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2021 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft: 10-Team Roto

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Feb 12, 2021

It’s another year of being criminally underrated for Nelson Cruz.

It’s February. You know what that means.

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

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

I 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 and 10-team categories mock draft recently.

Since it’s a 10-team league, there will be a ton of valuable players on the waiver wire to churn-and-burn for streaming or to pick up for long-term impact if the picks don’t work out.

The roster setup is: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, MI, CI, 5 OF, 2 UTIL, 2 SP, 2 RP, 4 P, and 5 bench.

I randomized the draft order, and I ended up with the first pick, which is great, but also pressure because there is a clear top 5, so I could have gone 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.

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1.1: Ronald Acuña (OF – ATL)
Getting the No. 1 overall pick seems great, but when there’s not a consensus No. 1, it makes the pick a lot harder to make. I really wanted Juan Soto here, but since it’s traditional roto scoring, I’ll go with Acuña, who can get me the speed I need early on.

Other players considered: Juan Soto, Fernando Tatís

2.10: Yu Darvish (SP – SD)
Doing quite a few mocks so far this season (30-some?), I’ve seen how quickly pitchers go off the board. In a 10-team league, it’s easier to make up ground, but I wanted to grab my first ace here. I like the move to San Diego for Darvish, and rumors of a six-person rotation are just rumors for now. We don’t deal with rumors and innuendo.

Other players considered: Walker Buehler, Bryce Harper

3.1: Aaron Nola (SP – PHI)
I decided to go with another ace here in Nola. I grabbed Nola over Walker Buehler and Luis Castillo because he has the safer floor of the three to go along with an ace ceiling. 

Other players considered: Walker Buehler, Ozzie Albies

4.10: DJ LeMahieu (1B/2B/3B – NYY)
The third or fourth round is the perfect time to take a second baseman, with LeMahieu or Whit Merrifield seemingly always there. I lean LeMahieu since I have a nice floor with stolen bases in Acuña. LeMahieu has that valuable third position for eligibility, and he has a much higher ceiling.

Other players considered: Whit Merrifield, Nolan Arenado

5.1: Nolan Arenado (3B – STL)
Yeah, I get it. He’s out of Colorado. That’s the only reason he fell to the fifth round, and it’s a fantastic landing spot. It’s not a death sentence to leave Colorado, and his profile will play anywhere. 

Other players considered: Luis Robert, Eloy Jiménez

6.10: Nelson Cruz (UT – MIN)
It was really tempting to take Yordan Álvarez here for the youth aspect, but why take a player who could be Nelson Cruz when you can just take Nelson Cruz? Another year of being criminally underrated. 

Other players considered: Yordan Álvarez, Luke Voit

7.1: Luke Voit (1B – NYY)
I should have wen Liam Hendriks here to lock down my top closer on the board, but first base is so top-heavy this year that I wanted to lock up the position early with Voit.

Other players considered: Liam Hendriks, Hyun-Jin Ryu

8.10: Liam Hendriks (RP – CHW)
Crisis averted, as Hendriks made it back to me. I’m absolutely thrilled with this pick in the eighth round to get one stud closer that I can build around.

Other players considered: Hyun-jin Ryu, Keston Hiura

9.1: Michael Conforto (OF – NYM)
I strongly considered Ryu or another closer here, but Conforto was too good to pass up here, especially in that improved Mets lineup. I didn’t want to fall too far behind since we need five outfielders.

Other players considered: Hyun-jin Ryu, Keston Hiura

10.10: Kyle Hendricks (SP – CHC)
It was time to grab a third starter, and once again, Hendricks is criminally underrated. He won’t give the huge strikeout numbers, but he’s as consistent as consistent comes.

Other players considered: José Altuve, Anthony Rizzo

11.1: Anthony Rizzo (1B – CHC)
Rizzo fell this far because people are putting too much stock into his 2020 season – 60 games – where he had a horrible average. Under the hood, there’s nothing to suggest that his average would stay there over the course of a full season.

Other players considered: José Altuve, Matt Olson

12.10: Carlos Correa (SS – HOU)
Look, Correa may not be the Alex Rodriguez clone that many projected him to be, but he’s a damn good player still when he’s healthy. This feels like a pure steal here in the 12th round. Shortstop is so loaded this year.

Other players considered: Matt Chapman, Tommy Pham

13.1: Lance McCullers (SP – HOU)
McCullers pitched last year after returning from Tommy John surgery, and he looked pretty good. The time to target Tommy John surgery guys is two years out. 

Other players considered: Matt Chapman, Tommy Pham

14.10: Brad Hand (RP – WSH)
Managers are reluctant to have left-handers close, but Hand has shown time and time again that he could be trusted in Cleveland. Another top closer locked down.

Other players considered: Dominic Smith, Dylan Bundy

15.1: Dominic Smith (1B/OF – NYM)
Not having a DH in the National League isn’t great for Smith, but his bat is too good to platoon or come off the bench. He’ll be starting in left field nearly every day.

Other players considered: Dylan Bundy, Joe Musgrove

Check out all of our 2021 fantasy baseball draft prep content >>

16.10: Frankie Montas (SP – OAK)
This feels like a good spot for Montas. Remember just how dominant he was in 2019. It’s a nice upside play here.

Other players considered: David Price, Kyle Lewis

17.1: Kyle Lewis (OF – SEA)
So we’re just going to let the Rookie of the Year fall to the 17th round? OK, I guess. 

Other players considered: Josh Donaldson, David Price

18.10: Kirby Yates (RP – TOR)
The Blue Jays are rolling the dice on Yates being healthy, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t, too. Third drafted closer? Who the hell am I?

Other players considered: Justin Turner, Andrew Heaney

19.1 Nick Solak (2B/3B/OF – TEX)
Are you looking for this year’s Trent Grisham? Look no further than Solak. It’s the last chance to acquire him for a low price in dynasty leagues.

Other players considered: Andrew McCutchen, Ian Happ

20.10: Marcus Stroman (SP – NYM)
A pitcher being overlooked after sitting out last season is Stroman. He’s more valuable in points leagues, but in 2021, we need pitchers who can give us innings. Stroman will do that, plus he’s added a new pitch that we need to keep an eye out for. He gives safety here but also has upside.

Other players considered: Andrew McCutchen, James Paxton

21.1: Andrew McCutchen (OF – PHI)
McCutchen won’t be the 20/20 threat that we once knew on the other side of the Keystone State, but he’s a solid, boring veteran who provides all-around value.

Other players considered: Justin Turner, J.D. Davis

22.10: Justin Turner (3B – FA)
OK, fine, bots. I’ll take Turner, who will return insane value in the 22nd round. I don’t mind!

Other players considered: Tyler Mahle, James Paxton

23.1: 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 first couple of months of the season. Expect his ADP to go up closer to Opening Day.

Other players considered: James Paxton, Tyler Mahle

24.10: James Paxton (SP – FA)
Paxton hasn’t signed yet, but he’ll return value here even if he doesn’t reach 2017 levels.

Other players considered: Tyler Mahle, Jon Berti

25.1: Jon Berti (2B/3B/SS/OF – MIA)
I’ve never met anyone who says they love Jon Berti, but I fell behind in steals, and he’s projected for the seventh-most steals in the Majors this year by ATC projections.

Other players considered: Gavin Lux, Mitch Haniger

26.10: Elías Díaz (C – COL)
A catcher is required, so *looks through the position, picks the top one* you’ll do, Elías!

Other players considered: n/a

27.1: Griffin Canning (SP – LAA)
Canning won’t be an ace, but he can be a solid SP3-4 if he can stay healthy.

Other players considered: Tyler Mahle, Zach Eflin

In all, I love this team, and I was shocked that the draft analyzer gave me a C+ (79/100) – especially with the number of value picks I had based on ADP. They projected me ninth overall, which I will take as a personal grudge (JK, the system is great. I’m just bitter).

There weren’t many instances where I wish that I went in a different direction. I address saves early, which I usually don’t do, but I probably should have emphasized steals throughout instead of relying on two players to carry me.

If the analyzer is right and I’m wrong, the good thing is that it’s a 10-team league, so I should be able to adjust accordingly and grab valuable players off the wire to help me compete.

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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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