Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft: 10-Team (2022)
If there’s one piece of advice to remember when entering a 10-team draft, it’s that almost every roster will be solid. The player pool is deep, but the league is shallow enough where the bulk of the starting lineups and rotations will have talent. It means that, comparatively, every roster will “look better.”
This does change the strategy slightly compared to deeper leagues, where a high floor is just as important as a high ceiling. You may not be able to last long in the league if your roster’s baseline is dipping below that of your opponents. Of course, this doesn’t mean we should avoid risk. It simply means that we have to balance it with the best available options at a given time.
The lineup for this 10-team draft is C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, 3 OF, UTIL, 2 SP, 2 RP, 4 P, 5 BN, and it was conducted using FantasyPros’ Draft Simulator.
Imagine living in a world where Ronald Acuna Jr. and Mike Trout are both available at the seventh pick and have a realistic chance of making into second round. You don’t have to imagine it. It’s happening now. I understand the case against both, but they are two of the potentially elite performers for a fantasy baseball roster, and they are the types that can win a fantasy championship. With that, I am taking the calculated risk that at least one of them makes it back to me in the second round — it is a 10-team league, after all — by expecting at least two more pitchers to be selected in the next few picks. I’ll take one of my own and start my team with an ace.
The risk paid off, as two pitchers did indeed fill two of the six slots between my picks, while Acuna Jr. went off the board. The result of this move? Trout made it to me. I’m not sure how much I would expect this exact outcome in a draft against nine other human competitors — surely someone has to see the value in Trout, right? — but I’ll gladly take a generational talent who should continue to produce at an elite level.
Others Considered: Mookie Betts
There’s no denying exactly why Aaron Judge is available in the middle of the third round. It’s all about injuries and upside. If he stays healthy, he’s a first-round talent who contributes both power and batting average. If not? He’s a wasted pick in this range. In a 10-team league where the starting lineups are bound to be filled with talent, I wanted to set myself up to separate from the pack.
Others Considered: Manny Machado
It didn’t take long for me to reach my first difficult decision, where positions outranked overall roster strength. Basically, I’m projecting ahead a round or two and seeing plenty of options at the shortstop position. As much as I’d like to take Tim Anderson here, I can probably approximate his value a bit later in the draft. I can’t make the same guarantees with starting pitching. Even with Cole already locked in, I feel the need to add another arm and solidify my rotation early.
Admittedly, one of the reasons I waited to fill my shortstop slot was with the hopes that Wander Franco would fall to me. He didn’t, and in fairness, he probably won’t in a real draft. This is good experience, though, as it forces me to pivot to a another high-risk, high-reward player. Story doesn’t even have a home yet. He does on my fantasy roster in the fifth round, though.
Others Considered: Paul Goldschmidt
I wrote about him in the last round, and at this point, it would be disingenuous to not select him here. Goldschmidt clearly is past his prime, but he’s a stable presence who contributes in most categories. With the amount of risk I have taken in prior rounds, he’s the perfect offset at this point.
Others Considered: Pete Alonso
It wasn’t long ago that Bregman was a consensus first-round selection. Even if his production has obviously lagged since then, he is still available at a relative discount. In fact, it was common to draft Bregman last year in anticipation of a bounce-back campaign, and many were caught in the crossfire. With another year for his ADP to stabilize, Bregman is now properly nestled into a decent crop of players.
Almost! I just wrote about Alex Bregman‘s price stabilizing, but Christian Yelich was almost available to me in the eighth round. The eighth round for a player two years removed from back-to-back campaigns that landed him in the top two for MVP voting. Without him, I pivoted to Marte, who seemingly always carries the potential to overdeliver on his ADP. This year is no different.
Others Considered: Jose Berrios
I wasn’t actively seeking a closer at this point — in a 10-team league, there will be enough to go around — but the duo of Edwin Diaz and Aroldis Chapman sitting on the board made it slightly more important to grab one of the two. Most likely, a closer run is imminent, and Diaz is still one of the “safer” options at the position.
Others Considered: Aroldis Chapman
Reynolds was all over my mock drafts from last year, and he delivered the best season of his young career. How can I not target him here? How can anyone not target him here? He contributes everywhere and can help basically any lineup. His ADP is severely suppressed, and it might be because he plays for the Pittsburgh Pirates. I’m taking advantage of that disconnect.
Others Considered: Alek Manoah
11.7: Yu Darvish (SP – SD)
Unlike the aforementioned Bryan Reynolds, Darvish was not a main target of mine in recent years. That’s largely because the cost of acquisition was too high following a shortened season in which he finished second in the Cy Young voting. His ADP has now moved too far in the wrong direction — especially considering that he still delivered an All-Star season last year — and he is simply too good to ignore. Eventually, I had to build up some more starting pitching, and I wouldn’t be upset — nor surprised — to have Darvish compete as one of the best on my team’s staff.
Others Considered: Shane McClanahan
12.4: Zac Gallen (SP – ARI)
Gallen has been a mainstay in my mock drafts for the past few seasons, and nothing will change now. He had an absolutely pitiful record in 2021 (4-10), but he maintained a strikeout rate of at least one batter per inning, and he increased his innings total to 121.1. The arrow remains pointed up, and I’m thrilled to land him in the 12th round with room for him to grow. The only downside is that I miss out on the hype of Bobby Witt Jr., although he probably would have been selected a little earlier in a real draft.
Others Considered: Bobby Witt Jr.
13.7: Joey Gallo (OF – NYY)
There goes my team’s batting average! Drafting Joey Gallo is always the same experience. If you’re willing to sacrifice batting average for power, then you take the potential for 40 home runs. Otherwise, you pass on him. I have no shortage of power with Mike Trout and Aaron Judge, but I was not convinced by too many other options in his range.
Others Considered: Austin Meadows
14.4: Trent Grisham (OF – SD)
Like so many other players who have found their way onto my mock fantasy roster, Grisham is another example of a player who spiked in value, then fell, and has now landed in a reasonable range. I’m not necessarily chasing speed here, but it can’t hurt to have someone who might swipe 15-20 bases at this point of the draft.
Others Considered: Yoan Moncada
15.7: Sean Manaea (SP – OAK)
The player pool started to dry up quickly in this range, and it became a matter of selecting the best player available. Manaea has yet to fully blossom into the high-ceiling projection that came with his prospect pedigree, but he quietly delivered his highest inning total last year. If he can push the number to 200 innings and remain just as effective as he was in 2021, he would be a steal in the 15th round.
Others Considered: Mike Clevinger
16.4: Scott Barlow (RP – KC)
Earlier, I wasn’t targeting closers. Now, I am. Once again, the small roster in a 10-team league makes it extremely possible to still fill the need later in the draft, but we are approaching the last handful of rounds. Scott Barlow is currently projected as the Royals’ closer and, if that were to change in the coming weeks, then his name would be replaced with the next in line. The point is that closer depth is important, even if there will be options available for the majority of the draft.
Others Considered: Craig Kimbrel
17.7: Austin Meadows (OF – TB)
A few rounds ago, I almost selected Meadows. Now? The value is too good to ignore. Meadows had a dismal batting average in 2020, and there was a general expectation of a rebound the following year. His 2021 BA clearly surpassed the low mark of .205, but it barely moved him into the range of relevancy. He has a shaky floor because of this, but his ceiling remains extremely high thanks to the power he provides.
Others Considered: Rhys Hoskins
It was never practical for Hayes to follow his outstanding 2020 season with a direct repeat — he batted .376! — and, therefore, it wasn’t surprising to see his regression hit so dramatically. What happens now? That’s the obvious question to ask, but it’s also why he’s falling into the later rounds. I’m happy to take the flier here knowing that he has plenty of upside if he begins to approach what he did two years ago.
Others Considered: Gleyber Torres
19.7: John Means (SP – BAL)
Did Means do something wrong? If so, I don’t see it. His ERA increased from 2019 to 2020 but, in addition to reverting it to nearly the identical starting number, he also moved away from a shortened season and delivered in a nearly full campaign. It’s not impossible for him to eclipse 180 innings for the first time in his career, and there is a major opportunity to take advantage of his low ADP.
Others Considered: Michael Brantley
I love the idea of drafting Brantley late this year, and I was concerned I was about to miss him by taking Means one round ago. In hindsight, I should not have taken such a risk, as I am a firm believer in being aggressive with players you want. Thankfully, Brantley lasted one more round, and I was able to cover some of the batting average risk I assumed when drafting Gallo and Meadows earlier.
21.7: Alex Reyes (RP – STL)
Reyes may not officially be the closer for the Cardinals as of this writing, but he is developing nicely into an important MLB arm. In fact, last year was the first in which he pitched 50 innings in a season, and he delivered an impressive 29 saves. He’s worth targeting now, and if we gain clarity on his situation as we get closer to the season, then we can adjust accordingly — where the end result might be taking a different closer.
Others Considered: Kyle Finnegan
22.4: Carson Kelly (C – ARI)
With no catcher on my roster, this pick was basically made for me. The decision was between Kelly and Molina, and I gave Kelly the slight edge based on the strides he made last year. His numbers took a noticeable dip in 2020, but they returned right back to their 2019 range last year. At age 27, Kelly could be on the verge of seeing his game come together as a whole. If not, he’s a last-round pick who would be the first player cut from my roster.
Others Considered: Yadier Molina
As I wrote in the introduction, talent was going to be everywhere in a 10-team draft. That makes it almost impossible to dislike my final roster. It starts with arguably the best pitcher (Gerrit Cole) and hitter (Mike Trout) in the game, and then dances between high-risk and high-floor players for the bulk of the team.
The rankings actually agreed with the approach, too. FantasyPros’ report graded it a B+ with a score of 87 out of 100. The pitchers easily outranked the hitters, while the depth on the bench helped carry a large portion of the projection.
Remember the shallow nature of these types of drafts and make it a point to stay ahead of the curve.
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