I had the distinct pleasure of participating in my first live-streamed Pitcher List mock draft back on Feb. 18, along with 11 other staff members. I selected from the 10th spot in this 12-team draft, and it felt great to test my strategy to some great fantasy baseball minds.
Now, being that this was a mock draft, I could’ve taken the opportunity to try out some new strategies, but since this was the first traditional (5×5 H2H) draft where I going up against PL staff, I wanted to do my best to see how my typical draft strategy would work. I usually have one goal: grab as many top bats as I can early on, with the hope that at least one top 10 starter falls to me somewhere between rounds 3-5 and then wait as long as possible for my relievers. If I can’t land a top starter, I don’t mind waiting until later on, but in the standard 5×5 format, I do like to make an attempt at landing at least one if I can, but I won’t reach.
Picking from the 10th spot in the draft order, I thought I would have the opportunity to land either Nolan Arenado or Trea Turner, with the option of Juan Soto. Arenado was taken one pick ahead of me, and, while I love Soto, I felt Turner was the way to go here. I know my steals would be covered with Turner, and he should continue to score plenty of runs in that offense even with the absence of Anthony Rendon.
Having grabbed a guy who generates a lot of steals and runs in Turner, I was glad to land a guy who can produce in average, home runs, and RBI in Freddie Freeman. I feel like you can’t go wrong with Freeman as a second-round pick because he produces like a first-rounder and can do some serious damage with the lineup that surrounds him. I feel like this is a solid start to my draft.
I know I said in my introduction that I wanted to load up on bats early on, but when I saw that Blake Snell was available with the 34th overall pick, I couldn’t help myself. I know he had a terrible 2019, but I don’t see any reason he can’t bounce back this year. I now have the ace of my staff after three rounds, while not bypassing any top bats so far. I felt especially good about this pick after I made my next one
I really love Ketel Marte in this spot, which I know is a tad higher than his ADP (around 44-45 as of this writing), but for a fourth-round pick, I couldn’t pass up a guy who can do everything. He hits for average, power, can steal a few bases, and should continue to score plenty of runs with the Diamondbacks. I don’t know if he will hit 32 home runs again this season, but I expect this player to contribute in all categories.
Round 5, Pick 58: Eloy Jimenez (OF, Chicago White Sox)
This might be my riskiest pick so far of the draft, and I could’ve gone any number of directions here with several solid starters still on the board. But I went with the exciting upside of Eloy Jimenez. Obviously, there is a lot to like here, as he hit 31 home runs in his rookie season, but he only walked 6% of the time and his .267 average was nothing special. I would hope that in his second season with the Pale Sox, and with a lot more support in that offense, he can improve on his walks and average, while still producing the power stroke that we’ve already seen.
What more can be said about Joey Gallo? He strikes out a ton and crushes the ball. He missed over half the season last year, but before that, he eclipsed 40 home runs in both 2017 and ’18 while generating over 80 runs and RBI apiece in each of those seasons. I feel like I have solid average guys already with Freeman and Marte, so I was willing to bank on the power of Gallo. I would only recommend this type of pick if you already have guys who can provide you steals and average on your team already.
This is now my fourth straight outfielder drafted (although Marte would likely slot as my second baseman). Eddie Rosario should be able to provide me solid numbers in four of the five batting categories, and given that the Twins could have an eve stronger offense than last year, I think it’s possible that he scores more runs. He drove in 109 runs last year (sixth in the AL), and if he can come close to that again, I think this is a great seventh-round pick.
Now that I loaded up my outfield and three of my four infield slots, I decided to draft another starter and went with Tyler Glasnow. With his ADP around 77, I felt this was decent value. While I understand there are plenty of risks here, as he’s never pitched a full season, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to grab such an exciting arm.
I debated between Sonny Gray and Jose Berrios before landing on Gray as my third starter. I like what Sonny did in his first full year in the Queen City last year, and I think he can provide more consistent performance. He’s my SP3, and I felt there was less risk here than Glasnow.
I’m banking on that Minnesota offense continuing to generate a lot of runs as Jorge Polanco scored over 100 last year, and provided a decent average. Plus, if something were to happen to Turner I now at least have a suitable replacement at SS (although Polanco does not produce in all 5 categories as Turner does).
My lineup felt strong at this point, so I continued to add to my rotation by taking Max Fried, although I was hoping to grab Frankie Montas. I know there are some question marks with Fried regarding his consistency, but his curveball and slider are both excellent pitches. I like him as my SP4. I’m going to be grabbing a lot of shares of this guy this season. I have a need… a need for Fried.
Third base was the one part of my infield yet to be filled, and I was able to fill that hole with Yuli Gurriel without having to reach. This is definitely the weakest spot in my lineup, but up until now, there wasn’t a spot where I felt comfortable taking a guy without sacrificing one of my other slots.
I finally rounded out my lineup by taking the guy who led all NL rookies in batting average last season. Now, I don’t expect exactly the same from Bryan Reynolds in 2020, but he should be able to produce a decent average still while scoring enough runs to make being my final bat worth this pick.
Round 14, Pick 159: Alex Colomé (RP, Chicago White Sox)
I didn’t plan to start taking closers yet, as my approach is usually to wait as long as possible and scan the waiver wire throughout the season. Round 14 seemed like a good place to start, though, and I think Alex Colomé is going to be in line for more saves this year because it seems like the White Sox are going to be an improved team.
I debated between taking Joe Musgrove or Mitch Keller and decided to go with the younger of the two Pirates righties. Just based on what we’ve been hearing out of Pirates camp, I believe both will be in line for improved seasons. Keller definitely has the stuff to be a solid starter.
I’m absolutely thrilled to grab Keller and Caleb Smith with back to back picks here. If Smith can be the guy we saw in the first half of 2019, this turns out to be a phenomenal selection. He’s the sixth starter I drafted.
We’re now at the point of just filling bench spots. I love the Luke Voit selection here as he can easily slot in as one of my utility guys or if something were to happen to Freeman. We know Voit can produce power.
I took my second closer here with Mark Melancon, who has already been confirmed as the Braves ninth-inning man. I don’t know if he will hold down the job with Will Smith waiting in the wings, but, for now, he’s their guy.
It took 19 rounds but I finally found my catcher, and I love the selection of Carson Kelly. He had a great first season with the Diamondbacks that saw him pop 18 homers. There’s room for improvement in his average and he didn’t score a lot of runs last year, but as a catcher, I think this is a worthy pick. He’s going to play a lot in the desert, so I would hope some of his counting stats tick upward.
He’s not as exciting or enticing as my earlier Marlins starting pitcher pick, but I still like Sandy Alcantara as my first bench pitcher. He doesn’t bring a lot to the table in terms of strikeouts, but he provided a decent ERA an if he can come close to that then I like this for the 20th pick.
ICYMI, I did a write-up on Ryan Pressly in my profile of the Astros bullpen. What I love about him is the wicked curveball, and he would be the first in line for saves in Houston should anything happen to Roberto Osuna.
I’ll refer to what Nick Pollack said during our live stream, that Chris Archer is “not the worst 22nd-round pick.” I’m banking on a bounceback performance from him this season with that new Pirates coaching staff.
For my final pick, I like that I could get someone with the positional flexibility that David Fletcher brings to the table. He should score more runs in the Angels offense if some of their offseason additions help, and he also brings a solid average. Not bad for my last pick.
Graphic by Michael Haas (@digitalHaas on Twitter)