Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft: 12-Team, Categories, Middle Pick (2023)
When practicing for an upcoming fantasy baseball season, it’s important to perform mock drafts that align as closely as possible to your eventual league’s settings. That’s why it’s important to check out our free mock draft simulator, as we allow you to import your leagues and mock draft against your actual league settings.
While there are countless variations throughout the industry, 12-team leagues are as close as we get to a “standard” size. This is where many analysts will turn to discuss the appropriate round for a player. As we move through this mock draft, we will be able to get a better sense of how each player is currently valued and use it as the foundation from which other decisions can be made.
12-Team Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft Results
The lineup for this 12-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.
Obviously, the first round of a 12-team league doesn’t differ from smaller formats right away, but it does force us to look ahead to the next pick. Without a single starting pitcher going in the first six picks, I can have free reign of any option I want or take one of the stud hitters still available. I’m going to lean on the latter in anticipation that a few other arms sneak into the next dozen picks and give me value with a hitter in the second round. It’s a matter of preference for me and, even though he is ranked third among experts right now, I will take Gerrit Cole and the consistency he brings on a yearly basis.
Others Considered: Shohei Ohtani, Corbin Burnes
I would have been kicking myself if every one of the top hitters had been selected without any other pitchers coming off the board, but Mike Trout saved me. Ohtani and Burnes were both selected which allowed Trout to slide back to me, but I do have to question if Cole and Trout is a better starting point than Ohtani or Burnes and someone like Yordan Alvarez or Kyle Tucker. Had I taken one of the hitters in the first round, there was an outside chance that Ohtani or Burnes would have lasted until my pick. I’ll never know, but I did secure a solid starting point for my team.
Others Considered: Manny Machado
Once again, I am in the same predicament in which I found myself in the first round, where I can take the next-best player at a given position or jump ahead and expect some value to fall. The difference? There are more pitchers than hitters worth targeting. I’m going to follow the same gameplan that I did earlier and secure the hitter I want — Matt Olson and his power in a deep Braves lineup — and see which pitcher falls into the middle of the fourth round.
Others Considered: Nolan Arenado
And I’m saved again. The last of my desired group of pitchers was Max Scherzer, and he is the player left behind when the bundle of other starters found homes over the previous set of picks. Scherzer is the same strikeout machine as always and, if he can stay healthy, should easily outperform his current ADP.
Others Considered: Emmanuel Clase
One common trend I am noticing with my own mock draft performances is that I am constantly chasing saves. Even when I select someone like Jordan Romano or Devin Williams in the fifth round, I feel incomplete and in a position of desperation. With 12 teams in this format, I can’t afford to let that happen again, so I will select Romano now and see if I am in a position to grab another top closer with my next pick.
Others Considered: Devin Williams
I’m glad that I took a closer in the prior round, but it was simply not going to work out where I could select another here. Of the ten picks that followed my last one, eight of them were pitchers. Without looking at specifics, this should automatically have led to some value with hitters. Unfortunately, when we do bring “specifics” back into the mix, we can see that most of the top options are recovering from injuries. One of them is Alex Bregman, but the expectation is that he should be ready for the start of the season. I no longer need a third baseman for my roster.
Others Considered: George Springer, Starling Marte
Another boatload of pitchers went off the board in the last set of picks, but I am going to follow through with my plan from two rounds ago and select my second closer. Ryan Helsley of the Cardinals should help stabilize my bullpen and alleviate any need of finding saves for a long time.
Others Considered: Wander Franco
8.6: Andres Gimenez (2B/SS – CLE)
I would have loved for Wander Franco to last one more round so that I could draft him, but it wasn’t in the cards for me. Instead, I am considering how to best fit my team’s need for stolen bases while also adding a middle infielder. I’m torn between Tim Anderson and Andres Gimenez, but I’ll target the youth here just in case Anderson’s injuries continue to plague him.
Others Considered: Tim Anderson, Xander Bogaerts
If Tyler O’Neill can really produce another 30-home run season with double-digit stolen bases, he will be a draft-day darling. Of course, he needs to stay healthy and possibly raise his batting average, so there are plenty of moving parts to consider. Still, the potential is there, and I’ll take the risk in the ninth round.
Others Considered: Nathaniel Lowe, Logan Webb, Christian Yelich
10.6: Clayton Kershaw (SP – LAD)
I hadn’t felt the need to take a starting pitcher for quite some time, but Clayton Kershaw will always be worth a roster spot on my team. When healthy, he is still capable of dominating any given start. The unfortunate reality is that he isn’t staying healthy. That’s also why he’s available in the 10th round.
Others Considered: Logan Gilbert
11.7: Blake Snell (SP – SD)
Blake Snell has been wildly inconsistent over the past few years, and his draft value has followed suit. It almost feels like he is landing in the middle of most drafts simply because that’s the “average” outcome. Still, he is an elite strikeout pitcher who could carry a team to a fantasy championship if his ERA remains low. But he can also destroy a pitching staff if he either gets hurt or falters in a big way – both of which have happened.
Others Considered: Nick Castellanos, Taylor Ward
12.6: Kris Bryant (OF – COL)
I cringe and grit my teeth every time I select Kris Bryant in a draft, but I also remind myself that he could legitimately be one of the best fantasy hitters if he can only stay on the field long enough to produce. That seems to be a theme of my last handful of picks, but that’s what happens in the middle rounds of a draft like this.
Others Considered: Nick Castellanos
13.7: Nico Hoerner (SS – CHC)
I’ll admit that Nico Hoerner was not on my target list entering this draft, but he fits my team’s needs so well that I can’t overlook him here. Really, this is the value of a deep shortstop pool, where there are so many viable options that we can wait to fill the position. Hoerner brings speed and batting average, and if he can deliver in those two categories, he will be a key player in my lineup.
Others Considered: Paul Sewald
14.6: Paul Sewald (RP – SEA)
I have continually written about trying to get ahead of the field when it comes to saves, and while I don’t think it is entirely necessary to add a third closer before the 15th round, I have seen how tricky it is to fill the role later in the draft. Perhaps this changes in the coming weeks as we get more clarity on teams’ plans, but I am filling out my roster now and don’t have the luxury of a real league where I can add players once the season begins. Paul Sewald joins my pitching staff.
Others Considered: Jordan Montgomery
15.7: Ke’Bryan Hayes (3B – PIT)
With my utility spot still open, any hitter I add would move directly into my starting lineup. I was deciding between Anthony Rizzo, Rowdy Tellez, and Ke’Bryan Hayes, but I liked the idea of Hayes filling in for Bregman if he can’t stay healthy – as opposed to either first baseman replacing Matt Olson, who has missed a total of six games over the last three regular seasons combined. Hayes also has speed, which I so dearly covet with the roster already in place.
Others Considered: Anthony Rizzo, Rowdy Tellez
16.6: Anthony Rizzo (1B – NYY)
I wrote about him in the previous blurb, but it’s time to draft Anthony Rizzo. He was outstanding in the early portion of last year for the Yankees, and his left-handed swing is built for the ballpark in which he plays his home games. He tied a career-high with 32 home runs last year — it was actually his fourth season of hitting exactly 32 — and it’s not that far of a reach for him to break the 30-home run barrier again — he averages 30 home runs for every 162 games played.
Others Considered: Ian Happ
17.7: Alex Cobb (SP – SF)
If you’re drafting Alex Cobb, it’s because you believe in his sub-3.00 FIP for each of the last two seasons. More importantly, he was able to hold that number despite pitching for two different teams. His strikeout rate only recently popped, but if he can hold it above one batter per inning again, he will be an extremely valuable pick at this stage of the draft.
Others Considered: Andrew Heaney
18.6: J.D. Martinez (DH – LAD)
I definitely want to add some pitching depth before the draft ends, but there are a few hitters in this range that are still worthy of a bench spot. One of them is J.D. Martinez, who can only be used in the utility spot, but provides some nice opportunities to drive in runs for a deep Dodgers lineup.
Others Considered: Mitch Haniger
19.7: Jose Berrios (SP – TOR)
I found it interesting to decide between Andrew Heaney and Jose Berrios, as they are polar opposites in terms of numbers. Heaney likely won’t pitch enough to win 15 games, but his strikeout rate is excellent and his ERA and WHIP are solid. Berrios has been one of the most stable pitchers of the last few years, but has a low strikeout rate and has seen his ERA and WHIP inflate lately. I’ll look for a rebound season from Berrios, although I will openly admit that either player makes sense here.
Others Considered: Andrew Heaney
20.6: Andrew Heaney (SP – TEX)
Conveniently, Andrew Heaney lasted another round, and I have no reason to pass on him at this point. It’s as easy as the continuation from my last pick, and I only briefly considered taking anyone else.
Others Considered: Edward Cabrera
21.7: Adalberto Mondesi (SS – BOS)
I’ve already drafted him in basically every league in which he is available, so there’s no reason to pass on him here. He could be a league leader in stolen bases if he is both healthy and has a role with his new team. Obviously, those are conditional situations that could change, but that’s also why he is available roughly 250 picks into the draft.
Others Considered: Joe Pederson
22.6: Shea Langeliers (C – OAK)
As always, I will close out the draft with the best available catcher and slide him into my starting lineup. I generally like to avoid players who will destroy my team’s batting average after spending 21 prior rounds building toward that goal, but Shea Langeliers contributes basically everywhere else, and that is tempting. I’ll take the bait and add him to wrap up my roster.
Others Considered: Joey Bart
Check out the full draft results >>
There was definitely a point in the middle of the draft where I felt players slipping away from me, and I believe it is because I continually targeted options that could deliver in more than one category, even if both were more balanced than exceptional. That left me targeting “specialists” in the later rounds, and they come with their share of negatives.
I also started the draft by selecting a pitcher in the first round instead of a hitter. According to the rankings, this carried through to the end of the draft where my team is significantly better on the mound than at the plate. This poses the same question I asked in the first two rounds where it might have been better to take a hitter first. In fact, the FantasyPros’ Draft Insight made that exact same comment:
If you’d drafted Kyle Tucker (OF) at 1.7 and drafted a P later, your score would have been significantly higher.
In the end, I like the bulk of this team, but that first-round decision is going to be important as we move toward the start of the regular season.
Other Mock Drafts
- 12-Team, Early Pick
- 12-Team, Early Pick (Wait on Pitcher)
- 12-Team, Late Pick
- 10-Team, Middle Pick
- 10-Team, Roto League
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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.