2022 Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep: Late-round targets and early waiver-wire options for every position

Whether you’ve already finished your Fantasy Baseball draft or you’ve still got one coming, this week is your first chance to make those post-draft additions to your team via the waiver-wire or FAB. And, while this piece is targeted to those of you making your first FAB claims of the year, it’s also useful for drafts, since the difference between a free agent and a late-round pick is just whether someone – you – is willing to take them with one of your final picks.

What we’re looking for here are both potential short-term fill-ins in case your draft didn’t go as planned – say you drafted Jacob deGrom or we’re counting on Luis Urias as a corner infielder – or upside plays to target in your first FAB run or with your late-round picks. Let’s go through each position to identify players worth targeting in either scenario.


  • If you need immediate help: Kyle Higashioka
  • If you’re looking for a stash: Kyle Higashioka

There really isn’t much of a difference between immediate help and a potential stash at catcher, because if someone has playing time and potential, you should probably just be starting them in a two-catcher league just to see if there’s something there. There isn’t much value in stashing a catcher in your bench unless it’s Adley Rutschman, who we’re hoping to see shortly after the start of the season if his triceps injury heals right. That might have to wait until May, but he’s worth drafting and stashing anyway.

Higashioka is red-hot in spring, with five homers, and he’s always had some pop. He remodeled his swing this offseason after new Yankee Josh Donaldson, and the Yankees moved Gary Sanchez in the move to acquire Donaldson, so they seem to have some faith in Higashioka. He’s irrelevant to start the season in one-catcher leagues, but he’s worth a look in two-catcher leagues just in case they’ve unlocked something here.

first base

  • If you need immediate help: Spencer Torkelson
  • If you’re looking for a stash: Spencer Torkelson

Torkelson is a priority in all leagues. He might need some time to adjust to big-league pitching, but the Tigers top prospect is one of the more advanced hitting prospects around and could hit the ground running. That’s not guaranteed — we expected Andrew Vaughn to need little time to adjust, after all — but Torkelson is going to be playing everyday from Opening Day on and has both power and contact skills, having hit .267/.383/.552 across three levels in 2021, his first taste of the minors. Torkelson should be rostered in all leagues by the time lineups lock for Week 1.

2nd base

  • If you need immediate help: Gavin Lux
  • If you’re looking for a stash: Gavin Lux

You won’t see Lux go undrafted as often in the aftermath of the AJ Pollock trade, which should open up a clearer path to playing time for him. However, I don’t expect him to shoot up draft boards either, because the main obstacle to playing time for him isn’t gone: Concerns about his ability to hit lefties. The sample size is small, but he’s managed just a .168/.256/.243 line against them in 121 plate appearances. If he can’t figure that out, not much else is going to matter, because the Dodgers have shown in the past they are perfectly willing to put even very talented young players in part-time roles if they need to.

However, Lux is going to get an opportunity at the start of the season in the best lineup in baseball, and that’s enough to make him a viable early-season fill-in. And his prospective pedigree and minor-league track record make him a high-upside option to stash if you have a bench spot. What especially makes Lux interesting is that he ranked in the 94th percentile in sprint speed in 2021, so there’s room for some stolen base upside here, too.

3rd baseman

Urshela is coming off a down season and doesn’t necessarily look as interesting away from Yankee stadium and the short right field porch, but he figures to be an everyday player in a good lineup. Any kind of bounce back can make him a viable corner infield option, or even a lower-end starting third baseman.

There aren’t a ton of high upside third baseman out there given the state of the position, so unless you want to stash a prospect like Jose Miranda, Biggio’s speed makes him an intriguing option even coming off a disastrous 2021. He seemed especially impacted for the less bouncy baseball used last season, but he also dealt with some injuries, so maybe there’s room for a bounce back. It’s a tepid endorsement, clearly, and if we hear Edwin Rios has a chance to play regularly for the Dodgers, I’d take a flier on him first – Rios has 13 homers in 199 plate appearances in the majors and could be a nice source of power if he can keep his strikeouts in check.

short stop

  • If you need immediate help: Isaiah Kiner-Falefa
  • If you’re looking for a stash: Bryson Stott

Kiner-Falefa is a forgotten man, but I find him kind of interesting in the wake of his trade to the Yankees. To say he has marginal power would seem pretty free, but marginal power has a tendency to play up in Yankee Stadium. And Kiner-Falefa makes enough contact that he should be pretty useful in batting average, having hit .273 over the past two seasons. But you’re adding him if you need speed, mostly – he has 28 steals over his past 216 games.

Stott brings a lot more potential to the table than Kiner-Falefa, though he’s obviously less proven. He’s been red-hot in the spring and has probably all but locked up the starting third base spot for the Phillies, so he’s going to get an opportunity to show what he can do. Over 112 games between three levels in 2021, including Triple-A, Stott hit .299/.390/.486 with a 22.2% strikeout rate and 16 homers and 10 steals. That’s an intriguing skill set, potentially, especially playing half his games of him in a very good hitting environment in Philadelphia. Stott is n’t viewed as a can’t-miss prospect, so it makes sense he’s largely being overlooked in 12-team leagues, but if you want to take a flier on some upside, look his way from him.


At outfield, the line between immediate help and stashes can get blurred too, but for different reasons than at catcher. Here, it’s because the late-round targets have plenty of upside in their own right – Kepler, Canha, and McCutchen have all been must-start Fantasy options within the past few years, Thomas brings a speed/power combination to the table, while Joe hit .285/.379/.469 for the Rockies last year. Any one of those players could be a top-50 outfielder this season and I wouldn’t blink.

But my preferred option here might actually be Smith, especially if I don’t need immediate help. He very well could provide it, of course, if he’s the primary DH for the Mets — and a trade of Jeff McNeil ahead of Opening Day could help make that a reality. Remember, Smith hit .299/.366/.571 with 21 homers in 396 plate appearances between 2019 and 2020 and was apparently playing through a shoulder injury in 2021, leading to some hope that he could get back to that level. He’s been one of my late-round targets in drafts lately.

starting pitcher

Generally speaking, if I’m looking to add someone at a starting pitcher before or even early in the season, I’m going to tend toward the upside plays. Greene, Detmers, Keller, and Heaney are all in their respective rotations, while we’re still waiting for updates on Gore and Lodolo, so if you’re looking for a Jacob deGrom replacement, I would focus on giving Detmers or Greene a try .

But it might be more realistic to get something useful out of the first group. None of them are sure things, obviously, but I feel pretty good about Greinke being useful all season, but especially early on. He should be going higher than he has been all along, and Hernandez is an underrated option, especially early on when his typically short outings of him wo n’t be as much of a detriment.

relief pitcher

If Kimbrel (81%) is available in your league, he’s the obvious top add after his trade to the Dodgers. His first spring outing didn’t go so well, and there have been some ugly stretches over the past few seasons, but he was dominant as the closer for the Cubs and should have a pretty long leash with the Dodgers, who were willing to stick with Kenley Jansen for longer than most observers wished the past few seasons. He’s worth up to 20% of your FAB, more in deeper leagues.

Otherwise, we’ve still got a few spots where we’re waiting to find out who the closer is, and we may not know until after the first save opportunity comes up. That includes the Padres, Rockies, Reds, Cardinals, Cubs, Marlins, Nationals, Athletics, Mariners, Rangers, Orioles, Red Sox and Rays, at least. Don’t spend too much FAB on anyone from any of those teams until we see how they actually use their ninth inning options or we get an announcement one way or another.

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