Early 2022 Mock Draft: Rounds 11-14

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The postseason might be in full swing, but it’s never too early to start thinking about the 2022 MLB season. With the fantasy baseball season still fresh in our minds, we thought this was a good time to take stock of what we learned and begin to forecast what drafts might look like next spring. Of course, with a deep and talented free agent class, opinions will evolve over time. But we wanted to give it a whirl anyway.

What you’ll see here are the results of a slow mock draft with staff members from NBC Sports EDGE. Full results will be posted over the course of the next several days. Our Rounds 9-10 recap can be found here.

1) Jorge Montanez (@Roto_Nino)
2) Seth Trachtman (@sethroto)
3) Colin Henderson (@ColDontLie)
4) Ryan Boyer (@RyanPBoyer)
5) Matt Williams (@MattWi77iams)
6) Drew Silva (@drewsilv)
7) Dave Shovein (@DaveShovein)
8) George Bissell (@GeorgeBissell)
9) Chris Crawford (@Crawford_MILB)
10) D.J. Short (@djshort)
11) Micah Henry (@FantasyCentral1)
12) Matthew Pouliot (@matthewpouliot)

We’re drafting based on 5x5 roto scoring. The mock draft consists of 23 rounds, with 14 position players and nine pitcher spots. The position player breakdown is: 2 C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, MI, CI, 5 OF, UTIL. There’s 20-game eligibility for a player to qualify at a particular position.

ROUNDS 11-14

11.121 – Jordan Romano, RP

11.122 – Alex Verdugo, OF

11.123 – Clayton Kershaw, SP

11.124 – Giovanny Gallegos, RP

11.125 – Pablo Lopez, SP

11.126 – Trent Grisham, OF

11.127 – Akil Baddoo, OF

11.128 – Julio Rodriguez, OF

11.129 – Cal Quantrill, SP

11.130 – Shane McClanahan, SP

11.131 – Jake Cronenworth, 1B/2B/SS

11.132 – Jarred Kelenic, OF

12.133 – Shohei Ohtani, SP

12.134 – Justin Turner, 3B

12.135 – Avisail Garcia, OF

12.136 – Ryan Mountcastle, 1B/OF

12.137 – Patrick Sandoval, SP

12.138 – Luis Garcia, SP

12.139 – Lance McCullers, SP

12.140 – Michael Conforto, OF

12.141 – Joey Votto, 1B

12.142 – Gavin Lux, 2B/SS

12.143 – Will Smith, RP

12.144 – Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B

13.145 – Franmil Reyes, UTIL

13.146 – Rhys Hoskins, 1B

13.147 – Joey Gallo, OF

13.148 – Tyler Mahle, SP

13.149 – Yoan Moncada, 3B

13.150 – Matt Chapman, 3B

13.151 – Eddie Rosario, OF

13.152 – Brandon Belt, 1B

13.153 – Ken Giles, RP

13.154 – Ryan McMahon, 2B/3B

13.155 – Zac Gallen, SP

13.156 – Gleyber Torres, SS

14.157 – Chris Bassitt, SP

14.158 – Sonny Gray, SP

14.159 – Marcus Stroman, SP

14.160 – Framber Valdez, SP

14.161 – Michael Kopech, RP

14.162 – Justin Verlander, SP

14.163 – Gary Sanchez, C

14.164 – Nathan Eovaldi, SP

14.165 – Buster Posey, C

14.166 – Luis Severino, SP

14.167 – Shane Baz, SP

14.168 – Dylan Carlson, OF

There were a lot of interesting arms to go off the board during this stretch. Kershaw, Verlander and Severino kind of fall under the same umbrella, although their situations are all a bit different. Kershaw was plagued by a flexor issue in his pitching arm down the stretch, ultimately throwing just 15 1/3 innings in the second half. He didn’t have surgery and hopes to be ready to roll for spring training, but he’ll certainly have health questions heading into 2022. He’s also a free agent this winter, although it’s difficult to imagine him with anyone else but the Dodgers.

Verlander and Severino are both coming back from Tommy John surgery, although Severino had his way earlier and looked strong during a late-season return. He won’t have limitations in spring training but will have workload restrictions after throwing just 18 2/3 innings the last two years. Verlander should have a fairly normal spring training schedule but will turn 39 in February. Like Kershaw, he’s also entering free agency. All three of these pitchers have question marks, but they could certainly return plenty of value when taken in this range.

McClanahan had a terrific rookie season with the Rays and should hopefully be used more liberally in 2022 after throwing more than 120 frames. The Rays will probably be more careful with Baz following a career-high 94 1/3 innings between the regular and postseason, and they might also send him back to the minors for a bit as they play the service time game. Generally, we’ve grown accustomed to Tampa Bay not handling their rotation members traditionally. Still, these are two super talented arms to snag in the double-digit rounds.

Relievers are always a guessing game to some degree, but even more so when you’re trying to peg closers more than five months before Opening Day. Logic would seem to dictate that Romano should have the Blue Jays’ ninth inning pretty well locked up, but an offseason addition could always change that. The same goes for Gallegos, who wasn’t the Cardinals’ closer for long but who is a guy that’s been one of the better relievers in baseball for a few years. Smith did a fine job this year for the Braves, but you could easily them adding a closer and pushing him into a setup role. Then there’s Giles, who is working his way back from Tommy John surgery. The Mariners signed him to be their closer, but will he have the job on Opening Day?

There were a string of talented young outfielders to go off the board in Round 11. I found it especially interesting that Rodriguez was selected a few picks ahead of fellow Mariner Kelenic. Kelenic had an awful start to his major league career, but he closed strong in September and undoubtedly will be the club’s Opening Day center fielder in 2022. Rodriguez might be the best power-hitting prospect in baseball. He won’t turn 21 until December, though, and is sure to spend some more time in the minors unless Seattle can talk him into an early contract extension.

In Hayes, Moncada and Chapman, we have three third basemen looking to bounce back in 2022 from disappointing 2021 showings. In the case of Hayes (wrist) and Chapman (hip), they both could blame at least part of their struggles on injuries. Moncada can’t say the same thing, but he’s also an extremely talented 26-year-old just a couple years removed from a .915 OPS season, so it wouldn’t be a surprise at all if he rebounds.

Kopech is seemingly on track to join the White Sox’ rotation next season after being broken back in as a reliever in 2021 following two missed seasons because of Tommy John surgery and then a COVID-19 opt-out. The 25-year-old will undoubtedly have his workload watched closely in 2022, but few have an arm as dynamic as Kopech’s. He could be plenty valuable in fantasy leagues even with limited innings.