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Expert Mock Draft

by Drew Silva
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

We brought some of the best fantasy baseball minds in the industry together just before the publication of this draft guide to select players in standard snake-style fashion for a 12-team league with basic 5x5 scoring: AVG, R, HR, RBI, SB on the hitting side and W, ERA, WHIP, SV, K on the pitching side. We used the following Yahoo default position setup: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF, OF, OF, UTIL, SP, SP, RP, RP, P, P, P, P, BN, BN, BN, BN.


The mock draft participants, in draft order:


1. Brad Johnson, FanGraphs
2. Dave Shovein, Rotoworld
3. Ray Flowers, SiriusXM
4. Jesse Pantuosco, Rotoworld
5. Drew Silva, Rotoworld
6. Nick Doran, Rotoworld
7. Mike Gianella, Baseball Prospectus
8. Matthew Pouliot, Rotoworld
9. Paul Sporer, ESPN
10. D.J. Short, Rotoworld
11. Steve Gardner, USA Today
12. Ryan Boyer, Rotoworld


Round 1


1.1 Mike Trout, OF, Angels
1.2 Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Diamondbacks
1.3 Mookie Betts, OF, Red Sox
1.4 Jose Altuve, 2B, Astros
1.5 Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs
1.6 Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Cubs
1.7 Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies
1.8 Clayton Kershaw, SP, Dodgers
1.9 Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Tigers
1.10 Manny Machado, 3B, Orioles
1.11 Josh Donaldson, 3B, Blue Jays
1.12 Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, Indians


Round analysis: Trout is yet again the obvious pick at No. 1 overall, but every draft is going to look a little different after that. Goldschmidt, Betts and Altuve are all intriguing options in the No. 2 spot, and you could even make a case for Bryant going that high. Rizzo at No. 6 seems like a bit of a reach, but he is the cleanup man in baseball’s best lineup and should top 100 RBI for the third straight year.


Round 2


2.13 Trea Turner, SS, Nationals
2.14 Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals
2.15 Max Scherzer, SP, Nationals
2.16 Carlos Correa, SS, Astros
2.17 Francisco Lindor, SS, Indians
2.18 Madison Bumgarner, SP, Giants
2.19 Joey Votto, 1B, Reds
2.20 Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers
2.21 Charlie Blackmon, OF, Rockies
2.22 Robinson Cano, 2B, Mariners
2.23 Chris Sale, SP, Red Sox
2.24 Jonathan Villar, 3B, Brewers


Round analysis: Turner is going to get a lot of late-first, early-second round love in drafts this spring after batting .342/.370/.567 with 13 homers and 33 stolen bases in 73 games last season with the Nationals. He won’t maintain those MVP-like rates of power and speed, but the move from center field to shortstop does significantly boost his value. Villar is another fast-riser selected here in the second round after leading MLB in steals in 2016.


Round 3


3.25 Trevor Story, SS, Rockies
3.26 Starling Marte, OF, Pirates
3.27 Xander Bogaerts, SS, Red Sox
3.28 Corey Kluber, SP, Indians
3.29 George Springer, OF, Astros
3.30 Daniel Murphy, 2B, Nationals
3.31 Noah Syndergaard, SP, Mets
3.32 Freddie Freeman, 1B, Braves
3.33 Buster Posey, C, Giants
3.34 A.J. Pollock, OF, Diamondbacks
3.35 Ryan Braun, OF, Brewers
3.36 Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Mets


Round analysis: Story might have had a case for the top-15 this year if he hadn’t torn the UCL in his left thumb last July. The rookie shortstop was sitting on a .909 OPS, 27 home runs, 72 RBI and eight stolen bases in 97 games when he suffered that season-ending injury. He’s a nice value grab here in the third round, as is Pollock, who missed all but 12 games in 2016 because of a spring elbow fracture and September groin strain.


Round 4


4.37 Jose Abreu, 1B, White Sox
4.38 Jon Lester, SP, Cubs
4.39 Rougned Odor, 2B, Rangers
4.40 Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Marlins
4.41 Gary Sanchez, C, Yankees
4.42 Brian Dozier, 2B, Twins
4.43 Jonathan Lucroy, C, Rangers
4.44 David Price, SP, Red Sox
4.45 Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Rockies
4.46 Christian Yelich, OF, Marlins
4.47 Aroldis Chapman, RP, Yankees
4.48 Nelson Cruz, OF, Mariners


Round analysis: Sanchez in the fourth round feels too early for a one-catcher format, but the kid did mash 20 home runs in 53 games last year as a rookie, looking like the second coming of Babe Ruth. Price was a nice value as the eighth starting pitcher off the board. His first year in Boston brought an inflated ERA, but the peripherals checked out just fine. Chapman was the first closer to go here at No. 47 overall.


Round 5


5.49 Yu Darvish, SP, Rangers
5.50 Jake Arrieta, SP, Cubs
5.51 Johnny Cueto, SP, Giants
5.52 Kyle Seager, 3B, Mariners
5.53 Wil Myers, 1B, Padres
5.54 Kyle Schwarber, OF, Cubs
5.55 Dee Gordon, 2B, Marlins
5.56 Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pirates
5.57 Ian Desmond, OF, Rockies
5.58 J.D. Martinez, OF, Tigers
5.59 Jacob deGrom, SP, Mets
5.60 Justin Verlander, SP, Tigers


Round analysis: It should be an accepted fact that Myers is not going to steal 28 bases again, but he also delivered 28 home runs and 94 RBI last year on a bad Padres team. And first base isn’t nearly as deep as it used to be. McCutchen was a first-round guy for a long time, but the fifth round seems right for 2017 after he stole just six bases (in 13 attempts) last year alongside a career-low .766 OPS.


Round 6


6.61 Gregory Polanco, OF, Pirates
6.62 Stephen Strasburg, SP, Nationals
6.63 Carlos Carrasco, SP, Indians
6.64 Zach Britton, RP, Orioles
6.65 Kyle Hendricks, SP, Cubs
6.66 Kenley Jansen, RP, Dodgers
6.67 Adrian Beltre, 3B, Rangers
6.68 Hanley Ramirez, 1B, Red Sox
6.69 Ian Kinsler, 2B, Tigers
6.70 Todd Frazier, 3B, White Sox
6.71 Jean Segura, SS, Mariners
6.72 Chris Davis, 1B, Orioles


Round analysis: Britton gets the nod here as the second closer off the board, followed soon after by Jansen. Britton set records last year with a 0.54 ERA and 47 saves in 47 tries, but he finished with only 74 strikeouts in 67 innings. Jansen also recorded 47 saves in 2016 while whiffing 104 batters in 68 2/3 innings. And the Dodgers are in a better position than the Orioles to provide their closer with save opportunities in 2017.


Round 7


7.73 Matt Carpenter, 1B, Cardinals
7.74 Mark Trumbo, OF, Free Agent
7.75 Billy Hamilton, OF, Reds
7.76 Eric Hosmer, 1B, Royals
7.77 Cole Hamels, SP, Rangers
7.78 Khris Davis, OF, Athletics
7.79 Chris Archer, SP, Rays
7.80 DJ LeMahieu, 2B, Rockies
7.81 Anthony Rendon, 3B, Nationals
7.82 Carlos Santana, 1B, Indians
7.83 Jason Kipnis, 2B, Indians
7.84 Evan Longoria, 3B, Rays


Round analysis: Carpenter looks like a nice pickup at the top of the seventh round as the Cardinals’ likely No. 3 hitter with position eligibility at first base, third base and second base. He posted a strong .271/.380/.505 slash line with 21 home runs and 68 RBI in 129 games last year while primarily batting leadoff. Hamilton will try to build on the OBP jump he produced in 2016 and could make for a seventh-round steal if he pulls that off.


Round 8


8.85 David Dahl, OF, Rockies
8.86 Willson Contreras, C, Cubs
8.87 Alex Bregman, 3B, Astros
8.88 Danny Duffy, SP, Royals
8.89 Edwin Diaz, RP, Mariners
8.90 Justin Upton, OF, Tigers
8.91 Addison Russell, SS, Cubs
8.92 Aaron Sanchez, SP, Blue Jays
8.93 Jose Bautista, OF, Free Agent
8.94 Craig Kimbrel, RP, Red Sox
8.95 Mark Melancon, RP, Giants
8.96 Masahiro Tanaka, SP, Yankees


Round analysis: Dahl at No. 85 overall is aggressive for a three-outfielder league, but the young prospect batted .315/.359/.500 with seven homers and five stolen bases in 63 games last year as a rookie, and he’ll get to play 81 games this year at Coors Field. The fantasy intrigue is real. It should also be exciting to see what Diaz can do in his first full MLB campaign. He came up last June and posted an 88/15 K/BB ratio in 51 2/3 innings, taking over as the Mariners’ closer.


Round 9


9.97 Odubel Herrera, OF, Phillies
9.98 Matt Kemp, OF, Braves
9.99 Carlos Martinez, SP, Cardinals
9.100 Jose Quintana, SP, White Sox
9.101 Cody Allen, RP, Indians
9.102 Jose Ramirez, 3B, Indians
9.103 Evan Gattis, C, Astros
9.104 Miguel Sano, 3B, Twins
9.105 Kelvin Herrera, RP, Royals
9.106 Adam Eaton, OF, Nationals
9.107 Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Dodgers
9.108 Seung Hwan Oh, RP, Cardinals


Round analysis: There wasn’t any fantasy hype around Ramirez leading into the 2016 season, but he went on to bat .312/.363/.462 with 11 home runs, 76 runs batted in, 22 stolen bases and 84 runs scored in 154 games for the American League-champion Indians. Some regression is likely coming, but you can live with that if you get him outside of the top 100. Oh is another good grab here as the closer for the ever-contending Cardinals.


Round 10


10.109 Zack Greinke, SP, Diamondbacks
10.110 Ken Giles, RP, Astros
10.111 Roberto Osuna, RP, Blue Jays
10.112 Andrew Miller, RP, Indians
10.113 Aaron Nola, SP, Phillies
10.114 Kenta Maeda, SP, Dodgers
10.115 Matt Harvey, SP, Mets
10.116 Jonathan Schoop, 2B, Orioles
10.117 Rick Porcello, SP, Red Sox
10.118 Wade Davis, RP, Cubs
10.119 Justin Turner, 3B, Dodgers
10.120 Rich Hill, SP, Dodgers


Round analysis: How to handle Miller in a league that doesn’t count holds is probably going to be the cause of consternation for many owners in 2017. Do the strikeouts and the heavy usage give him standalone value in a setup role? Might he be able to vulture a double-digit saves total in Cleveland? Drafting him before Davis seems like a risk, even with Davis battling forearm problems in 2016.


Round 11


11.121 Jake Lamb, 3B, Diamondbacks
11.122 Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Red Sox
11.123 Julio Teheran, SP, Braves
11.124 Aledmys Diaz, SS, Cardinals
11.125 Adam Jones, OF, Orioles
11.126 Danny Salazar, SP, Indians
11.127 Eduardo Nunez, 3B, Giants
11.128 Eric Thames, 1B, Brewers
11.129 Stephen Piscotty, OF, Cardinals
11.130 Lance McCullers, SP, Astros
11.131 Gerrit Cole, SP, Pirates
11.132 David Robertson, RP, White Sox


Round analysis: Thames isn’t a name you’re going to see in the top 150 in casual drafts -- let alone the top 120 -- but the people who participated in this mock are fantasy baseball professionals, so it’s probably wise to take notice. Thames signed a three-year, $16 million contract with the Brewers this winter after batting .348/.450/.720 with 124 homers and 379 RBI in 388 games during a ridiculous three-year run in the power-friendly Korea Baseball Organization.


Round 12


12.133 Michael Fulmer, SP, Tigers
12.134 Dansby Swanson, SS, Braves
12.135 Jameson Taillon, SP, Pirates
12.136 Kevin Gausman, SP, Orioles
12.137 Alex Colome, RP, Rays
12.138 Albert Pujols, 1B, Angels
12.139 John Lackey, SP, Cubs
12.140 A.J. Ramos, RP, Marlins
12.141 Felix Hernandez, SP, Mariners
12.142 Marcus Stroman, SP, Blue Jays
12.143 Alex Reyes, SP, Cardinals
12.144 Jon Gray, SP, Rockies


Round analysis: Fulmer fell to the 12th round in this draft despite winning American League Rookie of the Year honors in 2016 with a 3.06 ERA, 1.119 WHIP and 132 strikeouts in 159 innings. Obviously, this group believes he can’t carry that kind of ace-like pace over a full 200 innings. Reyes also had a superb first-year showing in St. Louis and also fell in this draft, though there are questions about his exact role and workload.


Round 13


13.145 Jose Peraza, SS, Reds
13.146 J.T. Realmuto, C, Marlins
13.147 Hunter Pence, OF, Giants
13.148 Yasmani Grandal, C, Dodgers
13.149 Jackie Bradley, OF, Red Sox
13.150 Vincent Velasquez, SP, Phillies
13.151 Byron Buxton, OF, Twins
13.152 James Paxton, SP, Mariners
13.153 Marcell Ozuna, OF, Marlins
13.154 Francisco Rodriguez, RP, Tigers
13.155 Lorenzo Cain, OF, Royals
13.156 Elvis Andrus, SS, Rangers


Round analysis: Another guy who might not get as much love in casual drafts but probably should is Peraza, selected here at the beginning of the 13th round. He is not locked into a starting job in Cincinnati as the 2017 season approaches, but look for that to change quickly as the Reds continue their organizational rebuild. Peraza, who turns 23 years old in April, tallied three homers and 21 stolen bases in just 72 games (56 starts) last season.


Round 14


14.157 Tanner Roark, SP, Nationals
14.158 Jeurys Familia, RP, Mets
14.159 Steven Matz, SP, Mets
14.160 Matt Moore, SP, Giants
14.161 Yasmany Tomas, OF, Diamondbacks
14.162 Carlos Gomez, OF, Rangers
14.163 Dellin Betances, RP, Yankees
14.164 Brian McCann, C, Astros
14.165 Adam Duvall, OF, Reds
14.166 Sonny Gray, SP, Athletics
14.167 Sean Manaea, SP, Athletics
14.168 Julio Urias, SP, Dodgers


Round analysis: Hopefully there is some resolution to the Familia situation by the time this draft guide reaches your hands. On the day this mock was being conducted, Major League Baseball was still investigating an alleged domestic assault between Familia and his wife on Halloween night. Most people are assuming a lengthy suspension is coming, but doing guesswork on a thing like that is problematic. Familia led all MLB closers in saves last year with 51.


Round 15


15.169 J.A. Happ, SP, Blue Jays
15.170 Jake Odorizzi, SP, Rays
15.171 Carlos Rodon, SP, White Sox
15.172 Tony Watson, RP, Pirates
15.173 Drew Pomeranz, SP, Red Sox
15.174 Michael Pineda, SP, Yankees
15.175 Sam Dyson, RP, Rangers
15.176 Joe Ross, SP, Nationals
15.177 Maikel Franco, 3B, Phillies
15.178 Raisel Iglesias, RP, Reds
15.179 Carlos Beltran, OF, Astros
15.180 Robbie Ray, SP, Diamondbacks


Round analysis: In some more casual drafts you’ll see a parade of closers, where they go one after another between a small handful of rounds. Get a group of experienced fantasy baseball analysts together, and there will be much more logical spacing on those arms. That’s what you find in this draft. Iglesias is a promising 15th-round pickup here at No. 178 overall after registering a 1.98 ERA across 50 innings last year as a reliever.


Round 16


16.181 Daniel Norris, SP, Tigers
16.182 Jeff Samardzija, SP, Giants
16.183 Andrew Benintendi, OF, Red Sox
16.184 Javier Baez, 2B, Cubs
16.185 Joc Pederson, OF, Dodgers
16.186 Dallas Keuchel, SP, Astros
16.187 Tyler Thornburg, RP, Red Sox
16.188 Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Blue Jays
16.189 Victor Martinez, DH, Tigers
16.190 Yoan Moncada, 3B, White Sox
16.191 Mike Napoli, 1B, Free Agents
16.192 Adam Wainwright, SP, Cardinals


Round analysis: Benintendi should probably go higher than No. 183 overall as one of the top prospects in baseball who showed last year that he is MLB-ready, but that’s the nature of a league where you only start three outfielders. Another big value in the 16th round is Moncada, who struggled in his first taste of the majors last September in Boston but now has a much clearer path to a starting job for 2017 with the rebuilding White Sox.


Round 17


17.193 Addison Reed, RP, Mets
17.194 Jerad Eickhoff, SP, Phillies
17.195 Brandon Belt, 1B, Giants
17.196 Ryan Madson, RP, Athletics
17.197 Shawn Kelley, RP, Nationals
17.198 Fernando Rodney, RP, Diamondbacks
17.199 Anthony DeSclafani, SP, Reds
17.200 Keon Broxton, OF, Brewers
17.201 Kendrys Morales, DH, Blue Jays
17.202 Matt Shoemaker, SP, Angels
17.203 Garrett Richards, SP, Angels
17.204 Michael Brantley, OF, Indians


Round analysis: Reed went in the top 200 because he will be called on to serve as the Mets’ closer if Familia opens the 2017 season on suspension under MLB’s new domestic violence policy. And because he boasts a 1.84 ERA, 0.957 WHIP and 108 strikeouts in 93 innings since being acquired from the Diamondbacks in August 2015. Kelley is in a similar situation as the closer-by-default for the Nationals, who are actively trying to upgrade their bullpen via the trade market.


Round 18


18.205 Dylan Bundy, SP, Orioles
18.206 Hernan Perez, 3B, Brewers
18.207 Tim Anderson, SS, White Sox
18.208 Ender Inciarte, OF, Braves
18.209 Brandon Maurer, RP, Padres
18.210 Brad Miller, SS, Rays
18.211 Nomar Mazara, OF, Rangers
18.212 Ivan Nova, SP, Pirates
18.213 Drew Smyly, SP, Rays
18.214 Corey Knebel, RP, Brewers
18.215 Jay Bruce, OF, Mets
18.216 Adam Ottavino, RP, Rockies


Round analysis: Bundy is shaping up as one of the better starting pitcher sleepers for the 2017 fantasy baseball season. Command remains an issue, but the former top-five prospect is finally healthy and enjoyed quite a bit of success with Orioles last summer, including 104 strikeouts in 109 2/3 innings. He just turned 24 years old. Ottavino is another good 18th-round sleeper here as the closer on an improving Rockies team.


Round 19


19.217 Mike Montgomery, SP, Cubs
19.218 Jharel Cotton, SP, Athletics
19.219 Devon Travis, 2B, Blue Jays
19.220 Dexter Fowler, OF, Cardinals
19.221 Eduardo Rodriguez, SP, Red Sox
19.222 Collin McHugh, SP, Astros
19.223 Kevin Kiermaier, OF, Rays
19.224 Yasiel Puig, OF, Dodgers
19.225 Junior Guerra, SP, Brewers
19.226 C.J. Cron, 1B, Angels
19.227 Dan Straily, SP, Reds
19.228 Jim Johnson, RP, Braves


Round analysis: Travis going at No. 219 overall shows how deep the second base position has become over the last couple of years. The dynamic 26-year-old owns a .301/.342/.469 career batting line with 19 home runs, 85 RBI, seven stolen bases and 92 runs scored in 163 major league games. And his minor league output suggests he will run more going forward. If the Blue Jays bat Travis leadoff and he’s able to avoid the disabled list, look out.


Round 20


20.229 Adam Conley, SP, Marlins
20.230 Brandon Crawford, SS, Giants
20.231 Salvador Perez, C, Royals
20.232 Taijuan Walker, SP, Diamondbacks
20.233 Alex Cobb, SP, Rays
20.234 Russell Martin, C, Blue Jays
20.235 Alex Wood, SP, Dodgers
20.236 Ben Zobrist, 2B, Cubs
20.237 Chris Carter, 1B, Free Agent
20.238 Matt Wieters, C, Free Agent
20.239 Ryon Healy, 3B, Athletics
20.240 Tom Murphy, C, Rockies


Round analysis: Here’s another example of the depth at second base, Zobrist lasting until the 20th round. His ceiling might not be as high in certain fantasy formats, but the versatile veteran offers a really safe floor as the likely leadoff man for the defending World Series-champion Cubs. Healy at No. 239 overall is also a steal. The young Oakland third baseman hit .305/.337/.524 with 20 doubles and 13 home runs in 72 games last year as a rookie.


Round 21


21.241 Welington Castillo, C, Orioles
21.242 Blake Snell, SP, Rays
21.243 Ian Kennedy, SP, Royals
21.244 Jeanmar Gomez, RP, Phillies
21.245 Ervin Santana, SP, Twins
21.246 Neil Walker, 2B, Mets
21.247 Tommy Joseph, 1B, Phillies
21.248 Brandon McCarthy, SP, Dodgers
21.249 Brandon Finnegan, SP, Reds
21.250 Nate Jones, RP, White Sox
21.251 Sean Rodriguez, 2B, Braves
21.252 Josh Bell, 1B, Pirates


Round analysis: At this stage in a fantasy baseball draft you’re probably not going to find many reliable starting pitchers, so you might as well shoot for upside. Snell provides that upside -- here at No. 242 overall -- as a top-20 prospect who registered a 3.54 ERA and 98 strikeouts over his first 89 major league innings (19 starts) last season. Control is still an issue, but you can say that about a lot of young pitchers.


Round 22


22.253 Yadier Molina, C, Cardinals
22.254 Trevor Bauer, SP, Indians
22.255 Kole Calhoun, OF, Angels
22.256 Marco Estrada, SP, Blue Jays
22.257 Chris Owings, SS, Diamondbacks
22.258 Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, Mets
22.259 Homer Bailey, SP, Reds
22.260 Jose De Leon, SP, Dodgers
22.261 Hisashi Iwakuma, SP, Mariners
22.262 Hector Neris, RP, Phillies
22.263 Marcus Semien, SS, Athletics
22.264 Cam Bedrosian, RP, Angels


Round analysis: We’ve noted the influx of talent at the second base position in this mock draft writeup, and we should do the same for the shortstop position. Semien going second-to-last in a 12-team, 22-round draft can serve as Exhibit A. He tallied 27 home runs, 75 runs batted in, 10 stolen bases and 72 runs scored in 159 games last season for the Athletics, at age 25. And yet there are about 20 better options with shortstop eligibility for 2017.

Drew Silva

Drew Silva is a longtime baseball writer and editor for NBC Sports Edge. He can be found on Twitter.