2016 Fantasy Draft Outline – Who To Draft And When

It’s draft season, which means you better get prepped before you’re on the clock without an idea of who you should pick. Lucky for you – and everyone who I’m...

It’s draft season, which means you better get prepped before you’re on the clock without an idea of who you should pick. Lucky for you – and everyone who I’m in a league with – I’m going to outline my entire draft plan for 2016, from who I’m targeting in each round to which positions I’m focusing on getting early in the draft and those to wait on. All my favorite players are here in one place for each position, with a round-by-round outline at the end. The rounds are a rough estimation, and should give you a general idea of when you should be looking to grab them.

Before we begin, there are a few things to note:

– This outline is meant for a redraft, 12-teamer 5×5 league. It still applies to most variants, but obviously it’s not a one-size-fits-all.
– I have purposefully left some holes since drafts are fluid creatures that need affection and constant-attention to nail down just right.
– Don’t follow this so rigidly that when Ryan Braun falls to the 8th round you ignore him.

Let’s get to it.


Catchers are an interesting breed this year, as some people are very willing to sit on Catchers until the 150s and beyond, making it more like a game of chicken to see who is willing to sacrifice the earlier pick to snag the catcher of their choosing. There are a handful of catchers I could see myself drafting, and it really depends on who are the final men standing. Say no to the heavyweights, as someone like Travis d’Arnaud has been regularly sneaking past #130, and could be available in the 15th round or so. Otherwise, my eye is honed in on grabbing Yasmani Grandal once I get comfortable in the draft, which should be around round 16 or so. If Grandal gets snatched earlier than anticipated, I’d be willing to wait it out for Wellington Castillo later or snag one of Devin Mesoraco/Matt Wieters if they were skipped over for Grandal.

Travis d’Arnaud – Round 15
Yasmani Grandal/Devin Mesoraco/Matt Wieters – Round 16/17/18
Wellington Castillo – Round 20+

First Basemen

A lot of people will tell you that you shouldn’t target positions at certain parts in the draft since “it doesn’t work that way.” Well, sorry bucko, but it kinda does. You can play around ADP expectancies to target your value picks well in advance and strategize how to draft the ideal team. That’s what this article is after all! Anyway, I’m confident that I will have a 1B on my team before round 5 comes because I will reach to make sure I don’t end up with someone like Adam Lind. Belgh. The way I see it, I’m going after one of the Top 5 1B in the first two rounds, if that doesn’t work, then Chris Davis/Joey Votto in the 3rd, followed by a last resort of Adrian Gonzalez in the 4th. The drop off is so big that that I’m willing to reach in the fourth if it comes to that (unless you’re in a Yahoo league, where you can get Prince + Ortiz also in the 5th/6th which pushes Adrian back a round or two as well). For my UTIL spot, I’d consider jumping on Lucas Duda or Byung-Ho Park around the 14th round or so.

Paul Goldschmidt – Round 1, Pick #3
Anthony Rizzo/Miguel Cabrera – Backend of 1st round/start of 2nd
Edwin Encarnacion/Jose Abreu – Round 2
Chris Davis/Joey Votto – Round 2/3
Adrian Gonzalez – Round 4 (if I must + pushed to 5/6 and include Prince/Ortiz in a Yahoo league)
Lucas Duda/Byung-Ho Park – Round 14/15

Second Basemen

I’m not going to go after the elite options since they just don’t do enough compared to the other heavy hitters, and there are some middling and later targets to get the job done. First is Anthony Rendon who I may pull the trigger on if he’s hanging out in the 7th/8th round. If Rendon doesn’t work out, my sights shift to Rougned Odor, who suits my fancy as a solid 9/10 round guy. Things may not go your way with those two, leaving you with a 2B after the 10th, meaning we’re looking toward the backend of our drafts to get our 2B. Fortunately, there are a few decent options to grab past round 15. First is the oft overlooked Jonathan Schoop, who could easily hit over 20+ HRs this season, and currently holding an ADP near the 20th round. Then there is Starlin Castro who fits nicely into the Yankee lineup, who’ll be available near the 200th pick in your draft. Pray you get lucky early, but note of the later options that will fit the bill.

Anthony Rendon – Round 7/8
Rougned Odor – Round 9/10
Starlin Castro/Jonathan Schoop – Round 17+


There are only two shortstops I plan to draft this season: Corey Seager or Ketel Marte. I’m a firm believer that their current draft stocks are underpriced, allowing us to take advantage as we plan our drafts. If the 6th round comes along and I can’t grab Noah Syndergaard, I’m crossing my fingers Corey Seager is available even with his knee injury scare. I’d consider 5th round, but that’s only if I had to grab a SP in the fourth round and there aren’t any elite SP options left. If Seager isn’t available, I can conceive a situation grabbing Lindor or Bogaerts if they fall to the 8th, but I absolutely love going for Ketel Marte in the 13th/14th round. His Runs/Steals/Average in the 2-hole for the Mariners will make you a very satisfied customer, especially when his ADP is well past 200 currently. Monitor the SS situation across the draft and grab Marte when the time is right. If you somehow miss out on the Ketel corn, Trevor Story is the true backup plan, as all signs are for him to be the starting shortstop in Colorado with Jose Reyes’ inevitable suspension. Hard not to love his 15/15 potential in that lineup for the price of nothing in your draft, and if he doesn’t wind up as the starter, simply move on to another option off the wire.

Corey Seager – Round 6
Ketel Marte – Round 13/14
Trevor Story – Round 20+

Third Basemen

In my mind, it really comes down to two situations at third base this season. Either I grab one of Josh Donaldson/Nolan Arenado/Manny Machado in the first round, or I grab Maikel Franco in the 6th/7th round. I think Bryant is overhyped with his strikeout numbers, Fraizer is going at a time when I’m looking elsewhere, and options like Seager, Beltre, Longoria, and Carpenter just don’t do it for me. Franco is slotted at the perfect time of no-man’s land and I want all of it. Worst case scenario, I can see myself sporting Mike Moustakas around the 12/13th round if it comes to that, or even sitting on Jung-Ho Kang in the 14th/15th rounds despite Kang’s injury woes.

Josh Donaldson/Nolan Arenado/Manny Machado – Round 1
Maikel Franco – Round 6/7
Mike Moustakas – Round 12/13
Jung-Ho Kang – Round 14/15


Outside of Mike Trout and Bryce Harper being snagged at #1 and #2 overall, I’m not looking to grab an outfielder in the first two rounds. Instead, there is great value to be had in the 3rd in 4th with players that could easily end up Top 15, but are simply pushed back by a plethora of other options. These guys include JD Martinez, Nelson Cruz, Chris Davis, and Justin Upton. If I grab Paul Goldschmidt in the first round, I can see myself reaching for one of these guys in the end of 2nd, but only if Jose Bautista is off the board. After grabbing at least one OF, I’m looking to the later rounds to get value on speedsters that are set to hit at the top of their lineups such as  Kevin Pillar and Dexter Fowler, matching them with the mega power bats from early in the draft. I’m also looking toward solid upside options like Michael Conforto and Byron Buxton to give good returns at a low cost. Sidenote: I’d love to grab Hunter Pence if he lasts until the 11th or so (he’s the only middling OF I’m high on), but the rarity of that has me not including him in this draft outline.

Mike Trout/Bryce Harper – First two overall picks
Jose Bautista/Chris Davis/JD Martinez/Nelson Cruz – Round 2/3
Justin Upton/Yoenis Cespedes – Round 4
Kevin Pillar/Michael Conforto/Byron Buxton/Dexter Fowler/ – Round 16+

Starting Pitchers

The popular play in fantasy is to wait on pitching, and this year is no different…to an extent. The book is out on the pitchers that should present top tier value without the major name attached to them, meaning Carlos Carrasco and Noah Syndergaard need to be grabbed from the backend of the 4th through the start of the 6th. It really depends on your league’s draft, but do what you can to snag both of these pitchers without overpaying. You can survive with just one, but grabbing both with return a pair of aces for a lower cost than most. I’m then targeting Marcus Stroman or Adam Wainwright near rounds 8-10 (both if I only have one SP), followed by one of Steven Matz in the 11th+ or turning to Raisel Iglesias near round 13/14. Then it’s a giant grab bag of high upside pitchers that could be around or not depending on the aggression of your league mates: Michael Pineda, Joe Ross, Luis Severino, Patrick Corbin, Drew Smyly, Jaime Garcia. Don’t reach too far for these players since there are plenty to choose from and you won’t be able to draft all of them. Finally, in the final rounds, I’m hoping to grab one of the Stud Four starters to stash in hopes that one comes up early in the season: Blake Snell, Jose Berrios, Tyler Glasnow, Lucas Gioltio. Deeper leagues looking for more SP depth can look at Aaron Nola, Vince Velasquez, Tyler Duffey, John Lamb, James Paxton, and Jerad Eickhoff as well.

Carlos Carrasco/Noah Syndergaard – Round 4/5/6
Marcus Stroman/Adam Wainwright – Round 8/9/10
Steven Matz/Raisel Iglesias – Round 11/12/13/14
Michael Pineda/Joe Ross/Luis Severino/Patrick Corbin/Drew Smyly/Jaime Garcia – Round 15+
Blake Snell/Jose Berrios/Tyler Glasnow/Lucas Giolito – Round 20+
Aaron Nola/Vince Velasquez/Tyler Duffey/John Lamb/James Paxton/Jerad Eickhoff – Round 22+ (Deeper SP leagues)

Relief Pitchers

I’m looking to secure a stud reliever in the 7-10 rounds as long as the draft is playing out in a favorable way. I’m only reaching for Wade Davis or Kenley Jansen, though, and will look to Ken Giles, David Robertson or Cody Allen in the middling 10-12 rounds regardless if I managed to snag one of the two elites. After that, I’m focusing on getting value closers who are set to have a secure spot with K upside, who look to be AJ Ramos, Hector Rodon, Sean Doolittle and Jake Mcgee later in the draft, near the 150s or so. In the final rounds, I like to round out my staff with a stud set-up man or two to bolster K/ERA/WHIP numbers, which means I’m looking at Dellin Betances and Tony Watson late in the draft, assuming Andrew Miller is scooped up already due to Aroldis’ suspension.

Wade Davis/Kenley Jansen – Round 7/8/9
Ken Giles/David Robertson/Cody Allen – Round 10/11/12
AJ Ramos/Hector Rondon/Sean Doolittle/Jake McGee – Round 13+
Andrew Miller/Dellin Betances/Tony Watson – Round 20+

Round by Round

Round 1: Mike Trout/Bryce Harper/Paul Goldschmidt/Josh Donaldson/Nolan Arenado/Manny Machado/Anthony Rizzo

Round 2: Miguel Cabrera/Edwin Encarnacion/Jose Abreu/Joey Votto/Chris Davis (Add Jose Bautista if you took Goldschmidt in the first)

Round 3: Chris Davis/Joey Votto/JD Martinez/Nelson Cruz

Round 4: Justin Upton/Yoenis Cespedes/Carlos Carrasco/Noah Syndergaard/Adrian Gonzalez (Add Jacob DeGrom if he falls)

Round 5: Carlos Carrasco/Noah Syndergaard/Corey Seager/Adrian Gonzalez

Round 6: Carlos Carrasco/Noah Syndergaard/Corey Seager/Maikel Franco

Round 7: Maikel Franco/Wade Davis/Kenley Jansen/Anthony Rendon

Round 8: Wade Davis/Kenley Jansen/Marcus Stroman/Adam Wainwright/Anthony Rendon

Round 9: Wade Davis/Kenley Jansen/Marcus Stroman/Adam Wainwright/Rougned Odor

Round 10: Ken Giles/David Robertson/Cody Allen/Marcus Stroman/Adam Wainwright/Rougned Odor

Round 11: Ken Giles/David Robertson/Cody Allen/Steven Matz/Hunter Pence

Round 12: Steven Matz/Ken Giles/David Robertson/Cody Allen/Ketel Marte/Mike Moustakas

Round 13: Steven Matz/Raisel Iglesias/AJ Ramos/Hector Rondon/Sean Doolittle/Jake McGee/Mike Moustakas/Ketel Marte

Round 14: Raisel Iglesias/Ketel Marte/AJ Ramos/Hector Rondon/Sean Doolittle/Jake McGee/Lucas Duda/Byung-Ho Park/Jung-Ho Kang

Round 15: AJ Ramos/Hector Rondon/Sean Doolittle/Jake McGee/Lucas Duda/Byung-Ho Park/Jung-Ho Kang/Travis d’Arnaud/Michael Pineda/Joe Ross/Luis Severino/Patrick Corbin/Drew Smyly/Jaime Garcia

Round 16: Michael Pineda/Joe Ross/Luis Severino/Patrick Corbin/Drew Smyly/Jaime Garcia/AJ Ramos/Hector Rondon/Sean Doolitle/Jake McGee/Kevin Pillar/Michael Conforto/Byron Buxton/Dexter Fowler/Yasmani Grandal/Devin Mesoraco/Matt Wieters

Round 17: Michael Pineda/Joe Ross/Luis Severino/Patrick Corbin/Drew Smyly/Jaime Garcia/Kevin Pillar/Michael Conforto/Byron Buxton/Dexter Fowler/Starlin Castro/Jonathan Schoop/Yasmani Grandal/Devin Mesoraco/Matt Wieters

Round 18: Michael Pineda/Joe Ross/Luis Severino/Patrick Corbin/Drew Smyly/Jaime Garcia/Kevin Pillar/Michael Conforto/Byron Buxton/Dexter Fowler/Starlin Castro/Jonathan Schoop/Yasmani Grandal/Devin Mesoraco/Matt Wieters

Round 19: Michael Pineda/Joe Ross/Luis Severino/Patrick Corbin/Drew Smyly/Jaime Garcia/Kevin Pillar/Michael Conforto/Byron Buxton/Dexter Fowler/Starlin Castro/Jonathan Schoop/Yasmani Grandal/Devin Mesoraco/Matt Wieters

Round 20+: Blake Snell/Jose Berrios/Tyler Glasnow/Lucas Giolito/Andrew Miller/Dellin Betances/Tony Watson/Trevor Story/Wellington Castillo

Deeper SP targets: Aaron Nola/Vince Velasquez/Tyler Duffey/John Lamb/James Paxton/Jerad Eickhoff

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Creator of CSW, The List, and SP Roundup. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former college pitcher, travel coach, pitching coach, and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

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