Well, that time of the year has come: Our MLB fantasy sleepers 2022 list is finally here.
After a months-long lockout and the prospect of a canceled or at least shortened season, the game we love so much is back, and so is fantasy baseball.
MLB fantasy sleepers 2022
Making baseball fantasy picks may seem like a game but it’s actually way complicated. Projections, stats, and even some luck will always come to play when it comes to putting together a winning squad.
With that in mind, check out our top 15 sleepers for the upcoming campaign, so your friends won’t catch you sleeping:
Judging by the numbers alone, you’d be wise to pass this one and let someone else worry about Triston McKenzie. But if you know baseball and you’ve seen this young man throw, then you know he’s electric and special.
Consistency and control have been an issue for him, as has health, which is why he’s likely to be available late in the draft. But he closed the second half of the season in great form and is back to full strength this season. His stuff is just filthy, as he proved by posting a 1.76 ERA with a 0.54 WHIP to finish the campaign.
Most insiders fell in love with Patrick Sandoval towards the end of last year and for very good reasons. His changeup (which produces a whiff rate of 51.4%) is a beauty to watch and his ability to strike out hitters shows great potential for the 25-year-old.
He posted a 3.79 xFIP with a 4.03 FIP and a 3.57 ERA. He’s got a vast repertoire and a nasty breaking ball and could turn into a legitimate ace for the Los Angeles Angels. Even so, doubts about his durability after multiple back injuries make him fall in most drafts.
Former All-Star Odubel Herrera had a tough couple of years before finally returning for good in the final third of last season. He enjoyed a resurgence with 51 RBIs and 13 home runs across 124 games with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Now, with Andrew McCutchen out of the picture, the veteran outfielder is poised to become a full-time player again, especially after posting a .279 batting average after last year’s All-Star break. Expecting All-Star production from him again could be a bit of a stretch, but he’s expected to outplay his draft stock.
Austin Hays will spend half of the season on a hitter-friendly park and with a team that’ll favor development over wins any given day. He’s got the potential to be a 40-home run kind of player and a guy who can contribute in multiple aspects, as he proved by stealing four bases with 71 RBIs and 22 home runs last season.
He raked eight homers in the last month of the season alone. If he does a better job of reading pitches, staying patient, and not striking out, he could be in for an All-Star caliber season.
Franmil Reyes was one of the prime breakout candidates for the past campaign and he sure delivered.
Despite being picked outside the top 200, he finished the season with a slash line of 254/.324/.522 with an OPS+ of 127. He also drove in 85 runs and hit 30 dingers across 115 games for the Cleveland Indians (now Guardians). Even so, he’s still being overlooked again and is poised to have similar production.
Max Stassi may fly under the radar but some experts believe he’s going to benefit from the Los Angeles Angels’ revamped offense. Batting behind the likes of Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, and Anthony Rendon; Stassi will certainly have plenty of chances to drive in runs night in and night out.
He hit .278 in the 2020 season and is one of the few respectable options for a position most teams struggle to find any sort of offense.
Josiah Gray did a great job when filling in for the Los Angeles Dodgers aces before being sent to the Washington Nationals. He then struggled with consistency towards the end of the year and his lack of control and unorthodox mechanics made him struggle to keep runners off the bases.
He’s got some work to do with his breaking balls but his fastball is just filthy, going nearly 9.0 runs below MLB average. Should he find some control and limit walks, he’d be a prime breakout candidate.
Kolten Wong is coming off a solid debut season with the Milwaukee Brewers, driving in 50 with 14 home runs, which was a career-best for him.
He proved to be one of the few reliable options for a Brewers’ pedestrian offense and he’ll look to keep that momentum going in his encore season. Even so, the average fan will go for the Marcus Semiens and Brandon Lowes of the game, leaving him up for grabs in most leagues.
Not many people will rush to draft Aaron Ashby after he posted a somewhat mediocre 4.55 ERA last season. Moreover, he’s expected to start the season in middle relief duties, at least until the Milwaukee Brewers decide
who’ll be their fourth starter.
But don’t let the naked eye drive you away from landing Ashby. He’s added nearly five mph to his fastball since entering the Majors and has an 11.09 K ratio per 9 innings with a 61.3% groundball percentage. He makes hitters miss and his high ERA was a bit of a fluke last season. There’s no doubt Ashby is among the MLB fantasy breakout candidates.
The Baltimore Orioles aren’t any good, nor will they be for years to come. But Trey Mancini will still put up huge numbers, especially now that he’s expected to play in the corners of the outfield as well as in the first base and serve as their designated hitter.
The jack of all trades, Mancini can rake baseballs like the best of them, as he proved with his slash line of .255/.326/.432 with 21 home runs and 71 RBI in 2020. He’s not a flashy player by any means so you should be able to snatch him easily.
No, we’re not talking about the actor or the Dodgers player, but Will Smith the RP for the Atlanta Braves.
Smith was expected to be the Braves’ closer before they signed Kenley Jansen, which is why his ADP has plummeted drastically over the past couple of days.
Then again, we already know how much Jansen struggles with consistency, so we wouldn’t be shocked to see the southpaw take over the job at some point in the season. If not, then you’ll have an above-average setup in the worst-case scenario.
Ramon Laureano proved that he can put up big numbers when he’s on the field. He’ll be a consistent source of steals, hits, homers, and RBIs, even though his batting average will sometimes leave a lot to be desired.
The only real issue with drafting him is the fact that he’ll miss the first month of the season as he still has 28 games left in his suspension for PED use.
Stephen Strasburg isn’t getting any younger and he’ll start the season on the injured list, so we expect him to slip quite a lot in most drafts. But how often do you have the chance to land a former World Series MVP at a discount?
Strasburg’s résumé and consistency pretty much do all the talking for him, and this pick is somewhat self-explanatory. If you have an available IL spot, we couldn’t think of a better use for it than saving it for the Washington National’s ace.
All eyes will be set on Corey Seager and Marcus Semien but Nathaniel Lowe is also projected to have a solid year for the revamped Texas Rangers. He had a bit of a breakout year after finally getting enough plate appearances to prove his worth, hitting .275 with a .829 OPS and a wRC+ of 131.
He struggled against fastballs as his overly-aggressive approach wasn’t always smart, but he can be a dominant hitter if he makes the adjustment.
Spencer Torkelson may not be as high in the baseball fantasy rankings right now after his struggles in last year’s Spring Training.
The 22-year-old first baseman didn’t find an opportunity behind Jonathan Schoop, but he’s expected to be the Detroit Tigers‘ starter at first after an incredible run in the minors.
Torkleson raked 30 homers with 91 RBIs while having a slash line of .267/.383/.552 and, while we shouldn’t expect those numbers right away in the Big Show, he’s got the potential and the opportunity to prove his worth once and for all.