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2023 Fantasy baseball: Full mock draft analysis for 12-team, Roto league

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

Corbin Burnes #39 of the Milwaukee Brewers delivers a pitch during a spring training game against the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium on March 2, 2023 in Surprise, Arizona. Photo by Ben Ludeman/Texas Rangers/Getty Images

The MLB regular season is just two days away. There is still time to hop into a redraft fantasy baseball league. Whether you are re-starting your home league for this season or are brand new to fantasy baseball, it’s always good to familiarize yourself with the way players are falling in drafts.

I conducted a 12-team rotisserie mock draft at Yahoo. This is the most common type of scoring for fantasy baseball leagues. In this format, also called roto 4x4 or 5x5, players accumulate stats in four or five predetermined categories, whether they are hitters or pitchers. Then, each week points are awarded to teams in descending order by the standings in each category. For instance, in a 12-team league, the team that has the most steals in a given week will be awarded 12 points, the team with the second most 11 points and so on and so forth across all the standings for each category. It depends on your league setting if these points are awarded daily or weekly, but it can allow for the most movement in a season, keeping players actively setting their daily lineups.

The five categories for hitters in this mock draft were runs, home runs, RBI, stolen bases and batting average. The categories for pitchers were wins, saves, strikeouts, ERA and WHIP (walks + hits/innings pitched). These are the standard categories with the 4x4 format, typically dropping runs for hitters and strikeouts for pitchers. You can decide if you want to go for a balanced team or if you want to try and load up to stay atop certain categories the whole season.

The starting lineup requirements included a C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, three OF, two UTIL, two SP, two RP, four general pitchers and five bench spots. I had the 12th pick, which means while I had to wait the longest to be on the clock in the first round, I always had back-to-back picks. This has its pros and cons, as you can’t miss out on players in between selections, but you also have to wait a long time to be on the clock again.

Here’s our latest mock draft for 2023 Fantasy Baseball on Tuesday, March 28:

Best Picks

12. Corbin Burnes
13. Yordan Alvarez
60. J.T. Realmuto
204. Luis Arraez
276. Gabriel Moreno

I started my draft off strong nabbing Burnes and Alvarez at the first turn. Burnes gives me a solid ace one year removed from an NL Cy Young Award in 2021. Alvarez has as much pop as anyone in the league and anchors the Houston Astros batting order.

I took Realmuto at the end of the 5th, which is earlier than I typically address catcher. Still, the upside is there as I got the best catcher in baseball and then nabbed Milwaukee Brewers closer Devin Williams with the next selection. Arraez had the fourth-best batting average in the league last year and should be cemented atop the Miami Marlins batting order. Getting him at the end of the 17th feels like a steal to me.

I ended up with the final pick of the draft. While this typically turns into a player that you may drop to waivers to add another piece, I went with value. Moreno is set to be the starting catcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks. I like to roster a backup catcher and Moreno can either start if Realmuto has an off day, or I can slot him in as a utility player if he is playing well.

Worst Picks

84. Tommy Edman
157. Ryan Mountcastle
205. Brandon Drury
228. Wil Myers

I was wooed by Edman’s positional availability between second base and shortstop. This isn’t necessarily a bad choice, but after I had recently taken Nolan Arenado, I am putting a lot of eggs in the St. Louis lineup basket, plus whenever the team has off days, I will have two players automatically that won’t be able to be in my lineup. Unfortunately, I did the same with Yordan Alvarez/Jeremy Pena, Corbin Burnes/Devin Williams and Goerge Kiby/Andres Munoz, but it isn’t as bad with the pitching instances.

I don’t think any of these choices are actually bad for where I got them. The thing that earns them a spot on this list is just how my roster was constructed at the time that I selected them and then how it ended up. Mountcastle, for example, filled a lineup need at first base, but I could have gone a different direction in the 14th round and nabbed a guy like Joey Meneses in the 16th.

I really like Drury this year for fantasy baseball. He has a good landing spot on the Los Angeles Angels and has the positional versatility to play first, second and third. The only reason this was a bad choice was that I had taken Luis Arraez the pick before. Arraez doesn’t get to play third but has more upside at the plate, and I could have taken a backup outfielder or another pitcher with this selection.

I don’t hate the Myers choice because I think he is in for a rebounding year with the Cincinnati Reds. Great American “small” (Ball)Park is very hitter-friendly, which is good news for Myers. If I had looked at my roster construction a little more, taking Edward Cabrera with that choice and then Cody Bellinger later could have made more sense. Or, drafting a guy like Clarke Schmidt instead of Myers and then Bellinger or Jesse Winker later.

My Team

Infielders

Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals
J.T. Realmuto, Philadelphia Phillies
Tommy Edman, St. Louis Cardinals
Jeremy Pena, Houston Astros
Max Muncy, Los Angeles Dodgers
Ryan Mountcastle, Baltimore Orioles
Luis Arraez, Miami Marlins
Brandon Drury, Los Angeles Angels
Wil Myers, Cincinnati Reds
CJ Abrams, Washington Nationals
Gabriel Moreno, Arizona Diamondbacks

Outfielders

Yordan Alvarez, Houston Astros
Bryan Reynolds, Pittsburgh Pirates
Masataka Yoshida, Boston Red Sox

Pitchers

Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers
Jacob deGrom, Texas Rangers
Devin Williams, Milwaukee Brewers
Kenley Jansen, Boston Red Sox
George Kirby, Seattle Mariners
Andres Munoz, Seattle Mariners
Pablo Lopez, Minnesota Twins
Edward Cabrera, Miami Marlins
Seranthony Dominguez, Philadelphia Phillies