Fantasy Baseball 2020: Sleepers, Busts and Final MLB Mock Draft

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 26, 2020

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the fourth inning of a spring training baseball game Monday, March 2, 2020, in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

One of the hardest parts of fantasy baseball draft preparation is determining which players are capable of carrying over good form from the prior season.

Some names could be viewed as potential sleeper picks based off second-half performances, while others could fly under the radar due to a change of scenery. Owners also have to be wary of which stars from previous years could develop into fantasy busts.

While that may be hard to predict in March, a few trends from recent seasons may lend a hand in figuring out who to avoid in drafts.


Fantasy Baseball 1st-Round Mock Draft

1. Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels

2. Mookie Betts, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers

3. Ronald Acuna Jr., OF, Atlanta Braves

4. Christian Yelich, OF, Milwaukee Brewers

5. Cody Bellinger, 1B/OF, Los Angeles Dodgers

6. Gerrit Cole, SP, New York Yankees

7. Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies

8. Alex Bregman, 3B, Houston Astros

9. Juan Soto, OF, Washington Nationals

10. Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians

11. Jacob deGrom, SP, New York Mets

12. Anthony Rendon, 3B, Los Angeles Angels



Aaron Civale, SP, Cleveland

Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Aaron Civale performed well during a 10-game run that began June 22.

Despite going 3-4, the Cleveland Indians hurler limited nine of his 10 opponents to two earned runs or fewer. However, the small sample size could cause some owners to become skeptical of his 2020 numbers, which may keep him available in the middle-to-late rounds.

He finished with a 2.34 ERA and allowed just 15 earned runs, but he did not produce a high volume of strikeouts.

Civale totaled 46 punchouts, and he reached the five-strikeout mark once in his last seven outings. The consistency over 10 games is a promising sign for the Indians and for owners looking to add back-end starting rotation talent before drafts conclude.

There could be some concern with how Civale will throw over the course of a full regular season, but if you are fine with taking that risk, he could bring value to the roster.


C.J. Cron, 1B, Detroit

Orlin Wagner/Associated Press

The Detroit Tigers' roster may not be the first area owners turn to for fantasy help, but if you dig through it, you will find a reliable power hitter at first base.

C.J. Cron hit 55 home runs in the last two seasons, with 30 coming for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2018 and 25 for the Minnesota Twins last season. He also produced over 70 RBI in those campaigns, which us leads to believe he could do the same with the Tigers in 2020.

However, Cron is far from perfect at the dish since he has a propensity to strike out. He fanned on 107 occasions in 2019 after he was sat down on strikes 145 times in 2018. His batting average could also be a concern since it remained stagnant at .253 from his final year with the Rays to his lone season with the Twins.

Cron started spring training with three home runs and five RBI in 31 plate appearances, but he struck out on five occasions.

If you are willing to weather the mediocre batting average and a good chunk of strikeouts, Cron could be a good backup option with power at first base.



Trevor Bauer, SP, Cincinnati

Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

Trevor Bauer has five consecutive 10-win seasons, but putting up eye-popping numbers with the Cincinnati Reds could be an issue.

He has to face the lineups of the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers on a few occasions and could spend a shorter amount of time on the mound now that he is in the National League.

After he was acquired from the Indians in July, Bauer lasted seven innings in four of 10 starts, and he put together one set of back-to-back seven-inning outings. His high ERA could also turn him into a fantasy bust in 2020, after he finished at 4.48 between two teams in 2019.

The 29-year-old has had one full season with an ERA under 4.00, and he issued the highest amount of walks in his career last season.

Bauer could still hit the double-digit win mark, but if he reaches that total, it could be with an imperfect line of statistics.


Joey Gallo, OF, Texas 

Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

Joey Gallo faces a similar issue to Bauer as he is known for producing in the top stat categories, but he has some flaws when you break down his entire resume.

The Texas Rangers outfielder eclipsed 40 home runs in 2017 and 2018, but he struck out on 403 occasions and has hit over .210 once in his MLB career.

In an injury-shortened 2019, Gallo fanned 114 times in 70 games while mashing 22 home runs. The large amount of strikeouts is concerning for a player who could be selected in the seventh or eighth round.

Gallo should not be in the elite echelon of outfielders, but his power warrants a middle-round choice to either solidify your starting trio or be used as a rotational piece.

While the power will draw him to fantasy owners, he comes with some flaws that could be under the microscope more if he does hit for power in 2020.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90Statistics obtained from Baseball Reference.


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