10-Team National League Only Mock Draft (Fantasy Baseball 2020)
You smell that fresh-cut grass? It’s February, which means there’s actual, real-life baseball this month. Well, it doesn’t count, but it’s still time to get excited. With the Super Bowl over and done with, everyone is getting into the swing of their draft prep, but we know that you’ve been following along all offseason with our great content here. But if you haven’t, that’s OK! We are going to get you up to speed. Take a look at our consensus rankings and then head on over to our mock draft simulator to get fully prepared for your draft.
Like the other staff members here, I decided to set up a mock draft too, but I’m looking at a challenging format in NL-only. I made it a 10-team league so that you still have the cream rising to the top, but man, did pickings get slim. I used standard 5×5 settings to help more at an elevated level and I hit the randomize button for the draft order. Wouldn’t you know it, I ended up with No. 1. Usually, I’d be OK with this, as I want the elite talent – especially in a 10-team league. But when I saw that, I let out an NSFW word because when I’m in a mono league, I’d prefer to pick toward the middle or end of the round instead of first and then 20th. There’s a huge difference in talent. I went in knowing who I was taking first overall, but then I was going to take the draft in stride, trying to build the best, most competitive team possible.
1.01: Ronald Acuna (OF – ATL)
It was a slam-dunk pick taking the consensus No. 1 overall playing in mixed leagues let alone with an NL-only pool. Acuna is a safe bet for across-the-board elite production, especially in steals, which you need to accrue early on in the mono-league format. Usually, NL-only drafts are worse for me than AL-only because of the omission of the designated hitter and more starting offensive options, but with three of the four consensus top picks this year residing in the NL, it makes the talent pool heavier at the top, causing some value to fall later.
2.10: Starling Marte (OF – ARI)
It was a tough spot here as I was trying to decide if I wanted to go pitcher-pitcher in the second and third rounds, but I felt like there was enough depth at the position that I could grab two with my next two picks. I ended up going with Marte, who is a guy we all just kind of settle for in category-based leagues in the third round of drafts, but are just kind of “meh” on when the year ends. Marte’s only reached 600 plate appearances twice, which is kind of concerning, but he gives me yet another power/speed guy.
3.01: Patrick Corbin (SP – WAS)
I knew that I was taking a pitcher here, it was just deciding on which one to take. It was down to Corbin, Clayton Kershaw, and Luis Castillo. Being that it’s a mono league and waiver wire options are few and far between, I decided to go with the most reliable of the three. I trust Corbin to return value and give me the innings and ratios that I need. He may not possess the true upside that Luis Castillo has, but taking Corbin here gave me a good, safe anchor to my rotation, which allows me to take upside guys later.
Other players considered: Clayton Kershaw, Luis Castillo
4.10: Noah Syndergaard (SP – NYM)
I’m glad that I went with my first arm in Round 3, but the gamble to pass one up in Round 2 almost didn’t pay off since there was a huge pitcher run in Rounds 3 and 4. If Thor had gone, I would have pivoted in a different direction, but he’s the end of my tier here in NL-only. He pitched a ton of innings last year, but they weren’t necessarily great innings. We’ll hold on every year for that true ace outcome, but time is running out. Still, with the format, I feel safe with him to give me volume and strikeouts.
5.01: Max Muncy (1B/2B/3B – LAD)
It was time to shift my attention back to the offense, though I considered Kirby Yates here because saves dry up quickly. Instead, I opted for Muncy, whose 2019 showed that 2018 wasn’t a fluke. What gave him the nod for me was his position eligibility, which comes in handy in the mono leagues and gives me flexibility moving forward in the draft. I’m banking on a 30/85/80 season with a .250 average from Muncy this year.
Other players considered: Kirby Yates, Victor Robles
6.10: Dinelson Lamet (SP – SD)
There was — wait for it — another pitcher run in Rounds 5 and 6. I was hoping for Max Fried to make it back to me, but he went at a nice 6.9 pick right before me. I’ve written about how Lamet is similar to Robbie Ray and I was questioning why we are taking him so much earlier than Ray? I feel that way in mixed leagues, but I did the same here in mono leagues because we know what Ray is at this point. In contrast, there is still substantial upside with Lamet, but there’s also substantial downside. Lamet should be among the league leaders in strikeouts this year and if he can refine his fastball, he could take a top-15 leap. That Corbin pick earlier allowed me to take the chance on upside.
7.01: Corey Seager (SS – LAD)
This was a tough round to decide which direction I wanted to go in. It felt too early for a guy like Amed Rosario and I really didn’t want to take any of the other shortstops at this point, but I had a feeling they wouldn’t fall back to me. I decided to go with the bounce-back candidate in Seager, who is going to be one full year off of Tommy John surgery. I think there’s true 30/90/100 with a .280 potential in his bat as he enters his 26-year-old season.
Other players considered: Willson Contreras, Raisel Iglesias
8.10: Sean Doolittle (RP – WAS)
Maybe I should have taken Yates earlier or Iglesias last round because there was a closer run that happened. I never prioritize saves, because I can find them off the waiver wire easily and there’s no year-to-year consistency with them or how bullpens are managed. If I had taken Iglesias over Seager, I’d be looking at Iglesias and Paul DeJong instead of Seager and Doolittle. Even though there’s risk with Doolittle’s role with Daniel Hudson and Will Harris in town, I think I’d still rather have it play out the way it did than the reverse.
9.01: J.D. Davis (3B/OF – NYM)
I’m fully expecting Davis to get full-time plate appearances this year, which would make this pick an absolute steal. His peripherals back up his performance last year and a full-season line could look something like .268/27/72/77. He also has valuable dual-position eligibility.
Other players considered: Will Smith, Julio Urias
10.10: Christian Walker (1B – ARI)
I looked over the other options in the infield and I really didn’t like what I saw. I decided to move Muncy to second base and bring Walker on board. There’s some risk in this pick with Ketel Marte moving back to second base, which moves Eduardo Escobar to third base. If Jake Lamb makes the team, he could platoon with Walker, but Walker did enough last year to earn the starting first baseman’s gig out of spring training.
11.01: Luke Weaver (SP – ARI)
We fell in love with Weaver in 2017, overrated him, and he busted in 2018. Last year, he was a late-round sleeper and he looked to pick up where he left off after adding a new pitch in the offseason. Then came the arm injury, which sidelined him for the majority of the season. Weaver is expected to be fully healthy — or as healthy as a pitcher truly can be — by Opening Day. With the depth that Arizona has, I’m expecting around 140 innings from Weaver with a high-threes ERA. I felt that he and Mitch Keller had the best upsides remaining of the pitchers left on the board.
Other players considered: Mitch Keller, David Peralta
12.10: David Peralta (OF – ARI)
Keller was taken, which makes me glad that I took Weaver instead of Peralta above. I would have been screwed at pitching, to be honest. I was happy to find that Peralta fell to me here since I was considering him in the 11th round. I took outfielders with my first two picks but realized the position was drying up quickly, which made me want to take one here. I considered A.J. Pollock or Kole Calhoun and then I realized I must have an obsession with Arizona guys or former Arizona guys, with Marte, Walker, and Weaver already on my team. I ended up with Peralta, who came down to earth after an unsustainable start to his 2019 season, but he also feels underrated each season. I’ll take a .277/20/70/70 line at this point in the draft.
Other players considered: A.J. Pollock, Kole Calhoun
13.01: Scott Oberg (RP – COL)
Relievers dry up quickly and Oberg was the last guy on my board that I felt comfortable with. He could get 20 saves since he has little-to-no competition in Colorado. I’ll have some ground to make up in the category.
14.10: Daniel Murphy (1B/2B – COL)
I ran the projections on my team and I was a little lower in average than I would like to be. I decided to take a swing with Murphy, who is coming off of two injury-plagued seasons. He’s old, yes, but he was going 67th overall just a season ago. The Rockies are paying him a lot, so he’s going to play and there’s true bounceback potential here, even as he enters his age-35 season. I think .290 is realistic.
15.01: MacKenzie Gore (SP – SD)
I usually don’t advocate for taking prospects in 10-team leagues, but the format means everything. In the 15th round, there is no pick who has higher upside and league-winning potential than Gore does. Imagine taking Chris Paddack here last season at this time before we realized he’d make the team out of camp. There’s a chance that Gore does the same. Even if he doesn’t, he’ll be up by June.
Other players considered: Daniel Hudson, Luis Urias
16.10: Jordan Yamamoto (SP – MIA)
The format really starts to show itself here with the available options. If I could make this pick again — or my next pick, really — I’d take Francisco Mejia to fill my catcher’s void. As it was, I didn’t like the remaining pitcher options, and I wanted to give myself another option if Gore doesn’t make the team in April. He has a spot in the rotation locked up and while he won’t help in wins, he strikes out more than a batter per inning and manages a mid-four ERA.
Other players considered: Francisco Mejia, Travis d’Arnaud
17.01: Kyle Crick (RP – PIT)
Again, I should have taken Mejia here, but I knew I had ground to make up at the position, so I wanted to take a shot here with Crick. Keone Kela is the closer for the Pirates right now, but with an expiring contract and the fact that he and Crick got into an actual fistfight last year, I can’t see Kela being a member of the Pirates when the season opens. Crick should slide into the role and get me about 15 saves.
Other players considered: Francisco Mejia, Travis d’Arnaud
18.10: Carter Kieboom (SS – WAS)
I was shocked to find Kieboom here, honestly. The Nationals made it clear that it’s his job to lose heading into the season with Asdrubal Cabrera serving as a utility man. Kieboom failed to impress last year when he took over for Turner, but he’s the Nationals’ top prospect and is the definition of a post-hype sleeper. If Kieboom can get me a .260/15/60/60 line in 500 plate appearances, I’ll be thrilled.
19.01: Tucker Barnhart (C – CIN)
And this is why I wish I took Mejia earlier. In deeper leagues for the past two years, I’ve waited too long on catcher and I’ve ended up with Barnhart here. He was the best of the rest and I didn’t want to push it any further. He’s going to be hitting eighth and the fact that he will get the majority of the playing time is the only thing going for him. What a terrible pick.
20.10: Trent Grisham (OF – SD)
There are, once again, too many cooks in the San Diego outfield kitchen, but Grisham should challenge for regular playing time for the Padres — especially if they can unload Wil Myers. He won’t offer much in the way of averaging, but there’s 20/65/65 potential here if he can find his way to 500 plate appearances.
21.01: Josh Lindblom (SP/RP – MIL)
Lindbloom is interesting, and I was torn between him and Beede with my last pick. Beede has some sleeper appeal in the industry, but Lindblom looks to be locked into a spot on the better team after his stint in the KBO. It’s a dart throw, but he should be able to give me a great volume of innings with a Miles Mikolas-type ceiling.
Other players considered: Tyler Beede, Jesse Winker
In all, I’m very happy with the team that I built, but the system doesn’t agree, giving me a C+ and placing me seventh out of the 10 teams in the draft. I say bologna.
I ran the Steamer projections for my team, and here’s what we came back with:
.264 AVG, 237 home runs, 776 runs, 770 RBIs, 89 stolen bases
4.18 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 1,247 strikeouts, 71 wins, 45 saves
In 2018, Chris Towers of CBS put together a good article on what you need to win your league heading into the 2018 season. We are two years removed and we know that offensive output continues to grow, so we can keep that in mind.
Here’s what it took to win offense in a 12-team mixed roto league:
.279 AVG, 356 home runs, 1148 runs, 1121 RBIs, 168 stolen bases
Taking into account that it’s a mono league and 10 teams, I feel pretty good about where my offensive projections are. I’d like to see a few more steals there, but Kieboom and Grisham give me some upside to get me more runs and RBIs.
The pitching projections aren’t pretty, but I’m also baking in more innings with Gore and Weaver than Steamer seems to be doing with 18 and 134, respectively.