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Fantasy Baseball Rankings 2022: Top sleepers, breakouts, busts from simulation that called Hand’s down year

Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Freddy Peralta did well in 14 starts during his rookie year in Major League Baseball, going 6-4 with a 4.25 ERA. Three seasons later, the 25-year-old was one of the top breakout players in 2021, when he finished 10-5 with a 2.81 ERA and helped the Brewers win the National League Central. A comprehensive set of 2022 Fantasy baseball rankings can help you find up-and-comers like Peralta for this season.

Identifying 2022 Fantasy baseball breakouts isn’t an exact science, but finding that surprise player that makes the leap to stardom is a key to a successful Fantasy baseball draft strategy. Peralta made just 15 appearances in a COVID-shortened 2020 season, so those that picked him up last year scored big on the gamble. 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: Rockies catcher Elias Diaz. The 31-year-old Venezuelan catcher spent five seasons with the Pirates before signing in Colorado as a free agent prior to the 2020 season. And in 2021 he was able to make the most of an opportunity to play regularly by flashing previously unseen power in the thin air at Coors Field.

Diaz slugged a career-high 18 home runs over 371 plate appearances and slashed .246/.310/.464 with a career-best 44 RBIs in 2021 and that earned him a three-year contract extension worth $15 million. Now Diaz is installed in the Colorado lineup as the everyday catcher and at a position that lacks power, Diaz could provide a lot of value at one of the league’s most hitter-friendly ballparks. That’s why the model ranks him as a top-10 option at catcher in its Fantasy baseball rankings 2022.

Top 2022 Fantasy baseball breakouts

One of the 2022 Fantasy baseball breakouts the model is all over: Chicago Cubs center fielder Rafael Ortega. After bouncing in-and-out of the majors since 2012, he had a significant role in the Chicago outfield last year and started in 73 of his 103 appearances. He finished with career-highs in batting average (.291) and slugging percentage (.463), as well as home runs (11) and RBI (33).

Barring injury, Ortega should be in line for more starts in center again this season, and should have a little more help in the batting order around him. Nick Madrigal and Nico Hoerner should add some more pop out of Chicago’s infield this year, which should help keep opposing pitchers from throwing around Ortega at the plate. Most promising for Ortega is the way he finished last year, when he hit .306 with an OPS of .870 during the second half of the season after taking a more regular role in the lineup.

Top 2022 Fantasy baseball busts

As for players to avoid, the model has pinpointed Detroit Tigers 1B/2B Jonathan Schoop as one of its top 2022 Fantasy baseball busts. The veteran has been one of the best power-hitting second basemen in the game for years and now he’ll be adding first baseman eligibility after playing over 100 games at the position a season ago. And Schoop can still hit, posting 22 home runs and 84 RBIs last season.

However, his .435 slugging percentage was his lowest in the last three seasons and the second-lowest since 2015. Meanwhile, his .157 ISO was his lowest output since 2014. Those power number dropoffs don’t make him a particularly great play at a first base position that is loaded with power. While he still might be worth rostering while he maintains second base eligibility, the model is suggesting you hold off in his age-30 season. It ranks Schoop as the No. 26 first baseman in its Fantasy baseball rankings 2022.

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.