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Early 2021 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft: Points

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Jan 28, 2021

Jacob deGrom is a tremendous first-round pick in points leagues.

It’s January. You know what that means.

Baseball is right around the corner. While our coverage at FantasyPros is year-round, we are really getting you ready to dominate your draft and season with daily content leading up to the first pitch.

One of the cool features we’ve highlighted the past few years is our mock draft simulator. It’s really easy and quick to use, so check it out.

Last week, I used the simulator to put together a 12-team mock draft for categories, using traditional 5×5 scoring. This week, I switched it up to do a points league draft. This is my favorite format, but also the most polarizing in fantasy.

For scoring, I used CBS’s standard points system since they are the home of the format.

The rosters are smaller than those in head-to-head and categories leagues, as you have: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, 3OF, UTL; 2SP, 2RP, 4P, and 6 bench spots. I randomized the draft order and ended up with pick No. 6 … again. You can view a complete pick-by-pick breakdown of the entire draft here.

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1.6: Jacob deGrom (SP – NYM)
There is a clear top five in fantasy drafts this year. Not in any order, but the players going there (Mookie Betts, Mike Trout, Juan Soto, Ronald Acuña Jr., and Fernando Tatís Jr.) are pretty planted in. I was curious, though, if that would change in points leagues, where pitchers are typically more valuable. With the top five differing a tad (Christian Yelich replaced Acuña), I was more than OK taking deGrom, as he’s been the best and most consistent pitcher over the past four years.

Other players considered: Ronald Acuña, Gerrit Cole

2.7: Walker Buehler (SP – LAD)
So, this is kind of boring, since I had the same start in my categories draft. But each draft needs to be treated as its own, so I went with the best pitcher on the board. For points leagues, I want innings, strikeouts, and limited walks. I was torn between Buehler and Luis Castillo, but I went for the ceiling pick here.

Other players considered: Luis Castillo, Jack Flaherty

3.6: Bo Bichette (SS – TOR)
I wanted an elite hitter here because while you need fewer of them in this format, you still don’t want to far too far behind offensively. I’d be lying, though, if I said I wasn’t tempted to instead take Max Scherzer for a three-headed monster at starting pitcher. Instead, it came down to Bichette or Ozzie Albies. I prefer the overall skillset of Bichette, who will be drafted in the first round next year. 

Other players considered: Max Scherzer, Ozzie Albies

4.7: Brandon Woodruff (SP – MIL)
Back to pitching I go. While I got Woodruff in the sixth round in my last mock, there was no way he’d fall there in a points league. Frankly, he is a steal here, as he’s a legit top-10 pitcher. He needs to continue to utilize his changeup more and limit the damage the third time through the order, but he’s a safe bet in points leagues for elite-level production.

Other players considered: Zac Gallen, Hyun Jin Ryu

5.6: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (1B – TOR)
MVP Vlady is going to be so fun. No, one picture shouldn’t change your mind, but it’s nice to see him take his offseason conditioning seriously. Guerrero still has best-player-in-the-league potential. He still hits the cover off the ball, but the 21-year-old just has to get the launch angle up. The breakout is happening, so sit back and enjoy.

Other players considered: Hyun Jin Ryu, Rafael Devers

6.7: Hyun Jin Ryu (SP – TOR)
Like I did with Woodruff, I jumped two rounds up from my previous draft to grab Ryu, who is still somehow under-drafted even after dominating the American League East. I like this pick for innings pitched, limited walks, and limited baserunners, and my other three pitchers will more than make up for Ryu’s lack of strikeouts.

Other players considered: Trent Grisham, Julio Urias

7.6: Julio Urias (SP/RP – LAD)
One key strategy in points leagues is deciding how you want to address your RP slots. You could go with traditional closers, which is fine, or you can grab starting pitchers who have RP eligibility. If you’ve read my writing over the years, you know I avoid relievers in regular drafts, so I’m especially avoiding them in points leagues. SPARPS (Starting Pitchers as Relief Pitchers) for the win. 

Other players considered: Tyler Glasnow, Corbin Burnes

8.7: Yoan Moncada (3B – CHW)
I was bummed that I couldn’t get Corbin Burnes here, as he went the pick before me. I decided to go with Moncada instead. His game isn’t made for points leagues, but he’s slipped too far. Expect a rebound after he dealt with complications from COVID in 2020.

Other players considered: Carlos Carrasco, Joey Gallo

9.6: Tommy Pham (OF – SD)
While I was out on Pham last year, I’m fine with him here in the ninth round. I need an outfielder, and while Pham is the ideal OF2, he is serviceable as my first one in a three-outfielder league. 

Other players considered: Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Carlos Correa

10.7: Dylan Bundy (SP – LAA)
I wanted Carlos Correa, but I couldn’t help myself from grabbing another pitcher. Bundy took a step forward last year, increasing his strikeout rate while lowering his walk rate in his first season in Los Angeles. He was less reliant on his four-seamer and threw his best pitch (slider) more.

Other players considered: José Berríos, Framber Valdez

11.6: José Berríos (SP – MIN)
Every year, we overrate Berríos because he has prospect pedigree and can look dominant with some of his breaking pitches. But the results haven’t met the hype yet, and it looks like people are adjusting. He’s better in points leagues with the volume he’ll give while still striking out a batter per inning.

Other players considered: Marcus Stroman, Michael Brantley

12.7: Rhys Hoskins (1B – PHI)
It’s a do-or-die season for Hoskins, who hasn’t quite lived up to the rookie expectations as he now enters his fourth season. He’s much more valuable in points leagues than in roto or category leagues, so Hoskins a fine 1B or utility option here.

Other players considered: Marcus Stroman, Kyle Schwarber

13.6: Ian Happ (2B/3B/OF – CHC)
I like having positional flexibility with a small roster when injuries pop up, and I wanted a second baseman with a really good OBP. Happ was still deemed eligible at second at third in the simulator despite only playing the outfield last season.

Other players considered: Marcus Stroman, Kyle Schwarber

14.7: Kyle Schwarber (OF – WAS)
Schwarber was over-drafted in 2020 after his fantastic 2019 campaign, but he’s falling a bit too far after a dismal 2020 showing. He’s a great bounce-back candidate this year, and his walk rate gives him a great floor for points leagues.

Other players considered: Marcus Stroman, Elieser Hernández

15.6: Marcus Stroman (SP – NYM)
As you can see, I’ve considered Stroman with my past four picks. I didn’t want to push my luck any more, as he’s been a great points-league pitcher throughout his career. He lacks in strikeouts, but he’s added a new four-seamer and split-change to his repertoire.

Other players considered: Elieser Hernández, Michael Brantley

16.7: Michael Brantley (OF – HOU)
And this is why you can wait on outfielders in points leagues. Hitters, really. You can find fantastic value late in drafts, and Brantley is the perfect example in Round 16 with his across-the-board production.

Other players considered: Elieser Hernández, Andrew Heaney

17.6: Elieser Hernández (SP – MIA)
Death, taxes, leaving the draft with Hernández. He’s my favorite late-round pitcher to target, and I fully believe in his ability to finish the year as a top-50 pitcher with his lights-out slider.

Other players considered: Andrew Heaney, Jameson Taillon

18.7: Jameson Taillon (SP – NYY)
With every position filled on the offensive side besides catcher, it’s time to target high-upside pitchers. Let’s begin with Taillon, who is returning from his second Tommy John surgery, but is also pitching for the Yankees instead of the Pirates. I can afford to be patient with him.

Other players considered: Michael Pineda, Tarik Skubal

19.6: Michael Pineda (SP – MIN)
OK, so this isn’t a true high-upside play, but Pineda (when healthy) is a safe pitcher for fantasy managers. This pick balances out Taillon pick and my Round 20 selection.

Other players considered: Tarik Skubal, Garrett Richards

20.7: Tarik Skubal (SP – DET)
Skubal should have no problems breaking into the Detroit rotation despite an up-and-down rookie season in which he still had a 27.6% K rate.

Other players considered: Garrett Richards

21.6: Garrett Richards (SP – BOS)
No question about it. I am ready to get hurt again.

Other players considered: Alejandro Kirk, Danny Jansen

21.6: Alejandro Kirk (C – TOR)
Unless you’re going to invest in J.T. Realmuto early, wait until your last pick to take a catcher in a points league. Really, just wait.

Other players considered: Danny Jansen, Tom Murphy

Summary

In all, I really like my team for a points league. The analyzer didn’t as much, as it gave me a 78/100 (C+) and projected me to finish 11th overall, as it has my offense as the league’s worst-ranked offense. It does, however, have my pitching as the best. In a points league, that’s the kind of split I want. As constructed, I think this squad is a top-three team in the league if my pitching stays healthy.

I don’t have any regrets or picks I wish I made instead. The only guy I wish I had was Burnes. But I had already selected five pitchers with my first seven picks, so it worked out fine.

There’s enough offense on the waiver wire in a 12-team points league that I can easily churn and burn if needed.

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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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