2020 Fantasy Baseball Hitting Heavy Draft Strategies: 1st Pick

by Dave Eddy
2021 Fantasy Baseball Rankings

Welcome to the 2020 Fantasy Baseball hitting heavy draft strategies article. In this series, I will be tackling (sorry, still have the NFL Draft running through my veins) a variety of different Fantasy Baseball draft strategies for a redraft league.  I will be going pick by pick to give you detailed reasoning for my selection.

A few of us Fantasy Six Pack writers are drafting from different positions in a 12 team league using various Fantasy Baseball draft strategies. I have the first overall pick in these mock drafts, for the first time in my life mind you. We are all using the heavy-hitting and heavy pitching strategies along with a "wildcard strategy".

My wildcard strategy is going to be high-risk/high-reward. Using this strategy I plan to put more value on guys with higher potential but risky picks for a variety of reasons.  These risks could range from health to job status, playing time, etc.

This is a strategy a lot of us employ at various times throughout a draft but never for the entirety of it. I thought it would be fun to see what a roster would look like if you had this mindset with each pick as opposed to the more traditional strategies of focusing on pitching, hitting, or best player available.

With all of that in mind, let's dive into my 2020 Fantasy Baseball hitting heavy draft strategy mock.

For these drafts we are using the following settings:

  • 12 team league
  • Positions - C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, CI, MI, OF (5), P (9), UTIL, Bench (5)
  • Scoring - R, HR, RBI, AVG, W, SV, K, ERA, WHIP

For each draft, we use the FantasyPros Mock Draft Simulator to create each of these fake teams.

Make sure to check out the strategies for the last pick and the seventh pick.

2020 Fantasy Baseball Hitting Heavy Draft Strategies: 1st Pick

Using this strategy I am not going to ignore pitching but I am going to place a higher value on hitters as I build my team and consider each pick.  I will try to maintain a well balanced and competitive team, just with a stronger focus on ensuring a high-quality offense without sacrificing much, if any pitching.

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1.1 Ronald Acuna Jr., OF, Atlanta Braves

What can I say about Acuna that hasn't been said? This pick was between Acuna, Trout, and Yelich. They play the same position so that didn't play a factor. The separation of Acuna from the others for me is the stolen bases.

Yes, Yelich isn't far behind in that category but with running becoming harder and harder to come by these days an extra 10 swipes are worth a lot.

Considered: Mike Trout, Christian Yelich

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2.12 Anthony Rendon, 3B, Los Angeles Angels

The crop of players that are Third Base eligible is so deep that I could easily wait a few rounds and still come away with a guy I love at the position. However, it is way too early in the draft to start worrying about positions. The best thing to do with your first few picks is to simply get a player that you think is primed to have a big season.

I do that with Rendon as he will contribute all across the board, with the exception of stolen bases but that is partly why I took Acuna with pick 1.1 to address that category so that we had some leeway.

Considered: Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Starling Marte, Shane Bieber, Jose Altuve

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3.1 Starling Marte, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks

I bypass Bryce Harper, whom I think a lot of people would take here, for Starling Marte. For me this is all about team building, planning ahead, and trying to build the most well-rounded team possible.  I think that stolen bases are scarce, so I value them when considering between players as we have discussed.

I also value average, especially early on in the draft, as it is not a counting stat like runs, home runs, RBI and steals where you can just throw at-bats around and improve those areas. Average, like stolen bases, is hard to come by and to be good at the category you need to focus on it early and often.  I will lose some home runs and RBI with Marte over Harper but I can make that up a lot easier than having to chase stolen bases or average.

Considered: Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Shane Bieber, Jose Altuve, Javier Baez

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4.12 Keston Hiura, 2B, Milwaukee Brewers

I really had a strong debate internally here about Hiura, Morton, and Nola specifically.  For me, second base and Catcher are two positions that I feel you need to either take someone pretty early and get a really strong option there, pinpoint a sleeper or late-round player that you are really confident will exceed their ADP or just sit back and address it at the end of the draft.

In this case, I love Hiura and his well-rounded game quite a bit. With the opportunity to add a player that doesn't hurt my team anywhere statistically and fill a tough position, I had to take him here considering the emphasis I am putting on bats for this mock.

Considered: Charlie Morton, Aaron Nola

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5.1 Charlie Morton, SP, Tampa Bay Rays

My favorite part of picking back to back for me it limits me from "reaching for players". I don't have to play the game of skipping guys in the hopes they will be on the board for my next pick to try and get them as well as the guy I know won't be there.

After passing on some good pitching options with the last pick I have to take Charlie Morton here.  His 15 wins, 200+ K's, ERA around 3.00 and WHIP around 1.00 will be a good start to my rotation.  Just like I value steals and average in bats, I value ERA and WHIP in pitching. You can chase wins, and K's through innings pitched but catching up in ratios is next to impossible.

Considered: Aaron Nola, Manny Machado, Lucas Giolito, Chris Paddack

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6.12 Tommy Pham, OF, San Diego Padres

This was a really hard choice for me between Tommy Pham and Eddie Rosario. The difference for me between these two players is I expect Rosario to have significantly more RBI and Pham to have more SB.  Knowing what you know about my philosophy you understand why I gave the nod to Pham.

Considered: Eddie Rosario

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7.1 Nelson Cruz, DH, Minnesota Twins

I considered another Pitcher here but didn't like their value as much as I liked being able to grab Nelson Cruz and his big power bat right now. Taking guys like Acuna, Marte, Hiura, and Pham allows me to take big power bats with no speed like Cruz later in the draft.

The thing I like most about snagging Cruz right here is that I get a solid average to go along with 80 runs, 40 home runs, and 100 RBI. The only downside is he will only be able to be played in the UTIL slot. I don't like losing that flexibility but to add his bat to my lineup is well worth it.

Considered: Tyler Glasnow, Jose Berrios

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8.12 Nick Castellanos, OF, Cincinnati Reds

Nick Castellanos again brings a solid average to my team along with solid power numbers.  Adding 85 runs, 25 home runs, and 80 RBI to my team while not sacrificing average is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Considered: Kenley Jansen, Liam Hendriks, Edwin Diaz

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9.1 Kenley Jansen, RP, Los Angeles Dodgers

I really could have flipped a coin here and been happy either way. As I mentioned earlier, when considering pitching I value ERA and WHIP above all else. When going heavy on bats I would advise a more closer heavy approach so you can better control those ratios as you can chase counting stats via waiver etc.

In this case, I think Hendriks has the higher upside but I went for the more sure thing and took Kenley.

Considered: Liam Hendriks

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10.12 Eduardo Escobar, 2B/3B, Arizona Diamondbacks

I debated on a pitcher or a bat with this pick. None of the arms available to me really stuck out as a must-have so I took the best bat that was available for my team needs and selected Eduardo Escobar.

His 80 runs, 25 home runs, and 90 RBI fill my offensive needs just like Castellanos did a few picks ago. With his Second Base eligibility, I can slide him into my middle infield spot and get great offensive production from it.

Considered: Nick Anderson, Hector Neris

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11.1 Nick Anderson, RP, Tampa Bay Rays

Just like two rounds again when I could have flipped a coin between Hendriks and Jansen I could have done the same here between Nick Anderson and Hector Neris.

I went safe last time with Jansen and am rolling the dice a bit here with Anderson. His upside, especially in ERA and WHIP are must greater than Neris.  I take my chances on Anderson being a top-end closer this year as I continue to build my team with a plan in mind.

Considered: Hector Neris

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12.12 Justin Turner, 3B, Los Angeles Dodgers

This was truly a tough choice between Price, Neris, and Turner. I didn't go with Neris because I did not want to go overboard on closers too early. Though considering my strategy I feel it would be very justified.

So it ultimately came down to Justin Turner or David Price. I had a tough time deciding between the two because Turner represents a selection towards my strategy of focusing on hitting and his numbers are exactly what I am looking for right here. As far as Price, he has the upside in ERA and WHIP that I look for.

Ultimately I went with Turner but having back to back picks makes this much easier as I could simply take Price on the turn and get both guys I really wanted right here.

Considered: David Price, Hector Neris

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13.1 David Price, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers

See my comments above about the previous pick

Considered: Hector Neris

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14.12 Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, Chicago White Sox

A lot of these picks I have had a tough choice between two or three players. Once again I found myself choosing between a bat and an arm. In this case, I have the next pick so there is not a lot of debate.

I am happy to get a big power bat at a position of need right now. His AVG is a bit of a concern but so many of my earlier picks have strengthened this category that I can safely select him and enjoy the 30 HR and 90 RBI.

Considered: Lance McCullers

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15.1 Lance McCullers, SP, Houston Astros

Normally I would be a bit worried about an innings limit with someone coming back from his injury.  With the season likely to be shortened, I can select him with some confidence and bank that he should provide me with more upside than I would expect to have available at this point and give me another arm with solid ratios to help build my staff.

Considered: Hector Neris

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16.12 Jean Segura, SS, Philadelphia Phillies

With a hole staring at me with the SS position I am thrilled to see Jean Segura still on the board.  He provides a nice combination of SB and AVG.  He should be good for 15 bags and AVG around .290.  Segura is a nice addition to my team with no other obvious players available for my team needs in this spot.

Considered: None

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17.1 Kenta Maeda, SP, Minnesota Twins

This has easily been the toughest pick of this entire draft.  Each pick prior to this I have had some clear cut choices and after doing some comparisons and looking over my team needs I was able to make a solid selection.  I have a lot of directions I could go and nothing stood out as a clear path.  With that in mind, I looked at the best available players on the board and whittled it down to Kenta Maeda.  I think he provides me with a quality arm that won't hurt me in any statistical category.  I can make this pick and see what the board brings me for my next set of back to back picks.

Considered: Jake Odorizzi, German Marquez, Masahiro Tananka, David Peralta

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18.12 Avisail Garcia, OF/DH, Milwaukee Brewers

We are getting to the point in the draft where I am not thrilled with most of the options available to me.  I have a hole at C and OF offensively while having a collection of arms that I am happy with, even considering my focus on bats.  Looking over the best available players there are two guys that stand out for me.  One arm and one bat.  Since I have back to back picks I simply take them both.

Considered: Joe Musgrove

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19.1 Joe Musgrove, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates

See my comments above

Considered: None

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20.12 Ryan Braun, OF, Milwaukee Brewers

I still have a hole at the Catcher position but I like a few of the guys that should be available down the draft. I would be happy with Molina, Alfaro, Murphy, Mejia or Posey. So I am in no rush at this point as I stated my feelings about the Catcher position back with my comments on the Hiura pick.

While another couple arms here would seem to play the I am going to go off script a little bit and get a guy that I think provides incredible value right now and won't hurt me offensively in any category.

Considered: Joey Votto, Dylan Bundy, Yadier Molina

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21.1 Dylan Bundy, SP, Los Angeles Angels

With no bats on the board I felt like I must have, I decided to go with the best upside SP on the board. I have always liked Dylan Bundy though he has had a pretty disappointing career considering the potential he showed in the Minors. Maybe a change of scenery to Los Angeles will bring something out in him?  If not I think he is still a solid pitching option that should at least be a good source of K's

Considered: Joey Votto, Yadier Molina, Buster Posey

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22.12 Francisco Mejia, C, San Diego Padres

I knew this pick was going to be the best available Catcher. Unfortunately, my choice has pretty much been made for me as only Francisco Mejia is left from the pool of players I mentioned earlier.

Considered: None

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23.1 Chris Archer, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates

Chris Archer certainly has his issues. With his talent, it is incredible some of the terrible starts he puts on the board. At this point in the draft and with my offense filled out, I take a shot on Archer to fill out my pitching spots on my roster.

Considered: None

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24.12 Christian Walker, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks

With all of my starting spots filled and Ryan Braun already on my bench, I am simply looking for the best available player. While I am not a massive fan of Christian Walker he is the best fit. He provides me insurance in case Encarnacion finally breaks down and he should provide 20+ HR and 70 RBI.

Considered: Yonny Chirinos, Andrelton Simmons, Mychal Givens, Danny Jansen

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25.1 Yonny Chirinos, SP/RP, Tampa Bay Rays

Similar to the pick above, I am looking for the best available player.

Considered: Andrelton Simmons, Mychal Givens, Danny Jansen

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26.12 Andrelton Simmons, SS, Los Angeles Angels

With only one SS eligible player on the roster, Simmons caught my eye.  While he doesn't wow me in any category his .280 AVG is a good fit for my bench.

Considered: Mychal Givens, Corey Dickerson, Anibal Sanchez

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27.1 Corey Dickerson, OF, Miami Marlins

With five outfield spots, another Outfielder wasn't out of the question. Of course, nobody really stood out as an obvious pick. So I went with a solid bat in Corey Dickerson who should hit around .290 with 15+ HR and 50+ RBI.

Considered: A.J. Pollock, Mychal Given, Anibal Sanchez, Roberto Perez

My roster is as follows:

C - Francisco Mejia
1B - Edwin Encarnacion
2B - Keston Hiura
SS - Jean Segura
3B - Anthony Rendon
CI - Justin Turner
MI - Eduardo Escobar
OF - Ronald Acuna, Starling Marte, Tommy Pham, Nick Castellanos, Avisail Garcia
UTIL - Nelson Cruz
P - Charlie Morton, Kenley Jansen, Nick Anderson, David Price, Lance McCullers, Kenta Maeda, Joe Musgrove, Dylan Bundy, Chris Archer
Bench - Ryan Braun, Christian Walker, Yonny Chirinos, Andrelton Simmons, Corey Dickerson

Next up will be my 2020 Fantasy Baseball Pitching Heavy Draft Strategies: 1st Pick article. It will be identical to this one with the obvious exception that I will be focusing on pitching as opposed to hitting.  If you liked this in-depth article, the pitching heavy one is a must-read too!

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