2019 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft (10 Team NL-Only)

by Tyler Watts | @tylerpwatts | Featured Writer
Feb 11, 2019

NL-only drafters can build a strong rotation around the reliable Jacob deGrom.

The MLB regular season begins full throttle on March 28 with all 30 teams in action. That means less than two months remain until the games count. Spring training is also almost here, and the 2019 season is truly right around the corner.

With fantasy draft season approaching, managers can get prepared by using the Draft Wizard. This tool allows anyone to do a fully customizable mock draft in no time. You can literally do 12 drafts during your 30-minute lunch break, making it a stellar way to get ready for the actual event.

Today, we will take a peek at a 10-team NL-only mock draft that I recently completed.

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League Rules

  • 5×5 Roto (HR, RBI, R, SB, BA, ERA, WHIP, W, K, SV)
  • 10 teams (randomized snake order where I picked 10th)
  • C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, 3 OF, UTL, 3 SP, 3 RP, 2 P, 4 BN

Strategy: Doing drafts for only leagues is a challenge with so many players still unsigned. Sure, Manny Machado is available in the early second round of an NL-only draft, and it is enticing to select him, but if he heads to an AL squad you lost that pick completely. As a rule, I try to avoid all unsigned players until after round 10 because of the risk involved. Exceptions would be made for players like Machado and Bryce Harper, but it is a gamble that could throw your season down the drain before the players even step on the field.

Rotation

Jacob deGrom (1), Luis Castillo (7), Alex Wood (11), Luke Weaver (15), Jimmy Nelson (16), Julio Teheran (17)
Taking deGrom in the first round is a bit of a risk, but having a bonafide ace trumped the potential downside. He has a career 2.67 ERA with over 200 strikeouts in three of the last four years. Perhaps the safest pitcher on the board, he was impossible to pass up.

Having an anchor allowed me to wait a bit on pitching while giving me the luxury to chase some upside gambles in a deeper league. Castillo struggled last season, but still has a career 3.89 ERA with 263 strikeouts in 259 innings. The 26-year-old could be in line for a breakout season, making him well the worth the selection.

Wood has a 3.39 FIP and 1.15 WHIP over the last three seasons. He should continue to pitch well when healthy, so I am not worried about his change of scenery in the slightest.

Weaver and Nelson both provide the upside of a number two starter in the later rounds. Things have to break right, but taking a chance on two players with significant upside seemed wise.

Teheran remains underrated as well. The Braves have a ton of sparkling young pitching on the way, but the veteran is only 28. He also had a sub 1.17 WHIP in two of the last three years. Teheran is also a lock for 150-plus strikeouts (six straight seasons of accomplishing that feat). Sign me up for that production in round 17 of an NL-only draft.

Bullpen

Felipe Vazquez (6), David Robertson (12), Corbin Burnes (18)
The mantra of not paying for saves rarely works in a single league. The waiver-wire crop often consists of unsteady closers or players that may never gain the job. I usually pay up for a safe reliever in the first seven rounds and in this draft, it was the Vazquez.

To solidify my position in the standings, I chose Robertson and Burnes. Robertson has closer experience. If the Phillies plan on contending, they could rely on that come Opening Day. Burnes may not be the Opening Day closer, but he was impressive last season. The 24-year-old could grab the role (or rotation spot) at some point this season and never relinquish it.

Infield

Freddie Freeman (2), Travis Shaw (5), Willson Contreras (9), Cesar Hernandez (10), Chris Taylor (13), Josh Bell (14), Ryan McMahon (19), Brendan Rodgers (20)
Selecting Freeman on the turn provides a ton of safety. The Braves star is in his prime and has batted over .300 for three straight seasons. Adding in averages of 93 runs, 28 home runs, and 87 RBIs per season, managers have a fantastic first-round worthy selection.

Shaw should provide power, and drafting Contreras in round nine gave me the top catcher on the board. Hernandez gives the lineup a boost in steals with potential for home runs or batting average depending on which approach he takes in 2019.

Taylor was a no-brainer selection. Pairing him and Shaw gives the roster a plethora of versatility. That is more useful in only leagues, where replacing an injured player can be painstaking.

Near the end of the draft, McMahon and Rodgers give me upside with two young Rockies who could earn starting roles. Having one breakout could be the key to winning a league. Always try to take high-upside players with your bench spots.

Outfield

Cody Bellinger (3), Marcell Ozuna (4), Ender Inciarte (8), Tyler O’Neill (21)
I went for three outfields before the conclusion of round eight because each’s value was too good to pass up. Bellinger provides a power and speed combo that should only improve this season. Ozuna is coming off an injury-plagued season which has pushed down his draft value.

Grabbing Inciarte in round eight is a steal. The Braves centerfield has stolen 106 bases over the last five seasons. That category is difficult to fill in NL-only league, making Inciarte the choice without hesitation.

O’Neill is another high upside draft choice in the late rounds. He has two 30-home run and 14-steal seasons in the minor leagues. Just 23, he could be ready to shine this season.

Results

The Draft Wizard gave me an 88 out of 100 for this draft. The team may not be perfect, but I love the blend of upside and safety for an NL-only league. Grabbing steady production early allows managers to take a few chances late in the draft. My final four selections have the ceiling to push me up in multiple categories and help win the league. Having a one-in-four chance at a league- winning breakout is about as good as the odds get in an only league.

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Tyler Watts is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Tyler, follow him @tylerpwatts.

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3Christian McCaffrey (CAR)RB
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5Melvin Gordon (LAC)RB
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17Nick Chubb (CLE)RB
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19JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT)WR
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21George Kittle (SF)TE
22Mike Evans (TB)WR
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25A.J. Green (CIN)WR
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27Patrick Mahomes (KC)QB
28Leonard Fournette (JAC)RB
29Aaron Jones (GB)RB
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2Mookie Betts (BOS)CF,RF
3Christian Yelich (MIL)LF,CF
4Nolan Arenado (COL)3B
5Max Scherzer (WSH)SP
6J.D. Martinez (BOS)LF,RF
7Jose Ramirez (CLE)2B,3B
8Ronald Acuna Jr. (ATL)LF,CF
9Alex Bregman (HOU)3B,SS
10Jose Altuve (HOU)2B
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11Bryce Harper (PHI)CF,RF
12Manny Machado (SD)3B,SS
13Trevor Story (COL)SS
14Jacob deGrom (NYM)SP
15Justin Verlander (HOU)SP
16Paul Goldschmidt (STL)1B
17Javier Baez (CHC)2B,3B
18Freddie Freeman (ATL)1B
19Francisco Lindor (CLE)SS
20Charlie Blackmon (COL)CF
21Cody Bellinger (LAD)1B,CF
22Aaron Judge (NYY)RF,DH
23Gerrit Cole (HOU)SP
24Trevor Bauer (CLE)SP
25Blake Snell (TB)SP
26Anthony Rendon (WSH)3B
27Andrew Benintendi (BOS)LF,CF
28Chris Sale (BOS)SP
29Whit Merrifield (KC)1B,2B
30Corey Kluber (CLE)SP
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16Jimmy Butler (PHI)SG,SF
17Kemba Walker (CHA)PG
18Kyrie Irving (BOS)PG,SG
19Ben Simmons (PHI)PG,SF
20Jrue Holiday (NOR)PG,SG
21Rudy Gobert (UTH)C
22Andre Drummond (DET)PF,C
23John Wall (WAS)PG
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25Khris Middleton (MIL)SG,SF
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