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Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft: 12-Team Categories (2021)

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Feb 17, 2021

 
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 really easy 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 this is a 12-team league, I’m going to try something different in my approach. I want to see what happens if I load up on hitters early and wait on pitching. I’m talking six, seven, eight straight rounds of hitters to start my draft. 

Can a staff made up of SP2s and SP3s compete?

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 second 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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1.2: Ronald Acuña (OF – ATL)
Getting the No. 2 overall allows me to make a choice. Mookie Betts went off the board first, so it was between Acuña, Juan Soto, Fernando Tatís, and Mike Trout. Since it’s traditional 5×5, I opted for elite speed with my first pick.

Other players considered: Juan Soto, Fernando Tatís

2.11: Ozzie Albies (2B – ATL)
This was a tough pick. I really wanted one of the top third basemen here, but there are two guys I like in Anthony Rendon and Alex Bregman, so I feel confident one will make its way back to me in three picks. Instead, I’ll go for the top second baseman on my board. It’s a weak position, and we haven’t seen the best of Albies yet, though the deadening of the ball could hurt him slightly.

Other players considered: Anthony Rendon, Alex Bregman

3.2: Anthony Rendon (3B – LAA)
Like clockwork, both third basemen fell to me here. It’s a coin-flip, but I’ll go with Rendon, who is the safer of the two. It’s going to be a gamble to see which pitchers make their way back to me.

Other players considered: Alex Bregman, Walker Buehler

4.11: George Springer (OF – TOR)
There are too many great hitters on the board for me to go pitcher-pitcher here, so I’ll see who is left in three picks. Springer in the Toronto lineup is gold. He should be going in the third round, so this is great value for him.

Other players considered: Aaron Judge, Vladimir Guerrero, Jr.

5.2: 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 taking his offseason conditioning seriously. Guerrero has best-player-in-the-league potential still, and he just has to get the launch angle up. He still hits the piss out of the ball. The breakout is happening, so sit back and enjoy.

Other players considered: Pete Alonso, Aaron Judge

6.11: Gleyber Torres (2B/SS – NYY)
Six straight hitters and I still feel good about the pitching options who are left. I’ve never been a huge Torres fan, but hitting in that lineup elevates him high, and he should be going way before the end of the sixth round.

Other players considered: Nelson Cruz, Stephen Strasburg

7.2: Keston Hiura (2B – MIL)
I like this value here for Hiura, who will be gaining first base eligibility soon. It was a down sophomore year, but it was 60 games. The strikeouts are a concern, but I’m trusting his minor league numbers more than a tiny sample in 2020. The hit tool will carry him.

Other players considered: Stephen Strasburg, Hyun-Jin Ryu

8.11: Kyle Hendricks (SP – CHC)
It was time to finally grab a starter, and Hendricks is criminally underrated. He won’t give the huge strikeout numbers, but he’s as consistent as consistent comes. He’s a better SP2, but I can make this work.

Other players considered: José Berríos, Austin Meadows

9.2: 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, but this is a solid spot to take him to pair with Hendricks for a boring 1-2.

Other players considered: James Karinchak, Raisel Iglesias

10.11: 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. He gives me a high-upside play with my two boring vets.

Other players considered: Charlie Morton, Patrick Corbin

11.2: Ryan Pressly (RP – HOU)
Let’s grab another pitching from Houston, but this time, let’s address our saves needs. I trust Pressly more than Kenley Jansen and Brad Hand.

Other players considered: Kenley Jansen, Brad Hand

12.11: Pablo López (SP – MIA)
It was surprising to see López make it back here since he’s one of the popular sleeper pitchers this year. He’ll need to build off the SwStr% and strikeout rate that he had from 2020, but his outlook looks promising.

Other players considered: Julio Urías, Ke’Bryan Hayes 

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13.2: Ke’Bryan Hayes (3B – PIT)
That pitching run was fun. Now, back to hitters. I went with Hayes here, but I don’t love it. The offensive output was dissimilar to his rookie numbers, and that supporting cast around him is rough. Still, he’ll play regularly, and it’s a nice upside play. 

Other players considered: Matt Chapman, Tommy Pham

14.11: Kirby Yates (RP – TOR)
The Blue Jays are rolling the dice on Yates being healthy, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t, too. 

Other players considered: David Price, Andrew McCutchen

15.2: 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: Dylan Moore, David Price

16.11: Aaron Civale (SP – CLE)
Civale had a solid showing last year, and he’s a slight tweak away from being Corey Kluber-light. Trust the Cleveland pitching machine.

Other players considered: Andrew Heaney, Nick Solak

17.2: 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: Marcus Stroman, Trey Mancini

18.11: Triston McKenzie (SP – CLE)
We’ve reached the point of the draft where the talent is the same, and you just take guys you like. Again, I’ll go back to the Cleveland pitching well.

Other players considered: Daulton Varsho, Drew Pomeranz

19.2: Brian Anderson (3B/OF – MIA)
Anderson’s ceiling is capped to that of a 15th rounder. His floor is also that of a 15th rounder. Boring, safe pick here.

Other players considered: Mark Canha, Jesse Winker

20.11: 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: Mark Canha, David Fletcher

21.2: David Fletcher (2B/3B/SS/OF – LAA)
Eligible all over the place. Gives the same production that Jeff McNeil does if the power goes away. Boring pick for hard-to-find batting average.

Other players considered: Mark Canha, Aaron Hicks

22.11: Jon Berti (2B/SS/3B/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: Aaron Hicks, C.J. Cron

23.2: 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: Brady Singer, Zach Davies

24.11: 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: Dane Dunning, Zach Davies

25.6: Jorge Alfaro (C – MIA)
A catcher is required, so *looks through the position, picks the top one* you’ll do, Jorge!

Other players considered: n/a

26.11: C.J. Cron (1B – COL)
I cheated. I did this draft as the news broke that he signed in Colorado. I don’t care. Give me the 35 homers. 

Other players considered: n/a

27.2: MacKenzie Gore (SP – SD)
Gore is the top pitching prospect in baseball still. He lost some velocity, but he’s a control artist. Great flyer for the end of your draft.

Other players considered: Michael Kopech, Tarik Skubal

In all, I love this team, but I wasn’t shocked that the draft analyzer gave me a C+ (79/100) – especially since I went so long without a starting pitcher. The system projects me to finish seventh in the league, which I’ll take. It has my pitching ranked eighth, which is fair, but I like the guys I took, and with streaming off the wire, I can definitely compete with this staff.

I don’t think there are any picks I regret, but I could have gone without Hiura and gone with Hyun-jin Ryu – my typical default ace.

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Beyond our fantasy baseball content, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Baseball Tools as you prepare for your draft this season. From our free mock Draft Simulator – which allows you to mock draft against realistic opponents – to our Draft Assistant – that optimizes your picks with expert advice – we’ve got you covered this fantasy baseball draft season.

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

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