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12-Team Early Mock Draft: Hitting Heavy (2021 Fantasy Baseball)

Mar 2, 2021

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In this mock, I will go hitter-heavy early and then try to build a competitive pitching staff later on with some of my favorite SP values. Let’s see how it works.

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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: 4th of 12

1.4 Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS – SDP)
Well, that was weird. The first three picks went Soto, Betts, Acuna – leaving me with an easy Tatis selection to get things going.

Others Considered: Mike Trout (OF – LAA)

2.9 Ozzie Albies (2B – ATL)
I am gunning for the top offense in the league, which meant making sure I got some production at the bleak second base position. Albies is the top second baseman on my board, so I didn’t want to miss him. He should be a nice contributor in batting average, steals, and runs scored – giving me a great foundation with Tatis.

Others Considered: Anthony Rendon (3B – LAA)

3.4 Anthony Rendon (3B – LAA)
I considered Rendon last pick, as you can see, so getting him after the turn was a nice addition. Now my infield is loaded up with three stud hitters that should all contribute nicely to batting average.

Others Considered: Rafael Devers (3B – BOS)

4.9 Luis Robert (OF – CHW)
It was time to grab an outfielder, and with already having some leeway in batting average, I thought it was a nice idea to take the power/steals upside of Robert. With Tatis, Albies, and Robert, I set up really nicely in steals so now I can focus more on the other four offensive categories.

Others Considered: Aaron Judge (OF – NYY)

5.4 Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (1B – TOR)
First base is also a tough position to feel, and I didn’t want to wait for the next tier of guys – so I grabbed Vladdy here. There is a real 30+ homer upside here, and I expect a strong batting average from the Blue Jays young star.

Others Considered: Pete Alonso (1B – NYM)

6.9 Stephen Strasburg (SP – WAS)
This was the first guy on my targets list, a potential ace in the sixth round. If Strasburg can just stay healthy this year, this pick will be one of the best I make.

Others Considered: Hyun-Jin Ryu (SP – TOR)

7.4 Hyun-Jin Ryu (SP – TOR)
Back-to-back pitchers to begin piecing this together. Ryu isn’t an exciting pitcher with the age factor and how few strikeouts he generates, but he feels like a nice guy to add for help in ERA and wins since I’m behind in pitching.

Others Considered: Kyle Hendricks (SP – CHC)

8.9 Matt Chapman (3B – OAK)
I was a bit behind the pace in homers, and Chapman has a 34 homer projection, so I dove in. He is one of the most undervalued players on the board this year.

Others Considered: Eddie Rosario (OF – CLE)

9.4 Raisel Iglesias (RP – LAA)
I wanted to get ahead in saves a bit, so I took a shot at the Angels new closer. He is one of the few guys who have real job security in the closer role, so it’s nice to have at least one of those guys on the squad.

Others Considered: Ryan Pressly (RP – HOU)

10.9 Charlie Morton (SP – ATL)
Another too-cheap pitcher because of injury/age concerns. When you wait this long to draft pitching, you can’t deny that you’re really gambling, so I might as well keep the dice rolling with some high-risk, high-reward hurlers.

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

11.4 Lance McCullers (SP – HOU)
McCullers has had lots of trouble staying on the field but was electric last year in the short-sample. He’s another big-time risk, but he’s a guy that has the skill to put up ace-like numbers.

Others Considered: Mike Moustakas (2B – CIN)

12.9 Sixto Sanchez (SP – MIA)
Huge fastball, great ground-ball rate, low walk rate. We haven’t seen much of Sixto in the Majors, but he is bursting with upside, and he’s a great fit for this draft strategy.

Others Considered: Ryan Pressly (RP – HOU)

13.4 Ryan Mountcastle (OF – BAL)
Only had Robert in the outfield, so I grabbed some nice upside with Mountcastle here. He showed the ability to hit for a high batting average in his rookie season last year, which is always a huge plus to see a guy able to make a lot of contact right out of the gates.

Others Considered: Max Kepler (OF – MIN)

14.9 Nick Solak (2B – TEX)
A solid bet for a good batting average and steals, Solak fills my middle-infield slot and gives me a little boost where I needed it.

Others Considered: Aaron Civale (SP – CLE)

15.4 Craig Kimbrel (RP – CHC)
He’s the Cubs closer for now, which is a good spot to be in since the Cubs should be winning some tight games in that weak NL Central.

Others Considered: James Paxton (SP – SEA)

16.9 Aaron Civale (SP – CLE)
I love drafting Indians pitchers, as they are the most liberal team in the league in terms of starting pitcher innings. That’s a big boost in 2021 when innings counts are sure to be limited.

Others Considered: Drew Pomeranz (RP – SDP)

17.4 Ian Happ (CHC – OF)
Hitting at the top of the lineup was great for Happ last year as he posted a really impressive fantasy line. Here’s hoping for more of that!

Others Considered: Anthony Santander (OF – BAL)

18.9 Michael Pineda (SP – MIN)
I love Pineda this year. He’s been a very effective pitcher when on the field, and this is his best chance at a full season in a long time.

Others Considered: Jose Urquidy (SP – HOU)

19.4: Clint Frazier (OF – NYY)
I still have three starting hitting spots to fill, so I started a hitter run-off with Frazier, who has always hit well when he’s playing. It seems like the Yankees will finally give him a starting spot on Opening Day this year, which should be great for his fantasy stock as a guy going after pick 200.

Others Considered: Andrew McCutchen (OF – PHI)

20.8 James McCann (C – NYM)
McCann has been a masher at the plate when he’s playing, but he’s been confined to a back-up role the last two seasons. Now he gets the starting job with the Mets, so I’m excited to see what he can do.

Others Considered: Raimel Tapia (OF – COL)

21.4 Kyle Seager (3B – SEA)
Gotta like what this guy has been able to do in limited playing time the last two seasons. The 24 homer, 84 RBI projection is pretty nice for a pick this late in the draft.

Others Considered: Lorenzo Cain (OF – MIL)

22.9 Andrew McCutchen (OF – PHI)
Cutch fell quite a ways to me as I considered him three rounds ago. He finishes off my starting lineup on offense and should add a nice supply of runs and maybe even a handful of steals.

Others Considered: Giovanny Gallegos (RP – STL)

22.4 Mike Minor (SP – KCR)
This was my plan all along, to use my last pick on Minor. He had a miserable 2020 season that just doesn’t seem like real life. I think he’ll bounce back pretty close to his 2019 self, which is a high-strikeout pitcher that gives you a good supply of innings. The move to Kauffman Stadium also should help him limit the long ball a bit.


The algorithm graded this team as an 88, a B+. I’m lined up well on offense, being fifth or better projected in all five categories, and I managed to make the top five in saves as well. For how long I waited on starting pitching, I was surprised to come in 7th in strikeouts and 6th in ERA and WHIP.


I think this is a much more palatable strategy than going crazy at SP early on. There are a lot of really interesting starting pitchers you can get late in the draft. I’m a big fan of every SP I drafted here and encourage everyone to look a little closer into them to see if you agree.

Thanks for reading – happy drafting, everybody!

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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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