Skip to main content

Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft: Focusing on Starting Pitchers Early (2023)

Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft: Focusing on Starting Pitchers Early (2023)
cameraFantasy Baseball Mock Draft: Focusing on Starting Pitchers Early (2023)

In this article, I will show you my suggested team build for when you get a later pick in the draft, and that is to load up on starting pitching. Our free mock draft simulator is my go-to for preparing for my fantasy baseball drafts. This simulator allows custom league settings to be imported and provides insight as to why the rankings are the way they are instead of only placing players in order.

The reason that I chose the 10th pick is that, generally, when you get to the end of the first round, the most desirable cornerstone hitters are already off of the board. Without the stud who does it across multiple categories on a nightly basis, you may be able to build an offense where your team could be a well-oiled machine and not fall behind offensively to those teams that have the massive weeks from one hitter to rely on. Loading up on pitching is about getting a fusion of talent and stability. In targeting a pitcher’s WHIP, there are generally other categories that come with it as a result of limiting baserunners, whether a starter or a reliever.

12-Team Mock Draft: Early Focus on Starting Pitching

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.

1.10: Shohei Ohtani (SP, DH – LAA)

Modern-day Babe Ruth, or the Greatest Sho on Planet Earth? Either way, it has been over a century that a player can dominate the game quite like Ohtani. He was the obvious pick in building out a team that needed an ace to head the staff and be the leader. He will generate big numbers on both sides of the ball, and I don’t think it is ever too early to draft a player like this, but I am happy he fell to me at ten.

2.3: Sandy Alcantara (SP – MIA)

The 2022 Cy Young Award winner is poised to pitch at the same level, if not better, with some under-the-radar signings having the potential to win some games in what is one of the top divisions in all of baseball. Also, I love the long leash that he has, and I think that will help the team. Look for him to come into this year motivated off of his new deal and working hard to pitch up to the new contract he earned!

3.10: Jacob deGrom (SP – TEX)

The biggest question mark in all of baseball. He is injured pretty much every year, but if he was guaranteed not to miss games, he would be in the running for the number 1 pick in any draft for me. He is just that talented.

4.3: Randy Arozarena (OF – TB)

Even though we were attacking pitching early, it is important not to let someone like Randy be a player that we snag here to bring a good level of all categories to the team and be the cornerstone on how to act and to show energy and love for the game night in and night out.

5.10: Jordan Romano (RP – TOR)

Next, I had to grab our Canadian closer who gets to represent his home nation. Romano’s two-pitch mix is devastating for opposing hitters, and his 36 saves, accompanied by a 2.11 ERA, make him a strong candidate to lead us to have a strong year for us in the Saves category.

6.3: Cristian Javier (SP, RP – HOU)

Cristian Javier is a player that strikes people out, gets wins, and keeps runners off of the basepaths. His .948 WHIP as a starting pitcher shows that he can really get hot and win you a few matchups on his own, or he could very well step into the leader of the pitching staff’s role from Justin Verlander (who has since gone to the Mets) and become a true ace. Having Martin “Machete” Maldonado behind the plate makes me even more confident that he is poised for further greatness.

7.10: Tim Anderson (SS – CWS)

Over the last four years, this superstar shortstop has hit .300, and while his team has been extremely injury-riddled and inconsistent, he has been on the field for the majority of the time and very consistent. I actually think this is great value for him here if his team around him can be more consistent. Anderson is a must-draft in leagues that do not count strikeouts.

8.3: Felix Bautista (RP – BAL)

This 6-foot-8 closer for Baltimore uses all of his frame to get his fastball up to 102 mph. With 15 saves last year, Felix Bautista seems like the candidate to make the biggest jump year-over-year in that category. He was not the closer the whole season, but to be able to grab a stronghold on one of the teams with the biggest upside in the league, I expect great things from Felix Bautista. To go along with his 15 saves, he had a .929 WHIP, a 2.19 ERA, and 88 strikeouts in 65.2 innings pitched. That is good for 12.1 K/9, and there is room to grow there as well, as in the second half of last season, he pitched to a .862 WHIP and 13.7 K/9.

9.10: C.J. Cron (1B – COL)

C.J. Cron, like many other hitters, has found a home in Colorado and Coors Field and has become a fantasy asset as a result. There were flashes of this in Detroit, but he got hurt before he could really show he was meant to stay, so they moved on. Cron has 40-homer pop and has had 57 homers and 197 RBI, with a .839 OPS since joining the Rockies. Don’t overpay for him, but the 9th or 10th round is great for Cron.

10.3: Jake McCarthy (OF – ARI)

McCarthy worked his way into the Diamondbacks’ plans, adding to an already extremely speedy and athletic outfield. He was extremely impressive with his .283 average and 23 steals in 99 games in his rookie year, and I am excited to see what he can do in a full season. Last year, the NL leader in stolen bases had just 41 steals. To put this into perspective, Jake McCarthy was on pace for a 37-stolen base season if he played 162 games. Look for him to finish closer to both of the pacing numbers this year

11.10: Jhoan Duran (RP – MIN)

12.3: Clay Holmes (RP – NYY)

13.10: Ryan Mountcastle (1B – BAL)

14.3: Ty France (1B, 2B, 3B – SEA)

15.10: Jon Gray (SP – TEX)

16.3: Ketel Marte (2B, OF – ARI)

17.10: Keibert Ruiz (C – WAS)

18.3: Andrew Benintendi (OF – CWS)

19.10: Anthony Volpe (SS – NYY)

20.3: Jordan Walker (3B – STL)

21.10: Joc Pederson (OF – SF)

22.3: Edward Cabrera (SP – MIA)

23.10: Trey Mancini (1B, DH – CHC)

24.3: Kyle Manzardo (1B – TB)

This team graded a 91 out of 100, resulting in an A- Draft Grade on our simulator. I also felt like it was important to grab some prospects to stash on the offensive side of things that could bring an instant boost to my team if their team thinks they are as ready to make an impact as I do. I think this is a great plan to go by if you get a lower pick in the draft, and I hope now you feel less stuck at the bottom and more confident you can build a balanced team!

More Mock Drafts!



Salary Cap



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.

SubscribeApple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | SoundCloud | iHeartRadio

More Articles

Leading Off, FantasyPros Baseball Podcast: Elly De La Cruz, Alek Manoah, Trea Turner (6/6)

Leading Off, FantasyPros Baseball Podcast: Elly De La Cruz, Alek Manoah, Trea Turner (6/6)

fp-headshot by FantasyPros Staff | 2 min read
Underdog Fantasy MLB Pick ‘Em Predictions: Tuesday (6/6)

Underdog Fantasy MLB Pick ‘Em Predictions: Tuesday (6/6)

fp-headshot by Josh Shepardson | 2 min read
MLB PrizePicks Player Prediction for Zach Eflin: Tuesday (6/6)

MLB PrizePicks Player Prediction for Zach Eflin: Tuesday (6/6)

fp-headshot by Kelly Kirby | 1 min read
Fantasy Baseball Trade Advice: Josh Naylor, Logan Gilbert, Nick Castellanos

Fantasy Baseball Trade Advice: Josh Naylor, Logan Gilbert, Nick Castellanos

fp-headshot by Justin Mason | 2 min read

About Author

Current Article

time 4 min read

Leading Off, FantasyPros Baseball Podcast: Elly De La Cruz, Alek Manoah, Trea Turner (6/6)

Next Up - Leading Off, FantasyPros Baseball Podcast: Elly De La Cruz, Alek Manoah, Trea Turner (6/6)

Next Article   arrow-image