Fantasy Baseball: Early Rotisserie mock draft shows rising value of Juan Soto, Ronald Acuna

The 2019 postseason will be remembered for many things, not least of which is Juan Soto rising to prominence on a national stage.

Of course, us Fantasy Baseball types were already well acquainted, but when a player's star ascends to a level where it's no longer just the inner circle talking about him but everyone, the enthusiasm for drafting him goes up just a little.

That isn't to say Chris Welsh was wrong for selecting him ninth overall in our first and earliest mock draft for 2020 — a standard, 12-team Rotisserie league with traditional 5x5 scoring. What Soto has already accomplished through age 20 is historic. In virtually all respects, but particularly with regard to plate discipline, a player his age has no business being this good.

In a format that offers no direct rewards for said plate discipline, though, it's an act of faith taking him over proven breadwinners like Nolan Arenado, Alex Bregman and Freddie Freeman — one that I have to think may be fueled by the recent hype. 

For what it's worth, I peg Soto as more of a mid second-rounder, so it wasn't a complete stunner of a pick, just maybe the most interesting that the first round had to offer. Mookie Betts going ahead of Ronald Acuna and Christian Yelich probably won't be so commonplace either, but it's of course within the realm of possibility.

With these early mock drafts that still make use of the previous year's draft room, there's always a bit of a hangover effect. Not everyone is as far along in their 2020 rankings, so 2019 draft values still have some sway just by virtue of them being prominently displayed in the draft room.

With that said, here are some things that stood out to me:

  • The gap between Nolan Arenado, Alex Bregman and Anthony Rendon at third base has become so narrow that it's shocking to see Rendon slip so far behind the others. The buy-in will be a little easier in points leagues, where I have him going in the first round.  
  • Aaron Judge and especially Bryce Harper no longer strike me as second-rounders. They've repeatedly disappointed when drafted that high, and others have caught up in terms of upside. I have Judge going late third and Harper late fourth.
  • Manny Machado and Javier Baez similarly skated on reputation, going in Round 3. Third base and shortstop are the two deepest positions, particularly for the purposes of a 12-team league, and if Machado isn't going to be of much help in batting average now that he's out of Camden Yards, he's no longer worth paying up for at either spot. Same goes for Baez if we can't count on him for 20-plus steals.
  • Others that surprised me with how early they went include Paul Goldschmidt and Giancarlo Stanton. And look, there's something to be said for emphasizing track record. I just fear some of the warning signs for those players in an environment replete with standout hitters.
  • Adalberto Mondesi, Victor Robles and Mallex Smith all went much higher than I rank them, but I already know I'm on an island in my unwillingness to chase steals at the expense of the other categories.
  • Seeing Ketel Marte slide to Round 4 suggests the community at large is highly skeptical of his breakthrough, and I'll have a high number of shares in him if it continues.
  • High-end starting pitchers went off the board in an order I can more or less get behind. Mike Clevinger, Shane Bieber and Lucas Giolito seemed a little low and Shohei Ohtani aggressively high, but those are minor quibbles. What surprised me, though, is how spread out they were. Their potential impact is similar, particularly compared to what follows at the position, so in most drafts, I would expect them to dominate the third and fourth rounds.
  • Some picks I thought were interesting — meaning I'm not sure I'm totally on board yet, but I can see it — include Garrett Hampson in Round 10, Luis Robert in Round 10, Tommy Edman in Round 11, A.J. Puk in Round 13 and Yoshimoto Tsutsugo (the next big thing out of Japan?) in Round 14. 
  • The most interesting player not drafted? Gio Urshela, but it's obvious Miguel Andujar's impending return complicates matters there. Others who maybe should have been picked include Paul DeJong, Mitch Keller, Michael Kopech and Sam Hilliard.
  • Love the value of Lucas Giolito in Round 6, Jorge Soler, Gary Sanchez and Marcus Semien in Round 8 and Nelson Cruz in Round 9. I'd also like to draw your attention to Adam Aizer's outfield. Interesting stuff there.

So who took part in this thing? Only my very best friends!

  1. Scott White, CBS Sports (@CBSScottWhite)
  2. Connor Henry, Rotoprofessor (@ConnorH_FB)
  3. The Itch, Razzball (@PartyLikeMayans)
  4. Ariel Cohen, SportsLine (@ATCNY)
  5. Chris Mitchell, Fantrax (@CJMitch73)
  6. Adam Aizer, CBS Sports (@AdamAizer)
  7. Chris Towers, CBS Sports (@CTowersCBS)
  8. Tim McLeod, Patton & Company
  9. Chris Welsh, CBS Sports (@IsItTheWelsh)
  10. Daniel Preciado, Fantasy Front Office (@DanJPreciado)
  11. George Kurtz, RotoExperts (@GeorgeKurtz)
  12. Phil Ponebshek, Patton & Company

I know, I know. Out with it already.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Raised in Atlanta by a board game-loving family during the dawn of the '90s Braves dynasty, Scott White was easy prey for the Fantasy Sports, in particular Fantasy Baseball, and has devoted his adulthood... Full Bio

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