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2014 Tout Wars Experts League

Ray Flowers reviews the club he put together in Tout Wars, one of the most prestigeous leagues in the industry.

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Tout Wars is one of the two biggest events in the industry (the other being LABR), and I'm fortunate enough to be invited to both events by the powers that be. Last year I came in third place in LABR, but I was flat out embarrassed by my bottom barrel finish in Tout. 2014 will be different.

In what follows I'll break down my club. Is it perfect? Nope. Can it be competitive? Maybe. Can't be worse than last year. If it is, they might revoke my privileges.

15 teams, 28 rounds, $260 auction
Mixed league -- MLB player universe
5x5 rotisserie -- R, HR, RBI, SB, OBP; W, SV, K, ERA, WHIP

And yes, one key point to note before getting to the team. Batting average has been replaced by on-base percentage for the purpose of this league, so before you question all of my selections, make sure to factor that in to the equation.

Catcher: John Jaso ($5), Yasmani Grandal (1)
First Base: Eric Hosmer (22)
Second Base: Aaron Hill (11)
Third Base: Brett Lawrie (13)
Shortstop: Elvis Andrus (20)
Middle Infielder: Brad Miller (12)
Corner Infielder: Corey Hart (6)
OF: Matt Holliday (23), Hunter Pence (21), Alex Rios (21), B.J. Upton (6), Daniel Nava (7)
Utility: Michael Brantley (4)

Pitchers: Zack Greinke (17), Matt Cain (17), Danny Salazar (16), Sergio Romo (13), Fernando Rodney (10), Tim Lincecum (6), A.J. Burnett (4), Joaquin Benoit (3), Taijuan Walker (2)

Bench: Wily Peralta, Felipe Paulino, Chris Young, Rickie Weeks


Before I break it down know this – I really like my team, and in fact it was called a very “Ray-like” team by many people. Why?

I have three Giants including Tim Lincecum.

I drafted B.J. Upton.

I did very well based on my projected dollar values in the 2014 Draft Guide for the players on my roster. Here's the breakdown.

(1) None of my nine pitchers cost more than my dollar rankings suggested they would. In total I actually rostered the nine hurlers at a $46 savings.

(2) According to the prices I suggest paying in the Draft Guide, I earned $68 more in value for hitters than I paid for that value on draft day.

Of course, it's impossible that I spent $260 and rostered $374 in talent, right? Still it makes me feel solid about the club.

Two trip highlights before I break down the team.

Jeff Mans, my BFF, got a bouncer in his face for no reason (apparently talking to ladies at a bar isn't allowed in New York). Jeff, not one to back down, said the following to the bouncer who was literally standing one inch from his face breathing his smelly bouncer breath all over Jeff (this has not been exaggerated for effect, this is exactly what happened). Jeff said, and I quote “Do you know who I am? I'm famous. Throw the first punch bro and I'll own this place.”  Cooler heads prevailed and we went back to looking at pretty ladies. I look at Jeff totally differently now. He's not just a pretty face with frosted tips. In the future when trouble arises I'll push Jeff to the front of the crowd and have him take the lead. He's way more manly than I am. I just wanted another Vodka and Red Bull.

Saturday night there was a fight as we were walking out of the club at 3 AM (and yes, I slept about seven hours the two nights if I was lucky). One of my buddies, let's just call him Nando Difino for lack of a better name, didn't want me to get caught up in the brawl. Mind you at 3 AM we were all feeling pretty good and none of us had the old equilibrium working at 100 percent – so my friend came to my aid. Nando, and remember his name has been changed to protect his identity (not really), grabbed my arm and tried to pull me to safety. As he removed me from harms way he spun me by my arm so I took a header. Well, a little more graceful than that was I, but I got a jacked up bump on my shin. Good news is I can use it against “Nando” forever. Bad news - one of the guys in the fight got knocked unconscious as he fell into the gutter. I certainly came out ahead with only a bruised shin.

Now to the club. No, the baseball club, not another club in New York.

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I only spent $6 on my catchers. Grandal is a $1 flier, he's been an elite hitter at times in the minors, while Jaso was a target of mine. He's posted an OBP of .391 the past two years. The only catcher in baseball who is better in that time than Jaso is Joe Mauer (.410).

Hosmer is a rock solid option at first. Unfortunately he owns a league average type .332 OBP for his career. Let's hope he can repeat his .353 mark from last season. Hart is my corner infield/backup option to Hosmer. Hart his health concerns and all, but for $6 I couldn't pass up that option.

Jedd Gyorko went for $14 and he had a .301 OBP last year. Meanwhile, Jose Altuve went for $16. His career OBP is .323 so that's a high price just for speed. Hill went for only $11 to me? By the way, Hill is a year removed from 26 homers, 85 RBIs, 93 runs, 14 steals and a .360 OBP.

Miller and Andrus are a strong duo up the middle. Miller seems likely to hit atop the Mariners' lineup, so the $12 there was a nice buy. A little concerned about the arm of Andrus, but a .350 OBP, 35 steals and 85 runs scored are totally doable (there's even more there to mine).

The outfield lacks a superstar, but for a 15 team league I really like it. Holliday ($23) and Pence ($21) are solid, always productive vets. Shocked I was able to get Alex Rios for $21. He's basically been a 20/30, 85/85 guy the past two seasons. I would much rather have him at $21 than Carlos Gomez (24), Giancarlo Stanton (26), Justin Upton (29) or Shin-Soo Choo (32). OK, B.J. Upton was awful last year, but he literally cost a fourth of what Gomez did. I'm fine with taking that risk. Nava could be a beast in this format (see his Player Profile). Brantley gets no love, but for only $4 at the draft table? That's criminally low. That guy will earn $15 no problemo with the potential for a $20 season.

Question for you. Clayton Kershaw or Greinke and Salazar? I ask because I was able to roster Greinke for $17 and Salazar for $16 which is the same price that Kershaw went for. Just saying.

I have no problem at all with Cain for $17, and no problem at all with him being on my team. However, three arms for $16+ wasn't my plan. Again, I love the arms and the prices are fine, but getting Cain for $17, when I could have rostered two solid arms later, let's say Jeff Samardzija ($7) and C.J. Wilson ($5), was a little off the plan and left me a few less dollars to spend on offense. For more on Cain see his Player Profile.

My best buy of the event? It's a duo actually in Burnett ($4) and Lincecum ($4). Say what you want about the duo, but for $10 I rostered potentially 30 wins and 400 strikeouts. Thrilled there.

Romo has struggled in spring, he's not been using his slider to save his arm, and Rodney is not one of my favorites. Still, the duo cost $23, one dollar less than Craig Kimbrel. Adding Benoit for $3 was big too. We all know there is no way that Huston Street stays healthy all year.

Finally, I took a shot on a young arm in Walker for a mere $2. Seems a bit odd he went for $2 while Yordani Ventura cost $6. Maybe it's just me, but I see Walker as a potentially tremendous bargain for me.

The bench? Decent. I rostered Peralta and Paulino to help cover for the DL start from Walker. Chris Young won't have a strong OBP, but he could go 20/20 and be a solid run producer. Finally, in a 15 team league, how is it ever wrong to take Rickie Weeks in the 27th round? Answer? It's never a bad thing.    

Solid in power.
Like the steals potential.
A bit weak in OBP.
Think I'm in fantastic shape in the K column, and my ratios should rock as well.

All in all, not a bad squad.

Here's a link to the entire event (you can switch the tabs at the top of the spreadsheet to find the results of all the leagues). You can also find the review of others at the Tout Wars site. Let me know what you think and post a COMMENT. I'm a big boy. I can take it.



  • 64x64

    legendtim 26 Mar 13:09 / Reply

    Who the hell is Jeff Mans and who cares?

  • 64x64

    Brian From Idaho 26 Mar 12:25 / Reply

    If Jeff Mans is "FAMOUS" how is i have never head of him?

  • 64x64

    Dave 26 Mar 11:16 / Reply

    Where can we go to see the draft board for all of the teams?

  • 64x64

    Steve 26 Mar 11:15 / Reply

    Where is your power?

  • 64x64

    wayne ludwig 25 Mar 12:46 / Reply

    Great stories Ray. Thats what having fun is all about. On to the draft-because if you I ve become the Luncecum guy in our Roto draft, taking him about the 16th round this year (about the same last year) Won the league last year and his K/9 helped a lot. Good luck to you.

  • 64x64

    Clifford Gross 24 Mar 19:11 / Reply

    I like your draft but I think you over paid for Miller ($12). I would rather seen you get a Kendricks ($5) and put the money in upgrading someone else on your roster.

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    Ray Guilfoyle 24 Mar 16:01 / Reply

    Ray is not giving any love to any of my buys in Tout….Kershaw, Gomez and Kimbrel. Let the battle of the Rays begin!! haha…good luck Ray.

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    PUCCISMASH 24 Mar 14:41 / Reply

    Hill seems to always be had at a great value, I really like Lawrie this year too. Hope this squad pans out for you this season, I'm heavily invested in a lot of the same players

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