The Fantasy Alarm staff got together and held a 12-team mock draft. The chat room was surprisingly quiet as Howard was multitasking as usual. When he entered the room, he heard crickets but also noted that his multitasking didn’t do well when it came to drafting. Well, that’s what he said. His team is still strong. Let’s take a dive into everyone’s team. Some of the comments will be mine and some will be that of the team’s owner. The teams will be reviewed in the order that the Fantasy Alarm Evaluator predicts its finish.

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Joe Gallina

Joe picked from the three spot and the evaluator has him projected to finish first. He started off with Mookie Betts and then went with DJ LeMahieu and I think got a steal in the 3rd round with Bo Bichette . He followed that up with three starters in the next four rounds, Snell, Glasnow, and Ryu. This set up his team with a strong foundation and helped show that you don’t need to go with a pitcher in the first three rounds to build a top projected team. He continued to add quality players throughout the draft grabbing players that either filled needs or were just values. Adding Ty France , Jonathan Schoop , Tarik Skubal, and Willie Calhoun in the final five rounds, solidified the team. His biggest weakness is going to be saves as he’s hoping Reyes Moronta and Anthony Bass get the job as closers to join Ryan Pressly , his 10th round pick.

Joe’s thoughts:  Was thrilled to be able to get three top pitchers by round seven after starting off with three top offensive players. Grabbing a guy like Myles Straw , who could potentially bat leadoff and steal 30 bases in round 17 was one of my favorite picks. I hope that Jonathan Schoop continues to stay under the radar as you can get him late in drafts and provide you with 20 plus home runs at one of the shallowest positions in fantasy baseball.

Jen Piacenti

A blackout marred Jen’s draft, but she did an unbelievable job drafting by candlelight. She had pick 11 and also started off with three hitters. (Is this going to be a theme?) José Ramírez , Trevor Story , and Adalberto Mondesi will practically guarantee her the stolen base category right off the bat. Just like Joe, she took Maeda, Carrasco, and Kyle Hendricks with three of her next four picks. In an unusual move that was actually caused by the loss of power, she went back to back with catchers in rounds nine and ten snagging Salvador Perez and Will Smith . With the position being a dumpster fire, this also helped her separate from the rest of the league.

Jen’s thoughts: Early in the draft, my plan was to shore up a good baseline of stats, so I took 5 category players. When the third round came back around, I decided to grab Mondesi knowing I could then set steals aside and focus on pitching and other offensive categories later.   I prefer to take hitters in the early part of my drafts, as hitters have the potential to contribute to all 5 offensive categories and play every day, rather than pitchers who contribute to a max of 4 defensive categories and aren’t everyday players.

Matt Selz

Matt had the second pick, and our famed NASCAR writer showed off his baseball knowledge with his predicted 3rd place finish. After a relatively surprising first pick, although no one can really argue with it, Ronald Acuna the consensus overall first round pick by ADP was chosen. He chose Max Scherzer in the second before following that up with three hitters. Another testament that the evaluator does not think you need to draft multiple pitchers with your first four or five picks. I thought Matt’s next three picks, all pitchers, really solidified his team. Stephen Strasburg (who I am targeting in most of my drafts as his ADP is down a bit due to him missing last year with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome/Surgery), Zack Greinke , and Zack Wheeler , along with Scherzer make a formidable top 4 only rivaled by what Jim Bowden did. The one category he will be looking for during the season is saves as his only relievers are Devin Williams and Greg Holland .

Matt’s thoughts:  I had the top three as Acuna, Tatis, and Soto, so when Tatis went first I took the top guy on my board. After that it was about taking balance for me and I wound up with 5 hitters and 4 pitchers over the first 9 rounds. The second half of my draft was taking upside guys who can provide boosts in certain categories: pitchers Devin Williams , Greg Holland , Jameson Taillon , Michael Kopech , and hitters Nick Madrigal , Jake Croenworth, Elvis Andrus , and Adam Duvall . I feel I have a balanced roster with just enough upside to really be a strong competitor.

Ivar Anderson

Our Mock Draft Army foot soldier had the 4th pick and surprised me by taking Jacob deGrom with Juan Soto and Mike Trout still on the board. It is in no way a bad pick; just didn’t think Ivar would go in that direction. By taking such a strong anchor in deGrom, Ivar was also able to wait on pitching, not taking another starter until round nine in Sixto Sánchez . He went with a balanced approach in hitting over the next eight rounds by taking speed in Whit Merrifield and Luis Robert and power in Manny Machado and Luke Voit . He was also able to dive into the closer pool early with Josh Hader in round 7 but was later than his usual ADP of the 5th to 6th round. Did his approach work by waiting that long on starting pitchers? His staff has question marks in Chris Paddack (was last year an aberration?), David Price , Aaron Civale, Sean Manaea and Robbie Ray . If his starters come through, and Byron Buxton doesn’t be the usual Byron Buxton , this is a contender.

Ivar’s thoughts: I thought about taking Trout with my first pick but wanted to make sure I had one of the top aces so thus deGrom was my selection. Having passed on an OF in the first round I wanted Bryce Harper but got sniped so I pivoted to Whit Merrifield with his dual eligibility. I then added Manny Machado , Luis Robert who should provide some steals, and Luke Voit . I was also able to get Ketel Marte , as I like to target both Martes, but Starling was already gone. I then took Josh Hader , who was my top option at closer. After that I alternated pitching and hitting. JD Martinez, Byron Buxton and Anthony Santander are high ceiling players if they can stay healthy. Jesús Luzardo , Chris Paddack and Aaron Civale are youngsters with high ceilings as well. I hate two catcher leagues, but am satisfied with my Murphy duo. The balance of the roster consists of anticipated steady performance, nothing exciting and a risky option in Puig. The final pick of Robbie Ray is for K upside only.

Colby Conway

Colby started off the draft by taking Fernando Tatis Jr. with the first pick. Picking at the turn is always interesting and there are a lot of different approaches you can take there. Colby also took the wait on pitchers approach by taking just one, Luis Castillo in round three, in the first eight rounds. He took a solid group led by Nolan Arenado in round two, but batting average may be a challenge if Max Muncy and Matt Olson don’t bounce back a little. The starting staff is good, but will have to rely on Framber Valdez and Sandy Alcantara building on their solid 2020 campaigns. Dustin May may only be a spot starter if he doesn’t win the 5th starter job in L.A. The bullpen is led by Nick Anderson who may not get a ton of saves, but he is joined by Amir Garrett , Daniel Bard and José Leclerc who are all expected to close. Colby joined Jen, but I think on purpose, in taking back to back catchers in Yasmani Grandal and Christian Vázquez . A solid team but with some starting pitching concerns, but who’s team won’t this year?

Colby’s thoughts: My plan was to attack hitters early and build a strong foundation on offense, and I did that by taking just one pitcher in the first 8 rounds. Then, it was all about targeting arms with potential. The biggest issue with the team isn’t the quantity of closers, but the quality of them.

Howard Bender

Howard had the 12th pick and was probably happy about having the turn as he was his usual busy-self doing this mock, the FSGA Prop Bets draft, and recording Ante Up with Adam Ronis. Was he too distracted to draft a great team? This team is good, but the build definitely has some holes in it. He started out with Francisco Lindor and Trevor Bauer . Bauer is definitely someone who has a wide range of outcomes, and taking him ahead of Darvish, Buehler and Giolito, could be questioned. Then again, he could win the Cy Young. In rounds three and four he had solid picks in Alex Bregman and Corey Seager . In round five he took Yordan Alvarez who is someone I am not taking in any early drafts until I see that he can run to first base. The upside is there but with Nelson Cruz and Michel Conforto still on the board I would have played it safer. In the bullpen he took Alex Colomé as his first reliever and then the Diamondback pair of Soria and Crichton. So with three picks he took maybe a closer and a half? There’s a lot of upside in his later rounds with Andrew Vaughn, Oscar Mercado , Gavin Lux , MacKenzie Gore , and Domingo Germán . The Evaluator liked this team a lot more than I did.

Howard’s thoughts: Andy don’t roast me too much.

Andy’s thoughts: Howard don’t fire me, I was just having some fun.

Greg Jewett

From the 7th slot, Greg fell into the bargain of the draft getting Freddie Freeman with the 18th pick. Having taken Trea Turner with his first pick, Freeman was the perfect complement. He then took young studs Jack Flaherty and Zac Gallen in rounds three and four. His first four could all produce first or second round value and this makes a solid foundation. His 5th pick of Randy Arozarena is one with a bit of a risk since we have no idea if he will continue the level of his performance in last year’s playoffs. Not surprisingly, Greg was the first to dive into the closer pool by picking Liam Hendriks in the 6th round and then backed that up with Aroldis Chapman in the 7th.  He completed his bullpen with Trevor Rosenthal in the 11th and Garrett Crochet in the 28th.  The remainder of the starting staff is banking on some upside in Tyler Mahle and Jordan Montgomery , but he stashed Noah Syndegaard to help bolster the staff in June or July. He got a bargain in Nick Senzel with his 27th pick (319th overall) as he was proclaimed the everyday centerfielder a few days later and was picked 100 picks earlier in an NFBC draft.

Greg’s thoughts: Remaining fluid in any draft proves beneficial. When Jim targeted pitching early, I zagged when Freddie Freeman fell to me. No one can beat my closer tandem. This team needs Victor Robles and Nick Senzel to take a step forward, Nick Castellanos to rack up 30+ home runs, and Hunter Dozier to return to form with 20+ homers and 8 steals after his bout with Covid last year. Late round arms fell to me, so when value presented itself, I took a chance on Tyler Mahle , Keving Gausman, and Jordan Montgomery . No one likes Amed Rosario except perhaps me, and Garrett Crochet is this year’s Devin Williams .

Jim Bowden

On the Fantasy Alarm show, about two or three hours before this mock began, Jim forewarned the staff that he was going to “try something different”. Well he didn’t disappoint. In the biggest surprise of the mock, Jim took pitchers with his first three picks. If you listen to the show, you know that Jim is of the belief that you can wait on starting pitching and don’t have to follow the herd by taking them early. His first pick was gift wrapped at number nine in Gerrit Cole as Shane Bieber was picked 8th. Then he surprised everyone by taking Walter Buehler in the second and Clayton Kershaw in the third. He then took a hitter with 14 of his next 15 picks, Sixto Sánchez in round 12 being the sole pitcher. The offense he built is solid and has some upside in his Vlad Guerrero, Alejandro Kirk, Alex Kirilloff and Andrew Benintendi picks but steals are lacking. The bullpen is void of a full time closer so Jim would be active in the chase for saves with FAAB dollars and trades throughout the season.

Jim’s thoughts: I went with three starting pitchers followed by 8 position players before I took my next starter in round 12. I believe I ended up with a well rounded team, but a lot of risk comes with my hitters. Bottom line: high risk, high reward type of team.

Andy Spiteri

I saw that I had the 6th pick and was planning on taking deGrom or Cole but with Juan Soto still on the board I couldn’t pass him up. One pick in and the adjustments were already being made. We’ve talked about the different philosophies regarding starting pitching and mine is that I like to take two in the first five rounds. In what order doesn’t matter as I see how the flow of the draft is going and was happy to be able to take Lucas Giolito and Corbin Burnes in rounds two and five. In between my love affair of Xander Bogaerts and José Abreu continues. This was a solid start and I continued with Trent Grisham (steals), Keston Hiura (position scarcity), and Austin Meadows (value). With only three of the top closer chosen, I took advantage of the availability of Raseal Iglesias in round nine and rounded out my bullpen later with Craig Kimbrel and Marc Melancon. The rest of the draft I mixed in picks of upside and need. I thought the team was fairly solid but the evaluator thought otherwise. Guess I’d have some work to do during the season.

Ryan Hallam

In a somewhat surprising move, Ryan took Shane Bieber with the 8th pick ahead of Gerritt Cole, but it really can’t be criticized. As with many who take one of the big three, he followed up with offense for his next four picks. Cody Bellinger at pick 17 gets the Covid 19 shortened 2020 season discount award. A top four pick in 2020, Bellinger looks to bounce back in a big way and gives Ryan, in my opinion, two first round picks. Ozzie Albies , Rafael Devers (another value in round four) and Tim Anderson give this team a solid start in all categories. Ryan goes on to build a solid staff with Max Fried , Ian Anderson , Julio Urías , and Cristian Javier. There is some risk there with the last three, but if 2020 is any indication of what they can do, this has huge upside. His bullpen is anchored by James Karinchak, who may be used in high leverage situations and not just in the closer role. He has 100 strikeout potential so he will be a valuable asset regardless as strikeouts are going to be hard to come by if most pitchers have their innings restricted as predicted by many. Not sure what the evaluator doesn’t like about this team but it has him finishing 10th.

Ryan’s thoughts: This was one of four drafts I have completed so far and for the first time, I have taken a pitcher in the first round each time. If I was picking in the first four or five spots I would go hitting, but I am finding that the value in the back end of the first round just isn’t there. I would rather take one of the big ace pitchers and get what I think is a comparable hitter in the second round. I have been taking Ozzie Albies an awful lot since second base is such a tough position. In two catcher leagues I continue to take Gary Sánchez . I know he was terrible last year, but the guy has consistently been a 25+ home run catcher and I refuse to believe he forgot how to hit. My final two pieces of advice is draft yourself Ian Anderson and thank me later and that Ian Happ will have a good year on the north side of Chicago.

Justin Vreeland

Justin had the 5th pick and took Mike Trout with Juan Soto still on the board. Trout’s stolen base numbers have declined, but he is only 29 years old and he could see a rebound after a down year last year. Pairing him with Bryce Harper in round two gave Justin a strong start. Aaron Nola in round three was an excellent value as he usually is picked in the second round. He then added a third Phillie in JT Realmuto in round four. Realmuto’s stock has dropped a little with his broken thumb, but expectations are that he will be available for opening day or shortly thereafter. The only concern is a drop in power if that thumb gives him problems. He built a solid starting staff by adding Sonny Gray , Patrick Corbin , Marcus Stroman , and James Paxton . His bullpen could be very good with Edwin Díaz , Brad Hand and Rafael Montero . This team has plenty of power, good pitching but just lacks a bit of speed. 11th by the evaluator, I’m not sure why.

Justin’s thoughts:  I feel good how my team turned out. Started with a pair of power outfielders, with a few steals thrown in, in Trout and Harper. Took the plunge on Realmuto which I was happy with in the fourth round, especially in a two-catcher format. I think my team has a nice balance of power, average and speed. I should get enough saves from the trio of Diaz, Hand and Montero. My roster could lead the league in home runs and I should get enough steals to get by. Overall I’m pleased with the team and don’t think it has any glaring holes.

Jon Impemba

With the 10th pick, Jon is hoping for a bounce back year from Christian Yelich . He was one of the few teams that attacked pitching early, and the evaluator was consistent as it has clearly been favoring teams that didn’t. Jon took four starting pitchers with his next six picks, Yu Darvish , Brandon Woodruff , Dinelson Lamet , and Zach Plesac . Lament and Plesac have question marks with injuries and sustaining last year’s performances, but this could be a league leading staff. He bolstered the offense in rounds eight to 14, but there are a lot of questions in this group. Will Suarez and Moustakas bounce back? Is Alex Verdugo worth a 10th round pick? Will Ke'Bryan Hayes suffer a sophomore slump? Will Dom Smith get enough at bats without the DH? The bullpen has some questions too with Will Smith , Drew Pomeranz and Rich Rodriguez. A lot has to go right for this team to compete.

Jon’s thoughts: Went into this draft with the idea of alternating power and pitching in the early rounds. Knowing that there is a shift in strategy regarding starting pitching given the new state of the MLB, I felt it was necessary to grab pitchers who I know will be part of their rotations and build on innings. With my first pick I grabbed Yelich. His 2020 was a disaster, but he is only 29 and I find it hard to believe that the 2018 and 2019 MVP runner-up is on the downswing. I thought getting him at 10 was a great spot. My first pitcher was Yu Darvish . I had considered Scherzer, but I wanted to roll with the Padre starter who has been unbelievable since the second half of 2019. The Fantasy Alarm evaluator has me finishing last and while that feels a bit harsh, I’ll admit the second half of the draft got away from me, but hey, that’s why we mock.