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Impact Prospects for the 2022 Fantasy Baseball Season

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Jan 26, 2022

When you’re drafting your seasonal team, it can be awfully tempting to reach for that shiny, new prospect. You’ve read the lists. You hear Eric Cross, Chris Clegg, Ian Kahn, Jesse Roche, and Geoff Pontz talk about their favorite prospects and who is due to break out.

It’s so fun drafting the unknown that we sometimes forget about the known.

Chris Towers, of CBS, puts it best:

“This prospect could be anyone. He could even be as good as this established player.”

And in many cases, it’s true. We get excited about a prospect, only to watch them underwhelm in their first taste of the big leagues, which can lead to a buying opportunity shortly after.

For as many instant successes as we’ve seen with Juan Soto, Ronald Acuña Jr., Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Fernando Tatís Jr., Alek Manoah, Logan Gilbert, and others, we’ve also seen the struggles of Jared Kelenic, Jarren Duran, Jackson Kowar, Nate Pearson, Spencer Howard, and Reid Detmers.

2022 will be no different than year’s past, as we’ll see plenty of prospects get the call. Some will succeed, some will underwhelm, and some will come out of nowhere, asking us how we could have possibly missed this performance coming.

Here are the prospects who you can expect to have an impact in 2022.

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Bobby Witt Jr. (SS – KC)
In Spring Training, there was early talk about having Witt break camp with the Royals. It didn’t seem serious, of course. But as Spring Training went on, it seemed like a real possibility.

For 2022, it’s not just going to be a possibility but a reality.

Witt is going to start the season as the starting shortstop for the Kansas City Royals, and if you’re big into projection models (you shouldn’t ignore them, by the way), Witt is in for a big impact season.

Steamer projects him to hit 24 home runs, swipe 18 bags, while slashing .267/.321/.481. What’s more, the strikeout rate is projected at a solid 21.3%.

If we get close to those numbers, you’re looking at a top 12 player at the position. I’ve dreamt of Trevor Story when it comes to Witt, and we’re about to see the show get started.

Edward Cabrera (SP – MIA)
Just as I praised the projections models above, I have to question them here a bit with Cabrera. ATC has him projected for 10 starts, while Steamer has him projected for six.

What am I missing?

The Marlins have a ton of options, yes, and it’s foolish to project them trading a pitcher, though it seems likely.

But Cabrera is good. Like, really good.

The numbers don’t exactly show it in his seven starts last season, but he’s a four-pitch pitcher with a filthy mid-to-high 90s fastball who racks up the whiffs.

I’ll be higher than the consensus on Cabrera, it seems, but he’s a good late-round target as an SP5 or SP5 with SP3 upside.

Seiya Suzuki (OF – FA)
I admittedly don’t know a lot about Suzuki, but from what I’ve read and the clips I’ve seen, there’s a lot to get excited about. He’s said recently that he still wants to play in MLB this season despite the lockout and that there are 12 teams who have interest in him.

It’s always hard to say how the numbers will translate over, but Suzuki hit for a high average, high power, a great OBP, and showed great patience at the dish. There’s a strong case to take him 1.1 in FYPD drafts and as one of the top prospects off the board in redraft leagues.

Josh (3B – TEX)
Jung isn’t sexy. But Jung is safe. He should have a starting job locked in at third base in Texas, and he’s a bat-first prospect with a fantastic hitting tool. 

The ballpark isn’t great, of course, and despite the additions of Marcus Semien and Corey Seager, the lineup still leaves a lot to be desired. But Jung should be a solid CI option for fantasy managers this season with a .260sh average and 15-20 home runs.

Shane Baz (SP – TB)
With every pitch Baz threw last year at the end of the season, his ADP crept up one spot. It’s a joke … kind of. 

He’s in the perfect situation in Tampa Bay, and they showed they trusted him so much that they turned to him in the playoffs with fewer than 15 innings under his belt.

In January NFBC drafts, Baz holds an ADP of 133, which is probably too rich for me given the innings workload he’ll be under. If it dips back to 150 or so, I’ll be back in on him.

Even at 133, he’ll be effective and make a big impact for managers, but there’s not enough value there for me to grab him.

Spencer Torkelson (1B/3B – DET)
The future of Detroit baseball looks very, very promising. They have a number of promising pitchers, including Riley Greene and Torkelson. You could make a case for Torkelson being the top prospect in fantasy baseball (I disagree with it) the combo of power and approach at the plate gives it merit. 

He’s one of the more advanced hitters in the minors, as he showed in Triple-A, posting a .267/.383/.552 slash line with 30 home runs. 

Detroit has discussed having Tork play third base, but first base seems like the most likely – and promising – landing spot for him once Detroit decides to promote him.

Others warranting consideration:

Riley Greene (OF – DET)
Vidal Brujan (2B – TB)
Oneil Cruz (SS – PIT)
Joe Ryan (SP – MIN)
Roansy Contreras (SP – PIT)

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Michael Waterloo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @MichaelWaterloo.

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