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Fantasy baseball mock draft review: 12-team H2H each category mock draft at ESPN

We go through a fantasy baseball mock draft and give analysis over our choices.

Julio Rodríguez #44 of the Seattle Mariners runs off the field after the fourth inning of a spring training game against the San Diego Padres at Peoria Stadium on February 24, 2023 in Peoria, Arizona. Photo by Chris Bernacchi/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Baseball’s regular season is on the horizon. This means that redraft fantasy baseball leagues are also starting. There are several different formats and league-size options available, so you can really cultivate the experience that you want to have throughout the baseball season.

I conducted a 12-team head-to-head each category mock draft on ESPN. The categories were the same that you would see in a typical 4x4 roto league. Batting average, home runs, RBI, stolen bases for hitters and wins, saves, ERA and WHIP for pitchers. My starting lineup requirements included a C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, three OFs, UTIL, seven pitchers and three bench spots.

I had the third overall pick. In full transparency, my typical fantasy baseball draft strategy is to alternate pitchers with hitters to have a nice, balanced team. For this mock draft, I stuck to that but also doubled up on positions if I didn’t like any of the immediate options. My main takeaway is that you can address catcher in the middle rounds, but don’t wait too long on a third baseman. Also, make sure that you have a strategy for your pitchers. I took Josh Hader early and then all starting pitchers after, making my Hader selection pointless. More analysis can be found below.

Best picks

3. Julio Rodriguez
22. Sandy Alcantara
27. Shane McClanahan
118. Nestor Cortes
142. Anthony Rizzo
147. Bryce Harper
214. Luis Arraez

I love how this draft started for me. I think Julio Rodriguez shows us that we don’t need to worry about his regressing and that he is the perfect choice as the No. 3 pick behind Aaron Judge and Shohei Ohtani. I then went back-to-back pitchers but added the reigning NL Cy Young winner and a talented McClanahan.

The middle rounds were rough for me, and I don’t like the way I took them. Luckily for me, I got back on track picking up Cortes. He could start the year sidelined but is still worth a mid-round pick from his upside. I also happily stashed Harper at No. 147 for whenever he is able to return about a month into the season.

Arraez may be my best selection. He is a hitting machine, plays multiple positions and will sit toward the top of the Miami Marlins lineup. Getting him at No. 214 feels like an absolute steal to me.

Worst picks

51. Will Smith
70. Josh Hader
75. Xander Bogaerts
171. Riley Greene

The early-middle rounds were the bane of my existence in this draft. I like Will Smith and decided to take care of catcher early, but I definitely went too early. I could have waited for three to four more rounds to address the position, and it wouldn't have been a large gap. Now, after round 10ish, catchers get risky, so nab one at least by then.

Hader wasn’t a bad selection at No. 70. This pick became horrendous, though, when I forgot to draft any other relievers. He alone can’t carry my save total week-to-week, so I either should have committed early to all starting pitching, or I need to drop some starters and pick up a reliever or two once closing roles are determined.

Getting Bogaerts at No. 75 isn’t bad; I am just annoyed. Wander Franco, Framber Valdez, Ryan Pressly, Jose Abreu, Alex Bregman, Robbie Ray, Kris Bryant and Jordan Romano all went in a row after me, and I honestly feel like I should have gone with any of them over Bogaerts if I had had a better pitching plan. Greene is in the same situation in that I panicked about needing outfielder depth and overdrafted him. If I would have waited, I could have nabbed Seiya Suzuki, Cody Bellinger or Lars Nootbaar later, who I feel better about.

My team


Jazz Chisholm Jr., 2B, Miami Marlins
Will Smith, C, Los Angeles Dodgers
Xander Bogaerts, SS, San Diego Padres
Anthony Rizzo, 1B, New York Yankees
Bryce Harper, DH, Philadelphia Phillies
Anthony Rendon, 3B, Los Angeles Angels
Luis Arraez, 1B, Miami Marlins


Julio Rodriguez, Seattle Mariners
Nick Castellanos, Philadelphia Phillies
Anthony Santander, Baltimore Orioles
Riley Greene, Detroit Tigers


Sandy Alcantara, Miami Marlins
Shane McClanahan, Tampa Bay Rays
Josh Hader, San Diego Padres
Hunter Greene, Cincinnati Reds
Nestor Cortes, New York Yankees
Jordan Montgomery, St. Louis Cardinals
Dustin May, Los Angeles Dodgers
Edward Cabrera, Miami Marlins