It’s February, which means the 2022 baseball season is officially here! While we may not be certain when Opening Day will arrive, what we can be certain about is that there’s much to be done on the fantasy baseball front. First and foremost, we need to prepare for our drafts by becoming familiar with the player pool.
For this article, we’re going to dive deeper into that pool to find players who are cheap sources of runs. These players are available after pick 300 based on NFBC ADP since January 1 and can provide a boost to your run totals late in drafts. Chasing runs may not be as exciting as chasing home runs or stolen bases, but they are just as important!
Cheap Sources of Runs
Luis Arraez (2B/3B/OF — MIN)
Luis Arraez is being grabbed just before pick 300, but he’s worth including for our purposes. Known for his batting average and on-base skills, Arraez could also put up strong run totals this season. He hit primarily at the top of the lineup in 2021 and finished the season with a .294/.357/.376 slash line and posted 58 runs in 479 plate appearances. Arraez doesn’t strike out (his 48 strikeouts in 2021 were second-fewest in the league for players with a minimum of 400 plate appearances), and he has a knack for getting on base (career .374 OBP).
Arraez should continue to bat leadoff in 2022. It’s also not unreasonable to expect more volume for him. In fact, projection systems have Arraez down for 550-625 plate appearances this season. That uptick in volume should produce a 70-75 run season. Not bad for someone going around pick 300. Also, Arraez has the added bonus of multi-positional eligibility. However, if you target him late in drafts you need to be mindful of your roster build, as he doesn’t provide much in the way of HR, RBI, or SB.
Adam Frazier (2B — SEA)
Adam Frazier should prove to be a good addition to the Seattle Mariners. In each of the last two full seasons, he totaled more than 600 plate appearances and scored more than 80 runs. In 2021, Frazier posted a career-best 10.8% strikeout rate that was fourth-best in the league. What’s most impressive, is that Frazier was able to maintain that strikeout rate after he moved to the Padres at the trade deadline and bounced up and down their lineup. In addition to the strikeout rate, Frazier also put up career-bests in batting average (.305) and OBP (.368) last season. I expect more of the same in 2022. Frazier will likely hit either first or second in the order, and given his career .281 batting average and .344 OBP, he should gobble up runs.
J.P. Crawford (SS — SEA)
Similar to teammate Adam Frazier, J.P. Crawford should also be a run machine in 2022. Last season, Crawford played in 160 games and finished the year with a 9/89/54/3/.273 stat line across 687 plate appearances. He and Frazier will likely occupy the top two spots of the lineup in 2022; and with a projected 630-670 plate appearances in an improved lineup, Crawford should continue to rake in the runs.
Crawford has solid plate discipline skills. He sports a career 9.9% walk rate and a 19.2% strikeout rate – a rate he’s improved each season since 2018. Crawford should be good for about 8-10 home runs, a handful of steals, and a .250-.260 batting average. His profile is very similar to Frazier’s; with both going around the same ADP, you can’t go wrong with either of them.
Cesar Hernandez (2B — WAS)
Cesar Hernandez isn’t a flashy player who comes with gobs of upside. Rather, he’s durable, consistent, and accumulates runs year-in-and-year-out. In three of the past four full seasons, Hernandez logged more than 635 plate appearances and finished with 80 or more runs.
Now in Washington, the journeyman Hernandez finds himself on his fourth team in as many years. He’s currently penciled in to start the season hitting out of the two-hole in front of Juan Soto and Josh Bell. Don’t overthink this one, folks. Hernandez is one of the safest bets on this list to target for cheap runs. Remember, boring accumulators are your friends in fantasy sports!
Tony Kemp (2B/OF — OAK)
If you weren’t paying attention, you likely missed that Tony Kemp finished the 2021 season with a .279/.382/.418 slash line and a 127 wRC+ across 397 plate appearances. He also managed to hit eight home runs and steal eight bases hitting primarily at the backend of the lineup.
Given Kemp’s ability to get on base, there’s a good chance he starts the season near the top of the batting order. He has elite plate discipline skills and sports a nifty career 10.9% walk rate and 14.9% strikeout rate. In fact, Kemp walked more times than he struck out last season – something he also accomplished in 114 plate appearances in 2020.
Be sure to monitor his lineup spot as we get closer to the start of the season. But as of now, Kemp is basically free in drafts. Take advantage before people start to catch on and his draft price rises.
Fantrax was one of the fastest-growing fantasy sites of the last few years, and we’re not stopping now. With multi-team trades, designated commissioner/league managers, and drag/drop easy click methods, Fantrax is sure to excite the serious fantasy sports fan – sign up now at Fantrax.com.