After hitting 11 home runs and stealing 30 bases in 2021, St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Tommy Edman was a tough one to project for fantasy baseball purposes. His stolen base prowess helped keep him relatively high in many fantasy baseball rankings, but there were growing concerns about whether his already low power numbers could sustain any regression, or if his strikeout rate jumped back closer to 20 percent, would he turn out to be a dreaded fantasy baseball bust? After starting the year closer to the bottom of the order, Edman has returned to the top of the lineup, and has even found himself as an intriguing part to any MLB DFS stack featuring the St. Louis Cardinals. While you won’t mistake Edman for any of the best players in Major League Baseball, he has proven to once again be quite valuable in fantasy baseball, and if you don’t roster the speedy St. Louis infielder, he’s someone you can look to acquire at the right price. In fact, he’s in a very precarious spot as a fantasy baseball trade target, as if you need speed you should look to acquire him, but if you have a ton of speed, you should be able to sell-high at the moment if you have a greater need elsewhere.


Personally, I’m holding onto Edman at the moment, and would more so be looking to acquire him, compared to sending him away. Prior to the start of the season, here is what I wrote about Edman’s 2021 campaign, and his outlook for the 2022 season.

Edman's 30 stolen bases from last year are excellent, but one of the biggest takeaways from his 2021 season for me was dropping a solid strikeout rate down to an exceptional 13.7 percent. With his speed, the more he can put the ball in play, the better he will be. Edman registered a career-best 86.5 percent contact rate last season, and he even hit double-digit home runs. Edman doesn't need an elite batted ball profile to be productive. He makes a ton of contact and has great speed. His .262 batting average last year was actually well beneath his .273 xBA, providing optimism for a slight jump in batting average in 2022. There shouldn't be a huge fluctuation in his power numbers, but a full season atop the St. Louis lineup with his speed should prove to be quite lucrative.


At first, things looked a little shaky as the team was opting to hit Dylan Carlson in the leadoff, but as the end of April drew near, Edman was atop the St. Louis order, and in fact, Edman has led off in 16 of the team’s last 17 contests. As a leadoff man this year, Edman has hit .271 with a .386 OBP and 123 wRC+. His increased willingness to take ball four this year has paid dividends for those who play in OBP formats. Edman’s walk rate currently sits at 12.4 percent, which is quite solid for a guy who posted a 5.5 percent mark from 2019-2021.

We saw it last year and we are seeing it again with Edman, which is that he can “win” in fantasy baseball with an underwhelming batted ball profile. Last year, he didn’t barrel up many balls and posted an average at best exit velocity, but this year, he’s exceeding both of those marks, and his 88.8 mph average exit velocity and 7.3 percent barrel rate would easily be career bests. Beyond that, his batting average of .292 isn’t far off from his .283 xBA and his ability to make contact (89.6% Z-Contact% & 82.5% Contact%) and run fast should help him sustain a solid BABIP (currently at .321)

Now, there is one thing I want to monitor with Edman, and it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Edman is the type of guy that you do not want hitting a ton of fly balls, because his batted ball profile doesn’t lend to success that way. The St. Louis infielder needs to hit line drives and ground balls, with more of the first than the latter preferably. Take a look at the chart below, courtesy of FanGraphs and the blue line should really jump out at you.

Now, it could be worse, but if his history is any indication, Edman’s luck on ground balls is going to run out. Here are his numbers, specifically on ground balls, over the last couple of seasons, and you will see that Edman is due for some regression on his ground ball performance.


Courtesy of FanGraphs

Again, I’m not saying that it can’t be done, but at some point this luck will run out, and he’s not going to see 32 percent of his ground balls become base hits. This is something that you will want to monitor in the days and weeks ahead.

The Cardinals have optioned Paul DeJong to the minors and while Edman could see some time at shortstop, they are likely to keep him at second base. However, he’ll continue to get work at shortstop before the game, so that is something that should help keep his playing time afloat. He’s locked in as an everyday player for the Cardinals, and his ability to get on base should keep him atop the order, which of course, is where his fantasy baseball value is at its highest.


At the moment, Edman’s 162-game pace comes out to 17 home runs, 40 stolen bases, 104 runs scored and 80 RBI, which would be quite the profit for those fantasy baseball managers who invested into Edman earlier this year. Of those numbers, if he stays atop the order, the 104 runs and 40 stolen bases are likely the most attainable numbers, though I believe the latter likely slides somewhere between 30-35. As I mentioned earlier, he’s due for some regression in terms of his batting average, especially if his luck runs a bit dry with his immense groundball rate, but he looks poised to, at the very least, put up a repeat performance of his 2021 season, and provide a healthy number in the most fickle offensive category in fantasy baseball.

Again, his fantasy baseball value is at a precarious spot, in that he’s someone worth targeting due to his production in the stolen base department and lineup spot ahead of Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado and others. However, the case can be made to sell high with Edman, but if you are going to do that, you need to ensure that you have sufficient stolen base depth, and that you are getting a premium player at a position or category of need. While I’m holding onto Edman and enjoying the speed, if you choose to trade him, do not let him go easily.

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