Without question, the Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout is the most valued player in fantasy baseball. Three of the four mock drafts studied for this article had Trout as the No. 1 pick. The reigning MVP is coming off a season that saw him lead the majors in runs scored and RBI.

His batting average dipped below .300, and he led the league in strikeouts with 184, but there’s no questioning his ability to put big numbers up for the Angels and your fantasy team.

Bleacher Report’s Jason Catania shared a draft he was involved in, and that was the only one of the group to have someone other than Trout go first.

In that draft, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw was the top pick. Kershaw is just 27 years old, and he’s already won three Cy Young Awards in the last four years. In 2014, he also won the National League MVP when he went 21-3. He led the league in wins, ERA (1.83) and complete games with six.

You can’t really go wrong with either man. Both are pretty clearly the top fantasy producers in the sport. They both seem impervious to down years, but quite honestly, with so many pitchers suffering arm injuries in this day and age, I’d always take the stud hitter with the top pick.

Let’s take a look at the top five picks for the four experts’ mock drafts I researched.

As you can see from the picks, others may have felt the same way about selecting a pitcher. Kershaw was selected as low as seventh in one of the drafts. 

The second-most coveted hitter is the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen. Cutch’s consistency encouraged those selecting in the mock drafts not to let him slip past the fourth spot in any case. He’s never eclipsed the 100-RBI mark, but he’s almost a guarantee to hit .300 with at least 20 home runs.

In 2014, he hit .314 with 25 home runs and drove in 83. While not astronomical, Cutch’s stats are dependable, and he’s never missed more than 16 games in a season. 

If you’re looking for a pitcher and can’t get Kershaw, who should be next on your list? In all four of the examined drafts, the Seattle Mariners’ Felix Hernandez was the second pitcher taken. King Felix was only 15-6, but he had an American League-leading 2.14 ERA. With better run support and bullpen work, he could have easily been a 20-game winner.

Fantasy owners don’t care much about his bullpen. Thus, he’s a hot commodity.



Jorge Soler

Part of doing well in fantasy baseball is about drafting a breakout star. The Chicago Cubs’ Jorge Soler has the look of a guy ready to explode. Soler wasn’t taken before the seventh round in any of the four drafts. 

Super prospect Kris Bryant is getting all of the attention during spring training, but Soler is quietly hitting .333 with three home runs. Cubs manager Joe Maddon gave Soler a huge compliment with a lofty comparison. Per Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago, Maddon said:

“He’s a beautiful man, though. I really, really enjoy the way he is. Really, I mean, he’s like Vladimir (Guerrero) with plate discipline. That’s what he is.”

His spring training success follows up a 24-game run with the big club in 2014 where he hit .292 with five homers and drove in 20. With most of the pressure and attention on Bryant—whenever he reaches the majors—Soler should be able to continue to prove why he’s such a great prospect in his own right.

Think about snatching him up at some point between the fifth and ninth rounds. If he stays healthy, this could be a huge year for the 23-year-old Cuban.


Collin McHugh

I know he plays for the Houston Astros, but Collin McHugh was pretty solid in 2014. Because of his team’s inability to score runs, he was only 11-9, but he had an ERA of 2.73 and he struck out 157 batters in just 154 innings.

Still, the earliest he was taken in any draft was the ninth round in the FFToolbox mock. That’s pretty insane. 

Last year was McHugh‘s first full season in the majors. Obviously, it’s possible he falls off a bit and incurs a sophomore jinx, but that can be said for just about any pitcher who hasn’t put together a proven track record of excellence.

McHugh is one of those guys you’ll select and your buddies will be like, “Who?” Later in the season, their tune might change when he’s become one of your most consistent performers.


Other researched mocks: Brad Pinkerton of Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.

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