Top 10 fantasy baseball starting pitchers heading into the 2022 season

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - SEPTEMBER 18: Corbin Burnes #39 of the Milwaukee Brewers throws a pitch in the game against the Chicago Cubs at American Family Field on September 18, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - SEPTEMBER 18: Corbin Burnes #39 of the Milwaukee Brewers throws a pitch in the game against the Chicago Cubs at American Family Field on September 18, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /
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Fantasy Baseball
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 26: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels signals to Jared Walsh #20 of the Los Angeles Angels during the fifth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 26, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images) /

6. Two-way Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels

Shohei Ohtani is the most talented athlete in sports right now. There is simply no other athlete who can make an impact in every facet of the game like Ohtani can. Obviously he’s going to get a ton of fantasy points from his offense, but he deals as well. He is the projected #1 overall fantasy baseball pick by ESPN, but since this is just looking at his pitching, this seems like a fair spot.

In 2021, Ohtani made 23 starts and pitched 130.1 innings. He allowed 98 hits, 46 earned runs, 44 walks, and struck out 156 batters. His ERA was 3.18, his FIP was 3.52, his WHIP was 1.09, and his ERA+ was 141. Expect him to make a few more starts this year.

His Baseball Savant page is unique because of his two-way abilities. His percentile rankings show an interesting mix of hitting and pitching categories, and there’s dark red in both. On the pitching side, his strikeout rate was in the 85th percentile and his xERA was in the 81st percentile. Offensively, his xBA was in the 85th percentile, while his xSLG and xwOBA were both in the 81st percentile. If you have the top pick in your fantasy baseball draft, this is the easy and obvious selection.

5. Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

Cole made 30 starts and pitched 181.1 innings in 2021. He allowed 151 hits, 65 earned runs, 41 walks, struck out 243 batters. HIs ERA was 3.23, his FIP was 2.92, his WHIP was 1.06, and his ERA+ was 133. He gave up a ton of hard contact last year, finishing in the 16th percentile of barrel rate.

Cole finds himself in fifth on the fantasy baseball starters list after an up-and-down season. He started the year hot in March, April, and May, then got torched in June and July — both on the field and off — after having his Spider Tack taken away, then dominated in August, and finally getting lit up in September and October.

The obvious differences between his hot and cold streaks is his control. In March, April, and May combined, he only walked nine batters and only gave up five homers. In June, he gave up eight walks and nine homers. In July, he was able to limit the homers (three) but lost the strike zone even more with 11 walks. The good news is, he was still getting strikeouts while going through his control issues. If he can find his command more consistently and limit the hard contact, he can move up this list.