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Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft: 12-Team, Categories League (2023)

by Jason Friedman
Mar 15, 2023
Chris Sale

Fear of injury is pushing Chris Sale into extreme “value” territory.

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 and familiarize yourself with the player pool, including which players may or may not be available later in your drafts. Below is a mock draft for a 12-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 assigned the tenth pick. The draft was conducted using the FantasyPros Draft Simulator.

Check out our fantasy baseball draft strategy on selecting hitters early >>

12-Team Mock Draft: Late Pick

1.10 – Yordan Alvarez (OF – HOU)

Assuming Jose Ramirez is off the board, this year, I want to ensure I get a high-end OF with my first pick. Luckily, Alvarez fell to me, and I was happy to snatch him up. His projection of 95/36/106/.293 makes Alvarez a true four-category stud and a great foundation for my team. And yes, I expect Alvarez to be ready for opening day.

Also considered: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 

2.03 – Manny Machado (3B – SD)

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. Whenever I can, I’m happy to draft Machado in round 2. He should provide great power numbers in the middle of one of baseball’s best lineups, and we can even chip in a bit in steals too.

Also considered: Rafael Devers, Freddie Freeman, Mike Trout

3.10 – Jose Altuve (2B – HOU)

My goal in drafts this season is to come away with at least 3 high-end hitters in the first four rounds. And 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 No. 1 2B on my board at pick 39. Altuve is one of only 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 1 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: Nolan Arenado, Randy Arozarena, Marcus Semien

4.03 – Matt Olson (1B – ATL) 

I wouldn’t mind taking my anchor SP1 in this position, but 12 SP have already gone in the first 36 picks. So I’m happy to zig while the rest of the room zags and again load up on a power hitter. FantasyPros projects just eight hitters for 30+ HR and 100+ RBI, and with Matt Olson at 1B, my lineup has three of them.

Also considered: Nolan Arenado, Randy Arozarena, Corey Seager

5.10 – Luis Castillo (SP – SEA)

Round 5 is the perfect time to start addressing SP, and Luis Castillo can give me SP1 numbers after pick 50. FantasyPros projects just three SP for 180+ IP, 190+ Ks, and an ERA under 3.30: Gerrit Cole, Corbin Burnes, and Luis Castillo. I want my high-end SP to give me volume this year, and Castillo does this while still providing ace-level ratios.

Also considered: Kevin Gausman, Cristian Javier

6.03 – 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 draft him outside of the top 60 and enjoy the borderline SP1 numbers all season.

Also considered: Kevin Gausman, Teoscar Hernandez

7.10 – Corbin Carroll (OF – ARI)

I was hoping to fill my OF2 spot here with Teoscar Hernandez or Bryan Reynolds, but both went a few picks before me. So instead, I’ll complement all my early power with the preseason favorite for NL Rookie of the Year (and potential 40 SB contributor) Corbin Carroll. Carroll is everyone’s favorite breakout this year for good reason, and I think a 20/40 season scoring a lot of runs atop the D-Backs lineup is well within reach.

Also considered: Sal Perez, Raisel Iglesias,

8.03 – Jose Abreu (1B – HOU)

I wasn’t expecting to take Abreu after drafting Matt Olson in round 4, but he is the best player on my board. Abreu’s statcast numbers from last season tell a very different story than his paltry 15 HR state line, placing him in the top 8% of baseball in avg. exit velo, hard-hit rate, xwOBA, xBA, and xSLG. I’m expecting a big bounceback for Abreu this season, and given my previous Alvarez, Altuve, and Javier picks will be rooting for the Astros a lot this year.

Also considered: Clayton Kershaw, Logan Webb

9.10 – Carlos Correa (SS – MIN)

I’m generally waiting on SS this year, and Correa is a big reason why. FantasyPros projects Correa for an 82/24/77/0/.274 stat line, very similar to Corey Seager (86/27/83/3/.277), who went nearly 50 picks earlier in this draft.

Also considered: Luis Severino, Nestor Cortes Jr.

10.03 – Luis Severino (SP – NYY)

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: Nestor Cortes Jr.

11.10 – Kris Bryant (OF – COL)

The only thing standing between Kris Bryant and a huge bounce-back season in Colorado is health. And at pick 130, Bryant is a high upside risk worth taking to fill out my OF.

Also considered: David Bednar, Clay Holmes

12.03 – Clay Holmes (RP – NYY)

Projected for 26 saves and solid ratios, Holmes (and my picks in rounds 16, 18, and 22) show why I don’t feel the need to pay for saves early.

13.10 – Chris Sale (SP – BOS)

See the round 10 pick. Sale looks healthy so far in spring-and a perceived lack of health is the only reason Sale is going outside of the top 25 at the position.

14.03 – William Contreras (C – MIL)

I usually try to grab my catcher from the Kirk, Murphy, Contreras (2x) tier this season, and since William is the last one on the board and unlikely to get back to me in round 15, now is the time to pounce.

15.10 – Drew Rasmussen (SP – TB)

Was hoping Dustin May would fall, but he went 4 picks earlier. Rasmussen is a solid consolation prize, though, and should be an elite contributor in ratios.

16.03 – Paul Sewald (RP – SEA)

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.

17.10 – Patrick Sandoval (SP – LAA)

Likely the last player on the board with a 170+ K upside. If Sandoval can get his walks under control, he has a top 40 SP upside.

18.03 – 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 beyond pick 200.

19.10 – Lars Nootbaar (OF – STL)

Nootbaar is one of my (and everyone else’s) favorite sleepers this year, and for good reason. With a super elite walk rate and average exit velocity numbers better than Machado, Freeman, and Soto (among many others), if Nootbaar is given 550 PAs, he should return great value.

20.03 – Josh Naylor (1B, OF – CLE)

21.10 – J.D. Martinez (DH – LAD)

22.03 – Daniel Hudson (RP – LAD)

23.10 – Jordan Walker (3B – STL)

There is no way Walker lasts this long in your real-life draft, but if he lasts beyond pick 175, be sure to draft him. No one will be “this year’s J-Rod,” but if anyone will be (and if he is given 500+ PAs), Walker has the skills to be.


I’m happy with this draft, although I wonder what would have happened if I took one more solid SP like Kershaw or Webb in round 8 instead of Abreu. Severino and Sale would look much better as my SP 4-5 instead of 3-4. I do like that I’m projected top 4 in R/HR/RBI/AVG, but I may have put too many of my steals eggs in the Corbin Carroll basket for the projections liking.

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