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Early 2022 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft: Three-Round, 5×5 Roto

Oct 15, 2021

Greetings! My name is Brendan Tuma and I’m so ready for the 2022 fantasy baseball season that I couldn’t help but engage our writers in a (very) early, three-round mock draft. When reading below, please keep in mind a few things:

  1. It’s early! While predicting the first few rounds of a draft this far out is easier than determining the later rounds, it’s vital to not be locked into any October “takes.” Things are going to change throughout the offseason
  2. The goal of this exercise is more about getting 36 or so worthy players in print, and not so much about excluding anyone. So if someone you think is deserving of a top-three round selection isn’t listed, odds are that you could be right. We didn’t do any honorable mentions this time around.
  3. As stated in the title, we were drafting for traditional 5×5 roto leagues – batting average, homers, runs, RBI, stolen bases, wins, saves, strikeouts, ERA, and WHIP.

Remember to reach out on Twitter with questions anytime @toomuchtuma.

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Pick 1.01 – Trea Turner (SS/2B – LAD)
Turner has just been so consistent year in and year out, and now that he’ll be with the Dodgers for a full season I like him even more. Not only does he have the ability to swipe bags, hit for average, and score runs, Turner also improved his power in ’21. Combine those tools with the fact that he may push for 90 RBIs in a loaded Dodgers lineup, we have a smash pick with Turner at the 1.01. Oh also if you weren’t already on board, he has second base eligibility now too.
– Ethan Biddle (@Ethan_Biddle)

Pick 1.02 – Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS/OF – SD)
Tatis had an impressive 2021 campaign, specifically in the first half of the season. While his defensive abilities are far from perfect, he provides an electric presence with his bat and speed. The MVP candidate should continue to hit the ball far and well next season, especially as the Padres look to be competitive in a challenging NL West division. There are some health concerns present, but after appearing in 130 games this year, those fears shouldn’t keep you from drafting the 22-year-old, who is eligible as both a shortstop and outfielder.
– Andersen Pickard (@AndersenPickard)

Pick 1.03 – Juan Soto (OF – WAS)
Soto was my consensus number one overall pick in upcoming fantasy drafts after slashing .313/.465/.534 with 29 home runs, 95 RBI, 111 runs, and nine stolen bases over 654 plate appearances in 2021. He is one of the best pure hitters in the game, and his statcast numbers are off the chart. The 22-year-old probably won’t steal 20 bases but produces enough to be a top-5 player in fantasy. Soto closed out the 2021 campaign strong by slashing .373/.545/.637 over his last 31 games. The Nationals outfielder is as close to a sure thing fantasy managers will get with a top-3 pick.
– Brad Camara (@beerad30)

Pick 1.04 – Bo Bichette (SS – TOR)
I was hoping that I could take Trea Turner and his 2B eligibility here, but I’ll gladly settle for the SS-only version in Bichette. We saw Bichette cut his strikeout rate in a 20/20 season with a near-.300 average to go with a combined runs and RBI north of 200. With a reasonably healthier George Springer next year, Bichette should maintain or even exceed this sort of production. The 23-year old should continue to run, providing a 5-category floor while also possessing elite upside. Yes, I could have taken Jose Ramirez here, but I expect Bichette’s run + RBI production to be better, along with the batting average.
– Carmen Maiorano (@carmsclubhouse)

Pick 1.05 – Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (1B – TOR)
While batting third for the league’s third highest scoring team, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. tied for the MLB-lead with 48 home runs, while driving in 111 RBI.. Four-category production is all but guaranteed, as Guerrero Jr. eased concerns by decreasing his GB rate by 10%, while posting a fly ball percentage (15.1%) that ranked in the MLB’s top 10% and a slugging percentage (.601) that landed him in the league’s top three. Stats aside, having any part of the Blue Jays young core is exciting. While 2021’s ADP hovered around the mid-forties, Guerrero Jr. deserves top-five consideration after missing only one game during his MVP caliber season.
– Andy Zimmerman (@ZimmShady7)

Pick 1.06 – Ronald Acuna Jr. (OF – ATL)
A consensus top 2 pick before the injury, I’ll take the risk of a slow rampup in spring training and decreased steals output early on to snag Acuna anywhere in the middle of the first round. He wasn’t a qualifier, but his 2021 xwOBA tied Harper for the MLB lead, and he was a top 10 sprint speed guy, just ahead of Tatis. His rehab of course will need to be monitored, as you’ll have to adjust accordingly if he’s going to be knocked out for more than a couple weeks of the regular season.
– Matt Picard (@Matt_Picard)

Pick 1.07 – Jose Ramirez (3B – CLE)
While Ramirez only hit .266 last season, which is below his career mark of .278, he nearly matched his counting stats from his banner 2018 season in which he finished third in MVP voting. J-Ram smashed 36 home runs, drove in 103, and swiped 27 bags last year, compared to 39 bombs, 105 RBI, and 34 thefts in 2018. He also scored 111 runs and rew 72 walks. He did all this while playing for an 80-win Cleveland team that should be better next season. Ramirez continues to be one of the most consistent, well-rounded, and reliable fantasy options out there.
– Jon Mathisen (@EazyMath)

Pick 1.08 – Bryce Harper (OF – PHI)
I’d be thrilled with getting Harper at this spot in the draft, it appears that he’s more likely than not going to win the NL MVP and it is for a great reason. He hit .338/.476/.713 with 20 homers and a 1.188 OPS post all-star break. What is there not to love about having him on your fantasy team?
– Kamran Hoda (@Kamran_H7)

Pick 1.09 – Corbin Burnes (SP – MIL)
Missing out on Harper by one spot hurt a little. Corbin Burnes was a nice consolation prize. His 35.6% K and 5.2% BB rates in 167 innings pitched in 2021 scream breakout 2022 season to me. Look for Burnes to cement himself as the ace of the Brewers rotation in 2022.
– Chris Schommer (@ChrisSchommer1)

Pick 1.10 – Shohei Ohtani (SP/DH – LAA)
Ohtani is the odds-on favorite to win the AL MVP and does things nobody has done since Babe Ruth. He led baseball in SB + HR, and in this league, he is one player, so I get his pitching stats, too; this pick was a Sho-brainer.
– Lucas Babits-Feinerman (@WSonfirst)

Pick 1.11 – Mike Trout (OF – LAA)
The days of Mike Trout as the No. 1 overall pick are over, but the days of me grabbing Mike Trout as tremendous value at the end of the first round are just beginning. The steals are likely gone altogether or will be minimal. There are injury concerns. But he’s still Mike Trout, and he’s only 30 years old. If the Angels can get Ohtani, Trout, Anthony Rendon, and Jared Walsh healthy and in the same lineup and supplement them with ANYONE else in 2022, they could be one of the better offenses in baseball. Trout could produce a 100+ R, 40+ HR, 100+ RBI, .300+ season, and maybe he’ll toss in a few steals to reward me for believing in him.
– Mike Maher (@mikemaher)

Pick 1.12 – Mookie Betts (OF – LAD)
Pick 2.01 – Freddie Freeman (1B – ATL)
Both of these selections felt “boring” yet it was impossible to pass on the value. Betts dealt with a lingering hip issue for most of the 2021 campaign, which likely affected his numbers. I don’t expect him to run as much as he enters his 30s, but the supporting cast remains elite. As for Freeman, he’s as bankable of a four-category contributor as one can find. What makes him special is being a foundational player in both batting average and power categories.
– Brendan Tuma (@toomuchtuma)

Pick 2.02 – Kyle Tucker (OF – HOU)
Tucker arrived in 2021. 30 home runs, 14 steals, and a .294 batting average in 140 games. And he did that while batting sixth or seventh for most of the year. I think he is going to take another step forward in 2022 with a more prominent spot in an excellent lineup. Sign me up for Tucker everywhere.
– Mike Maher (@mikemaher)

Pick 2.03 – Jacob deGrom (SP – NYM)
deGrom finished the season tenth overall on the player rater despite playing his last game on July seventh. He’s so much better than all the other pitchers in baseball that I couldn’t pass him up. Now I have to cross my fingers that he stays healthy.
– Lucas Babits-Feinerman (@WSonfirst)

Pick 2.04 – Gerrit Cole (SP – NYY)
After watching Freeman, Tucker, and deGrom come off the board, it came down to Cole or Scherzer. There was no way I was leaving arguably the best pitcher in the American League on the board. Four straight seasons with a strikeout rate above 32.5% and even after a down 2021, look for Cole to get back to his dominant self for the Yankees in 2022.
– Chris Schommer (@ChrisSchommer1)

Pick 2.05 – Max Scherzer (SP – LAD)
I love taking Mad Max as the fifth (including Ohtani) SP on the board. Scherzer’s 2.46 ERA and 0.86 WHIP were both the best of his career, it appears the older he gets the better he is getting. He even averaged 11.8 K/9 which was the 2nd best in the NL only behind Burnes, I would love getting Scherzer at this spot!
– Kamran Hoda (@Kamran_H7)

Pick 2.06 – Xander Bogaerts (SS – BOS)
Bogaerts had a bit of an underwhelming season, counting stats-wise, with a .295/.370/.493 triple slash line to go along with with 23 home runs, 79 RBI, and five stolen bases. His counting stats production has been somewhat inconsistent year-to-year but home runs and RBI can be difficult to predict. But his Strikeout Rate, Walk Rate, and plate discipline have been remarkably consistent over his entire career. He hits in the middle of one of the most formidable lineups in baseball, that could be even better next season, so I count on more home runs and RBI to go along with a high batting average and on-base percentage.
– Jon Mathisen (@EazyMath)

Pick 2.07 – Walker Buehler (SP – LAD)
I’ll gladly take Buehler here, as he’s emerged as a solid fantasy ace and is no longer having his innings limited. The strikeout rate lags behind the other top pitchers, but his propensity to pitch relatively deep into just about every game means the strikeout total will be sufficient. Perhaps there’s no better way to summarize Buehler than pointing out he led MLB in 2021 with 28 quality starts, five more than anyone else garnered.
– Matt Picard (@Matt_Picard)

Pick 2.08 – Brandon Woodruff (SP – MIL)
As the run of pitchers unfolds, 2022 provides the chance to add an ace toward the end of the second round without feeling like you are settling. Woodruff finished 2021 with a losing record (9-10) despite owning the league’s fourth-lowest ERA (2.56), aiding Milwaukee to its second division title in four years. The 28-year-old excelled in two categories vital for your SP1, delivering a quality start in 67% of his outings (20 QS, 30 S) and posting a K/9 that was top-10 in the league.
– Andy Zimmerman (@ZimmShady7)

Pick 2.09 – Zack Wheeler (SP – PHI)
I was between Bieber and Wheeler here, but I’m concerned that the Guardians ease Bieber back into the swing of things, keeping his innings total below 175. Wheeler has established that he is past his injury proneness that hurt him earlier in his career, and has pitched at least 180 innings every year since 2018 (he was one of the league-leaders in IP in the shortened 2020 season as well). Wheeler’s elite (for a starter) 23.7% K-BB rate is the best predictor of future success, so I expect him to keep his ratios reasonably close to what he showed us this year. I also think that Wheeler’s 14 wins was a floor, given that the Phillies should be somewhat better next year.
– Carmen Maiorano (@carmsclubhouse)

Pick 2.10 – Rafael Devers (3B – BOS)
Rafael Devers continues to improve and has elite power at this stage of his career. He slashed .279/.352/.538 with 38 home runs, 113 RBI, 101 runs scored, and five stolen bases over 664 plate appearances in 2021. Position scarcity came into play with this pick as there are not many sure-fire options at the hot corner; Devers is rock solid and should crush 35-plus homers for fantasy managers in 2022.
– Brad Camara (@beerad30)

Pick 2.11 – Marcus Semien (2B/SS – TOR)
Semien would have been the best player on many teams in baseball. While Vladimir Guerrero Jr. took that title from Semien in Toronto, the latter still had an incredible year, posting career-highs in home runs (45), RBI (102), and stolen bases (14). His impending free agency could deter some fantasy managers, but there is no doubt that the 31-year-old’s talent will follow him wherever he goes.
– Andersen Pickard (@AndersenPickard)

Pick 2.12 – Shane Bieber (SP – CLE)
There are some concerns with how Bieber will fare without sticky stuff but he is simply too talented to not remain a top-level pitcher in 2022. You’re getting him at a huge discount due to his injury in ’21 and in my opinion, getting an ace in the back end of the second or early in the third is an absolute steal. Let’s not forget that Bieber is consistently tops in the league in strikeouts and ERA and is still only 26 years old. Don’t be surprised if he finished as the number one overall pitcher in 2022.
– Ethan Biddle (@Ethan_Biddle)

Pick 3.01 – Luis Robert (OF – CWS)
Robert flashed the potential in a short 2020 season, and looked destined to continue doing so in ’21 until his injury. Once he returned though, he showed everyone just how dangerous he can be. Hitting .350 with 12 home runs and 35 RBIs over the last three months, Robert was a league-winner for anyone who stashed him on the bench and could be another one in the third round in 2022. I think his draft stock is going to get higher and higher the closer we get to Opening Day, but I’d be happy to take Robert in the middle of the second round too due to his immense upside and talent that we’ve already seen.
– Ethan Biddle (@Ethan_Biddle)

Pick 3.02 – Robbie Ray (SP – TOR)
Ray is in a tight race with Gerrit Cole for American League Cy Young honors. Regardless of the outcome of that race, Ray has shown just how dominant he can be. While some sort of regression can be expected in 2022, it is also evident that the 30-year-old southpaw is the real deal. I have no complaints about using a third-round pick on the southpaw, who finished with a 2.84 ERA and 248 strikeouts this past season.
– Andersen Pickard (@AndersenPickard)

Pick 3.03 – Wander Franco (SS – TB)
After loading up on bats in the first two rounds, I almost selected a starting pitcher with this pick but couldn’t pass up on the massive upside with Wander Franco. The Rays rookie phenom busted on the scene in 2021 with an on-base streak of 43 games. He slashed .288/.347/.463 with seven home runs, 39 RBI, 53 runs scored, and two stolen bases Franco ended the season on a high note, hitting .368 (7-for-19) with two doubles, two home runs, and four RBI over four games in the ALDS. The 20-year-old has the upside to be a top-5 player in fantasy and someone managers should be targeting in the early rounds.
– Brad Camara (@beerad30)

Pick 3.04 – Cedric Mullins (OF – BAL)
Cedric Mullins was the breakout player of 2021, going 30/30 with a .291 average and a combined 160 runs and RBI. There is talk about him going at the 1/2 turn in 15-team drafts, so I am ecstatic to land him here. By giving up switch hitting, he was able to focus on making contact and cutting down on his swings-and-misses. With Adley Rutschman coming in 2022 and a healthy Anthony Santander, Mullins should eclipse 100 runs at the top of the order. While we’ve seen his ceiling (a top ten fantasy player), I’m not paying for it here.
– Carmen Maiorano (@carmsclubhouse)

Pick 3.05 – Ozzie Albies (2B – ATL)
After recovering from a wrist injury and a slow start in 2020, Ozzie Albies put together a 30 home run, 100 RBI season, becoming the Braves’ first second-baseman to reach those marks. Adding to home run and RBI career-highs achieved in 2021, the 24-year-old also stole 20 bases. Albies is an everyday player (12 games missed in the past 3 non-shortened seasons), who contributes in multiple categories at a premium position.The two-time All-Star will only continue to flourish in Atlanta’s lineup.
– Andy Zimmerman (@ZimmShady7)

Pick 3.06 – Manny Machado (3B – SD)
Machado features an incredible all-around statcast profile, as a fixture in the middle of what figures to be a fairly solid Padres lineup. He actually underperformed his expected BA, SLG, and wOBA, while sprinkling in 12 stolen bases. You’d be hard pressed to find a more balanced, reliable player at this point in the draft.
– Matt Picard (@Matt_Picard)

Pick 3.07 – Yu Darvish (SP – SD)
It was a tale of two seasons for Darvish, who looked like an ace over through his first 16 starts of the season. Over 96 innings, he compiled a 2.44 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, and 115:23 K/BB ratio while logging 10 quality starts. He dealt with hip and back injuries in the second half of the season, which required two separate IL stints and completely derailed his season. Over his final 14 starts, he produced an ugly 6.65 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, and 84:21 K/BB ratio with just three quality starts across 70 1/3 innings. I’ll chalk up that poor second half to the injuries and bet Darvish can bounce back in 2022 with a full offseason to rest and recover.
– Jon Mathisen (@EazyMath)

Pick 3.08 – Starling Marte (OF – OAK)
Marte is your ideal guy who gets on base efficiently and easily steals a base. He had an outstanding 2021 campaign with his .308/.381/.456 batting averages to go with 47 steals in 120 games. As he heads into free-agency he should be a massive FA target for many playoff contenders.
– Kamran Hoda (@Kamran_H7)

Pick 3.09 – Chris Sale (SP – BOS)
Missing out on Franco, Mullins, and Albies hurt. Give me Sale for a full 2022 season as the undisputed ace of the Red Sox rotation. I will gladly take the lefty who averaged 13.2 K/9 and a 3.14 ERA from 17-19 when healthy for the BoSox in 2022.
– Chris Schommer (@ChrisSchommer1)

Pick 3.10 – Aaron Judge (OF – NYY)
Before you call me a homer for taking Judge with the 34th pick, look at his Statcast profile – 100th-percentile hard hit%, average exit velocity and max exit velocity, 98th-percentile xwOBA and xBA, 97th percentile xSLG, and 96th-percentile barrel rate. He’s sixth (fourth among hitters) in the majors in fWAR (24.5) since 2017. He’s one of the best hitters in the game and only available this late in the draft because he has a reputation for being injured despite playing in 148 games this season.
– Lucas Babits-Feinerman (@WSonfirst)

Pick 3.11 – Julio Urias (SP – LAD)
One of the more interesting things for me to watch heading into the 2022 draft season is where Julio Urias is going in drafts. If it is indeed going to be at the end of the third round, then I anticipate having multiple shares. We only did three rounds here, but I wanted to grab at least one pitcher here, watch what Tuma did at the turn, and then either go for Yordan Alvarez, Whit Merrifield, or another high-end starting pitcher.
– Mike Maher (@mikemaher)

Pick 3.12 – Trevor Story (SS – COL)
The impending free agent will be tough to officially rank until we know where he’s playing, but I’m betting the power and speed continue to play away from Coors Field. There’s also a good chance we get a post-Coors, coming off a down year dual discount and won’t even need to use a top-36 pick on him.
– Brendan Tuma (@toomuchtuma)

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