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Projecting The Second Round of 2022 Fantasy Baseball Drafts

After diving into what I believe the first round of 2022 fantasy baseball drafts will look like, it’s time to look at the 2nd round, which is just as interesting as the first. The first round has most of the usual suspects, but the 2nd round has several newcomers in 2022 and some interesting and differentiating profiles for fantasy.

Now, these aren’t my exact personal rankings. Those will be out later this month. This is how I believe the second-round ADP will look in 15-team leagues.

For this list, I’m ranking for standard 5×5 roto leagues.

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2022 Fantasy Baseball – Projecting The Second Round

My Projected First Round

1. Fernando Tatís Jr (SS/OF – SDP) | 2. Trea Turner (2B/SS – LAD) | 3. Juan Soto (OF – WAS) | 4. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (1B – TOR) | 5. Shohei Ohtani (SP/DH – LAA) | 6. Bryce Harper (OF – PHI) | 7. Bo Bichette (SS – TOR) | 8. Ronald Acuña Jr. (OF – ATL) | 9. Jose Ramirez (3B – CLE) | 10. Mike Trout (OF – LAA) | 11. Mookie Betts (OF – LAD) | 12. Corbin Burnes (SP – MIL) | 13. Max Scherzer (SP – LAD) | 14. Gerrit Cole (SP – NYY) | 15. Freddie Freeman (1B – ATL)

16. Rafael Devers (3B – BOS)

Rafael Devers might be one of the quietest superstars we have in the game today. In each of the last two full seasons, Devers has 30+ HR, 100+ RBI, and 100+ runs with a .275+ AVG, .350+ OBP, and .530+ SLG. He was on that same run production pace in 2020 too in the shortened 60-game season. Devers finished in the top-11% of the league in AVG EV, Max EV, hard-hit rate, xBA, xSLG, xwOBA, and barrel rate in 2021 with career-best marks in most of those metrics. The same can be said for his walk rate which was a career-best 9.3%.

As a Red Sox fan that has watched a ton of Devers over the years, he looks a bit better every year and will be in the middle of a potent Red Sox lineup once again in 2022 with a good chance to post another .280/35/100+/100+ season. With how quickly this position falls off, grabbing Devers in the 2nd round isn’t a bad idea.

17. Kyle Tucker (OF – HOU)

If he continues raking this postseason, Kyle Tucker will likely sneak into the back-end of the first round in 2022 drafts. He’s already damn close as it is. The 24-year-old blossoming superstar posted a .294/.359/.557 slash line with 37 doubles, 30 home runs, 14 steals, 92 RBI, and 83 runs in just 140 games. Tucker was also one of five qualified hitters with an xBA over .300 and an xSLG over .500. Who were the other four you ask? Just some fellows named Freddie Freeman, Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Aaron Judge, and Juan Soto. Not a bad group to be in, huh? In addition to improving both his AVG and SLG against offspeed and breaking pitches, Tucker trimmed his whiff rate and strikeout rate while improving his walk rate to a career-best rate. Tucker’s 30+/15+ upside in a loaded Houston lineup gives him a chance to finish 2022 as a top-10 overall player.

18. Brandon Woodruff (SP – MIL)

When discussing the top fantasy arms in the game, Brandon Woodruff has cemented his name in that conversation. Among qualified pitchers, Woodruff finished 6th in both K% and K-BB% with a 2.56 ERA and 0.96 WHIP as well. Woodruff also finished as one of 27 starters with 175+ IP. He was able to dominate opposing hitters with a five-pitch mix, four of which had a whiff rate above 30% in 2021.

While this was the first season Woodruff was discussed as a top-5 starter, his performance this year was nothing new. In each of the last three seasons, Woodruff has posted a strikeout rate above 29% and a K-BB% of 22.9% or higher. Those are elite rates and all of his ERA indicators for 2021 back up Woody’s performance as well. The only real knock on his fantasy profile is in the wins column where he finished with only nine. Wins always fluctuate year to year though, so I wouldn’t put too much stock into that. He’s a top-5 arm for 2022 without question.

19. Ozzie Albies (2B – ATL)

Until Trea Turner gained eligibility at the keystone, Ozzie Albies reigned supreme at this position. Since debuting back in 2017, Albies has three full Major League seasons under his belt. In each of those three seasons, he has scored over 100 runs, hit at least 24 home runs, and stole at least 14 bags. The average has fluctuated a bit, but Albies has shown that we can at least expect a .260 average from him to go with all of that run production.

Albies has never and likely will never be a player that lights up his savant page with majestic red sliders and metrics but the production is always there (like Lindor) and he’s going to have a stacked lineup around him in 2022 with Freddie Freeman, Austin Riley, Ronald Acuña Jr and others hitting around him. Another underrated part of Albies games is that he’s played 158, 160, and 156 games in the last three full Major League seasons.

20. Jacob deGrom (SP – NYM)

Without question, Jacob deGrom is the biggest wild card in this set of players. If 100% healthy, he’s a first-rounder. But that’s far from a certainty. deGrom is coming off one of the best single-season pitching performances the game has ever seen with a 1.08 ERA, 0.55 WHIP, 3.4 BB%, and 45.1 K% in 15 starts but had to be shut down in July due to a “low-grade UCL sprain.” The Mets and deGrom have downplayed the severity, but that’s what you’d expect them to do due to deGrom’s importance to the franchise. Monitor deGrom’s status closely over the winter and adjust him on your boards accordingly.

21. Cedric Mullins (OF – BAL)

Although I question if the power can be replicated, there’s no doubt in my mind that you’re going to see Cedric Mullins in the first two rounds of many 2022 drafts. The man just produced the only 30/30 season in the Majors in 2021, and we all know how many people are drawn to the big power/speed threats. Even if they play in Baltimore. But with that said, Mullins is the player on this list that I’ll personally be avoiding the most in 2022.

Why? Well, his profile just doesn’t suggest an annual 30-homer bat. Mullins posted slightly above-league average quality of contact metrics and had an xSLG of .440, 78 points below his actual .518 SLG. In fact, his average exit velocity, hard-hit rate, and barrel rate ranked in the 51st, 39th, and 46th percentile respectively. I’m sure we can see another .280/20/25 type of season from Mullins, but I’m not going to pay for his 2021 numbers.

22. Wander Franco (SS – TBR)

Yup, this is going to happen so just accept it. While Wander Franco only has 308 regular-season plate appearances under his belt, the way he finished the season combined with his immense talent is going to push him inside the 2nd round next spring. After hitting .239 in 29 games through the end of July, Franco turned up the heat, slashing .313/.382/.485 in August and .338/.386/.538 in September/October. The power is still developing, so I’m not expecting more than 25 homers next season, but a .300/25/10+ line with 200 R+RBI is definitely possible for Franco in 2022. At just 20 years old, Franco showed that not only was he not going to be overmatched by Major League pitching, but that he was already ready to become a star.

23. Walker Buehler (SP – LAD)

If you’re in a QS league, Walker Buehler was the man in 2021. Well, he was in any league format, but in a time where QS are on the decline, Buehler was a machine in that category. On top of his 27 QS (4 more than anyone else), Buehler recorded a 2.47 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 6.4 BB%, and 26.0% strikeout rate. He was also one of just four pitchers with 200+ innings, something that has become a rarity these days.

Buehler doesn’t have that one or two pitches with huge whiff rates, but he’s able to command all six of his offerings well and four of them had a whiff rate above 29%. His strikeout rate, in general, is a tad lower than the other arms in the top tier of starters but Buehler is one of the safest pitchers for fantasy purposes and the volume of wins, QS, and innings is valuable.

24. Manny Machado (3B – SDP)

While the Padres collapsed in the 2nd half, star 3rd baseman Manny Machado enjoyed another highly productive season. In 153 games, Machado posted a .278/.347/.489 with 28 home runs, 106 RBI, 92 runs scored, and 12 steals. His xBA and xSLG were even higher than his actual BA and SLG as well. On top of that, Machado had his best season in terms of quality of contact with a career-best average exit velocity, barrel rate, and hard-hit rate. Machado has become one of the steadier elite options in the game, capable of posting a good AVG/OBP with 90+/25+/90+ potential year in and year out with a bit of speed added in. If you want to secure your 3rd baseman early and don’t want to pay the first round price tag for Jose Ramirez, Machado in the 2nd round is a solid target.

25. Shane Bieber (SP – CLE)

While it wasn’t quite as dominant as his 2020 Cy Young award season, Shane Bieber showed once again that he’s one of the best pitchers in the game in 2021. He only made 16 starts, but the final line of a 3.17 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 8.1 BB%, and 33.1K% is still very impressive. Now, there are some slight concerns here heading into 2022. Bieber’s xERA was more than half a run higher than his surface ERA and he experienced a 1.3 mph drop on his fastball velocity as well. This might just be Bieber regressing to a more realistic norm after a dominant 2020 showing, so I wouldn’t worry too much about him moving forward. He’s not quite on Burnes/Cole level, but Bieber remains firmly in the fantasy ace grouping in the SP 5-7 range for me.

26. Starling Marte (OF – OAK)

I’m personally not going to draft him inside the top-30, but I’d bet Starling Marte’s ADP will settle in this range in the spring. Marte ran wild this season, swiping 47 bags in just 120 games between Miami and Oakland while hitting above .300 for both teams. His final line of .308/.381/.456 with 89 runs, 12 home runs, 55 RBI, and those 47 steals made Marte a top-20 player this season and that speed is enormously valuable in today’s fantasy landscape. Marte has cemented himself as one of the best and most reliable AVG/SB players in the game and hasn’t hit below .275 in a season since his 47-game rookie campaign back in 2012 with Pittsburgh. The only real red flag here is that he’s only averaged 128.3 games per season (excluding his rookie season and 2020), so you might have to brace yourself for at least one IL stint.

27. Zack Wheeler (SP – PHI)

I’m sorry Zack. Last offseason, I was down on Zack Wheeler a bit due to his lower strikeout rate and concerns if he could ever get to this level of production. Needless to say, I didn’t have any redraft shares of Wheeler and I thoroughly regret that. Now Wheeler will be a top-2 round pick in 2022 drafts, or at least in the early part of the 3rd round.

Across 32 starts in 2021, Wheeler finished with a stellar 2.78 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 5.4 BB%, and 29.1 K% while finishing 2nd in innings pitcher at 213.1, trailing only Walker Buehler. Wheeler was one of the toughest pitchers to square up and make hard contact against, finishing in the 90th percentile or better in barrel rate, hard-hit rate, average exit velocity, and xSLG. Having solid command over all five of his offerings, four of which had a 25+% whiff rate definitely helps. Draft with confidence.

28. Xander Bogaerts (SS – BOS)

You might see Xander Bogaert’s final .295/90/23/79/5 line and think, “Well, that’s good, but is that 2nd round good?” It’s a fair question, but I’m going to do my best to ease any doubts you might have. First off, Bogey slashed .321/.385/.545 in the first half with around a 29/100/110 pace. And if it wasn’t for a wrist injury that really hampered him over the final two months, he likely would’ve finished around that pace. Bogaert’s SLG% was above .540 in each of the first three months of the season before dipping to .441 or below in the final three months.

This is one of the more reliable elite bats in the game that has a .288+ AVG, and .355+ OBP in six of the last seven seasons. He’ll once again slot into the heart of a potent Boston lineup in 2022 and is a safe bet for strong four-category production from the shortstop position.

29. Marcus Semien (2B – FA)

This is one of the players I will not be reaching for in the 2nd round. Marcus Semien had a phenomenal 2021 season. No doubt about it. But drafting him in the 2nd round is basically paying for a repeat of his 2021 production or at least 95% of it. After breaking out with a career year in 2019, Semien struggled during the shortened 2020 season before storming back with a vengeance in 2021. His 45 home runs finished 4th in baseball behind only Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Salvador Perez, and Shohei Ohtani, and Semien also added 102 RBI, 115 runs, and 15 steals with a .265/.334/.538 slash line.

While a return to Toronto is always possible, or another hitter-friendly environment, I’d still bank on decent power regression, regardless of where he ends up. Semien’s .444 xSLG was nearly 100 points below his .538 SLG and many of his quality of contact metrics were above-average but not what you expect from a hitter that flirted with 50 homers. I’m expecting another good season from Semien, but the high chance of regression will make him someone I’m avoiding in the 2nd round personally.

30. Luis Robert (OF – CHW)

Let’s finish this with a bang. My inclusion of Luis Robert here isn’t just because I’m personally incredibly high on the blossoming Cuban superstar. It’s due to his skills, improvements at the plate in 2021, and a few early 2022 drafts and mocks that I’ve already seen take place. Robert’s rollar coaster 2020 rookie season left many wondering just how good he would become longterm, but Robert did his best to put those concerns to rest in 2021. On top of hitting a robust .350 with a 104/40/118 650 PA pace in 193 PA after returning in August from a hip injury, Robert made exponential improvements at the plate, improving his contact rates, whiff rates, and strikeout rate dramatically. He still doesn’t walk a ton, but if these improvements stick in 2022, Robert has first-round upside.

Honorable Mentions

Yordan Alvarez (OF – HOU), Aaron Judge (OF – NYY), Whit Merrifield (2B – KCR), Trevor Story (SS – FA), Corey Seager (SS – LAD), Teoscar Hernandez (OF – TOR), Sandy Alcantara (SP – MIA), Julio Urias (SP – LAD), Logan Webb (SP – SFG)

Media Credit: Fox Sports MLB, MLB, Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland Athletics, Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire

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