- 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!
- Still just José Ramírez and it will be until I feel like third base isn’t such a desperate position.
- I shrank this tier due to the incredible performances of these players combined with their upside. My basic philosophy behind tiers is that you should be able to at least argue that two players within a tier are close in value, but I felt these players are standing out above the players in Tier 3 in a way that made it so I couldn’t justify flipping their ranks.
- Freddie Freeman has an 8.7% walk rate and a 7.6% strikeout rate in July and I love it.
- Mike Trout was diagnosed with a rare back condition just hours ago, but I won’t be moving him on this list until there’s some kind of clarity about what it means for his 2022 season.
- Austin Riley is on the hottest of streaks, and his 275 wRC+ in July is the best in the game. He’s just five home runs away from his career high in home runs that he set last season (33) and at this rate, he’ll be there in about a week and a half. If Riley is going to have a shot at moving up a tier, though, it will likely include a sustained strikeout rate closer to 20%. Strikeouts were always his Achilles heel, and as you can see from this rolling chart, as the strikeouts go down, his production goes up. It’s a pretty simple relationship, but for Riley it’s the crux of his development.
- Welcome to Tier 3, Nolan Arenado! I’m in love with the high contact rates and excellent plate discipline, and the guy has been an extra-base machine all season. With third base being a rough position to fill these days, I felt it was time to give him a little boost, even if his rank hasn’t changed much.
- With four homers and three steals on the month, Jose Altuve has shown that he’s not as old as we said he was, apparently. The return of meaningful speed combined with power and strong plate discipline has Altuve looking like a very valuable second baseman, and leading off for the Astros makes him a premium source of runs as well.
- Bobby Witt Jr. has been out for a few days with a hamstring issue and I’m bumping him a bit anyway because this chart suggests there’s even more goodness to come. Honestly, the struggles of April and May are a forgotten relic of the past at this point. The future of the Royals is here.
- With Tatis taking his first batting practice with the team, it was high time for another bump as he gets closer to a return. There’s a real chance that Fernando Tatis Jr. is fantasy’s top hitter from the moment he returns through the end of the season. The injury risk is what keeps him down, nothing more.
- Adolis García has such a wonderful combination of power and speed, but it’s been a rough July and it’s kind of feeling like the same pattern as 2021 where he fizzled for basically the entire second half. Perhaps a better supporting cast and a year of experience will help him avoid the same trap.
- Tyler O’Neill gets a huge bump for his success since returning, and I’m willing to plant a flag and say Tyler O’Neill can be a top-40 hitter the rest of the way. Four months ago, this would have been barely news, but as I see in the Reddit AMA we do every Friday at noon, there are people who wanted to cut him. If that happened in your league, take full advantage of that manager’s mistake and add him immediately. Don’t even read the rest of this article until you do.
- If you hadn’t been planning on a Giancarlo Stanton IL stint this season, I guess I don’t really know what to tell you. I dropped him a bit, but it’s more of a blend of injury and just liking some other players more.
- Jeremy Peña is second amongst all shortstops in July with six home runs. Stories of his demise have been greatly exaggerated, and I am expecting a surge once he makes some adjustments.
- Kyle Schwarber runs extremely hot and cold, sort of like a super-powered Joc Pederson. This 2-for-20 stretch is part of the cold, but hey, at least the two hits were home runs.
- The Michael Harris train keeps chugging along. What an unbelievable debut from a guy who I didn’t even think would play. If you’re wondering why Atlanta was so happy to move their previous top-two outfield prospects, this is why. I know my buddy Josh Sperry is grinning ear to ear.
- The batting average hasn’t been what we wanted, but Willy Adames has five home runs, two steals, and plenty of counting stats this month and I’m fine with that.
- I moved a few guys from this tier above the catchers because I realized I’d take any one of them over a catcher.
- Daulton Varsho belongs in this group because he has a power-speed combination that just doesn’t otherwise exist at catcher, and he also takes a ton of walks.
- It’s been a heck of a return for Brandon Lowe, and we shouldn’t forget that this guy hit 39 home runs in 2021. For some reason, I feel like a lot of people have forgotten that through 1,476 plate appearances, he’s slashing .254/.338/.510 with a 133 wRC+. He’s pretty good.
- Ty France has a wrist injury he’s dealing with, FYI.
- In his last 48 plate appearances, Oneil Cruz has three home runs, two steals, and a .267/.313/.533 line. Yes, the 35.4% strikeout rate is scary, but I’m willing to bet he fixes that before he falls flat.
- Ke’Bryan Hayes is doing just enough for me to keep waiting on his potential but I understand that it isn’t easy. I’m giving him just a little longer to show me some kind of development in power, but he could sink down this list like a rock. Please don’t ask me why he moved up and instead look at the big red numbers on players below him.
- Bryan Reynolds also can’t find any power and it’s really sad and frustrating.
- Brandon Drury has slowed down mildly in July but that’s fine. He’s still doing cool things that don’t make a lot of sense to me.
- Adley Rutschman is locking in and you love to see it. He could be joining that top tier of catchers in a hurry.
- Why am I finally dragging Taylor Ward down? Because Mike “Sleepy K” Kurland made a good point and I’m not so dense that I don’t listen to good points. That said, a healthy Taylor Ward is something I very much believe in if that happens.
#Angels Taylor Ward since 5/21:
Just 4HR/1SB in 173 PAs
9HR/1SB in 131 PA
Why 5/21? That’s the day after the game he left with the neck and shoulder issues after running into the OF wall.
— Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) July 26, 2022
- I dropped some of July’s worst hitters down the list, such as Nelson Cruz, Jared Walsh, and Nick Castellanos. If there’s one I believe will bounce back by the next list, it’s Walsh—he has five doubles since the Break and could be finding that groove again. If there’s one I believe in the least, it’s Nelson Cruz. I don’t think he’s washed up, but it’s hard to imagine what the guy is playing for right now.
- I love Riley Greene and have no idea how he’s been caught three times, but I don’t think that will last for long.
- It’s nice to see Seiya Suzuki find some of that power again and also cut down on the strikeouts in the last few games. Let us hope that continues.
- Gavin Lux is maybe a tweak or two away from moving up this list, while Jeff McNeil is a slump or two away from falling way down.
- Salvador Perez is inching closer to a return and should be in the mix as a top-seven catcher immediately.
- Welcome back to the list, Jonathan India! I’m not getting overly excited yet since he was so bad for so long, but this is very promising.
- Welcome to the list, Leody Tavares! It’s hard to say how long the speedy outfielder can keep up this great production, but I love seeing him climb up the batting order.
- Welcome to the list, Jose Miranda! He was unbleivable in triple-A last season and seems to finally be making strong adjustments to MLB pitching. He’s got three home runs and 16 RBI this month to go along with a 180 wRC+ and should be picked up almost everywhere if you need a third baseman.
- Ramón Urías is the hot bat of the week, in a sense, and since returning to the team on July 4th is slashing .397/.426/.707. In 161 career games, he has 19 home runs and a .278 batting average, which ain’t all that bad, and has shown the ability to heat up and stay hot for a few weeks at a time.
- You need to be keeping a close eye on Jarred Kelenic. The plate discipline continues to improve in the minors and he could really capitalize on his next opportunity.
And now, once again, it’s time for the Hitter List:
|Despite bad batting line, he’s closer to breakout than many think.
|He’s a decent platoon bat for fantasy. Stream against bad RHP.
|Arrival of Ruiz to the roster makes a log jam.
|Had a set-back in his recovery. Valuable when leading off.
|Points leaguers will be slightly more interested. Stream at home.
|Being a rookie catcher is hard.
|Limited pop and speed, but consistent.
|Fills lots of roles, but this won’t last. Stream it.
|I won’t stop you from believing.
|Had a hot 2-3 weeks, not so good the rest of the time.
|Just not getting any playing time yet.
|This is fun. Just let it be that.
|Points league streamer when he’s at home.
|Points league streamer when he’s at home.
|He’s heating up a bit. Rebound candidate.
|Not playing, and only 1-3 in stolen base attempts.
|Making a ton of contact and hitting in the middle of the order.
|Power and speed are just starting to show themselves.
|Flexible and dependable, usually.
|Curious to see what’s left in the tank.
|Keeps going up and down but good for points leagues.
|Not the greatest debut but there’s a lot of talent here.
|Hitting .277 as the starter, but limited power and speed.
|2 steals since call-up, but the strikeout rate is over 30%.
|If you have plenty of IL room, keep him.
|Playing a lot right now and hitting really well.
|Maybe someone in your league thinks he’s better than this. I don’t.
|Volume catcher who can hit for some power sometimes.
|He’s just not that interesting.
|He hits fifth for a good team.
|Great plate discipline with 30+ home run power at peak.
|-4 wRC+, 22 Ks to just 2 BB in last 49 PA. Yuck.
|Premium streaming catcher.
|He had a good second half last year, I guess.
|He’s a streamer when he heats up, but rarely healthy.
|Looks like a regular ol’ power hitter.
|If he gets back to the top of the lineup, he’s worth a look.
|He hits in a good spot for a good team.
|Still looks awesome, just needs a spot to open up. Premium stash.
|Leads off but super boring.
|He should be so much better and hitting 2nd but he isn’t.
|Being a rookie catcher is hard.
|Hitting well of late, alebit with very limited power.
|You know what he is, and if you need that, sure.
|Versatile, makes contact, steals bases.
|The scrappy vet can go on runs and is sometimes useful.
|Playing well in place of Brantley and Alvarez.
|How much will he play when he returns, and how much will he run?
|I REALLY want him in the top-150, but needs to win a full-time role.
|Much better than I realized. Should be in Tier 13-14.
|Hot corner eligibility and a .326/.379/.465 line is intriguing.
|Do-everything infielder has been hot, but best used in points leagues.
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