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Three keys to your MLB fantasy draft
2:59 | MLB
Three keys to your MLB fantasy draft
SI.com Staff
Thursday March 17th, 2016

Sure, March Madness may be sweeping the country, but that’s just a reminder that MLB’s Opening Day is approaching quickly. It’s prime time for fantasy baseball drafts, and SI.com is here to help you prepare.

Members of the SI.com fantasy baseball league conducted a mock draft for a 10-team, 6x6, mixed head-to-head league. The positions: one catcher, one first baseman, one second baseman, one shortstop, one third baseman, one utility player, three outfielders, five starting pitchers and three relief pitchers, with five bench spots and two DL spots. (For this mock draft, we only drafted one of the available bench spots.) Here, we present each round of the draft, and below, each owner gives a self-assessment, observations and more.

Don’t forget to check out our top 250 player rankings, season outlooks for the top 100 players and position-by-position previews below.

FIRST BASE | SECOND BASE | SHORTSTOP | THIRD BASE | OUTFIELD | CATCHER | RELIEF PITCHER | STARTING PITCHER

Draft order:

1. Ben Glicksman
2. Jeremy Woo
3. Tom Mantzouranis
​4. Bette Marston
5. Colin Becht
6. David Kaye
7. Gary Gramling
​8. Jon Tayler
9. Bobby Clay
10. Eric Single

ROUND 1
OVERALL PLAYER TEAM POS. OWNER
1 Mike Trout LAA OF Glicksman
2 Bryce Harper WAS OF Woo
3 Paul Goldschmidt ARI 1B Mantzouranis
4 Josh Donaldson TOR 3B Marston
5 Anthony Rizzo CHC 1B Becht
6 Nolan Arenado COL 3B Kaye
7 Manny Machado BAL 3B Gramling
8 Kris Bryant CHC 3B Tayler
9 Giancarlo Stanton MIA OF Clay
10 Carlos Correa HOU SS Single

 

ROUND 2
OVERALL PLAYER TEAM POS. OWNER
11 Andrew McCutchen PIT OF Single
12 Clayton Kershaw LAD SP Clay
13 Edwin Encarnacion TOR 1B Tayler
14 A.J. Pollock ARI OF Gramling
15 Miguel Cabrera DET 1B Kaye
16 Mookie Betts BOS OF Becht
17 Jose Bautista TOR OF Marston
18 Jose Altuve HOU 2B Mantzouranis
19 Jose Abreu CHW 1B Woo
20 Chris Davis BAL 1B/OF Glicksman

 

ROUND 3
OVERALL PLAYER TEAM POS. OWNER
21 J.D. Martinez DET OF Glicksman
22 Dee Gordon 2B MIA Woo
23 Starling Marte PIT OF Mantzouranis
24 George Springer HOU OF Marston
25 Max Scherzer SP WAS Becht
26 Buster Posey C/1B SF Kaye
27 Joey Votto 1B CIN Gramling
28 Jake Arrieta SP CHC Tayler
29 Charlie Blackmon OF COL Clay
30 Chris Sale SP CHW Single

 

ROUND 4
OVERALL PLAYER TEAM POS. OWNER
31 Zack Greinke LAD SP Single
32 Todd Frazier CHW 3B Clay
33 Yoenis Cespedes NYM OF Tayler
34 Nelson Cruz SEA OH Gramling
35 Jose Fernandez MIA SP Kaye
36 Miguel Sano MIN 3B Becht
37 Carlos Gomez HOU OF Marston
38 Jacob DeGrom NYM SP Mantzouranis
39 Troy Tulowitzki TOR SS Woo
40 Madison Bumgarner SF SP Glicksman

 

ROUND 5
OVERALL PLAYER TEAM POS. OWNER
41 Justin Upton DET OF Glicksman
42 Lorenzo Cain KC OF Woo
43 Carlos Carrasco CLE SP Mantzouranis
44 Corey Kluber CLE SP Marston
45 Carlos Gonzalez COL OF Becht
46 Gerrit Cole PIT SP Kaye
47 Sonny Gray OAK SP Gramling
48 Jason Kipnis CLE 2B Tayler
49 Felix Hernandez SEA SP Clay
50 Jayson Heyward CHC OF Single

 

ROUND 6
OVERALL PLAYER TEAM POSITION OWNER
51 Kyle Seager SEA 3B Single
52 Eric Hosmer KC 1B Clay
53 Xander Bogaerts BOS SS Tayler
54 David Price BOS SP Gramling
55 Ryan Braun MIL OF Kaye
56 Stephen Strasburg WAS SP Becht
57 Chris Archer TB SP Marston
58 Matt Harvey NYM SP Mantzouranis
59 Dallas Keuchel HOU SP Woo
60 Robinson Cano SEA 2B Glicksman

 

ROUND 7
 
OVERALL PLAYER TEAM POS. OWNER
61 Gregory Polanco PIT OF Glicksman
62 Adam Jones BAL OF Woo
63 Yasiel Puig LAD OF Mantzouranis
64 Matt Carpenter STL 2B/3B Marston
65 Brian Dozier MIN 2B Becht
66 Noah Syndergaard NYM SP Kaye
67 Ian Kinsler DET 2B Gramling
68 Marcus Stroman TOR SP Tayler
69 Adam Wainwright STL SP Clay
70 Adam Eaton CHW OF Single

 

ROUND 8
OVERALL PLAYER TEAM POS. OWNER
71 Kyle Schwarber CHC C/OF Single
72 Johnny Cueto SF SP Clay
73 Hunter Pence SF OF Tayler
74 Corey Seager LAD SS Gramling
75 Prince Fielder TEX 1B Kaye
76 Jacoby Ellsbury NYY OF Becht
77 Adrian Gonzalez LAD 1B Marston
78 Corey Dickerson TB OF Mantzouranis
79 Tyson Ross SD SP Woo
80 Jon Lester CHC SP Glicksman

 

ROUND 9
OVERALL PLAYER TEAM POS. OWNER
81 Cole Hamels TEX SP Glicksman
82 David Peralta ARI OF Woo
83 Anthony Rendon WAS 2B/3B Mantzouranis
84 Francisco Lindor CLE SS Marston
85 Albert Pujols LAA 1B Becht
86 Michael Brantley CLE OF Kaye
87 Freddie Freeman ATL 1B Gramling
88 Travis d’Arnaud NYM C Tayler
89 Kenley Jansen LAD RP Clay
90 Wade Davis KC RP Single

 

ROUND 10
OVERALL PLAYER TEAM POS. OWNER
91 Craig Kimbrel BOS RP Single
92 Brian McCann NYY C/1B Clay
93 Jeurys Familia NYM RP Tayler
94 Matt Kemp SD OF Gramling
95 Danny Salazar CLE SP Kaye
96 Trevor Rosenthal STL RP Becht
97 Francisco Liriano PIT SP Marston
98 Raisel Iglesias CLE SP Mantzouranis
99 Jordan Zimmermann DET SP Woo
100 Aroldis Chapman NYY RP Glicksman

 

ROUND 11
OVERALL PLAYER TEAM POS. OWNER
101 Maikel Franco PHI 3B Glicksman
102 Lance McCullers HOU SP Woo
103 Russell Martin TOR C Mantzouranis
104 Michael Wacha STL SP Marston
105 Garrett Richards LAA SP Becht
106 Adrian Beltre TEX 3B Kaye
107 Masahiro Tanaka NYY SP Gramling
108 Carlos Martinez STL SP Tayler
109 David Ortiz BOS 1B/DH Clay
110 Brett Gardner NYY OF Single

 

ROUND 12
OVERALL PLAYER TEAM POS. OWNER
111 Carlos Rodon CHW SP Single
112 Rougned Odor TEX 2B Clay
113 Randal Grichuk STL OF Tayler
114 David Robertson CWS RP Gramling
115 Mark Melancon PIT RP Kaye
116 Ian Desmond TEX SS Becht
117 Addison Russell CHC 2B/SS Marston
118 Cody Allen CLE RP Mantzouranis
119 Ken Giles HOU RP Woo
120 Yu Darvish TEX SP Glicksman

 

ROUND 13
OVERALL PLAYER TEAM POS. OWNER
121 Zach Britton BAL RP Glicksman
122 Evan Longoria TB 3B Woo
123 Jorge Soler CHC OF Mantzouranis
124 Hector Rondon CHC RP Marston
125 Drew Smyly TB SP Becht
126 Curtis Granderson NYM OF Kaye
127 Shelby Miller ARI SP Gramling
128 Byron Buxton MIN OF Tayler
129 Billy Hamilton CIN OF Clay
130 DJ LeMahieu COL 2B Single

 

ROUND 14
OVERALL PLAYER TEAM POS. OWNER
131 Billy Burns OAK OF Single
132 Michael Pineda NYY SP Clay
133 A.J. Ramos MIA SP Tayler
134 Jonathan Lucroy MIL C/1B Gramling
135 Huston Street LAA RP Kaye
136 Hisashi Iwakuma SEA SP Becht
137 Jonathan Papelbon WAS RP Marston
138 Brad Boxberger TB RP Mantzouranis
139 Jose Quintana CWS SP Woo
140 Devin Mesoraco CIN C Glicksman

 

ROUND 15
OVERALL PLAYER TEAM POS. OWNER
141 Jake Odorizzi TB SP Glicksman
142 Andrew Miller NYY RP Woo
143 Byung-ho Park MIN 1B Mantzouranis
144 John Lackey CHC SP Marston
145 Jeff Samardzija SF SP Becht
146 Brandon Crawford SF SS Kaye
147 Shawn Tolleson TEX RP Gramling
148 Luis Severino NYY SP Tayler
149 Sean Doolittle OAK RP Clay
150 Julio Teheran ATL SP Single

 

ROUND 16
OVERALL PLAYER TEAM POS. OWNER
151 Taijuan Walker SEA SP Single
152 Michael Conforto NYM OF Clay
153 Alex Rodriguez NYY DH Tayler
154 Steven Matz NYM SP Gramling
155 Ben Zobrist CHC 2B/OF Kaye
156 Francisco Rodriguez DET RP Becht
157 Dellin Betances NYY RP Marston
158 Collin McHugh HOU SP Mantzouranis
159 Christian Yelich MIA OF Woo
160 Yordano Ventura KC SP Glicksman

 

ROUND 17
OVERALL PLAYER TEAM POS. OWNER
161 Jung-Ho Kang PIT 3B/SS Glicksman
162 Salvador Perez KC C Woo
163 Scott Kazmir LAD SP Mantzouranis
164 Yan Gomes CLE C Marston
165 Kole Calhoun LAA OF Becht
166 James Shields SD SP Kaye
167 Drew Storen TOR SP Gramling
168 Kolten Wong STL 2B Tayler
169 Elvis Andrus TEX SS Clay
170 Carlos Santana CLE 1B/DH Single

 

ROUND 18
OVERALL PLAYER TEAM POS. OWNER
171 Glen Perkins MIN RP Single
172 Jake McGee COL RP Clay
173 Lucas Giolito WAS SP Tayler
174 Shin-Soo Choo TEX OF Gramling
175 Patrick Corbin ARI SP Kaye
176 Steven Vogt OAK C/1B Becht
177 Joc Pederson LAD OF Marston
178 Ketel Marte SEA SS Mantzouranis
179 Arodys Vizcaino ATL RP Woo
180 Dexter Fowler CHC OF Glicksman

Ben Glicksman: Mike Trout, Chris Davis, JD Martinez, Madison Bumgarner, Justin Upton, Robinson Cano, Gregory Polanco, Jon Lester, Cole Hamels, Aroldis Chapman, Maikel Franco, Yu Darvish, Zach Britton, Devin Mesoraco, Jake Odorizzi, Yordano Ventura, Jung Ho Kang, Dexter Fowler. My strategy was to load up on power bats in the early rounds and then target high-upside starters later. Picking Mike Trout No. 1 overall was a no-brainer, and I was happy to grab Robinson Cano with the final pick of the sixth. I may have reached a bit for Devin Mesoraco—he took only 45 at-bats last year before undergoing season-ending hip surgery—but if he can come close to replicating his 2014 stats (25 home runs, 80 RBIs), he’ll provide value at the catcher position. I also couldn’t stay away from Yu Darvish; he is a major risk coming back from Tommy John surgery, but he has the stuff to rack up 175-plus strikeouts even in limited action.​

• Jeremy Woo: Bryce Harper, Jose Abreu, Dee Gordon, Troy Tulowitzki, Lorenzo Cain, Dallas Keuchel, Adam Jones, Tyson Ross, David Peralta, Jordan Zimmermann, Lance McCullers, Ken Giles, Evan Longoria, Jose Quintana, Andrew Miller, Christian Yelich, Salvador Perez, Arodys Vizcaino. I came away fairly happy with this team, going offense-heavy early as tends to be my preferred approach. I wanted to address middle infield early, and was pretty pleased getting Gordon back at the turn. Tulo, as always, is a dice roll with injury, but I’ll take even 130–140 games from him in that lineup and go home happy. My bats came out well-rounded, and I thought Peralta and Perez were good value picks. As far as pitching goes, in the past I’ve had success waiting even longer than I did to take a starter. But bottom line, just blending the bankable types (Zimmermann, Quintana) with the right upside guys (Ross, McCullers) tends to work well. Guys always pop up by midseason if you stay active. And for that reason, per the old adage, never pay for saves. That variance was why I was fine with leasing Miller for a month—remember that literally any late-round closer could be waiver fodder in three weeks with the wrong breaks. 

• ​Tom Mantzouranis: Paul Goldschmidt, Jose Altuve, Starling Marte, Jacob DeGrom, Carlos Carrasco, Matt Harvey, Yasiel Puig, Corey Dickerson, Anthony Rendon, Raisel Iglesias, Russell Martin, Cody Allen, Jorge Soler, Brad Boxberger, Byung-ho Park, Collin McHugh, Scott Kazmir, Ketel Marte. Every year, I battle with how early to draft my starting pitchers, telling myself I’m going to wait and load up on second-tier guys instead of chasing the elites. And every year, I get antsy and wind up splurging on a guy in the top 20 picks. This draft, I finally got it right. By waiting, I was able to pick up three top-25 hitters and still get a lot of very solid pitching in rounds 4–6 (seriously, how did Matt Harvey last that long?!?!). Adding one of my favorite sleepers, Raisel Iglesias, in the 10th round was just gravy. This strategy came at the expense of my hitting overall, especially at the mid-rounds, but I’m confident enough that between my three first-rounders and some strategic sleepers (Puig, Park and Marte) I’ll get enough hitting to make my strategy successful.

• ​Bette Marston: Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, George Springer, Carlos Gomez, Corey Kluber, Chris Archer, Matt Carpenter, Adrian Gonzalez, Francisco Lindor, Francisco Liriano, Michael Wacha, Addison Russell, Hector Rondon, Jonathan Papelbon, John Lackey, Dellin Betances, Yan Gomes, Joc Pederson. The No. 4 spot is tricky this season, since the first three players off the board are practically a given. But I feel comfortable taking Josh Donaldson, since I think he’ll come close to replicating his 2015 MVP season. I told myself that I wasn’t going to draft pitchers before the seventh round, but I zoned in on Carlos Carrasco in the fifth, and when he got snatched up before me, I got nervous and snagged Corey Kluber to anchor my staff. Unfortunately, I missed out on some guys I had my eye on (the aforementioned Carrasco, Kyle Schwarber), but I didn’t waste time getting Archer or Russell, two players highlighted on my cheat sheet. 

• ​Colin Becht: Anthony Rizzo, Mookie Betts, Max Scherzer, Miguel Sano, Carlos Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, Brian Dozier, Jacoby Ellsbury, Albert Pujols, Trevor Rosenthal, Garrett Richards, Ian Desmond, Drew Smyly, Hisashi Iwakuma, Jeff Samardzija, Francisco Rodriguez, Kole Calhoun, Steven Vogt. I’m happy with how my draft worked out for the value I got in starting pitching. Scherzer in the third and Strasburg in the sixth both have the potential to give higher returns than their draft placement. And I’m excited about Samardzija as a possible sleeper pick in the 15th. A return to the National League, and in the pitcher-friendly confines of AT&T Park to boot, spells rebound year. My position players have solid pop, with the possibility of 20+ home run seasons nearly across the board. My first three position players drafted are all in their early-to-mid 20s, so I’m hoping for even bigger numbers than they’ve already produced so far.

• David Kaye: Nolan Arenado, Miguel Cabrera, Buster Posey, Jose Fernandez, Gerrit Cole, Ryan Braun, Noah Syndergaard, Prince Fielder, Michael Brantley, Danny Salazar, Adrian Beltre, Mark Melancon, Curtis Granderson, Huston Street, Brandon Crawford, Ben Zobrist, James Shields, Patrick Corbin​. Miguel Cabrera is no longer 3B-eligible and he showed the first-ever sign of wear and tear in his 13-year career with a calf strain last season, but his .338 batting average still led the majors. I didn’t mind taking Buster Posey, the clear-cut No. 1 catcher at a position with no depth, a little early. Expect young guns Jose Fernandez, Gerrit Cole, Noah Syndergaard and Danny Salazar to all move up in SP rankings by season’s end. My 15th-round pick, Brandon Crawford, led all shortstops in RBI last season despite a weak finish, and Ben Zobrist’s 2B/OF eligibility makes him a steal in the 16th round.

• ​Gary Gramling: Manny Machado, A.J. Pollock, Joey Votto, Nelson Cruz, Sonny Gray, David Price, Ian Kinsler, Corey Seager, Freddie Freeman, Matt Kemp, Masahiro Tanaka, David Robertson, Shelby Miller, Jonathan Lucroy, Shawn Tolleson, Steven Matz, Drew Storen, Shin-Soo Choo​. I subscribe to the old adage: Get hitting that wins, get pitching that survives. I always assume I can play waiver wire and matchups well enough to make up for a mediocre staff at the end of draft day. As far as specific picks go, I was stunned that Jonathan Lucroy was still on the board in the 14th (so stunned that I would have taken him two rounds earlier had I not missed him on my cheat sheet). Tanaka is a bit scary. Ditto Drew Storen; I’ll have to be a waiver-wire ninja in case Roberto Osuna fends him off for the Jays’ closer job.​

• ​Jon Tayler: Kris Bryant, Edwin Encarnacion, Jake Arrieta, Yoenis Cespedes,Jason Kipnis, Xander Bogaerts, Marcus Stroman, Hunter Pence, Travis d’Arnaud, Jeurys Familia, Carlos Martinez, Randal Grichuk, Byron Buxton, A.J. Ramos, Luis Severino, Alex Rodriguez, Kolten Wong, Lucas Giolito​. My strategy was pretty straightforward: Lock up a top-five player at every position, fill in the rest of the roster with young, high-upside players (and Alex Rodriguez). The result? A lot of power in the lineup and some high-strikeout (albeit high-variance) pitchers in the rotation​

• ​Bobby Clay: Giancarlo Stanton, Clayton Kershaw, Charlie Blackmon, Todd Frazier, Felix Hernandez, Eric Hosmer, Adam Wainwright, Johnny Cueto, Kenley Jansen, Brian McCann, David Ortiz, Rougned Odor, Billy Hamilton, Michael Pineda, Sean Doolittle, Michael Conforto, Elvis Andrus, Jake McGee. While the hitting on this team may be a bit questionable, there’s no doubt that—barring injury, of course)—this pitching staff will dominate (or, at least serve for some trade fodder). Kershaw is the only pitcher worth drafting in the first round, and honestly, getting him with the No. 12 pick was a bargain. And Ortiz may be old, but he’ll certainly give this team a needed hitting boost. 

• ​Eric Single: Carlos Correa, Andrew McCutchen, Chris Sale, Zack Greinke, Jason Heyward, Kyle Seager, Adam Eaton, Kyle Schwarber, Wade Davis, Craig Kimbrel, Brett Gardner, Carlos Rodon, DJ LeMahieu, Billy Burns, Julio Teheran, Taijuan Walker, Carlos Santana, Glen Perkins​. My goal every time my swing turn came up was to dictate how the board would fall to me 18 picks down the line as much as I could. To do that, I tried to put some pressure on the positions the average owner often waits on, first grabbing Sale and Greinke back-to-back, then landing Davis and Kimbrel in succession. My biggest depth concerns are at first base (whose top players were all off the board by my first pick) and starting pitcher (which can be a dice-roll in even the best of times), but I hope being proactive about things like steals and average helps counteract my middling return in the more glamorous categories.​

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