last 50 plate appearances.|
|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.|
|Jose Siri||OF||TBR||Might be the fastest guy in the league, but bad approach.|
|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.|
|TJ Friedl||OF||CIN||On a tear and makes tons of contact. Limited upside.|
|Whit Merrifield||2B/OF||TOR||This does not feel good but it’s been a long time coming.|
Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire | Design by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)
Is Travis Darnaud not a good option at catcher in 10-12 team leagues?
That might be a tad harsh – I’d say he’s not a “must roster” guy. He’s hitting awfully well since his return from the IL, though, and playing fairly regularly so keep rolling him out until he cools off or you see something better.
Looking to fill a hole at SS or 2B. I have Edman that can play either, but Pena isn’t cutting it anymore. H2H, standard 5 then we have OBP and SLG too. Eugenio Suarez, Amed Rosario, Keston Hiura and Jon Berti are all available. Who should I target? I feel like Keston is trending upward more than the rest and is the best blend of power and OBP lately… Thoughts?
Suarez and Hiura are the guys. Suarez is my preference because he isn’t quite as volatile as Hiura has been in recent seasons.
No mention of SEA’s Haggerty. Stickly a speed/BA play in a 12 teamer or a non factor.
Need to drop someone for an IL return. Deciding between Haggerty, O.Gonzalez, and Kwan.
Need HR’s, SB’s, and BA.
I’d keep Kwan for sure. He’s BA and SBs. Haggerty is a speed-only type of guy, and I’m not terribly excited by the profile. He’s slapped the ball exceptionally well of late, but I don’t believe in that happening long-term. Gonzalez has the most power here by far, but he’s also ice-cold right now and has been terribly streaky in his inaugural campaign.
The choice between Haggerty and Gonzalez is probably just whether or not you think you can get the HRs from somewhere else and would rather ride the hot bat for a little while. That seems pretty reasonable.
Growing impatient with the Cubbies not IL’ing Willson Contreras, and we are heading into the playoffs. Travis d’Arnaud is available in my league, and looking awfully good lately. So is Melendez, but I like d’Arnaud. And Willson has not been giving me very many PA’s lately…
Thanks for all you do here, Scott!