Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft: 10-Team 5×5, Hitters Early (2022)
Last week, I mocked a draft focused on taking starting pitchers early. That strategy worked well, but I also wanted to try the inverse by focusing the early rounds on offense. So I fired up the FantasyPros Draft Simulator again to test the theory. Here are the parameters I used for this go around:
- 10-Team Snake Draft with the 3rd overall pick
- Standard 5×5 roto league scoring
- ESPN positional eligibility
- ESPN default roster: C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, CI, MI, 5 OF, UTIL, 9 P, 3 BN
Inside the draft room, I set my strategy to “Heavy Hitter” and proceeded to ignore pitching until Round 7. The results were as follows:
|1.03||Juan Soto (OF – WAS)||14.08||Pablo Lopez (SP – MIA)|
|2.08||Rafael Devers (3B – BOS)||15.03||C.J. Cron (1B – COL)|
|3.03||Ozzie Albies (2B – ATL)||16.08||Chris Taylor (2B, SS, OF – LAD)|
|4.08||Tim Anderson (SS – CWS)||17.03||Avisail Garcia (OF – MIA)|
|5.03||Marcus Semien (2B, SS – TEX)||18.08||Logan Gilbert (SP – SEA)|
|6.08||Pete Alonso (1B – NYM)||19.03||Mark Melancon (RP – ARI)|
|7.03||Max Fried (SP – ATL)||20.08||Tarik Skubal (SP – DET)|
|8.08||Randy Arozarena (OF – TB)||21.03||Keibert Ruiz (C – WAS)|
|9.03||Trevor Rogers (SP – MIA)||22.08||Akil Baddoo (OF – DET)|
|10.08||J.D. Martinez (OF, DH – BOS)||23.03||Alex Wood (SP – SF)|
|11.03||Giancarlo Stanton (OF, DH – NYY)||24.08||Joe Barlow (RP – TEX)|
|12.08||Shane McClanahan (SP – TB)||25.03||Eugenio Suarez (SS, 3B – SEA)|
|13.03||Clayton Kershaw (SP – LAD)|
The whole point of this strategy was to try to dominate on offense, and I believe I was pretty successful in accomplishing this. With my first four picks, I took the best hitter available in the forms of Soto, Devers, Albies, and Anderson. My first real decision-point came at pick five, where I opted to go with Semien despite already having a second baseman and shortstop. His dual-eligibility came into play here as I could use him as a middle infielder and spot him in at the other two positions.
I was open to drafting a pitcher with my sixth pick, but none stood out to me, so I supplemented my power potential by grabbing Alonso. After that, I focused all future offensive selections on positional and categorical needs. Feeling you can never have enough power, I drafted Martinez in the tenth, Stanton in the eleventh, Cron in the fifteenth, and Suarez with my last pick. Arozarena in the eighth and Baddoo in the twenty-second round were taken primarily for their speed. Taylor was drafted for depth since his multi-positional eligibility is so valuable in ESPN leagues due to the 3-man benches. In addition, I drafted Avisail Garcia in round seventeen for depth and Keibert Ruiz to fill my catcher slot.
Predictably, the Draft Analyzer liked my offense. It projected my team to finish second in Runs, HRs, and RBIs, third in Batting Average, and fourth in Steals. So, I accomplished my mission with the Heavy Hitters strategy, but what did it do to my pitching staff?
All of the top pitchers were gone by the seventh round. The best pitcher on the board, in my opinion, was Max Fried, who is ranked #18 on the latest ECR. I wasn’t too upset with this selection given the circumstances. I filled out the rest of my rotation with primarily high-risk/high reward types. Several of my choices were young pitchers: Trevor Rogers (Round 9), Shane McClanahan (Round 12), Logan Gilbert (Round 18), and Tarik Skubal (Round 20). These guys are incredibly talented but still relatively unproven and may come with innings caps. In addition, I added two veterans who could excel if they stay healthy in Kershaw (Round 13) and Wood (Round 23). The last draftee for my starting rotation was Pablo Lopez (Round 14), a solid pitcher coming off an injury-plagued year.
One side effect of this draft strategy was that it almost forced me to wait on closers. I often do this anyway, but I felt I had no choice with so many starting spots to fill. The two I drafted – Mark Melancon and Joe Barlow – should at the very least start the season in that role for their respective teams. My plan was not to initially punt or chase saves but instead wait to see how the category developed after the first month. Typically you can hunt saves as the season progresses if need be.
The Draft Analyzer wasn’t too keen on my staff, projecting my team to finish seventh in all categories except saves. Waiting on saves didn’t hurt me much as the projection picked my team to finish fifth in that department despite only having two relievers. Three of the teams punted the category, which is a strategy I’ve seen in a lot of mock drafts. I tried this strategy myself in a mock last month and believe it is viable to consider.
My overall draft grade was an A- (92 out of 100), and the Analyzer forecasted my team to finish in 2nd place. So I guess you could say the strategy worked. It’s risky, though, particularly in a 10-team ESPN set up with a ton of offensive depth due to the small benches. After all of the mock drafts I’ve done this offseason, I’ve learned that you can put together a winning team in various ways. It depends on what the draft board gives you. Know your stuff and be prepared to pivot, and you’ll come away from your draft with a solid foundation.
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