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Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft: 12-Team 5×5 Categories, Early Pick, Punting SBs & Saves (2022)

by Scott Youngson | @jscottyoungson | Featured Writer
Feb 25, 2022
Brandon Woodruff

Brandon Woodruff is a part of the first batch of pitchers off the board in 2022 fantasy drafts.

Spring is in the air, and you can feel the season is almost upon us as pitchers and catchers report in Florida and Arizona. Or maybe not. In any case, we must remain optimistic that the owners and players will come to their senses and not ruin the game that we love. Of course, I’m referring to fantasy baseball!

So a-mocking-we-will-go as we prepare for the 2022 season, whenever it may come. Today is my third mock of the preseason. I kept it pretty general in my first mock to get a feel for player values. My second mock was Yahoo-specific – using their default eligibilities, scoring, and rosters along with a late-round pick. Today, I wanted to try something slightly different, so I expanded the league size to 12 teams and assigned myself the third pick in a snake draft. I used ESPN’s defaults this time around for a 5×5 league and drafted against all experts and the composite ADP.

In addition, I wanted to test out a new draft strategy, so I decided to see how the team would look if I punted stolen bases and saves. One of the coolest features of FantasyPros Mock Draft Simulator is the ability to employ different strategies once you enter the draft room. Since saves and stolen bases are often driven by one-category type players, it made sense to try punting these two. Plus, ESPN default settings don’t require you to draft relievers, so I can load up on starters as long as I don’t exceed the 200 games started cap.

Enough with the blathering; here were the results:

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As I was punting one category - stolen bases - I wanted to make sure that I drafted players who would hit for average in addition to power. I passed on players who didn't fit that mold a couple of times. Two exceptions were Jorge Soler (OF,DH - FA) and Kike Hernandez (2B,OF - BOS), who both risk carrying a low BA. I was willing to take that risk in Soler's case, as he seemed like a bargain in the 14th round. As was Kike in the 22nd round, who I drafted for my bench partly because he qualifies at two positions. If he's not working out, the investment was minimal.

Overall, I was pleased with the depth I generated in a 12-team league. Several of the players I landed felt like solid values. In addition to Soler and Hernandez, I had Carlos Correa (SS - FA), Austin Hays (OF - BAL), Anthony Santander (OF,DH - BAL), and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (OF - TOR) ranked at least a round higher. Getting Travis d'Arnaud (C - ATL) in the 21st round may not have been a bargain, but I felt justified for waiting on drafting a catcher since players like Keibert Ruiz (C - WAS) and Tyler Stephenson (C,1B - CIN) went six rounds earlier.

In the end, I was able to accomplish what I hoped to per the "Mock Draft Summary." Based on projections, the computer pegged my team to finish first in Runs, RBIs and Batting Average and second in HRs. The last place projection for SBs somewhat offsets this, but I'll take it. One of my toughest choices was my first one, as I didn't expect Trea Turner (2B,SS - LAD) to be available at Pick #3. I passed on him for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (1B,DH - TOR) as it seemed odd to take Turner first with a "punting steals" strategy.


Building my staff was more difficult. Six starters were already off the board by my second pick, so I was forced to grab Brandon Woodruff (SP - MIL). I like Woodruff but would have preferred to go with another offensive player in the second round. In addition to Woodruff, I drafted Freddy Peralta (SP - MIL), Jose Berrios (SP - TOR), and Carlos Rodon (SP - FA) within my first nine picks. Quality starters were flying off the board, so I reacted accordingly. After that, I didn't take another starter until John Means (SP - BAL) in Round 17. Each time my pick came up, I didn't see anyone I felt was worthy of that selection.

My goal was to draft seven or eight starters and one or two high-end relievers who weren't closers. Not having to draft a closer was kind of freeing, as they are typically hard to rate. I ended up with two relievers - Michael Kopech (RP - CWS) and Devin Williams (RP - MIL) - who should help with K's. Kopech may even end up starting, in which case he could prove a value in the 16th round. My last two starters, Alex Wood (SP - SF) and Andrew Heaney (SP - LAD) don't thrill me, but twelve-team leagues are tough on pitching! They both pitch in great ballparks, though, so the upside potential is there for them.

Per the forecasts, the computer ranked my pitching staff better than average. Outside of saves, where I ranked 11th (apparently, I wasn't the only one punting the category), the projections put my team in the top half in all categories. Specifically, second in WHIP, fourth in K's, fifth in ERA, and sixth in wins.


The mighty Mock Draft Simulator summary loved my draft. They gave my team an "A+" rating, 99 out of 100, and projected a first-place finish. Frankly, the computer liked my team better than I did! In conclusion, I'll say that punting these two categories is undoubtedly an option in a 12-team or larger league. There are so few base stealers and bonafide closers these days that it makes sense in larger leagues not to waste draft picks trying to secure these categories. It's not the only way to go, but I'm convinced now that it's an option worth exploring.

Check out today's MLB Base Hit contest at DraftKings >>

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