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Fantasy Baseball: Plenty of star power in Scott Pianowski's draft fade list

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Let’s establish some disclaimers before we dive into today’s topic, the 2022 Fantasy Baseball Fade List.

The goal is to outline good players who I’m still unlikely to roster often, if at all, in 2022. This doesn’t make these players untalented; it’s just pointless to give you a collection of fades with lagging ADPs. There’s no utility in that.

Most fantasy analysts will tell you it’s usually about the acquisition cost, not about the player. If you can land some of these names well under current ADP market, good for you. I might consider the same thing, if the opportunity is given to me. But it’s most practical if we focus on what players are likely to cost at the draft table, and judge them accordingly. Let’s try to be realistic in this process.

If you disagree with some, that’s good. You should consider the opinion of anyone you respect, but ultimately make your own choices. And at the end of the day, fantasy sports is a game about differing opinions. It’s a feature, not a bug.

I’ll offer a fade at every position other than third base — I didn’t see a conviction pick for me there, and it would be wrong to force it.

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Catcher: Salvador Perez, Royals, Yahoo ADP 34.9

Generally I am unlikely to chase a player off a career year if that breakout season has been priced into the subsequent ADP. In Perez’s case, it’s obvious the market is chasing a strong response to last year. Too rich for me.

First Base: Jared Walsh, Angels, Yahoo ADP 101.1

Full disclosure, Walsh was a target of mine a few weeks back, thinking his batting slot would insulate him nicely and practically guarantee 100 RBIs. But his messy resume against left-handed pitching (.196/.225/.380) is begging for a platoon, and his career expected batting average (per Statcast metrics) is a modest .246. It’s not that I’m passionately against Walsh for 2022, I just see better spots to park my investment.

Second Base: Tommy Edman, Cardinas, Yahoo ADP 122.2

Edman’s useful 2021 season was driven by volume (he played 159 games) and lineup slot (he was the primary leadoff man for the Cardinals). But a .308 OBP doesn’t fit that leadoff gig, and now he has to impress a new manager. Edman needs full at-bats to justify his current cost, but you could easily lose on two different fronts — if he gets demoted in the lineup, or if he’s not as injury-fortunate as he’s run the last two years. I can live with the fact that he’s a better fantasy player than real-life player, but there’s notable downside here.

Shortstop: Carlos Correa, Twins, Yahoo ADP 74.6

Here’s my rule when considering the loaded shortstop pool of 2022 — if I’m not in love with the player, I’ll simply wait for someone else. There’s no need to talk yourself into anyone here; you have so many options.

Correa shut down the running game five years ago, and for all the ballyhoo about his superstar status, he’s never hit more than 26 homers in a year. His .277 average is helpful (and he’s been consistently around that number), but not extravagantly so.

Sometimes I feel like top prospects are mildly overrated when they pop by the smart analyst community — it’s a way of taking a subtle victory lap. And hey, I get that, we’d all like to feel right now and then. The park switch is a mild negative; Houston has played to a neutral scoring environment the last three years (and has boosted homers), while Minnesota has been a minor drag on scoring and a 10-percent tax on power.

Carlos Correa got a huge contract from the Twins, but there are reasons for fantasy baseball managers to be leery. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
Carlos Correa got a huge contract from the Twins, but there are reasons for fantasy baseball managers to be leery. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Outfield: Ronald Acuna, Braves, Yahoo ADP 12.2

This one is painful to write, but we need to live in the real world. Despite Acuna’s current injury timeline — the Braves are targeting a return in early May — he’s still holding a 14.62 ADP over the last week. That ticket assumes Acuna won’t have any setbacks between now and May, and that he’ll hit the ground slugging and running as soon as he comes back. The fan in me would love to sign off on that; the pragmatist in me will take someone else in the Top 20.

Outfield: Austin Meadows, Rays, Yahoo ADP 125.1

The superstar year from 2019 looks like the outlier. He’s batted .228 (with a .311 OBP) since then, and he’s cut out the running game. He’ll contribute in runs, but he’s never scored more than 83. And you know the Rays, they’re not happy unless they’re changing the lineup on a near-daily basis. Meadows has his plusses, but I see several cheaper outfielders who could easily outearn him.

Starting Pitchers: Philadelphia Staff

The Phillies defense was awful last year, and it might be worse this year. That’s the simplest way to explain why Aaron Nola (47.7 ADP) so badly undershot his projected ERA; it’s not his fault, it’s the guys behind him. Zach Wheeler (36.8 ADP) also gets on my primary fade list because he’s currently dinged up without the proper ADP discount.

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Starting Pitchers: Luis Castillo, Reds (88.2), Jack Flaherty, Cardinals (98.8)

Don’t draft into injuries — especially at this volatile position. Injuries will find you anyway. To be fair, Flaherty’s ADP slipped outside the Top 200 over the last month, but that probably reflects that he doesn’t have any floor. Castillo was still around 150 for Monday, despite the news that he won’t be ready for opening day.

Starting Pitcher: Eduardo Rodriguez, Tigers, Yahoo ADP 150.3

He’s escaping Fenway Park, and that theoretically should help. But Rodriguez’s career ERA on the road is still over 4; how much upside does he really have? He’s also likely to miss the ancillary support the Red Sox provided — Boston was fifth in runs last year (Detroit was 22nd) and 11th in bullpen ERA (Detroit was 28th).

Relief Pitcher: Josh Hader, Brewers, Yahoo ADP 39.1

This is a stylistic fade, the concept that I want to find a second-tier closer who can return first-tier stats. I’ll be focusing on guys like Ryan Pressly (95.3 ADP) and Jordan Romano (103.1). Give yourself a chance to find some profit. Whenever I take a closer in the Top 5 rounds, I always feel like I’m playing catch-up with my offense.

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