Welcome to 2022 Fantasy Baseball: This Year's Myles Straw.
Major League Baseball announced the first two series of the 2022 MLB season are canceled due to the ongoing lockout. It's likely that even more will be canceled. While this stinks for baseball fans we should at least take some positive out of it. More time to draft extra Fantasy Baseball teams!
Before 2021, Straw was mostly unknown to the average baseball fan. The Houston Astros buried Straw in a loaded depth chart, but he became the everyday center fielder in 2021. Then the Astros dealt Straw to the Cleveland Guardians in a move that greatly increased Straw's Fantasy Baseball value. Guardians Manager Terry Francona immediately placed Straw in the lead-off spot, and he provided plenty of runs and steals for Fantasy managers down the stretch.
Straw finished with 30 stolen bases in 2021 tying him for fourth place in MLB with Cedric Mullins and Tommy Edman. Fantasy managers drafted Straw around the 300 ADP mark providing teams with excellent production for this spot. Now in 2022 Fantasy Pros lists his consensus ADP at 170.2, although he has been picked top-100 in some leagues.
This year's Myles Straw is a player that will out-perform his draft slot with speed. A batter not many Fantasy Baseball Managers would think about picking even late in the draft. After the 2022 season, this player will skyrocket up draft rankings similar to how Straw has moved up from 2021 to 2022.
2022 Fantasy Baseball: This Year's Myles Straw
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To start, here are three players that are most likely to follow Straw's path to success in 2022. They each have a few points made and afterward, one is crowned as this year's Myles Straw. Lane Thomas, Nicky Lopez, and Andres Gimenez are each going after pick 287 and could finish the 2022 season in the top five for stolen bases.
Lane Thomas, OF, Washington Nationals
Thomas has a chance to be this year's Myles Straw for a few reasons that make him one of the best breakout candidates of the year.
Firstly, he appears locked in as the Washington Nationals leadoff batter. Batting leadoff will give him more at-bats than the bottom of the lineup and place Thomas in front of superstar Juan Soto.
Secondly, both Thomas and Straw ran an average foot per second speed of 29 ft/s and 29.3 ft/s respectively. Thomas has never been a huge threat on the bases, but this shows he has the speed to do it.
Lastly, Straw and Thomas both recorded an on-base percentage in the .340s. This isn't excellent but is above average. A player needs to get on base to steal, this sets the tone for a good stolen base threat
Nicky Lopez, SS, Kansas City Royals
Lopez partially had a Straw type of breakout in 2021. In 565 plate appearances, Lopez slashed .300/.365/.378 while stealing 22 bases and scoring 78 runs. Lopez arguably had a better season than Straw in 2021 but Fantasy Baseball managers have overlooked him in drafts. His ADP is 287.2 compared to Straw's 170.2.
This could be due to his teammates Whit Merrifield, Adalberto Mondesi, and Bobby Witt Jr. overshadowing him. Merrifield and Mondesi are some of the best stolen base options in Fantasy Baseball. Witt on the other hand is the team's top prospect and could take Lopez's playing time if the Royals call him up.
Lopez is the slowest person on this list coming in at a speed of 28.2 ft/s in 2021, but his 21 stolen bases were more than Thomas or Gimenez's career highs.
On August sixth Royals Manager Mike Matheny moved Lopez up in the batting order to second. Lopez finished the 2021 season strong while batting second in the Royals lineup. In the last 54 games of the season, Lopez slashed .329/.382/.408 while scoring 35 runs and stealing 14 bases. Everyone should expect Lopez to retain a role at the top of the order in 2022.
Andres Gimenez, SS, Cleveland Guardians
Making a spot in the candidates for finding this year's Myles Straw is his teammate, Andres Gimenez. In 2021 Gimenez set a career-high with 210 plate appearances in 68 games. His previous high was 132 in 2020 with The New York Mets. Gimenez is a former top-100 prospect who is in line to start every day for the Guardians in 2022.
Gimenez hasn't yet had a breakout season similar to Lopez but the one thing he has excelled in is stealing bases. He stole 8 bases in 2020 and 11 in 2021, not bad for the slim amount of playing time he had. Gimenez clocks in at a speed of 29 ft/s, the same as Thomas from the Nationals. If Gimenez can play a whole season in 2022 then he could finish in the top-five for stolen bases.
The issue with Gimenez is he has mostly struggled at the plate in his big-league career, slashing .235/.302/.369 in 342 total plate appearances. If the new season starts poorly, The Guardians will likely send the infielder down to the minors.
Who Is This Year's Myles Straw?
The 2022 Fantasy Baseball: This Year's Myles Straw finalist is Lopez of the Kansas City Royals. His speed might be slightly less than Thomas and Gimenez, but his top-of-the-line batting average and on-base percentage, combined with the Royals willingness to steal bases, will lead him to finish top-five in MLB for stolen bases in 2022.
I believe Lopez's ADP is going to soar into the mid to early 100s in next year's offseason.
Other Players to Consider
Picking just one player isn't so easy when multiple players could make the Straw leap in 2022. This includes some of the fastest players in MLB, however, some will fall short in 2022 but could be candidates again in 2023 for next season's Lopez.
Jarren Duran, OF, Boston Red Sox
Nick Senzel, OF, Cincinatti Reds
Tyler Wade, SS, Los Angeles Angels
Jose Siri/Chas McCormick, OF, Houston Astros
Harrison Bader, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
Kyle Isbel, OF, Kansas City Royals
Bradley Zimmer, OF, Cleveland Guardians
See where all these players are on the Fantasy Six Pack 2022 Fantasy Baseball Rankings.
I considered these players but concerns about their playing time or skill were too strong to include them in the top-three candidates for 2022 Fantasy Baseball: This Year's Myles Straw. I expect these players to have a solid season, but it's unlikely they make a big enough splash to skyrocket up Fantasy Baseball draft boards.
Check out all of the 2022 Fantasy Baseball content from Fantasy Six Pack