The 2022 fantasy baseball season was full of storylines, with numerous historical marks being set, a hot playoff push, and for the lucky few, a fantasy baseball title at the end of it all. We saw Albert Pujols break the 700 home run threshold, and Aaron Judge set the American League record with 62 home runs in a season. It felt like every time the Angels took the field, Shohei Ohtani set some sort of record, or become the first player in history to complete some sort of obscure feat. The Cleveland Guardians won the American League Central, and the Baltimore Orioles finished with a winning record for the first time since 2016. However, despite all the peaks, there were numerous valleys throughout it all, headlined by fantasy baseball busts, the season-long absence and PED suspension for Fernando Tatis Jr.,, and once again, closers were the most fickle position in all of fantasy baseball. Now that the 2022 regular season is over, it’s time to start looking ahead to the 2023 fantasy baseball season, which will include 2023 preseason fantasy baseball rankings, and formulating early fantasy baseball sleepers, fantasy baseball busts, and everything in between. While one door closes, another opens, which means we are already one day closer to getting the 2023 Fantasy Alarm fantasy baseball draft guide! Let’s put a bow on the 2022 fantasy baseball season by looking at some of the best and worst early round picks, as well as some of the best bang for your buck guys, in the 2022 fantasy baseball season recap!


First and foremost, here are some interesting numbers from the 2022 season:

  • There were fewer home runs in the league in 2022 than each of the last four seasons (excluding 2020)
  • This was the most stolen bases we’ve had in the league since 2015
  • Eight starters logged 200+ innings pitched, which was more than last season

From a fantasy perspective, one last thing I want to touch on is the closer position. Good lord almighty, the volatility is almost unbearable! I looked back at our Fantasy Alarm Staff Mock Draft, and here were the top handful of closers drafted: Josh Hader, Liam Hendriks, Raisel Iglesias, Ryan Pressly, Aroldis Chapman, Edwin Díaz, Emmanuel Clase, and Kenley Jansen.

  • There were nine closers that had at least 30 saves. Five are listed above.
  • Six closers had a 2.0 WAR or better. Two are listed above.
  • Over half of the players above missed time due to injuries, lost the closer role for some reason, or were deemed expendable by their teams and traded.

Hindsight is 20/20, so if we were to do it all over again, here would be popular targets, and the preferred “sleepers” or value players, if you wish.

**All references below to ADP are via NFBC data from January 1 to April 6.**

Early Picks

They say you don’t win your league in the early rounds of the draft, but you certainly can lose it there! We’ll take a look at guys in the first handful of rounds that provided a great return on investment, and those that underwhelmed, disappointed, or didn’t provide quite the ROI as expected.


Aaron Judge, NYY - Judge was just outside the top 10 outfielders, and he bet on himself this year, and I would say it paid off. He hit .311 with 62 home runs, an American League record, with 133 runs scored and 131 RBI. The next closest guy in the home run department was Kyle Schwarber with 46. With only three players hitting 40 or more home runs this season, what Judge did was such a cheat code for fantasy purposes this season. 

Shohei Ohtani, LAA - There’s not much to say about fantasy baseball’s Unicorn. He was one of just five players with at least 30 home runs and 10 stolen bases, and he was one of just four pitchers with at least 15 wins and a sub-2.50 ERA. Does it stink that you can only use him at the utility spot in your fantasy baseball lineup when hitting? Sure, but that minor inconvenience is worth it for a guy who has the following 162 game stat line:

  • Hitting: .267/.354/.532, 36 HR, 98 RBI, 93 R, 19 SB
  • Pitching: 15-8, 2.96 ERA, 2,40 FIP, 1.09 WHIP, 11.4 K/9

Justin Verlander, DET - Listen, all of the writing was on the wall for the beginning of Verlander’s demise. Including 2007, he logged 200+ regular season innings in all but three seasons (2015, 2020, 2021) leading up to 2022, and he was coming off Tommy John surgery that cost him all of 2021. He was no spring chicken at 39 coming into the season. However, if you drafted him, you have to be ecstatic, as he went 18-4 with a career-best 1.75 ERA, 9.51 K/9, and 0.83 WHIP. He lost no velocity on his fastball, and he allowed more than three earned runs in only two starts this season, and none since mid-June. Can he do it at 40 years old? That’s the question, if he returns, of course.

Dylan Cease, CWS - Cease was as good as they come in 2022, as he went 14-8 with a 2.20 ERA and struck out 227 batters in just 184 innings pitched. He’ll be one of the top vote getters for the American League Cy Young award and his dominance this year did not go unnoticed. He figures to be one of the top starters off the board in 2023 fantasy baseball drafts, and will oftentimes be drafted and relied upon as a fantasy ace.

Shane McClanahan, TB - McClanahan proved to be all of that and more for fantasy owners that were pushing him up in drafts. He opened the year by posting at least six strikeouts and three or fewer earned runs in 18 of 19 starts, and his only real blemish on the season was missing a couple of weeks with a shoulder issue. He wasn’t quite the same upon his return, but he still ended the regular season with a 12-8 record, and a 2.54 ERA, 10.5 K/9, and 2.06 BB/9. He showed that he is a fantasy ace, and health willing, will be one of the best fantasy arms over 180+ innings in 2023.

Sandy Alcantara, MIA - Alcantara now has back-to-back 200+ inning seasons under his belt, but his 2022 season was by far the best in his career. Overall, his 8.15 K/9 may not set the world on fire, but he posted a 2.28 ERA, 1.97 BB/9, and 0.98 WHIP. He had some big strikeout performances mixed in throughout the year, so the strikeout stuff is in there, but he’s going to be a guy that perennially strikes out 190+ batters due to sheer volume. His arsenal runs four pitches deep, and he’ll use his changeup and slider to put batters away. However, don’t underestimate his fastball, which lives in the upper-90s.

J.T. Realmuto, PHI - Realmuto was phenomenal in 2022, and was fantasy baseball’s best catcher by a wide margin. He became just the second catcher to join the 20/20 club in a season, joining Ivan Rodriguez (35/25, 1999) in this prestigious club. He will be 32 years old next year, coming off back-to-back seasons of 130+ games played, but the inclusion of the DH in the NL should help offset some of the age-based regression. However, Realmuto logged just four plate appearances as a DH this season, so perhaps Philadelphia will use him more in that role in 2023 to preserve him a bit.

Paul Goldschmidt, STL - Goldschmidt may not have brought the National League triple crown home, but he was great this year. His 7.1 WAR was the second-highest mark of his career, and if you just cut his stolen bases, it was shades of his 2015 season. He got that walk rate back into the double-digits, and while he only swiped seven bags, that little boost never hurt. Goldy just turned 35 years old last month, but that bat of his looks as good as ever, though a .368 BABIP and .261 xBA could be a bit of a precursor to some regression in batting average in 2023.

Nolan Arenado, STL - In hindsight, it was so painfully obvious how great of a value Arenado was during draft season. After hitting just .255 in 2021, his .249 BABIP and lack of a dip in his batted ball profile just screamed that he was going to bounce back in 2022 in the batting average department. And that he did. He continues to outperform his expected statistics, and for the second straight year, he posted 30+ home runs with 100+ RBI. His .293 batting average was his highest mark since his penultimate year in Colorado (2019), and he got his ground ball rate below 30 percent for the first time in his career. We basically got a discount on Arenado, because he was hanging out in the .250s in 2020 and 2021, despite not losing the power or counting stats. Again, hindsight is 20/20, but Arenado was a blatant draft day value that people overthought.


Vladimir Guerrero Jr., TOR - A .274/.339/.480 batting slash line with 32 home runs, 97 RBI, 90 runs scored, and eight stolen bases is by no means a bad year. However, when Guerrero was a top five draft pick, and especially when comparing his numbers to his stupendous 2021 season, you can see how 2022 was a bit of a let down. I don’t know if I’d go as far as a disappointment, but a let down is a good way to phrase it. I don’t love that his launch angle was cut in half from the year before, and you never want to see a guy with Vladdy’s power posting a ground ball rate north of 50 percent, which he’s now done in two of the last three years. Again, he wasn’t porous in 2021, but he didn’t do enough to justify a top five pick, especially at the first base position where you can easily identify at least three guys with better fantasy seasons than Guerrero Jr. With all that in mind, sign me up for a slight discount in 2023 on the young star, maybe even in the mid-to-late first round?

Salvador Perez, KC - Again, Perez’s season wasn’t bad by any means. He finished in the top five at the position in home runs and RBI, but his batting average took a hit, and a weak supporting cast only put 48 runs scored to his name. As many should have expected, Perez was in store for regression in 2022, especially in the power department, and in hindsight, passing on Perez at his draft price (1st catcher, pick 31) was, in fact, the right move. Heading into 2023, the unquestioned top catcher should be J.T. Realmuto, and likely by a relatively healthy margin over the rest of the field.

Fernando Tatis Jr., SDP - Yikes. What a year from hell for Tatis Jr., and those who drafted him, particularly early on in draft season. Tatis had as many hits, runs scored, RBI, home runs, and stolen bases with the Padres in 2022 as you and I. He played four minor league games this year upon returning from his wrist injury, then got hit with the PED suspension, and will be recovering from shoulder surgery this offseason. Playoff games for the Padres will count towards Tatis Jr.’s suspension, so Padres fans will be rooting for a deep playoff run for numerous reasons.

Lucas Giolito, CWS - Those who drafted Giolito as their SP2 are upset about Giolito’s season, but not as much as those who made Giolito their ace. His 11-9 record is okay, but that 4.90 ERA was his worst since 2018, and his 9.85 K/9 marks the second straight season that his strikeout rate has dipped. He posted a 3.48 ERA over his final six starts of the season, but by that point, those with Giolito were likely too far out of the running to benefit from his “improvement.” His slider regressed compared to 2021, and other than his changeup, he induced less whiffs across the board.

Tyler O’Neill, STL - O’Neil was a top-50 draft pick this season, but injuries really derailed his campaign. Compared to 2021, he cut back on the strikeouts, which was encouraging, but a .277 BABIP cratered his batting average down to .228. His 14 home runs and 14 stolen bases in just 96 games is encouraging, but at some point, we have to start baking in his injury risk into draft cost. He’s endured a trip to the injured list in every year since 2018 except for one (2020), and last year remains the only year he’s played in more than 100 games. He has all the talent in the world, and a great batted ball profile, and we’ve seen what his ceiling looks like. I think 2021 is a bit of an outlier, but he’s better than what he showed this year.

Whit Merrifield, TOR - For years now, we’ve been saying the regression and Father Time is coming for Merrifield. Well, it happened, and it came HARD. Merrifield hit just .250 with 11 home runs and 16 stolen bases this year, and was traded at the deadline to the Blue Jays. If it weren’t for some injuries in the Toronto lineup, Merrifield could have been a part-time player for the entirety of the second half of the season. He turned it on a bit down the stretch, but in his age 34 season next year, he’s going to be a tough sell, because the speed is waning, and that .312 BABIP that saved him in Toronto would have been his highest mark in a season since 2019.

Trevor Rogers, MIA - Rogers was the 34th pitcher off the board in drafts given the aforementioned parameters, but he was brutal in 2022. Not only did he miss time due to back spasms and a lat strain, but he posted a 4.57 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, and an 8.92 K/9 across 107 innings (23 starts). It was a big step back from his excellent 2021 campaign, but optimists will point to his last start in August, and first two in September and say that he’ll be ready to dominate come 2023. His price point should be significantly less in 2023 compared to 2022, so there could be a buying opportunity there.


To constitute as a “value,” the player needed to be outside the top 200 picks, per NFBC data. Any references to ADP below follow the same parameters as above.

Julio Rodríguez, SEA - This one feels like cheating, but he turned out to be one of the best values of the fantasy baseball season. He broke camp with the team, and in 132 games contests in 2022, he slashed .284/.345/.509 with 28 home runs, 75 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 25 stolen bases. He joined the 25/25 club as a rookie, and he was one of just four players to join that club this season. Rodriguez will turn 22 in December and should only continue to get better. His ADP came in at pick 226 this year, but don’t be surprised to see him routinely drafted in the first two rounds of 2023 fantasy baseball drafts.

Nathaniel Lowe, TEX - From being drafted outside the top 240 picks to hitting .302 with 27 home runs this season. Lowe was exceptional with Texas this season, and he held ample fantasy value at a pretty deep position. He was one of five qualified first basemen to hit at least .300 this season, and only he and Paul Goldschmidt had at least 27 home runs while doing so. Texas has plenty of pieces coming back on offense, and Lowe should be in line for another season where he hits .280+ with 25+ home runs.

Andrés Giménez, CLE - Gimenez was great in 2020, but flopped with the then-Cleveland Indians in 2021. He dropped outside of the top 270 picks in drafts this offseason, but he bounced back in a big way, posting career highs in average, OBP, SLG, wOBA, wRC+, home runs, runs scored, RBI, and stolen bases. He fell three home runs shy of joining the 20/20 club, but to get this sort of production outside the top 270 picks was a massive boost to fantasy baseball managers and their quest for a title. Only Trea Turner and Gimenez hit at least .297 with 20 or more stolen bases this season.

Nestor Cortes, NYY - It’s hard to find a better value on the bump than a guy who went 12-4 with a 2.44 ERA (2.70 FIP), 9.27 K/9, 2.16 BB/9 and 0.92 WHIP over 28 starts. Oh, this guy also went outside of the top 335 picks! Cortes was excellent for the Yankees, as he started the year hot, going 5-1 with a 1.50 ERA and 10.2 K/9 through his first 10 starts. He hit a bit of a lull in the middle of the year, went on the IL for a quick stint, but might just be pitching his best ball down the stretch here, just in time for the postseason (1.32 ERA over last 5 GS). I can say with some gusto that we won’t be quite as fortunate with Cortes’ draft price in 2023.

Christian Walker, ARI - Power was down across the league this season, and only 21 hitters had at least 30 home runs on the season. Well, one of those guys was Walker, who had an ADP of 502 heading into the season. Walker hit 36 home runs on the season, which was the sixth-most in baseball, and his .242 batting average was palatable. His 2022 season not only brought back shades of his 2019 season, but he even further exceeded expectations. His .256 xBA indicates that he was a bit unlucky in the batting average department, so it’s not a stretch to say that his 2022 season was the best of his career.

To all the members of the #FAmily, It’s been an absolute pleasure to be here with you all for the 2022 fantasy baseball season. Now that the regular season is over, give yourself a couple days or maybe even a handful of weeks off, and then let’s get ready to dominate the 2023 fantasy baseball season.