2019 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft (12 Teams, Middle Pick)
It’s mock draft season again and I’ll be diving into a 12-team mixed league draft with 5×5 scoring categories (R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, W, SV, K, ERA, WHIP). This league includes one catcher, an MI and CI spot, three OFs, two RP, six SP, and a UT spot along with the traditional positions. One of the best tools in the business is the FantasyPros Mock Draft Simulator, where you can easily plug in all of your scoring categories and draft in minutes.
The strategy can change based on your draft position, so it’s important to complete a mock draft from several draft slots. This mock will focus on the middle-pick draft position in a 12-team league. In many ways, this can be advantageous because there isn’t the high-risk of waiting for your guy another 23 picks or reaching for that potential sleeper.
Mock drafts are perfect opportunities to try something you normally don’t do. See which strategy produces the team you’re looking for, and roll with that. Of course, an actual draft will likely be slightly different than the mocks, so you’re prepared when that breakout star falls, or your favorite 2B, is taken right before your pick. In this draft, I’m going to go heavy on hitting and look for upside pitching in the sixth round.
Rounds 1-5: The Hitting Foundation
Round 1, Pick 6: J.D. Martinez (OF – BOS)
There is a ton of talent available early in the first round, and it’s hard to go wrong when choosing between the likes of Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, and Trea Turner, who were still on the board. Martinez is going to bring the power and average numbers with a few stolen bases sprinkled in as well.
Round 2, Pick 19: Freddie Freeman (1B – ATL)
One of the advantages of picking with that middle selection is the ability to scoop a quality hitter like Freeman in the second round. Much like Martinez without as much power, Freeman is going to contribute to every category. Bryce Harper was still available and, while Freeman may not have his upside, he is a much safer pick.
Round 3, Pick 30: Kris Bryant (3B – CHC)
Bryant has been a really consistent player in his career, and I’ll take the discount here for the shoulder injury. This could be a real value pick in the third round.
Round 4, Pick 43: Cody Bellinger (1B/OF – LAD)
Here is a guy that I’m betting on a bit of a bounce-back year, but even if he produces like his 2018 numbers, I’d take that from a #2 outfielder. Shiny-new toy Vladimir Guerrero went with the next pick and Springer was taken later in the fourth round, but I would rather take the proven upside of Bellinger here.
Round 5, Pick 54: Lorenzo Cain (OF – MIL)
In a three-OF league, it’s a good idea to get three quality outfielders early or you’ll be chase everyone else most of the year. Cain is 32 and coming off an excellent season, but if he can contribute anywhere near the 30 stolen bases he put up last season, he’ll be a nice asset. Guys that can hit over .300 and steal over 25 bases are not plentiful anymore.
Rounds 6-9: Mixing It Up
Round 6, Pick 67: James Paxton (SP – NYY)
There’s plenty that could go wrong with this pick, but I’m betting on the upside of Paxton with a team that we know is going to bring run support and bullpen stability to the table for the things we usually cannot control with starting pitchers.
Round 9, Pick 102: Travis Shaw (2B/3B – MIL)
I’ve always thought Shaw was a little underrated, and I love the 2B eligibility. Odor and Cano went with the next two picks of the ninth round.
Rounds 10-12: Get the Pitching
Round 10, Pick 115: Robbie Ray (SP – ARI)
More risk involved, but I love the elite strikeout ability of Ray.
Round 11, Pick 126: Luis Castillo (SP – CIN)
I owned a ton of Castillo shares last year and it may have been a year early. I do not want to miss out when the big breakout happens.
Round 12, Pick 139: Charlie Morton (SP – TB)
Morton is 35 years old, but I still like the potential for another solid campaign with high strikeout totals and the 3.50 ERA that seems to be elusive in today’s baseball.
Rounds 13-18: Finding Late Value
Round 14, Pick 163: Kyle Hendricks (SP – CHC)
Hendricks isn’t going to strike a ton of people out and there’s not a great deal of upside, but the guy continues to produce a low ERA and WHIP, and I’m willing to invest at this point in the draft.
Round 15, Pick 174: Wilson Ramos (C – NYM)
I don’t know if I’m as high as some experts on Ramos, but there aren’t many catchers with the ability to hit over .275, and the Mets backstop rode a .353 BABIP to a .306 AVG in 2018. There’s likely some regression coming, but I’ll take that production from the 15th round and seventh catcher taken in this draft.
Round 16, Pick 187: David Robertson (RP – PHI)
Robertson may not be getting the saves that some of the more elite options will, but he provides some value here.
Round 17, Pick 198: Alex Wood (SP – CIN)
Even with the potential bump in ERA playing in Cincinnati, he could potentially raise his value because he now has a guaranteed spot in the starting rotation.
Round 18, Pick 211: Andrew Miller (RP – STL)
There are other options in St. Louis and Miller has been used in more of a high-leverage role for years, but there is a definite possibility he takes the job and runs with it.
Rounds 19-23: Rounding it Out
Round 19, Pick 222: D.J. LeMahieu (2B – NYY)
I’m not the biggest fan of LeMahieu, but it makes sense to target tools late in roto or category leagues. I’m betting on AVG here because it’s much more scarce than power.
Round 20, Pick 235: Marcus Semien (SS – OAK)
Semien is vastly underrated every year and could contribute a 15-15 season at a cheap price.
Round 21, Pick 246: Joe Musgrove (SP – PIT)
Musgrove could take a big jump in 2019. There were flashes of greatness last season with that 3.59 FIP and 11% swinging-strike rate.
Round 22, Pick 259: Adam Eaton (OF – WAS)
It’s been two years since Eaton was a significant fantasy contributor, but it’s worth taking a flier at this point to see if the 30-year-old still has something left in the tank.
Round 23, Pick 270: Sonny Gray (SP – CIN)
The overall numbers were ugly, but the stuff hasn’t changed all that much. He was actually pretty good away from Yankee Stadium. His pitch usage was much different in 2018 from his days with Oakland, so maybe reuniting with former Vandy pitching coach Derek Johnson could provide benefits for Gray.
Round 24, Pick 283: Shin-Soo Choo (OF – TEX)
Choo still produces at his advanced age and is worth a pick in the last round.
You can check out the results of my draft here. The draft was rated as a 98/100 and given an A+. I was surprised by the score, especially with the lack of a true ace. This shows that it pays to invest in hitters that can contribute in multiple categories early and chase batting average instead of some of the sexier categories.
The Draft Analysis really liked James Paxton, Jean Segura, and Kenley Jansen as value picks, but saw Joe Musgrove and Sonny Gray as reaches. I seem to be higher on Musgrove and Gray than most, and I’ll likely end up with a few shares in my leagues.
The strategy itself is interesting. Sure, there are some moves I could have made to improve my pitching, but some luck resulted in a nice staff considering the investment. This is one of my favorite teams I’ve drafted for a 5×5 league, so I wouldn’t be surprised if my actual teams closely resemble the results of this draft.