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Players to Target for Runs (2022 Fantasy Baseball)

Mar 4, 2022
Jonathan India

Coming off of a Rookie of the Year campaign, Jonathan India is poised to score plenty of runs in Cincinnati’s offense.

Plenty of runs should be expected from the elite bats being widely selected in the first round or two of fantasy baseball drafts. These players typically feature a four or even five-tool offensive profile. Be that as it may, having just two or fewer of these guys is usually not enough for sustained success in the runs category.

When looking to solidify run-scoring potential on a fantasy roster, there are certain factors to prioritize. “Table setters” entrenched in the top-third of lineups is the place to start. Above-average speed with some bonus pop fits the bill as well. Finally, proficiency at getting on base is also a skill to target.

The following group will identify some names beyond those first couple of rounds that match or at least come close to that description. The list is geared toward standard 12-team leagues with ADP reflective of current trends at the time of writing.

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Whit Merrifield (2B/OF – KC): ADP 34

No one plays more games than Merrifield. That could obviously change with one bad break, but over the past three seasons, he has not missed a single contest for the Royals. Over that span, the versatile 33-year-old has slashed .289/.331/.431 while pacing 15 home runs, 30 stolen bases, and 101 runs scored per 162 games.

Merrifield put up 97 runs and 40 steals across 720 plate appearances last year despite hitting in an offense that ranked 24th in runs per game (4.23). With his skillset and iron man mentality, the Royals leadoff man is a reliable producer regardless of the rest of the lineup. Merrifield will almost certainly, and for good reason, be off the board by the end of round four in drafts.

Jose Altuve (2B – HOU): ADP 59

Altuve simply stopped stealing bases a few years ago. That is the only reason he can be found outside the top 50 in most cases after rebounding in every other category last year. The pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign saw him uncharacteristically struggle across the board. The seven-time All-Star said “not so fast” to the naysayers in 2021.

Altuve set a new career-high in runs with 117 for the A.L. pennant winners last season. Those runs came alongside an .839 OPS, 31 homers, and 83 RBI. He is entrenched atop an incredibly stout batting order and should be scoring a ton of runs once again.

Jonathan India (2B – CIN): ADP 95

India burst onto the scene and ran away with the 2021 N.L. Rookie of the Year award. Having zero MLB experience coming into last season, it was perfectly understandable for him to spend the first couple of months in the bottom of the Reds lineup. He did display solid on-base skills in that stretch, leading Manager David Bell to give India a crack at leadoff duties beginning June 5.

India never looked back from that point forward, mashing his way to a .274/.382/.480 slash line with 17 homers, nine steals, and a whopping 82 runs scored over 105 games. Cincinnati is a great hitting environment and India has the makeup for a potential surge into the top 50 players in 2022. 

Myles Straw (OF – CLE): ADP 162

See, this is not a second base primer. Straw was another breakout performer in 2021 that saw himself shifted from the bottom of one lineup to the top of a different one in a deadline deal. That move led to a notable offensive boost for the fleet-footed center fielder.

In 60 games following his move from Houston to Cleveland, Straw crossed the plate 42 times. That stretches out to a 113-run pace over 162 games. He is basically devoid of home run power, but got on base at a .349 clip and stole 30 bases in 36 attempts across 158 total games last season. Straw is a a man to target in the middle rounds.

Kolten Wong (2B – MIL): ADP 221

Moving on to an option for the later rounds, Wong resides outside the top 200 mostly due to a track record of nagging injuries. He did manage nearly 500 plate appearances from the leadoff spot for the Brewers in 2021 with mostly solid results. In 116 games overall last season, Wong hit .272 along with a .335 OBP, 14 long balls, 12 steals, and 70 runs. He missed some time in June and early July last year, but it was an encouraging sign to see the now 31-year-old as a mainstay in the second half.

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