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Fantasy Baseball Player Notes

2022 Fantasy Baseball Draft Notes

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Note
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. photo 4. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 1B,DH
The young slugger put it all together in 2021, tying for the MLB lead in HRs and leading the AL in runs, OBP and slugging percentage in his age-22 season. Statcast numbers and other peripherals fully supported the gaudy surface stats. Guerrero alleviated concerns that he hit the ball on the ground too much by cutting his ground-ball rate from 55% to 44%. Vladito doesn't steal bases, but he gives you everything else. And unlike his famous dad, he's actually willing to take a walk. Guerrero deserves to be taken in the top half of the first round.
32 weeks ago
Bo Bichette Note
Bo Bichette photo 5. Bo Bichette DH,SS
The future is bright for this young star as he enters his age-24 season. Bichette broke out in 2021 with an AL-high 191 hits and proved himself to be a true five-category performer. His dad Dante once hit 40 HRs for the Rockies, and Bo seemingly has room for growth in the power department with some launch-angle adjustments, since his ground ball rate last season was just shy of 50%. Bichette doesn't like to take walks, but he hits the ball hard to all fields. Playing in one of MLB's best lineups should help keep his run and RBI totals robust. His 2021 season will be a tough act to follow, but this is a first-round profile.
32 weeks ago
Teoscar Hernandez Note
Teoscar Hernandez photo 27. Teoscar Hernandez DH,LF,RF
It would normally make sense to be wary of a late-ish bloomer who has a breakout year at age 28. Hernandez established new career highs in basically every offensive category last year, batting .296, belting 32 HRs, driving in 116 runs, scoring 92 times and doubling his previous season high in stolen bases with 12. But the peripheral numbers back it all up. Statcast absolutely loves Hernandez, even backing up the SB breakout by putting him in the 85th percentile for sprint speed. He'll bat cleanup in a stacked Blue Jays lineup and should get ample opportunities to drive in runs. A full repeat of his 2021 numbers might be a stretch, but Hernandez should be able to come close.
32 weeks ago
Whit Merrifield Note
Whit Merrifield photo 36. Whit Merrifield 2B,CF,RF
This late bloomer has been fantasy gold for the last five years. Merrifield stole 40 bases last season at age 32. Durability is a big plus: Merrifield hasn't missed a game in the last three years. But there are some worrisome signs of slippage. His line drive rate has been steadily dropping over the last few seasons, and he hit only two home runs last season from July 1 on. Merrifield has been a terrific value for years, but it's possible he'll be slightly overpriced in 2022 drafts.
32 weeks ago
George Springer Note
George Springer photo 47. George Springer CF,DH,RF
Quad and knee injuries limited Springer to 78 games in his first season with the Blue Jays, but he mashed when healthy, with 22 HRs, 50 RBI and 59 runs in just 299 at-bats. Springer has consistently posted batting averages in the .260s or higher during his career, and he'll steal a handful of bases for you. Batting leadoff with Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero and Teoscar Hernandez behind him, Springer has a great chance to score 100 or more runs. He'll turn 33 in August, but he seems to be aging gracefully. Springer is a solid investment.
32 weeks ago
Kevin Gausman Note
Kevin Gausman photo 60. Kevin Gausman SP
At age 30, Gausman finally put it all together over a full season and got himself into the Cy Young conversation. Gausman had a K/BB ratio of 4.5/1 last year and induced swinging strikes on better than 15% of his pitches for a third straight season. His .275 BABIP in 2021 says there was a small element of luck involved, but most of the numbers fully support his banner year (which followed his strong showing in the COVID-shortened 2020 season). Gausman's splitter has become one of the most effective pitches in baseball. The move to the AL East is a mixed bag. On one hand, the Jays should win a lot of games. On the other hand, Gausman will make a good percentage of his starts against the Rays, Red Sox and Yankees.
32 weeks ago
Jose Berrios Note
Jose Berrios photo 67. Jose Berrios SP
Berrios may have finally arrived as an ace last season, yet he's still very affordable in fantasy drafts. His 3.52 ERA in 2021 was the lowest of his career. Berrios walked just 2.1 batters per nine innings last year and had a K/BB ratio of 4.5/1. He's as durable as they come, having made 32 starts in each of his last three full seasons. Berrios will spend his first full season in the rugged AL East, but with a loaded Blue Jays lineup giving him run support, he has a good chance to exceed 14 wins for the first time in his career. Entering his age-28 season, Berrios should be at the height of his powers.
32 weeks ago
Alek Manoah Note
Alek Manoah photo 90. Alek Manoah SP
Manoah was largely as advertised last year with Toronto, pitching to a 3.22 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. His fastball (.288 wOBA) and slider (.238 wOBA) were a deadly combination, though he's probably going to need to continue to develop his changeup to truly excel as a starter. With that said, Manoah is just 24 years old and already boasts two elite pitches with a solid MLB season under his belt. He may pitch in a tough division and a hitter-friendly ballpark, but given his pedigree and potential for more, he's someone to draft as a high-end No. 3 starter with little hesitation.
29 weeks ago
Jordan Romano Note
Jordan Romano photo 120. Jordan Romano RP
Romano wasn't always used as a traditional closer last year, but he firmly established himself as Toronto's best reliever and wound up with 23 saves. Romano sits at 97 MPH with his fastball and it's just been an absolutely dominant pitch over the last two seasons, particularly when combined with his above-average slider. He's a reliever with a limited track record which means his volatility is high. But there are few closing situations where fantasy managers can feel confident about who is going to get the ball in the ninth inning - Toronto's is one of them, and that means Romano should be considered a top-10 reliever.
29 weeks ago
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Note
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. photo 133. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. 1B,DH,LF
Gurriel cut his strikeout rate to a career-best 18.9%, but that's pretty much where the good news ends. His quality of contact dropped significantly (at least in some part due to a knee injury he played through), resulting in a sharp downturn in both his home runs and slugging percentage. Playing for a ridiculously strong Toronto offense will keep his counting stats relatively afloat, and he may bat higher in the order with Marcus Semien in Texas now. And he's entering his age-28 season so perhaps there's a power bump coming. But Gurriel looks much more like a player who you draft because he won't hurt you, not because he'll help you a ton.
29 weeks ago
Matt Chapman Note
Matt Chapman photo 140. Matt Chapman 3B
Chapman get a massive upgrade moving from Oakland to Toronto, both in terms of home park and surrounding lineup. He's coming off an incredible disappointing year in which he hit only .210, but it's worth remembering that he had major surgery the prior offseason. As we saw with Buster Posey, players often take a full season to recover, so it's a good bet that you can write Chapman's 2021 off to his recovery. Even so, he hit 27 home runs last year, so if he can just get his strikeout rate back down to the 23% range he had shown in his career rather than the 33% range he's had the last two seasons, he could be in for a monstrous year.
29 weeks ago
Hyun Jin Ryu Note
Hyun Jin Ryu photo 234. Hyun Jin Ryu SP
Ryu has always relied on his outstanding changeup and cutter, but both were hit hard last year. He still didn't walk many batters but his home run rate spiked while his strikeout rate plummeted. Ryu needs his secondary stuff to be successful, as his fastball barely sits at 90 miles per hour and has never been effective. Was 2021 a blip or the beginning of a decline? The good news for fantasy managers is that they should find out quickly this year, because either Ryu is inducing weak contact and getting swings and misses early, or you can cut bait. But given his pedigree and long track record, taking a late-round flier on him isn't a terrible idea.
28 weeks ago
Yusei Kikuchi Note
Yusei Kikuchi photo 251. Yusei Kikuchi RP,SP
Kikuchi's MLB career has been underwhelming thus far, as he's clocked in with nearly a 5.00 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. He'll head to a Toronto team that managed to harness Robbie Ray's pure stuff, so maybe they'll do the same with Kikuchi, but it will take a leap of faith on the part of fantasy managers to draft him expecting that. He does have decent raw stuff - both his cutter and slider can be borderline dominant when he's on and his fastball can be successful when he gets that little extra bit of velocity, like he showed early last year. But ultimately, Kikuchi's pitch mix is not strong enough to overcome hi lack of command, and considering how high his home run rate was in Seattle, it's unlikely things will improve in Toronto. Maybe there's a step forward but, again, it's largely wishful thinking at this point.
28 weeks ago
Raimel Tapia Note
Raimel Tapia photo 271. Raimel Tapia CF,LF,RF
Tapia moves from Colorado to Toronto, and although that's an obvious downgrade in terms of home park, it's pretty much as neutral a change as Tapia could have hoped for. He'll still play his home games in an extreme hitter-friendly environment, and he'll see a major upgrade in his surrounding lineup. The problem for Tapia, however, remains the same. He has extremely meager power numbers, and not enough speed to be a true difference-maker in the stolen base category (though he did swipe 20 last year). He'll almost certainly bat in the lower third of the lineup with Toronto, as he likely would have with the Rockies anyway, and his probable increase in runs scored should be canceled out by his likely drop in batting average (his xBA has been in the .250s in each of the last three seasons). There's little upside with Tapia, but he won't hurt you, so he's a decent bench option if you're light on steals.
28 weeks ago
Alejandro Kirk Note
Alejandro Kirk photo 290. Alejandro Kirk C,DH
Cavan Biggio Note
Cavan Biggio photo 298. Cavan Biggio 1B,2B,3B,RF
Danny Jansen Note
Danny Jansen photo 403. Danny Jansen C
Yoshi Tsutsugo Note
Yoshi Tsutsugo photo 416. Yoshi Tsutsugo 1B,DH,LF,RF
Bradley Zimmer Note
Bradley Zimmer photo 428. Bradley Zimmer CF,RF
Nate Pearson Note
Nate Pearson photo 468. Nate Pearson RP
Tim Mayza Note
Tim Mayza photo 486. Tim Mayza RP
Yimi Garcia Note
Yimi Garcia photo 496. Yimi Garcia RP
Trevor Richards Note
Trevor Richards photo 506. Trevor Richards RP,SP
Julian Merryweather Note
Julian Merryweather photo 594. Julian Merryweather RP
Mitch White Note
Mitch White photo 632. Mitch White SP,RP
Anthony Bass Note
Anthony Bass photo 633. Anthony Bass RP
Ross Stripling Note
Ross Stripling photo 666. Ross Stripling SP,RP
Jackie Bradley Jr. Note
Jackie Bradley Jr. photo 706. Jackie Bradley Jr. LF,CF,RF
Adam Cimber Note
Adam Cimber photo 717. Adam Cimber RP
Trent Thornton Note
Trent Thornton photo 738. Trent Thornton SP,RP
Santiago Espinal Note
Santiago Espinal photo 753. Santiago Espinal 2B,3B,SS
Gabriel Moreno Note
Gabriel Moreno photo 810. Gabriel Moreno C
Thomas Hatch Note
Thomas Hatch photo 858. Thomas Hatch P,SP
Anthony Kay Note
Anthony Kay photo 877. Anthony Kay SP,RP
David Phelps Note
David Phelps photo 884. David Phelps RP
Zach Pop Note
Zach Pop photo 903. Zach Pop RP
Bowden Francis Note
Bowden Francis photo 942. Bowden Francis SP
Tayler Saucedo Note
Tayler Saucedo photo 1231. Tayler Saucedo RP
Eric Yardley Note
Eric Yardley photo 1356. Eric Yardley RP
Shaun Anderson Note
Shaun Anderson photo 1406. Shaun Anderson RP
Otto Lopez Note
Otto Lopez photo 1412. Otto Lopez 2B,SS
Matt Peacock Note
Matt Peacock photo 1465. Matt Peacock SP,RP
Logan Warmoth Note
Logan Warmoth photo 1595. Logan Warmoth 2B,SS