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10-Team Mock Draft: Early Pick (2021 Fantasy Baseball)

Mar 10, 2021

 
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In this mock, I gave myself the first overall pick to see how things shape up. Let’s see how it works.

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Results

Positions: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, 3 OF, UTIL, UTIL, 9 P, 4 bench
Categories: R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, W, SV, K, ERA, WHIP
My pick: 1st of 10

1.1 Ronald Acuna Jr. (OF – ATL)
Acuna is the top player on my board. I have been taking him ahead of Soto and Betts because of the extra steals he offers, and over Tatis because he’s been doing this in the Majors a little longer, giving me a little extra confidence in getting the elite numbers. My priority early in the draft is stolen bases because they dry up really fast, so Acuna was the guy to get here.

Others Considered: Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS – SDP)

2.10 Anthony Rendon (3B – LAA)
Another thing that is tough to find as you get later into the draft is guys who hit for a high batting average without really hurting you in homers. Rendon does just that, as he has been a .300+ hitter in his past while still hitting a bunch of homers. This is a great draft price for him too after he disappointed a bit in his first season with the Angels last year.

Others Considered: Alex Bregman (3B – HOU)

3.1 Walker Buehler (SP – LAD)
Pitcher time, and Buehler was best available. My choice was between him and Bauer, and I just think Buehler is more likely to post elite ratios this year, given the inconsistency in the past we have seen with Bauer.

Others Considered: Trevor Bauer (SP – LAD

4.10 Luis Robert (OF – CHW)
I really wanted to bring home another steals guy, and Robert does that for me. He could potentially really break my team’s batting average if he continues to strike out at a rate above 30%, but the homer and steal upside he has is more than enough for me to take that risk.

Others Considered: Kyle Tucker (OF – HOU)

5.1 Clayton Kershaw (SP – LAD)
I do not like to go too long in these early rounds without taking a starter, and Kershaw really fell deep in this draft. Getting him way down here at pick 50 was pretty surprising, so I couldn’t pass it up.

Others Considered: Brandon Woodruff (SP – MIL)

6.10  Michael Conforto (OF – NYM)
While obviously Conforto’s batting average in 2020 was bloated by luck (.412 BABIP), I do like the contact he made and the line-drive rate he showed off. I think this guy is too skilled a hitter to have a truly bad year, so he’s been one of my favorite outfielders to lock in after pick 60 or so.

Others Considered: Nick Castellanos (OF – CIN)

7.1 Josh Hader (RP – MIL)
I typically don’t go this way, but I decided to be the first team to take a reliever off the board. Hader is seemingly one of the few guys with a locked-down job as the closer and a reliable arm. We have seen so a lot of elite closers all of the sudden lose it and have pretty bad years, but Hader has been nothing but one of the best pitchers in the game for several years now, so I like the security I get with him as my first reliever.

Others Considered: Stephen Strasburg (SP – WAS)

8.10 Yoan Moncada (3B – CHW)
The bounce-back season is here, and I’m on board the Moncada train. He should provide a good supply of homers and could even contribute in steals, and he should soak up the counting stats batting in the heart of that juicy White Sox lineup.

Others Considered: Teoscar Hernandez (OF – TOR)

9.1 Ketel Marte (2B – ARI)
With Moncada and Robert on my team, I have a lot of swing-and-miss, so I decided to fill my second base spot with a high contact hitter that should be able to raise my team’s batting average substantially. Marte’s power completely disappeared last year, but his maximum exit velocity and other batted ball metrics back up a return to form as a 15-20 homer guy this year, so I really like getting him before the huge cliff at second base.

Others Considered: Brandon Lowe (2B – TB)

10.10 Max Muncy (1B/2B/3B – LAD)
Multi-position eligibility is always super nice to have, and Muncy fills in at three different positions this year. His draft price is also suppressed due to some bad luck last year that resulted in a horrible batting average. There is no way this guy is going to hit .280 or anything like that for me, but I don’t think he will be nearly as bad in average as he was last year and he should give me a ton of runs, homers, and RBI in that Dodgers lineup.

Others Considered: Matt Chapman (3B – OAK)

11.1 Carlos Correa (SS – HOU)
The shortstop well was nearly dried up and I was looking at 18 picks before my next one, so I reached a little bit for Correa here to at least get someone in that slot that will play every day and has some upside. If nothing else, Correa should be a nice supply of RBI batting behind Altuve, Bregman, and Yordan Alvarez.

Others Considered: Dansby Swanson (SS – ATL)

12.10 Charlie Morton (SP – ATL)
Back to the pitching well, and time to grab some of my favorite late-round guys. Morton is priced way down to age and his lackluster 2020 season, but I think a nice bounce-back is in order for the veteran. The great Braves offense behind him should also make him a nice source of wins.

Others Considered: Lance McCullers Jr. (SP – HOU)

13.1 Dylan Bundy (SP – LAA)
I’m not sure Bundy will be as good as he was last year again, but he doesn’t need to be to justify this price tag. He is a crafty pitcher that knows how to get the strikeout and should throw some gems for my team here. I was happy to get him way back in the 13th round.

Others Considered: Brad Hand (RP – WAS)

14.10 Nick Anderson (RP – TB)
After taking Hader, I didn’t look at RP for very long, but I figured it was time to dive back in. Anderson has been another one of the truly consistently dominant relievers in the league, and he should get a good amount of save opportunities playing on that Rays team that gets themselves in a ton of close games. While he’s definitely not going to get anywhere near 100% of the Rays saves, I can feel really good about the ratios being nice, so I’ll give up a handful of saves for that security.

Others Considered: Craig Kimbrel (RP – CHC)

15.1 Byron Buxton (OF – MIN)
I really want to be near the top of the league in steals, and I just think Buxton is oozing with upside. The Twins are a little lighter offensively this year, and I think that could result in Buxton playing a lot of games hitting higher than his usual nine-hole. If he would lead-off for any amount of time with the Twins, he should score a ton of runs while potentially being amongst the league leaders in steals.

Others Considered: Dominic Smith (1B/OF – NYM)

16.10 Frankie Montas (SP – OAK)
Another one of my favorite late-round SPs is Montas, who has been downgraded ADP-wise a ton because of his recent suspension and injuries. His numbers last year look really bad, but I believe they were mainly influenced by injury. Before the injury last year he was looking completely dominant again, so I’m banking on that guy coming back and being one of the most valuable late-round starting pitcher choices in the draft.

Others Considered: David Price (SP – LAD)

17.1 Tommy Edman (SS – STL)
Needed another middle infielder to fill out my starting lineup with, and Edman gives me a bit of a boost in runs scored, batting average, and really might bring home the stolen base crown for me.

Others Considered: Dylan Moore (2B – SEA)

18.10 Max Kepler (OF – MIN)
If Byron Buxton isn’t leading off, then it’s probably Max Kepler. This is just another guy that I see as going way too late in drafts, so I was more than happy to slide him in my third and final outfield starting spot.

Others Considered: Ian Happ (OF – CHC)

19.1 Corey Kluber (SP – NYY)
Huge upside with Kluber here, and it’s encouraging that the Yankees were so quick to offer him a sizeable contract. While this is a huge injury risk, a lot of that risk is absorbed by the nearly free price tag. If Kluber can find his way into 25 starts, I think I’ll be really pleased with getting him this late.

Others Considered: James Paxton (SP – SEA)

20.10 Sean Murphy (C – OAK)
Obligatory catcher pick.

Others Considered: Christian Vazquez (C – BOS)

21.1 Richard Rodriguez (RP – PIT)
One more pick to go so I decided to take another guy that has the job as the closer, considering I only have two right now. The Pirates are not going to win more than 60 games, but that doesn’t mean Rodriguez can’t find his way into 30 saves if he pitches well, and that would be pretty valuable down here in the 21st round.

Others Considered: Jordan Hicks (RP – STL)

Grades

The analyzer gave this draft an A- and projected me as the overall second-best team. I was seventh in hitting but third in pitching. My misses were homers (ranked 7th), RBI (8th), and average (8th). I was second in steals (to the team who took Adalberto Mondesi, naturally), third in saves, third in ERA, and second in WHIP. All-in-all, I really like this team. Homers and RBI are two of the categories that are often easiest to find on waivers, so this draft strategy, in general, seems to be one I would definitely pursue in real-life drafts from the #1 picking spot.

Thanks for reading!

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Jon Anderson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Jon, check out his archive and follow him @JonPgh

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