Live Mock Draft Grades

Drew Silva
Rotoworld

Follow @drewsilv and @Rotoworld_BB on Twitter.


Rotoworld hosted its first-ever live fantasy baseball mock draft Tuesday night on Facebook, pitting our own Matthew Pouliot, D.J. Short, Pat Daugherty, and Matt Stroup against eight Rotoworld Draft Guide subscribers. You can check out a replay video of the draft here. I was asked to blindly hand out individual roster grades afterward, choosing one overall winner from the 12 teams. I didn’t stream the draft as it happened and was simply sent the results via email on Wednesday morning. The names of the owners were only given to me once I was ready to publish this write-up. Fair and impartial.


To the left side of each player’s name is the spot where that player was selected (1.01 = 1st round, 1st overall pick, 2.24 = 2nd round, 24th overall pick, etc.) and to the right side is that player’s ranking on our Draft Guide Top 300. I don’t do the main rankings here at Rotoworld, so that number has no bearing on the way I graded these rosters. It’s just included here as valuable context for those reading along.


This is all based on standard 5x5 fantasy scoring with the following roster setup: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF, OF, OF, UTIL, UTIL, SP, SP, SP, RP, RP, RP, P, P, BN, BN.





TEAM 1 (Joey V.)

1.01 -- Mike Trout, OF, 1
2.24 -- Madison Bumgarner, SP, 45
3.25 -- Stephen Strasburg, SP, 28
4.48 -- Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, 52
5.49 -- Justin Upton, OF, 61
6.72 -- Xander Bogaerts, SS, 49
7.73 -- Zack Greinke, SP, 104
8.96 -- Corey Knebel, RP, 103
9.97 -- Travis Shaw, 3B, 115
10.120 -- Yasiel Puig, OF, 94
11.121 -- Jeurys Familia, RP, 145
12.144 -- Daniel Murphy, 2B, 108
13.145 -- Kevin Kiermaier, OF, 220
14.168 -- Garrett Richards, SP, 162
15.169 -- Michael Conforto, OF, 205
16.192 -- Taijuan Walker, SP, 187
17.193 -- Wilson Ramos, C, 142
18.216 -- Cam Bedrosian, RP, 270
19.217 -- Amed Rosario, SS, 300
20.240 -- Matt Harvey, SP, NR


Comments: Trout remains the obvious No. 1 overall pick as a five-category all-time great entering his age-26 season. I’m a fan of the strategy on the turn here, snagging two upper-tier starting pitchers in Bumgarner and Strasburg at picks No. 24 and No. 25. It’s a good idea to get aggressive at SP this year, with offense booming around MLB, and if you’re selecting at the top of a snake-style draft you pretty much have to do go with a starting pitcher in that spot if you want any shot at an ace. Two potential aces? That’s even better. This roster picked up a good amount of power and a decent -- maybe slightly underwhelming -- amount of speed as the draft rolled on and I like Richards and Walker as later-round starting pitchers. I’d be scared to wait this long on a catcher, but getting Ramos at No. 193 justifies the patience. It’s a smart, nicely-balanced team.


Grade: A-




TEAM 2 (Ryan D.)

1.2 -- Jose Altuve, 2B, 3
2.23 -- Anthony Rizzo, 1B,2B, 32
3.26 -- Carlos Carrasco, SP, 35
4.47 -- Nelson Cruz, OF, 48
5.50 -- Jose Quintana, SP, 62
6.71 -- Khris Davis, OF, 114
7.74 -- Rafael Devers, 3B, 131
8.95 -- Brad Hand, RP, 112
9.98 -- Matt Olson, 1B,OF, 186
10.119 -- Jon Gray, SP, 160
11.122 -- Chris Taylor, 2B,SS,OF, 156
12.143 -- Greg Bird, 1B, 148
13.146 -- Nomar Mazara, OF, 119
14.167 -- Jameson Taillon, SP, 194
15.170 -- Blake Treinen, RP, 181
16.191 -- Michael Wacha, SP, 224
17.194 -- Brad Peacock, SP,RP, 273
18.215 -- Jose Martinez, 1B,OF, NR
19.218 -- Welington Castillo, C, 200
20.239 -- Alex Reyes, SP, NR


Comments: Industry experts have different ideas of what to do with the No. 2 overall pick this year, but Altuve would be my choice in that spot as the reigning American League MVP and locked-in No. 3 hitter for the defending World Series champions. This owner went heavy on big-time power bats over the course of the draft and should fare very well in the HR and RBI categories, but I’m not especially in love with the pitching staff. Reaching early for Carrasco and Quintana made sense, but Gray and Taillon will have to take big leaps forward in terms of workload to keep things afloat. Wacha is also a question mark with that shoulder issue and Reyes is coming off Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery. The upside is intriguing on all of those guys, but snagging one more trustworthy SP in the top 12 rounds would have been wise.


Grade: B




TEAM 3 (D.J. Short)

1.3 -- Trea Turner, SS, 2
2.22 -- Gary Sanchez, C, 19
3.27 -- Jacob deGrom, SP, 38
4.46 -- Andrew Benintendi, OF, 37
5.51 -- Jose Abreu, 1B, 39
6.70 -- Edwin Diaz, RP, 74
7.75 -- Masahiro Tanaka, SP, 106
8.94 -- Zack Godley, SP, 92
9.99 -- Ken Giles, RP, 91
10.118 -- Javier Baez, 2B,SS, 95
11.123 -- Manuel Margot, OF, 70
12.142 -- Adrian Beltre, 3B, 166
13.147 -- Carlos Santana, 1B,OF, 244
14.166 -- Blake Snell, SP, 191
15.171 -- Brett Gardner, OF, 180
16.190 -- Dominic Leone, RP, NR
17.195 -- Matt Carpenter, 1B,2B,3B, 234
18.214 -- Patrick Corbin, SP, 257
19.219 -- Dexter Fowler, OF, 211
20.238 -- Dylan Bundy, SP, 264




Comments: We have a winner, folks. Turner going third overall might shock some who participate in more casual fantasy leagues, but I’ve seen him go as high as No. 2 in industry drafts this spring. The 24-year-old shortstop has been plagued by freak injuries, but he boasts a .309/.351/.501 batting line with 24 home runs and a whopping 79 stolen bases in 171 games over the last two seasons. Just stay healthy, Trea. I really dig the second-round Sanchez pick. Over the last two seasons, the 25-year-old catcher boasts a .923 OPS with 53 home runs and 132 RBI in 175 games. You’re not going to get that kind of power potential from any other catcher. There’s great upside all along this roster, mixed in with some steady veterans who should be reliable producers. Diaz and Giles can be dominant closers and it looks like Leone might open as the primary saves man in St. Louis. Godley and Snell are some of my favorite breakout candidates at starting pitcher. Margot at No. 123 is one of the best-looking picks of this entire mock.


Grade: A+




TEAM 4 (Paul S.)

1.4 -- Nolan Arenado, 3B, 5
2.21 -- Noah Syndergaard, SP, 24
3.28 -- Justin Verlander, SP, 47
4.45 -- Byron Buxton, OF, 53
5.52 -- Willson Contreras, C, 54
6.69 -- Elvis Andrus, SS, 44
7.76 -- Roberto Osuna, RP, 69
8.93 -- Lance McCullers, SP, 116
9.100 -- Eric Hosmer, 1B, 76
10.117 -- Hector Neris, RP, 150
11.124 -- Miguel Sano, 1B,3B, 86
12.141 -- Yoan Moncada, 2B, 102
13.148 -- Justin Turner, 3B, 97
14.165 -- Gio Gonzalez, SP, 226
15.172 -- Fernando Rodney, RP, 217
16.189 -- Bradley Zimmer, OF, 157
17.196 -- Marwin Gonzalez, 1B,2B,3B,SS,OF, 235
18.213 -- Eugenio Suarez, 3B, 153
19.220 -- Didi Gregorius, SS, 183
20.237 -- Julio Teheran, SP, 295


Comments: No argument here with Arenado at No. 4 overall. The 26-year-old third baseman posted a career-high .959 OPS in 2017 and has averaged 40 home runs and 131 RBI per season over the last three seasons. Securing that kind of power upside in the first round allowed this team to focus on starting pitchers for the next two turns and this drafter did well to remember to grab some speed as the mock moved along -- Buxton, Andrus, Moncada, and Zimmer will all contribute in that department. I’m very into getting Contreras at catcher if I don’t have a shot at Babe Sanchez, and this drafter didn’t really have to reach to pull that off. Sano and Turner were good values, even with Sano likely to miss some time due to a sexual assault suspension and Turner probably spending most of April on the disabled list with a fractured wrist. Those two can help make up for some of this roster’s early home run deficit once they’re activated. Suarez at No. 213 overall was a great pick too. He’s incredibly underrated.


Grade: A-




TEAM 5 (Jason L.)

1.5 -- Clayton Kershaw, SP, 7
2.20 -- J.D. Martinez, OF, 26
3.29 -- Jose Ramirez, 2B,3B, 20
4.44 -- Anthony Rendon, 3B, 72
5.53 -- Carlos Martinez, SP, 93
6.68 -- Tommy Pham, OF, 98
7.77 -- Whit Merrifield, 2B,OF, 90
8.92 -- Luis Castillo, SP, 113
9.101 -- Luke Weaver, SP, 147
10.116 -- Carlos Gonzalez, OF, 126
11.125 -- Paul DeJong, 2B,SS, NR
12.140 -- Kelvin Herrera, RP, 215
13.149 -- Ryan Zimmerman, 1B, 141
14.164 -- Dinelson Lamet, SP, 197
15.173 -- Avisail Garcia, OF, 193
16.188 -- Shane Greene, RP, 233
17.197 -- Nate Jones, RP, 202
18.212 -- Lucas Giolito, SP, NR
19.221 -- Mike Zunino, C, 174
20.236 -- Alex Claudio, RP, 262


Comments: Kershaw at No. 5 overall is aggressive, but I’ve preached being aggressive at starting pitcher to anyone who will listen, so I can’t knock that particular pick. If his back issue doesn’t flare up again, he’ll be worth the gamble. The problem I have with this roster is that the aggressive gambles continued. Rendon will have to add more home runs to his game to make sense at No. 44 overall. Carlos Martinez needs to take a big step forward with his consistency to be worth the 53rd overall pick. Pham and Merrifield are probably due for some regression, and you can put Castillo, DeJong, and Garcia in that boat too. Maybe everything will go right with all of those players. There’s certainly a lot of talent among them. But there were a few too many reaches. Herrera as this team’s top closer is also a bad look given how poorly he pitched in 2017.


Grade: C+




TEAM 6 (Pat Daugherty)

1.6 -- Mookie Betts, OF, 4
2.19 -- Kris Bryant, 3B,OF, 25
3.30 -- Luis Severino, SP, 58
4.43 -- Rhys Hoskins, 1B,OF, 33
5.54 -- Marcell Ozuna, OF, 46
6.67 -- James Paxton, SP, 65
7.78 -- J.T. Realmuto, C,1B, 79
8.91 -- Robinson Cano, 2B, 57
9.102 -- Brandon Morrow, RP, 129
10.115 -- Jose Berrios, SP, 203
11.126 -- Kyle Schwarber, OF, 121
12.139 -- Arodys Vizcaino, RP, 192
13.150 -- Jeff Samardzija, SP, 170
14.163 -- Adam Eaton, OF, 133
15.174 -- Odubel Herrera, OF, 161
16.187 -- Joe Musgrove, SP,RP, 208
17.198 -- Blake Parker, RP, 198
18.211 -- Orlando Arcia, SS, 178
19.222 -- Nick Senzel, 3B, NR
20.235 -- Miles Mikolas, SP, 296




Comments: Betts posted a relatively underwhelming .264/.344/.459 batting line in 712 plate appearances last season, but the counting stats were on-point: 24 home runs, 102 RBI, 26 stolen bases, and 101 runs scored. He was a popular pick at No. 2 overall last spring and if he hits for better rates in 2018, the 25-year-old outfielder could certainly jump back up there next year. Getting a multi-category stud in the first round gave this drafter the freedom to go a number of ways in the following rounds. He chose some big power bats in Bryant, Hoskins, and Ozuna while also snagging a pair of high-strikeout starters in Severino and Paxton. I worry about the lack of overall speed on this roster, but maybe Senzel will force his way to the majors in early 2018 and aid the cause. Arcia is due for a leap forward in that department too. Eaton can help. The starting pitching depth leaves a little to be desired beyond the top three or four, depending on how Samardzija fares in improving his ERA this year. Berrios is a breakout candidate.


Grade: B+




TEAM 7 (Steve L.)

1.7 -- Charlie Blackmon, OF, 11
2.18 -- Carlos Correa, SS, 12
3.31 -- Joey Votto, 1B, 34
4.42 -- Robbie Ray, SP, 87
5.55 -- Kenley Jansen, RP, 41
6.66 -- Dallas Keuchel, SP, 89
7.79 -- Gerrit Cole, SP, 190
8.90 -- A.J. Pollock, OF, 60
9.103 -- Lorenzo Cain, OF, 109
10.114 -- Wade Davis, RP, 127
11.127 -- Ian Happ, 2B,OF, 151
12.138 -- Rich Hill, SP, 143
13.151 -- Justin Smoak, 1B, 171
14.162 -- Archie Bradley, RP, 184
15.175 -- Jake Lamb, 3B, 158
16.186 -- Jay Bruce, 1B,OF, 237
17.199 -- Tyler Chatwood, SP,RP, NR
18.210 -- Evan Gattis, C, 154
19.223 -- Aaron Sanchez, SP, 286
20.234 -- Albert Pujols, 1B, 268


Comments: Blackmon put up a career-high 37 home runs and 104 RBI over 159 games in 2017, but he has fallen out of the top 10 in my personal rankings because he doesn’t run nearly as often as he used to. I’m also expecting some regression on those power numbers. Not that he’s an egregious pick at No. 7 overall. Coors Field remains a wonderland. I like what this owner did for the most part, especially grabbing Ray and Keuchel and Cole within the first seven rounds. Ray might seem like a reach to some, but the 26-year-old left-hander registered a sparkling 2.89 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 218 strikeouts over 162 innings last season and there is a humidor coming to Arizona’s Chase Field this year. Giddy up. The roster here has a lot of power, could probably lead this league in batting average, and there is a good amount of speed mixed in. It’s one of the best, though I don’t love Gattis as the only catcher.


Grade: A-




TEAM 8 (Carey B.)

1.8 -- Max Scherzer, SP, 13
2.17 -- Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, 18
3.32 -- George Springer, OF, 30
4.41 -- Corey Seager, SS, 31
5.56 -- Starling Marte, OF, 68
6.65 -- Chris Archer, SP, 82
7.80 -- Cody Allen, RP, 120
8.89 -- DJ LeMahieu, 2B, 125
9.104 -- Andrew McCutchen, OF, 81
10.113 -- Sean Doolittle, RP, 195
11.128 -- Jake Arrieta, SP, 122
12.137 -- Domingo Santana, OF, 169
13.152 -- Johnny Cueto, SP, 164
14.161 -- Mike Moustakas, 3B, 132
15.176 -- Adam Duvall, OF, NR
16.185 -- Kevin Gausman, SP, 214
17.200 -- Trey Mancini, 1B,OF, 172
18.209 -- Mike Clevinger, SP,RP, NR
19.224 -- Jonathan Villar, 2B,OF, 207
20.233 -- Manny Pina, C, NR


Comments: Goldschmidt is still being drafted in the first round in a lot of leagues despite the humidor news and I’m not necessarily as down on him as some -- a five-category first baseman gives you a huge edge -- but this might be the best way to get him if you can manage it. Lock in an ace in the first round and have Goldy’s unique fantasy skillset fall to you in the second. And then getting Springer, the dynamic leadoff man for the defending World Series champs, in the third? What a start. I love the top of this draft, but there were some missteps later on. LeMahieu is overrated, offering little more than batting average help. He shouldn’t be drafted in the top 100. Santana doesn’t have a starting job in Milwaukee and it doesn’t appear there is a trade on the horizon. Could be a wasted pick in the 12th. Cueto is a shell of his former self, coming off a 4.52 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in 147 1/3 innings. Duvall might have also been a wasted pick with Reds top outfield prospect Jesse Winker hot on his heels.


Grade: B-




TEAM 9 (Matthew Pouliot)

1.9 -- Giancarlo Stanton, OF, 6
2.16 -- Manny Machado, 3B, 9
3.33 -- Dee Gordon, 2B, 21
4.40 -- Alex Bregman, 3B,SS, 27
5.57 -- Buster Posey, C,1B, 63
6.64 -- Felipe Rivero, RP, 64
7.81 -- Kyle Hendricks, SP, 77
8.88 -- Rougned Odor, 2B, 51
9.105 -- Gregory Polanco, OF, 67
10.112 -- Ryan Braun, OF, 66
11.129 -- Ian Desmond, 1B,OF, 78
12.136 -- Marcus Stroman, SP, 135
13.153 -- Eddie Rosario, OF, 105
14.160 -- Kenta Maeda, SP, 155
15.177 -- Mark Melancon, RP, 124
16.184 -- Randal Grichuk, OF, 128
17.201 -- Charlie Morton, SP, 173
18.208 -- Greg Holland, RP, 137
19.225 -- Danny Salazar, SP, 177
20.232 -- Hanley Ramirez, 1B, 144




Comments: The position players at the top of this roster are dreamy, but I think this owner would freely admit that he waited too long to select a starting pitcher. And then couldn’t recover from that long wait. Hendricks, the first starter selected by this owner, is a nice bet for ERA and wins, but he doesn’t miss enough bats to carry a fantasy staff. Stroman is similar, coming off a 3.09 ERA but just 164 strikeouts in 201 innings. He's also dealt with some shoulder trouble this spring in Blue Jays camp -- often a red flag. I like the value on Morton, who has looked dominant in the Grapefruit League, and I think Maeda could be a late-round bargain in a lot of drafts this year, but I don't know that you can win a league in 2018 without top-tier starting pitching. Again, the offense looks lethal, but this is not a championship team overall. Maybe if this was a 23-round or 25-round draft, the owner would have stashed young starters like Michael Kopech and Walker Buehler to provide a jolt down the stretch.


Grade: C




TEAM 10 (Mr. K)

1.10 -- Corey Kluber, SP, 15
2.15 -- Aaron Judge, OF, 10
3.34 -- Cody Bellinger, 1B,OF, 22
4.39 -- Aaron Nola, SP, 55
5.58 -- Billy Hamilton, OF, 50
6.63 -- Trevor Story, SS, 36
7.82 -- Ozzie Albies, 2B, 85
8.87 -- Raisel Iglesias, RP, 84
9.106 -- Nicholas Castellanos, 3B,OF, 83
10.111 -- Jon Lester, SP, 101
11.130 -- Steven Souza, OF, 111
12.135 -- Alex Colome, RP, 117
13.154 -- Justin Bour, 1B, 123
14.159 -- Trevor Bauer, SP, 204
15.178 -- Michael Taylor, OF, 118
16.183 -- Jake Faria, SP, 230
17.202 -- Jose Peraza, 2B,SS, 146
18.207 -- Luke Gregerson, RP, 254
19.226 -- Alex Cobb, SP, 179
20.231 -- Yadier Molina, C, 182


Comments: Well done here. Kluber and Nola make for a great one-two punch at the top of this team’s starting rotation and the drafter did a terrific job of sandwiching two of baseball’s best young sluggers -- Judge and Bellinger -- in the picks in between. Then by snagging a potential 60-base stealer in Hamilton, the owner dipped a big toe into every fantasy baseball scoring category within the top five rounds. Story was an excellent value at No. 63 overall and Albies has breakout written all over him after slashing .286/.354/.456 with six home runs and eight stolen bases over his first 57 major league games last year at age 20. Souza and Bour were smart middle-round power buys. Taylor was a good late-round multi-category sleeper. Peraza is an appealing post-hype speed threat. Gregerson might be a miss if he is not named the Cardinals’ closer and Molina as the roster’s only catcher is somewhat problematic, but it’s a very well-constructed squad.


Grade: A




TEAM 11 (Michael C.)

1.11 -- Chris Sale, SP, 16
2.14 -- Freddie Freeman, 1B,3B, 17
3.35 -- Christian Yelich, OF, 23
4.38 -- Josh Donaldson, 3B, 29
5.59 -- Jonathan Schoop, 2B, 73
6.62 -- Aroldis Chapman, RP, 107
7.83 -- Jean Segura, SS, 42
8.86 -- Joey Gallo, 1B,3B,OF, 75
9.107 -- Ender Inciarte, OF, 88
10.110 -- Miguel Cabrera, 1B, 99
11.131 -- Eduardo Nunez, 2B,3B,SS,OF, 80
12.134 -- Sonny Gray, SP, 212
13.155 -- Andrew Miller, RP, 176
14.158 -- Salvador Perez, C, 138
15.179 -- Josh Hader, RP, NR
16.182 -- Michael Fulmer, SP, 252
17.203 -- Chris Davis, 1B, 196
18.206 -- Chase Anderson, SP, 278
19.227 -- Jonathan Lucroy, C, 210
20.230 -- Chris Devenski, RP, 287


Comments: There is a nice blend of power and speed -- especially power -- on this roster, but it looks like a team I might have drafted a couple years ago as opposed to one that will play well on the fantasy baseball landscape in 2018. Not because of the names, but because of the strategy. The owner went hard after Sale in the first round and then ignored the starting pitcher ranks until selecting Gray -- a guy I’m not all that high on -- in the 12th round. Fulmer and Anderson aren’t very intriguing to me either. In this current era of baseball, there are going to be good bats available late, as you’ll notice throughout this mock draft write-up. There are not nearly as many promising starting pitchers available late. If this league were actually played out, I’m guessing this owner would be busy on the trade market, trying to swap home runs for rotation help. It’s almost impossible to stream your way to a championship.


Grade: C-




TEAM 12 (Matt Stroup)

1.12 -- Francisco Lindor, SS, 8
2.13 -- Bryce Harper, OF, 14
3.36 -- Yu Darvish, SP, 43
4.37 -- Brian Dozier, 2B, 40
5.60 -- Craig Kimbrel, RP, 56
6.61 -- Wil Myers, 1B, 59
7.84 -- Ronald Acuna, OF, 100
8.85 -- Yoenis Cespedes, OF, 71
9.108 -- Alex Wood, SP, 96
10.109 -- David Price, SP,RP, 110
11.132 -- Kyle Seager, 3B, 136
12.133 -- Shohei Ohtani, SP,DH, 140
13.156 -- Brad Brach, RP, 168
14.157 -- Adam Jones, OF, 149
15.180 -- Delino DeShields, OF, 159
16.181 -- Jason Kipnis, 2B,OF, 163
17.204 -- Austin Barnes, C,2B, 130
18.205 -- Rick Porcello, SP, 219
19.228 -- Dellin Betances, RP, 249
20.229 -- Josh Bell, 1B, 188




Comments: Drafting last in a 12-teamer is sometimes better than drafting near the top or the middle because you get two darts to throw at players who have the ability to produce first-round value. Lindor and Harper were sensible picks, but I probably would have made one of those a starting pitcher and you see why as you look down this roster. Darvish should be great with the Cubs, but Wood was more average than good in the second half last season and Price carries obvious durability concerns. Ohtani has been roughed up this spring, both as a pitcher and hitter, and the only other starter on this team is Porcello, who posted a 4.65 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in 2017. I like the power and I like the speed -- this is a roster that should generate strong offensive counting stats week over week -- but the owner will probably have to be a little too reliant on the waiver wire to find midseason SP upgrades.


Grade: C+




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