Chugging right along in the 2022 fantasy baseball rankings! All things being equal the top 60 starters for 2022 fantasy baseball is around the 150th overall range to about 225th overall. This is your number three to fourth starters. Of course it could be your first starter if you’ve punted everything accidentally by oversleeping your draft. Wipe that sweat off your brow and grab the Streamonator! Oh, yeah, our subscriptions are up and running, and that comes with our online Fantasy Baseball War Room. Here’s Steamer’s 2022 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2022 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers. All projections included here are mine, and where I see tiers starting and stopping are included. Anyway, here’s the top 60 starters 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.
TO CONTINUE BACK TO THE TOP 40 STARTERS FOR 2022 FANTASY BASEBALL
41. Ranger Suarez – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Lynn. I call this tier, “Bosom buddies.” This tier is you being optimistic. This tier is you chasing bliss, but there’s a chance you’ll never get there. This tier is slightly different than the top 40 starters for 2022 fantasy baseball tier, Sideways Bosom. They’re potentially higher upside guys in this tier, but with a higher level of risk. In other words, the safety of the bosom doesn’t feel as strong with them. They’re friends of the bosom. Call ’em Bosom Buddies. In general terms, these guys are risky number threes, high number fours. As for Suarez, already gave you my Ranger Suarez sleeper. It was written while telling my mother I’m on speakerphone and her not knowing how to shut it off. 2022 Projections: 10-7/3.55/1.15/142 in 145 IP
44. Michael Kopech – If La Russa weren’t in Chicago, I’d pencil Kopech in the rotation from Jump Street. Kopech is one Tony La Russa-falling-asleep-at-a-stop-sign away from being a top 20 starter. Hey, I got an idea! Let’s open a bar right at the end of Tony La Russa’s driveway. Call it Tony’s, and the bar’s televisions only show La Russa highlights. Tony will never leave Tony’s, and the White Sox can manage themselves, which would include Kopech being a starter on Opening Day. Might actually be underselling Kopech by saying he’s a top 20 starter overall, if he’s a starter on Opening Day. Top 10 might be more like it. Though, I guess his lack of innings might hurt him. Michael Kopech in 2022 = FreddyKBB last year. The good news is even if we can’t get Tony’s Bar & Grill open by March, Kopech, as a middle reliever and occasional starter, will still get you 120-140 overall type value. 2022 Projections: 7-4/3.19/1.24/176 in 128 IP
46. Sonny Gray – The Reds produced a weird year from their starters. By the way, been saying “weird” like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever for the last 35 years of my life. Weird, indeed. The Reds managed to have three of the unluckiest pitchers, Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle and Sonny Gray and one of the luckiest, Wade Miley. Not gonna debate all four of them here, two have already been ranked in my 2022 fantasy baseball rankings, and will catch up with Miley eventually. Speaking of my rankings, I’m trying to find out who made this video, anyone know?
I don’t know whether to pat them on the back or file a restraining order.
As for Gray… *turns to mirror* “What you doin’, baby?” That’s me talking to me! What’s funny (to only me), I got into Vanderbilt, but didn’t go there, but Sonny Gray did. Was so close to meeting my Evil Twin. Bummer! I also got into Tulane and if I went there, I’d be dead by now from partying in New Orleans, so I guess my Sliding Doors choices are doing okay.
Sonny Gray was wildly unlucky last year. He had 4.7% barrel%. That’s 5th best in league. The top 5: Burnes, Wheeler, Morton, Castillo and Gray. The top 20 is all a solid crop of guys, though a few sneak in, so maybe it’s not the end all. But, wait, there’s more! Gray was top ten for average exit velocity. Another solid group of starters. The ones in both lists are elite. Check this: No one is barreling the ball up, and when they do, they’re making terrible contact. But there’s more! Gray had a .216 xBA, between a top closer (Barlow) and a top SP (Morton). 42nd best xwOBA, right in front of Woodruff. It goes on and on. The only problem Gray had was he couldn’t stop staring at his mustache–Wait, him Gray, not me Grey. His only problem was too many homers allowed. The park he’s in sucks for that, but if he can just get to 1 HR/9 vs. 1.26 HR/9, he’s gonna be a 3.60 ERA pitcher. UPDATE: Traded to the Twins. Good on the Twins. Gray (him not me) was at the bottom of his perceived value last year after an unlucky year, and, well, you can read about all that in the above blurb. All that was standing between him and an uptick in value was less homers allowed, so what better place than the Hubert H. Homerfree Dome? Kinda bummed I haven’t drafted him in multiple leagues already. 2022 Projections: 11-9/3.79/1.22/189 in 167 IP
48. Luis Garcia – You could go to a three-game set with the Astros and see less than ten total fastballs from their starters. Assuming McCullers is healthy, obviously. And Verlander isn’t. Well, you get the picture/pitcher. Luis Garcia is one of the biggest sleepers. Not that he’ll produce stats way above his value, but his throwing motion is “putting an imaginary baby to sleep.” Did you hear that MLB was using two different baseballs last year? Article came out stating that, and it didn’t shock me at all, knowing MLB. Rob Boyfred is as grimy as it gets. With that in mind, it wouldn’t shock me if MLB gave the Astros’ pitchers the “dead” balls to help them pitch and their opponents the “juiced” ball for their hitters. This way the Astros seemed more legit and less like a product of the cheating scandal, taking some heat off Boyfred. I bring this up because the Astros’ pitchers seemed to overperform, in general.
Don’t mind Garcia, but it’s hard to reconcile that he’s a 9.7 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 guy. His 18.5% K-BB% was 24th in the league, and, in 155 1/3 IP, it’s hard to fake that completely. My biggest concern is Garcia becomes closer to a 9.5 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 pitcher, which seemed closer to reality before last year. That’s not a hideous pitcher, but that’s a 3.9o ERA guy, potentially, and not 3.60 ERA or better. Quibbles, perhaps, but that’s what starter rankings are. Do you want the guy who should go 3.45-3.60 ERA or the guy who should go 3.60-3.90 ERA? 2022 Projections: 12-9/3.74/1.24/194 in 177 IP
49. Lance Lynn – His stats last year: 10.1 K.9, 2.6 BB/9, 2.69 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. His numbers have been essentially the same for three years. You can chase a young, crazy sexy upside starter. I will at times, but I’ll do it after locking down a strong bet to get some solid stats like Lynn. Wanna go for an upside-hello-sexy starter? Please do! Just don’t go for it here with someone like Bieber. Save your upside-whoa-mama for your 2nd or 3rd starter. You know what the equivalent is to the Bieber pick this year as a number one starter? The schmohawks that drafted Glasnow as their number one last year. Hey, one love, but it took some real marbles in the cabeza to think Glasnow was going to be a safe number one last year. Lynn may not wear a sports bra and slide on his knees into the dugout with a 13 K/9, but he’ll easily get you a 3.50 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 175 Ks in 155+ IP. That’s the floor too! UPDATE: Torn meniscus and out until mid-May. 2022 Projections: 9-6/3.27/1.06/144 in 134 IP
50. Luis Severino – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Skubal. I call this tier, “Dorf on Golf Presents: Fore!” This tier is filled with fourth starters who could go way wide of their intended target. I’m drafting them, but there’s a reason these guys aren’t number twos or threes. As for Severino, the difference between him (and Noah Syndergaard and Clevinger) and Verlander was age, to be quite frank…lin Mint, mah gawd, these Gerald Ford coins are gonna be worth so much in fifty years! By the way, the Oliver Stone movie, JFK, was such a huge success that they greenlit The Truman Show, thinking it was about Harry S. Truman. Little bit of fake trivia for you! Maybe Severino is drafted before the 4th starters are coming off the board; maybe you can’t pull the trigger because of the risk factor. All fair points. I struggled with whether I wanted Severino, Clevinger and Syndergaard. The spinning wheel landed on yes, because for two of them their few innings last year gave me enough confidence to get on board, and their age, as mentioned. Severino’s never going to get anywhere near his high of 193 IP this year, unless Aaron Boone wants him to fill his Tommy John surgery stamp card, but take the possible injury discount and bank on the track record. 2022 Projections: 10-6/3.59/1.21/178 in 141 IP
51. Noah Syndergaard – Here’s what I said this offseason, “Signed with the Angels. Last year, the Mets’ record was 77-85 and the Angels’ record was 77-85. Eduardo Rodriguez signed with the 77-85 Tigers. So, which 77-85 team will be the best in 2022? Write your answer on a note card, put it in an envelope, fart in the envelope and put it in the mail, care of Rob Manfred, MLB Offices, 666 Hell Road. This is a solid landing spot for Noah Syndergaard. He goes from being screamed at by a guy named Big Al to the The Big A. The Mets jokers, all of whom have shows on WFAN, were out in legion after the deal went down:
Go make millions of dollars in Southern California is quite the own https://t.co/Ntfc4lVDrI
— Razzball (@Razzball) November 16, 2021
Syndergaard should be all-systems-go when it’s go-time. The only question is for how many innings. My guess is around 150 IP, but that has a plus or minus of 40 IP, which is a much bigger plus or minus on innings than usual, i.e., if he threw 190 or 110 IP, it wouldn’t shock me. Because of that, there’s real risk with him. Also, because it might be on your mind, he lost 3 MPH on his fastball when he returned for two innings last year, but that was two random innings in September, where he would’ve been a fool to try to throw his hardest. If he’s having issues in the spring, then that’ll have me change my tune, but right now I’m humming The Ronettes’ Be My Baby.” And that’s me quoting me! 2022 Projections: 9-7/3.32/1.27/151 in 148 IP
52. Mike Clevinger – A few guys float around the rankings as I’m writing them up. Meaning they start in one tier, then as I dig in they get moved, then later they’re moved again, and Clevinger was moved to about five different tiers before landing here. From both good and bad tiers to different starter rankings posts. Ended up here with Clevinger, because I thought about it like this, if Syndergaard hadn’t thrown two innings last year would I still be willing to draft him, and, if the answer is “yes,” then go to Baltic Avenue and collect $150 from someone named Crackrock Billy. Well, guess what? Pay up, Crackrock Billy! Guessing Clevinger’s command will be a little wonky at first, but he’s always been a high-K guy with a low-3 ERA in his career, and should be able to return a modicum of that, which is still better than 75% of other starters. 2022 Projections: 8-5/3.41/1.19/161 in 132 IP
53. Jose Urquidy – Sounds like I want to pinch his cheeks whenever I say his name. “No, Ur-a-cutie,” punctuated by a cheek pinch. Currently, Ur-a-cutie is listed as the Astros’ 5th starter, but Verlander and McCullers are wearing Riddler’s leotards, and Urquidy could end up as the Astros’ ace. Likely won’t, but “could” can do a lot of heavy lifting. You can tell how serious a ‘pert is by how many times they use the words “could” and “maybe.” I’m at about four ‘could’s and five ‘maybe’s in on Urquidy. His pitching profile looks like the kind the Twins create out of electricity and a mountain of mashed potatoes. Yawnstipating Ks, but command that just makes you wanna slap a fanny and get outed in Vanity Fair during a MeToo moment. Urquidy’s walk rate is so pristine it’s hard to imagine him not being a 3.50-ish ERA, plus or minus .30. Could and/or maybe, that is. 2022 Projections: 10-6/3.54/1.03/126 in 143 IP
55. Logan Gilbert – Nearly wrote a sleeper post for Gilbert, but I write the sleeper posts in October/November and have to anticipate who will be a “sleeper” by January or even March, and Gilbert struck me as a guy who wouldn’t be a sleeper. If anything, I thought Gilbert would be a guy who was slightly overrated, and, well, would you look at the giant brain on Grey! From early drafts, I’ve noticed Gilbert is being drafted above where I have him ranked (I have him around 200 vs. 150 ADP). This is a “smart” league vs. a friends and family league thing again. It doesn’t mean people are “smarter” gambling earlier on Gilbert, but there will be some who think that. 9.7 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 alone tells a promising story. 4.19 xFIP tells a different story. The 19.9% K-BB% might tell the only story that matters. There’s the fastball he threw 62% of the time that had a .258 xBA and 21.6% Whiff Rate, which could tell another–Okay, there’s a lot of stories here. Guess what I’m saying is while I like the idea of Gilbert, and would draft him if he falls to me, there’s too many competing stories for me to reach higher. So, I’m in, but maybe not realistically in some leagues. 2022 Projections: 9-10/3.87/1.15/162 in 148 IP
56. Anthony DeSclafani – Let’s just look at his last year: 9 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and a 3.89 ERA. Psyche! That was his 2019 when he was pitching in the ultra crappy park in Cincy. DeSclafani’s been a solid late pick for a long time now; you’re only just realizing it. Why? I don’t know, check your brain for answers. I ain’t about to Scooby and the Gang into your brain for that magical mystery.
Been a Stanthony of DeSclafani for as long as I can remember. A big time fani! Play the horn I’m dancing to DeSKAfani and having a Zoot Suit Riot. What’s wild, he’s been drafted as late as 297th overall in some leagues this year. El oh–*coughs* C’mon, what are you doing? I nearly ranked him up with my number three starters. His strikeouts upside is less promising than, say, Tyler Mahle, but you’re telling me DeSclafani’s ERA and WHIP are gonna be worse? Please don’t say silly things. 2022 Projections: 10-9/3.48/1.11/161 in 176 IP
57. Tarik Skubal – Comerica Park is a terrible place to hit home runs, unless you’re facing Tigers’ pitching. Truly remarkable how many homers the Tigers’ pitching has allowed through the years considering their park. Matthew Boyd might’ve allowed 100 homers if he played in a more friendly park. Not in a season, in a game. Put Boyd in Coors and the 1st inning of his first career start in 2015 and the game would still be going if they never took him out. That’s right, Boyd would be going on his 7th year in the 1st inning of his 1st game, and the 2015 season would still be going. This is actual math, maybe you’ve heard of it.
Tarik Skubal also has a homer problem. He never did in the minors, and his Ks (near-10 K/9) and command (2.8 BB/9) make me think I should’ve wrote a sleeper post for him, then the further I dig in, and his Statcast is a thing to behold like having to cater for Joey Chestnut. The prowess of eating is astounding, you’re taken aback, but you have to pay for it, so it’s bittersweet. More sweet than bitter. Bitter then sweet. Not sure it’s an exaggeration to say Skubal has the worst Statcast page I’ve ever seen for a guy I’m recommending. 2022 Projections: 10-11/4.01/1.21/190 in 171 IP
58. Justin Verlander – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until the top 80 starters for 2022 fantasy baseball. I call this tier, “Chck ngin.” This tier is named after the “Check Engine” light on a dashboard of a car that is in such bad disrepair its “E” lights are out too. Chck ngin is a tier I don’t want. This tier could be ranked about fifty picks later and I still wouldn’t draft them, so why not just rank them later? Meh, what fun is that? Just ignore them when they come up in your drafts. This tier has more question marks than the Riddler’s leotards. I want to drive to the West Coast to meet up with some hot blonde, while I’m carpooling with some down-to-earth brunette that I inadvertently fall in love with, i.e., I want Sure Things. I do not want the Riddler’s leotards.
“Ya saying I get to sleep next to Kate Upton every night? Is this real life?” That’s Verlander’s new elbow tendon. That tendon bagged the big one! Now if that new tendon doesn’t go out and win a Cy Young, it might be sleeping in the garage next offseason. Or worse, Kate will subtweet it! Sorry, this is all nonsense, but what’s there to say about Verlander? He’s thrown five innings since 2019, and he’s 38 and just had Tommy John surgery. He should be available for Opening Day, but Luis Severino is 11 years his junior and barely back. It’s hard to imagine Verlander heading to the mound with his new elbow tendon for 200 IP while that tendon stares off at Kate in the stands. There’s just too many massive question marks here and not worth it. 2022 Projections: 10-5/3.71/1.13/154 in 141 IP
59. Clayton Kershaw – What I said in the Carlos Rodon blurb goes triple for Kershaw. UPDATE: Re-signed with the Dodgers. Here’s what I said the other day, “Not sure if it’s against HIPAA or something, but my in-law’s friends are staying at a hotel in Arizona where a bunch of Dodgers are also working out, and Kershaw is there. So, my guess is he’s re-signing with the Dodgers, does that mean he’s healthy? No, not really. Does extra time before the season mean he will be healthy? No. You want a headache? Draft an injured pitcher.” And that’s me quoting me! 2022 Projections: 8-3/3.27/1.05/136 in 117 IP
60. Jack Flaherty – It’s not that I don’t like Flaherty, in general, but you got dust bunnies rolling around in your noggin if you think I’m drafting him this year. Feels like Bieber, Part 2. Call him Chase Dreams. In the last two years, Flaherty has 118 1/3 IP and a 3.80 ERA. Hey, I’m the first one to say ERA isn’t everything, but the rest of the peripherals are not moving me to put up a pants tent and announce my nunca-dying love while starring on a telenovela. He ended the year with a shoulder strain, missing a month. Missed two months before with an oblique strain. Hasn’t been great in 18 months. Ya know, maybe I’m being silly for wanting guys who will be great vs. can be great, but call me silly, and paint a clown nose on my face. UPDATE: Received a PRP injection in his torn right shoulder and won’t throw for two weeks. I was avoiding him before, now I’m close to removing him from my rankings altogether. 2022 Projections: 5-4/3.66/1.09/109 in 106 IP
CONTINUE TO THE TOP 80 STARTERS FOR 2022 FANTASY BASEBALL