MLB Opening Day is set for April 7, and now 2022 Fantasy baseball draft prep heats up. There are plenty of tough calls to be made coming out of the lockout. Francisco Lindor’s 2019 season earned him enough goodwill that, even after his numbers slumped in a COVID-shortened 2020, the New York Mets were willing to sign him to the third-richest contract in baseball in 2021. Rather than the return to form the Mets were banking on, he finished the season with the worst batting splits of his career and fewer home runs and RBI than any season between 2017 and 2019 for the Cleveland Indians.

Fantasy baseball players were surely disappointed with his continued slide in production, and his current 2020 Fantasy baseball ADP is twice as high as it was heading into last season. A reliable set of 2022 Fantasy baseball rankings can help you avoid the pitfalls of putting too much stock in players due for a dropoff. Before going on the clock, be sure to see the 2022 Fantasy baseball cheat sheets and rankings from the proven computer model at SportsLine.

Last season, SportsLine’s Projection Model identified several top Fantasy baseball sleepers, breakouts and busts, including reliever Brad Hand.

The team at SportsLine was all over Hand as a Fantasy bust from the start, and he went on to lose his job as a closer as he bounced around between three teams. He had a disastrous 7.57 ERA in a stint with the Blue Jays later in the season. Their model had him listed much lower than expert consensus rankings, and anyone who listened to their advice avoided a major speed bump that could have derailed their season.

Their model is powered by the same people who powered projections for all three major Fantasy sites. And that same group is sharing its 2022 Fantasy baseball rankings and cheat sheets over at SportsLine, helping you find Fantasy baseball sleepers, breakouts and busts long before your competition. Their cheat sheets, available for leagues on many major sites, are updated multiple times every day.

Any time more MLB news comes out about the updated 2022 MLB schedule or Fantasy baseball injuries, the team at SportsLine updates its projections. Go to SportsLine now to see these proven Fantasy baseball cheat sheets.

Top 2022 Fantasy baseball sleepers

One of the 2022 Fantasy baseball sleepers the model is all over: Cleveland Guardians starting pitcher Triston McKenzie. He had a rough finish to the season, giving up 14 combined earned runs in his final three contests, but those were meaningless games following Cleveland’s playoff elimination. McKenzie was fantastic for most of the season, allowing one earned run or fewer in five straight starts prior to his final three games. He was a strikeout machine during that stretch, sitting down at least six batters in all five contests.

McKenzie spent some time in the minors early in the season, but he returned as a high-level starter for Cleveland. He has earned a spot in the rotation heading into the 2022 MLB season. SportsLine’s model views him as a sleeper due to his three-game rough patch to end the 2021 campaign, as he was electric prior to that skid. 

Top 2022 Fantasy baseball breakouts

One of the 2022 Fantasy baseball breakouts the model is all over: Chicago Cubs center fielder Rafael Ortega. After playing sparingly for the Rockies, Marlins, Angels and Braves from 2012-2019, Ortega got the chance to be an everyday player in the second half of the 2021 season after the Cubs dismantled their roster, and the 30-year-old was able to make the most of it.

Ortega slashed .291/.360/.463 with 11 home runs and 12 stolen bases over 103 games last season, and that has likely afforded him the opportunity to be a regular for the Cubs in 2022. His 88.3 mph average exit velocity, 34.6 percent hard-hit contact rate and average launch angle of 18.3 degrees were all career best that would seem to indicate that Ortega has made the swing changes necessary to produce consistent results. That’s a big reason why the model likes him over more established outfielders like Cody Bellinger and Ramon Laureano.

Top 2022 Fantasy baseball busts

As for players to avoid, the model has pinpointed Cincinnati Reds Jonathan India as one of its top 2022 Fantasy baseball busts. Optimism is high for the 24-year-old after he finished last season with batting splits of .269/.376/.459 in 150 games played. His stats for nearly a full season in the majors ended up comparing favorably to his 2019 numbers in 34 games for Double-A Chattanooga in 2019.

In many ways, the case against India doesn’t have as much to do with his likelihood of having a poor season as it does with him being overvalued relative to other options at his position. Players like the Phillies’ Jean Segura or Yankees’ DJ LeMahieu are being taken 40-to-50 picks after India’s current 2022 Fantasy baseball ADP. However, compared to those players, India finished with a reasonably close hard-hit ball percentage (38.6), had a higher strikeout rate (22.4) and a lower line-drive percentage (22.7) in 2021.

How to find proven 2022 Fantasy baseball rankings

SportsLine is also high on a surprising starting pitcher who lands in the top five of its positional rankings. This player is barely going off the board in the top 100 picks, but is projected to outperform starters such as Julio Urias, Max Scherzer and Lucas Giolito. This pick could be the difference in winning your league or going home with nothing. You can only see who it is here.

So which 2022 Fantasy baseball busts, breakouts, and sleepers should you target or fade in your drafts? Visit SportsLine now to get 2022 Fantasy baseball rankings for every single position, all from the model that called Brad Hand’s disappointing season, and find out.


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