2012 Fantasy Baseball 10-Round Mock Draft

Roto Arcade

If it's February, then it must be time for the four most exciting words in sports:


We were kind enough to give you player blurbs for the first six rounds, too. Never question out commitment. Assume a standard 5X5 roto mixed league for this mock. Behrens, Evans, Funston, Pianowski, Buser and Salfino are your drafters. We bring the opinions, you bring the derision. Let's do this thing...

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1. Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Det - Cabrera is an elite hitter in his absolute prime, plus he'll gain third base eligibility early in the year. He's a remarkably consistent fantasy producer, having hit .320 or better six times, reaching 30 homers in seven of the past eight seasons, and driving in 100 runs every year since 2004. (Behrens)

2. Albert Pujols, 1B, LAA - If you're looking for a reliably excellent hitter at the top of your draft, this is your guy. Here's where Pujols has finished in the year-end player ranks in each season of his career: 13th in 2011, second in 2010, first in 2009, first in 2008, 25th in 2007, second in 2006, second in 2005, fourth in 2004, first in 2003, tenth in 2002, 17th in 2001. If you'd like to bet against him this year, be my guest. (Behrens)

3. Matt Kemp, OF, LAD — Many will shout defiantly, "Don't pay for the career year!" However, Kemp's near 40-40 campaign last year was the greatest fantasy season by a hitter since A-Rod in 2007. And let's keep in mind he's only 27 years-old. With a full season of Dee Gordon atop the lineup, it's possible he improves. (Evans)

4. Jose Bautista, OF/3B, Tor — Bautista silenced skeptics with a marvelous follow-up to his breakthrough 2010, finishing as the seventh-most valuable hitter in Y! leagues a season ago. His superhuman eye (1.19 BB/K) and dynamite power suggest a letdown isn't likely. Throw in his position flexibility, and owners should say "Yes, way" to Jose in the top-five. (Evans)

5. Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Col — Location, location, location. Tulo is a shortstop playing half his games at Coors Field, and he's pushed .300, 30 home runs, 100 RBIs and double-digit steals each of the past three seasons. And, at 27, he's in the prime of his prime years. (Funston)

6. Ryan Braun, OF, Mil — Surprise, surprise. A successful appeal of his PED suspension means Braun is back in the No. 1 pick conversation, though the loss of Fielder and his ability to sustain his sharp uptick in steals makes a repeat of his '11 MVP campaign very questionable. (Funston)

7. Joey Votto, 1B, Cin — His very acceptable floor: .300 average, pop, strong run production. The upside: Contention for a batting title, the steals from 2010, another MVP run. Votto is only 28, so his best season may still lie ahead. (Pianowski)

8. Robinson Cano, 2B, NYY — The Yankees lineup is always the safest one on draft day (runs rank, last three years: 2nd, 1st, 1st), and Cano's durability is another selling point (159 games or more for five straight seasons). And oh yes, you're getting four categories of statistical goodies (we can find the steals later). When in doubt, pound the infield with those early picks. (Pianowski)

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9. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Bos — Gonzalez showed in his first season away from Petco that he's one of the game's premier hitters, not just sluggers. He also admitted that his power tapered in 2011 in part because of shoulder fatigue, so the home run total should rise this coming season. (Buser)

10. Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Col - He posted one of the best fantasy seasons in recent history in 2010 and was seventh among hitters in per-game impact last season, despite his dealings with wrist injuries. (Buser)

11. Justin Upton, OF, Ari - Concerns about Ks (at least his rate declined) and inconsistent power are outweighed by age (24). This makes the upside enormous and Upton a must-add at this point in the draft. (Salfino)

12. Mark Teixeira, 1B, NYY - If you believe his batting average the last two seasons, this is a bad pick. But I still weight most heavily his career average, and given that his K/BB ratio is about where it was in .300 seasons, I do not discount as much as most the chance of him hitting that again. Either way, about 40 bombs and 120 RBIs await. (Salfino)


1. Clayton Kershaw, SP, LAD - Clearly the best pitcher on the board when you factor in age, performance, dominance, home park, league and the advantages that come with being left-handed. Verlander is rated higher by many, but I can't never pull the trigger this high on a mound ace who faces the head winds of the American League. (Salfino)

2. Roy Halladay, SP, Phi — Not thrilled that he'll pitch this year at age 35 but there are no signs of attrition; if anything, he's getting better - the K-rate last year was a career best. As my friend Gene McCaffrey of Wise Guys Baseball says, Halladay is a quality machine. (Salfino)

3. Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, Bos — Considering the career .301 average and 56 steals for every 162 games played, a few less home runs wouldn't exactly tank his impact. His lineup situation is hard to beat. (Buser)

4. Justin Verlander, SP, Det — Three-year averages of a 3.06 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 246 strikeouts suggest that the floor is pretty high here. I'm comfortable with Verlander at the end of Round 1, so he's an easy choice for me at pick 16. (Buser)

5. Evan Longoria, 3B, TB — Last year's average was an obvious fluke, and the counting stats were stemmed by a month of lost time. OK, so 2011 stands as Longoria's floor. His upside remains the same: Future MVP at some point. The setup reminds me a little of Ryan Braun 2011; different type of hitter, but same profit/floor frame. (Pianowski)

[Related: Tampa Bay Rays star Evan Longoria confirms he's dating Playboy model]

6. Curtis Granderson, OF, NYY — Don't isolate the career year; Grandy's transformation happened in the middle of 2010. It's called growth, gamers. Lefties, no longer a problem (.272, 16 homers). Even with some regression (and some batting average risk), Grandy has a good shot at profit in this slot. (Pianowski)

7. Hanley Ramirez, SS, Mia — Yeah, he was a dog last year. But he's a 28-year-old with five elite-level roto seasons (including three in the top 10) under his belt. And if you don't think he's on a mission to prove that he's still got it, think again. (Funston)

8. Prince Fielder, 1B, Det — Perhaps the last player on the board with a realistic shot at .290, 35 HRs and 110 RBIs. He's never missed more than five games since becoming a regular. And he's only going to be 28 in May. (Funston)

9. Ian Kinsler, 2B, Tex — Dragged down only be a lackluster average, Kinsler was an uncontainable beast last year, notching his second 30-30 campaign in three years. According to his .243 BABIP (.255 AVG), he was a bit unlucky a season ago. Fortunes reverse and you're looking at a .275-30-80-100-30 pivot man. Holy guacamole! (Evans)

10. Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Bos — V-A-L-U-E. Pedroia is a category filler in the middle infield, where scarcity/uncertainty is more visible than in recent years. A slight dip in production is probable, but he is far and away one of the virtual game's finest across-the-board scorers. (Evans)

11. Jose Reyes, SS, Mia — Assuming a healthy-ish season (which may not be a safe assumption), we're looking at 100-plus runs and perhaps 40 steals. He's at least neutral in homers and batting average, with a fair chance to exceed the position averages. Now let's just hope his hamstrings do their jobs. (Behrens)

12. Mike Stanton, OF, Mia — Run on Marlins! No, not really. Of the players remaining on the board, Stanton is most likely to give us 40-plus bombs and 100-plus RBIs. It's tempting to go middle-infield here, but the top tier is already empty at second and short. This is the time to buy the best stats, regardless of position. (Behrens)


1. Cliff Lee, SP, Phi — Lee actually delivered the same ERA as Verlander last season, with a better K-rate and a lower walk-rate. (Behrens)

2. Adrian Beltre, 3B, Tex — He's a reliable run producer who does his hitting in an outstanding lineup, in a friendly home park. Beltre gave his owners 32 homers and 105 RBIs in just 124 games last season. (Behrens)

3. Tim Lincecum, SP, SF —His K/9 slid slightly for the third-straight year, but his velocity was up a tick in '11. Still one of the game's true elites. (Evans)

4. David Wright, 3B, NYM — Healthy, still within power prime and playing home games in a more hitter-friendly park. A production return to 2010 in the offing. (Evans)

5. Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pit — Don't be surprised if he joins the 25/25 club in his age 25 season. (Funston)

6. Josh Hamilton, OF, Tex — I like the set-up: He's in the final year of his contract, needing to show physical and mental stability to get paid. (Funston)

7. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Was - Was hoping for Beltre here, no dice. Everyone was pro-Zim a year ago; it's a question of health, not talent. (Pianowski)

[Related: The Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman signs $100M extension, averts distractions]

8. Felix Hernandez, SP, Sea - Ground balls and missed bats, that generally works.(Pianowski).

9. Matt Holliday, OF, STL - A top-15 player in 2010, and he got off to a blistering start in 2011 before a quad injury slowed him down. (Buser)

10. Pablo Sandoval, 1B/3B, SF - A premium bat at a premium position, and an easy guy to root for. (Buser)

11. Starlin Castro, SS, Chc - Age is on his side and the results last year were solid irrespective of it. (Salfino)

12. Desmond Jennings, OF, TB - He filled a lot of categories very quickly in his major league career, though the power seems like an outlier when you look at his minor league numbers. (Salfino)


1. Mike Napoli, C, Tex - You have to hope he gets the at-bats necessary for this selection, which requires him playing DH (which should be a given considering his MVP-level averages in 2011). (Salfino)

2. Nelson Cruz, OF, Tex - He never can play a full season, but that's not as much of a concern in shallow formats given his power and team/park environment. (Salfino)

3. CC Sabathia, SP, NYY - The numbers are like clockwork and his conditioning will be more actively managed in 2011. (Buser)

4. Carlos Santana, C/1B, Cle - He's supremely talented and should seriously out-distance his positional peers in plate appearances for a second straight season. (Buser)

5. Hunter Pence, OF, Phi - More reliable than exciting, fills four categories nicely. (Pianowski)

6. Cole Hamels, SP, Phi - Similar to teammate Cliff Lee but likely to cost less. (Pianowski)

7. Dan Uggla, 2B, Atl — Never fewer than 27 homers, and his .948 post-break OPS in '11 was easily the best among the 2B crowd. (Funston)

8. Brett Lawrie, 3B, Tor — His real 25/25 potential is unique at the hot corner. (Funston)

9. Elvis Andrus, SS, Tex — The gallery will likely express displeasure with this pick, but he's a very reliable three-cat bat (BA, SB, R), eligible at the thinnest position. (Evans)

10. Zack Greinke, SP, Mil — Relatively unlucky last season, he could shave a full point off ERA while chipping in roughly 200 Ks and 15-plus wins. (Evans)

11. Ben Zobrist, 2B/OF, TB — Not much separates Zobrist from the rest of his tier at second, but he's a useful asset coming off a 20/19 season. (Behrens)

12. Alex Rodriguez, 3B, NYY — If he can just give us 130 games (big if), you'll love the numbers at this price. (Behrens)


1. Jay Bruce, OF, Cin — Yup, this owner is taking the Emperor Palpatine approach: UNLIMITED POWER. (Behrens)

2. Dan Haren, SP, LAA — Not a bad choice as this team's top starter; you know you're getting a nice K-rate and a low WHIP. (Behrens)

3. Paul Konerko, 1B, ChW — For the past three years, ageist "experts" have said stay away, yet Pauly keeps pounding out 30 HR, .300 BA every year. (Evans)

4. Jered Weaver, SP, LAA — Plenty to like: An innings eater with pinpoint control and plus-Ks, who should flirt with 20 wins. (Evans)

5. Michael Young, 2B, Tex — "Forever" Young has nice three-position eligibility and a stat-factory sweet spot in the middle of a loaded lineup. (Funston)

6. David Price, SP, TB — At No. 53 overall, the price is right for a 26-year-old who has averaged 16 wins, a 3.12 ERA and 206 K over past two seasons. (Funston)

7. Brandon Phillips, 2B, Cin — Balanced profile, but steals could be dicey if his success rate keeps lagging. (Pianowski)

8. Kevin Youkilis, 1B/3B, Bos — Held together by scotch tape, but the corners are getting thin. (Pianowski)

9. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, Cle - Things are getting pretty thin at SS and Cabrera has a legitimate chance to comfortably outproduce this pick. (Buser)

10. Craig Kimbrel, RP, Atl - The "early" closer pick isn't as much chasing saves as it is chasing the K rate, those ratios, and saves. (Buser)

11. Brian McCann, C, Atl - Need him to hit his career average of .286, and more RBIs would be nice, but that depends mainly on his team. (Salfino)

12. Alex Gordon, OF, KC - Late bloomer was former top hitting prospect, so there's a decent chance we haven't seen his best yet. (Salfino)


1. Jimmy Rollins, SS, Phi - His K/BB the past two seasons makes a higher average more likely, and you hope he can approach 50 homers-plus-steals. (Salfino)

2. Eric Hosmer, 1B, KC - Future MVP who will round into that form sooner rather than later by improving his pitch selection. (Salfino)

3. Michael Morse, 1B, Was — After a season and a half of excellent power production, I'm sold. (Buser)

4. BJ Upton, OF, TB — BJ just turned 27 in August, and he's coming off a 23/36 season. (Buser)

5. Stephen Strasburg, SP, Was — A fun pick all the way, appointment television. He'll be easy to flip, too. (Pianowski)

6. Matt Cain, SP, SF — He laughs at your alphabet soup. Keep beating the system, Cainer. (Pianowski)

7. Aramis Ramirez, 3B, Mil — Hits for average and has 25-plus HRs in seven of past eight seasons; don't like what the 3B pool looks like after Aramis. (Funston)

8. Yovani Gallardo, SP, Mil — 200 Ks three straight years and his BB/9 rate is steadily improving. (Funston)

9. Jon Lester, SP, Bos — The southpaw is a model of consistency across all major starting pitching categories. (Evans)

10. Michael Bourn, OF, Atl — Terribly underrated speed demon was the 22nd most-valuable hitter last year according to Baseball Monster. (Evans)

11. Mariano Rivera, RP, NYY — He's the most reliable elite talent of the fantasy era, perhaps in any sport. Maybe this pick will ignite a closer run. (Behrens)

12. Buster Posey, C, SF — I'm getting the top catcher remaining on the board, plus there's a good chance this pick will irritate Funston. Double-win. (Behrens)


1. Ryan Howard, 1B, Phi (Behrens)

2. Jason Heyward, OF, Atl (Behrens)

3. Lance Berkman, 1B/OF, StL (Evans)

4. Shin-Soo Choo, OF, Cle (Evans)

5. Howie Kendrick, 1B/2B/OF, LAA (Funston)

6. Michael Cuddyer, 1B/2B/OF, Col (Funston)

7. Ichiro Suzuki, OF,Sea (Pianowski)

8. Shane Victorino, OF, Phi (Pianowski)

9. Jonathan Papelbon, RP, Phi (Buser)

10. Chase Utley, 2B, Phi (Buser)

11. Rickie Weeks, 2B, Mil (Salfino)

12. Carl Crawford, OF, Bos (Salfino)


1. Michael Pineda, P, NYY (Salfino)

2. Yu Darvish, P, Tex (Salfino)

3. Joe Mauer, C, Min (Buser)

4. Madison Bumgarner, SP, SF (Buser)

5. Dee Gordon, SS, LAD (Pianowski)

6. John Axford, RP, Mil (Pianowski)

7. Ian Kennedy, SP, Ari (Funston)

8. Drew Storen, RP, Was (Funston)

9. Matt Wieters, C, Bal (Evans)

10. Matt Moore, SP, TB (Evans)

11. Brett Gardner, OF, NYY (Behrens)

12. Gio Gonzalez, SP, Was (Behrens)


1. Adam Wainwright, SP, STL (Behrens)

2. CJ Wilson, SP, LAA (Behrens)

3. Adam Jones, OF, Bal (Evans)

4. Ike Davis, 1B, NYM (Evans)

5. Jesus Montero, DH, Sea (Funston)

6. Miguel Montero, C, Ari (Funston)

7. Corey Hart, OF, Mil (Pianowski)

8. Heath Bell, RP, Mia (Pianowski)

9. Mark Reynolds, 3B, Bal (Buser)

10. James Shields, SP, TB (Buser)

11. Andrew Bailey, RP, Bos (Salfino)

12. Jose Valverde, RP, Det (Salfino)


1. JJ Putz, RP, Ari (Salfino)

2. Brian Wilson, RP, SF (Salfino)

3. JJ Hardy, SS, Bal (Buser)

4. Carlos Beltran, OF, STL (Buser)

5. Ryan Madson, RP, Cin (Pianowski)

6. Alex Avila, C, Det (Pianowski)

7. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Ari (Funston)

8. Josh Johnson, SP, Mia (Funston)

9. Brandon Beachy, SP, Atl (Evans)

10. Billy Butler, 1B, KC (Evans)

11. Drew Stubbs, OF, Cin (Behrens)

12. Matt Garza, SP, Chc (Behrens)

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