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NL-Only Draft Sleepers for 2022 Fantasy Baseball

I am highly anticipating the 2022 season because I love baseball plus there was a little concern that we not might see MLB action in 2022. Well, the billionaires and millionaires put their minds together and made baseball a reality for this season, and I can't wait.

This also means we will have to bear down and prep for your fantasy baseball drafts. Let's get busy! I started my part by providing the AL-only Draft Sleepers and I am back with my NL-Only Draft Sleepers.

I identified three hitters and two pitchers that you can draft later in your drafts. These NL-only Draft sleepers can help you win your leagues.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball lineup tools and weekly lineup resources:

 

Rowdy Tellez, 1B, Milwaukee Brewers

After coming to Milwaukee in July last season, Rowdy Tellez hit .272/.333/.481 and a .814 OPS and seven homers while driving in 28 runs. He lowered his strikeout rate to above league average 18.4%. In addition, he ranked in the 94th percentile in max exit velocity while producing a .209 ISO and 47.2% hard-hit rate.

The universal DH rule helps Tellez, who is below-average with the glove, but it is challenging to not have his big bat in the lineup. Tellez will likely platoon with Keston Huira at first base and DH, which might limit his ceiling, but fantasy managers will fall in love with the power numbers.

 

Nick Madrigal, 2B, Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs are in the process of rebuilding, and they acquired a big part of their plans with the acquisition of rookie second baseman Nick Madrigal from the Chicago White Sox last summer. Preceding that trade, Madrigal injured his hamstring and required surgery to repair a full tear which sidelined him for the remainder of the 2021 season.

Madrigal is on schedule to be ready for Opening Day and will look to follow up an impressive MLB debut last season. He slashed .305/.349/.425  with a .774 OPS. He hit two homers with 21 RBI and 30 runs scored while producing 1.2 WAR.

Madrigal is a valuable fantasy asset with the ability to hit for a high average and get on base at a healthy clip. He owns a career .309 batting average in the minors, and he possesses incredible contact ability. In 83 career MLB games, he owns an outstanding 7.4 strikeout percentage. He is also a threat to steal 20-25 bases for the Cubs.

Madrigal is being viewed as the second baseman of the future for the Cubs. However, the future starts in 2022, and now is the time to draft Madrigal in the later rounds and reap the benefits.

 

Lane Thomas, OF, Washington Nationals

Lane Thomas, acquired in the Jon Lester trade, took over for the ineffective Victor Robles in the D.C. outfield. He was one of the biggest surprises for the Nationals, slashing .270/.364/.489 with a .752 OPS.

After hitting leadoff for the Nationals last season, Thomas is projected to hit fifth behind the quartet of Cesar Hernandez, Juan Soto, Nelson Cruz, and Josh Bell. As a result, he will have plenty of opportunities to earn his chance as the team's starting centerfielder.

There is an odd difference in his lefty/righty splits. The right-handed-hitting Thomas smashing southpaws with a .381/.500/.603 and 1.103 OPS in 63 at-bats. On the other hand, he only hit .178/.274/.337 with a .612 OPS in 163 at-bats against right-handers. This oddity will have to be rectified if he wants to remain in the everyday lineup.

Thomas finished the season on fire, slashing .258/.349/.500 with seven homers, 21 RBI, and a .849 OPS across his final 31 games last season. He has earned the opportunity to patrol centerfield for the Nationals and be a third or fourth outfielder on your fantasy roster.

 

Aaron Ashby, P, Milwaukee Brewers

The MLB debut of Aaron Ashby had to be unsettling for him and the Milwaukee Brewers. He gave up seven runs while recording just two outs in a spot start against the Chicago Cubs. But, it was all uphill from there.

The southpaw would then throw scoreless outings in nine of his next 12 appearances. He exhibited great potential coming out of the bullpen. In nine games as a reliever, he posted a 4.50 ERA, a 1.050 WHIP, and 13.5 K/9 across 20 relief innings.

Overall, he posted a 4.55 ERA and 11.1 K/9 across 31 2/3 innings. Ashby improved his control while averaging 96 mph on his sinker and fastball. However, his best pitch is his slider, which produced a .077 BA and 42.0 % whiff rate.

The last two spots in the Brewers' rotation behind the big three are up for grabs. The rumor winds are swirling regarding Adrian Houser being dealt, which will open up the spot for Ashby. Otherwise, Ashby will be competing with Houser and left-hander Jon Lauer for the remaining two spots in the rotation.

His pitch arsenal and prospect pedigree encourage Ashby's confidence to win a rotation spot. Ashby will follow his fellow starters, burst on the fantasy scene, and become a pitching sleeper in 2022.

 

Dinelson Lamet, RP, San Diego Padres

Dinelson Lamet is a wildcard for the San Diego Padres and fantasy managers. He was one of the best pitchers in the league in 2020 when he dominated batters to the tune of 2.09 ERA with a 2.48 FIP. Lamet produced a 12.13 K/9 and a 2.4 WAR on his way to finishing fourth in the NL Cy Young voting.

His stuff is dominant as any pitcher, especially his elite slider, which produced an outstanding 47.2 % whiff rate in 2020, followed by a 42.5% whiff rate last season. However, the biggest question with Lamet is his ability to stay healthy. The elbow troubles forced Lamet to spend four separate stints on the injured list last season.

Concerned about his workload, the Padres decided to move Lamet to the bullpen. He made his first career relief appearance last season and produced mixed results. He posted a 5.09 ERA but held batters to a .231 BA and walked 13 batters across 17.2 innings.

We will probably not see Lamet start games soon, but I think he should stay in the bullpen and pitch in high-leverage and close-out games. His injury history suggests that Lamet might be limited to short stints, ideal for a late-inning reliever. The departure of Mark Melancon leaves a huge hole in the back end of the bullpen. No one currently on the Padres roster looks like a front-runner. Staying healthy is obviously the key. The risk is worth the gamble in taking a late dart throw on Dinelson Lamet.



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