In the first 25 hitters taken during last year’s 2021 fantasy baseball drafts, names such as Christian Yelich (#3), Cody Bellinger (#4), Alex Bregman (#11), Anthony Rendon (#13) and Gleyber Torres (#20) were flying off the board. This year, the group could hardly sniff the top 50 with each flailing hitter dropping harder than the beat at a Led Zepplin concert (at least that is what I hear). Nearly 60 games into the 2021 season, we are going to check in on the first five rounds of 2022 draft picks to see where the beat may need to be dropped and what names might be sifting around the waiver wire as viable replacements.
Rounds 1 – 2:
The only argument for disappointing hitters in round one would be the fact that Ronald Acuna Jr. missed time with injury or Bo Bichette and Kyle Tucker got off to slow starts. Nothing to see here, time to move on. Entering round two, we have another solid run for hitters with a pitcher diversion limiting our options. Unfortunately, as strong of seasons we have from Yordan Alvarez and Manny Machado, we do have our first gentleman making the list for debate.
- Teoscar Hernandez – Teoscar is coming off a season hitting .296 with 116 runs batted in and 32 homers across 143 games. Unfortunately, those were all career highs and generally outliers specifically in the batting average and games played department. So far this year, oblique and hip injuries have nagged Hernandez and his batting average has dropped with a normalization in his BABIP. We also see a new trend in a significantly increased groundball rate which last time I checked will not help your power numbers. I cannot advocate dropping Teoscar, while I may have advocated in the offseason to simply not draft him. At this point, sell for 50 cents on the dollar and move on. Potential Waiver Replacements: Tommy Pham, Anthony Santander
Things are starting to get interesting. Welcome to round three where general disappointments have started to grace our presence. Maybe it would have been better off to wait for round four?
- Salvador Perez – A common theme for early hitters being disappointments are abnormal career years. For Perez, the abnormality was a combination of slight luck and health as he played in 161 games. So far in 2022, we see counting stats as we would expect, but a batting average approaching the Mendoza line and an unflattering xBA supportive of that struggle. At this point, Perez is actually hurting fantasy owners with that metric although better days are ahead if only because they really cannot get worse. Perez is a fine hold in a thin catcher crop, but I would be happy to move him in the right deal for a catcher needy owner because I am just as happy with our waiver options. Potential Waiver Replacements: Sean Murphy, Mitch Garver
- Marcus Semien – Representing one of the biggest fantasy disappointments early in the season, Semien had merely one home run and six steals with a .200ish average through two months of the season. Did we expect another 45 homer outburst? No, but it would have been nice to see a pace higher than 3! Alas, June has apparently warmed Semien with five homers and four bases swiped in only 8 games. Being clear, he has not returned to 2021 form. That said, this is a hold. The Semien trade value is virtually non-existent and there is enough streaky talent here that we cannot take pennies on the dollar. However, if you do….Potential Waiver Replacements: Jurickson Profar, Kolten Wong
Rounding out our traipse through the first five rounds of 2022 ADP, we visit the fifth round. We could easily talk about Adalberto Mondesi, but if you are holding him at this point and also reading this article then I am fully confused. One of the most divisive names in the fantasy game will have to wait another year to divide fantasy analysts as he recovers from injury. Removing Mondesi, leaves us with one fifth rounder to review.
- Javier Baez – Welcome to Detroit and one tough start to the 2022 season. With the aforementioned Marcus Semien picking up the pace, I have Baez holding the bag as biggest disappointment for this season. Always a free swinging spirit, Baez has a career strikeout percentage of nearly 30%. This season he is striking out slightly less but the pitch selection has deteriorated as he is chasing more out of the zone than any time in his career while not swinging when it is right down the middle. Lost at the plate and drilling the ball into the ground at a higher rate than usual, he is a big disappointment. Baez is a streaky hitter and could get hot at any moment. That said, I think now is the time to drop the beat in motor city. Potential Waiver Replacements: Gio Urshela, Kyle Farmer