10-Team Mock Draft Category (2020 Fantasy Baseball)
The Super Bowl is over, and fantasy baseball mock draft season is officially here! The great college and NBA basketball on television might help to suffice your sports cravings for the time being, but there’s no denying that MLB Spring Training is right about the corner. FantasyPros is here to help you prepare for your fantasy baseball season. Whether it’s articles, mock drafts, rankings, or other research that helps you prepare, FantasyPros has you covered. No one beats the FantasyPros Draft Simulator. It’s fast, realistic, and you don’t have to put up with some dude taking a minute and a half to decide to pick Bartolo Colon in the first round of your mock like on other sites.
For this article, I completed a 10-team snake mock draft using the 10 major category statistics as the settings. I put myself smack dab in the middle of the pack at pick five to be able to provide the most all-around help. I also went in with a plan. Knowing I was going to take one rock-solid starter and closer early, and then fill in the rest of my early picks with hitters, helped shape my strategy. But like any good fantasy player, I left my options open to take the best available player if someone fell. Let’s check out the results!
1.05: Cody Bellinger (1B/OF – LAD)
Taking Bellinger was an easy decision at five. I love Cole and Lindor, but neither one offers the pure upside of Acuna Jr., Trout, Yelich, Betts, or Bellinger, making the fifth spot an enviable one. All projection systems show Bellinger still cranking 40-plus home runs this season, while a .300+ average could still be attainable considering his absurd 49% hard-hit rate last year. Getting an MVP like this in the five spot was a no brainer.
2.06: Alex Bregman (3B/SS – HOU)
If individual players haven’t received suspensions yet for the sign-stealing scandal, it’s not going to happen. While the sign stealing was very, very real, it shouldn’t have an impact on Bregman’s season-long stats. Bregman is one of a small group of players who are towards the top of the rankings and have legitimately gotten better every single season. If his ridiculous ascension continues, Bregman could truly hit 45 home runs and have a .300 average. I picked a player with the 16th pick who will go in the first round of every draft in 2021.
3.05: Aaron Judge (OF – NYY)
The intrigue with this pick is getting a player in the mid-third round who was a top-15 choice last season. The injury concerns are real, as Judge has played a full MLB season only once. Injuries aside, there’s no reason Judge can’t bounce back to hit 40-plus home runs this year. Metrics project him right about at that number, which would be a steal considering how high his other counting stats could get.
4.06: Javier Baez (SS – CHC)
Nothing an all-around stud can’t do to help improve a fantasy roster’s projections. After the initial stars came off the board, I looked for players in the fourth round that could provide five-tool value. Baez is just that. Furthermore, in the fourth-10th rounds of fantasy baseball drafts, it’s vital to hit on a majority of your picks. Baez provides me with surefire consistency in his season-long stats. Since 2017, Baez hasn’t hit less than 20 home runs, stolen less than 10 bases, or hit under .273. I love that mix of production and upside in the fourth round.
5.05: Clayton Kershaw (SP – LAD)
By the fifth round, I needed a stud starting pitcher. If I went any longer, I was going to miss out on the top tier altogether. I almost snagged Kershaw in the fourth but hung around and got him at a great value in the fifth. Last year, Kershaw understandably slipped this far and even further in many drafts. This year, there’s no reason he can’t be a top-10 starting pitcher. Through all the concerns, Kershaw is still only 31 and had a 3.03 ERA last season. To give that a little perspective, Justin Verlander is still throwing pretty well at age 36.
6.06: Anthony Rizzo (1B – CHC)
Read Javier Baez, 4.06. I could just copy and paste what I wrote about Baez here for Rizzo as well. Rizzo is the epitome of consistency, and I will gladly take his 30 home runs, nearly .300 average, and nice counting stats. Oh yeah, did I mention there was virtually no risk?
7.05: Manny Machado (3B/SS – SD)
Just like any fantasy draft, you have to take your chances sometime. Machado was valued way too highly last year. This year, he’s valued way too low. He’s a prime bounce-back candidate from what really wasn’t even a bad season for people not named Manny Machado. Think of Machado this way; if you would have drafted him last year in the 7th round, how upset would you have been with his 32 home runs and nearly .260 average? Probably not too upset. Now, you can get that and likely much more in the seventh round of drafts.
8.06: Kirby Yates (RP – SD)
Like I said earlier, I wanted at least one stud starter and closer. Yates is that guy. Okay, so maybe Yates comes back down to earth and doubles his ERA from last season, but he’d still ends2020 with a 2.38 earned run average and 32 saves. Yates was bonkers in the best way possible last season. However, the save chances are going to come down in 2020. To put it in layman’s terms, Yates was receiving save chances at way too high of a chance than he should have been receiving them last year. But even in the worst-case scenario imaginable, Yates should still be a solid number-one closing option for my team.
9.05: Max Muncy (1B/2B/3B – LAD)
I was in the ninth round and I needed a second baseman. My three favorite options were Muncy, Jeff McNeil, or wait and try to get Mike Moustakas. Projections really hated Muncy heading into last season. Most people didn’t believe he could replicate his 35 home run season from 2019. And actually, he did exactly that: hit 35 home runs again. In fact, Muncy even struck out less and got a bit unlucky BABIP wise. While it wouldn’t be a shock if Muncy did fall short of 35 homers this year, it’s safe to count on 30 and an average that won’t hurt me.
10.06: Mike Soroka (SP – ATL)
Okay, Soroka is going to have a worse ERA and WHIP than 2019. I drafted him knowing that. However, projections said the same thing of him as the season went on last year, and he was able to finish off the season incredibly strong. Soroka has the feel of one of those pitchers who, because he doesn’t strike out the world, will constantly have worse projections than how he actually pitches. Finally, if Soroka can just keep his ERA manageable, he should be in line for a ton of wins pitching behind Atlanta’s offense. That should be worth its weight in whatever strikeouts he doesn’t rack up.
11.05: Marcell Ozuna (OF – ATL)
The reason Marcell Ozuna didn’t get a mega-deal this offseason was threefold. His defense is not good, he was injured both years in St. Louis, and because of reason two, he hasn’t put together a great season since 2017. What MLB teams might regret, however, is that Ozuna’s offensive tears can easily make up for any of the other problems his game might have. If Ozuna hadn’t gotten hurt last season, he very well may have found himself with 40 home runs and 15 stolen bases. Don’t believe me? Go look at how where his numbers were and how hot he was when he went down. Ozuna is going to put together another full, successful season soon. I predicted Jorge Soler to do the same last year, and the two cases are very similar. Take a look at this:
Jorge Soler in 2018: .820 OPS, 43% hard hit rate, 17% HR/FB, 53% pull rate .265 AVG
Marcell Ozuna in 2019: .804 OPS, 48% hard hit rate, 22% HR/FB, 50% pull rate, .243 AVG
Both hitters are very similar. The reason I threw the averages on the end is this: Ozuna had slightly better contact numbers in 2019, yet he finished with a BABIP 71 points lower than Soler’s in 2018. If Soler busted out for 48 home runs with a .265 AVG last year, what could Ozuna do this year?
12.06: Taylor Rogers
Let’s look at the facts regarding Taylor Rogers. He is a great pitcher, and his stats and metrics agree. Rogers is the closer for the Twins. The Twins are a very good team. The rest of the AL Central isn’t that great. Rogers is going to rack up the saves and do so in convincing fashion. 30 saves and sub-3.00 ERA is within reach.
13.05: Mallex Smith (OF – SEA)
Mallex Smith appeared in only 134 games last season. Mallex Smith also led the MLB in stolen bases. Had Smith not been demoted for a stretch, he could have pushed for 60 steals. He’s a one-trick pony, and there’s really no positive metrics to say he should be a better player this season. But he can single-handedly win stolen bases for a team in a category league, so he’s worth a 13th round pick.
14.06: Max Fried (SP/RP – ATL)
There’s a lot to like about Max Fried heading into 2020. First and foremost, Fried was unlucky last year. While his ERA sat at 4.02, his xFIP was a much smaller 3.32. Positive regression in that area, along with others, means the following for Fried: his ERA should plummet, WHIP should go down, BABIP should decrease, strikeouts should rise, innings pitched could skyrocket, and wins should increase. Not bad for a guy who went 17-6 last season.
15.05: Brandon Workman (RP – BOS)
Why Brandon Workman is going so late in drafts is a mystery to me. Yes, ERA regression is in store to somewhere around 3.00. But that sort of ERA, along with his massive strikeout numbers, is plenty good enough to keep him in the closing role all year long for the Red Sox. Most project systems have Workman around 30 saves, making him a great 14th round pick.
16.06: Mike Minor (SP – TEX)
I’ll be honest; this is my least confident pick of the entire draft. Minor was a wreck down the stretch last season. His second-half ERA sat at a hideous 4.93, and his xFIP for the season suggests his first half All-Star campaign was mostly just a hot stretch mixed with good luck. On the positive side, Minor drastically upped his strikeout totals and was an innings eater last year. I made this pick hoping to get lucky, just like Minor for the first half of last season.
17.05: Lance McCullers Jr. (SP – HOU)
My sleeper pitcher of the year. McCullers is ready to get back to the 3.22 ERA, 3.06 xFIP, and 11.78 K/9 ratio he left in 2016 before getting injured for two seasons and requiring Tommy John surgery in 2018. Obviously, innings pitched will be something to watch with McCullers, but knowing that he is coming into 2020 fully healthy should be enough to get managers excited about his upside.
18.06: Miles Mikolas (SP – STL)
While McCullers is a high-risk, high-reward pick, Mikolas is quite the opposite. While Mikolas’s ERA ballooned from 2018 to 2019, oddly enough, not much else changed. He gave up significantly more home runs (11), but that was about it. While Mikolas simply doesn’t offer the upside of other players, I liked the opportunity to snag a player this late who could have an ERA in the mid-threes while racking up 15-plus wins playing for a good team.
19.05: Giovanny Gallegos (RP – STL)
Speaking of upside, I’ll take the presumed closer for a good team in the 19th round all day long. With Carlos Martinez likely moving back to the starting rotation and Jordan Hicks out for the first half, Gallegos is the guy at the back end of the bullpen for the Cardinals. He has a wipeout slider he throws nearly 50% of the time that allowed him to strike out 93 batters in only 66 innings pitched. Gallegos might very well get the closer gig and run with it the entire year in St. Louis.
20.06: Yadier Molina (C – STL)
Yadi was the only catcher left on the board that I had any confidence in. Admittedly, I was hoping someone like Gary Sanchez or Willson Contreras would fall to me, but neither did. I know exactly what I’m going to get from Molina at least: 10 to 15 home runs, a .270 AVG., and an occasional “look what I found” stolen base. Here’s the deal, there’s not much of a difference between taking someone like Salvador Perez much earlier or Yadi much later. I conserved an earlier draft pick after missing out on the top few catchers.
21.05: Cole Hamels (SP – ATL)
Hamels has been a serviceable fantasy starter for the last few seasons. He’s outperformed the advanced metrics, so one of these seasons sooner or later will officially be his undoing. Until then, Hamels is just as good as any to roll out there as any streamer at starting.
After mock or real drafting, I always see what boxes my team can check off. This team I assembled can nearly check off all of them, and the FantasyPros’ draft analyzer backs that claim up. This team can hit, pitch, and rack up the counting stats. Going in with a solid strategy can help you find a team that will do the same as mine. Grab a stud SP and closer, fill in with hitting around them, and load up on high-upside pitchers late. FantasyPros is a great place to get prepared to do just that.