2018 MLB Draft Guide: The Fantasy Alarm Mock Draft
Dan Malin got the Fantasy Alarm Staff got together for a 12-team fantasy baseball mock draft and provides insights into all of their picks.
So, as is tradition with all Draft Guides that Fantasy Alarm puts out, we did our staff mock draft earlier this week. It’s always a bit difficult as we all live across different times zones and have conflicting schedules, but it’s always a good time when we can find time to pull these mock drafts off. Our most recent draft was no different. We managed to get all the way to the second overall pick before we reached our first auto-draft. What’s the old Frederick Douglass quote? “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” There’s nowhere to go but up for us, folks.
Here’s a link to the Full Draft Board to see how the teams stack up.
Attached is an additional link to view how the Drafts for Each Team are Scored. Highlighted in orange in the middle graph is my hilariously awful offense. Don’t dwell on these analyzers when you’re drafting. Don’t check it during the draft and let the score dictate how you should go forward with the building the rest of your team. Build a roster that satisfies you, not a computer.
Participants (in Draft Order)
- Greg Jewett (@gjewett9)
- James Grande (@The_Real_Grande)
- Matt Selz (@theselzman)
- Howard Bender (@rotobuzzguy)
- Colby Conway (@colbyrconway)
- Jonathan Impemba (@jimpemba777)
- Justin Vreeland (@JustinVreeland)
- Daniel Malin (@RealDANlanta)
- Michael Stein (@FantasyJudgment)
- Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenGM)
- Brett Talley (@TheRealTAL)
- Ivar Anderson (@johnwhorfin)
This was a standard 5x5 rotisserie draft with 29 rounds of drafting. So a twelve-team league is pretty deep and with 29 rounds you know that we went fairly deep into the draft pool. Nine pitchers would be started with six bench spots. That means there would be 14 positional players getting the start with five outfielders, two catchers, two utility players, a middle infielder, and a corner infielder as well as the other standard infield positions. If you’ve drafted with the mock draft army before then you’re familiar with these roster requirements. If you haven’t, then sign up! There’s still plenty of time before the season starts!
Jewett’s Strategy: “When drafting against fellow writers or in industry drafts, getting players at bargains will be difficult. After receiving the first pick overall, there are some who weigh Jose Altuve as an option this year due to his consistency, but straying from a chance to roster Mike Trout did not make sense. Especially with the team being assembled around him. One of the downsides of picking first is waiting in between for the chance to double up on the turn. Noah Syndergaard and Josh Donaldson led my list as targets to add some power as well as a strong arm with upside. Realistically, no way would I roster one of the "big four" starting pitchers, so it made sense to hunt upside in two players who were targeted much higher in terms of ADP last year. From here on, getting players I like or fitting the roster needs took shape. In 12-team leagues, pitchers will be picked earlier this year so you need to adapt. Many will speak about power being abundant, it's not as prevalent as many say. Also, paying up for speed does not make sense unless you're pairing two players like Joey Gallo and Mallex Smith like Howard Bender did to form a hybrid of the two balancing the power with speed for solid counting statistics. My team needed late saves, which explains why I drafted A.J. Minter to back-up Arodys Vizcaino plus a late Brad Ziegler who can be dropped once Zach Britton returns. Last but not least: missing out on a strong fourth starter. I went with Chad Green to pair up with Alex Reyes when he returns. If chasing upside, why not build a solid baseline with strikeouts then transition to Reyes when he's ready. It's going to be a wild draft season, so be prepared. “
Naturally when one has the first overall pick, they’ll take Mike Trout. So Greg didn’t really buck any trends and you can’t go wrong with the Big Fish. When the second round came back to him he grabbed another big bat. Josh Donaldson has four straight seasons with at least 29 home runs. The power was still there in 2017 as he logged 33 home runs in under 500 plate appearances, but he did miss 49 games last year. When healthy, he’s still a great source of power to own, so he’s still a nice second round pick. Greg did a nice job overall of building a balanced lineup. Noah Syndergaard, Aaron Nola, and Gerrit Cole are a nice group of pitchers to start off with. If there’s a weakness with Greg’s team it might be at shortstop, a position already lacking in depth. Greg took Marcus Semien in round 20. Semien is capable of hitting 20 home runs; heck he hit 27 in 2016, but he missed 77 games in 2017. This would certainly be a position Greg would monitor on waivers would this league have been played out.
For James “Babyface” Grande the draft got off to a bit of a sluggish start as he autodrafted with the second overall pick. The powers that be allowed him to still take Jose Altuve, which is a damn fine pick. You cannot go wrong with Altuve especially in a roto league. He doesn’t hurt you in any particular category. He contributes in almost each one. For James, it was a tale of two drafts. Offensively, he’s loaded. Aside from Altuve he also drafted Francisco Lindor, Gary Sanchez, and Jose Abreu. He did real well to solidify his infield and he also took the mayor of Ding Dong City (Travis Shaw) in round six. Where he may be a little weak is at pitching, but it’s not as bad as it looks. He managed to grab names like Dallas Keuchel, Jake Arrieta, Lance McCullers Jr., Danny Duffy, Brad Peacock, Dinelson Lamet, and Lucas Giolito. Keuchel and Arrieta have been studs in the past and could put together solid seasons. The other names have some uncertainty, but his pitchers do possess strikeout upside.
Selz opened his draft with four really strong pieces: Paul Goldschmidt, Jose Ramirez, Luis Severino, and Justin Verlander. Goldschmidt is the best first baseman in the league and Ramirez is on track for a big season after hitting .318 with 29 home runs and 107 runs scored. Luis Severino is a strikeout machine and Verlander may experience some regression but he’s still a good starting pitcher. After he’s coming off a year where he pitched fairly deep into the playoffs in 2017 and he’s 35 years old. There are some concerns over power. Goldschmidt is easily capable of hitting 35 home runs, but he’s never hit 40. The Chase Field Humidor Effect might hinder most players in 2018, but Goldy is the kind of player that can overcome that. Jose Ramirez should eclipse 30 home runs as should Khris Davis, and Anthony Rendon should get 20-25. But the rest of the lineup feels a bit void of above average power. And sure there are a few players on his team that could be 20/20 candidates, but outside of his first four hitters selected there’s a fair drop in power.
From the looks of it, Howard built up a well-balanced team. Trea Turner was his first overall pick followed by Freddie Freeman and George Springer; three guys that are very solid players and contribute across every category collectively. He also went on to grab Robinson Cano who will always flirt with a .300 batting average and he’s hit 84 home runs the last three years despite playing in Seattle. To Howard’s credit he did go out and draft whom he believes is The Player You Must Have in Greg Bird. I’m a big fan of the speed he drafted late with Brett Gardner and Mallex Smith. If both stay healthy and get plenty of plate appearances on their respective teams they could combine for 50 steals at minimum.
On the other side of the ball he didn’t wait too long to draft pitching, but he did take some risks. Chris Archer, Yu Darvish, and Jose Quintana are great starts to building a rotation. Archer may have some struggles early on having to pitch against the Yankees and Red Sox. But from August 28th to the end of the season the Rays have just four games against the Yankees and none against the Red Sox. Archer could be the kind of player you want to own in the fantasy playoffs. Later on he did gamble on names like Aaron Sanchez, Garrett Richards, Alex Cobb, and Greg Holland (who remains unsigned). Sure Cobb did start in 29 games last year, but keep in mind he did miss all of 2015 and made only five appearances in 2016. The same “injury prone” concerns can be expressed for Sanchez and Richards.
Colby opened by drafting offense early while still finding strong arms later on. With four of his first five picks he took Nolan Arenado, Joey Votto, Cody Bellinger, and Alex Bregman. He also managed to find speed later on with Ozzie Albies, Jonathan Villar, and Delino DeShields. On top of the speed he also addressed the closer position better than most in the draft. He grabbed Craig Kimbrel, Raisel Iglesias, and Cody Allen. Not to mention he also grabbed relief pitchers Chris Devenski and Keone Kela towards the end of the draft. So he did very well to round out his group of relief pitchers. His two best starting pitchers are Jacob deGrom and Jose Berrios with some other starters sprinkled in during the later rounds. Due to his depth and talent with relievers he may do just fine in the ERA and Saves categories, but he’d likely need to work waivers to find value in free agency for more starting pitchers.
Impemba’s Strategy: “I loved the start to my draft with Harper and Rizzo in rounds one and two. In hindsight drafting Benintendi with my third pick probably was a bad decision because a slew of starting pitching I had been looking at went right after him. Ultimately I went SP in rounds four and five with Carlos Carrasco and Carlos Martinez. Both are high strikeout pitchers with solid ceilings as potential top ten starting pitchers though Martinez has struggled with consistency to reach that ceiling. In round seven I took Buster Posey, which I felt like was great value. The additions of McCutchen and Longoria could certainly bolster the Giants offense this season and Posey should benefit from that…
My biggest reach of the draft was probably Yoan Moncada in round ten but in fantasy I would always rather be a year too early than a year too late. This kid is immensely talented and that talent is going to show itself at some point. He hit .274 with five home runs in the month of September and he is still just 21 years old.”
I really want to hate Justin’s team because I love raining on the parade of those celebrating their birthday. And he even declared circa round eleven or twelve that he may have drafted the greatest team ever. And at that point in the draft it was difficult to argue with him. He started off with Charlie Blackmon, Manny Machado, Madison Bumgarner, and Robbie Ray. He even managed to grab two elite closers in Aroldis Chapman and Corey Knebel and he even swiped Edwin Diaz a few rounds later. He didn’t finish filling out his outfield until round 20 with Carlos Gomez, but that’s just nit picking on my part. He used his later picks to take players with upside like Jorge Alfaro, Carl Edwards Jr., Blake Snell, and Jordan Montgomery. You have to give credit when it’s due, this is one of my favorite teams coming out of the draft.
So drafting eighth overall was a spot I haven’t been too familiar with in mock or real drafts so far in 2018. I wanted to try something different. I’m normally a guy that goes heavy on offense with my first three-to-five picks. This time around I wanted to try something different. With two of my first four, and three of my first seven picks I drafted starting pitching (Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and James Paxton). I just wanted to see how my team could shape up with a different strategy. All in all I wasn’t impressed with my offense. I was still happy to take J.D. Martinez when it came back to me in the second round and in roto leagues I’ll always take Billy Hamilton to get the biggest steals threat in the league. But I definitely let some hitters get away from me. By taking Greinke in the fourth round I missed on solid hitters like Jose Abreu, Wil Myers, and Alex Bregman. All of whom I wish I had taken in the fourth with the benefit of hindsight.
Another area I screwed up was that I should have just punted saves altogether. I eventually took Kelvin Herrera in round 22 and he’s my only closer. That’s just stupid on my part. I’m going to lose the category anyway so I should’ve just punted and rolled with zero closers as opposed to one who might get traded away and become a set up man anyway. While I’m more than excited with my starting pitching, I could have maybe drafted a couple set up men that are in position to take over the closer’s role.
Despite the sluggish start and yes, I’m still not thrilled about my offense, I was pleased with some of the players I drafted in the mid-to-late rounds. Starting with Round 15 I was able to draft Cameron Maybin (another steals threat), Randal Grichuk (big sleeper who could hit 30 home runs in Toronto), Marwin Gonzalez (multi-position eligibility is huge in roto leagues), Jimmy Nelson in round 19 (who had 199 strikeouts last season but will miss time), Todd Frazier (who fell all the way to round 20), Ryan McMahon (who could be this year’s Cody Bellinger), Miguel Andujar (who is scorching hot right now), and Jesse Winker. I don’t think I got off to a particularly good start with this draft, but I was pleased with how I finished late. When drafting in the later rounds don’t feel like you need to take established guys with decent floors. Go a little crazy and take some risks on guys you think have massive upside.
Stein’s Strategy: “My goal coming into this draft was obtaining balance throughout all categories. I was not expecting to land Giancarlo Stanton with the ninth overall pick, but once I did I then targeted Aaron Judge in the second round to give me the deadliest home run combo in the league. I also focused on speed more than usual with Whit Merrifield, Starling Marte, Jose Peraza and Bradley Zimmer. Typically I do not take multiple closers early in a draft, but I wanted to dominate saves so I drafted Kenley Jansen, Wade Davis and Alex Colome within the first 13 rounds. My starting pitching is high risk/high reward with the oft-injured Stephen Strasburg and big upside with Tanaka and Gray (if they stay healthy and consistent), as well as Trevor Bauer who struck out just under 200 batters last year. I filled in my roster with veterans such as Xander Bogaerts, Evan Longoria, Corey Seager, and Albert Pujols who I expect to just produce their average statistics which should result in an accumulation that lands me at or near the top of the standings. Catchers are typically useless but I think I got great value waiting until the 21st and 23rd rounds to take Brian McCann and Yasmani Grandal, respectively. Overall, I am very pleased with this roster which is competitive in all categories and can compete for a championship.”
Jim went hitter heavy for seven of his first eight picks and it actually turned out pretty well for him. He started off with Mookie Betts, Justin Upton, Dee Gordon, Nelson Cruz, Jean Segura, Andrew McCutchen, and Miguel Sano. In addition he used his second round pick on Chris Sale. The rest of his offense is great. He managed to draft National League Rookie of the Year candidate, Ronald Acuna. He also has Javier Baez and Ryan Zimmerman while also taking late round flyers on Austin Barnes, Scott Kingery, and Addison Russell. The rest of his pitching staff has some questions. He took Gio Gaonzalez and Marcus Stroman who are both fine pitchers. But Ervin Santana is dealing with a finger injury, Dylan Bundy struggles with home runs, and as of right now Lance Lynn still isn’t signed. Luckily he stacks up well on offense that could carry him during the season, but finding pitching for a postseason run would be a priority.
Brett had a very good draft. So good, in fact, that the draft analyzer graded his offense and pitching as the best. Ipso facto, the draft analyzer obviously deduced that Brett had the best draft. And it’s hard to argue. He opened with a strong bat (Carlos Correa) at a fairly shallow position (shortstop). He then grabbed an ace pitcher with Corey Kluber and addressed his outfield with three straight picks (Rhys Hoskins, Christian Yelich, and A.J. Pollock). Personally I’m not as high on Pollock. I’m a big believer in the Chase Field humidor downgrading most hitters with the exception of Paul Goldschmidt, while upgrading the pitchers. Alas, Brett rounded out his roster with a solid offense including Edwin Encarnacion, Rougned Odor, DJ LeMahieu, Evan Gattis, etc. He doesn’t have great closers, but he has great relievers including Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances. All in all for a 5x5 roto league Brett put together a very strong team.
Anderson’s Strategy: “For our Draft Guide Mock Draft, I drew the 12th pick. At the turn, you can potentially set up a run on a position, but more importantly, you need to study the remaining player pool and make some assumptions about what value will return to you after 22 picks go by prior to your next pick. I wanted to make certain to grab an ace, and did so in the second round with Scherzer, starting a mini starting pitching run when Kluber and Sale went with the next two picks. I took some chances in filling out my starting roster, grabbing Miguel Cabrera in the 5th round, hoping he is over his injuries that have sapped his value lately. I tried to build a strong outfield with Ozuna (third round), Braun (seventh round), Puig (tenth round) and Santana (eleventh round). I felt that Dickerson in the 13th round and Dahl in the 17th had too much potential to sit out there on the board when I chose them. I like to grab three closers that are somewhat safe in the first half (or so) of the draft, and Morrow as my third closer was too tempting to let slide in the 16th round, even though I do not fully trust him to be the Cubs’ closer all season. I did not take a catcher until late in the 19th round, when I selected Travis d’Arnaud. I really hate catchers and would argue that the tradition of requiring two catchers per team be phased out as soon as possible. The balance of this 29-round draft was dedicated to finding hidden value in players such as Felix Hernandez, Mikie Mahtook, Brandon Crawford, Brandon Phillips and Joe Mauer.”