Fantasy Baseball: Nine late-round hitters to target in 2022 drafts

It feels wrong to refer to any of the hitters we'll be discussing today as a sleeper, so let's just set that term aside. The list of guys featured here includes several former top prospects, a former league home run champ, a former league-leader in stolen bases and five dudes in their 30s. If you've been playing fantasy baseball for a few years, you should know 'em all. None are sleeping.

All of these guys, however, are buried in terms of Yahoo average draft position. Without exception, these hitters are slipping outside the top-200 picks in most fantasy leagues, yet all deserve serious attention. If you're looking for useful late-round options — as everyone should be — keep these names in mind.

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Brendan Rodgers, 2B/SS, Colorado Rockies

Rodgers finally graduated from prospect status last season, establishing himself as a dangerous everyday player for Colorado. At age 24, he cleared the fence 15 times over 102 games for the Rockies while slashing a respectable .284/.328/.470. Twelve of his 15 home runs were actually hit on the road, so it's not as if his production was simply a Coors-related fluke. The former No. 3 overall pick should occupy a favorable lineup spot and he's eligible at both middle-infield positions. Every projection system likes Rodgers to threaten (or exceed) the 20-homer plateau with an average north of .270.

Luke Voit, 1B, San Diego Padres

Voit needed a ticket out of New York in the worst way, given the number of challengers for playing time at first base and DH. He landed in a terrific spot with San Diego. He'll be a heart-of-the-order hitter in a productive lineup and he'll get all the plate appearances he can handle. You might recall that Voit led the majors in home runs in the 2020 mini-season, launching 22 long balls in just 56 games. He's a great bet to reach 30 in the year ahead, yet we're drafting him almost as an afterthought (ADP 223.1). Never doubt this man's power...

Alex Kirilloff, 1B/OF, Minnesota Twins

Like Rodgers, Kirilloff was a well-hyped prospect who managed to tread water in his MLB debut without being immediately dominant. That's how it usually goes, but too often the fantasy community demands elite Day 1 production from the buzzy rookies. Kirilloff was a .318/.366/.503 hitter in the minors and he just turned 24 in November. He's also one of those cases in which Statcast data suggests he was hitting better than the box-score results indicated last season. The gap between his weighted on-base average (wOBA) and expected was substantial. He's a clear breakout candidate for 2022.

Check out the lefty-vs.-lefty spring laser...

Jonathan Villar, 2B/3B/SS, Chicago Cubs

Fantasy experts have been urging you to get your stolen bases early in drafts, because A) steals are scarce in today's game and B) we hate to rely on specialists for our speed. Ideally, you want to get your steals from players who aren't severe liabilities in every other category. Villar is one of the few late-rounders who should be a reliable source for both speed and power; he swiped 40 bags as recently as 2019 and he banged out 18 homers for the Mets in 142 games last season. Villar landed with a team that has a desperate need for quality bats, so we can expect him to find regular playing time. He offers positional flexibility in both reality and fantasy.

Robbie Grossman, OF, Detroit Tigers

Here's another source for pop and speed who can be found in the back half of drafts. Grossman is coming off a 23/20 season for Detroit in which he scored 88 runs and reached base at a .357 clip. The Tigers' lineup is going to be plenty frisky with Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene in the mix, so we can expect another useful run-scoring season from Grossman. Of the 10 MLB players who went 20/20 last year, Grossman is the only guy (aside from the injured Fernando Tatis Jr.) who isn't getting drafted in the opening rounds.

Jo Adell, OF, Los Angeles Angels

Just look at this majestic, unfathomably deep blast off Adell's bat...

All the usual caveats about spring training should apply here, of course, but, um ... c'mon. Adell hit that thing an actual mile. That's Schwarbian power right there. Strikeouts have been an issue for Adell to this point, but there simply aren't many players with his pure pop. He has sneaky stolen base potential, too.

Kolten Wong, 2B, Milwaukee Brewers

When Wong is healthy, he hits. It's really that simple. He delivered 14 home runs and 32 doubles last season over 116 games, swiping a dozen bags. If we can get 500 plate appearances from Wong in 2022, he's likely to go 15/15 or better with a useful average (.272 last year). He should be rostered in any mixed league that uses a MI spot.

Kolten Wong is being overlooked in fantasy baseball drafts, making him a value going around pick 250. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Kolten Wong is being overlooked in fantasy baseball drafts, making him a value going around pick 250. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Randal Grichuk, OF, Colorado Rockies

Grichuk was simply a massive value winner following the trade that relocated him to Colorado while sending Raimel Tapia to Toronto. He didn't have a clear path to everyday at-bats with the Jays, but that won't be an issue moving forward. His home hitting environment is now as good as it gets. Grichuk has clear flaws as a hitter — his lifetime OBP is just .293 — but he also has a 31-homer season on his resume. He should feast in Colorado.

Seth Beer, Util, Arizona Diamondbacks

Why does this man not have the best-selling jersey in MLB?

Like, if you're even a little bit tempted to pick up some Diamondbacks gear, make it a BEER 28 jersey or shirsey. How can you not? I will never understand the buying habits of the baseball merch consumers.

Anyway, Beer has been raking this spring...

He'll benefit in a big way from the universal DH, clearly. Beer slashed .287/.398/.511 with 49 XBHs at Triple-A last season, then went 4-for-9 in the big leagues before a shoulder injury ended his season. He's healthy at the moment and he's looking like an excellent end-of-draft Util option.