8 Undervalued Players to Target (2022 Fantasy Baseball)
Every year some players fly under the radar for one reason or another. These players can allow fantasy managers to capture early-round value and put their rosters over the top. Our rankings tool allows you to identify a few players who may be going later in terms of Average Draft Position (ADP) than where our Expert Consensus Ranking has them.
Speaking of experts, several have stepped up to the plate to help you knock your draft out of the park. They identify the undervalued players they are targeting in fantasy baseball drafts.
1. Which hitter do you think is the most undervalued by both our consensus rankings and their average draft position, and why?
“Dodgers first baseman/second baseman Max Muncy (ECR 120, ADP 111) missed the postseason in 2021 after tearing the UCL in his left elbow. The status of his health has remained murky during the offseason and into the current dreaded MLB lockout, causing his ADP to subsequently tumble downward. However, a positive update came out this past week during Muncy’s interview with Dodger Talk’s David Vassegh on AM 570 in which the 31-year-old left-handed slugger reported he is “progressing well” and plans to be ready for Opening Day. Muncy added that he met with many specialists after his injury, and surgery was deemed unnecessary. Muncy slugged 35 homers in 2018, 35 homers in 2019, and 36 homers in 2021 in just 144 games. His barrel percentage, xSLG, xwOBA, xwOBAcon, and walk percentage all ranked amongst the best in baseball last season, which has been a recurring trend over the past few years. Muncy is an elite hitter who draws a ton of walks and hits in the heart of one of baseball’s most fearsome lineups. He also offers premium position eligibility as a second baseman in most formats. Assuming a clean bill of health, his ADP will likely soar up draft boards over the next few weeks, as he is a proven, bona fide top-50 fantasy player. ”
– Lucas Spence (Pitcher List)
“Max Muncy hit 36 home runs to go with 95 runs scored, 94 RBI, two stolen bases, and a .249 batting average in 144 games last season. But because of elbow and UCL injuries in the regular-season finale, he is currently coming at a discount in fantasy drafts. As of this writing, he had an ECR of 120 and an ADP of 111. 111th overall is a bargain, while 120th is borderline thievery. Muncy said recently that he intends to be ready for opening day (whenever that is), and the National League adopting the designated hitter could help him return sooner and stay in the lineup more often in 2022. Pencil him in for at least 140 games and another 35 home runs this season.”
– Mike Maher (FantasyPros)”
Brendan Rodgers should play every day for the Rockies, and when he does, he will be a magnificent return on his 177 ECR. Rodgers has 20-25 HR potential (depending upon length of the season) and qualifies at 2B and SS. He’s also not merely a “product of environment.” Rodgers had a .873 road OPS last season. Take advantage of ADP while you can.”
– Joe Pisapia (FantasyPros)
“It’s Gleyber Torres. He hit 62 home runs before he turned 23 years old, he’s still only 25, and yet fantasy managers have turned their backs on him. I’m giving him a mulligan for the COVID-shortened 2020 season, and a thumb injury cost him time last year. His groundball percentage has been up the last two years, which suggests that a slight launch-angle adjustment could do wonders for him. I still believe Torres has stardom in his range of career outcomes.”
– Pat Fitzmaurice (FantasyPros)
“Bryan Reynolds, ECR – 54th hitter, ADP – 93. Reynolds can be forgotten a bit on draft day thanks in part to his poor surrounding cast but also for lacking an “exciting” profile. However, Reynolds’ all-fields approach, excellent batted ball quality, and above-average speed (88th percentile sprint speed) make him a prime candidate to maintain an extremely high BABIP. He’s managed a .346 career BABIP across 1,400 PA, which includes an unlucky .231 BABIP from the shortened 2020 season. Both his strikeout and walk rates are better than league average, and he’s barreled the ball at a better than 10% clip over his last 850 plate appearances. Now 27, he has a chance to provide career-best power numbers to go along with elite batting average and solid counting stats. His sneaky speed could create an opportunity for him to reach 8-10 steals as well. He’s essentially Xander Bogaerts without the surrounding cast.”
– Max Freeze (Freeze Stats)
2. Which starting pitcher do you think is the most undervalued by both our consensus rankings and their average draft position and why?
“Diamondbacks ace Zac Gallen (ECR 131, ADP 124) posted a 2.81 ERA in 2019 (age 24) and a 2.75 ERA in 2020 (age 25). Then, his 2021 season went completely sideways when Gallen suffered a hairline fracture in his pitching arm last March (during batting practice), which delayed the start to his season – a season which he was never able to get back on track. I’m simply willing to give the talented young right-hander a mulligan for 2021. He’s healthy, entering his physical prime, and possesses a terrific arsenal of pitches that should allow him to recapture his 2019-2020 form and re-establish himself as a top-20 pitcher, although I would discount him slightly in leagues that utilize wins because the Diamondbacks won’t be winning very many games. ”
– Lucas Spence (Pitcher List)”
Zac Gallen as the 38th pitcher off the board is a steal. The first 150 innings of his career weren’t good, they were elite (178 K/61 BB and a 2.78 ERA)! Last season, he was injured, so just throw that away. Wins may still be hard to come by for Gallen, but his peripherals and strikeouts are all closer to an SP2, yet he’s being drafted as an SP4. He’s a steal!”
– Joe Pisapia (FantasyPros)”
Jose Berrios has become one of the most reliable workhorses in the game. He’s made 32 starts and has pitched about 200 innings in each of his last three full seasons, averaging a little over a strikeout an inning. Berrios has posted ERAs below 3.90 and WHIPs below 1.23 in each of his last four full seasons. Now he’ll be pitching in Toronto, where he’ll be backed by one of the most potent lineups in baseball. It’s weird that Berrios is being drafted behind the erratic Robbie Ray, the oft-injured Chris Sale and one-year wonder Logan Webb.”
– Pat Fitzmaurice (FantasyPros)”
Framber Valdez threw 134 2/3 innings in 2021, easily the most he has ever thrown in a single season. In those innings, he went 11-6 with a 3.14 ERA, 125 strikeouts, a 1.25 WHIP, and a ground ball rate north of 70%. Despite that production, he has an ECR of 126 and an ADP of 131. I have him projected for more than 175 innings in 2022 to go with an ERA somewhere around 3.50, at least a dozen wins, a sub-1.30 WHIP, and an 8.5 K/9. If I can wait until pick 125 or later for that kind of production, sign me up. ”
– Mike Maher (FantasyPros)
“Charlie Morton, ECR as the 25th SP and an ADP of 88. Morton will be 38 years old this year, but he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, as he’s started 33 games in each of the last two full MLB seasons. After a two-year drop in fastball velocity, Morton was back to averaging 95+ mph with his heater last year. Armed with arguably the best curveball in the game, he generates whiffs at a near 40% clip with the pitch and throws it more than 35% of the time. Since 2019, Morton has a 3.33 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP to go along with a sparkling 29% strikeout rate. With five months to heal from the broken fibula, my concerns are minimal. Broken bones heal, and leg injuries aren’t as concerning when it comes to pitchers. Morton is top-20 SP who is going about two rounds too late.”
– Max Freeze (Freeze Stats)
Thank you to the experts for giving us their outfielders to target and avoid. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter.