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Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft: 10-Team, Categories League (2023)

Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft: 10-Team, Categories League (2023)

There is no better way to prepare for your season than by doing mock drafts. In a mock draft you can test roster construction strategies such as “what happens if I wait to draft a 3B” (spoiler alert: it’s not pretty) and “can I grab my SP1 after round 3” (answer: yes). Below is a mock draft for a 10-team categories league with a roster of C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, three OF, two UTL, 8 Pitchers and a 5-player bench. I was randomly assigned the 5th pick. The draft was conducted using the FantasyPros Draft Simulator.

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1.5 – Juan Soto (OF – SD)

With Jose Ramirez off the board at 1.3, the fifth pick should come down to your preference for top OF remaining. It was a close call between Soto, Julio Rodriguez, and Kyle Tucker, but it was less than 12 months ago we were calling Soto the best hitter in the sport. Trea Turner could also be considered (if he hadn’t gone 1.1), but filling OF early should be a higher priority than SS, given the quality depth at SS this season.

Also considered: Julio Rodriguez, Kyle Tucker

2.06 – Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (1B – TOR)

I had every intention of taking Manny Machado here. 3B this season beyond the top 6 is a wasteland, so locking up an elite 3B early in drafts is a priority for me this season. But seeing Guerrero slip this far felt like too good a deal to pass up. Guerrero is the #1 ranked 1B heading into the season for good reason, and taking him three picks after Freddie Freeman feels like a steal.

Also considered: Manny Machado, Rafael Devers, Bo Bichette

3.05 – Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS – SD)

I was hoping Machado, Devers, or Bichette would last to this pick, but both went right after my Guerrero pick. And that’s why you mock draft, to practice adapting in real-time. The safe play would be to pivot to Austin Riley, but I decided instead to take a swing for the fences and picked Fernando Tatis Jr. This pick is not without risk (Tatis Jr. will return from his PED suspension on April 20) but Tatis Jr. is the last player going in drafts with true upside to be the number one player in fantasy this season. His talent is undeniable and the advanced metrics agree, as Tatis Jr. finished in the top 2% of all of baseball in average exit velocity, max exit velocity, hard-hit rate, xSLG, and barrel rate when he last saw the field in 2021. The shallower the league (and therefore the better the replacement level on waivers is) the more you can and should chase upside, and no one epitomizes upside like Tatis Jr.

Also considered: Austin Riley

4.06 – Jose Altuve (2B – HOU)

Again, I’m out in the cold at 3B. After hoping Nolan Arenado would slide to me, I was forced to pivot again. With that said, while third base is getting a lot of coverage as a shallow position this year (and rightfully so), second base is not much better. The position is full of 2022 disappointments and question marks beyond the top 5, so I’ll jump at the chance to get the #1 2B on my board at pick 39. Altuve is one of only just seven players projected to score 100 runs (the other six of whom go in the first 15 picks) and his projected 25 HR is only one fewer than fellow 2B Marcus Semien for the most among 2B, while also projecting to best Semien’s AVG by 24 points. Altuve is a great fantasy contributor, regardless of position, and a steal anywhere beyond pick 30.

Also considered: Randy Arozarena

5.05 – Max Scherzer (SP – NYM)

The beginning of Round 5 is the perfect time to start addressing SP, and Scherzer is a bona fide SP1 available after the first 40 picks. In 2022 he ranked in the top 15% of baseball in xBA, K%, BB%, chase rate, fastball spin rate, and curveball spin rate. All that adds up to a four-category stud, who, despite only throwing 145.1 innings last season still finished as Yahoo!’s #36 overall player.

Also considered: Justin Verlander

6.06 – Shane Bieber (SP – CLE)

Beiber might never again be the all-world SP he was in 2020, but outside the top 50 picks, he’s a steal. He finished last season ahead of Gerrit Cole, Zack Wheeler, and Brandon Woodruff, among others, and projects as one of only 8 SP with 200+ Ks, an ERA less than 3.30, and a WHIP less than 1.10.

Also considered: Kevin Gausman, Luis Castillo

7.05 – George Springer (OF – TOR)

With my two aces in tow, it’s time to turn our attention back to hitting. Power will be at a premium again this year, so Springer and his 27 HR projection-he is also projected to score more runs than Kyle Tucker and Randy Arozarena while also contributing double-digit steals is a welcome addition.

Also considered: Eloy Jimenez

8.06 – Cristian Javier (SP – HOU)

As I mentioned in my “10 Must-Have Pitchers to Draft,” Javier was last year’s 15th-ranked SP and a Statcast darling, finishing in the top 6% in all of baseball in xBA, xSLG, and K%. I’m happy to pay the SP3 price on draft day and enjoy the borderline SP1 numbers all season.

Also considered: Eloy Jimenez, Bryan Reynolds

9.05 – Salvador Perez (C – KC)

I usually like to grab my catcher from the Wilson ContrerasSean Murphy range, but Perez was available after Adley Rutschman seemed too good to pass up. Perez still projects to lead the position in HR and RBI with a solid .260 AVG. Sometimes you need to take what the draft gives you.

Also considered: Jose Abreu, Corbin Carroll

10.06 – Joe Musgrove (SP – SD)

Time to fill out my rotation with solid K/9 arms on good teams (for higher win potential) that also help my ratios.

Also considered: Robbie Ray, Tyler Glasnow

11.05 – Vinnie Pasquantino (1B – KC)

Baseball Savant lists future HOFer Freddie Freeman as Pasquantino’s most similar batter in 2022 based on their batted ball profile metrics. No wonder Vinnie P seems to be on everyone’s breakout list this season. I’m happy to draft him outside of the top 100 anywhere I can.

Also considered: Nester Cortes Jr., Kyle Wright

12.06 – David Bednar (RP – PIT)

Projected for 27 saves and elite ratios, Bednar (and my picks in rounds 14, 15, and 20) show why I don’t feel the need to pay for saves early.

13.05 – Luis Severino (SP – NYY)

See round 10 pick.

14.06 – Clay Holmes (RP – NYY)

15.05 – Jhoan Duran (RP – MIN)

Elite ratios and high-end K/9 rates. Draft relievers with these types of skills late and don’t pay a premium for saves early.

16.06 – Charlie Morton (SP – ATL)

Just a year removed from putting up ace-like numbers, the demise of Charlie Morton has been exaggerated. He still put up 205 Ks last season but became inexplicably prone to the home run. The spin rate on his curveball still grades as super-elite though and in Round 16 he’s worth the risk to bounce back.

17.05 – Ryan Mountcastle (1B – BAL)

A good source of late power that won’t drag down your BA, Mountcastle led baseball in SLG-xSLG in 2022, which should point to positive regression in 2023.

18.06 – Mitch Haniger (OF – SEA)

Same logic as Mountcastle, good power numbers and not a BA drag. Don’t let your late-round hitters drag down your BA.

19.05 – Jose Miranda (3B – MIN)

I couldn’t put off 3B any longer, and Miranda’s hit tool is enough for projections to give him a better BA in 2023 than fellow 3B Alex Bregman and Bobby Witt Jr.

20.06 – Evan Phillips (RP – LAD)

There is no doubt Phillips has the skills – top 10% of the league in xERA, average exit velocity, hard-hit rate, xBA, xSLG, barrel rate, and K%. If the Dodgers don’t add a more “proven” closer between now and opening day, Phillips could be the steal of the draft. And even if they do, Phillips’ skills are still a steal in round 20.

21.05 – Josh Naylor (1B,DH – CLE)

22.06 – J.D. Martinez (DH – LAD)

23.05 – Anthony Rendon (3B – LAA)

It’s always a good idea to double down on your weakest position, and between Miranda and Rendon there is a decent chance one of them hits.

Summary

I’m happy with this draft, although I wonder what would have happened if I took Riley in Round 3 instead of Tatis Jr. and filled SS with Carlos Correa in Round 10. I do like that I’m projected 4th, 1st, 2nd, and 2nd in R/HR/RBI/AVG and that I’m projected 4th in saves despite taking my first closer in round 12. I’ll need to find some speed down the line, but with the new pick-off and base size rules, there should be more speed on the wire than usual.


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 – which optimizes your picks with expert advice – we’ve got you covered this fantasy baseball draft season.


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