Hey, guys and five girls, we’re (I’re) back! Today’s 2022 fantasy baseball rankings tackle your favorite (I’m guessing!), the top 40 outfielders for 2022 fantasy baseball. As always, my projections are noted for each player and where I see tiers starting and stopping. Here’s Steamer’s 2022 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2022 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers. Subscriptions are up and running, and you can already get Rudy’s Draft War Room. Anyway, here’s the top 40 outfielders for 2022 fantasy baseball:
NOTE: All 2022 fantasy baseball projections are based on a 162-game season, and will be until we hear definitively there will be less games, due to the CBA. Also, I’m going on the assumption the NL is getting the DH.
NOTE II: All my rankings are currently available on Patreon for the price of a Starbucks coffee, if you get one of those extra grande frappuccino jobbers. Don’t wait for the rankings to come out over the next month, and get them all now.
NOTE III: Free agents are listed as just that and not yet projected. Once a guy signs, I will write out their blurb and add in projections, or remove them, if they sign in an unfavorable place. They are ranked currently where I think they might be if they sign on for a full-time job.
21. Brandon Lowe – This tier started in the top 20 outfielders for 2022 fantasy baseball. This tier goes until Edman. I called this tier, “IDWTFLISFSITOBHWR.” As for Lowe, already went over him in the top 20 2nd basemen for 2022 fantasy baseball.
22. Giancarlo Stanton – A big part of Giancarlo is his sample size. *daydreams about Giancarlo’s sample size for five hours, exhales* If Giancarlo’s sample size is big…*daydreams again for seven hours but this time sweat drips from forehead*…then Giancarlo is going to be a top 20 outfielder, easily. If Giancarlo’s sample size is small…*daydreams again for seven hours, dreaming about making his sample size bigger*…then, well, we have many historical examples of Giancarlo when his sample size is small. 2022 Projections: 81/36/91/.262/1 in 487 ABs
23. J.D. Martinez – What can I say about Just Dong that hasn’t been said before? Just Dongn’t, I don’t know! Last year he had a down year for power in what was a seemingly healthy year. It looks pretty fluky, though. His expected HRs in Fenway was 32, four more than he hit in, you guessed it, Fenway. If I went through every single double off the Green Monster, I bet he hit a few that flew, ya knew–sorry, had the rhyming dictionary open. J.D. Martinez is a 34-homer guy still, if healthy and barring anything weird with bad luck. 2022 Projections: 91/33/96/.279/1 in 558 ABs
28. Whit Merrifield – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Bryant. I call this tier, “Sigh.” Outfield is a mess, and it’s mostly because of this tier. This tier is ulcer-inducing. This tier is the reason why you’re looking at outfield from picks 50 thru 100 and being like, “Ya know what, maybe I’ll draft another starter…or, actually, who’s closing for (insert team)?” Only you say the “insert team” part aloud and your family discusses with themselves, when you’re not around, what to do with you. Mean’s while, what are you doing? Your head is wrapped around what to do with these guys. Me too, homey, me too. I don’t know. There’s no way I’m drafting a few of them, due to how low I ranked them. Merrifield and Springer seem all but gone by this point, which is honestly fine. The other guys in this tier? My God, the migraine. What are we doing here? Not only were some of them so promising, but it wasn’t that long ago! And they’re not even old! But is there anything promising under the hood? Yes, I’m stalling, because I don’t know what to do! Sigh. As for Whit, already went over him in the top 20 2nd basemen for 2022 fantasy baseball.
29. George Springer – If you’re just looking at ways in which my rankings are going to be wrong, George Springer is one you can jot down in your notebook. Every time he’s healthy, he’s great. If you just take his stats from last year, and prorate them, he would’ve been amazing. “Did someone say prorating?” Not now, Mr. Prorater. “If every person had a dog on the front porch, the mail service would grind to a halt in four days.” Great prorating, Mr. Prorater. “Thank you.” The only problem is Springer’s stats don’t look like he got better, but look more like he was hot for the just-over-two-months of playing time last year. His strikeouts were up; he seems to be massively slowing down. His barrel% was gorgeous, but kinda unrealistic with his K% and Z-Swing% vs. o-Swing% (inside zone swings vs. chase). His Barrel% looks like it’s hiding truly concerning developments. His Launch Angle is up, his fly balls are at all-time highs, literally and figuratively. Something that jumps out to me is his career high in infield fly percentage. He was really swinging for the fences in his brief time on the field last year. Maybe all of this is just a small sample, and he comes back with a 35/15/.270 season, but he looks on the precipice of a 25/7/.240 dropoff. Also, I’m patting myself on the back for not making this about his age. Doh! I just ended it with a backhanded way of mentioning his age, didn’t I? 2022 Projections: 91/27/63/.246/7 in 503 ABs
30. Cody Bellinger – I’m standing in a back section of a herbal supplement store, holding a jar labeled, “Forget everything from last year’s baseball season.” Hmm, that seems interesting. Let’s see what happens if I swallow the whole jar. *wavy lines* Hey, is seeing wavy lines a part of the deal with these pills? I just wanted to see what I thought about Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich without worrying about last year. They are awesome now without worrying about last year? Cody especially! Right? Woo boy! Let’s think about it! He’s coming off a season when he went 12/.239 with a serious shoulder injury in the playoffs…Wait, Cody Bellinger wasn’t good two years ago either. Do you have pills to forget the last two seasons? Can I just take two of them? *wavy lines* Why am I still seeing wavy lines? So, Bellinger’s xBA last year was .208, his xwOBA was about as bad as it gets. His exit velocities have plummeted; his hard hit% has tanked; his strikeouts have skyrocketed. He looks like his entire career has derailed. It’s pretty sad, if I’m being honest. His Launch Angle went from 16 to 22 year-over-year. That I think is the entire issue. My only guess for a bounce back is last year his shoulder was bothering him still, so he changed his swing, not for the better. It’s finally healed after a full offseason of rest, and he can adjust his swing back to a flatter Launch Angle. If me, a giant dummy, can figure out Cody’s issue, I’m sure the Dodgers know. It’s a matter of putting it into practice. He’s the type who could start hitting bombs in Spring Training, and zoom up the draft sheet. Or he can look just as lost. Speaking of Lost, next up is the Can’t-Smoke-Shizz Monster. 2022 Projections: 74/25/81/.231/7 in 533 ABs
31. Christian Yelich – First off, I put Cody above Yelich, because Cody’s issue might be fixable with health. Yelich’s problems? How much time ya got? Even with a terrible Adam Sandler film, Click, type scenario where we’re changing the past, you have to go so far back to get excited about Yelich again. Where Cody seems like he’s chewing on the last straw after beating a camel’s back in regards to the Dodgers, Yelich still seems like he’s in the Brewers’ good graces, so that’s good. Stadium is still good. The lineup’s a bit of a mess but could be better, but that means Yelich is pretty much locked in the three-hole. That’s the good stuff still going for him. The bad is his Launch Angle is down to 2.8, which is hilariously awful. It’s like Yelich is going up to the plate, and rather than playing baseball, he’s got the yips, and thinks he’s playing Whack-A-Mole. I like guacamole, I do not like Whack-A-Mole. With that worm-killing Launch Angle, his ground ball rate is up to 54.4%. Here’s the top ground ball rates: Tapia, Hosmer, Nicky Lopez, Tim Anderson and Yelich. Top ground ball rates are really bottoms. Yelich needs a 30+ HR/FB to even get in the conversation of a 25-homer hitter again. Thankfully, he’s done that before, from 2018-20. It’s not how you want a guy to be a home run hitter, which has always been my problem with Yelich. A 30+% HR/FB is very hard to maintain. Other good news is his K% has lowered from his truly disastrous 2020, and he still has his speed. But, sigh, that could leave his game soon too. This whole tier: lowercase yay. 2022 Projections: 82/20/88/.267/14 in 578 ABs
32. Byron Buxton – Mr. Prorater drafts Buxton in the 1st round. “It’s true, he prorates out to a 45/25/.300 season. Don’t see any of your 1st rounders doing that!” By the way, after Buxton signed a 7-year deal with the Twins, I thought, “Wow, Mr. Prorater must work for the Twins.” Mr. Prorater, “If the Twins only fielded a team of twins, they’d have Jax Kepler in right field, and Janice Garver at 1st base.” Interesting stuff, Mr. Prorater! So, one of these years, Buxton might actually stay healthy and give you a 40/20 season, then the following year he’ll be drafted in the top 20 overall and screw all of us. Or, he’ll do it for two years straight and metaphorically stab us repeatedly with his IL stints the following year. All of the guys in this tier are an ulcer, but I have them ranked in this order, because I like my ulcers to come with at least one example of a guy doing well for a whole season. Buxton didn’t even stay healthy for the whole 60-game season! I’m going to project him for 471 ABs, and that would be the top mark of his career. Also, one final note, if you do draft Buxton this year, and this is the year he stays healthy for 580 ABs, you should have an asterisk on your fantasy championship. You just got lucky. 2022 Projections: 67/22/71/.266/11 in 471 ABs
34. Jarred Kelenic – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Rosario. I call this tier, “Daddy’s pooped.” That last tier took up too much of my brain energy, and daddy’s pooped, so I need to just go over some easier to understand players. As for Kelenic, already gave you my Jarred Kelenic sleeper. It was written while trapped inside an escape room. 2022 Projections: 81/29/92/.253/14 in 554 ABs
36. Marcell Ozuna – I’ll admit to seeing Ozuna go in a recent draft of mine at pick 168 and thinking, “Man, Ozuna is a giant piece shit, but that is decent value.” Suppose you could discount him a bit, due to missing last year for being a giant piece of shit, and how that could mess up his timing perhaps, but he’s basically a lock for 28 HRs, .270 and somewhere in the middle of the lineup, unless the Braves take some kind of moral stand and bench or release him, but the “Braves being brave” leads me into an eye-rolling fit. 2022 Projections: 77/28/91/.271/2 in 541 ABs
38. Mitch Haniger – He’s a 40% fly ball rate with a 18-21% HR/FB, so that’s roughly a 33-36 homer guy, neutrally. Add a bit of luck, goes to 37+ HRs. Add in 157 games played with 620 ABs, and it goes to 39 HRs. Add in flinching at the word “peanuts” during the 7th inning stretch, and subtract five homers. Sadly, my projections are saying the Crackerjack dealers will distract Haniger five times this year. 2022 Projections: 78/34/91/.241/2 in 561 ABs
39. Eddie Rosario – FREE AGENT 2022 Projections:
40. Bryan Reynolds – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until the top 60 outfielders for 2022 fantasy baseball. I call this tier, “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hoo-Ha.” This tier is filled with guys who I can look at and get mad one second, and look at again a few seconds later and get excited like Al Pacino after smelling a woman. As for Reynolds, on the surface, Reynolds’s 24/5/.300 peak is clearly better than Austin Meadows’s line, and, would you look at that, I ranked him above Meadows. (Meadows is in the top 60 outfielders, which are coming next.) Reynolds or anyone directly below him is a matter of how much do you need average. His .293 xBA last year was top 7% in the league, and his 25.6% line drive rate is clearly solid. The one thing about line drive rate is Adam Frazier led the league last year, but in 2nd was Nick Castellanos. So, you can hit line drives, and not home runs. Or “and homers.” As for Reynolds’s power and speed, I’m once again asking you how much do you need batting average? 2022 Projections: 86/20/84/.306/3 in 545 ABs