2018 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft Review: Lessons Learned

by Joe Bond
2018 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft

With the season nearing, we decided it was time to host a mock draft. A lot of the mocks that you review are from very early in the season. February, even January sometimes. These are great, but we know that most of you won’t draft until the week or so before the MLB season starts. A lot has changed between February and now, so this 2018 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft Review is a great barometer now that we are a bit closer to the season.

The mock draft was a 12-team league, including some of the top minds in the industry. We used Fantrax to host our mock draft and it is a standard 5X5 Roto style scoring system.

View our mock draft results.

It is roll call time.

  1. Yours Truly
  2. Tyler Thompson, @therealwody, Fantasy Six Pack
  3. Dennis Sosic, @The_Real_S0S, Fantasy Six Pack/SCFE
  4. Jonathan Chan, @jchan_811, Fantasy Six Pack
  5. Tyler Gettmann, @RedSox_SF 49ers, Fantasy Six Pack
  6. Michael Tomlin @Tomlin3, So-Called Fantasy Experts
  7. Keith Lott, @WeTlkFntsySports, We Talk Fantasy Sports
  8. Heath Capps, @HeathCapps, Fake Teams
  9. Kerry Klug @Kerry_Klug, Razzball
  10. Kyle Richardson, @krich152, Roto Baller
  11. Ryan Hallam, @fightingchance, Fighting Chance Fantasy
  12. Dan Preciado, @DanJPreciado, Fan Front Office Podcast

Below I will go through the draft. I’m not going to rate everybody’s team, because well we know my team is the best. Ha, I’m kidding. Instead, I will be pointing out some interesting trends, picks and overall thoughts on the draft. I'll be giving some lessons learned throughout as well. Some obiously stated, some mixed in. This comes from my day job profession of being an IT Project Manager. Enjoy!

2018 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft Review

Dominate your Draft by practicing using our Mock Draft Tool, powered by FantasyPros.

Trends & Observations

I will go over some of the trends and general observations from the draft.

Early Round Pitchers

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Pitching stayed on the board pretty late, for the most part. I say that because unfortunately Tomlin was a few rounds late and his team auto drafted five pitchers in a row to start the draft. Lessons learned kids, don’t miss your live draft and let the system auto draft for you.

Back to the draft, because Tomlin’s team drafted five, actually six pitchers in a row, it gave the appearance of a lot of pitchers going early. I believe if he drafts normally then we have about four or five fewer pitchers go I the first five rounds.  That means instead of the 18 pitchers taken, we have 13 or 14. That puts us at around three or four less than what ADP shows currently.

This is probably not the way your home league will play out. It is my experience that pitchers are drafted at a higher pace in home leagues. The industry guys wait on pitchers longer, much like we do Quarterbacks in Fantasy Football.

First Baseman

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The cliff drops off fast and everybody knows it.

The first seven first baseman appears to be that cut-off point. That seventh guy is typically either Edwin Encarnacion or Rhys Hoskins.

In this mock, it was E5 who went last out of this group. He went with the eighth pick in the fourth round, with Hoskins going one pick ahead.

I just missed on drafting them and wound up starting the next mini-run in round seven by drafting Wil MyersEric Hosmer then went a few picks later.

It is still a significant drop-off from those first seven and you can argue that Hoskins and E5 are risks too, so it is really the top five that you want to target. Advice, go get one of the elite first basemen so you don't have to chase this position.


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You will have to pay a price for the elite speed. I’m not talking about Mike Trout or Jose Altuve who clearly will go 1-2 in 99% of drafts. I’m talking about Byron Buxton, Billy Hamilton, Jean Segura and Elvis Andrus.

All of these guys went in the fifth and sixth rounds. Look I get it steals are hard to come by, but to me, it is hard to pay that kind of price for a two/three-category player: steals, runs and average. They are not all guaranteed to give you average either, looking at you Hamilton.

The only player who I even consider taking at that price tag is Buxton. He has 20 home run upside too. This separates him from the rest of this group, despite Andrus hitting 20 last year. As I mentioned in the Overvalued Infielders article, you cannot expect that again.


Most of the picks were solid, fairly normal picks. Few guys went a tad earlier or later than expected but nothing out of the ordinary for the vets.

Then there were the new up and coming young players. The ones who have all the hype right now. Let's take a look at them.

Luis Castillo, SP, Cincinnati Reds

I sort of get it. Castillo has the skills to dominate.

Last year he looked good in 89 innings. Striking out over nine per nine, at near a 30% rate. At just 25 the upside is fun to think about.

I don’t think you need to take him this year though. His ADP is rising, due to a good spring, but it still sits at 12th round overall.

Ozzie Albies, 2B, Atlanta Braves

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I was shocked to see Albies go this early. I think the future is bright for this kid, but he is still just 21.

The speed might be there around 30 steals. However, I think you will be paying a little much for a dozen home runs and 70 runs and even less RBI.

Ronald Acuna Jr., OF, Atlanta Braves

Another Brave here. Acuna is all the rage in drafts this season as he is the prospect everybody is talking about.

His potential is undeniable, but it is undetermined what he will really do once he sees a major league field. Take a look at the projections. They are as high as almost a 20 home run, 30 steal season or as low as a 15/20 season. Both good. However, if you combine those with the run and RBI projection totals ranging all the the way from high 40s to low 70s, you could be really overdrafting him.

Think about it If you get a 15 home run, 20 steal player with 55 runs and 65 RBI that is not that great. You're looking at a comparison of Brett Gardner or Ender Inciarte with less runs. Those players were drafted in round 17 and 13.

Where he was drafted here, he kinds needs to give you closer to that 20/30 season. If he only give 15/20 then this is a major overdraft.

Luke Weaver, SP, St. Louis Cardinals

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Weaver was yet another pitcher who has been good in his limited major league action.

He has dominated the minors and pitched great this spring. This has made his draft stock ride and you saw it here in this mock as he was drafted in the ninth round. A good four rounds over his ADP.

Honestly, I like this pick. Weaver was fantastic in 2017. At 3.88 the ERA is good, but we all hope it will be lower. I think it will be. The strikeout and walk rate are good too. Whats not to like here. Upside with already middle of the draft value. Great pick!

Delino DeShields, OF, Texas Rangers

OK, maybe he does not exactly fit with the four mentioned above, but I wanted to discuss him anyway.

His draft slot here in round 13 is way above his ADP of 200 on Fantasy Pros, but I still like it. Here is why.

  1. He is going to start the season and the leadoff batter with Adrian Beltre, Joey Gallo and Rougned Odor batting behind him.
  2. The steals and runs should be plentiful.

I honestly think DeShields could be better than Billy Hamilton who is going way earlier. Yes, less steals, but more runs, and definitely more RBI and home runs and a better average.

Ian Kinsler, 2B, Los Angeles Angels

Now he really does not belong here, but I have to mention him. why? It is crazy how low he is getting drafted.

I wrote about him in my Undervalued Infielders article and even I forgot about him in this draft.

I won’t go into too much detail why this is a steal because you can just read it in my link, but my big lesson learned here is don’t forget about Kinsler as the draft goes on. It is easy to do and reach for your middle infielder, but you shouldn’t. Go get more pitchers, better outfielders, etc. and maybe grab Kinsler in round 12 before anybody else is thinking about him. You won’t be sorry.

Final Thoughts

This was a fantastic draft to be a part of.

I thought I did well, but as the FantasyPros Mock Draft Analyzer tells me, I was right in the middle of the road.

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A lot of that has to do with the fact that I only drafted one closer. I really let those slip away from me. If this league were to play out, I would have to hope to find one or two on the wire. Not a terrible strategy if you are strong in other categories.

Another thing that I really have to think about if I get the second pick again is drafting Altuve. I know that sounds crazy, but I don’t draft speed a lot. So if I am not going to do that throughout the draft, Altuve kind of becomes a wasted pick.

Instead, I could take Nolan Arenado, Bryce Harper, Paul Goldschmidt, etc. who are elite in the power categories. They also match if not better Altuve in the other counting categories, besides steals of course.

So lesson learned is to think about if the player you are about to draft fits the composition of your team. If you focus more on finding speed throughout then go with Altuve or others like him in the first. If you know you won’t then just go with the big power guys and dominate your categories.

Final thought. Big thanks to everybody who was involved with the draft. It was fun and a great learning experience for the season.

2018 Fantasy Baseball Position Previews
CatcherFirst BaseSecond BaseThird BaseShortstopOutfieldStarting PitcherRelief PItcher

Check out the rest of our great Fantasy Baseball content as the 2018 season approaches.

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