Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft: 10-Team, Roto League (2023)
Over the past few weeks, we have published 10-team mock drafts for both the American League and National League separately. Each time, I noted that the shallow pool of players — which is a natural result of limiting to only one league at a time — was offset by the number of teams in the league. Simply put, a 10-team league is more forgiving than a 12-team league.
Now that we are combining the player pool and allowing the full group of players to be selected, we can easily see how the teams will form. That is, every roster will be quite solid from top-to-bottom. Such is the nature of a ten-team league.
The caveat is that because there will be so much talent selected in the next 22 rounds, it’s probably wiser to be conservative than aggressive. As much as I preach about taking risks in drafts, we do not want to fall behind the average squad — especially in a rotisserie format — because we strayed too far from the current value.
Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft: 10-Team, Roto League (2023)
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: Yordan Alvarez (OF – HOU)
I write about it every year, but if Shohei Ohtani can be used as both a hitter and a pitcher in your league, then he must gain a boost in all rankings. He would be the easy pick for me at this point, but I will play this out as if his dual-position eligibility doesn’t matter. Therefore, I’ll take Yordan Alvarez and his incredible combination of power and batting average that is not easy to find elsewhere.
Others Considered: Shohei Ohtani
We are already going to see the difficulty with a ten-team league come into play as the second round presents us with an unusual decision. To this point, only one pitcher was selected, and it was the prior pick — Gerrit Cole. With a dozen picks between this one and the next, it’s likely that starting pitchers are selected at a more feverish rate. I am going to anticipate that happening, which, in turn, would allow some hitters to fall back to me in the third round. It’s just not easy to pass on Mike Trout at this point. Corbin Burnes, and not Ohtani — for the same reason as the last round, where I can’t utilize his pitching and hitting — will join my team.
Others Considered: Mike Trout
This is why it’s important to do mock drafts and try to gauge what can be expected when the stakes are raised. It’s possible that, in a real draft, more pitchers than just Cole would have been selected by the middle of the second round, but it was almost a guarantee that teams would not wait much longer before adding arms before their fourth picks. On cue, my selection of Burnes was met with five pitchers — one closer — being selected. Had Jacob deGrom been one of them, I would have moved on and taken a hitter. With deGrom still available, I’m not thinking twice before adding him.
Others Considered: Austin Riley, Francisco Lindor
I wrote about taking a conservative approach in the introduction of this column, and Nolan Arenado is the perfect example of this. He’ll hit for power, drive in runs, and should have a solid enough batting average that I don’t regret passing on someone like Jose Altuve.
Others Considered: Jose Altuve
5.7: Jazz Chisholm Jr. (2B – MIA)
I don’t love the risk associated with Jazz Chisholm, Jr., but it’s hard to argue with his speed. From my experience with the prior one-league drafts, I noted — particularly in the National League — that second base was not as weak a position as it had been in the past. Still, Chisholm is in a different class than the rest, and I would like to lock up the position now.
Others Considered: Luis Robert
6.4: Devin Williams (RP – MIL)
Once again, it’s important to look ahead to how the next set of picks might unfold after your current one. In my case, another dozen players will be selected after this pick, and there has already been one closer taken. I don’t feel the need to select too many early, but the sixth round feels like the right time to get ahead of the inevitable run that will follow. Devin Williams is my preferred option whenever he is available.
Others Considered: Jordan Romano
This one is too easy for me. I have written about Zac Gallen countless times over the years, and he has become a favorite target of mine. He delivered an outstanding season last year, and even if he regresses slightly, he should still be well above average. He fits nicely into my pitching staff.
Others Considered: Starling Marte
Tim Anderson’s fantasy stock has dipped, but he now has four consecutive seasons with a batting average of at least .300. That’s rare in today’s league. As is his stolen base prowess. Obviously, the reason for said decline in Anderson’s value is his injury history, but he’s well worth the eighth-round investment for a lineup lacking a shortstop.
Others Considered: Eloy Jimenez
For as much as I wrote that I want to avoid risks where possible, I find myself ready to draft a second consecutive player that was injured for a significant amount of time last year. Still, the value is so high with someone like Eloy Jimenez — he hits for a solid average and provides power — that he could be a league-winner in the ninth round. I can’t pass that up.
Others Considered: Joe Musgrove
10.4: Byron Buxton (OF – MIN)
I am growing a little more frustrated with the amount of risk that I am taking on with this team, but the upside of a player like Byron Buxton is too great to ignore. He continues to show that he has superstar talent but cannot stay healthy long enough to deliver. Once again, he’s valued appropriately, and that’s the only reason why I can stomach the injury concerns.
Others Considered: Jose Abreu
11.7: Jose Abreu (1B – HOU)
Years ago, the first base position was incredibly deep, where shortstop was top-heavy with only a select few batters worth targeting early. Recently, that has shifted, and I constantly note how quickly the first base pool evaporates. Thankfully, Jose Abreu lasted one more round and makes this pick a no-brainer. He’ll bring a solid batting average to my lineup and should continue to produce runs, even with him changing teams during the offseason.
Others Considered: Clayton Kershaw, Christian Yelich
12.4: Giancarlo Stanton (OF – NYY)
I’m definitely disappointed that Clayton Kershaw was selected prior to this pick, and I am now left deciding between adding another hitter — technically, my final one in my starting lineup with the exception of a catcher — or targeting the next-best pitcher. Because this player would slide to my bench if he underperformed or were injured — the latter is much more likely — I can take one more risk with a boom-or-bust type option. Enter Giancarlo Stanton.
Others Considered: Christian Yelich, Lucas Giolito
13.7: Lucas Giolito (SP – CWS)
It’s time to spend some draft picks on pitchers, and the only question to ask is, “Should I find closers to add?” Not yet. I can pair this pick with the next one and target a starter first. I have been eyeing Lucas Giolito for at least one round, and he can now join my roster.
Others Considered: Lance Lynn, Joe Ryan
14.4: Daniel Bard (RP – COL)
In sticking with the plan I laid out last round, I wanted to draft a closer here. The fact that his home ballpark is terrifying for pitchers also has me scared, but Daniel Bard is the clear-cut favorite for saves in Colorado. I’ll take the chance that his ERA and WHIP are slightly more inflated than the average closer in return for his relative stability at the position.
Others Considered: Scott Barlow
15.7: Paul Sewald (RP – SEA)
With the options starting to wane for closers, I’ll devote one more pick to a player in-line to get saves for his team. Paul Sewald may be threatened by other arms in the Mariners’ bullpen, but for now, he is the lead candidate to close out games. I don’t want to miss the opportunity to add saves here, even with another pick coming up shortly.
Others Considered: Christian Walker
16.4: Brady Singer (RP – SEA)
With the last bundle of rounds largely being dedicated to hitters and closers, I need to move back toward starting pitching. There is a decent mix of risky players with upside and higher-floor targets, and I am actually drawn to the latter right now. Brady Singer could easily ascend from his 16th-round value, but even if he doesn’t, he should be a fine fit as a regular starting pitcher on my team.
Others Considered: Jordan Montgomery
17.7: Jake Cronenworth (1B, 2B, SS – SD)
In the NL-only and AL-only mock drafts I did, this was the round when I started to notice a significant drop-off. Indeed, there are bench players available, but the options aren’t overly exciting. I expected that to change in with the full league being available, but it isn’t the case. I could use another closer, but I plan to wait a few more picks before taking one, so I’ll target Jake Cronenworth for his versatility and expected contributions to runs.
Others Considered: Jeff McNeil, C.J. Cron, Jose Leclerc
18.4: Christian Walker (1B – ARI)
I am actually shocked and, for the first time this year, mad at my computer-generated opponents. I fully expected Jose Leclerc to last another few picks, but he didn’t. I am now left scrambling, so I will simply land on the best available player. Christian Walker is not necessarily a consolation prize, however, as he is a relative value at this point. I’m simply bitter because I wanted the closer.
Others Considered: Ketel Marte
19.7: Jon Gray (SP – TEX)
I’m turning my attention back to starting pitchers, and I specifically want ones that are going to deliver strikeouts. Jon Gray has always had potential, and we started to see some of it in his first season outside of Colorado. His career strikeout rate is more than one batter per inning, and he fits my team’s needs at this point.
Others Considered: Lance McCullers Jr.
20.4: Kyle Finnegan (RP – WSH)
There’s no mystery here. I was burned by failing to take a closer two rounds ago, and I won’t make the same mistake again. Kyle Finnegan will help secure some saves, and at this point, it’s all about depth.
Others Considered: Alex Cobb
21.7: Adalberto Mondesi (SS – BOS)
My team is sorely lacking speed, and one of the players I have loved to draft in the later rounds is Adalberto Mondesi. He has a new team, but I imagine his role will be the same. That is, try to swipe as many bags as possible. We have no idea how much he will contribute elsewhere, but the stolen base potential at this point of the draft is great.
Others Considered: Jonah Heim
22.4: Jonah Heim (C – TEX)
Unless I’m investing an early-round pick, I always try to close out my drafts by taking a catcher, and I was able to do that here. Jonah Heim has enough power to offset his weak batting average, and that’s generally what I like from my last-round pick.
Others Considered: Yasmani Grandal
I am actually shocked by how poorly this team came together, and I received one of the worst grades of any mock drafts I have done over the past few years — a C+ and a score of 78 out of 100. Let’s investigate why.
For starters, I felt as if I were constantly chasing speed, but I had an abundance of power. That tends to happen frequently, though. Really, the issue must have been my earlier comments on how I wanted to approach this draft in particular.
In contrast to what I usually do, I was trying to utilize a more conservative plan in selecting players that were valued appropriately as opposed to targeting what they could become. As the numbers show, that must have been a mistake. This is good to know, as I don’t like to deviate from my aggressive drafting style, and that still might be the best philosophy, even in a shallow league like this one.
Link to results: https://fntsy.pro/1nc1xWqW
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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.