Fantasy Baseball 2022 players to target in point leagues
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Fantasy baseball drafts (and their articles) are nearly all about finding the next superstar and sniffing out late talent, but point formats are usually lumped into rotisserie angles and/or ignored altogether. We can’t have our sad pointy RotoBallers, so let’s write with a different focus today to find some strong values I’m targeting in the point leagues.
In order to rate overrated players here, we are going to use the Average Draft Position (ADP) data made available by Fantrax point leagues, as they have separated this data for us from the general ADP which is accurate to the half-March. We know the peak of the fantasy baseball draft season is approaching and we want to be a mainstay for you in the war room.
I reserve the right to change names/analysis as I see fit if situations change, but I’ll be sure to leave a note in bold if I do!
League Goals in Points – Batters
Receiver: Mitch Garver (Fantrax Pts ADP: 263, No. 11 C)
*Note that these are largely single-receiver leagues, just in case you were anchored by the NFBC ADP two-receiver data this offseason.
I don’t like him hitting Texas, but I’ll take any job competition! Did you know Garver’s 2.78 fantasy points per game on Fantrax was seventh best behind the flat? And one of them was Eric Haase, whose path to playing time is questionable. Let’s roll with a cheap Garver who had a horrible 2020 to erase the good memories of 2019. You know, that season where he smashed 31 home runs in just 93 games.
This potency rate is on par with Salvy! I’m not here waiting for the world, but it’s getting awfully late for someone who should casually top 20 homers with an average over .250 and a double-digit walk rate (12.8% last year) . As long as strikeouts don’t break the 30% mark, we should easily take advantage here.
First Base: Josh Bell (FT Pts ADP: 147, No. 13 1B)
Do you remember Josh Bell starting his 2021 on a new team by spending 10 days on the COVID-19 roster? And then how did he only hit .133 with three homers between April 12 and May 12 on his return? Adjusting to a new team can be difficult and we cannot quantify how COVID-19 may or may not have affected their form. What interests me is how it took off and stayed strong once it settled.
Beginning May 13, Bell produced a .287/.375/.513 slash line with 24 home runs and 137 R+RBIs in 121 games. He’s become Washington’s regular three-hole or cleanup hitter and is expected to return to that role behind Juan Soto and Nelson Cruz. Given Bell’s propensity for a walk rate over 10% and a strike rate under 20%, it’s a solid 1B target from this mid-range pack if you go elsewhere with strategies early. The work will be here:
Martinez expects Josh Bell to be the Nationals’ daily first baseman this year, although he may spend some time at DH on Nelson Cruz’ days off. Right now, he doesn’t expect Bell to get any work at LF.
— Matt Weyrich (@ByMattWeyrich) March 16, 2022
Second Base: Ketel Marte (FT Pts ADP: 84, No. 8 2B)
Ketel is a great scorer because while recent lower-body injuries have limited him to just three interceptions between 2020 and 2021, his pop and batting average remain steady. You can’t expect 32 bouncyball home runs and a .329 average in 2019, but flirting with .300 and hitting 20-25 home runs in the top third of Arizona’s drive is profit point.
He was the No. 7 2B per game on Fantrax last year and allayed fears of a BB% drop shown in the abridged 2020 season. If you need a safer player to lock down the keystone, then Marte is slightly undervalued for its narrower range of results.
Third Base: Justin Turner (FT Pts ADP: 176, No. 14 3B)
Look, another overlooked veteran! I thought having him on a stacked, highlighted Dodgers team would boost him, but no. Turner played in 151 games last year, turning 612 AP into his eighth straight year with an OPS north of 0.830. We’re not counting on him for speed so he can age more gracefully, averaging above 0.270 and an OBP eclipsing 0.350 almost a lock.
Mix LAD’s wild count stats and plate appearance volume from their order discount and you’ve got a points league formula for success. Last season he was the No. 7 3B and No. 9 on a per game basis, so I can’t justify the slippage we’re seeing. All I can say is enjoy and enjoy!
Shortstop: Willy Adames (FT Pts ADP: 135, #18 SS)
For one, there are some hilarious late values to the position like Brandon Crawford being the 25th SS eligible player out of the roster despite being the #7 SS in 2021. Shout regression all you want, but Crawford has a daily role in a powerful SF offense.
But we’re aiming a little higher and highlighting Willy Adames, who should have a full season to flourish away from the Too in 2022. Consider this yet another reminder that Adames had a .197/.254/ .371 for the Rays until his trade in mid-May.
From then on, he would put down .285/.366/.521 while finishing the year as a regular Milwaukee two-hole hitter. Even with the crummy start, Adames was the #11 SS on Fantrax last season and deserves top-12 consideration. Luckily, you don’t have to pay that price to find out!
Willy Adames said he struggled to get the ball back at the Tropicana ground.
To any other field: .314/.371/.541/.912
— Jomboy (@Jomboy_) September 7, 2021
Outfield: Bryan Reynolds (FT Pts ADP: 88, No. 22 OF)
This is another case of someone being overlooked because they are unlikely to progress beyond what we have seen. But he was also the No. 9 OF last year and is an incredibly complete hitter in the box. As a rookie, Reynolds delivered a .314/.377/.503 slash, but just 16 HR and three interceptions quieted most of the fantastic buzz. Then the shortened 2020 campaign suffered from a laughable BABIP of .231 when it only hit .189! He showed us that was nonsense by producing a .302/.390/.522 line in 21, playing in 159 games to be Mr. Reliable.
That walk rate continues to increase as his strikeouts tend to drop, with most of his output coming from hits, walks, and batting average rather than speed. Combine that with the fact that he’s proving to be an everyday player and he’s well worth your target even if he’s stuck on a below par Pittsburgh team.
League Point Targets – Pitchers
#1 Starting Pitcher: Jose Berrios (No. 21 P, Fantrax Pts ADP: 61)
Berríos is almost too stable for his own good. It’s unlikely to undergo demanding headline stretches, so it won’t stand out on draft lists. But especially in the points leagues, Berríos is a fantastic SP2 or even SP1 if you hit hard. Not only does he pitch for an incredible Toronto team that will win many games, but he’s topped 190 innings in each of the past three full seasons. Shit, 2020.
Regardless, Berríos also stepped up to 21 posting career-best marks in strikeout rate (26.1%) and walk rate (5.8%), producing a K-BB rate of 20.4% which was well above his previous best of 17.7% in 2018. His change is worth highlighting, as he tormented left-handed hitters with and allowed a low batting average of .152 and a 0.266 strike percentage against with.
Unfortunately for us, he’ll rise a bit in the drafts as Chris Sale and Jack Flaherty drift due to injuries, but he was the No. 15 pitcher on Fantrax last season and deserves more respect than the 20-year-olds. People are trying to chase the next top five when they should just pick up a discounted SP1/2 type. Berríos may not have the arsenal to be a top-five SP, but he provides a more stable range of results to build from. Personally, I also appreciate that he honed the mechanics in the offseason and looks in better shape this spring:
Jose Berrios told us that to make his exit point more consistent, he spent the offseason working on shifting his weight from his toes to his heels during his delivery. It worked today, he said. I didn’t feel the usual post spring pain in his hips and glutes. #Blue Jays
—Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness) March 18, 2022
Starting pitcher #2: Yu Darvish (No. 30 P, FT Pts ADP: 89)
When I ask you how Darvish did in 2021, you’ll probably remember the poor record of 8-11 or the questionable ERA of 4.22 first. That’s okay, because we’re wired to feel the losses more than the gains in life. It’s not you… it’s, uh, your biology?
OK, Darvish’s freshman year in San Diego wasn’t ideal, but he still had a measly 1.09 WHIP and a healthy 29.2% strikeout rate (199K in 166 ⅓ IP). The high ERA/low WHIP combo came with batters switching approaches, as Darvish was slapped with a 45.3% fly-ball rate on 21. For context, that was just 30, 8% in 2020 and had never exceeded 41% in a previous year. More flyouts are cool, but they also gave a 1.52 HR/9. It likely had roots in the back and hip injuries that cropped up and ultimately ended his season. But guess what?
Darvish was still the #31 pitcher on Fantrax last year! He reportedly cleaned up his mechanics this offseason and his hip healed “well” by Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. I recognize that Darvish is 35 and those injuries may linger, but last season was very different at the start. The first three months gave us a 2.44 ERA despite the 47.6% fly-ball rate (thanks, 11% pop-up rate!). But then we got a 6.65 ERA from July as Darvish fought, although he had a 3.80 xFIP in that window.
Even in those 14 games, he at least kept his signature in control to limit damage on most home runs. The first 10 of those 14 games saw only one walk per game. Costs. But then the injuries probably piled too high as he walked 11 batters in his last four games, including a seven-inning gem against the Cardinals. Ace Darvish is still here, and you should be drooling over the draft discount. Health, a K/BB clutch arm, and better W/L variance await.
Lowest batting average allowed over 4 seams, 2021 SP (min 100 PA ending over 4 seams):
Yu Darvish: .153
Freddy Peralta: .156
Jacob of Grom: .158
Trevor Bauer: .175
Chris Bassit: .185
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) March 13, 2022