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2022 Keeper Value Rankings - Outfield

Cedric Mullins - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Betting Picks, DFS Advice

Many many years ago, I noticed the managers in my long-time keeper league were consistently making terrible keeper decisions year after year. Instead of taking their money every year thought I would help them out and find a good set of Keeper League Rankings to share with them. What I found was quite disturbing.

There appeared to be two types of Keeper Rankings available in the industry: Type A is just the site's normal rankings with younger players boosted. These types of rankings only benefit leagues where all Keepers carry the same cost or no cost, such as Rounds 1-4 for everyone's keepers. I also found a Type B that I have no explanation on how any human could ever perceive to be useful in any type of fantasy format. So instead of pulling a rankings list for them, I sat down on Excel for a good month and the Keeper Value Formula was born.

Keeper Value Rankings are intended for Keeper Leagues in which a fantasy owner must forfeit a designated draft pick in order to keep a player into the upcoming season. These rankings are based on Keeper "Values." In the marketing world, Value can be defined as "the extent to which a good or service (player) is perceived by its customer (fantasy owner) to meet his/her needs or wants." The Keeper Values are derived from my Keeper Valuation Formula which accounts for age, player cost (ADP), remaining player pool, past performance, future projections, missed playing time, and even position scarcity.


JB's Keeper Value System

The final product is a quantitative depiction of a player's ability to meet/exceed fantasy owners' needs based on the cost they paid for the player in the previous season (2021 ADP) and will subsequently pay for in the current season's draft (2021). The higher the score, the higher the return the fantasy owner will receive from the player keeping him at their associated cost. Approaching Keeper selections with this value-based attitude will greatly increase the effectiveness of a fantasy owner's draft in a keeper league.

Whereas the main purpose of the Keeper Value Formula is for customization based on specific leagues and keeper costs, I create these yearly rankings with standard 12 team league data, 2021 ADP, and 23rd Round cost for UDFA just as a baseline to help managers get an idea of their options. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @RowdyRotoJB to check out your specific league's values.

1 >100 Finders Keepers! These are the Elite Keeper Values. MUST BE KEPT at all costs.
2 75-99 Great Keeper values. Unless you have a full load of Tier 1 players, these guys need to be kept.
3 50-74 You are gaining good value with these players. The majority of good keeper options tend to fall into this category.
4 25-49 Minimal value. The value exists, but not as much as your opponents are likely receiving with their selections. Consider if your options are limited.
5 0-24 Break-even point. Keeping these players will likely hurt your overall draft, as you are not adding enough value. The idea is if you don't use a keeper selection here you can likely still draft that player in the vicinity of their 2021 cost.
6 <0 The associated costs make it impossible to return any value, these players will ruin your draft. Stay far away.


2022 Outfield Keeper Value Rankings

Position Rank Keeper Tier Name Team 2021 ADP Keeper Score
1 1 Fernando Tatis Jr. SDP 1 110.212
2 1 Cedric Mullins BAL 23 102.117
3 2 Tyler O'Neill STL 23 95.0723
4 2 Yordan Alvarez HOU 7 80.996
5 2 Teoscar Hernandez TOR 8 79.6513
6 3 Bryan Reynolds PIT 23 74.0077
7 3 Kyle Tucker HOU 3 73.7666
8 3 Bryce Harper PHI 2 69.1255
9 3 Juan Soto WAS 1 68.8888
10 3 Mitch Haniger SEA 21 60.2177
11 3 Myles Straw CLE 23 58.6587
12 3 Starling Marte NYM 4 55.1538
13 3 Jesse Winker CIN 18 54.5043
14 3 Daulton Varsho ARI 16 50.4282
15 4 Aaron Judge NYY 5 47.9855
16 4 Akil Baddoo DET 23 46.7132
17 4 Ryan Mountcastle BAL 14 45.79
18 4 Chris Taylor LAD 21 45.7104
19 4 Whit Merrifield KCR 4 45.3288
20 4 Tommy Edman STL 11 45.2385
21 4 Byron Buxton MIN 9 44.7312
22 4 Kyle Schwarber FA 17 44.2982
23 4 Adolis Garcia TEX 23 43.2343
24 4 Hunter Renfroe MIL 23 40.0323
25 4 Avisail Garcia MIA 23 38.368
26 4 Nick Castellanos FA 7 37.6688
27 4 Kris Bryant FA 11 37.2379
28 4 Robbie Grossman DET 23 32.1146
29 4 Giancarlo Stanton NYY 11 27.747
30 5 Luis Robert CWS 3 20.7646
31 5 Alex Kirilloff MIN 20 18.04
32 5 Randy Arozarena TBR 5 16.3588
33 5 Andrew Benintendi KCR 19 15.1667
34 5 Enrique Hernandez BOS 23 13.3103
35 5 Jarred Kelenic SEA 15 13.308
36 5 Adam Duvall ATL 23 12.9455
37 5 J.D. Martinez BOS 8 12.773
38 5 Jo Adell LAA 23 9.2161
39 5 Josh Rojas ARI 23 8.58955
40 5 Austin Hays BAL 20 8.12716
41 5 Harrison Bader STL 23 7.73002
42 5 Julio Rodriguez SEA 23 6.90098
43 5 Jesus Sanchez MIA 23 6.05747


Tier One

Fernando Tatis Jr. is at the top of a position's keeper value rankings yet again after also taking the crown at shortstop, but let's take a moment to appreciate the runner-up Cedric Mullins. He went from not being drafted in fantasy to being the first Baltimore Oriole to EVER reach the 30/30 club in one season. He also scored 91 runs and hit .291 to boot. I believe that can safely be labeled a breakout.

There's been a lot of discussion about how far the power and BA should regress in 2022 based on Statcast and expected statistics, but in a keeper league with a late-round cost anything remotely close to 2021 and you are still rolling in the ROI. For the record, ATC projections Mullins to hit 23 HR with a .261 BA while swiping 27 bases. Personally, I don't see the BA falling quite that far, but regardless only five other hitters in 2021 reached 20/20 while hitting above .260.


Tier Two

Tyler O'Neill has become a 2022 fantasy darling after one of the quietest monster 2021 campaigns. After hitting just .173 during the COVID-shortened season, TON provided an encore performance where he hit .286 with 34 HR and 15 SB. The advanced statistics were so damn impressive, as the 26-year old was in the top 90% of the league in EV, Barrel%, xSLG, AND the 13th fastest sprint speed. You are essentially getting a younger Byron Buxton skillset without the injury risk as a late-round keeper.

Speaking of quiet monster 2021 seasons, if Tyler O'Neill is young healthy Buxton, then Teoscar Hernandez is the slightly older and subsequently slower healthy Buxton. I don't know, just go with it. We got some speed (12 SB), we got the power (32 HR), we got the BA (.296), and we got one of the best RBI producing lineup spots in the league hitting behind George Springer, Bo Bichette, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Who says you need steals in an early-round hitter? When the hitter is elite in the other four categories like Yordan Alvarez it will certainly make you forget the scarcity of stolen bases. After one of the best rookie debuts in recent memory in 2019, Alvarez was held to just two games in the COVID season due after suffering a partial tear of the patella tendon in his right knee. This created a great buying opportunity in 2021 and one of the best hitters in the game saw his ADP dip down to the seventh round. Now is the time to cash in on the previous injury doubts in keeper leagues and enjoy the 100/40/100/.290 potential.


Tier Three

Bryan Reynolds was a huge victim to the shortened season chaos, as he finished 2020 hitting a mind-boggling .189. Of course, all that did was create a great keeper opportunity after his value tanked, because of course he bounced back and posted a beautiful 93/24/90/5/.302 fantasy line despite being on the Pirates.

Mitch Haniger took a similar route to keeper value, except he just flat out missed all of 2020 due to some awful injuries. Like Reynolds, he also enjoyed a massive comeback hitting 39 bombs with 210  R+RBI. Only seven other plays reached 35 HR and 210 R+RBI, and they are all being drafted well ahead of Haniger in 2022.

Yes, I know Juan Soto is the GOAT and you are likely keeping him no matter what even with a first-round cost. Still, the formula said what it said, get over it. To be fair, aside from Fernando Tatis Jr., Trea Turner, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., getting a tier three score from a first-round cost is actually quite high. Kyle Tucker and Bryce Harper are also both in that same discussion as the ceiling and talent almost will always supersede the cost/value unless you have a slew of last-round Cedric Mullins type keeper options.

You want some speed? How about 30 SB for dirt cheap? Myles Straw finally got his chance at a full big league season in 2021 and finished the year with Cleveland and 30 SB in 36 attempts. After the All-Star break, he stole 17 while only being caught once. If you prorate that success to 600 PA you're looking at ~37 steal potential. That's pretty damn valuable with proper roster construction, especially if he hits atop the Guardians lineup for the majority of the season. Of course, it pales in comparison to Starling Marte's 47 swipes in just 526 PA. That man ages like a fine wine.


Tier Four

This must be the tier of combo meals. I've already used Byron Buxton as a comp for two other hitters in this article, and that's because I love him and he loves me. Well, at least he would if he got to know me. The talent and tools this man possesses are first-round fantasy pick level. However, the amount of talent and tools we get to see each year falls well short every time. We got 92 PA of the Buxton dream last season, and it was beautiful. He was hitting .370 with 10 HR and five SB before we were forced to wake up due to a hip strain. Then just as he comes back in late June the baseball gods laughed at our excitement as he fractured his hand on a HBP. He played in only 34 more games after that. One of these days the stars will align and you the Buxton-faithful will get to enjoy a full season of his 35/25 potential.

The Detroit Tigers have two OF with a shot at reaching 20/20 in 2022, technically three pending on when Riley Greene gets the call. Robbie Grossman already reached the milestone last season but needed a career-high 671 PA to get there. Obviously, no one is going to project that volume for a 32-year-old. Akil Baddoo on the other hand is still just 23 and stole 18 bases in just 461 PA in 2021. I don't see the power (13 HR) taking off just quite yet as he focuses on minimizing the strikeouts, but at some point in the near future you are looking at a perennial 20/20 fantasy pick.

Nick Castellanos has been a valuable fantasy asset since 2017 (not counting you, 2020), but in 2021 he took things to a whole new level. In his second season in Cincy, he hit a career-high 34 bombs and a .309 BA, finishing 22nd overall on the RazzBall Player Rater. The big question for 2022 however, is where does he sign after the lockout? Talking about potential ballpark factors for free agents seems odd for non-Rockies hitters, but Castellanos' home/away splits last year at least need to be considered. At GABP he hit an eye-popping .359 with 23 HR. On the road, he hit just .260 with 11 HR. It's just a one-year sample, but if you are drafting/keeping prior to him signing with a new team I'd be slightly hesitant.


Tier Five

So much youth here. Luis Robert is at the top of the tier, and probably one of the highest at the whole position in terms of Gross Value (before taxes). His ADP hasn't changed much since 2021, but Robert is still just 24 years old with projections ranging from 20/20 to 30/15 hitting in the heart of a potent lineup.

Staying in the AL Central, Alex Kirilloff is also 24 but with half the big league experience. Losing the 2020 season hurt, but if we go back to 2018 he hit 20 HR with a .348 BA (!) over 130 minor league games. He should be a near-everyday player for the Twins this year and it will be very interesting to see if the power develops at the MLB level.

The Mariners' duo of Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez will be popular fantasy names for years to come and we will see both in the Seattle lineup together at some point this season. After destroying Triple-A pitching across 143 PA, Kelenic joined the big league team and it was mostly an ugly debut. He slashed just .181/.265/.350 over 377 PA, but did hit 14 long balls and steal six bases. We all know his skillset is much higher than the production we saw but whether or not that comes to fruition as early as this year is up for debate.


2022 Keeper Value Rankings

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