Experts League: Tout Wars 2016
I came, I saw, I conquered. There were some tough times in the 2016 Tour Wars Mixed League Auction, but in the end I feel like the team came together very well.
The scene – New York, Saturday March 19th. I sat down at the table with 14 of the brightest minds in the business for the Tout Wars Mixed League Auction, and 15 minutes into the draft I was stunned. Every player throw up for bid went for more than I had them budgeted for. Every one of them. Not just by a dollar mind you, but the stars were routinely going off the board for $3-6 above what I had budgeted for them. I kept telling myself it would have to stop soon. I had to keep telling myself that as player after player kept going for too much. Patience I told myself. Eventually things will turn, and if you’re smart about it things might just work out. If I could stay patience. It was the longest 30 minutes of my fantasy life. Was I going to be shut out? Was my plan to spend the full amount on players I like, even if they were big ticket items, doomed to fail because of the crazy bidding in the room? Did I need to reach into my bag to pull out the pocket vodka I had in my backpack (true story that it was there)? Let’s see how it turned out, shall we?
Here are the 14 other teams that were involved in the festivities besides yours truly.
2016 Tout Wars Mixed Auction
Fred Zinkie 2011, 2013, 2015 Mixed Auction Champion
Cory Schwartz 2012 Mixed Auction Champion
$260 auction for 23 starters
5x5 scoring (we replace batting average with on-base percentage)
14 hitters, nine pitchers
six bench spots (rostered by a snake draft)
*We use 15 games, not 20, to be eligible at a position.
* Number in parenthesis is the $ amount spent.
C: Blake Swihart ($9), Matt Wieters (7)
1B: Carlos Santana (16)
2B: Chris Coghlan (2)
3B: Evan Longoria (13)
SS: Brad Miller (9)
MI: Dustin Pedroia (9)
CI: Matt Duffy (4)
OF: Starling Marte (33), Ryan Braun (22), Christian Yelich (21), Byron Buxton (8), Matt Holliday (4)
UTIL: Alex Rodriguez (2)
PITCHERS: Madison Bumgarner (28), Johnny Cueto (16), Sonny Gray (17), Andrew Miller (10), Dellin Betances (7), Ken Giles (16), Jose Berrios (2), Andrew Cashner (3) Joaquin Benoit (2)
RESERVES: Trevor Bauer, Drew Hutchison, Yunel Escobar, Joey Gallo, Keone Kela, Joakim Soria
HOW THE DRAFT WENT
- FINAL DRAFT RESULTS CAN BE FOUND HERE (all of the drafts from the weekend can be accessed at the top of the spreadsheet).
Whew. It all worked out in the end.
I spent a bit more than I want to on hurlers, a lot more actually, but I grabbed three guys I view as top-25 arms with two of them – Cueto and Gray – going for way less than expected which caused me to add Gray instead of the $10 arm I was planning on (my Player Rankings). I think that’s as good a trio of starting arms in the league. MadBum has had a rough spring, but as you can see, I’m not overly concerned. Big fan of Cashner too (Player Profile), and I couldn’t pass up that arm, those grounder, and the returning K-rate at that price. Berrios – same thing. The issue for Berrios is when will the Twins call him up? I would bet it’s no later than May. Injuries always happen, and their starting staff in Minnesota stinks. I rostered one more reliever than I planned, but I could dot that since I rostered three top arms instead of three. I do love the Miller/Betances combo, the same trick I pulled off in AL LABR, as those are two of the best relief arms in baseball. Should get 10 saves at least out of the duo with massive K totals and sparkling ratio. Steve Cishek is the closer for now in Seattle but after the flameout he tossed out there last season I certainly don’t trust him so I happily added Benoit for $2. I also spent two reserve round selections on closers in waiting in Kela, who is behind a less than 100 percent Shawn Tolleson, and Soria who is likely the option the Royals would turn to if Wade Davis went down. My duo of pen arms will be the first guys to go early in the year if I need a roster spot.
Realizing I could bolster my starting staff with Berrios starting the year in the minors I spent my first reserve round selection on Trevor Bauer (Player Profile). There are warts, but Bauer has a big time K-arm and even if his ratios are a bit elevated, the rest of my hurlers should crush ERA/WHIP allowing me to handle whatever I have to put up with when it comes to Bauer. Hutichson has a great arm too, though he obviously needs to figure out his troubling splits.
At catcher I spent $16 for Swihart and Wieters. Not necessarily part of the plan to spend that much, but at the same time I always seem to end up with junky backstops so I didn’t mind investing in both (was a little bummed when Francisco Cervelli went for just $6 late in the draft). I’m a big Wieters fan. Let’s just hope that damn elbow is finally right since it clearly wasn’t last season when he burned me in Tout Wars 2015.
Santana might be a .240ish type of hitting, but he’s always a .350+ OBP guy. He’s one of the handful of players that see a significant boost in outlook in this OBP format. He’s not a star but just a season we’ve seen out of him the last five years would leave me feeling just fine.
Everyone has seemingly given up on Pedroia. You shouldn’t. Was happy to scoop him up for $9 to be my middle infielder after I rostered Coghlan to play second (note – he appeared in 15 games at second base last year so he qualifies there). Coghlan was a 15/10 guy last season, and he could do so again in Oakland. Really don’t think there is a massive difference between he and a guy like Ben Zobrist ($10) given the difference in cost.
Longoria went for $13. Kyle Seager was $22. I like Seager more, but for that price difference I was stoked to have rostered Longo.
Duffy wasn’t a target, but I need a corner infielder and he was sitting there at $3 late. I pushed things to four and picked up the Giants potential third hitter for $4. Don’t love him, but that’s a strong price to roster him for.
Marte is ‘my guy,’ and he was just about the first star hitter tossed out for bidding that didn’t drastically blow past the price I had budgeted. His across the board production could lead to a 20/30 season, and Marte gets hit by enough pitches that his OBP isn’t going to kill me.
Braun at $22 was well off the price I had him set at. When the bidding slowed I jumped. Got some negative responses on Twitter about the selection as I guess a guy who was one steal from a .285-25-85-85-25 season is no good anymore. I know the back is an issue, but at $22 I was willing to look past the concerns.
Yelich or Eaton was what I was thinking for my third outfielder. I passed when Eaton’s name came up, he went for $19, and went hard for Yelich. Thought I had him at $17, but had to keep bidding until $21. He’s a borderline star in on-base percentage league, and if he can stay healthy 20+ steals and 90+ runs are doable too.
I was down on cash, I think I had $16 left for four spots, in the end game. I was trying to find a way to get 2/3 guys in Buxton, Holliday and Randal Grichuk. I tossed Grichuk out for $6 but he was bid up to $7 so I passed. I pushed the bidding on Buxton up to $8, really liked that get price and getting him for the second year in a row (he was a reserve round selection last season), but that meant I was out of the Holliday sweepstakes, or so I thought when I leaned over and let Nando DiFino to tell him I couldn’t get the guy I really wanted in Holliday after my Buxton purchase. Turns out, I was wrong. Fifteen throws later I nominated Holliday for the most I could, $4, and to my amazement there were crickets which led to a Nando/Ray fist-bump. I know he’s old and last year was a mess, but he still had a .394 OBP and his OPS last year was better than Adam Jones and Jason Heyward. He’s an excellent outfielder to round out my group. Simply loved how it worked out so that I could get 2/3 outfielders when it didn’t seem like there was a chance.
And hey, it’s $2 for ARod. I’ll take that power at that cost (he socked 33 homers with 86 RBI and 83 runs scored). I grabbed Gallo in the reserve rounds just in case ARod fails with the hope being that Gallo is called up early and that he can blast away with the big fly.
It all worked out, despite my initial pessimism.
I was able to top out my staff with three arms that should each throw 200-innings while posting upper end ratios. I also took a chance on big arm, average performer types, like Bauer and Cashner. Like this group of hurlers do I.
I rostered a terrific group of relief pitchers. Even if saves my not be plentiful at the moment, I gobbled up a ton of elite level arms and that’s never a bad thing.
On offense it was touch and go for a long while, but it the end there was success. The Buxton/Holliday duo to round out my club brought a big smile to my face, and bargains like Longoria, Duffy and Braun should all return tidy profits.
I’ve got age (ARod), injury (Braun) and playing time concerns (Berrios), but overall this group is one I’m very comfortable with heading into the start of the 2016 season.
Let’s get it on.