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2019 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft (10 Teams, AL-Only)

by Tyler Watts | @tylerpwatts | Featured Writer
Feb 5, 2019

James Paxton carries some risk, but he’s still an ace-worthy selection in AL-only drafts

The MLB regular season begins on March 20 with the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland Athletics playing a two-game series in Japan. That means there are less than two months until baseball that counts for fantasy leagues.

Draft season is almost here and managers can get prepared by using the Draft Wizard. This tool allows anyone to do a fully customizable mock draft in minutes. You can literally do 12 drafts during your half hour lunch break making it a fantastic way to get ready for the real thing. Today, we will take a look at a 10-team, AL-only mock draft that I completed recently.

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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 AL-only or NL-only leagues is a challenge with so many players still unsigned. Sure, Bryce Harper hanging out in the early second round of an AL-only draft is enticing, but if he heads to an NL 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 Harper and Machado, but it is a gamble that could throw your season down the drain before Opening Day.

Rotation

James Paxton (4), Eduardo Rodriguez (9), Shane Beiber (10), Michael Fulmer (12), Reynaldo Lopez (14), Jake Faria (16), Lucas Giolito (18)

I was not really in a position to grab an ace in the first two rounds, so my strategy on pitching had to adapt slightly. Grabbing Paxton as the ninth starter off the board brings some risk (career-high in innings is 160.1), but he has shown the ability to pitch like a top tier starter.

The rest of my staff is all gambles for their upside. Rodriguez took a step forward last season, and at least needs to repeat those gains in 2019. Bieber needs to pitch closer to his 3.23 FIP and maintain his strikeout rate. Fulmer needs to bounce back after a poor 2018. The last three picks are all young upside arms that could take a step forward in 2019. This staff gives me the ability to choose my matchups wisely and still compete in K’s and W’s despite not having an ace to fall back on.

Bullpen

Roberto Osuna (6), Ken Giles (7), Hunter Strickland (20), Chris Devenski (21)

Strickland needs to earn the closing gig for the Mariners for my bullpen to be firing on all cylinders. Having three closers could be a massive advantage in an “only” league. I recommend paying for saves in single leagues because the ability to secure them on the waiver wire is spotty at best.

Using my last pick on Devinski is taking a chance on a player that could make quite an impact in 2019. If he can regain his 2017 form, the Astros reliever can provide plenty of K’s and stabilize my ERA and WHIP in the process.

Infield

Jose Altuve (1), Joey Gallo (5), Jurickson Profar (8), Yulieski Gurriel (11), Willy Adames (13), Jonathan Lucroy (17)

The infield provides plenty of depth and flexibility for an “only” league. Grabbing players like Gallo, Profar, and Gurriel that can move into multiple positions can be a massive advantage if injuries strike. Starting off with Altuve and his rock solid production was nice, but he needs to steal 20-plus bases in 2019 for my squad to compete for the top prize.

Gallo, Profar, and Adames could all be in line for their best season yet. That creates an upside that most squads do not have. It also gives my team many avenues to securing fantasy glory.

Profar is still only 25 years old and the A’s appear slated to give him full-time at-bats — something he struggled to find in Texas until last season. Gallo is nearing the top of my must draft list, especially in this format. If the 25-year-old can cut his strikeout rate by just five percent, he could be pushing 50 HRs with a batting average in the .230 range.

Outfield

Aaron Judge (2), Justin Upton (3), Max Kepler (15), Avisail Garcia (19)

The outfield here does not have a ton of depth, but it has plenty of power. Judge could easily swat 50 homers in 2019. Upton has three consecutive seasons of 30-plus, but he needs to steal 10 bases for the draft choice to be a success. Kepler should provide 20 bombs, but needs to hit closer to .240.

Garcia is a fantastic upside shot in round 19 of an “only” league. He hit 19 HR in 385 PA’s last season. Injuries derailed his season, but likely platooning in Tampa Bay could mean a strong average and 25-plus HRs for the 28-year-old.

Results

The Draft Analyzer gave me 82 out of 100 for my team, but I feel slightly better about it. My team is rife with upside. That is what I want in an “only” league. The margins are thin in deeper leagues, so one injury could derail my squad. I am going to hunt for breakouts and players looking to rebound after a poor season more in deeper leagues.

Another strategy tip for an “only” draft is taking a prospect that has the potential to get an early season call up and breakout late in the draft. Bo Bichette is the type of impact bat that could force his way to the majors in 2019 and swing an AL-only league. Take a risk on a young prospect, especially if your bench features four or more players.


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

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