10-Team Roto Mock Draft (2020 Fantasy Baseball)
Nothing screams fantasy sports nerd like rocking it in a rotisserie fantasy baseball league. And of course, I mean that in the sincerest form of flattery. The oldest, classic form of fantasy still holds a massive place in the industry. Rightfully so. Whether you’ve been a yearly member of a rotisserie league since its origins or this is your first time playing, we’ve got you covered here at FantasyPros.
If this does happen to be your first time playing rotisserie fantasy baseball, I highly suggest you check out Dan Harris’s article on the differences between rotisserie and H2H leagues here. Since this lineup would be for a roto league, I tried to balance out my hitting and pitching as best as I could. Like always, I went into this draft with a plan: get at least two stud starters and closers apiece. I knew if I could do that, my pitching stats should at least be serviceable on a weekly basis. With that plan in mind, let’s see what happened!
1.01: Ronald Acuna Jr. (OF – ATL)
A 22-year-old who almost went 40-40 in his first full season? Yes, please. I controversially wrote last summer about how Acuna Jr. will be the consensus number one overall pick in drafts this year. Obviously, you can’t go wrong selecting him or Trout. I went with Acuna simply due to the mouthwatering upside. Most projection systems have him falling just short of 40 home runs and 40 steals again this year, but would anyone be shocked if he went 45-45 with an OPS over .900? I sure wouldn’t.
Other player considered: Mike Trout
2.10: Jose Ramirez (3B – CLE)
Ramirez overachieved in 2018 and underachieved in 2019, mostly due to luck. Nearly every metric for Ramirez was identical or within a similar realm in 2019 as it was in 2020. In fact, Ramirez actually hit the ball harder in 2019 than in 2018. And during the second half of last season, he was a fantasy monster. Now that he’s back on track, 2020 will put Ramirez right where he is supposed to be statistically: worthy of a second-round pick.
3.01: Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS – SD)
While shortstop looks like a deep position, there aren’t many sure things after the top 11. So, I was happy to snag Tatis Jr. in the third round. Nothing beats snagging players who offer five-tool upside, and that’s most definitely Tatis. Set to break out to a 30-homer, 20-steal season, Tatis has easy second-round upside.
4.10: George Springer (OF – HOU)
Just like most other analysts, I’m not scared that the sign-stealing scandal will affect individual players in any way this season. Springer hit 39 home runs in just 122 games last season; that’s enough for me to want a piece at the end of the fourth round. I like suring up my outfield early, and Springer combined with Acuna Jr. should help me do just that.
5.01: Blake Snell (SP – TB)
We all know about the rough start Snell got off to last year. But did you know that after June 25, he never gave up more than two runs in an outing? Okay, he only had seven outings due to injury, but the point is that he righted the ship before the year ended. While Snell probably isn’t going to be a rock star, he makes a good bargain in the fifth round. I needed a SP with upside, which Snell gives me.
6.10: Clayton Kershaw (SP – LAD)
What a steal. Last year, Kershaw rightfully fell this far, and sometimes further in drafts. This year, there’s absolutely no reason he shouldn’t be a top-10 SP. Kershaw is only 31 and is coming off of a healthy season. I’ll take this whole thing one step further and say he’ll hit 20 wins for the third time in his career. I waited until the fifth round to take a starter, and I was able to swipe two players who should be top pitchers.
7.01: Keston Hiura (2B – MIL)
Hiura is yet another mid-round player who is being vastly underrated. This guy will be a fourth-round pick or better in 2021. A top-15 prospect in all of baseball last year, he isn’t receiving the same hype as other players of his caliber. Yes, Hiura rode a .402 BABIP to a strong 2019, but your BABIP is going to be high when hitting the ball hard nearly 45% of the time and possess the speed he has. Hiura has the ability to put up Tatis type numbers at second base, which is a horribly weak position. I loved getting one of the top second basemen and not having to worry about drafting a question mark later.
8.10: Tommy Pham (OF – SD)
Continuing the five-tool-player trend takes our journey right to Pham. I mention that because Pham really hasn’t ever been reliant on home runs for fantasy value. He’s moving to Petco Park, but that shouldn’t hamper him much at all. He should still be a 20-20 player who will solidify my outfield as the best in my league. Injuries will always be a concern, but I’ll address that shortly.
9.01: Roberto Osuna (RP – HOU)
My 2020 draft strategy is simple. I am making sure I pick at least two top starters and closers in every single draft, especially roto leagues. We’ve already discussed the sign stealing, so there’s no reason to expect Osuna to finish with any fewer saves than he had last year. I was also very concerned about having anyone after Osuna as my number one closer. Because of that, taking him seemed like a given.
10.10: James Paxton (SP – NYY) [Alternative pick: Corey Kluber (SP – TEX)]
This one is tricky. I really liked Paxton heading into 2020, causing me to take him before he underwent back surgery in early February. I tried re-doing my simulated draft from this pick — an amazing feature the Draft Simulator offers — but Paxton proved to still get taken before my next group of picks. So, I stuck with him. Realistically, he might be best served to go a round or two later. However, performance-wise, Paxton is as sure of a thing as you can get when healthy. He’ll produce a sub-4.00 ERA and will be one of only a very small handful of players to win over 40% of his starts. Paxton isn’t going to win any leagues, but he should balance out any uncertainty my rotation has after drafting Blake Snell. If Paxton isn’t your cup of tea here, Corey Kluber would have been my next pick.
11.01: Liam Hendriks (RP – OAK)
Two top starters and two top closers. I had to stick to the plan. Hendriks and Taylor Rogers were the last two players I was comfortable with as my second closer. If Hendriks does as projected (3.18 ERA, 92 strikeouts, 30 saves by Steamer), I love everything about him in Round 11. He strikes out the world, and he should perfectly complement what I already have on staff.
12.10: Nick Castellanos (OF – CIN)
What’s not to like about the Cincinnati Reds’ lineup in 2020? Castellanos had a heck of a 2019, and he’s moving to one of the best hitting ballparks and an even better lineup. My favorite part about Castellanos is that nothing significantly changed with him in 2019. His BABIP, hard-hit rate, K%, and OPS, just to name a few, all remained steady with his career numbers. Castellanos is just a good player moving into his prime. Will he hit 40 bombs and steal a bunch of bases? Not a chance. But he will provide my team stability as one of the most consistent outfield options to back up an injury-prone Pham. Oh, and all that comes at a small price tag.
13.01: Yuli Gurriel (1B/3B – HOU)
You might find yourself wondering why a player who hit .298 with 31 home runs last year — who also hits in one of baseball’s best lineups and has first and third base eligibility — is being drafted so late. Raise your hand if you knew Gurriel is 35 years old! No one? Well, he is, and he probably peaked last year. The good news? While his upside might be capped, Gurriel is a perfect 13th-round pick for my squad. I can slide him in at first base and know I’m receiving consistent production, much like that of Castellanos. Even better is the fact that Gurriel had a slightly lower BABIP (.289) than his career average of .298. Therefore, there’s no reason to expect him to be worse in 2020 than he was last season.
14.10: Max Fried (SP/RP – ATL)
There’s so much to love about Fried heading into 2020. First and foremost, he 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 his ERA, WHIP, and BABIP should all go down while his innings pitched and wins should increase. Not bad for a guy who went 17-6 last season. Pairing his immense upside with the rest of my staff was a no-brainer.
15.01: Frankie Montas (SP – OAK)
As you can see, I’m beginning to stack up SP depth. Montas was an easy choice for me here in the 15th round. Take a look at this chart:
|2015||White Sox||59.5% (96.7)||39.1% (86.2)||1.4% (87.0)|
|2017||Athletics||66.2% (97.7)||27.9% (86.6)||5.8% (88.9)|
|2018||Athletics||72.4% (95.8)||24.6% (86.2)||3.0% (87.7)|
|2019||Athletics||56.8% (96.6)||24.9% (88.4)||18.3% (86.8)|
As you can see, Montas found a new toy in 2019: the split-finger. Not only was it an effective pitch that he threw nearly 20% of the time, but it made his slider and fastball over five times more effective than in 2018. Montas went from primarily being a two-pitch pitcher to one who had three quality pitches. And if you had any doubt about PED usage affecting his play, he silenced doubters with a six-inning, one-run outing in his return from suspension last year.
16.10: Mallex Smith (OF – SEA)
I needed stolen bases; Smith will provide me with upwards of 50 stolen bases. Sounds like a pretty easy justification for drafting a player in the 16th round to me! Really though, there’s not a whole lot to suggest Smith is going to be a vastly different player in 2020 than he was in 2019. His BABIP was much lower last year than in 2018, but that was mostly due to a ridiculous amount of soft contact. It’s no wonder he was sent down to the minors. If Smith can just hit a measly .230 or .240, he can keep my team near the top of the stolen base rankings throughout the season.
17.01: Giovanny Gallegos (RP – STL)
My third and final closer comes with my 17th pick. And yes, I did say closer. I’m more than happy sliding Gallegos into my final RP slot. Speaking of sliders, Gallegos has a nasty wipeout slider he began throwing much more often in 2019. Hitters struggled to make contact, which led to a career-high 33.3 K%. Gallegos will continue to throw the slider, strike out a high percentage of batters, and run away with the closing gig for the Cardinals until Jordan Hicks is fully healthy again in 2021
18.10: Matthew Boyd (SP – DET)
This one’s nice and simple. I’m hoping, praying, and begging for first-half Boyd from last season. In the 18th round, I see no reason to grab a pitcher who I know is going to have an ERA around 4.00 and won’t be on my roster come June. As far as Boyd goes, he was extremely unlucky last season. While he made plenty of mistakes, his xFIP suggests his ERA could have been under 4.00; that’s a far cry from his final 4.56 number. Projections have Boyd at an ERA just above 4.00 for 2020. If he were to get off to another fast start like last season, he might become easy trade bait for my squad.
19.01: Luke Weaver (SP – ARI)
Remember what I just said about taking high-upside pitchers late? Weaver will be exactly that for me heading into the season. He had success before and now has something to prove coming off a forearm injury. What attracts me to Weaver is his 3.88 FIP and xFIP through three major league seasons. That upside is hard to come by in the 19th round.
20.10: Lance McCullers Jr. (SP – HOU)
Ahh, my sleeper pitcher of the year. Going right along with the theme of my late-round picks comes McCullers. He is ready to get back to the 3.22 ERA, 3.06 xFIP, and 11.78 K/9 ratio he left in 2016 before being injured for most of the next two seasons and needing Tommy John surgery in 2018. Innings pitched will obviously be something to watch, but knowing that he is coming into 2020 fully healthy is plenty to excite me about his upside.
21.01: Yadier Molina (C- STL)
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. If you miss out on the top-four catchers (J.T. Realmuto, Gary Sanchez, Yasmani Grandal, and Willson Contreras), you might as well wait until the end of your draft to select one. There’s very little difference between a Wilson Ramos and a Yadier Molina, except the fact that Ramos will be selected about 80 picks higher. In fact, Molina and Ramos had similar production last season, but Molina played in 28 fewer games due to injury. Since I missed out on the top-four catchers, I love the way things turned out by waiting until the end to grab Molina.
All in all, I am thrilled with the results of this draft. My original plan of snagging two stud starters and closers each helped secure the pitching I know I’d need to succeed. Mix it all together, and the FantasyPros’ Draft Analyzer tells me I have an extremely balanced team perfect for a roto league. The only two areas it tells me I may lack are home runs and RBIs, but they may not be an issue if Ramirez bounces back. Let FantasyPros help you head into your draft with a solid plan, execute it, and reap the rewards all season long.
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