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Rest-of-Season Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Keeping Up With the Joneses

If I may channel my inner Derek Zoolander, just because I am really, really, really, ridiculously good at ranking players does not mean that my rest-of-season rankings are beyond reproach. After all, they are just one man’s opinion. I have received a fair amount of feedback thus far this year regarding my rankings, and I welcome it. I have different opinions, and sometimes I even get things wrong. It happens. Two of the players I have received the most questions about when it comes to ROS rankings are Nolan Jones of the Colorado Rockies and Jared Jones of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cliffs Notes version is usually that I am too high on Nolan and too low on Jared. Perhaps those people are correct. But here is why I have them ranked where I do, along with some words on my process.

ROS Ranking Tutorial

Rest-of-season rankings mean exactly that: the rest of the season. If the season started tomorrow, I would rank players in a particular order. It does not even mean that is necessarily how I would draft them. That can change based on categorical needs, position and lineup structure, and other factors. My ROS rankings are more along the lines of expected total dollar value in Roto leagues. For example, I have Anthony Volpe ranked ahead of Will Smith. In a vacuum, I think Volpe will be a more productive fantasy contributor going forward than Smith. If I were drafting tomorrow in a two-catcher league, however, I would probably still draft Smith ahead of Volpe. The positional scarcity involved results in Smith coming at a premium draft price relative to Volpe.

I also tend to (or at least I try to) rely less on small sample sizes. For example, if I had a player ranked in the top 50 coming into the season, he is probably at least still in my top 100, barring injury. In the same vein, if I did not have a player prominently ranked in my preseason rankings, I would probably not move him all the way up my list a month into the season. Maybe this is because most of the leagues I play in feature limited roster moves. In my high-stakes home league, every player added to the roster costs money. In my Salary Cap leagues, we can only add/drop 16 players for the entire season. If I am going to add a player in any of these leagues, it better be for a damn good reason.

That does mean I miss the boat at times. I might fail to add a future stud, or I will hold onto a player for too long. I am not perfect, and it is a long season. That is the point I want to emphasize. It is a long season. Which brings me to Nolan and Jared Jones. I do have Nolan ranked lower than I did a month ago. And I have Jared ranked way higher than I did a month ago. Still, people say I have not moved enough on either player. Again, they might be right. But here is my not-exactly-scientific breakdown, to be followed by my latest ROS rankings update. As always, thank you for the feedback and the conversation.

Nolan Jones Outlook

Nolan Jones has been terrible so far this season. Trust me, I know. I have him in the aforementioned high-stakes league. It’s gross. But I can’t give up. Not yet. I will mention that he has been dealing with back issues this week. If that becomes a lingering issue, then he may not come close to living up to his draft price. However, he did return on Saturday and had two hits, so hopefully those issues are behind him. If they are, I still think he will be fine. Jones is striking out at an ugly 37.5 percent rate, but there are reasons for optimism.

His contact rate is up from last year, while his swinging strike rate is down. Jones is taking a lot of pitches, and in particular, a lot of strikes. He is swinging at just 39.5 percent of pitches and sees a 25.5 percent called strike rate. Perhaps he is being too patient for whatever reason. Jones is still hitting the ball relatively hard, with a 55th percentile hard-hit rate. The problem is that he is not barreling the ball much at all. Jones overperformed to a degree last season, with a .297 batting average compared to a .247 xBA. I think another season at close to .300 is probably a pipe dream. However, I do think Jones will get it going, especially once the weather warms up in Colorado.

I also feel the need to point this out from a personal perspective. On May 11 of last year, Josh Naylor was hitting .191 with three home runs and 19 RBI. Do you want to know how I know that? Because that was right around the time I dropped him in my high-stakes league. He finished the season hitting .308 with 17 homers, 97 RBI, and 10 steals. What can I say? Nobody is perfect. So, while I may not be quite as bullish on Nolan Jones as I was a month ago, I still think he will be a valuable fantasy asset going forward. And if you are in my high-stakes league and reading this, sorry, but I am not dropping him. If I go down with the ship, so be it.

Jared Jones Outlook

Jared Jones has set the league on fire since making his MLB debut last month. He enters Sunday’s action with a 2.79 ERA and 0.83 WHIP and has an unreal 39-4 strikeout-walk ratio through five starts. So far, Jones has made me look sillier based on my preseason ranking of him than he made Brice Turang look last week. And for as long as he is allowed to do his thing, he will likely continue to do so. But that is where some of my skepticism lies concerning Jones and my ROS rankings.

Two starts ago, Jones cruised through five innings against the New York Mets. He retired 15 of 16 batters faced through five innings, registering seven strikeouts along the way. And then, the Pirates pulled him from the game. After 59 pitches. In a 1-0 game. Sure enough, Pittsburgh’s bullpen lost the lead and Jones missed out on a win. Look, I know the game is played and managed much differently now than it was when I was growing up. And the same thing is happening throughout the league to a degree. So if Jones only pitches five or six innings at a time, or is capped at around 140 innings for the year, it is not as big a strike against him as it would have been back in the day. But I do think it is the sort of thing that lowers his fantasy ceiling a bit.

While Jones has exhibited excellent control this year, his career Minor League numbers suggest some regression may be in store. I do not see Jones continuing to rival George Kirby in the control department long-term. Jones also has the eighth-highest left-on-base rate among 75 qualified starters. When you combine that with a 7th-percentile hard-hit rate and 14th-percentile barrel rate allowed, it means that Jones may eventually give up some runs that he has not yet thus far. None of this is to suggest that he will be a liability going forward. He has electric stuff and is a must-see when he is on the mound. If you have him on your roster, enjoy the ride. And if I am too low on him going forward, it will not be the first time nor the last that I am wrong about a player.

Rest of Season Fantasy Baseball Rankings

1Ronald Acuna Jr.ATLOF
2Bobby Witt Jr.KCSS
3Mookie BettsLAD2B/SS/ OF
4Fernando Tatis Jr.SDOF
5Kyle TuckerHOUOF
6Juan SotoNYYOF
7Julio RodriguezSEAOF
8Shohei OhtaniLADDH
9Yordan AlvarezHOUOF
10Aaron JudgeNYYOF
11Freddie FreemanLAD1B
12Jose RamirezCLE3B
13Matt OlsonATL1B
14Austin RileyATL3B
15Trea TurnerPHISS
16Zack WheelerPHISP
17Bryce HarperPHI1B
18Gunnar HendersonBALSS/3B
19Michael Harris IIATLOF
20Rafael DeversBOS3B
21Elly De La CruzCINSS/3B
22Corbin BurnesBALSP
23Corbin CarrollARIOF
24Pablo LopezMINSP
25Francisco LindorNYMSS
26Pete AlonsoNYM1B
27Marcus SemienTEX2B
28Ozzie AlbiesATL2B
29Corey SeagerTEXSS
30Freddy PeraltaMILSP
31Kevin GausmanTORSP
32Luis CastilloSEASP
33Jose AltuveHOU2B
34Zac GallenARISP
35George KirbySEASP
36Mike TroutLAAOF
37Yoshinobu YamamotoLADSP
38CJ AbramsWSHSS
39Tyler GlasnowLADSP
40Randy ArozarenaTBOF
41Max FriedATLSP
42Bo BichetteTORSS
43Logan WebbSFSP
44Tarik SkubalDETSP
45Adolis GarciaTEXOF
46Vladimir Guerrero Jr.TOR1B
47Logan GilbertSEASP
48Joe RyanMINSP
49Dylan CeaseSDSP
50Aaron NolaPHISP
51Manny MachadoSD3B
52Framber ValdezHOUSP
53Emmanuel ClaseCLERP
54Zach EflinTBSP
55Kyle SchwarberPHIOF
56Josh HaderHOURP
57Josh NaylorCLE1B
58Jazz Chisholm Jr.MIAOF
59Grayson RodriguezBALSP
60Ketel MarteARI2B
61Paul GoldschmidtSTL1B
62Adley RutschmanBALC
63Christian WalkerARI1B
64Edwin DiazNYMRP
65Andres GimenezCLE2B
66Camilo DovalSFRP
67Nico HoernerCHC2B/SS
68Teoscar HernandezLADOF
69Nolan JonesCOLOF
70Oneil CruzPITSS
71William ContrerasMILC
72George SpringerTOROF
73Chris SaleATLSP
74Christian YelichMILOF
75Marcell OzunaATLDH
76Anthony VolpeNYYSS
77Sonny GraySTLSP
78Cole RagansKCSP
79Gleyber TorresNYY2B
80Alex BregmanHOU3B
81Will SmithLADC
82Alexis DiazCINRP
83Raisel IglesiasATLRP
84Spencer SteerCIN1B/3B/ OF
85Bryan ReynoldsPITOF
86J.T. RealmutoPHIC
87Tyler O’NeillBOSOF
88Carlos RodonNYYSP
89Nolan ArenadoSTL3B
90Evan PhillipsLADRP
91Jackson ChourioMILOF
92Jhoan DuranMINRP
93David BednarPITRP
94Dansby SwansonCHCSS
95Evan CarterTEXOF
96Chris BassittTORSP
97Jarren DuranBOSOF
98Bobby MillerLADSP
99Justin VerlanderHOUSP
100Shota ImanagaCHCSP
101Tanner BibeeCLESP
102Yainer DiazHOUC
103Vinnie PasquantinoKC1B
104Justin SteeleCHCSP
105Jose BerriosTORSP
106Andres MunozSEARP
107Ryan HelsleySTLRP
108Blake SnellSFSP
109Xander BogaertsSD2B/SS
110Christian Encarnacion-StrandCIN1B
111Nick CastellanosPHIOF
112Taylor WardLAAOF
113Yandy DiazTB1B
114Hunter GreeneCINSP
115Christopher MorelCHC3B/OF
116Clay HolmesNYYRP
117Willy AdamesMILSS
118Bailey OberMINSP
119Anthony SantanderBALOF
120Jesus LuzardoMIASP
121Ha-Seong KimSD2B/SS/ 3B
122Joe MusgroveSDSP
123Salvador PerezKCC/1B
124Riley GreeneDETOF
125Cedric MullinsBALOF
126Ian HappCHCOF
127Jorge SolerSFOF
128Alec BohmPHI1B/3B
129Jordan MontgomeryARISP
130Wyatt LangfordTEXOF
131Ezequiel TovarCOLSS
132Jung Hoo LeeSFOF
133Luis ArraezMIA2B
134Seiya SuzukiCHCOF
135Ke’Bryan HayesPIT3B
136Brandon NimmoNYMOF
137Lourdes Gurriel Jr.ARIOF
138Willson ContrerasSTLC
139Tanner ScottMIARP
140Ryan MountcastleBAL1B
141Starling MarteNYMOF
142Rhys HoskinsMIL1B
143Spencer TorkelsonDET1B
144Mitch KellerPITSP
145Bryson StottPHI2B
146Jeremy PenaHOUSS
147Jordan RomanoTORRP
148Michael KingSDSP
149Craig KimbrelBALRP
150Aaron CivaleTBSP
151Mason MillerOAKRP
152Charlie MortonATLSP
153Yusei KikuchiTORSP
154Maikel GarciaKC3B
155Isaac ParedesTB1B/3B
156Kenley JansenBOSRP
157Nathan EovaldiTEXSP
158Yu DarvishSDSP
159Cody BellingerCHC1B/OF
160Royce LewisMIN3B
161Daulton VarshoTOROF
162Matt ChapmanSF3B
163Nathaniel LoweTEX1B
164Steven KwanCLEOF
165Nick LodoloCINSP
166Bryce MillerSEASP
167Reid DetmersLAASP
168Cristian JavierHOUSP
169Pete FairbanksTBRP
170Walker BuehlerLADSP
171Masataka YoshidaBOSOF
172Lars NootbaarSTLOF
173Gerrit ColeNYYSP
174Brandon PfaadtARISP
175Adbert AlzolayCHCRP
176Hunter BrownHOUSP
177Merrill KellyARISP
178Carlos EstevezLAARP
179Nestor CortesNYYSP
180Paul SewaldARIRP
181Byron BuxtonMINOF
182Cal RaleighSEAC
183Thairo EstradaSF2B/SS
184Cristopher SanchezPHISP
185Ryan McMahonCOL2B/3B
186Jake BurgerMIA3B
187MacKenzie GoreWSHSP
188Ryan PepiotTBSP
189Chas McCormickHOUOF
190Jonathan IndiaCIN2B
191Edouard JulienMIN2B
192Kerry CarpenterDETOF
193Jonah HeimTEXC
194Ranger SuarezPHISP
195Robert SuarezSDRP
196Logan O’HoppeLAAC
197Keibert RuizWSHC
198Josh LoweTBOF
199Max ScherzerTEXSP
200Nolan GormanSTL2B
201Lane ThomasWSHOF
202Kutter CrawfordBOSSP
203Brayan BelloBOSSP
204Jake FraleyCINOF
205MJ MelendezKCOF
206Max MuncyLAD3B
207Nick PivettaBOSSP
208Kodai SengaNYMSP
209Jose AlvaradoPHIRP
210Jack SuwinskiPITOF
211James OutmanLADOF
212Eloy JimenezCHWDH
213Kyle BradishBALSP
214Kyle HarrisonSFSP
215Andrew VaughnCHW1B
216Jorge PolancoSEA2B
217Brandon DruryLAA1B/2B
218Luis Robert Jr.CHWOF
219Marcus StromanNYYSP
220Jeimer CandelarioCIN1B/3B
221Bryan WooSEASP
222Bryan De La CruzMIAOF
223Tyler StephensonCINC
224Jordan WestburgBAL2B/3B
225Gabriel MorenoARIC
226Carlos CorreaMINSS
227Eduardo RodriguezARISP
228J.D. MartinezNYMDH
229Jared JonesPITSP
230Anthony RizzoNYY1B
231Luis CampusanoSDC
232Josh BellMIA1B
233Garrett CrochetCHWSP
234Ceddanne RafaelaBOSOF
235Will BensonCINOF
236Max KeplerMINOF
237Jon GrayTEXSP
238Lance LynnSTLSP
239Brendan RodgersCOL2B
240Brendan DonovanSTL2B/OF
241Justin TurnerTOR1B
242Andrew AbbottCINSP
243Jose SiriTBOF
244Jake CronenworthSD1B/2B
245Bo NaylorCLEC
246Mitch GarverSEAC
247Jordan HicksSFSP
248Vaughn GrissomBOSSS
249Tommy EdmanSTL2B/SS/ OF
250Braxton GarrettMIASP
251Zach NetoLAASS
252Giancarlo StantonNYYOF
253Tim AndersonMIASS
254Gavin WilliamsCLESP
255Sean MurphyATLC
256Tanner HouckBOSSP
257Kenta MaedaDETSP
258Jason FoleyDETRP
259Leody TaverasTEXOF
260Griffin CanningLAASP
261Zack GelofOAK2B
262Sal FrelickMILOF
263Ryan JeffersMINC
264Kyle FinneganWSHRP
265Colton CowserBALOF
266Eugenio SuarezARI3B
267Luis SeverinoNYMSP
268Logan AllenCLESP
269Clarke SchmidtNYYSP
270Jack FlahertyDETSP
271Luis RengifoLAA2B/SS/ 3B/OF
272Jackson MerrillSDSS/OF
273Brice TurangMIL2B/SS
274Kirby YatesTEXRP
275Taj BradleyTBSP
276TJ FriedlCINOF
277Triston McKenzieCLESP
278Jameson TaillonCHCSP
279Brenton DoyleCOLOF
280Ty FranceSEA1B
281Brady SingerKCSP
282Edward CabreraMIASP
283Joc PedersonARIOF
284Alejandro KirkTORC
285Joel PayampsMILRP
286Michael WachaKCSP
287Jason AdamTBRP
288Zack LittellTBSP
289Devin WilliamsMILRP
290Patrick SandovalLAASP
291Seth LugoKCSP
292Hunter HarveyWSHRP
293Andrew BenintendiCHWOF
294Miles MikolasSTLSP
295Jordan WalkerSTLOF
296Shane BazTBSP
297Brandon MarshPHIOF
298Jarred KelenicATLOF
299Junior CamineroTBSS/3B
300Luis GarciaWSH2B
301Ronel BlancoHOUSP
302Parker MeadowsDETOF
303Kyle GibsonSTLSP
304Esteury RuizOAKOF
305Nelson VelazquezKCOF
306Alex VerdugoNYYOF
307Brandon LoweTB2B
308Sean ManaeaNYMSP
309Brent RookerOAKOF
310Charlie BlackmonCOLOF
311Kris BryantCOLOF
312Dean KremerBALSP
313Ryan PresslyHOURP
314Jose QuintanaNYMSP
315J.P. CrawfordSEASS
316Triston Casas BOS1B
317Orlando ArciaATLSS
318Reynaldo LopezATLSP
319Steven MatzSTLSP
320Jeff HoffmanPHIRP
321Jeff McNeilNYM2B/OF
322Jackson HollidayBAL2B/SS
323Paul SkenesPITSP
324Chris PaddackMINSP
325Henry DavisPITC/OF
326Jose SorianoLAASP
327James McArthurKCRP
328Wilyer AbreuBOSOF
329Reese OlsenDETSP
330Hector NerisCHCRP
331Andrew HeaneyTEXSP
332Dane DunningTEXSP
333Justin LawrenceCOLRP
334Ryan O’HearnBAL1B/OF
335Jose LeclercTEXRP
336Jordan WicksCHCSP
337Trevor RogersMIASP
338Colt KeithDET2B/3B
339Masyn WinnSTLSS
340Tyler AndersonLAASP
341Alex KirilloffMIN1B/OF
342Erick FeddeCHWSP
343Michael KopechCHWRP
344Michael BuschCHC1B/3B
345Jacob deGromTEXSP
346Tommy PhamCHWOF
347Paul BlackburnOAKSP
348Graham AshcraftCINSP
349Josh JungTEX3B
350JP SearsOAKSP
351Ramon LaureanoCLEOF
352Jose AbreuHOU1B
353Mark CanhaDETOF
354Aroldis ChapmanPITRP
355Luis GilNYYSP
356Yimi GarciaTORRP
357Bryce ElderATLSP
358Shea LangeliersOAKC
359Kevin GinkelARIRP
360Casey MizeDETSP
361Frankie MontasCINSP
362Garrett WhitlockBOSSP
363Javier BaezDETSS
364Alex LangeDETRP
365Yuki MatsuiSDRP
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