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Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft: 10-Team, AL-Only (2023)

Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft: 10-Team, AL-Only (2023)

The calendar has changed to February. Spring is within reach and a new year of baseball is coming. But before all that, there’s a different season that has to arrive first. Mock Draft Season.

Mock drafts are essential for fantasy success. It’s practice, and it can only help. But the value in a mock draft is not the exercise of muscle memory where we click a player and build our roster. What we gain from a mock draft is the understanding of how many of our targets can be added and how we should prioritize them.

In a one-league draft such as this, we need to be aware of how quickly some positions or statistics will evaporate. This is offset by keeping the size of the league relatively small – in this case, ten teams – but we still need to pay attention to anything that might become scarce.

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Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft

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.

1.7: Mike Trout (OF – LAA)

I’m immediately going to be put to the test where I need to choose between one of the greatest hitters of a generation in Mike Trout, and a young superstar, Yordan Alvarez, who has done nothing but deliver. The argument simply boils down to health. Trout hasn’t had it, while Alvarez missed a significant amount of time prior to 2021, but then delivered back-to-back seasons with at least 550 plate appearances and 30 home runs. Because they are eligible for the same fantasy baseball position, I can lean on preference and not impact how the rest of my draft looks. I’ll take Trout only because I’m always taking Trout until he completely falls off the map.

Others Considered: Yordan Alvarez

2.4: Jacob deGrom (SP – TEX)

I always prioritize pitching early in drafts, but I immediately started to feel the pressure when Shohei Ohtani, Gerrit Cole, Dylan Cease, and Shane McClanahan all went off the board before my second pick. As another rule of thumb, I try not to “settle” for the next best available if there is another position displaying a potential leader. Thankfully, Jacob deGrom, a newcomer to the American League, remained available and I didn’t have to dig any deeper than that. I have him as a top-three starting pitcher in the AL, and I’m ignoring his recent injury history for a chance at elite production.

Others Considered: Carlos Rodon

3.7: Corey Seager (SS – TEX)

For the sake of this article, I am going to put my metaphorical money where my mouth is and draft Corey Seager. Seager was a player I listed in a previous article as a hitter who could benefit from banning the shift and, if that were to happen, he could outplay his third-round status. The difficult move here is passing up another starting pitcher in Luis Castillo where I could conceivably fill the shortstop hole later, but I’m planting my flag in what I wrote previously about Seager’s potential rise.

Others Considered: Luis Castillo

4.4: Luis Castillo (SP – SEA)

Sometimes, it takes luck. Luis Castillo was the target of my last pick, and he kindly fell one more round so that I could select him with the aforementioned Seager. My starting rotation immediately takes a step forward compared to the rest of the league with two legitimate arms through four rounds. Might that cost me hitting later? Possibly. But I wrote that I was aggressive with pitching, and I stand by that.

Others Considered: Alek Manoah

5.7: Wander Franco (SS – TB)

One of the biggest reasons why I hesitated before taking Corey Seager two rounds ago was the depth at the shortstop position. I would love Wander Franco in the fifth round of any AL-only draft, but I had to consider other options. In the end, Franco’s otherworldly talent won out, and I started my roster by filling my utility slot in the fifth round. That is a testament to what Franco could do.

Others Considered: Andres Gimenez

6.4: Tyler Glasnow (SP – TB)

I didn’t feel the need to keep piling on with my starting pitching, but I know that I will regret passing up on some high-upside arms later if I don’t make a move now. Tyler Glasnow slides in as my third starting pitcher, and I made the decision to pass on a hitter that could have helped at a prime position – second baseman Gleyber Torres.

Others Considered: Gleyber Torres

7.7: Gleyber Torres (2B – NYY)

Once again, we need some good breaks in order to put together the team we want, and I was fortunate enough to have Gleyber Torres last another round so my decision to pass on him didn’t hurt me. Torres’ future remains uncertain, but his potential power at second base will continue to carry his fantasy value until proven otherwise.

Others Considered: Giancarlo Stanton, Clay Holmes

8.4: Clay Holmes (RP – NYY)

It’s obvious that cutting the draft pool in half is going to create some additional scarcity, but the place where this is most apparent is at the closer position. There are simply fifteen fewer jobs to be filled, and it quickly becomes necessary to start adding saves. Clay Holmes was the obvious choice at this point of the draft.

Others Considered: Ryan Mountcastle

9.7: Paul Sewald (RP – SEA)

I just wrote about how shallow the closer pool is in a one-league draft such as this, but the pool might actually be draining at this point. Paul Sewald slides in more out of obligation than anything else, and I feel a little better about having two players capable of contributing saves. It’s only going to get more difficult to fill this need the deeper we go into the draft.

Others Considered: Ryan Mountcastle

10.4: Ryan Mountcastle (1B – BAL)

Ryan Mountcastle was on my list of targets for each of the last two rounds, but the premium I had to pay for closers pushed him off until now. Thankfully, he continued to go undrafted, and I was able to add some power – with a decent batting average – to a corner infield position. Perhaps most importantly, Mountcastle has stayed on the field, playing 144 and 145 games in the last two years, respectively. That provides much-needed stability.

Others Considered: Josh Bell

11.7: Harrison Bader (OF – NYY)

A lack of stolen bases has been a league-wide issue over the past few years, but there are a few speedsters in the American League worth a look. I penciled in Adalberto Mondesi‘s name for a future pick but wanted to secure some potential stolen bases now. Harrison Bader might not run constantly, but he did have three stolen base attempts in 14 games with the Yankees to close out last year.

Others Considered: Jose Berrios, Josh Naylor

12.4: Jorge Lopez (RP – MIN)

The search for saves continues and with only 15 actual closer positions to target, we need to start taking some chances. Jorge Lopez was phenomenal with the Orioles but suffered a hard regression after being traded to the Twins. With limited options, I’m fine rolling the dice to try to steal some more saves in the event that Lopez both continues along his prior path and has the majority of opportunities to close out games.

Others Considered: Frankie Montas

13.7: Sonny Gray (SP – MIN)

Sonny Gray hasn’t made 28 starts in a year since 2019 – which was also the first time he reached that milestone since 2015 – but his numbers remain quietly solid. With a strikeout rate that hovers around one per inning and an ERA of 3.39 over the last four years, he is a stable starter if he can stay healthy. Obviously, that’s a huge “if,” but that also explains why he was available in the 13th round of a one-league draft.

Others Considered: Nathan Eovaldi, Justin Turner

14.4: Anthony Rendon (3B – LAA)

My last pick of Sonny Gray was tied to “if he stays healthy,” but I’m doubling down on the injury risks with upside by pairing him with Anthony Rendon. Rendon has never been able to shake his reputation as a player that can’t stay on the field, and it’s unlikely that his draft stock will ever rise again. Every year, someone takes a chance because of his per-game upside, but even that has started to crumble. Rendon’s batting average has decreased in four consecutive seasons, but he’s worthy of a flier at this point of the draft.

Others Considered: Austin Hays

15.7: Jose Urquidy (SP – HOU)

The arrow for Jose Urquidy is certainly pointing up, where the only part of his game that is lacking for fantasy baseball purposes is a low strikeout rate. Still, if he can keep his ERA below 4.00 again and ride his team’s offense to more wins, then he is a steal at this stage of an AL-only draft.

Others Considered: Manuel Margot, Adalberto Mondesi

16.4: Manuel Margot (OF – TB)

I struggled with this pick largely because I wanted to add more speed to my team and Manual Margot fell into the mix by default. The stark reality is that Margot is not a steals-first player, and it’s possible that he even fails to break double-digits. Therefore, I’m targeting his solid batting average with any steals serving as an added bonus.

Others Considered: Estuary Ruiz, Yoan Moncada

17.7: Michael Brantley (OF – HOU)

Similarly to Margot, Michael Brantley is joining my team for his batting average. Unlike Margot, Brantley joins almost every one of my teams. He is simply a late-round option that provides value and even though my outfield is starting to get crowded, I know that I can count on Brantley to deliver where others can’t.

Others Considered: Estuary Ruiz

18.4: Adalberto Mondesi (SS – BOS)

I mentioned him a few rounds ago, but I’m glad to take the chance with Adalberto Mondesi at this stage of the draft in a position that is already covered. Certainly, that makes it more difficult to get all of my players in the lineup, but it also allows me to wait for Mondesi to start delivering before making any decisions with him. If he really can find a way to steal 30 bases again, this becomes one of the best picks in the draft. It’s entirely possible since he’s only 27 years old.

Others Considered: Estuary Ruiz

19.7: Shea Langeliers (C – OAK)

For the record, I hate taking a catcher before the last round of the draft. Unfortunately, with the player pool so thin because I’m limited to just one league, I had to make an exception. Shea Langeliers is a second-year catcher with potential at the plate and if he can’t develop, then he’s easily replaceable.

Others Considered: Aaron Civale

20.4: Aaron Civale (SP – CLE)

I’ve drafted Aaron Civale plenty of times over the last few years, but a disappointing 2022 season now has him off most fantasy players’ radar. That makes him well worth the late-round selection as his strikeout rate popped to a career-high last year. There’s still plenty of room for growth with him.

Others Considered: Brandon Belt

21.7: Brandon Belt (1B – TOR)

Simply put, I needed power, and I didn’t want another outfielder with the amount that I had already drafted. Brandon Belt can offer some relief at first base and has the benefit of a loaded Blue Jays lineup around him. As I wrote about Langeliers, the cost of acquisition for Belt is so low that he can easily be dropped if he fails. Otherwise, he’s a nice sleeper.

Others Considered: Max Kepler

22.4: Diego Castillo (RP – SEA)

I’ll close out my draft with the same approach I had taken in the past few rounds. I wanted to add depth to a league that was naturally shallow. It’s not common to “handcuff” a closer in fantasy baseball, but Castillo joins my roster as protection for closer Paul Sewald. I would be content if either one rises to the top of the depth chart and stays there for the remainder of the season.

Others Considered: Oscar Colas

Summary

I love how this team came together, and the software agrees. I finished with an “A” Grade and a score of 95 out of 100. The good news is that I was torn on how to approach starting pitching in the first round, and it never became a problem. If anything, I started passing on some pitching options because I had created a nice foundation in the early rounds.

As far as AL-only drafts go, I found it important to prioritize anywhere that can have a thinner player pool: high-end starting pitching, closers, and even catchers. According to the numbers, this was the right decision.

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Beyond our fantasy baseball content, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Baseball Tools as you prepare for your draft this season. From our free mock Draft Simulator – which allows you to mock draft against realistic opponents – to our Draft Assistant – that optimizes your picks with expert advice – we’ve got you covered this fantasy baseball draft season.


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Mario Mergola is a featured writer at FantasyPros and BettingPros and the creator and content editor of Sporfolio. For more from Mario, check out his archive and follow him @MarioMergola.

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