2022 Fantasy Baseball Quality Start Targets

by Mike Sollicito
2022 Fantasy baseball Quality Start Targets

The Quality Start (QS) category is becoming more popular every year. A QS is when a pitcher pitches six innings or more while allowing three runs or less. They are, in my opinion, easier to predict than wins. Because of this, I have a few 2022 Fantasy Baseball Quality Start Targets that I especially like this upcoming season.

Wins for a pitcher are sporadic. They are tougher to use to evaluate the pitcher's overall effectiveness and skill. While a Quality Start can sometimes be determined by a coach's willingness to let a player go six or more innings, more often than not, coaches will want the most from their pitchers.

Playing in leagues with QS can allow some more predictability in an already unpredictable game of fantasy.

Some of my favorite QS pitchers to target can get through a lineup three times and who have multiple pitches. Having multiple pitches allows pitchers to fall back on other stuff if one of their pitches just isn't moving or as effective as they want it to be.

As always, if anyone has any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to message me on Twitter @MikeSollicito1! Now let's get into these QS targets.

2022 Fantasy Baseball Quality Start Targets

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Quality Start Targets

Luis Garcia, SP, Houston Astros

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Luis Garcia came out of nowhere en route to being one of, if not the best Astros pitchers last year. While accomplishing this feat, he netted just nine QS over 155.1 innings pitched. So why is he on this list?

Now a year removed from throwing 155.1 + postseason innings, Garcia should only see his innings pitched and leash on the mound increase. With Justin Verlander returning from injury and Lance McCullers nursing one of his own, the Astros will need someone to take over as the #1 for the staff. I think that can be Garcia.

Garcia throws five different pitches, four of which have over a 35% whiff rate Which means that he is getting guys to swing and miss 35% of the time on four of his five pitches. Talk about someone who has other stuff to lean on if his beginning offerings aren't doing much.

He doesn't walk too many and generates relatively weak contact. Sign me up for Garcia this year, and he's worth drafting if you need some Quality Starts.

Yu Darvish, SP, San Diego Padres

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Yu Darvish had a weird year last year. beginning the season off elite before getting hurt. After getting hurt in July, he sported a 6.16 ERA from then on inflating his season numbers. His strikeout rate and walk rates remained elite, however, he gave up more home runs. This is evident by the drastic change in launch angle he endured as well as the increase in xSLG.

Darvish is one of the game's best pitchers, someone who hones his craft and continuously is getting better. The man throws what, 10+ pitches?! I'd like to bet that the struggles in the second half last year were injury-related. If he is back to full health this year and manages to stay healthy, he will easily be one of the game's best pitchers.

But that's only if the home run increase was due to him overcompensating for his injuries. Darvish is risky, but he's someone I am willing to bet on. When healthy, the man is a workhorse on the mound and with his elite strikeout and walk rates, there is no reason to believe he can't be among the league leaders in QS this upcoming year.

Zac Gallen, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks

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Zac Gallen, much like Darvish, had an interesting, injury-filled season. Dealing with elbow pain in the off-season, Gallen got a late start to the season before enduring another injury. When Gallen returned, however, he looked just fine. Gallen averaged 101 pitches over his final 12 starts last year, so his heavy workload was evident.

With him being, what we know to be fully healthy heading into this season, Gallen should be a workhorse for a depleted Arizona Diamondbacks team. Gallen also throws six pitches, three of which have a whiff rate over 32%. On top of that, Gallen also has four pitches with an xBA of .234 or lower.

These are all great signs in terms of underlying numbers. While his overall strikeout rates were down last year in comparison to the year before, I could see that number increase this season. Gallen could be in store for a full-on breakout this year, but at the very least I see him as a great target for QS.

His heavy workload for a bleak Diamondbacks team should keep him in store for a bunch of QS this year, injury permitting of course.

Marcus Stroman, SP, Chicago Cubs

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One of my favorite Quality Start Targets, Marcus Stroman makes the list again. When I wrote this list back in 2020, I included him as well. Stroman's love and willingness to learn more about the game is what makes me so fascinated by him. It's these things that also make him a great target for QS.

To start things off, Stroman throws six pitches. He added a split-finger changeup to the mix and was thrilled with the results of it last season. It generated a nearly 34% whiff rate and xBA of .231. Not only does Stroman throw many pitches, but he also loves to keep hitters guessing what his windup is going to be. He'll often speed through or slow down his stride to home plate, messing with the hitter's timing.

Even when the normal isn't working for Stroman, he always finds a way to make something work. Couple that with his elite groundball rate, and Stroman is one of the best targets for QS. He threw 16 QS last year in 180 innings, and headlining a new look Chicago Cubs team, Stroman should benefit from seeing a heavy workload there too.

Stroman is a bit underrated in fantasy baseball because of his pedestrian strikeout rate, but he actually posted a 21% strikeout rate, good for his best in his last six seasons. When it comes to Stroman, come for the consistency, stay for the swag.

Bailey Ober, SP, Minnesota Twins

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A sleeper pick of mine for this year, Bailey Ober could be a sneaky QS target. A rookie last year, Ober saw his workload gradually increase over the season. He only threw 90 innings, but what he was able to accomplish in those 90 innings is quite interesting:

Ober has some very solid control, evident by a walk rate of just five percent. Like the other pitchers highlighted here, Ober throws at least four pitches. While none of these four pitches have over a 30% whiff rate, three of them do sit 25% or higher. Although he was hit hard, his great control and whiff rate could give him the boost he needs to breakout.

Being on a Minnesota Twins team with a thin rotation, Ober should have a clear path to being in the rotation. Averaging almost five innings per start last year, it would not be surprising to see Ober be given a longer leash as he enters his second season in the majors.

With already intriguing sleeper potential due to his solid pitch arsenal, great command, and a clear path to playing time, Ober makes for a nice late-round target.

Already one of my favorite 2022 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers, Ober makes for one of my favorite late-round 2022 Fantasy Baseball Quality Start Targets as well.


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