National League Depth Chart Battles (Baseball Fantasy 2022)

In a previous article, I broke down some of the ongoing competition in the AL for a starting spot in their squad rosters.

We now have universal DH in Major League Baseball, which NL teams are going to benefit immensely from. As we wait for the new CBA to be agreed, here are some of our National League battles ahead of spring training.

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NL Where is

Colorado Rockies – Closer: Daniel Bard (P – COL) vs. Carlos Estevez (P – COL)
The current roster situation in Colorado is difficult to watch. They are entering a new era after trading Nolan Arenado (3B – STL), and they will likely be watch Trevor Story (SS – COL) leave them in free agency.

The role of the bullpen late in the inning will be one to watch for fantasy. The Closers are treated like gold in the drafts, as we’ve seen their ADPs increase significantly over the past couple of seasons.

Closest starter Daniel Bard returns to the Rockies after a lackluster performance in 2021. He was often a lockout option for them heading into the ninth inning. However, he had his fair share of outbursts. The explosions allowed relievers like Carlos Estevez to emerge and put his name on the radar of many fantasy owners as they scoured the waiver wire, looking for safe options.

Prediction: Daniel Bard will open the season as the closest to the Rockies hoping to increase his value and get traded to a contender later. Estevez should always be considered in deeper formats as Bard’s history has shown him to be unreliable for long stretches.

Los Angeles Dodgers – Closer: Blake Treinen (P – LAD) vs. Daniel Hudson (P – LAD)
All indications point to the Dodgers moving from Kenley Jansen (P–LAD) in 2022. However, even with that departure, there are still plenty of options to solidify the back of that bullpen for Dave Roberts.

The two main options are Blake Treinen and Daniel Hudson. Both have plenty of experience in their careers and have shown they can be reliable in this role.

Treinen was throwing at another level in 2021. He posted a 2.47 xERA, 2.88 FIP and a 21% K-BB%. He has two above-average throws in his slider and sinker that both rank in the top 13% in baseball. On the other hand, Daniel Hudson just signed a one-year, $7 million deal that also puts him in consideration for this backend role.

Prediction: Although much has been said it was a closer situation by committee, I see Treinen as the closer opening day for the Dodgers. Both of these relievers can add significant value to a fantasy roster throughout the 2022 season, as Dave Roberts could deploy them in high-leverage situations instead of the typical ninth-inning role.

San Diego Padres – Fifth point of rotation: Dinelson Lamet (P – SD) against Chris Paddack (P – SD)
Both of these launchers enter 2022 with big question marks. Lamet has had elbow issues that continue to flare up, and Paddack hasn’t shown consistency throughout his time in the Majors after a solid debut.

I don’t think there’s much to question about Dinelson’s talent. His arsenal is highlighted by a wipeout slider that generated a 22.3% swing hit rate and 42.5% puff% in 2021.

Paddack is entering an important year. He comes into this season looking to prove himself to an organization that isn’t afraid to roll and trade for big talent when a player on their roster isn’t producing. This organization has plenty of pitching prospects that could overtake his spot on the roster, or he may ultimately be wrapped up for another player with a proven track record.

Prediction: If Lamet gets through spring training healthy, he should earn the last spot in this rotation, pushing Paddack into the relief role for the Padres.

Central NL

Cincinnati Reds – Shortstop: Kyle Farmer (SS – CIN) vs. Jose Barrero (SS – CIN)
Eugenio Suarez’s (SS – CIN) experiment at SS should now be officially stopped. The Reds appear to be entering a ‘re-tooling’ phase as there have been plenty of trade rumors circulating regarding the players on their roster.

Kyle Farmer and Jose Barrero appear to be battling to see who will get the green light to start on Opening Day. Farmer has been a solid contributor for Cincy, playing a key role for them over the past two seasons. Barrero’s arrival in the Majors was highly anticipated by Reds fans, and the urge to see him only grew after his big performance at the 2021 Futures Game in Colorado.

Both of these players have proven their flexibility and ability to play in different defensive positions.

Prediction: Jose Barrero will emerge from spring training as the starting SS and solidify his day-to-day role in the roster. Farmer will join teammate Mike Moustakas (3B – CIN) as a key player in the Major League roster throughout the season.

Milwaukee Brewers – Fifth Place Rotation: Eric Lauer (P – MIL) vs. Aaron Ashby (P -MIL)
Many will say the Brewers don’t need anyone in their rotation after the top three horses headline this pitching staff. The breakout seasons of Corbin Burnes (P – MIL) and Freddy Peralta (P – MIL) created, arguably, the best top 3 in all of baseball.

Eric Lauer proved to be a reliable option for the Brewers when called up. With an xERA of 3.90 and an FIP of 4.04, Lauer has a strong chance of claiming this spot at the start of the season.

Top pitching prospect Aaron Ashby didn’t make a great debut when he arrived in Milwaukee. However, he showed his talent later in the season when he became more comfortable on the mound as a starter and reliever for the Brewers. He has every conceivable advantage and will be in the rotation as soon as possible.

Prediction: Aaron Ashby will emerge victorious here. His pedigree as a high-potential prospect will prove him capable of completing that rotation and move Lauer into the long reliever role for the Brewers. When called, he will provide them with another solid option as a starting pitcher.


Miami Marlins – Closer: Dylan Floro (P – MIA) vs. Anthony Bender (P – MIA)
General manager Kim Ngn has made it known that the Marlins would like to secure the backend of their bullpen before 2022. For now, Anthony Bender and Dylan Floro are looking to face off to see who will lock down the ninth inning.

After acquiring him in a trade from the Dodgers, Floro was consistent for the Marlins late in the game. However, among Marlins pitchers, Floro ranked second in the lowest average outing velocity and was in the 90th percentile of all baseball in HardHit%.

In his first season with the Marlins, Bender provided the Marlins with an elite sinking fastball (97.4 mph average) and a swing and miss slider that produced a .148 batting average. He began his Major League career with 21.1 shutout innings, allowing only ten hits, five walks and 23 strikeouts.

Prediction: Bender’s ability to produce above-average offers will get him the nod as the Marlins’ closest, if they don’t add a more proven option.

Fifth Place Rotation: Sixto Sanchez (P – MIA) vs. Jesus Luzardo (P – MIA) vs. Elieser Hernandez (P – MIA)
When it comes to building starting pitch depth and how important it is to the baseball season, the Marlins have certainly put themselves in a great position.

Some may call it an embarrassment of riches. However, the Marlins have three high-profile arms to round out their front five. Two of them were once labeled as baseball’s top pitching prospects.

Sixto Sanchez is looking for a fresh start in 2022. After missing all of 2021 with a shoulder problem, it’s no secret that there isn’t much optimism this year as to his ability to leave once spring training begins. However, Sixto’s skills are not to be ignored, and he proved it on his 2020 debut.

Jesus Luzardo was acquired at the 2021 deadline from Oakland in a one-for-one trade from Starling Marte (OF – NYM). Unfortunately, it hasn’t lived up to expectations so far in the big leagues. But, like Sixto, Luzardo is looking to leave the stench in 2021 and bounce back strong in 2022.

Probably one of the most undervalued arms in the organization, Elieser’s big caveat is his inability to stay on the pitch. However, when healthy, his 2.4 positive walk rate and 9.2 regular strikeout rate prove to be a reliable option for the Marlins rotation. Additionally, while his 91MPH average on his fastball leaves a lot to be desired, he features a plus slider and efficient change that produce tiny BAAs of 0.185 and 0.158, respectively.

Prediction: Jesus Luzardo completes the Marlins’ starting rotation. Sixto will likely start the season on the injured list as he recovers from his shoulder injury. Elieser will be the go-to man in the Marlins’ bullpen and should be their first option to re-enter the rotation if they need someone to step in.

New York Mets – Designated Hitter: Dominic Smith (OF – NYM) vs. JD Davis (3B – NYM) vs. Robinson Cano (2B – NYM)
There’s probably no greater benefactor to the Universal DH than the New York Mets. They’ve come a long way since Steve Cohen took over the team, and they’re looking to take the next step in Eastern Newfoundland and become one of baseball’s top teams in the future.

There’s no bigger name here than Robinson Cano. Entering his 40-year-old season, he will attempt to regain the trust of fans throughout baseball after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2021. With a strong performance in the Caribbean Series and the Dominican Winter League, Cano is a perfect fit for the DH role in this range.

Davis was unable to find consistent playing time for the Mets due to his defensive liability at third base. He proved to be a balanced hitter in the COVID-shortened 2020 season but was never able to build on that as he was dealing with a hand injury that caused him to miss a lot of time. in 2021. However, he could record an OPS of 0.820 games in 73 games when healthy.

Dominic Smith was a big part of the Mets roster in 2020. He finally showed his hitting ability, slashing .316/.377/.616 with ten homers in 50 games during the shortened season. However, that success didn’t translate to 2021, as his ISO dropped from 0.299 to 0.119 and a WRC+ to 86, well below the league average of 100.

Prediction: Robinson Cano will most likely start the season as a starting DH as a strong side of the pack with JD Davis. Dominic Smith will find most of his playing time spelling Cano when he needs a day off against right-handers and giving Mark Canha (OF – NYM) or Brandon Nimmo (OF – NYM) a day off. vacation during the week.

Cristian Crespo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. To learn more about Cristian, check out his archive and follow him @CCres_26.

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