MLB’s Opening Day will be Thursday, March 30 this year. With only limited time to go before the season gets underway, now is the time to fire up those redraft fantasy baseball leagues. There are several league sizes and scoring options to sift through, and it could be a little overwhelming if you are new to the sport.
I conducted a 10-team head-to-head points mock draft on Yahoo. The stat categories included runs, HR, RBI, SB and batting average for hitters with wins, saves, strikeouts, ERA and WHIP for pitchers. My starting lineup requirements included a C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, three OFs, two UTIL, two SP, two RP, four general pitchers and five bench spots.
I had the 10th overall pick. This meant I had to wait until the end of the first round to make my first selection, but it allowed me always to have back-to-back draft picks. I didn't have to worry about getting sniped once I was on the clock. It is crucial to have a strategy for this spot in the order because there is such a gap after you make your second consecutive selection and the next. It also is essential to become familiar with how players are ranked on your platform because Yahoo greatly varies from ESPN, which I am more accustomed to. It made my roster turn out vastly different, even in the same draft spot.
Here’s our latest mock draft for 2023 Fantasy Baseball on Sunday, March 26:
10. Shohei Ohtani (hitter)
11. Corbin Burnes
30. Emmanuel Clase
31. Michael Harris
91. Adley Rutschman
151. Tyler Stephenson
So the first thing I noticed is that this Yahoo mock draft split Shohei Ohtani into two players. You could draft Ohtani, the hitter and Ohtani, the pitcher. I took the hitting version with my first pick despite his only being listed as a UTIL player. It restricts my lineup, which I usually don’t go for, but Ohtani is so good that I wanted to see how the draft looked with it.
Burnes should be the ace for the Brew Crew and is only a year removed from his NL Cy Young Award, and he led the National League in strikeouts last season. I followed this up with the reigning saves leader in Clase. Through three rounds, I have a dominant hitter, an ace and the best closer in the game. I added Harris in the fourth, who is expected to be a 30/30 candidate this season showing off his power and speed.
Catcher is one of those positions you need to have a specific plan for. While you may want to address the position early, you have plenty of time with the talent in the middle rounds. To kick off the 10th round, I took Rutschman, who is part of the Orioles’ youth movement. He should be the starter and brings power to the lineup. Stephenson in the 16th provides a backup with upside, no matter if he remains on the Cincinnati Reds or if he gets traded mid-season.
111. Freddy Peralta
171. Lars Nootbar
210. Jean Segura
I liked how my team started, but I feel like Peralta wasn’t the right call to start the 12th round. He is a serviceable arm, but looking back at my draft, I doubled up on arms in the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers’ rotations. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I tend to spread my pitchers between teams to maximize the chance that they pitch in a given week. I could have taken Logan Gilbert, Alexis Diaz or Max Muncy in this spot and been more set up for the later rounds.
Nootbar should start in right field for St. Louis. He is a solid pick, but outfield is super deep with reliable contributors even on the waiver wire after your drafts. Looking back at this draft, New York Mets SP Kodai Senga and Los Angeles Dodgers SP Tony Gonsolin were both still available and would instantly improve my pitching rotation, especially if I had passed on Peralta earlier.
My strategy in the later rounds is to try to maximize my lineup versatility. I drafted Segura, who should be the everyday second baseman for the Marlins. I should have drafted his teammate Jon Berti, who went two picks later. Segura can only play second base, while Berti can play second, short, third and the outfield.
Matt Olson — Atlanta Braves
Alex Bregman — Houston Astros
Adley Rutschman — Baltimore Orioles
Thairo Estrada — San Francisco Giants
Amed Rosario — Cleveland Guardians
Tyler Stephenson — Cincinnati Reds
Joey Meneses — Washington Nationals
Jean Segura — Miami Marlins
Corbin Burnes — Milwaukee Brewers
Emmanuel Clase — Cleveland Guardians
Jordan Romano — Toronto Blue Jays
Zac Gallen — Arizona Diamondbacks
Freddy Peralta — Milwaukee Brewers
Blake Snell — San Diego Padres
Jordan Montgomery — St. Louis Cardinals
Evan Phillips — Los Angeles Dodgers
Miles Mikolas — St. Louis Cardinals