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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. You can find recaps for Rounds 1-2 here, Rounds 3-4 here and Rounds 5-6 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.
7.73 – Frankie Montas, SP
7.74 – Bryan Reynolds, OF
7.75 – George Springer, OF
7.76 – Jesse Winker, OF
7.77 – Max Muncy, 1B/2B
7.78 – Jose Abreu, 1B
7.79 – Jazz Chisholm, 2B/SS
7.80 – Alek Manoah, SP
7.81 – Ranger Suarez, SP
7.82 – Jack Flaherty, RHP
7.83 – Giancarlo Stanton, OF
7.84 – Carlos Correa, SS
Four intriguing -- if volatile -- starting pitchers off the board in this round. I'm selfish so I'll talk about the Suarez pick, especially since it may seem early compared to some other starters who go off the board later. While it's true that the sample is small, it's tough to argue with the results in terms of both the metrics and the actual fantasy stats. It's worth the risk at this point in the draft.
Having said that, Manoah would have been the pick if he was still there, but George made sure that wasn't going to happen. There were a few clunkers -- expected for a rookie -- but it's hard not to be impressed with the stuff he showed and the results he put up in the toughest division in baseball. At this point in 2023 he may be off the board several rounds higher than this.
Reynolds was an afterthought in many drafts coming into 2021, and that was obviously a mistake. Yes he struggled mightily in 2020, but the year before that he was a hitter who hit.314 with an .880 OPS. It'd be nice if he could provide some thefts and the power isn't elite, but Reynolds can hit, and should again be a strong fantasy outfielder in 2022. Assuming this isn't the hitting version of Bret Saberhagen.
Considering Stanton is going to have outfield eligibility in 2022, this feels like a steal for Micah with pick 83. The injury concerns are obvious and you'll have to deal with some lows that go with the highs, but there were an awful lot of highs in 2021 when he was on the field. Getting a potential .270 hitters who can drop 40 homers and drive in 100-plus runs here is nice work, indeed.
8.85 – J.D Martinez, OF
8.86 – Dylan Cease, SP
8.87 – Raisel Iglesias, RP
8.88 – Jonathan India, 2B
8.89 –Trevor Rogers, LHP
8.90 – Will Smith, C
8.91 – Kris Bryant, OF/3B
8.92 – Brandon Lowe, 2B
8.93 – Anthony Rendon, 3B
8.94 – Carlos Rodon, SP
8.95 – Kenley Jansen, RP
8.96 – Willy Adames, SS
Martinez bounced back nicely from his poor -- and short -- 2020 season, and he led the league in doubles with 42. It wouldn't be a big surprise if some of those doubles turned into dingers in 2022, and the fact he has outfield eligibility is a nice plus.
Two White Sox starters go in this round in Rodon and Cease. There's a pretty good chance that one of those arms is gone with Rodon being a free agent, but both showed the swing-and-miss stuff that made them top prospects not long ago. It's understandable to be skeptical considering lack of track record, but it's very easy to imagine them building on their success and being even better next year.
A couple of top rookies also go in this range in Indian and Rogers. Rogers looked like a SP1 in the first half of the season, but regressed over the final two months. Even with regression he was still a useable option, and he has the potential to win you a week or two. India doesn't have that kind of ability, but after hitting 21 homers, stealing 12 bases and posting an .835 OPS, there's obviously a lot to like here, too.
The Smith pick is one that is solid value regardless, but could be an absolute steal if one thing and one thing only happens: Designated Hitter in the National League. In terms of rates stats there are very few catchers who have been better, and he now has a chance to be in the lineup more often if/when the DH does come to the NL on a permanent basis. Even without it, he's still a Top-3 catcher in fantasy formats.
After being traded to the Brewers from the Rays to open up a spot for wunderkind Wander Franco, Adames was sensational with an .886 OPS, 20 homers and 58 RBI in 99 games with the Brew Crew. Keep in mind that he's still just 26-years-old, and it's not like he hasn't had success before this deal. You shouldn't expect Adames to have the same kind of numbers in 2022 as he did in 2021, but even if you get the 2020 version (.818 OPS with 25 homers), you're getting good value this late in the draft.