2022 Dynasty Baseball RankingsDynasty Baseball


Completing our series of the best players at every position, please see the below highlights of our top Utility/DH eligible players.  If you value our work here, please consider donating to help the cause!

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1. Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 1)

At this point, it may be harder to make the case against Shohei Ohtani as the first overall pick in daily dynasty leagues than it is to make the case for him. He shifted baseball’s Overton window in 2021, surprising fantasy managers by hitting every day—even on the days when he was pitching, unlike in the past—sending his fantasy value into the stratosphere. Even Babe Ruth, the mainstream pick for the best two-way player of all time, never managed to compile more than 600 plate appearances and 130 innings pitched in a single season. The closest he came was in 1919, often thought of as the best two-way season in history, with 133.1 innings and 542 plate appearances, trailing Ohtani’s 130.1 innings and 639 plate appearances in 2021. Importantly, these were, of course, wildly effective plate appearances and innings for Ohtani to boot. Perhaps we should have seen it coming, though, as NL pitchers that generally do not know how to hit at a professional level have always managed to pitch and hit in the same games, and the Angels would not have wanted to leave “dollars on the sidewalk” with Ohtani on the bench. In any case, few see him as the best hitter in dynasty baseball, but even a bat-only Ohtani is a no-brainer first-rounder. Add in 150 innings of highly effective pitching and it’s enough to make a really strong case for Ohtani at 1-1. (Jordan Rosenblum)

2. Giancarlo Stanton, New York Yankees (Age: 32, Previous Rank: OF 35)

Despite being on the wrong side of 30, Giancarlo Stanton remains the game’s premier power hitter, with no imminent signs of being usurped. His K%, BB%, and power numbers all hovered near career norms in 2021 (137 wRC+ in 2021 vs. 142 career), and he matched his career-best, ozone-destroying 122.2 MPH maximum exit velocity (also an MLB best in 2021). Further, he stayed healthy, racking up 579 plate appearances after failing to eclipse 200 combined in 2019 and 2020 thanks to a random assortment of non-chronic injuries. Next time you are super frustrated about a player missing a ton of time because of random, non-chronic injuries (think Byron Buxton and Adalberto Mondesi Jr. nowadays), recall the assuaging case of Giancarlo. (Jordan Rosenblum)

3. Franmil Reyes, Cleveland Guardians (Age: 26, Previous Rank: OF 50)

Franmil Reyes strikes out a good amount (career 30% K) but maintains solid patience and offers a boatload of power to more than make up for it, with the Big Four projection systems generally expecting him to push 40 homers in 2022. Further, his defensive metrics in the outfield—whether UZR/150 or Outs Above Average—are below average but not nearly awful enough to think he can’t continue to rack up enough starts to gain outfield eligibility in most leagues until he enters his 30s—just look at how long J.D. Martinez has been able to preserve outfield eligibility. He’s a trusty top 100 player in dynasty leagues, but often isn’t yet valued like one (his Fantrax dynasty ADP is a bit outside the top 100, while I ranked him 76th in our own recently released top 500 list). (Jordan Rosenblum)

4. J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox (Age: 34, Previous Rank: OF 27)

While past peak, J.D. Martinez remains an extremely adept offensive force as he cruises through his mid-30s. His patience (9% BB in 2021) and contact ability (24% K in 2021) are close to league average, but he’s got a ton of pop, together making him one of baseball’s more dangerous hitters. He also has continued to receive plenty of run in the outfield, even improving according to popular defensive metrics with age. He should continue to give fantasy managers that much-coveted added eligibility. In 2021, he pushed 30 home runs, with almost 200 combined runs plus RBI, and a 128 wRC+. Expect almost the same moving forward, with slight downward adjustments to allow for modest aging-related decline each year. (Jordan Rosenblum)

5. Nelson Cruz, Free Agent (Age: 41, Previous Rank: 2)

As someone who has spent countless hours researching aging curves, I am here to tell you that you can pretty much just set them aside for the singular ageless wonder that is Nelson Cruz. Though no longer at his peak, he posted a 2021 stat line quite close to his career averages. With the likely implementation of the NL DH, he should have plenty of suitors this offseason. You’d be wise to keep betting on him until he gives you reason not to. Expecting a repeat of 2021 is quite reasonable here, i.e., 30 bombs, plenty of RBIs, and a 120-ish wRC+. (Jordan Rosenblum)

6. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers (Age: 39, Previous Rank: 4)

Miguel Cabrera still has some power, with a maximum exit velocity and hard-hit rate each in the top quintile in 2021, but a more modest barrel rate at the median. He also has two years remaining on his large contract, which makes him a fairly decent bet to continue to rack up serious playing time for an increasingly competitive Tigers squad. He is one of the slowest players in baseball, though, and his K% and BB%, though close to league average, are near career-worst for him. In sum, the end is near, but he could provide some decent counting stats in very deep formats for another year or two. (Jordan Rosenblum)

7. Yermín Mercedes, Chicago White Sox (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 6)

Yermín Mercedes drove mass hysteria with his off-the-charts 204 wRC+ in last season’s opening month. He quickly came back to earth, finishing his MLB season as a slightly above-average bat (102 wRC+), playing the second half of the season in the minor leagues. The next time a minor leaguer with a mediocre track record comes up and goes on a crazy hot streak, let the memory of Mercedes humble you. As for Mercedes himself, he could be mildly interesting in deeper leagues if he’s able to catch just enough to maintain eligibility, but don’t hold your breath. (Jordan Rosenblum)

8. Mitch Moreland, Free Agent (Age: 36, Previous Rank: 43 1B)

Mitch Moreland may still have a few seasons in the tank of doing what he does best: hitting against right-handed pitching. A few prominent projection systems (ATC, Steamer) still expect him to be slightly above average offensively, while others (THE BAT, ZiPS) disagree. If he can secure a strong-sided platoon role, you can do worse in deep daily leagues—but not a whole lot worse. (Jordan Rosenblum)

9. Khris Davis, Free Agent (Age: 34, Previous Rank: 3)

Let’s start with the positives, best summarized by a hypothetical exchange between a projection system and Khris Davis:

“You still haven’t given up on me, Steamer.”

“Never [nev-ah!]”

Now, for the negatives: Khris Davis, never known for his defensive prowess, has now been replacement-level with the bat for three straight seasons, never eclipsing an 81 wRC+. If he beats the odds and manages to secure MLB playing time again before retirement, it can’t hurt too much to give him a shot off your waiver wire in super deep formats. Otherwise, fondly recall the good old 40 homer days as Khris rides off into the sunset of retirement. (Jordan Rosenblum)

The Author

Jordan Rosenblum

Jordan Rosenblum

Jordan is an American living in Finland. In addition to writing for The Dynasty Guru, he's a doctoral candidate at Åbo Akademi researching explanations of income inequality, and a Workforce Strategist at OnWork Oy. His favorite baseball area is quantitative analysis of prospects.

Fun fact about Finland: they play pesäpallo here, which is like a soft-toss version of American baseball, except home runs are somehow outs.

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