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Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft: Early Pick, Wait on Pitcher (2023)

Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft: Early Pick, Wait on Pitcher (2023)

As we ramp up the fantasy baseball draft season, the time to Mock Draft is now. Most take part in mock drafts to find out the best potential plan of attack to achieve the best draft results. Of course, the results can vary based on draft spot, league competition, and more.

My task in these upcoming articles is to take part in quick mock drafts using the FantayPros Mock Draft Simulator. I will draft from the front, middle, and back of the draft, discussing the results and other potential picks available in that part of the draft.

In the end, remember these are just mock drafts and should be used to help build a better concept of the player pool. To realize when to target pitchers, certain hitting positions or statistics, and much more. Let’s look at my results for picking 2nd in a 12-team mock draft.

Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit

Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft: 12-Team, Early Pick

The lineup for this 12-team draft is C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, 3 OF, UTIL, 2 SP, 2 RP, 4 P, and 5 BN, conducted using FanasyPros’ Draft Simulator.

1.2: Jose Ramirez (3B – CLE)

The top of the draft has a lot of options with elite outfielders, Trea Turner, or even some starting pitching aces like Gerrit Cole or Corbin Burnes. However, I went with Ramirez as he is an elite five-category talent who plays at a shallow third base position. Give me a 30/20 bat with a chance at more at 3B all day.

Others Considered: Trea Turner (SS – PHI), Aaron Judge (OF – NYY)

2.11: Francisco Lindor (SS – NYM)

Lindor returned to his great fantasy ways last season, returning him to the top of fantasy drafts. It came down to Lindor or Tatis to get one of the final elite fantasy shortstops, and I decided to go with the healthier option that would be ready on Opening Day. Another 20/15 season with a chance at more is in the books for Lindor in 2023.

Others Considered: Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS – SD)

3.2: Randy Arozarena (OF – TB)

I could have gone after an elite starting pitcher at this point in the draft. But I went with Arozarena, and his 20/20 upside as starting pitching is deep in these formats, and I can still draft one more 20+ stolen base option before four or five-category contributors leave the draft pool.

Others Considered: Brandon Woodruff (SP – MIL), Aaron Nola (SP – PHI)

4.11: Cedric Mullins (OF – BAL)

I did not expect Mullins to drop to me at the end of round four, so I jumped at the chance to add one more stud outfielder. This format is only three outfielders, so it may not have been necessary. Still, in much deeper formats, I love loading up on early outfielders that can contribute in all ROTO categories, as the position will dry up quickly. Mullins’s power dropped in 2022, but that was expected. He still has enough pop to go with his steals and all the runs he’ll score, hitting atop a talented Orioles’ lineup.

Others Considered: Josh Hader (RP – MIL)

5.2: Kevin Gausman (SP – TOR)

After passing on pitching in the first four rounds, I jumped to get an ace in Gausman. Back-to-back seasons with 174 or more innings pitched and three straight seasons with a K-BB% over 22%, which is elite. He’s going too late in drafts and has been my primary target when waiting on SP.

Others Considered: Zack Wheeler (SP – PHI)

6.11: Zac Gallen (SP – ARI)

After getting my first pitcher, I kept attacking pitching with another innings eater who can rack up strikeouts with solid ratios in Gallen. Now having Gallen and Gausman, I have two potential aces that can set up ratios when gambling on pitchers later in the draft.

Others Considered: Cristian Javier (SP – HOU)

7.2: Framber Valdez (SP – HOU)

Grabbing two or three in a row is a strong strategy when you wait on pitching. So having Framber available in round seven was a gift, and I jumped at the chance to draft him. He is a quality starts, an innings-eating machine that limits hard contact and keeps the ball on the ground. He also plays on a great team that should help Framber rack up many wins.

Others Considered: Will Smith (C – LAD)

8.11: Jose Abreu (1B – HOU)

After a down season, Abreu is falling much later in drafts. However, his overall contact metrics did not slip much, and a bounce-back season should be in store. Throw that Abreu is now playing on the Astros, and his counting stats should be outstanding yet again. If passing on the early first basemen and wanting to avoid taking a later first baseman as a starter, then Abreu is a great target here.

Others Considered: Vinnie Pasquantino (1B – KC)

9.2: Andres Gimenez (2B, SS – CLE)

Gimenez is coming off a massive breakout season, and I do not think it’s a major fluke. He will be hitting atop the Guardians’ lineup, allowing him to run wild and score many runs. He goes perfectly with the top three hitters I drafted in terms of counting stats, batting average, and steals.

Others Considered: Camilo Doval (RP – SF)

10.11: Clay Holmes (RP – NYY)

Relief pitchers went very fast in this draft, and there weren’t many locked-in closers on the board. So I grabbed Holmes, who was great early last season and had some hiccups at the end of the season. He is a gift here if he can revert to that early-season form.

Others Considered: N/A

11.2: Jake McCarthy (OF – ARI)

McCarthy broke out hugely last season and is now locked into the leadoff spot for the DBacks. He can steal 30+ bases while still adding power and scoring many runs. When we look back at the 2023 draft season, McCarthy could be quick a gift this last in drafts.

Others Considered: Gleyber Torres (2B – NYY), Steven Kwan (OF – CLE)

12.11: Lucas Giolito (SP – CWS)

Giolito’s 2022 was horrific from a statistical standpoint. But there were some positives with Giolito, leaving me very optimistic for 2023. He has worked on his delivery and bringing his velocity back up. If he can do that, we will see a Giolito much closer to the ace we are used to seeing.

Others Considered: Scott Barlow (RP – KC), Jesus Luzardo (SP – MIA)

13.2: Paul Sewald (RP – SEA)

With closers gone, I drafted Sewald here to grab some more saves. We know the Mariners bullpen has a lot of talent in the backend that will share the closing duties from time to time. If Sewald stays healthy, he should get the majority of the saves, but he is still in a committee, so be wary.

Others Considered: N/A

14.11: Jordan Montgomery (SP – STL)

Montgomery had another strong season between the Yankees and the Cardinals. He started gaining wins with the Cardinals and worked deeper into games. He is a safe pitcher being drafted at this point of the draft with a ton of upside on a good Cardinals team in a great pitching ballpark.

Others Considered: Brady Singer (SP – KC)

15.2: Drew Rasmussen (SP – TB)

Rasmussen broke out with 146 innings pitched and a sub-2.5 ERA in 2022. He showcased excellent ratios with some strikeout upside in his first full season as a starting pitcher. If he can take the next step, he could be another quality fantasy SP 2/3, which is excellent at this point of the draft.

Others Considered: Cal Raleigh (C – SEA)

16.11: Rowdy Tellez (1B – MIL)

Rowdy hit 35 home runs while walking over 10% of the time and showcasing elite quality of contact metrics. He even played often versus LHP, which just ups his fantasy value. Finding 30+ home run power with the counting stats to back this late in the draft is outstanding with the lack of power we saw last season around baseball.

Others Considered: Patrick Sandoval (SP – LAA)

17.2: Giovanny Gallegos (RP – STL)

I needed one more with the format calling for three RP to start. The options were bleak, but Gallegos has shown closing ability. He isn’t slotted to be the opening day closer for the Cardinals but run into some saves throughout the season and would be the first man up if Heisley struggles.

Others Considered: Dylan Floro (RP – MIA)

18.11: Jonah Heim (C – TEX)

I decided to wait on the catcher in a one-catcher league and have zero problems, with Heim being my starter. He has shown some nice power and decent overall hitting skills in his early time in the bigs. Plus, the Rangers like him and want to give him a lot of run this season. Not bad in round 18.

Others Considered: N/A

19.2: Josh Naylor (1B, OF – CLE) 

Naylor can hit 20+ home runs with a decent batting average. In addition, he has multi-positional eligibility, which also gives a nice boost this late in the draft.

Others Considered: Jonathan India (2B – CIN)

20.11: Carlos Carrasco (SP – NYM)

It’s time to round out the rotation depth, and Carrasco is one of my top late-round targets to do just that. Carrasco should give you at least 150 innings with solid rations and a lot of strikeout upside. He can create a great fantasy season if he can just stay healthy.

Others Considered: CJ Abrams (2B – WAS), David Peterson (SP – NYM)

21.2: Zach Eflin (SP, RP – TB)

Eflin battled injuries in 2022 and still put forth a lovely season. He then signed the biggest contract in Rays’ history, which boosted confidence about his injury. The Rays know how to get the most out of their pitchers, and Eflin should have a strong 2023. He can slot into RP if needed to rack up those counting stats.

Others Considered: Sonny Gray (SP – MIN), Merrill Kelly (SP – ARI)


Drafting early in drafts allows you to grab one of the elite five-category players. For example, I did not draft one of the outfielders as I knew I could get outfield depth later. The same goes for starting pitching. You can go the other routes and still be very successful.

One major lesson from the mock is the need to look at closers earlier as they flew off the board. Also, with only three outfielders, no MI, and no CI, it will be easier to grab closers early and still fill out a great team.

My draft grade was 80 out of 100 due to the lack of attacking closers, aces, and an earlier catcher. The team could still battle for a title, but some other ways to attack this draft from the front of the draft.

More Mock Drafts!





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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