10 MLB players, one fantasy mock draft

10 MLB players, one fantasy mock draft

Here at MLB.com, we have plenty of fantasy baseball expertise. But no one can dispute that the Major League players whom we analyze have their own level of knowledge. Knowing this, we decided to solicit advice from them about how to build the perfect fantasy team. The result is the first ever -- that we know of -- players-only fantasy mock draft.

Ten players with an interest in fantasy baseball agreed to take part in a three-round mock draft with the help of MLB.com reporters, who relayed picks across the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues.

The draft order:
1. Carlos Gomez, OF, Brewers
2. Brian Dozier, 2B, Twins
3: Hector Santiago, LHP, Angels
4: Chris Johnson, 3B, Braves
5. Sam Fuld, OF, A's
6. Darren O'Day, RHP, Orioles
7. Kevin Frandsen, INF, Nationals
8. Brad Ziegler, RHP, D-backs
9. Dallas Keuchel, LHP, Astros
10. Christian Yelich, OF, Marlins

Each player's picks and rationale -- along with analysis from MLB.com fantasy guru Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB) -- can be found below. We used a standard snake draft format, and in the interest of minimizing clubhouse politics, forbid players from selecting someone on their own team.

For complete draft grades and analysis, check out Zinkie's article here.

Round 1, Pick 1
Player: Gomez
Pick: Mike Trout, OF, LAA

Gomez's take: He can do it all: score runs, drive in runs, steal bases, hit for extra bases. He's a great player.

Zinkie's take: Gomez made a great choice, as the Angels' superstar should go first overall in every 2015 draft.

Round 1, Pick 2
Player: Dozier
Pick: Andrew McCutchen, OF, PIT

Dozier's take: He and [Giancarlo] Stanton are both exceptional players, but I like guys who can do it all. Stanton obviously has power and drives in runs, but with McCutchen, I like the speed. He's a total player who can swipe bags, hit home runs, get RBIs, everything.

Zinkie's take: Dozier started off his roster with arguably the safest first-round talent, as McCutchen offers steady five-category production.

Outlook: Abreu, 1B, CWS

Round 1, Pick 3
Player: Santiago
Pick: Jose Abreu, 1B, CWS

Santiago's take: You saw last year what [Abreu] did. He hit for power early and he hit for average late. He's probably not going to go out there and steal a bunch of bags. He's going to be a guy pitchers try to stay away from, but he's going to put up his numbers.

Zinkie's take: The fantasy community is buzzing over Abreu, who has invaded the top-five picks in many recent drafts.

Round 1, Pick 4
Player: Johnson
Pick: Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, ARI

Johnson's take: He's going to hit .300 with power, and don't forget he's going to steal 20 [bases] as well.

Zinkie's take: With a potent power stroke at hitter-friendly Chase Field, Goldschmidt could reward Johnson with a 35-homer, 100-RBI season.

Round 1, Pick 5
Player: Fuld
Pick: Clayton Kershaw, LHP, LA

Fuld's take: He's a machine and is only getting better. Plus, his defense behind him should be better this season.

Zinkie's take: The Dodgers' ace is unquestionably the top pitcher in baseball, and he gives Fuld the best chance of having a player who can top Trout in fantasy production.

Stanton's first spring homer

Round 1, Pick 6
Player: O'Day
Pick: Stanton, OF, MIA

O'Day's take: There's some risk here, because you never know how a hitter will respond to coming back from taking a pitch to the face, but his upside makes him worth it here.

Zinkie's take: As O'Day said, Stanton presents more risk than the other elite bats, but he also offers the best chance to secure a 40-homer slugger.

Round 1, Pick 7
Player: Frandsen
Pick: Miguel Cabrera, 1B, DET

Frandsen's take: No explanation needed.

Zinkie's take: Frandsen is right -- drafting a player who has returned first-round production every season for more than a decade requires no explanation.

Round 1, Pick 8
Player: Ziegler
Pick: Felix Hernandez, RHP, SEA

Ziegler's take: There are several bats that I like here, but only one pitcher who I feel is separated from the rest of the pack. [The Mariners] improved their offense this winter, which should help his win total. And he was as good last year as I've ever seen him.

Zinkie's take: Hernandez has always been a fantasy ace because of his ability to post low ratios and massive innings totals. He could be primed for his first 20-win season after the Mariners revamped their offense in the offseason.

Round 1, Pick 9
Player: Keuchel
Pick: Robinson Cano, 2B, SEA

Keuchel's take: Just one of the premier hitters. Other than 'Tuve [Jose Altuve], he's one of the hardest outs in the game.

Zinkie's take: Keuchel will not make a splash by selecting the ultra-consistent Cano in Round 1, but by the end of the season, he will likely end up with better numbers than many of the higher-ceiling first-round options.

Round 1, Pick 10
Player: Yelich
Pick: Adam Jones, OF, BAL

Yelich's take: You're talking five-tool player. He can do it all.

Zinkie's take: Like McCutchen and Cano, Jones is so appealing to fantasy owners such as Yelich because of his ultra-reliable production.

Kluber on Opening Day start

Round 2, Pick 1
Player: Yelich
Pick: Corey Kluber, RHP, CLE

Yelich's take: Cy Young winner. Nasty stuff.

Zinkie's take: Yelich wisely paired his super-safe selection of Jones with a high-upside pick of Kluber, who could challenge Kershaw for top-pitcher status if he can replicate his 2014 second-half numbers (9-3, 1.73 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 11 K/9 rate) across a full season.

Round 2, Pick 2
Player: Keuchel
Pick: Max Scherzer, RHP, WSH

Keuchel's take: He's been a workhorse for a number of years now. With that rotation and in that division, he has a chance to establish himself as one of the three best pitchers in the league.

Zinkie's take: Scherzer has been an elite ace for the past two seasons, and it is scary to think of how good he will be in the National League East.

Round 2, Pick 3
Player: Ziegler
Pick: Gomez, OF, MIL

Ziegler's take: I toyed with the idea of not taking him to mess with him, just to see how far he'd fall [since he's participating in this draft]. But in the end, Gomez is an absolute steal with the 13th pick. Potential top-five fantasy player overall -- produces big in every category, which is tough to find from here on out.

Zinkie's take: The Major Leaguers toyed with Gomez by leaving him on the board for a while, but he should be a top-10 pick. Ziegler just secured one of the steals of this draft.

Round 2, Pick 4
Player: Frandsen
Pick: Troy Tulowitzki, SS, COL

Frandsen's take: I think the baseball gods will finally be on his side and reward his hard work with a monster year.

Zinkie's take: Tulowitzki is a risky selection, but he could be a top-five player if he can play in 140 games.

Outlook: Altuve, 2B, HOU

Round 2, Pick 5
Player: O'Day
Pick: Altuve, 2B, HOU

O'Day's take: He's not a sexy pick, but he will get the job done. Balances it out with Stanton.

Zinkie's take: O'Day is off to a great start, pairing a super slugger in Stanton with the Astros' sparkplug, who is worth a first-round pick because of his ability to contribute a great deal in steals, batting average and runs.

Round 2, Pick 6
Player: Fuld
Pick: Chris Sale, LHP, CWS

Fuld's take: I'll take another left-handed pitcher in Sale. An improved offense in Chicago should garner him more wins.

Zinkie's take: Starting a fantasy roster with two aces is a rare strategy, but Kershaw and Sale offer Fuld a chance to win most pitching categories.

Round 2, Pick 7
Player: Johnson
Pick: Yasiel Puig, OF, LA

Johnson's take: He's an exciting player who can do it all, and I think he's just going to get better.

Zinkie's take: The 24-year-old is one of baseball's rising stars, and both fantasy owners and Major Leaguers can see that he is destined for greatness.

Round 2, Pick 8
Player: Santiago
Pick: Buster Posey, C, SF

Santiago's take: He's going to go out there and put up numbers. And I think them giving him his first base/catcher role, where he can save his legs a little bit. I think he's going to have a great year.

Zinkie's take: The Giants' star is a terrific pick because he can rival Trout and Kershaw as the player who provides the most dominant production over the competition at his position.

Round 2, Pick 9
Player: Dozier
Pick: Madison Bumgarner, LHP, SF

Dozier's take: I need a pitcher on my team, and after what I saw last year in the playoffs, he's got the momentum to have a phenomenal year.

Zinkie's take: Like the rest of us, Dozier found time to catch enough of the 2014 postseason to realize that Bumgarner is quickly becoming one of baseball's elite aces.

Round 2, Pick 10
Player: Gomez
Pick: Carlos Gonzalez, OF, COL

Gomez's take: The big thing is he's healthy, and when he's healthy, he steals bags, hits for power. He has all the tools. He reminds me of me a little bit. I like guys who remind me of me.

Zinkie's take: CarGo is a risky second-round pick because of his injury history, but he will likely reward Gomez nicely if he can start 140 games.

Cruz's three-run home run

Round 3, Pick 1
Player: Gomez
Pick: Nelson Cruz, OF, SEA

Gomez's take: I don't care what people say about hitting at [Safeco Field]. With the kind of power he has, he's going to hit 35-45 homers anywhere he goes.

Zinkie's take: Some observers feel that Safeco Field will be the demise of Cruz, but he is the only Major Leaguer who is coming off a 40-homer season, and his power was well-established long before 2014.

Round 3, Pick 2
Player: Dozier
Pick: Adrian Beltre, 3B, TEX

Dozier's take: Beltre has put up numbers for it seems like 30 straight years. He's always a 20-30 home run candidate, possibly more, with a lot of RBIs and runs. That's a steal.

Zinkie's take: In McCutchen, Bumgarner and Beltre, Dozier has added three reliable studs, which would allow him to take some chances on high-upside players in the middle rounds.

Round 3, Pick 3
Player: Santiago
Pick: Jose Bautista, OF, TOR

Santiago's take: He hits for power, he hits for average. He's going to put the ball in play, he's feared as a hitter, and I think all the way around he's going to have another good, productive year. I'm surprised he's still up there. I didn't even think about him, because I thought he'd be gone.

Zinkie's take: After selecting Abreu, Posey and Bautista, Santiago instantly becomes the favorite to lead the league in homers and RBIs.

Round 3, Pick 4
Player: Johnson
Pick: Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, TOR

Johnson's take: I'll take those 40 homers. He's one of those few guys with legit power.

Zinkie's take: Bautista and Encarnacion are popular late first-round picks this year, so Santiago and Johnson were extremely fortunate to come away with them in Round 3.

Donaldson's go-ahead home run

Round 3, Pick 5
Player: Fuld
Pick: Josh Donaldson, 3B, TOR

Fuld's take: He's moving to a hitters' ballpark and hitters' division. Plenty of protection in his lineup and there should be lots of RBI opportunities, too.

Zinkie's take: Three straight Blue Jays off the board. Donaldson gives Fuld a great start to his mission of crafting an offense that will complement his twin aces.

Round 3, Pick 6
Player: O'Day
Pick: Michael Brantley, OF, CLE

O'Day's take: Because he can do everything.

Zinkie's take: O'Day may be off to the best start of any owner, as Stanton, Altuve and Brantley should combine for more than 60 homers, 75 steals and a .300 batting average.

Round 3, Pick 7
Player: Frandsen
Pick: Anthony Rizzo, 1B, CHC

Frandsen's take: He's going to be a good one all year; just a feeling.

Zinkie's take: The Cubs' budding star was a steal in Round 3, as he is starting to crash the top round of many 2015 fantasy drafts.

Round 3, Pick 8
Player: Ziegler
Pick: Anthony Rendon, 3B, WSH

Ziegler's take: Everyone knew what he would do with a bat given a full season to produce, and he's still getting better. But he jumped up and really surprised people with his steals last year. Couple all that offense with him qualifying at both second base and third base, and he's a monster value at the bottom of the third round.

Zinkie's take: Rendon is ascending into the first round of some 2015 drafts, so Ziegler picked up excellent value by adding him late in Round 3.

Round 3, Pick 9
Player: Keuchel
Pick: Ian Desmond, SS, WSH

Keuchel's take: Dude does everything well -- more than 20 steals each last four years with more than 20 homers each of the last three.

Zinkie's take: It's hard to go wrong with a perennial 20-20 player at a premium position.

Round 3, Pick 10
Player: Yelich
Pick: Nolan Arenado, 3B, COL

Yelich's take: Gold Glove third baseman. That doesn't matter in fantasy, does it? He plays at Coors Field, and I played with him in travel ball growing up.

Zinkie's take: An aggressive pick at 30th overall, but Arenado is an ascending talent in a great park so he could reward Yelich's faith.

Zachary Finkelstein is a fantasy editor for MLB.com. Reporting done by Adam McCalvy, Rhett Bollinger, Alden Gonzalez, Mark Bowman, Jane Lee, Brittany Ghiroli, Steve Gilbert, Brian McTaggart and Joe Frisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.