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Spring training is getting closer and the RotoBaller MLB team opened up our first bags of peanuts and cracker jacks with a 12-team mock draft last week. For consideration, this 23-round mock draft was a traditional 5x5 league consisting of nine pitcher spots and the rest starting offensive slots (including two catchers). The lack of a bench certainly affected choices throughout the draft. The order went as followed: Chris Zolli, Harris Yudin, Troy Klauder, Kevin Luchansky, Pierre Camus, Max Petrie, Nick Mariano, Max Brill, Connor McEleney, Kyle Bishop, Mario Hernandez, and Andrew Le.

The double-digit rounds are the heart of a fantasy baseball draft. You’ve established where your studs are locked in and the majority of name brand players are long gone. By Round 10, you’re weighing the categories you have an advantage and where you’re deficient. You might also be considering which offensive positions to start adding depth and when to pull the trigger on upside and mid-tier pitching. This is the most fun portion of the draft and when owners need to dig in and trust their research.

Therefore, it’s almost impossible to judge individual picks in the middle rounds without context. We’re not mind readers, but can observe and attempt to decipher why decisions were made. Let’s take a look at each round and highlight some picks that stood out, ones that generated buzz, or if any might’ve been a straight up “Vicente Padilla” moment.

Editor's Note: Stay on top of our MLB off-season news and fantasy analysis all year round. Read our daily fantasy columns about MLB prospects, dynasty outlooks, player outlooks and much more. It's always fantasy baseball season here. Let's Go!

 

RotoBaller Mock Results

Round 10

Kyle took Gerrit Cole as his third starting pitcher, which seems reasonable. Surprisingly, there’s not much value erosion for pitchers between PNC Park and Minute Maid Park. However, Cole does transfer to a more hitter-friendly league coming off a season where he struggled with consistency and set a career high 1.37 HR:9. The Rougned Odor pick was a possible reach (ADP 13.9) but the HR and bounce back potential certainly merits the risk, especially in standard leagues. The Michael Conforto pick is classic high risk-reward for a player with an uncertain rehabilitation timeline. No arguments on the starters and tier-2 closers taken this round, unless your philosophy is to wait for saves late or on the wire.

Round 11

Round 11 was bookended with two quality SPs. Jose Berrios (SP29) could slowly creep up draft boards after making meaningful strides in his second season. He was a shade under a strikeout per inning and his middling K:BB of 2.90 could improve if he develops a third pitch to complement his above-average fastball and curve. Jameson Taillon (SP44) could’ve been in the Top-25 discussion had he not endured a cancer scare that interrupted his season. Taillon will look to build on two or fewer runs in seven of his last 10 starts in 2017 and is worth a look especially in QS leagues. Didi Gregorius is a Top-10 SS (6.6 WAR since 2016) but rarely merits as much discussion as his counterparts, his ADP could slip in drafts providing good value for owners waiting on the position.

Round 12

Adam Duvall should provide excellent three-category contributions as an OF2 or OF3, averaging 32 HRs, 82 R, 101 RBI over the last two seasons. His primary and peripheral numbers are eerily similar across the two seasons. Joey Gallo is a polarizing player and will probably provoke divergent opinions and rankings throughout spring training. Nick’s pick of Gallo was five rounds ahead of his ADP, but it seems he was going after homers after setting a fairly balanced team to that point. The HR argument applies for Kevin’s selection of Chris Davis, but that pick was a bit more puzzling since his team was already loaded with sluggers. Ronald Acuna (ADP 17.3) generated significant buzz when picked, so readers should prepare their sleeper or hype vision goggles accordingly.

Round 13

Yoan Moncada arguably headlined this round. The 22-year-old pubescent certainly has underwhelmed in 619 career PAs but 2018 will be his first full season in the bigs. He’s your typical high-potential pick in the middle rounds. Ozzie Albies was taken immediately after Moncada and signals are also bullish despite the minuscule 57-game sample. It appears the RotoBaller staff is also on the bandwagon: see here and here. Moving on, Steven Souza will look to parlay his improved BB:K ratio from last season into another serviceable three-category season (30 HRs, 78 R, 78 RBI, 16 SBs). Perhaps the designation of Souza as the third wheel in the Wil Myers and Trea Turner deal was premature.

Round 14

Round 14 was mostly comprised of vanilla vets (Dexter Fowler, Shin-Soo Choo) and promising youngsters (Javier Baez, Manuel Margot). Since we all know sexy points are worthless in fantasy, it’s notable that while the speed and average have dropped off, Choo has hit over 20 HRs and scored over 90 Runs in three of the last four seasons (excluding 2016 when he played only 48 games). This includes a tasty 22-HR, 96-R, 78-RBI, 12-SB line last season. Margot is a lock for playing time in San Diego and will make a realistic run at double-digit homers, over 25 SB and over 80 runs. Former top-tier ace Johnny Cueto (ADP 14.8) fell from grace in 2017 when he struggled with walks and gopher balls that were way above career marks. Cueto is a year removed from 18 wins and could provide solid value in the mid-rounds if the revamped Giants play up to expectations this year.

Round 15

Finally, let’s focus on two Indians. Jason Kipnis (ADP 19.8) could be and has been a Top-10 2B but he’s been a volatile performer with injury risk throughout his career. Bradley Zimmer stole 18 bases last season in 332 PAs and provides Run upside but his nearly 30% strikeout rate makes him borderline unwatchable. Miguel Sano will be a steal if he fully rehabs from shin surgery and avoids a lengthy suspension for disciplinary actions. Greg Bird hasn’t put it all together yet, missing all of 2016 and playing only 48 games last year but his stats exude a Joey Gallo-lite aura. Whether that is a good or bad thing remains the readers’ discretion.

The thing to remember is drafts are initial outlooks and subject to revision. Don’t hesitate to reassess when results are unfavorable after a couple months. Fall victim to conservatism bias, and you might end up like managers that held onto Stephen Piscotty or Jerad Eickhoff last season. Happy drafting!

 

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