We continue our season recap by looking at the hitters who did well and those who struggled. I try to base this off of their average draft position in March and don’t hold season-ending injuries against them. For that reason, Mike Trout will not crack this list, but it should be noted that the star outfielder has not played 150 games since 2016. It will be really interesting to see where Trout is drafted next March.

Three Up:

1. Baltimore Orioles Outfielder Cedric Mullins — The All-Star center fielder has to crack this list after a breakout season. Mullins was routinely featured on the “Three Up” portion and rightfully so. The 27-year-old was drafted as the 266th hitter and 468th player overall and all he has done this season is hit .295 with 30 home runs, 30 stolen bases and 89 runs scored. Mullins has struggled the past couple of months — he hit .252 in August and is batting .237 in September — but this should not dampen a monster season. There’s no doubt Mullins is rostered on many teams that are fighting for a fantasy baseball championship.

2. Toronto Blue Jays Infielder Marcus Semien — Drafted as the 17th second baseman and 132 overall, Semien enjoyed a record-breaking season. The second baseman set a record for most home runs by a primary second baseman (44 and counting). Semien is also batting .266 with 113 runs, 101 RBIs and 15 stolen bases. It’s been a magical season for the soon-to-be free agent, who has been part of a Blue Jays lineup that is extremely fantasy friendly.

3. Cincinnati Reds First Baseman Joey Votto — The veteran reinvented himself in 2021, and it will be interesting to see what player we see in 2022. Votto stopped hitting home runs in 2018, as he went from 36 in 2017 to 12 in 2018. He followed that season with 15 home runs, but there were signs of a bounce-back in the shortened 2020 season when Votto hit 11 in 54 games. The 38-year-old carried the power momentum of 2020 over to this year, as he enters the final weekend with 35 home runs. Votto is also approaching 100 RBIs with 96 and has rebounded nicely in the batting-average department by hitting .270. Votto was drafted as the 51st first baseman and is currently top 15 in all of baseball in home runs.

Three Down:

1. Cincinnati Reds Infielder Eugenio Suarez — Despite hitting 30 home runs and driving in 77 runs, Suarez killed fantasy owners with a putrid .192 batting average. As we preached in March, we try to target hitters who help in multiple categories but also don’t crush us in any single one. Suarez is batting below .200, and that’s not going to cut it. Suarez was drafted as the 11th third baseman in March, so it’s been a disappointing season.

2. New York Yankees Outfielder Joey Gallo — Routinely spotlighted in this portion, Gallo finds himself on the “Three Down” in the season recap as well. The slugger did hit 38 home runs with 76 RBIs, but like Suarez, his batting average crushes fantasy owners. Gallo is batting .199 for the season and failed to finish with a .180 batting average in any of the final three months. I’ll continue to preach that fantasy owners should not be drafting players like this. Gallo was the 37th outfielder drafted in March, so many people still believe his home runs are helpful.

3. Milwaukee Brewers Outfielder Christian Yelich — One of my favorite players in baseball is currently in a two-season slump, and that’s extremely concerning. Yelich was drafted 12 overall, but enters the final weekend of the season with only nine home runs. Yelich was hurt this season, but he will still approach 120 games played, plenty to make an impact. Yelich’s slugging percentage has dropped from .671 in 2019 to .374 in 2021. The former MVP will enter 2022 at the age of 30. I can easily see him falling to Round 6 or 7 in fantasy drafts, which could make him a value come March.

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox

Phil Backert

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