2021 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft: 10-Team Categories
It’s February. You know what that means.
Baseball is right around the corner. While our coverage at FantasyPros is year-round, we are getting you ready to dominate draft and season with daily content leading to the season’s first pitch.
One of the cool features is our mock draft simulator. It’s really easy and quick to use, so check it out.
I’ve recently used the simulator to put together a 12-team mock draft for categories, using traditional 5×5 scoring, as well as a 12-team points league.
This time, I’m doing a 10-team categories mock, but I’m going to do something a little bit different. Usually, when I write these ledes, I’ve already drafted, did my analysis, and headed right into the body of the piece.
This time, I’m writing this before I draft to hold myself accountable. With it being 10 teams, my plan for this draft is to go with the best available player with the highest ceiling for each pick. I’m going to write up my thought process for each pick as I make it.
Since it’s a 10-team league, plenty of valuable players will be on the waiver wire to churn-and-burn for streaming or pick up for long-term impact if the picks don’t work out.
The roster setup is: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, 3 OF, 2 UTIL, 2 SP, 2 RP, 4 P and 5 bench. I randomized the draft order and ended up with the fourth pick, which is great. There is a clear top five, so I could go in any direction.
You’ll see how my team ended up, and you can view a complete pick-by-pick breakdown of the entire draft here.
1.4: Juan Soto (OF – WAS)
Shane Bieber sneaking into the top three surprised me, leaving me with a decision at fourth overall. Do I take Juan Soto or Mookie Betts? I wanted high upside here, so that was the pure difference-maker in the decision. Both have No. 1 overall potential, but Soto is the best hitter in baseball, and I’m not too worried about the speed difference.
Other players considered: Mookie Betts, Trea Turner
2.7: Bryce Harper (OF – PHI)
Pitchers flew off the board, and while I was hoping Cody Bellinger or Christian Yelich would fall here, I’m more than happy with Harper here. Some still view him as an overrated player despite year-to-year production. I don’t love drafting back-to-back outfielders in a three-outfielder draft, but he’s the best player available.
3.4: Luis Castillo (SP – CIN)
I almost took Xander Bogaerts, but I’m hoping Adalberto Mondesi will fall to me next round. As a result, I went with my first pitcher in Castillo. He’s the eighth-best arm for me, so I’m more than OK with him anchoring my staff.
Other players considered: Xander Bogaerts, Jack Flaherty
4.7: Adalberto Mondesi (SS – KC)
I may be the lowest person on Mondesi in the fantasy community (zero shares across 16 teams), but he can single-handedly win you stolen bases in a 10-team league. If he bombs, oh well. Since shortstop is deep, I won’t have any issues finding a replacement. He’s a nice pairing with Soto as my first-round pick.
Other players considered: Jack Flaherty, Rafael Devers
5.4: Jack Flaherty (SP – STL)
Yeah, I’m not sure why Flaherty is available here. He had one horrendous start that skewed his 2020 numbers in a shortened season. Capitalize on the ADP if you can.
6.7: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (1B/3B – 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: Liam Hendriks, Yordan Alvarez
7.4: Liam Hendriks (RP – CHW)
I typically ignore closers in drafts because there’s so much year-to-year fluctuation. But having a solidified closer or two in a 10-team draft can give you a leg up. Hendricks is a great value here.
8.7: Hyun-Jin Ryu (SP – TOR)
I couldn’t pass up the value of Ryu, who is under-drafted despite dominating the AL East last season. I like this pick for wins, WHIP, and ERA, and Castillo and Flaherty will more than make up for Ryu’s limited strikeouts.
9.4: Trent Grisham (OF – SD)
I strongly considered Corbin Burnes because I love his profile and believe he can take that next step as an ace this year. Even as my third outfielder, Grisham was too good to pass up, especially in San Diego’s stacked lineup.
Other players considered: Corbin Burnes, Nicholas Castellanos
10.7: Matt Olson (1B – OAK)
I thought about locking down my second closer, and in hindsight, I wish I had. However, I’m not mad about Olson here. He was the best player available on my board, but he doesn’t have superstar upside.
Other players considered: Edwin Díaz, Raisel Iglesias
11.4: Jesús Luzardo (SP – OAK)
There were some safer options available, but Luzardo has No. 1 starter potential. As my fourth starter, it’s a great gamble.
Other players considered: José Berríos, Alec Bohm
12.7: Carlos Correa (SS – HOU)
Look, Correa may not be the Alex Rodriguez clone many projected him to be, but he’s still a great player when healthy. This feels like a pure steal in the 12th round. He gives me insurance if Mondesi busts.
13.4: Lance McCullers Jr. (SP – HOU)
McCullers looked good in last year’s return. The time to target Tommy John surgery recipients is two years out. He and Luzardo close give me two high-upside plays.
Other players considered: Dylan Bundy, Will Smith
14.7: Jonathan Villar (2B/SS – FA)
Villar doesn’t even have a team, and if he does sign, he’s not guaranteed to start or play regularly. All of that is baked into his price. Remember when he was going really early last year after burning people two years prior? Fun times. He’s worth the gamble here in hopes of getting 450-500 plate appearances.
Other players considered: Byron Buxton, Ramón Laureano
15.4: Kirby Yates (RP – TOR)
I wish I would have grabbed my second closer earlier. Toronto is a great landing spot for Yates, but if and only if he’s healthy.
16.7: Dustin May (SP – LAD)
May is more enjoyable with his movement on his pitches for GIFs than a fantasy option. There is a camp that loves him, though. This spot feels right, and I could always try to trade him after the next Pitching Ninja GIF goes viral.
17.4: Franmil Reyes (OF – CLE)
I wanted to add some power to the team, and Reyes gives me that as my second utility option. Although I wish he had a better supporting cast in Cleveland, he still has league-leading power potential,
18.7: Archie Bradley (RP – PHI)
Is there something I’m missing with Bradley? We’ve hoped he’d be the closer for years now in Arizona, and he’s finally locked into the role with the Phillies. Why is he going so low?
Other players considered: Matt Barnes, Victor Robles
19.4 Nick Solak (2B/3B/OF – TEX)
Are you looking for this year’s Grisham? Look no further than Solak. It’s the last chance to acquire him for a low price in dynasty leagues. He gives me a back-up plan at second if Villar doesn’t sign anywhere in an everyday role.
Other players considered: Victor Robles, Marcus Stroman
20.4: Marcus Stroman (SP – NYM)
Stroman is overlooked after sitting out last season. He’s more valuable in points leagues, but we’ll need pitchers who can provide innings in 2021. Stroman will do that, plus he’s added a new pitch that we need to monitor. He gives safety, but also has upside.
21.4: Jameson Taillon (SP – NYY)
Taillon is on track to start spring training on time as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery. He has SP2-SP3 upside, but you’ll have to be patient with him in the season’s first couple of months. Expect his ADP to rise closer to Opening Day.
Other players considered: Nate Pearson, MacKenzie Gore
22.7: Nate Pearson (SP – TOR)
Pearson came as advertised last year with his lights-out fastball. He had a couple of rough outings, though, and he dealt with an injury that cut his rookie campaign short. He’s a nice post-hype sleeper with an insane ceiling.
Other players considered: MacKenzie Gore, Michael Kopech
23.6: Jorge Alfaro (C – MIA)
A catcher is required, so *looks through the position, picks the top one* you’ll do, Jorge!
In all, I’m really happy and excited about this team. The draft analyzer gave me a B- (80/100), which I think is a tad low given the stolen bases, saves, and overall balance of the roster. They project me sixth overall, which I guess is fair given my approach.
There were few instances where I regret taking one player over the other player, but I wish I would have locked up Edwin Díaz or Raisel Iglesias instead of Olson in Round 10. I could have easily taken Alec Bohm or Kris Bryant a round or two later and been fine.
This team can compete, but it’s understandably ranked low since I took many high-ceiling players. Given the small nature of the league, I could easily replace any of the players who fall short of expectations with someone off the waiver wire.
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