Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft: 10-Team, NL-Only (2023)
While each article — and respective mock draft — should stand alone, it is valuable to know that a similar piece was posted recently in which a 10-team mock draft was completed using an AL-only format. There are some similarities between the two, but the obvious difference is that the players cannot overlap. No one that was selected in the American League could also be used in the National League.
This also means that the approaches vary by league. In the AL, there was high-end pitching that needed to be added quickly. That isn’t the case in the NL, which already shifts the focus toward the depth that could be found later in the draft.
The good news is that we shouldn’t see the talent evaporate in a ten-team league for a decent amount of time. The player pool is, therefore, a nice combination of both shallow and deep.
- Fitz’s Positional Primers
- Hitters to Avoid | Target
- Pitchers to Avoid | Target
- Other Fantasy Baseball Mock Drafts
NL-Only Mock Draft: 10 Team
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: Freddie Freeman (1B – LAD)
I noted exactly this predicament in the introduction, and it came to fruition with my first pick. That is, the National League is slightly less top-heavy in terms of starting pitching, and it means that I am left taking a calculated risk with Corbin Burnes off the board. When presented with the opportunity of taking the next available player at a position I might be able to fill later or the best available at a specific position that would be considered a reach, I actually lean on the latter. The difference here is that I expect one of Brandon Woodruff, Max Scherzer, or Justin Verlander to be available in a few picks, so I should be fine waiting for one more round for my SP1. That leads me to Freddie Freeman, who will basically contribute to all categories.
Others Considered: Manny Machado (3B – SD)
2.4: Sandy Alcantara (SP – MIA)
Not only did each of the pitchers I mentioned in the prior blurb survive to the second round, but the only pitcher to be selected through 13 picks was Burnes. I doubt that actually happens in a real draft where fantasy managers selecting at the end of the first round might want to grab a starting pitcher when they can and not wait for another 18 picks, but we have to play the hand we’re dealt. I definitely won’t take the chance and wait for another round. I am going to pick the starting pitcher that is currently ranked ahead of the aforementioned group: Sandy Alcantara. It is possible that one of them slides back into the latter half of the third round.
Others Considered: Spencer Strider (SP, RP – ATL)
3.7: Jazz Chisholm, Jr. (2B – MIA)
What a shame. It didn’t work. Pitchers became the hottest commodity of the last dozen picks, and I am now right back where I started, deciding between the next available pitcher or a possible leader at a position. This is actually an easier pick because of the value found in someone like Jazz Chisholm, Jr., as he slid down the list of options with the recent pitcher run. The right side of my infield is now secure.
Others Considered: Ozzie Albies (2B – ATL), Julio Urias (SP – LAD)
4.4: Devin Williams (RP – MIL)
I won’t overthink this pick. As we see repeatedly with one-league drafts, it becomes increasingly more difficult to find closers late because half of the field is ineligible. I didn’t want to start my team with three hitters, and Devin Williams was the easy answer to gain exposure to some saves.
Others Considered: Zac Gallen (SP – ARI)
5.7: Xander Bogaerts (SS – SD)
Xander Boegarts simply fell into my lap. I was planning on pairing my fifth and sixth picks as a hitter and pitcher in either order. There are enough pitchers that will make it back to me, and a high-batting average shortstop now hitting in a deep lineup is a good place to go as I continue to solidify my fantasy infield.
Others Considered: Willy Adames (SS – MIL)
Once again, the pick was made for me, as Kyle Wright is arguably the top starting pitcher on the board right now. I would have preferred that Clayton Kershaw last a few more picks but had I wanted Kershaw badly enough, I would have made the move last round. Instead, I went into this two-pick set with the intention of drafting for value, and I was able to stick to that plan.
Others Considered: Blake Snell (SP – SD)
I’ll admit it. I’m asking for trouble. Kris Bryant was one of my top targets last year, and I went out of my way to get him on as many fantasy teams as possible. I was immediately weighed down by his injuries, and I know that I am not the only one who had that experience. In fact, Bryant’s entire value is derived from how little fantasy managers trust him to stay on the field, which is why we can get a potential power hitter in Colorado at a reasonable point in the draft.
Others Considered: Nick Castellanos (OF – PHI)
8.4: Jordan Montgomery (SP – STL)
Closers started to go off the board at a more active rate, but there are now a few starting pitchers sitting next in line, ready to strengthen my team. It’s a matter of preference, but it’s hard not to like what Jordan Montgomery did after being acquired by the Cardinals at last year’s Trade Deadline. There’s some regression looming, but I’m targeting the potential that St. Louis saw in the left-handed starting pitcher.
Others Considered: Jesus Luzardo (SP – MIA), Charlie Morton (SP – ATL)
9.7: Ryan McMahon (2B, 3B – COL)
Where the aforementioned Kris Bryant was one of my weaknesses last season, Ryan McMahon has been a weakness for years. He presents such incredible potential between his versatility for fantasy lineups and the ballpark in which he plays, but he simply can’t put everything together and stay healthy. The reality is that I just took another starting pitcher and don’t feel the need to dig into the pool at this time. McMahon rejoins my squad yet again.
Others Considered: Alec Bohm (1B, 3B – PHI)
10.4: J.D. Martinez (UTIL – LAD)
There was apparently an abundance of second-base options available in the tenth round. After already securing two to this point, I didn’t want to commit to a third in my utility spot. Instead, I committed to a different player in my utility spot via the DH-only J.D. Martinez. Really, he brings power to my team, and given the state of available options, I felt he best fits my roster’s needs.
Others Considered: Alex Cobb (SP – SF), Miles Mikolas (SP – STL)
11.7: Joc Pederson (OF – SF)
As I did earlier in the draft, I plan to pair a hitter with a pitcher in this two-pick range. Specifically, I am still looking for some power, and I happen to lack outfielders, so Joc Pederson fits perfectly. There are still a few arms worth targeting, and I expect at least one to last the handful of picks between this selection and my next.
Others Considered: Alex Cobb (SP – SF)
12.4: Alex Cobb (SP – SF)
I passed him up in each of the last two rounds, but it’s time to take the plunge with Alex Cobb. He has bounced around among three teams over the last three years, but he seems to have hit his stride with the Giants. His strikeout rate held above one batter per inning in back-to-back seasons — after never before reaching that mark — and his excellent FIP of 2.80 last season was the best of his career.
Others Considered: Aaron Ashby (SP, RP – MIL)
13.7: Taylor Rogers (RP – SF)
Even though I made it a point to secure Devin Williams earlier in the draft to provide a foundation of saves, I am starting to feel the pressure of not addressing closers in any of the last few rounds. Technically, I am continuing that trend by drafting Taylor Rogers since he is not currently slated to be the first option to close out games. Still, he had an outstanding 2021 season and can be in the mix for saves throughout the year, albeit at a depreciated rate.
Others Considered: Kyle Finnegan (RP – WAS)
14.4: Kyle Finnegan (RP – WAS)
I did not intend to draft back-to-back relief pitchers in this pair of rounds, but I struggled to decide between the aforementioned Rogers and Kyle Finnegan. For fantasy baseball purposes, they are polar opposites where Rogers may not get the saves but can contribute elsewhere, and almost all of Finnegan’s value is driven by his current role as the projected Nationals’ closer. That’s exactly why I took both of them with consecutive picks. That won’t always work out — there are only so many roster spots that can be dedicated to a relief pitcher who won’t get saves — but it came together nicely here.
Others Considered: Eric Lauer (SP – MIL)
15.7: Randal Grichuk (OF – COL)
It’s basically a given that hitters from the Rockies gain a boost in fantasy baseball drafts, but it’s even more noticeable in NL-only leagues. Someone like Randall Grichuk might be overlooked otherwise, but not anymore. He brings some power to the table at the cost of a late-round pick. That’s worth the risk.
Others Considered: Charlie Blackmon (OF – COL)
16.4: Taijuan Walker (SP – NYM)
While I wasn’t actively targeting him, Taijuan Walker sat on the draft board for way too long. He’s the perfect example of a value pick who can easily outperform his 16th-round draft position. My team could probably use another starting pitcher after Walker, but he can help as much as any at this point.
Others Considered: Ezequiel Tovar (SS – COL)
17.7: Ezequiel Tovar (SS – COL)
I have to be a little grateful that Ezequiel Tovar lasted one more round, as I considered adding the stolen base potential with my last pick. It worked out, and even though I already have some speed on my roster, stolen bases is the hitting category that appears to be lagging behind at this stage of my draft. I will correct that by adding Tovar.
Others Considered: Miguel Vargas (1B – LAD)
18.4: Austin Nola (C – SD)
I feel like the draft immediately dried up with a few rounds still left to go, and I was forced to make the same move with my NL-only team that I did with my AL-only draft: select a catcher before the last round. Part of that is due to the depth of other positions still available, and part is due to the cutting of the options in half. At this point, I will move forward with Austin Nola and a batting average that shouldn’t sink my team and then look for value at the other positions in the final few picks.
Others Considered: Carson Kelly (C – ARI)
19.7: Josiah Gray (SP – WAS)
A few picks ago, I mentioned that I might add another starting pitcher. I’m already going back to that pool, and I might not be done. For now, Josiah Gray and his upside have me intrigued enough to take the chance with his high ERA.
Others Considered: MacKenzie Gore (SP – WAS)
20.4: Garrett Cooper (1B – MIA)
While I want to keep stockpiling hitters who can help in at least one category, it is quite clear that the bundle of those available is going to drag down my team’s batting average. For that reason, Garrett Cooper is my preferred pick as a backup to my first-round pick Freddie Freeman. In an ideal world, Freeman holds down this position for the entirety of the season, but Cooper can help on off days and not cause damage to my team.
Others Considered: Jorge Soler (OF – MIA)
21.7: Tanner Scott (RP – MIA)
It’s no surprise that I am feeling uncomfortable about my team’s ability to get saves, and I’m still trying to fill that void. Tanner Scott isn’t the closer in Miami, but he should have some opportunities and brings decent overall numbers with an excellent strikeout rate to my roster.
Others Considered: MacKenzie Gore (SP – WAS)
22.4: MacKenzie Gore (SP – WAS)
It’s almost symbolic at this point. MacKenzie Gore has been a personal favorite of mine for years, and he finally started to deliver on his potential last season. Then, Gore was injured again and promptly traded in a deal that brought Juan Soto to San Diego. Gore has yet to throw a pitch for the Nationals, but he carries the same upside as always. His injury history and lack of experience with Washington has sunk his ADP, but that’s what makes him so enticing with my final pick.
Others Considered: Mitch Keller (SP – PIT)
Mock Draft Summary
Check out the full results here >>
Once again, it’s impossible to not compare this team to the AL-version that was done a few days earlier, and, between the two, my National League squad is lacking. Not surprisingly, this is reflected in the numbers: an “A-” grade a score of 91 out of 100. Specifically, my pitching staff is weak compared to my hitters. Once again, that was apparent as I moved through the 22 rounds.
The other key takeaway is that depth wasn’t a problem for the bulk of the draft because of the size of the league, but it started to threaten my team toward the end. I might consider taking fewer chances than usual in the early rounds now that I know there isn’t a big group of viable backup options waiting to offset the risk.
Other Mock Drafts
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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.