2019 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft (12 Teams, Late Pick)
Wow, values have changed since my last mock draft. I picked at the same spot (#11) as last time, and my team looks vastly different. I used the same settings as last time as well — 12-team 5×5 roto league, and mixed eligibility. Yes, that includes Yahoo and its shallower-than-the-kids-swimming-pool of position eligibility.
I like my team a ton more than the last mock I did, but I got a very similar grade. What this tells me is that it might be better to have an early-round draft pick, which we will cover later this week. Check out the full squad below:
1.11: Ronald Acuna (OF – ATL)
I had the opportunity to pick Machado again here, but I couldn’t resist the five-category studliness than Acuna brings to the table. While Roster Resource currently has Acuna hitting fourth, all it takes is a Josh Donaldson injury for him to move up in the order, potentially giving him more opportunities for steals. Even if he doesn’t, he’s hitting behind Freddie Freeman. The more I pick apart the rankings, the more it seems like outfield is weak, whereas I know I can get a shortstop or third baseman with a ton of value later.
2.14: Jose Altuve (2B – HOU)
Machado and Bregman went at the turn, so I went with another four or five category contributor with a position that lacks depth. I’m confident that he will be back to full strength after his knee surgery and keep in mind that Altuve is somehow only 28 years old. I could have went for deGrom here, but I was confident I could nab an ace a round later that I liked. Once you see who I could’ve gotten in rounds three and four, I probably should have actually picked deGrom.
Others considered: Jacob deGrom
3.35: Luis Severino (SP – NYY)
Got my ace. With a 22.3% K/BB ratio, he controls his ratios incredibly well while also piling up the Ks. He also featured a 75% strand rate and 11.4% HR/FB rate, which are both fairly neutral and can be expected to continue. If he can get his ground ball rate back to his previous levels of 45%, he could be a top-five starter at the end of the year. However, knowing that Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo were staring at me outside of the top-30 players was tempting, but I knew I’d get at least one of them on the back end.
4.38: Kris Bryant (3B/OF – CHC)
This is incredible value for a former MVP and a guy whose floor is 30 homers and a combined 180 runs and RBIs. Of course, we can’t be sure that he’s healthy, but getting Bryant in the fourth round bakes his potential injury risk into his price. And yes, Rizzo was there still. I just felt like I had enough of a floor to take the risk with KB.
5.59: Lorenzo Cain (OF – MIL)
Cain is above average in steals, average, and runs, and is serviceable in the other two categories. With first base being so thin, I had a plan to pick up the remainder of Joey Votto and Jose Abreu at the turn. Cain experienced a seven percent increase in hard-hit rate and dropped his fly ball rate to 23 percent. If he can replicate that in 2019, he can maintain a .350+ BABIP.
6.62: Joey Votto (1B – CIN)
I’m banking on Votto returning to form, and by drafting him early in the sixth round, there’s even more of a value added. Even though 2018 was a bad season in terms of results, Votto actually upped his line drive eight percent and his hard-hit rate five percent. The issue was that his fly ball rate dropped to 31 percent. If he can get that number back to the upper 30s, we should be looking at 25+ homers again.
Others Considered: Jose Abreu, Tommy Pham
7.83: Nelson Cruz (DH – MIN)
I noticed that while my team was fantastic in four of the five hitting categories, I actually needed a big bopper to shore up my homers. Look no further. The ageless wonder is projected for 35 homers and 100 RBIs once again. I could have selected from a glob of outfielders here (Yasiel Puig, Justin Upton, etc.), but I went with the best player on the board since I already had two outfielders. The Draft Wizard deemed this pick a “steal” — getting value at least two rounds above where you drafted a player.
8.86: Zach Wheeler (SP – NYM)
The fake fantasy owners must have been asleep at the wheel because both Upton and Puig were still on the board. However, I knew at this point I had to focus on pitching since I was fully loaded in all five hitting categories. Wheeler is someone who has a very wide range of rankings, but I’m high on him headed into 2019.
For one, Wheeler sported a .174/.237/.253 slash line in 75 innings after the All-Star break, and nearly averaged a strikeout per inning. The Mets also had a longer leash with him in the second half, and likely will do the same with an uncomfortable bullpen outside of Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia. We have seen how pitchers with good second halves from the season before (Trevor Bauer, Blake Snell) can turn it into a full season of dominance.
9.107: Miles Mikolas (SP – STL)
Lets go! I was nervous that after 20+ picks that the solid SP2/3 types would have all fallen off, but I am ecstatic that Mikolas was still around. Mikolas has a ton of room to grow — with pVALs (according to FanGraphs) of 8.2 for his fastball and an incredible 23.7 for his slider, Mikolas has the opportunity to put more batters away in 2019. It’s possible for him to see his K-rate rise to 25% this year, all with an above-average ground ball rate and great command. I achieved my goal of landing three starters that were all ranked in the top 36 of ECR (Expert Consensus Ranking).
10.110: Matt Chapman (3B – OAK)
Since I missed out on the elite shortstops, I figured I could wait a few more rounds to take one, especially with Jonathan Villar off the board. I also had this bright idea of throwing Bryant into the outfield once I realized that a high-ceiling player in Mr. Chapman was waiting for me. I wrote a couple days ago about how Chapman’s high BABIP is legit, and am salivating at the fact that if ever left the Coliseum, he would be drafted in the third round. For someone who has the potential to outproduce Bryant, getting this guy in the tenth round feels like a steal.
11.131: Luis Castillo (SP – CIN)
In retrospect, I probably should have taken Castillo before Mikolas, as he has proven that he can be a dominant pitcher, especially in the second half of 2018, and has much more upside. On the other hand, I’m not too upset that I have both. Post All-Star break, Castillo had a 2.44 ERA, struck out more than a hitter an inning, and had a wOBA of .268 — the league average is .315!
As gravy, he posted a 26% K/BB ratio in the second half. He was able to take over a mile per hour off of both his changeup and slider, giving him greater differentiation from his 95+ MPH fastball. If he can take his best practices from 2018, there’s no doubt we can see him be an SP2 in 2019.
12.134: Aaron Hicks (OF – NYY)
I just kept watching Hicks drop, drop, and drop, much like Jarvis Landry trying to catch passes from a certain Baker. To get someone who can produce at a well-above-average clip in homers, runs, and RBIs, while chipping in at steals, in the 12th round is a no-brainer. If Hicks can stay healthy (huge if), we could be looking at 30 homers and 180 combined runs and RBIs with double-digit steals. I’m targeting Michael Conforto and Aaron Hicks as my third outfielder in each draft, and I was able to take Hicks as a utility player.
13.155: Yu Darvish (SP – CHC)
With all the pitching I stockpiled in the first half of the draft, I felt comfortable taking a risk with Darvish. I am looking to get about 150 innings out of him with good-not-great ratios and a 25% strikeout percentage. I also saw that there was another glob of middle infielders and outfielders I did not need, so I went with the guy I thought had the highest upside.
14.158: Paul DeJong (SS – STL)
While it’s not hard to find power later in the draft, it’s definitely harder to come by at shortstop. DeJong has quietly put up 44 homers over the past two years and has the batted ball profile to back that up. Elvis Andrus is going just before him, but I’m not enamored with a guy who does everything so-so and is injury prone.
15.179: Archie Bradley (RP – ARI)
I knew that I missed my turn at the top relievers, so I decided to wait out the mid-tier of guys before diving in all at once. I also knew that the guy picking at the turn did not have a reliever, so I knew I needed to scoop one up. Bradley, while he did struggle last year, posted a 25%+ strikeout percentage to go with an 18.6% K/BB ratio, which is great for a reliever. The Diamondbacks are definitely not a great club, Bradley has a great chance at 25+ saves while posting above-average ratios. I realize Greg Holland is set to start the season as Arizona’s closer, but I do not believe in him and feel that Bradley will ultimately claim the role.
16.182: Andrew Miller (RP – STL)
We live in a crazy world – the guy with no relievers picked two high-risk, high-reward starters in Tyler Glasnow and Nick Pivetta at the turn, leaving me with Andrew Miller! Yes, Miller was injured and did not have a good 2018. However, getting a guy who will post great ratios and strikeouts, and may even get the closer’s job, is good enough value to nab in the 16th round.
17.203: Kyle Schwarber (OF – CHC)
What do ya know, I made the same pick in the last mock draft. Schwarber has dropped substantially in each mock draft, so it is good to know that I can take my chances on him dropping a few rounds — this is why you do mocks. With Schwarber, I get a guy who helps make up for my power gap and has the potential to post a big RBI number in 2019.
18.206: Arodys Vizcaino (RP – ATL)
While Vizcaino will be battling for a closer’s role, he’s currently the favorite at Roster Resource and Steamer to win the job. While he did post a 2.11 ERA, he did have a 91% strand rate, suggesting negative regression is just around the corner. Going forward, I plan to grab a Felipe Vazquez/Roberto Osuna type to avoid this mess at the back end of drafts.
19.227: Justin Smoak (1B – TOR)
Oh, how people forget that Smoak posted a 38-homer, 90-RBI season just two years ago. While we can’t expect him to duplicate that, we can expect him to partially regress back to his batted ball profile, which yielded more liners and fly balls. In turn, we should see a return back to 25-30 homers with at least 80 RBIs in 2019.
20.230: Adam Eaton (OF – WAS)
Sigh…I made this pick in the last mock too. In a world where it’s hard to find average and steals at the back end of drafts, Eaton presents himself well. I briefly considered Shin-Soo Choo but opted against that since Eaton has the better average, despite the injury risk. Remember — you aren’t keeping this roster for the year! Taking a chance on guys at the end of the draft gives you a better chance of at least one of them panning out and potentially being league-winners.
21.252: Nathan Eovaldi (SP – BOS)
I’m shocked that Eovaldi lasted this long. There is substantial injury risk with his previous health concerns and the extended innings that he pitched in the playoffs, but the potential to be an SP2/3 is better than substantially all other starters remaining. He should be able to bump that K% close to 25 percent.
22.255: Joe Musgrove (SP – PIT)
Rounding out my starters, I picked up a guy who is primed for a breakout year. Musgrove possesses a better-than-average swinging strike rate, While he may be better suited for points leagues due to his excellent command, his FIP and xFIP suggest that he can post a sub-4 ERA while striking out nearly a batter an inning. Not bad for an SP7.
23.275: Austin Barnes (C – LAD)
Well, in case you missed it, I completely missed the run on the mid-tier catchers. This is a prime example of why picking at the turn can be frustrating. Nonetheless, I chose Barnes over others (Robinson Chirinos, Jonathan Lucroy, etc.) due to his upside potential and that the Dodgers are officially out of the J.T. Realmuto deal. His 28% K-rate from last year looks like it will regress, given that he struck out at a 16.4% clip in 2017.
I received an 86 out of 100, slightly better than my last mock by a single point. In hindsight, I should’ve taken deGrom, and I still could’ve gotten great value in the middle rounds on hitters. It also looks like getting an elite closer and a top-eight catcher is imperative to having a well-balanced squad.