Welcome to the first ever fantasy baseball strategy guide on Underdog Fantasy. If you're a longtime reader (bless you) then you might remember a similar "cheat sheet" on FantasyPros from years prior.
And if you're new, here is what you can expect to find below:
1. My overall strategy for 2022.
2. My favorite and least favorite picks at each position.
3. Links to my most notable offseason work.
Enough small talk. Let's dive in.
The macro state of baseball has become impossible to ignore in recent seasons. The juiced ball, an even juicier ball, shorter appearances for starters, less stolen bases, COVID, the loss of a minor league season, a deadened ball, enforcing the ban of sticky stuff.... the list goes on.
Incredibly, there could be further changes coming in 2023 and beyond, including the banning of shifts, larger bases, and an automated strike zone. We'll worry about those adjustments when the time comes.
2022 will bring humidors to all 30 ballparks for the first time ever. How big of a deal this might is hard to project, though it shouldn't be as seismic of a change as the juiced ball/sticky stuff fiascos.
There's an argument to be made that MLB has become too unpredictable, but when reading the tea leaves I view their actions as wanting to standardize things. A uniform baseball, no spider tack, humidors everywhere, etc.
Imagine, though, if you knew before 2019 that we were going to get the juiciest baseball of the Juiced Ball Era. It would've completely altered your draft strategy. In 2022, we are at the beginning of a new era. For example, starting pitcher values are becoming more flatlined.
Not everyone has caught up, however. There is value to be had in drafts this spring. Without juiced balls that propel every hitter with a pulse to hit 20 homers, I'm focusing on bats early in my drafts.
Additionally, the enforcement of the foreign substance ban has nerfed the elite starters and created a deeper middle class. I'm foregoing the top tier of SPs early in drafts (for the aforementioned bats) and then aggressively targeting my favorite mid-tier pitching options. For roto players, steals should be covered with your early-round hitters. As always, sit out the first run on saves.
If you have further questions, or just want to talk baseball, don't ever hesitate to reach out on Twitter @toomuchtuma.
Catcher: Salvador Perez, Mitch Garver, Joey Bart
First Base: Pete Alonso, Joey Votto, Luke Voit, Spencer Torkelson
Second Base: Ketel Marte, Max Muncy
Third Base: Manny Machado, Kris Bryant, Matt Chapman
Shortstop: Wander Franco, Carlos Correa, Willy Adames, Oneil Cruz
Outfield: Yordan Alvarez, Byron Buxton, Jo Adell, Jesus Sanchez, Julio Rodriguez, Riley Greene
Starting Pitcher: Freddy Peralta, Joe Musgrove, Logan Webb, Max Fried, Charlie Morton, Justin Verlander, Shane McClanahan, Dylan Cease, Alek Manoah, Pablo Lopez, Logan Gilbert, Casey Mize, Matt Brash
Relief Pitcher: Ryan Pressly, Jordan Romano, Giovanny Gallegos, Blake Treinen, David Bednar, Andrew Kittredge
Using Underdog ADP at the time of this writing, which of course omits relievers, but this list can apply to all fantasy baseball formats.
First-round starting pitchers
Cody Bellinger (57.8)
Jesse Winker (76.4)
Rhys Hoskins (78.3)
Luis Castillo (82.8)
Dylan Carlson (95.1)
Hunter Renfroe (102.1)
Jack Flaherty (105.5)
Chris Sale (116.3)
Anthony Rizzo (117.6)
Adalberto Mondesi (122.3)
Charlie Blackmon (122.6)
Michael Conforto (124.0)
Michael Kopech (139.2)
Myles Straw (170.4)
Shane Baz (175.4)
Relievers to shy away from: Kenley Jansen, Edwin Diaz, Rowan Wick, Kyle Finnegan, Lou Trivino
Patreon.com/toomuchtuma (includes rankings for redraft leagues, dynasty, prospects, and exclusive articles).
Thanks for reading!