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Fantasy Baseball: 12-team ADP mock draft

Here’s a tip for drafting: Don’t panic!

League Championship Series - New York Yankees v Houston Astros - Game Six Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

It’s almost that time of year again! Fantasy baseball is mere weeks away and hardcore fantasy folks are already drafting (and, mock drafting, and mock drafting, and mock drafting…). So, while you’re preparing your draft sheets and considering sleepers, breakouts, and busts, I would just like to remind you of one of the most important fantasy rules: don’t panic! This rule comes to us from the great Douglas Adams, the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and its sequels. Don’t panic and always have a towel. Words of wisdom.

During most, if not all, drafts, the best-laid plans of mice and men go awry. DON’T PANIC! There are plenty of good players, and plenty of good value, later in the draft.

I illustrated this point before the fantasy basketball season by doing an Average Draft Position mock draft, and picking last in each round (12th). Let’s do the same for fantasy baseball. We’ll use the ESPN basic player ratings from last season, and then we’ll use the CBS projections (ESPN doesn’t have theirs up yet) for this year. We’re going to ignore relief pitchers entirely, because this is just an illustration of how deep the player pool is, and RPs just make it that much deeper. We’ll do it as an auto draft, and so fill positions as they come, just to make it that much harder.

We’ll use this lineup to draft: Catcher, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, Middle Infielder, Corner Infielder, four outfielders, and one UTIL; five Starting Pitchers (and, a bonus sixth one, just because).

Remember: having your draft go sideways is NOT a reason to panic. EVERYONE ELSE’S GOES BONKERS, TOO. Plus, you never know how the season will play out and who will be the best (fantasy) player. For instance, Corey Kluber was the #1 ranked player last season on ESPN basic. That honor went to Charlie Blackmon in my CBS league. (Jose Altuve was #2 in both; he is on my dynasty team. Yes.)

So, grab a towel, don’t panic, and let’s draft!

  1. (12th overall) Aaron Judge was the 12th best player on last year’s ESPN basic player rater. Not a bad place to start. (OF #1)
  2. (24th) Tommy Pham (OF #2)
  3. (36th) Gio Gonzalez (SP #1)
  4. (48th) Lorenzo Cain (OF #3)
  5. (60th) Andrew McCutchen (OF #4)
  6. (72nd) Eduardo Nunez (UTIL) (I’m cheating a little bit here but it makes sense since Nunez has eligibility at several infield and outfield positions.)
  7. (80th) Edwin Encarnacion (1B)
  8. (96th) Marcus Stroman (SP #2)
  9. (111th) We can’t take Hector Neris (RP), Shin-Soo Choo (OF), nor Sean Doolittle (RP), so we’ll take Zach Godley (SP #3)
  10. (120th) Mark Reynolds (CI)
  11. (132nd) Sonny Gray (SP #4) (!!)
  12. (144th) Yuli Gurriel (3B)
  13. (156th) CC Sabathia (SP #5)
  14. (170th) We won’t take Jose Urena at 168 as our 6th SP, we’ll keep that until the end of the draft. We can’t take Carlos Santana at 169, but we’ll damn sure take Yadi Molina at 170 (C)
  15. (189th) We can’t take anyone until Orlando Arcia at 189 as our Shortstop
  16. (194th) Starlin Castro (2B)
  17. (211th) Josh Harrison (MI)
  18. (221st) Jake Odorizzi (SP #6)

Not a bad team! Could be better, obviously, but that pitching staff is pretty nice, and the outfield probably helped you get to the playoffs. I don’t think this is a championship team, by any means, but it’s not bad for as difficult as we tried to make it.

Here’s the same thing based on CBS’S fantasy projections for this year:

  1. (12th) Max Scherzer (SP #1)
  2. (24th) Edwin Encarnacion (1B, innnnnteresting coincidence)
  3. (36th) Anthony Rizzo (CI)
  4. (48th) Gary Sanchez (C)
  5. (60th) Andrew McCutchen (OF #1)
  6. (72nd) Christian Yelich (OF #2)
  7. (84th) Carlos Carrasco (SP #2)
  8. (96th) Xander Bogaerts (SS)
  9. (108th) Mark Trumbo (OF #3)
  10. (120th) Yangervis Solarte (2B)
  11. (132nd) Aaron Hicks (OF #4)
  12. (144th) Jacob DeGrom (SP #3)(!!!!!)
  13. (156th) Mitch Haniger (UTIL)
  14. (168th) James Paxton (SP #4)
  15. (180th) Sonny Gray (SP #5)
  16. (197th) Josh Harrison (3B)
  17. (213th) Addison Russell (MI)
  18. (220th) SHOHEI! OTANI! (SP #6)

So, that pitching staff is awesome. And, really, the whole team rocks. Obviously, Ohtani would not be available, but these mocks are just illustrative. Here are both teams by position:

Draft results

ESPN team (2017's rankings) CBS team (2018 projections)
ESPN team (2017's rankings) CBS team (2018 projections)
C - Yadier Molina C - Gary Sanchez
1B - Edwin Encarnacion 1B - Edwin Encarnacion
2B - Starlin Castro 2B - Yangervis Solarte
3B - Yuli Gurriel 3B - Josh Harrison
SS - Orlando Arcia SS - Xander Bogaerts
MI - Josh Harrison MI - Addison Russell
CI - Mark Reynolds CI - Anthony Rizzo
OF - The Judge OF - McCutchen
OF - Tommy Pham OF - Christan Yelich
OF - Lorenzo Cain OF - Mark Trumbo
OF - McCutchen OF - Aaron Hicks
UTIL - Eduardo Nunez UTIL - Mitch Haniger
SP - Gio Gonzalez SP - Mad Max Scherzer
SP - Marcus Stroman SP - Carlos Carrasco
SP - Zach Godley SP - Jacob DeGrom
SP - Sonny Gray SP - James Paxton
SP - CC Sabathia SP - Sonny Gray
SP - Jake Odorizzi SP - Shohei Otani

I like both of these teams as starting points, and that’s really all you can ask for from a draft. Do you have a core of players that you can build upon? Are you deep enough in one position to trade that depth to plug a hole? This is inexact AF, obviously, especially since we’re ignoring bullpens entirely, but it’s helpful to remember that there’s plenty of value, even when you draft poorly. Don’t panic!

Also, I guess I have to try and draft McClutch, Edwin, Josh Harrison, and Sonny Gray, huh?