12-Team Mixed League Auction Mock Draft (2020 Fantasy Baseball)
By now, you’ve read our different approaches to mock drafts here using the FantasyPros draft simulator. From 12-team mixed, to AL- and NL-only drafts, we’ve covered it all. And today, you’re going to take a look at a 12-team auction league.
Now, besides slow drafts, auction drafts are the best way to draft, because everyone gets a shot at every player instead of just relying on a random draft order and hoping that a certain player will fall to you. With the auction, you can have whomever you want, as long as you stay under your budget, which is typically $260.
We’ll get to the results below for the mock draft, but we should cover the approach that I took for this first.
Whether it’s an auction or a snake draft, I always play the draft room. If you get married to a strategy, it can set you up for failure when things don’t go as planned. Spoiler: they never go as planned.
While I intended to play the draft room here, too, I did have two rules set in stone for myself:
- I was going to spend no more than $4 total on my catcher and three relievers
- I was going to try to get as many top-end assets that I could and take the stars and scrubs approach
To explain those a little bit, it’s all about the league context. It’s a 12-team league with one catcher, no middle or corner infield spots, and 21 roster spots. There’s so much talent on the offensive side, that I knew I’d be happy regardless with who occupied most of my spots to offset any starts I could grab. I wanted to grab elite-level hitters, two elite pitchers, and one high-upside starter, and then fill out my roster with a bunch of $1 players.
For a catcher, I never invest in one – especially in a league with this format. The difference between them just doesn’t justify paying up for one, and there are plenty of options on the wire.
As for my relief approach, their year-to-year consistency with closers just isn’t there, and you can easily find saves off the wire throughout the season. I wanted to target guys who I felt had a chance to get saves at some point in the season for cheap.
After each player, I’m going to compare similarly ranked players (one directly above, one directly below) based on FantasyPros Expert Consensus Rankings to give you an idea if I overpaid or got the guy at a value.
OK, now let’s dive into the draft.
C: Carson Kelly (C – ARI) $1
I already walked through my strategy above with catcher, so it should come as no surprise that Kelly is my guy here at $1. Three teams ended up with a $1 starting catcher, with Jorge Alfaro and Francisco Mejia being the other two. Kelly crushed lefties last year, but I have hope that he can be a 25- to 30-homer guy given a full season behind the dish. Fantastic value for $1.
1B: Rhys Hoskins (1B – PHI) $4
When I took on Hoskins, I had a player (you’ll see him below) already slotted in at first base, but he had OF eligibility, too. Look, last year was disappointing. We expected a leap forward, but he took a step back instead with his batting average. The power was still there, though, and he’s one of my favorite bounceback targets in the drafts. I like the price at $4.
2B: Ryan McMahon (1B/2B/3B – COL) $2
This is probably my least favorite pick of the auction. It’s a $2 player, so you can’t really expect much. I need a lot to work out for this pick to pay off – starting with McMahon getting 500 plate appearances from the hard-to-predict Rockies. If I was playing this league out, I would be playing the hot hand at second base off the waiver wire hoping to find a permanent option.
3B: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (3B – TOR) $13
I was very, very excited to get Guerrero for $13. But then I saw what guys like Josh Donaldson ($11) and Matt Chapman ($8) and I wonder if I should have waited. I have Guerrero as my third-ranked third baseman, so the price is worth it to me when he has an MVP-type season this year.
SS: Trevor Story (SS – COL) $27
Up until this point, the team looks like it has some concerns, doesn’t it? I’d agree, but we are about to enter a stretch where I got four first-rounders in my next five picks. With Story, I was pretty pleased to get him for just $27 – and he was the second shortstop I picked at this point. There’s a case to be made having him as high as fifth overall with the power-speed combo, as well as Coors Field. This may be my favorite value pick of the draft along with Hoskins.
OF: Mike Trout (OF – LAA) $60
Before I get into my thought process here, I’ll tell you that Ronald Acuna went for $57, and he was the first player nominated. I was trying to get a feel for the room, but I wish I would have gone the extra dollar or two to get Acuna and the speed he brings. But, three dollars more for Trout I’m more than OK with. My tapout point was $62, so I still came in under budget here. There’s no player who has the upside and safety that Trout brings to the table, and with the much-improved offense around him, we may not have seen the best yet from Trout.
OF: Cody Bellinger (1B/OF – LAD) $40
Bellinger was the guy who I had slotted in at first base until I got Hoskins. I wanted as many studs as I could get, and getting Bellinger, who is the fourth-ranked player in fantasy, for $21 less than Yelich is a win in my book. Lindor, who is ranked after him in the ECR, went for nine fewer dollars, which is a great deal, but I already had two shortstops and couldn’t get the steal of the auction. Bellinger is pretty close, though.
OF: Franmil Reyes (OF – CLE) $3
This is when I was trying to fill my roster out with $1 guys, but I was happy to spend the extra dollar on Reyes. There’s peak Khris Davis here, with league-leading home run ability in his bat. For $3, it’s a good investment that I was happy to make. He has no risk in being in a platoon, either.
Util: Trea Turner (SS – WAS) $32
When I got Turner, I was absolutely thrilled. I got a guy with the potential for 25 homers, .300 average, and 50-60 steals. Potential is the keyword, though. His 162-game pace stats are great, but we haven’t seen the full season yet due to injuries. I’m still OK with the price on him to make up for the drop in speed from Acuna to Trout, but seeing Lindor go for $31 hurts.
SP: Walker Buehler (SP – LAD) $32
I wanted an ace. By this time, I had already spent $159 of my $260 budget on Trout, Bellinger, Story, and Turner. I needed to budget at least $60 to get two top-tier pitchers. I missed out on the big four, but I took the fifth- and sixth-ranked pitcher based on ECR, starting with Buehler. He relies on his fastball a ton, which is something people don’t talk about, but he’s going to get me wins, have an elite strikeout rate, and have terrific ratios while pitching near 200 innings, barring health.
SP: Mike Clevinger (SP – CLE) $26
Speaking of the sixth-ranked pitcher, here comes Clevinger. He was straight dominant after returning from injury, and few have had the offseason hype elevate their ADP as Clevinger has. There are health issues with him, but I’m expecting elite numbers while he’s on the mound.
SP: Dinelson Lamet (SP – SD) $10
The only other player who could challenge the hype that Clevinger is getting is Lamet. I have long-term concerns with Lamet, but the upside he possesses can’t be ignored. While his fastball gets hit hard and he only has two true pitchers, he racks up so many strikeouts. The $10 price tag is going to look silly in a couple of weeks.
SP: Dallas Keuchel (SP – CHW) $1
I have a lot of upside in my rotation, so I decided to go with an innings-eater on a good team. You’ll see a lot of ugliness going forward, but that’s stars and scrubs for you. I’m a little nervous about the infield defense behind Keuchel as a groundball pitcher, though.
SP: Mitch Keller (SP – PIT) $1
Keller is a popular post-hype option this year, and deservingly so. He was the unluckiest pitcher in baseball last year, as he had a 7.13 ERA, but a 3.78 SIERA and 3.19 FIP. I don’t think he has ace-caliber stuff, but he can’ be a solid SP3 and the ace of the lowly Pirates.
RP: Kyle Crick (RP – PIT) $1
My closers are bad. I know it. That’s totally fine. I’ll never invest in them in drafts, and that’s just my philosophy. There’s too much year-to-year turnover with them, and bullpens are managed so unpredictably. With Crick, I’m expecting him to be the go-to closer for the Pirates last year with Keone Kela not only entering the final year of his contract, but he also punched Crick in the face last season in the clubhouse. I don’t think he’ll be in Pittsburgh Opening Day.
RP: Daniel Hudson (RP – WAS) $1
Hudson should be able to get his share of saves this year for the Nationals, as he, Will Harris, and Sean Doolittle look to improve the Nationals bullpen that caused issues for them throughout the playoffs.
RP: Josh Lindblom (SP/RP – MIL) $1
I decided to go SPARP (starting pitcher as a relief pitcher) with my last reliever. Lindblom is locked into a rotation spot with the Brewers after spending time in the KBO. He lacks upside, but his game reminds me of Miles Mikolas’.
Bench: Kyle Tucker (OF – HOU) $2
I had Tucker before I got Reyes, and he’s the lone position player on my bench. There are enough hitters on the wire in a 12-team league that I’d prefer to stash pitchers when I’m able to. The Astros have toyed with Tucker in the past, and Josh Reddick is still in town and Hunter Pence may be joining, too. If he is freed up, though, he has every chance to be closer to a $10 outfielder than a $2 one.
Bench: Garrett Richards (SP – SD) $1
The Padres are going to be in IDGAF mode with Richards as he enters the last year of his two-year deal with the team. They are going to let him – and have him – throw as many innings as he can. It’s a steal at $1.
Bench: Aaron Civale (SP – CLE) $1
I believe in Civale. I believe in the Cleveland voodoo magic with their pitchers. I was also running out of options for $1.
Bench: MacKenzie Gore (SP – SD) $1
Let’s go! With my last pick, most teams were down to a few dollars. I don’t think Gore will break camp with the team, but as I said in my NL-only mock, we didn’t think Chris Paddack would at this time in 2019, either. Gore has league-winning ability.
Overall, I love this team. It fit the strategy that I wanted, and I’ll take the top-end talent in a shallower league compared to a well-constructed team from the top. The system didn’t love my team, giving me a C-, but a lot of that has to do with having no closers at all on my team. You should be able to fill saves off the wire, and take fliers on players for $1 and look to the waiver wire if they don’t hit.
If I had this team entering the regular season, I would consider it to be my best team that I’ve drafted. Here are the results and the full draft board: