Welcome to the 2022 Fantasy Baseball Undervalued Outfielders!
It's time to start examining mock drafts and to start planning for the 2022 season.
I have identified a few bargains based upon early drafts to help you attack one of the deepest positions in Fantasy Baseball.
2022 Fantasy Baseball Undervalued Outfielders
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Approaching the Draft
In most formats OF is a relatively deep position especially in leagues starting less than five OF. I will say that if at all possible there is still an advantage to rostering 1 or 2 of the top end OF if they provide steals. As steals, in general, are a category with severely diminishing returns as the draft goes on. The players providing a significant number of steals later in the draft are often accompanied with very little power and/or significant risk to playing time and thereby the most important factor which is plate appearances.
Other than the elite outfielders providing steals I don't see any players that are particularly a value at ADP early in the draft when you also consider the aspect of team building. It is okay to draft one of these outfielders but they are definitely not players to reach on.
With that said I am going to highlight some players going after ADP of 150 currently on the @nfbc format. ADP being referenced here within is from NFBC DC from January 1st, 2022 to February 7th, 2022.
Outfielders between NFBC ADP 150 and 300
Michael Conforto, OF, FA, (28 yrs, 10 mo) NFBC DC ADP 193
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Conforto is an interesting case, he definitely struggled last year so I understand those that are wary. There is an element of the unknown as a result of Conforto being a Free Agent. However, I am going to believe in his sweet swing, proven skills, and pedigree. This play is really about the investment cost of nearing pick 200 in the draft as there should be a very high probability of Conforto being a top 200 player in 2022.
Seiya Suzuki, OF, FA, (27 yrs, 5 mo) NFBC DC ADP 220
Seiya Suzuki provides an aura of excitement, and currently, there is still some unknown as he remains unsigned. All signs point towards him having every intention of signing as soon as the lockout ends. With that being understood I am going to proceed as though he is going to play this year. There is obviously some risk here with suggesting Seiya.
I am still inclined to do so with the potential for Seiya to give production across every category. It becomes really hard to ignore at ADP 220. There just aren't that many players after this point in the draft that offers significant speed that you truly want to roster.
Harrison Bader, OF, St. Louis Cardinals, (27 yrs, 7 mo) NFBC DC ADP 222
Bader is a player that I see as a great option in this range on the steady rise. As with Suzuki, this is another player that should provide double-digit. steals without being a drain as a run producer. You will be hard-pressed to find many players like him moving forward with stable playing time. There is a lot to like here as Bader should be moving into his prime and is also extremely athletic.
Jo Adell, OF, Los Angeles Angels, (22 yrs, 10 mo) NFBC DC ADP 235
This is probably my riskiest suggestion in the entire article. I, therefore, understand if you choose to target other players here within. Just know that a breakout for Adell is most definitely coming. If the rest of your roster can afford it this might be the time to take a risk on a player like Adell. When he blossoms expect his ADP to rise inside the top 100. Simply put if it's this year he very well could be a league winner for your fantasy team.
Outfielders past ADP 300
Connor Joe, OF, Colorado Rockies, (29 yrs, 6 mo) NFBC DC ADP 326
Connor Joe is not a household name as he has played for five different organizations including the Pirates, Dodgers, Braves, Giants, and finally settling in with the Colorado Rockies. Other than a brief eight-game stint with the Giants in 2019, Joe had been a career minor leaguer until the 2021 season.
While he may never be a star this is absolutely someone that is being undervalued as he should hit in the top third of the order this season for the Rockies. Joe showed that given a full season of plate appearances he is capable of providing significant value as referenced by his slash line of .285/.379/.469 in 61 games last season.
One downside is that he will not provide any speed but someone going after pick 300 that is projected to play every day in Colorado would appear to be a fairly safe pick at this cost.
Brandon Marsh is a great target this year.
MiLB: 295 G, .287 AVG, 11.4 BB%, 45 SB (80%)
2021: 10.9% Barrel, 92.1 mph AVG EV, 51.7% HH, .469 xwOBACON, 95th percentile sprint speed.
Need to increase FB% & trim GB%
Can be taken post-300 on both Fantrax & NFBC#FantasyBaseball
— Eric Cross (@EricCross04) February 1, 2022
Brandon Marsh, OF, Los Angeles Angels, (24 yrs, 2 mo) NFBC DC ADP 328
A bit of an unheralded option that you should not overlook is Brandon Marsh. He falls a bit under the radar due to the lack of elite speed or power. Sharing an outfield with Mike Trout and Adell may also contribute to him being lost in the shuffle. However, this is a very solid player overall that could potentially give 20 home runs and approach 15 steals.
I also think the potential is there for the Angels lineup to end up being much better than expected. When you consider the likely rebound from Anthony Rendon coupled with growth from Adell, Marsh, and Walsh along with two of the most productive hitters in the game currently in Shohei Ohtani and Trout.
Jeff McNeil, 2B/OF, NYM, (29 yrs, 10 mo) NFBC DC ADP 328
Jeff McNeil is one of the more boring options you will find in this article. Boring doesn't haven't to equate to bad though. It can also allude to the fact that he is in my opinion a fairly safe option at least in formats that use batting average. McNeil has a strong track record of making consistent contact as referenced by a career .299 batting average in spite of by his own standards a putrid .251 in 2021.
Prior to 2021, he had never hit below .310 in his 4-year career. The downside is he is very unlikely to ever hit more than 15 home runs again, but he might be the only player going within 100 picks of him with a good chance of hitting .300 this season. I also see McNeil playing mostly every day this year.
Willie Calhoun, OF, TEX, (27 yrs, 3 mo) NFBC DC ADP 379
Calhoun has never been an obvious target of mine in the past. I do feel like he could be a pretty good value this year based upon a few factors. Calhoun has had a few years now to adjust to playing at the MLB level and while he doesn't have an elite ceiling he is good in a batting average format (save an ugly 2020 when he hit .190 in the shortened season).
It also appears that at this point he is going to be given a chance to bat near the top of the lineup at least against RHP for the Rangers this season.
Seth Brown, 1B/OF, OAK, (29 yrs, 7 mo) NFBC ADP 483
As it stands today you don't want to rely on Brown as a major contributor for your fantasy team. That being said let's examine a few things. He is being drafted at near pick 500 which amounts to being relatively free. It's looking more and more likely that sooner rather than later Matt Olson is going to be playing for a new team in 2022.
It would appear that Brown could be the one most likely to replace him at 1st base. He also provides depth in LF and can DH. Seth is a slugger through and through, given the PAs, it's not out of the question that hits 30 or more HRs this season.
In conclusion, I would largely try to solidify my roster elsewhere and mostly build my outfield out of values found in players falling in the draft. My overarching advice is to make sure you build your offense with some steals early so you're not drafting slight hitting players later that only provide steals.
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