Andrew Gould’s Draft Cheat Sheet (2022 Fantasy Baseball)
For some, draft day is the most exciting time of the year. Others, however, view it as a stress-inducing test they forgot to study for until the last minute.
I fall in the first category. While daily in-season management is often a cumbersome grind, there’s nothing more exhilarating than fine-tuning your rankings, crafting a game plan, and putting everything into action on draft day.
Before Opening Day, every fantasy manager can paint their most beautiful dreams onto the season’s blank canvas. That enticing young starter is going to harness his command and compile 200 strikeouts. Your favorite utility player will land an everyday job and become a fixture in your starting lineup with 20/20 upside.
And, of course, your team will be the one the baseball gods most spare from injuries. One can dream, as long as you have a plan for when things inevitably go haywire.
If your draft is still coming up before the season starts Thursday, it’s time to buckle up and get ready to build a winning team. Hopefully this guide helps you ace your draft.
Targets by Position
- Catcher: Daulton Varsho, Tyler Stephenson, Mitch Garver, Alejandro Kirk, Elias Diaz
- First Base: Pete Alonso, Paul Goldschmidt, C.J. Cron, Josh Bell, Joey Votto, Brandon Belt, Nathaniel Lowe
- Second Base: Jose Altuve, Ketel Marte, Jorge Polanco, Gleyber Torres, Chris Taylor, Jean Segura, Jeff McNeil
- Third Base: Kris Bryant, Alex Bregman, Justin Turner, Josh Donaldson, Jonathan Villar, Alec Bohm
- Shortstop: Xander Bogaerts, Francisco Lindor, Jorge Polanco, Dansby Swanson, Gleyber Torres, Brandon Crawford
- Outfield: Mookie Betts, Nick Castellanos, Eloy Jimenez, J.D. Martinez, Kyle Schwarber, Trent Grisham, Jarred Kelenic, Avisail Garcia, Randal Grichuk, Tommy Pham, Max Kepler, Lane Thomas
- Utility: Franmil Reyes, Nelson Cruz
- Starting Pitcher: Freddy Peralta, Max Fried, Frankie Montas, Joe Musgrove, Charlie Morton, Dylan Cease, Eduardo Rodriguez, Tyler Mahle, Sean Manaea, Sonny Gray, Logan Gilbert, Patrick Sandoval, Huascar Ynoa, Alex Cobb, Jesus Luzardo, Bailey Ober,
- Relief Pitcher: Edwin Diaz, Ryan Pressly, Emmanuel Clase, Taylor Rogers, Corey Knebel, David Bednar, Matt Barnes, Anthony Bender, Michael Fulmer,
Targets by Round (12 Teams)
- 1st: Mookie Betts or Kyle Tucker if picking at the end
- 2nd: Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, Manny Machado
- 3rd: Yordan Alvarez, Whit Merrifield, Tim Anderson, Zack Wheeler
- 4th: Lucas Giolito, Aaron Nola, Sandy Alcantara, Xander Bogaerts, Paul Goldschmidt, Pete Alonso
- 5th: Nick Castellanos, Francisco Lindor, Freddy Peralta, Lance Lynn, Jose Altuve
- 6th: Kris Bryant, Jose Abreu, Max Fried, Charlie Morton
- 7th: Frankie Montas, Joe Musgrove, Ketel Marte, Alex Bregman, Jorge Polanco
- 8th: J.D. Martinez, Edwin Diaz, Ryan Pressly, Emmanuel Clase (depending on the league, you might have to put up those closers), Yu Darvish
- 9th: Carlos Rodon, Anthony Rendon, Jesse Winker
- 10th: Kyle Schwarber, Franmil Reyes, Dansby Swanson
- 11-15: Josh Bell, C.J. Cron, Joey Votto, Gleyber Torres, Justin Turner, Trent Grisham, Austin Meadows, Jarred Kelenic, Avisail Garcia, Hunter Renfroe, Nelson Cruz, Eduardo Rodriguez, Tyler Mahle, Sean Manaea, Sonny Gray, Marcus Stroman, Logan Gilbert
- 16-20: Mitch Garver, Trey Mancini, Brandon Belt, Luke Voit, Jean Segura, Brandon Crawford, Eddie Rosario, Jo Adell, Patrick Sandoval, John Means, Jose Urquidy, Tanner Houck, Taylor Rogers, Corey Knebel, David Bednar
- 21-25: Nathaniel Lowe, Jeff McNeil, Alec Bohm, Jonathan Villar, Harrison Bader, Anthony Santander, Tommy Pham, Max Kepler, Huascar Ynoa, Alex Cobb, Jesus Luzardo, Bailey Ober, Matt Barnes
- ADP 300 or later: Andrew McCutchen, Luis Patino, Alec Bohm, Wilmer Flores, Lane Thomas, Michael Fulmer, Tylor Megill, Cesar Hernandez, Brandon Marsh, Keston Hiura, Jeremy Pena, Reid Detmers, Art Warren, Mitch Keller
Players to Avoid Near ADP
- Jacob deGrom (19)
- Salvador Perez (29)
- Marcus Semien (30)
- Josh Hader (35)
- Robbie Ray (41)
- Wander Franco (46)
- Fernando Tatis Jr. (49 – avoid in top 100 unless working with multiple IL spots)
- Jazz Chisholm Jr. (84)
- Chris Sale (106)
- Joey Gallo (150)
- Ranger Suarez (168)
- Camilo Doval (174)
- Craig Kimbrel (185)
- Lance McCullers (207)
- Every analyst will tell you this, but it bears repeating: Know your league. The game type (roto, H2H, points), number of teams and roster spots, and categories all have a huge impact on how to appraise players. Most rankings (mine included) cater to a 5X5 roto league, so don’t draft blindly off those if playing in a league that uses OBP and quality starts instead of batting average and wins.
- While on that subject, anyone playing in a long-standing league has more data to research. Look at past results to draw benchmarks for each category, and examine prior drafts for any actionable trends. Are pitchers pushed up early? Is there one competitor who always reaches too high for top prospects or players from their favorite MLB team?
- Injuries will find you throughout the season, so don’t chase them by targeting players already banged up. Unless he falls beyond the top-100 picks, let someone else cross their fingers that they’ll get half of an elite season from a healthy Fernando Tatis Jr. If you’re going to bet on someone who might start on the IL, be sure he’s cheap and expendable if you need to move on early. This is also another area in which it’s important to know your league. You can’t take injured players if you only have four bench spots and one IL slot, but it’s a different ballgame if working with huge benches and unlimited IL seats.
- As everyone else overpays for the shiny new toys, take the discount on post-hype players written off after one bad run. Kyle Tucker, Tyler O’Neill, Freddy Peralta, and Dylan Cease met that mold last year. Some of this year’s candidates are Jo Adell, Gavin Lux, Keston Hiura, Jesus Luzardo, and Reid Detmers.
- Boring old veterans are also tremendous sources of value. Joey Votto, Justin Turner, and Adam Wainwright remain affordable despite providing a huge return on investment last year.
- ADP is a useful tour guide, but not an answer key. Although it’d be a suboptimal use of resources to use the 150th pick on a sleeper with a No. 300 ADP, don’t be afraid to pounce at pick N0. 250 if you really want him. If you feel you need to climb a bit higher, do it.
- If drafting online, go into the site’s draft room beforehand to get comfortable with the platform and scrutinize the default rankings/ADP for hidden value.
- Use FantasyPros’ Draft Wizard to quickly try out different strategies and team builds. Then sync your draft to the Draft Assistant for live tips, tools, and projections.
- No expert or projection system has all the answers, so don’t be afraid to trust your gut sometimes.
- Fantasy baseball is supposed to be a fun diversion from life’s many foibles. Don’t ruin this mystical game by creating needless drama. Make your league an enjoyable, comfortable environment for all. And seriously, have fun.
Also, check out our other Draft Cheat Sheets:
- Joe Pisapia’s Fantasy Baseball Draft Cheat Sheet
- Chris Clegg’s Fantasy Baseball Draft Cheat Sheet
- KC Bubba’s Fantasy Baseball Draft Cheat Sheet
- Michael Waterloo’s Fantasy Baseball Draft Cheat Sheet
- Chris Welsh’s Fantasy Baseball Draft cheat Sheet
Beyond our fantasy baseball content, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Baseball Tools as you prepare for your draft this season. From our free mock Draft Simulator – which allows you to mock draft against realistic opponents – to our Draft Assistant – that optimizes your picks with expert advice – we’ve got you covered this fantasy baseball draft season.