It is always great when you win your draft. I just completed my twenty-first today, and I have certainly walked away with quite a few as the favorite. I mean, the law of averages sort of dictates that, doesn't it? However, Fantasy Baseball runs the full 162 and is a true grind. The 2022 Fantasy Baseball NFBC Week 1 FAAB Run is back to help you mine through the news, box scores, injuries, and call ups to maximize your lineup each week.
Regardless of how content you are with your squad or what place you are in, you should be making a roster move almost every week. Bench spots matter and need to be managed with a purpose.
Are you speculating on the next closer? Are you in a position where you need to be streaming two-start pitchers? Or holding onto the next minor leaguer to be called up and help you in the stolen base category?
Regardless, every roster position needs to be earned by the player occupying it and add value to the build of your team.
2022 Fantasy Baseball Week 1 NFBC FAAB Run
This weekly column will focus primarily on the NFBC format, but can certainly be used universally for most 12 and 15 team formats.
There are quite a few variables to consider when placing your bids today. First and foremost is when did you draft? My early NFBC drafts in 2022 actually began in 2021, so many things have happened to warp the landscape of those leagues.
Injuries to superstars such as Jacob deGrom and Fernando Tatis, rookies making the team such as Spencer Torkelson and Jeremy Pena, along with the never-ending bullpen merry-go-round can sway a particular owner to bid in a more specific, and possibly more aggressive, direction that one would expect.
Truth be told, the only data that truly matters when placing your FAAB bids are the opinion of the other owners in your league. In this one and only preseason run, we may see a player go for several hundred in one league, while only a few dollars in another.
Another key strategy in the NFBC is that for today only, the entire player pool is still wide open. After the Fantasy Baseball Week 1 NFBC FAAB Run, minor league players will only be available once called up, or if they were drafted in your league and subsequently dropped.
There is a pretty shrewd strategy to spend $1 in FAAB to stash a prospect you can expect to make a possible big impact later. They will carry a hefty premium to acquire when they arrive. Remember though, every roster spot must carry meaningful value. I will highlight a few of these types below.
While recommending thirty players may come off as a cop-out, I am certainly going to get something right here, different leagues are going to have different levels of player pool available based on when they were drafted, and each team will have unique, specific needs. Nothing in Fantasy Baseball happens in a vacuum, so let's get at it!
Bryson Stott, SS, Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies made a giant splash this offseason with their offense, but the defensive woes that come with it are not going to sneak up on anyone.
Alec Bohm not only is a heavy liability in the field, but his bat just has not developed as hoped. Former first-round pick Bryson Stott has been given the opportunity to play every day this spring. He has answered the bell and led the juggernaut offense with a 1.35 OPS.
Stott is going to make the team, he has the stamp of approval from roommate and reigning MVP Bryce Harper, and he is going to play every day. We have seen him mostly this spring at third base, with an appearance at second and his obvious natural position of shortstop. Within two weeks he will have dual position legibility.
The 24-year-old Stott is probably a 15 home run, 15 stolen base type at the highest level. The upside here is that if his outstanding on-base skills translate, he could eventually find his way to the top of this stacked lineup.
This is a perfect fit for teams that drafted Fernando Tatis and need a replacement.
CJ Abrams, SS, San Diego Padres
As of this morning, it is not yet known if top prospect CJ Abrams will travel north with the Padres. He has certainly shown flashes of what he is capable of, with two home runs and two stolen bases across 30 at-bats this spring.
Abrams can be a big impact on your stolen base category. He is a dynamic type of player that can force himself into regular playing time even after Tatis returns. Of the three rookie shortstops on this list, Abrams is the swing for the fence.
Jeremy Pena, SS, Houston Astros
Meanwhile, Jeremy Pena feels like the best combination of floor and ceiling of the three. He is only going to be available on NFBC teams drafted in February or earlier, as he did not come on the national radar until Carlos Correa signed with the Twins. But, boy, has he risen up since. After going undrafted in most early drafts, he has jumped up as high as round 13 in the last two weeks.
Pena appears ready to play every day after missing nearly the entire season last year with a wrist injury. He has a shot at playing into the leadoff spot for the Astros and offers a 15 home run and 15 stolen base floor, hopefully not at the expense of his hit tool. This is an exciting player with superstar potential.
Yoshi Tsutsugo, 1B/OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
Yoshi Tsutsugo offers dual-position eligibility while hitting toward the top of the lineup. After a 1.20 spring OPS, you could do worse with a $1 bench bid. There are some hidden gems this week in bad lineups, and this is one of them.
Brad Miller, 1B/OF, Texas Rangers
Brad Miller seems like he is going to find pretty regular at-bats for the Rangers. He is a great source of power, with a 30 home run season on his resume. He already has three round-trippers this year, so he appears to have picked up where he left off. Also with dual eligibility, he offers more upside than Tsutsugo.
Steven Kwan, OF, Cleveland Guardians
Steven Kwan is a surprise addition to the Guardians' Opening Day outfield mix. Kwan can run a bit and has left-handed Nick Madrigal-like contact skills. He has hit for average at just about every step of the minor leagues, but does not offer much more from a fantasy perspective.
If he does not crack the lineup regularly, his stay in the show will be determined by the readiness/effectiveness of Josh Naylor. This is a buck or two flier.
Seth Brown, OF, Oakland Athletics
Seth Brown may drain your batting average, but there should be 20 home runs in there for you. He will likely be batting cleanup for a bad team. You should not be this desperate for home runs. Do not bid more than a buck or two.
Patrick Wisdom, 3B, Chicago Cubs
Likewise, Patrick Wisdom is a major batting average drain that clubbed 28 home runs in limited duty last year. He is still about 25% available in 12 team leagues.
Didi Gregorius, SS, Philadelphia Phillies
Didi has shown enough defense this spring to warrant being on the strong side of a platoon with Alec Bohm. He has 20 home run power in a favorable ballpark. The Universal DH will also add at-bats to his 2022 ledger.
Tyrone Taylor, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
Tyrone Taylor has a complete toolbox of skills but was blocked when the Brewers brought in veteran Andrew McCutchen. If he can get 15 at-bats per week he may just force himself into a regular spot in the lineup. In that scenario, he can possibly return single-digit round production.
Jorge Alfaro, C/1B, San Diego Padres
Jorge Alfaro is widely under-owned due to the presence of Austin Nola. The fact that he can add a few stolen bases with a bit of pop makes him the best available option for Adley Rutshman drafters.
Kyle Higashioka, C, New York Yankees
If you drafted before Gary Sanchez was shipped out of town, there is a starting catcher available on your waiver wire in Kyle Higashioka.
With a two-catcher format, he certainly carries value. Do not pay for the seven spring home runs, pay for the seven regular-season home runs that are ahead.
Triston Casas, 1B, Boston Red Sox
If you have a bench spot to burn, taking a $1 flier on Triston Casas may pay off. He will grab some hefty FAAB bids when his day comes. Why not save the money and do it now? He has a Freddie Freeman-type profile.
Josh Harrison, 2B/3B/OF, Chicago White Sox
Josh Harrison just does not go away. He should be the everyday second baseman for the South Siders. Don't expect impactful fantasy stats, as his best ability is his availability.
Matt Brash, P, Seattle Mariners
Matt Brash is the apple of everyone's eye right now in Fantasy Baseball. The Mariners have announced he has won the fifth starting spot in the rotation. Only 3% owned in early NFBC contests, he is the pitcher that will break many banks tonight.
The reason to pump the breaks on overpaying is that the 23-year-old phenom has never thrown 100 innings in a season. There is a workload limitation in his future of some sort, for certain.
The reason to go all gas is the over 13 k/9 rate in the minor leagues.
I feel comfortable going over $200 for Brash in leagues that I didn't draft him. If you choose to do so, be prepared for the fact that you will likely have to replace him for several weeks throughout the year, possibly in a bulk, as the Mariners contend for the division this year and likely want Brash available for the playoffs.
Grayson Rodriguez, P, Baltimore Orioles
Grayson Rodriguez may be the best right-handed pitching prospect in the game but will begin the season in AAA.
While he should be up relatively soon, his win equity is low based on the team and division.
He will be a top draft pick someday soon, but for the 2022 Fantasy Baseball Week 1 NFBC FAAB Run, let's keep it to just a buck or two stash, similar to Casas.
Hunter Greene, P, Cincinnati Reds
Hunter Greene will be the fourth starter for the Reds. While he has electric stuff, the control might be long for the bigs at this time.
Don't break the bank chasing the upside. Some of the old, boring names below offer the same strikeout upside with less FAAB cost.
Nick Lodolo, P, Cincinanati Reds
While Greene is announced as the fourth starter, the Reds schedule does not require a fifth starter in the early part of the season.
I speculate that fellow top prospect Nick Lodolo has earned that spot. He will be much cheaper than his teammate because he does not have the role, but will offer better ratios.
Nick Martinez, P, San Diego Padres
Nick Martinez has had a fine spring and seems to have cemented the fifth rotation spot so much that Chris Paddack appears to be on the trade block.
Through two starts this spring, the free agent out of Japan has thrown seven innings with seven strikeouts and a 0.86 WHIP.
BREAKING: With Sean Manaea headed to the San Diego rotation, Martinez is likely headed to AAA or a long-relief role. While there may be other moves forthcoming, I would pump the breaks on Martinez. His value is in getting the opportunity up front and potentially running with it. If he becomes organizational rotation depth, MacKenzie Gore,Ryan Weathers, and Paddack will potentially interfere with the opportunity. I would move on or keep the bid to $1.
Mitch Keller, P, Pittsburgh Pirates
Mitch Keller has looked excellent this spring, with seven strikeouts and only one walk across nine-plus innings thus far. With an average fastball velocity of over 96 mph, he has caught everyone's attention and taken the hype train straight off the rails.
Keep in mind before placing your bids, he had an ERa north of 6 and a 1.79 WHIP last year in over 100 innings. He has never shown to be a good control pitcher, and at 25 years old there is no evidence this will turn around. I will die on this hill, but this is still the wrong Keller.
I have a feeling someone is going over 10% of their budget here, and I just will not be in that market. As I said with Greene, you are much better served with the below two pitchers as you mine the wire for strikeouts.
Nick Pivetta, P, Boston Red Sox
Nick Pivetta is still widely available in 12 team formats. He is a given for 170 strikeouts and has strong win potential on a good team.
For those who drafted reliever-heavy and can afford some roller coaster rides with their ratios, Pivetta is a perfect fit.
Zach Eflin, P, Philadelphia Phillies
Zach Eflin is ahead of schedule in his return from injury and should be ready to start the third game of the season (against weak-hitting Oakland) with the potential to get to 80 pitches. His upside is the All-Star Game, but he has never been healthy.
Alex Colome, P, Colorado Rockies
Terrible option for saves, especially since he has not been anointed to the closing position. Tread lightly only if you can afford to keep him on the bench and watch, especially since you will only use him in road games.
David Robertson, P, Chicago Cubs
My gut feeling is that David Robertson's experience in the role plays over Rowan Wick's upside. At least early in the season, Robertson should nab a save or two per week.
Robert Suarez, P, San Diego Padres
My favorite option of the speculative closers. While Denilson Lamet looks poised to be one of the top relievers in the game, I feel Robert Suarez's success in the role (in Japan) wins out for the ninth-inning role.
Lamet will still carry great value, but be in more of a flexible role. Even if he is named "closer", Lamet will rarely be available in back-to-back games, opening up opportunities for Suarez. And let's face it, Lamet will probably be hurt before you finish this article.
Art Warren, P, Cincinatti Reds
With Lucas Sims' timetable for return uncertain, it is the 45% strike-out rate Art Warren that interests me, and Manager David Bell went so far as to agree yesterday.
Anthony Bass, P, Miami Marlins
While there is no indication of what manager Don Mattingly will do here, Bass' experience in the role gives him as much an opportunity as anyone to steal a few early season saves.
For more options, more in-depth breakdowns on these, or for assistance with your specific league, I am always available on Twitter @JTrela20. This column will be here for you to enjoy with your Sunday morning coffee each and every week!
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