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What can we learn from Yahoo’s 2022 fantasy baseball MVPs?

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With June almost over in fantasy baseball books, I thought it might be an interesting time to take a look at Sportzshala’s MVP and see who’s moving the needle for us.

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Here’s how we calculate these Sportzshala MVPs – these are the players who most often make the Sportzshala Top 500 Teams list. Sometimes a player appears on this list for the reason they were added rather than their actual production and contributions, but usually you need to play well to earn that spot.

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Perhaps we can learn something from all this.

Julio Rodriguez, OF, Mariners (28.2 percent in the top 500)

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I suspect that many of you might have guessed that Jay Rod would be here. He’s already contributed to five categories and he’s finally starting to get respect from the judges – remember all those out-of-zone pitches Rodriguez was called up to in the spring?

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It’s funny how Jarred Kelenick got to Seattle with a pedigree to the moon last year, and did nothing about it (this year also had a Kelenic mess, although he made it to Triple-A). But Rodriguez was clearly ready for the close-up. He can get into the first round next year, no later than the second round.

Aaron Judge, OF, Yankees (25.6 percent)

I suspected that Judge’s rookie year would be his career season – and there was no disrespect in that. Those .284/.422/.627 slashes with 52 homers don’t grow on trees. But Judge has a higher OPS+ this year and is close to breaking his records in every 5v5 category.

Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees was a fantasy MVP.
Aaron Judge plays as an MVP in both fantasy and reality. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

I thought Judge might have made a mistake when he turned down a monstrous contract extension with the Yankees, but it turns out he picked the perfect time to bet on himself. The judge wasn’t a pick during the draft season, but with an ADP of 27.1, he had plenty of opportunity to make a profit.

Daniel Bard, RP, Rockies (23.8 percent)

The best fantasy managers can save on budget. Bard may be doing his best for the first three months – his 2.12 ERA is way ahead of the FIP offer of 3.53 – but he’s only made two saves and his strikeout rate is still positive. Expect Bard to be actively buying in the next few weeks, though it could also likely close in search of a bidder.

Nestor Cortes, SP, Yankees (23.6 percent)

He added a cutter this year, increasing his groundball speed by a speck and causing weaker content. And that beautiful K/BB ratio will always play a role. Not every ace needs to be a fire-breathing dragon on the radar; although Cortez increased his speed slightly, his average heater speed is still 91.3 mph.

Pete Alonso, 1B, Mets (23.2 percent)

It’s not easy to be underestimated in New York, but Alonso found a way. Like Judge, we always suspected that a rookie year would be Alonso’s best year, but this season he’s taken things a step further. Although Alonso can sometimes be made to chase bad serves, his contact speed is good for a power hitter. His expected average and penetration match his stats on the back of the card.

Shane McClanahan, SP, Rays (22.4 percent)

Tony Gonsolin, SP, Dodgers (22.4 percent)

Starting pitchers are like fantasy football runners – if you get this position right, you’ll generally rule the world. It’s shocking to see Gonsolin and Tyler Anderson carry the rotation of the Dodgers, while Walker Buhler, Julio Urias as well as Clayton Kershaw dealt with injury, inefficiency, or both.

John Bertie, Utility, Marlins (22.4 percent)

It’s more of a triumph of vigilance than intelligence – astute visionary managers realized Bertie offered versatility, good OBP skills, and a willingness to run like crazy. It didn’t take that many bags before the first followers smashed the rejection wire.

Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Cardinals (22.2 percent)

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic wrote a great article describing Goldie’s intelligence and work habits. We don’t know much of a player’s training, but it’s reassuring when we know an athlete is doing their best to maximize their ability. Goldie could be the first MVP, which is a stunning achievement in his 34-year season. But it becomes less surprising when you read Rosenthal’s article.

Some others are further down the list, with brief conclusions (all players above 13 percent):

Jazz Chisholm, Tommy Edman, Dansby Swanson, Infielders

Perhaps I took the slot machine too seriously in March.

Kyle Wright, SP, Braves

You never know when a bloodline will kick in. Be active with such a pitcher.

Dalton Varshaw, C/OF, Diamondbacks

We love fit hitters who aren’t burdened by everyday catching.

Carlos Rodon, SP, Giants

He was difficult to value after the White Sox did not put him up for auction; what health did we buy? Rawdon had a brief slump a month ago, but is now back on his lawnmower.


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