Tout Wars NL recap

Strange that Siano and Cushing both drafted yesterday but neither have blogged yet, while I just got home and I’m posting right away, huh? Now we know who is dedicated to keeping up with the blog and who is not. ;-)

 

(Updated March 27 — well, they both wrote more than I did, so I have to up the ante! Player by player comments inserted below.)

This was my third Tout NL draft, having finished 3rd in 2004 and then last (guh!) in 2005. Coming back after that stinker and a year off, I tried to put into play some of the basic lessons learned during the time:

* Have a budget not only for hitting/pitching, but by "slot", i.e., one $35 hitter, one $25 hitter, three $20 hitters, a $20 ace, $18 for a closer, etc.
* Fill roster spots apace with the league, neither getting too far ahead (limiting opportunities to get bargains) nor too far behind (promoting overspending);
* Don’t overspend on speed, but don’t get shut out, either.

Fortunately John Hoyos wasn’t in the league this year to overbid me on every bat I wanted like he did in ’05, so I was able to stick mostly to plan. Here are the results (actual salary listed with my projected salary in parentheses), and keep in mind that this is a 13-team NL-only league so there are going to be some scrubs on everyone’s roster, not just mine!

C – Ru.Martin $17 ($17) — I wanted either him or Barrett but when he went for $19 I thought this was a fair price. Not as much pop, but should hit for a good average and I like the 10 steals out of this slot.
C – Ra.Castro 1 (1) — A better 2nd catcher would’ve been nice, but as expected, both Iannetta ($15!) and Montero ($8) went past my budget so I settled for a guy who should give a few HR’s as LoDuca’s backup.
1B – Ry.Howard 35 (40) — My original targets for this price slot included Derrek Lee (went for $33), Berkman ($32) or Miguel Cabrera ($35), and all would’ve fit the budget. But, Howard came out first and I thought this was a bargain so I took him. Other good 1B’s all went 2-3 dollars less than I expected (Pujols 43, Fielder 22, LaRoche 21, Gonzalez 23, Delgado 25), but I have no regrets.
3B – Ko.Casto Rs (ND) — Once I got priced out on the guys I liked (Encarnacion at $24 was a bad omen), I took Andy LaRoche for a buck and picked up Casto in the reserve round. Now it sounds like he’ll get a shot to win the starting LF job for the Nationals so the ONE game he played at 3B last September may turn into a miracle for me!
CI – Mi.Jacobs 19 (18) — Once the 3B’s starting drying up I shifted gears to at least got a strong corner. By my projections this was the only pick where I overpaid, but it was only by a buck and I think he’ll provide good value (.265/25/80) for this price.
2B – Br.Phillips 17 (22) — I don’t like him and didn’t want him, but thought he’d go for more so I took the value. In hindsight I probably would’ve taken Lee (33) and Weeks (19) over Howard (35) and Phillips (17), but I think this is a reasonable price for 15/20 production.
SS – Furcal 28 (30) — Of the other top shortstops, Reyes (42) and Hanley (33) went for a little more than I thought they would, while Furcal and Rollins (33) went for a little less. But once I got Howard I knew the other guys were out of the picture, so I pulled the trigger here. The ankle does not sound like a long-term worry so this could be a discount.
MI – Da.Easley Rs (ND) — Drafted Eric Patterson for a buck and took Easley in the reserve round. Best-case scenario is probably only 200 at-bats.
UT – Gr.Dobbs 1 (1) — He’s DH-only due to his time with the Mariners, but I think this is a classic $1 upside flier. He always hit for high averages in the minors, should show some pop in CBP and has only Wes Helms in front of him. I could see him stealing platoon or even everyday at-bats at 3B.
OF – Co.Hart 19 (19) — Probably a little high, but I thought a fair price. He should provide 20 HR and a dozen or more steals, good value as long as the AVG isn’t a killer.
OF – Ch.Burke 18 (19) — Another mid-priced, middle-tier SB source; I originally slotted him in my MI spot but moved him to OF after that got thin. The weak spring is a worry, but he will probably get a longer leash since he can replace Biggio at 2B or stick in the OF. Of course, Hunter Pence’s big spring is a worry… this is a very risky pick for the price.
OF – Ca.Quentin 17 (18) — The labrum is a minor concern, but he’s expected to be OK. If healthy I think this guy is a lock for 22/75 or more, and potentially much more, in that ballpark and lineup.
OF – Lu.Scott 9 (12) — Just when I thought I was going to get stuck with Michael Tucker and So Taguchi in my outfield, I snuck this one out. Even if he platoons he should provide 15-18 HR and 50-60 RBI, and could end up as another 22/75 guy. Great value at this price, and in hindsight, a potentially pivotal pick given what was left on the board… that is, not much!
OF – St.Finley Rs (ND) — Drafted McCutcheon on a longshot, picked up another longshot in the reserve round. Hoping Coors will keep his fountain-of-youth fade going a little longer, but not expecting much.
P – Br.Myers 20 (21) — Didn’t really want this wife-beating, HR-prone *******, but I like the K’s and think he’s due for a breakout after two very similar, solid seasons. In hindsight I would rather have had Hamels (19), Cain (18), Harang (16) or Bush (17), but then again, Snell went for $18!
P – Ja.Schmidt 14 (19) — Either this was a real bargain or the move to Dodgers Stadium will turn out as badly as some Touts believe. I think the second-half dip was fatigue, so I’m hoping for a more carefully paced season and solid #2 results.
P – Je.Francis 6 (10) — I budgeted a little more for this slot but spent it elsewhere, so this was a semi-desperation pick. His weak K rate is very scary in Coors, but he’s young enough to improve and isn’t particularly HR-prone despite the home park. A decent pick given others who went for a similar price.
P – Ma.Prior 3 (8) — An end-game flier. No expectations and thus, any production will be a treat.
P – To.Armas 1 (1) — End-game flier. Having a good spring and a former List of 12 guy. :-)
P – Ja.Marquis Rs (ND) — Hope he’ll bounce back in new surroundings. League average would be fine.
P – Jo.Rauch 3 (4) — Hoping to steal a few saves if Cordero gets traded, but if not, 80-90 IP of good ratios and K’s.
P – Mi.Gonzalez 7 (9) — Went a little over "slot" budget on this, but other closers-in-waiting were going for a few dollars more and I like this guy’s arm. I’m still convinced he’ll be next in line after Wickman, too.
P – Br.Fuentes 17 (20) — He was the last consistently reliable closer on the board, so I thought I’d have to suffer some inflation here. Very happy to get him at below value (in my opinion) and also at $1 less than I had slotted for a closer. No more scary for the price than Lidge (19), Valverde (15),  Torres (15) or Wickman (15)!

Rs – An.LaRoche 2 (3) — Expect he’ll be back up over the summer and provide good AVG and some pop.
Rs – Er.Patterson 1 (ND) — Stuck behind DeRosa AND "The Riot", but an excellent prospect on his merits.
Rs – An.McCutcheon 1 (ND) — Flat-out longshot, but made a big impression during spring training.
Rs – Ho.Bailey 2 (5) — The poor spring doesn’t scare me, this guy is unanimously agreed to be the #1 pitching prospect in the game and I was thrilled to get him for only $2. Even if he gives me a half-seaosn of league-average production, he’ll be well worth the money… and if he "goes Hamels" on the league, well, this will be THE steal of the draft.
Rs – Ja.Repko Rs (ND) — Turns out he’s out for the year so he’ll be my first cut.
Rs – To.Pena Rs (ND) — Like his arm, and he’s moving up on the depth chart now that Julio is gone. I could see him stealing a few saves and some vulture wins, with servicable rate stats.

Note that I drafted four prospects and immediately reserved them, so I had to use four reserve round picks on "acutal" MLB players. Still, I thought it was worth it to grab them earlier and lock them up, rather than hoping to get them in the reserve round. Who would you rather have, Homer Bailey and Andy LaRoche or Jason Marquis and Damion Easley??

Also, it sounds like Jason Repko may be out a long time so I’ll just cut him and see if there’s another pitcher with a pulse out there since I may want to keep Prior on the bench for a while.

All in all I’m pretty satisifed with the outcome. I stayed pretty close to my "slot" budget, and by my price projections, only overpaid for one player (Mike Jacobs) and that by only $1. Overall, by my own dollar projections I ended up with $41 of added value; obviously my projections on these guys might’ve been high, but in any case I’m happy I was able to stay disciplined and not overpay for guys I didn’t think were worth more.

Tout Wars is being run on ESPN this year, which is a partner to MLBAM, so we’ll be able to link to the three leagues once they are up and running.

411 Listener League tonight!

–CS

P.S. — I’m not as concerned about the injury risks as you might think. Furcal is expected to be fine for opening day (although I’m keeping my fingers crossed about his MRI), and he has a good track record of overcoming injuries. Quentin’s labrum tear is a minor one in his non-throwing shoulder, and he’s expected back by opening day too. Prior has been awful this spring, but at least he’s healthy (for now) and I got him at the point where most players were going for $1. I had a couple of extra dollars so I thought he was a reasonable gamble…

4 Comments

I think this is an excellent team for a NL only. The OF looks a little shallow at first but if some of the young guns live up to their projections then you should do very well. Top pick has to be Howard at $35 amazed he went that low when PECOTA has him hitting 47 homers this year. Saw Finley in a couple of spring training games and he looked better than I expected and could prove quite useful up in Coors as a 4th OF.

Cory, From looking at some of the picks Quentin, Furcal, Prior and Bailey it seems like part of your strategy was to look for some players that may have lost value due to a poor spring (Bailey) or a minor injury (Furcal). Was this part of your thought process going into the draft or did you just see players at below your perceived values?

I would immediately reserve Marquis and put in Tony Pena (who I am a big fan of) unless this is a pitcher HR league or indigestion is a category in Tout.

Last question first… I took Marquis in the reserve round on a flier that he regains some of his value in new surroundings. He was pitching pretty well last year before being left in for a 10-run bullpen-saving beating, and admitted to tanking after that. I’d settle for 200 IP for 4.40 ERA, but in the meantime, yes, I am playing Pena. With Julio out of town, I think Pena is next in line for saves if Valverde stumbles or gets hurt again.

Re. the injured guys, Prior at $3 was strictly a flier but I thought the other guys were good values at the prices. I’ve done the homework on Furcal and Quentin and as of now the injuries don’t seem to be anything that should cause any serious issues this year, so I was willing to take them at a slight discount. Bailey at $2 was a steal; throw out the spring stats, he’s still considered the #1 pitching prospect in baseball. And like with Marquis, I’ll settle for league-average work from him…

Thanks for the comments!

–CS

Cory et all, although my draft is tomorrow night I was wondering what you thought of this strategy. I know you do not like to punt categories but I thought this might be an interesting idea if the stud SP go for to much at my draft.

Assumptions

Here are the particulars of my league:

4×4 NL Only 17 Hitters 10 Pitchers 19 man bench

1000 IP requirement on pitching

Daily Transactions, so I can rotate my bench every day (very important)

$290 salary, but given the size of the rosters this equates to a typical 12 Team NL Only 23 man roster

My pitchers right now are:

Harang $8, Hensley $1, Maholm $1, Billingsley $7, C Cordero $14 and B Wilson $1 so I need 4 pitchers.

Webb, Oswalt, Zambrano and Peavy all available and all will go for $30-$40. Do I do the MR strategy by grabbing a Torres/Izzy/Julio/Reds Closer for $15ish and mid tier SP for $5 and two high end MR like Soriano, Linebrink type for $6ish (for potential closers for next year and provide the ERA/Whip)?

Mathmaticallly that gets me to around 1,100 IP (without assuming a rotation of players) and I am sure I can find SP at some point in the season and let the rest of the league fight over the studs and build my offense. I have never tried this and nobody has tried this since the rule was changed (to 1,000 IP requirement) but we went from weekly to daily transactions and nobody has thought of it yet. I would probably finish last or 2nd to last in wins, very high in ERA/Whip and top 2 in saves and have a very very solid offense. That should leave me with around $227 of my $290 to spend of offense.

Additional Information to know:

Closers available: Hoffman, F Cordero, Wickman, Benitez, Izzy, Torres, Julio, Cinc Closer

Right now only one team has 2 closers (Fuentes and Dempster) and 6 teams have 1 closer (me being one of them) and 3 teams have a MR or two that could get saves like Broxton, Howry.

So conceivably if I grab another mid tier closer, if Wilson gets me a few 5-10 saves (I hope) and the two stud MR get me 5-10 saves. I see around 70 saves I can see the two teams without a closers getting atleast 1 at the draft and a few teams buying 1 that had one to start with, so at best a team will have 2 closers (as would I but I hope/think that the MR strategy puts me over the top in saves without spending the cash on a third. As far as ERA/Whip I have to assume less SP and more MR automatically puts me near the top in ERA and Whip.

Results:

I used my projected stats and calculated ERA/Whip and projected wins and saves and compared to the 2006 standings:

Last in wins, 2nd in saves, 1st in ERA by a wide margin and 2nd in Whip but close to first. That would give me 28 points out of 40 in pitching and I would conservatively say I could get 34 out of 40 in hitting. Total 62 points. Last year the winner had 66 and I finished second with 59. I showed 70 wins with those 10 players. Last year 2nd to last had 80 winsand 6th place had 89 wins for one mid season trade for a stud SP and I could have the best of both worlds (assuming I have extra stats in some of my offensive positions to make such a move).

One other point is I have an early enough reserve/minor league pick that I could grab Clemens or one of the 3 stud SP prospects (Bailey, Lincecum or Gallardo).

That said, it might be something to try after I see how much the stud SP go for. If I can land one a reasonable price then I can keep it my normal strategy

I think I am going to be flexible at my draft Friday night and see what the draft gives me. I am going after similar offensive players anyway using both strategies the question is do I get a stud SP or an extra stud hitter

The MR strategy is not groundbreaking but given the IP requirement in my league a modified method might work given my assumptions. Thoughts, did I miss something besides a SP getting hurt?

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