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2021 Draft Recap: Round Four (2022 Fantasy Baseball)

by Scott Youngson | @jscottyoungson | Featured Writer
Jan 25, 2022
MLB Draft Recap Rafael Devers

Rafael Devers delivered for fantasy managers that drafted him in the fourth round last year.

It’s time for Round 4 of our review of the 2021 fantasy draft’s first five rounds. If you’re late to the party, you can find our first three recaps here: Round 1, Round 2, Round 3.

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4.01: Xander Bogaerts (SS – BOS)
Bogaerts had a solid, but unspectacular year by his standards. He tallied 23 home runs, five stolen bases, 90 runs, and 79 RBIs with a .295 batting average. Most importantly, he stayed reasonably healthy, playing in 144 games. The only time he hit the IL was when Covid ravaged the Red Sox roster in early September.

His numbers were slightly below what you would expect from an early fourth-round pick, but given the rash of injuries in 2021, those who drafted him shouldn’t have been too disappointed. He was better in the first half of the season than the second, perhaps due to a wrist injury he suffered in late July that he played through.

Bogaerts’ fantasy value for 2022 should be similar to 2021. He’ll again be among the top shortstops and a likely top-50 pick. There’s a lot to like about a 29-year-old who’s been consistent throughout his career and plays in a good lineup.

4.02: Jack Flaherty (SP – STL)
Flaherty got off to a great start, posting a 2.90 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, eight wins, and a 9.7 K/9 rate through 62 innings before an oblique strain sent him to the IL in early Jun. He would only throw another 16 innings the rest of the year, as he lasted only three starts in August before getting shut down again with a shoulder strain. Flaherty was ineffective when re-joining the Cardinals out of the bullpen in late September.

Fantasy managers must consider Flaherty’s durability before drafts. There’s also the matter of his uneven performance over the past two seasons after a breakout 2019. He posted a 4.91 ERA in the shortened 2020, and the underlying statistics from 2021 suggest his 3.22 ERA may be a bit of a mirage. His 4.92 xERA, 4.22 FIP, 3.96 xFIP, and 3.92 SIERA were all much higher, and a .233 BABIP was the lowest of his career. Flaherty is still an excellent pitcher, and he could be a fantasy ace in 2022 if healthy. However, it’s best not to invest too early, as the red flags are waving.

4.03: Nolan Arenado (3B – STL)
Fantasy managers who drafted Arenado in the fourth round last year had to be nervous about his move from the hitter Mecca of Coors Field to St. Louis’ Busch Stadium. After all, his career numbers away from the thin air of Colorado did not paint a rosy picture, and he was coming off his worst season in 2020.

However, Arenado acquitted himself well. A .255 batting average was the lowest of his career outside of 2020, but the 34 HRs, 105 RBIs, and 81 runs scored were just fine.

While Arenado probably doesn’t offer much fantasy upside in 2022, he’s still a solid source of power. A .300 batting average is unlikely, but he should hit well enough not to hurt you. His current ADP of 62 seems a tad early, though, considering the upside of some players going later.

4.04: Alex Bregman (3B – HOU)
Leg injuries limited Bregman to 91 games in 2021. Even when he played, his performance was below his lofty standards. His power was particularly lacking, as he only hit 12 HRs with a .152 ISO. He had surgery on his wrist this offseason, which may help explain the power outage. However, his other stats were also mediocre: a .270 BA, 55 runs, 57 RBIs, and one stolen base. Overall, fantasy managers who nabbed him in the fourth round had to be disappointed.

Bregman hasn’t lost his plate discipline and should bounce back in 2022, assuming his wrist injury was to blame for his lack of power. Yet it’s always risky drafting a player coming off surgery, as they may be slow to recover. However, Bregman is currently getting drafted in the seventh round, which would end up a bargain if he returns to form.

4.05: Kyle Tucker (OF – HOU)
Tucker was a trendy breakout candidate following a promising 2020 season. He rewarded those that jumped on him early in 2021 drafts. His full-season stats included 30 HRs, 14 SBs, 83 runs, and 92 RBIs with a .294 batting average. He missed time in June and August with two Covid-IL stints but was otherwise healthy, playing 140 games.

Tucker’s ability to help in every category makes him appealing to fantasy managers. As such, it looks like you’ll have to spend a second-round pick on him this year. At 25 years old, he may even get better, though his track record remains short.

4.06: Ozzie Albies (2B – ATL)
Albies got off to a slow start, as he only hit .231 with three SBs through May. He was stellar the rest of the way, though, and finished the year with a .259 BA, 30 HRs, 20 SBs, 103 runs, and 106 RBIs. While the average was a bit low, the counting stats were outstanding. He was one of only five MLB players who hit 30 home runs and stole 20 bases in 2021. In case you’re curious, the others were Cedric Mullins, José Ramirez, Shohei Ohtani, and Fernando Tatís Jr.

Albies should again be one of the first keystone players off the board in 2022. His stock is now a bit higher, and it will require a second- or third-round pick to get him.

4.07: Brandon Woodruff (SP – MIL)
Woodruff earned his draft position by delivering a 2.56 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, and 10.6 strikeouts per nine last season. His status as a fantasy ace would be even higher if he managed more than nine wins. The Brewers’ offense did him no favors, scoring only 2.5 runs per game in his starts.

Wins are hard to predict, but Woodruff’s should normalize in 2022. He’s a bonafide SP1 heading into the 2022 season, and he’s getting drafted as such at a No. 19 ADP. Don’t wait too long if you want Woodruff anchoring your rotation.

4.08: José Abreu (1B – CHW)
After his incredible, MVP-winning 2020 campaign, there was seemingly nowhere to go but down for Abreu in 2021. That turned out to be the case, though he still put together a strong year. As usual, Abreu was an RBI machine, knocking in 117 to go with 30 HRs and 86 runs scored. The only blight was his BA, which dropped to a career-low, but still acceptable .261.

Abreu isn’t getting any younger and was never the swiftest of runners, so his average may not rebound too much in 2022. However, he still has great power and plays in a lineup that should afford him plenty of RBI opportunities. As such, expect him to deliver in those areas once again. He’s trending toward a sixth- or seventh-round selection in 12-team leagues, which seems appropriate given his high floor but relative lack of upside.

4.09: Luis Robert (OF – CHW)
Robert strained his right hip flexor on May 2. Many expected him to be out for most, if not all, of the regular season. However, he returned on August 9 and was great down the stretch. In total, he produced a .338 BA, 13 HRs, six SBs, 42 runs, and 43 RBIs in 68 games. Fantasy managers who stashed him for half the season were happy they did.

Despite the injury, Robert’s stock is higher in 2022 due to his strong finish. His batting average figures to drop considering his .394 BABIP last year and 6.5% walk rate in 523 career plate appearances. However, he may offer more in the SB department, as his injury kept him from running much upon his return last year. Robert is one of the game’s most exciting young players, and it will take a top-25 pick to nab him in 2022.

4.10: Rafael Devers (3B – BOS)
After a down year in 2020, Devers rebounded with a monster 2021 season. He clubbed 38 HRs, drove in 113 runs, and scored 101 times while hitting .279. His low SB total (five) is the only thing keeping him from being a first-round pick.

There’s a lot to like about Devers once again in 2022. He’s only 25 years old, plays in a great hitter’s park, and has an excellent lineup around him. Fantasy managers agree, as his current ADP is 17.

Fourth Round Overview

Round 4 had its share of injuries, as has every round so far. Flaherty, Bregman, and Robert all missed a significant part of the season. However, the fourth round was kind aside from those three players, with the rest either meeting or exceeding expectations in 2021. You will need to use an earlier draft pick on Albies, Robert, Tucker, Devers, and Woodruff in 2022.

Next week: Round 5 (picks 41-50)

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Scott Youngson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Scott, check out his archive and follow him @FantasyMutant.

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