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15-Team LABR Mock Draft (2020 Fantasy Baseball)

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Mar 29, 2020

It’s a scary world out there right now. There are a lot more pressing issues happening than fantasy baseball right now, but we could all use a distraction. With how the season — if there will be one — up in the air as to how it will take shape, it makes drafting an interesting exercise and escape. 

There are two big drafts that everyone turns their eyes to, which features some of the best baseball minds in the world. That’s the Tout and LABR drafts that happen each year. In these industry drafts, you have 29 roster spots in 15-team leagues with 5×5 traditional scoring.

Throughout the offseason, many of us here have put together mock drafts using our draft wizard, and we decided to do a 15-team LABR-style mock to help pass the time and help you prepare if you delayed your regular drafts.

So far, I’ve done a 10-team NL only draft and an auction mock using the draft wizard, and I had different strategies going into it. For this one, I knew that I needed to either prioritize pitching or speed with the league setup, and when I saw that I had pick No. 9, I knew that speed was the way to go.

Here’s how it all played out.

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1.9: Trevor Story (SS – COL)
With the ninth pick, I knew that I would be taking a bat and one who could give me steals, especially after Jacob deGrom and Gerrit Cole were off the board. I was, though, facing the decision that many face at this spot – do I take one of the elite shortstops when it’s a deep position or do I reach for another hitter like Juan Soto? Story was the decision here, as he has back-to-back .290 seasons and has shown that the speed isn’t a fluke. 

Other players considered: Trea Turner, Juan Soto

2.7: Starling Marte (OF – ARI)
If you’ve paid attention to drafts lately, Marte continues to get pushed up more and more in draft rooms. I usually throw water on the fire, but I’ve ended up with more shares of him this year than I can remember. It’s the power/speed blend that he brings, but he’s only eclipsed 600 plate appearances twice in his career. At the end of the season, though, you’ll be happy with the 20 homers and 25 steals.

Other players considered: J.D. Martinez, Jack Flaherty

3.9: Ozzie Albies (2B – ATL)
This was the first real tough decision for me in the draft. I had Mike Clevinger lined up here, but I was sniped on him. Second base falls off really quickly, and I didn’t feel confident that one of the three remaining good options – Albies, Keston Hiura, Ketel Marte – would make it back to me, so I pulled the trigger on Albies. I was right, as the others went in the early fourth round. It did, though, put me another round behind on starting pitching.

Other players considered: Blake Snell, Ketel Marte

4.7: Matt Olson (1B – OAK)
Taking Albies meant that I missed out on a small pitching run – Snell, Aaron Nola, Charlie Morton, Chris Paddack – so instead of reaching for a starter, I decided to fill another position that falls of quickly with Matt Olson to give me a big power bat to complement the speed I’ve built up. 

Other players considered: Anthony Rizzo, Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

5.9: Yu Darvish (SP – TEX)
The goal for me is to get three of my top 35 pitchers in each draft, and this is typically the area that I shop in. I’m a believer in the corrections that Darvish made in the second half of the season, and he’s a fine backend SP1 to anchor a staff.

Other players considered: Bo Bichette, Nick Castellanos

6.7: Sonny Gray (SP – CIN)
Another old, boring veteran who has a career resurgence in 2019. Like Darvish, Gray is being overlooked, and the sexy pitchers – Tyler Glasnow, Brandon Woodruff, Jose Berrios – all went before him, but I’ll take Gray, who has the higher floor for an SP2.

Other players considered: Roberto Osuna, Mike Soroka

7.9: Luis Robert (OF – CHW)
I’m usually out on Robert, but at 99th overall, it’s a good spot to draft him. He’s typically going a couple of rounds earlier, and while there’s risk here, I’ve put together a pretty safe base so far to afford me the risk on the high upside that Robert brings in speed and power. If he has a 2019 Victor Robles season, I’ll be happy.

Other players considered: Michael Brantley, Miguel Sano

8.7: Franmil Reyes (OF – CLE)
I wanted to grab another big power bat, and they don’t get much bigger than Reyes, who has the type of power to lead the league in home runs. He’s going to play every day for the Indians, and I’m expecting no fewer than 35 homers in a full season as a floor.

Other players considered: Edwin Diaz, Jesus Luzardo

9.9: David Price (SP – LAD)
Can a pitching staff be more boring than this? Oh well, boring can be good. Price gets a huge bump moving to Los Angeles and out of the American League East, but it isn’t reflected in his draft price. He’s at the end of my top 35 pitchers, so getting three of them was achieved in this draft.

Other players considered: Dinelson Lamet, Zac Gallen

10.7: Raisel Iglesias (RP – CIN)
Saves flew off the board, and I may have waited too long. However, if the Reds allow Iglesias to stick in the role all year, I could have the primary closer on a top 10 team in baseball. 

Other players considered: Max Fried, Julio Urias

11.9: Gavin Lux (2B – LAD)
Talent wins out, and that’s what I’m banking on with Lux here. Lux in the 11th is a pick I’ve made in about six drafts during draft season. The price is suppressed because the Dodgers have too many options, but there’s zero chance Lux is a platoon player. He’s either an everyday starter or in Triple-A. His upside is worth the gamble.

Other players considered: J.D. Davis, Amed Rosario

12.7: Bryan Reynolds (OF – PIT)
With Robert and Lux on the team, I wanted to give myself a safety blanket. Reynolds, Brian Anderson, and Mark Canha are guys who you can target here to give you some balance – especially with batting average, where I saw that I was falling behind.

Other players considered: Edwin Encarnacion, Kenta Maeda

13.9: Khris Davis (UT – OAK)
The most consistent player in baseball had one off season, and his stock has plummeted. Remember, he was playing through an injured hip last season, so that could explain the dip in production. Maybe he’s totally toast, or maybe he comes back for another .247 season with 40 homers.

Other players considered: Omar Narvaez, Keone Kela

14.7: Luke Weaver (SP – ARI)
There were very few options here that I liked, so I decided to give myself some youth and upside at starting pitching. Weaver has had a rollercoaster-type career so far, but he looked great in 2019 before being shut down with an arm injury. 

Other players considered: Jorge Alfaro, Mark Canha

15.9: Mark Melancon (RP – ATL)
I waited too long on closers, so I’m stuck with Melancon, who may or may not be the primary option for the Braves. If he is, I should get at least 20 saves. I’m not too worried, though, as there are saves on the waiver wire every year.

Other players considered: Carson Kelly, Joe Musgrove

16.7: Miguel Andujar (3B/UT – NYY)
I was torn between Andujar and Gio Urshela here, and the plan was to take them with back-to-back picks. I went with Andujar simply for the added position eligibility that he’ll gain in the season. Urshela was taken two picks later.

Other players considered: Gio Urshela, Jo Adell

17.9: C.J. Cron (1B – DET)
I don’t care if he’s in Detroit. Cron crushes the ball, and he will hit at least 35 home runs this year. He’s an insane value here as a corner infielder.

Other players considered: Avisail Garcia, Dylan Cease

18.7: Nick Solak (3B/2B – TEX)
I was hoping to grab Cease here, but he went at the end of Round 17. Definitely a regret, as Cron probably would have fallen to me here. Oh well. I decided to go with Solak, who should have multi-position eligibility throughout the season, too. 

Other players considered: Chris Archer, Trent Grisham

19.9: Trent Grisham (OF – SD)
Clear playing time. Prospect pedigree. Potential for 25/15. Grisham is a favorite sleeper of mine.

Other players considered: Tom Murphy, Aaron Civale

20.7: Tom Murphy (C – SEA)
I … I guess it’s time to take a catcher. It’s a two-catcher league, and I waited way too long to get my first catcher. I like Murphy, though, as my No. 1 option in a two-catcher league. He has big power and Colorado has to be kicking themselves for not giving him the starter’s role when he was there.

Other players considered: Danny Jansen, Yonny Chirinos

21.9: Yonny Chirinos (SP/RP – TB)
The Rays actually allowed Chirinos to be a real pitcher last year instead of using him with an opener each time out. If that continues this year, he’s a great value here (I should have went catcher, though).

Other players considered: Danny Jansen

22.7: Dylan Carlson (OF – STL)
And there was a mini-catcher run after my Chirinos pick, leaving me screwed at the position. Instead of reaching for one, I decided to take Carlson, who should be a starter almost immediately for the Cardinals. My comparison for him is prime Stephen Piscotty.

Other players considered: Mike Zunino, Robinson Chirinos

23.9: Hunter Harvey (RP – BAL)
And now a real catcher run hit, leaving no good options left at the position. I really screwed up there. I also only have 1.5 closers, so I wanted to take Harvey, who combined with Melancon, should give me a full-time closer’s production.

Other players considered: MacKenzie Gore, Austin Romine

24.7: Jacob Stallings (C – PIT)
This is bad.

Other players considered: Victor Caratini, Elias Diaz

25.9: Spencer Turnbull (SP – DET)
Turnbull is gaining some helium late as a sleeper. Eno Sarris is leading the charge, so it’s worth a flier at this point.

Other players considered: Evan White, Jurickson Profar

26.7: Nate Pearson (SP – TOR)
Pearson could be this year’s Chris Paddack where he gives elite, immediate production for fantasy managers. He profiles a lot like a Noah Syndergaard-type. 

Other players considered: Austin Hays, Mauricio Dubon

27.9: Luis Urias (2B/SS – MIL)
Hi there. If you’re still drafting, make sure to grab Urias before this point in the draft. If there was a poster boy for a post-hype sleeper this year, it’s Urias.

Other players considered: None

28.7: Diego Castillo (RP – TB)
Nick Anderson is great! But, we’ve seen how the Rays use their bullpen. Would it surprise anyone if Castillo had just as many saves as Anderson by the end of the year?

Other players considered: Aaron Bummer

29.9: Travis Shaw (3B – TOR)
Shaw is not far removed from being a must-start fantasy option. He’s the frontrunner for the first-base gig in Toronto, and if his swing returns to form, it’s a last-round pick that could prove to be an impact pick.

Other players considered: Jose Alvarado, Jordan Yamamoto

Overall, I’m happy with this team. The draft analyzer gave me a B (84/100) and I think that’s a fair grade. I screwed up at catcher, but I can work with the rest of the team. I like the balance I have with my offense, and waiting for starting pitcher didn’t hurt me, as I got three boring top 35 pitchers. I’ll need to find saves throughout the season, but they pop up every year, so again, no tall task.

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Michael Waterloo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @MichaelWaterloo.

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