Zach’s Mixed Tout Review
It was by far my most challenging draft in over a decade of playing fantasy baseball. On Saturday afternoon, I made my Tout Wars debut, joining 14 other fantasy gurus from across the country (including our very own Cory Schwartz!) in a moderately sized conference room over at Sirius XM headquarters in midtown Manhattan that was barely big enough to fit us all. I was a little nervous at first, but once the first few players went off the board I settled down. I had done plenty of preparation for this draft, identifying exactly the guys I would be targeting and roughly how high I’d be willing to bid on each of them. The preparation helped, but not quite as much as I thought it would as several players, particularly early on in the proceedings, were bought for prices significantly higher than I had anticipated.
Just a few minutes into the lighting fast paced draft, one of my prime targets, Justin Upton (my MVP pick) was nominated, and though I had budgeted roughly 35 dollars for him, I was forced to spend 40. This didn’t bother me too much though as I don’t mind paying top dollar for elite talent. When Carlos Gonzalez, a very comparable player to Upton, also went for 40 bucks, I felt satisfied with my investment. I managed to secure my #2 target as well, shelling out 34 bucks for Mark Teixeira. Again, I overpaid by a little, but I’m pretty sure that Tex could bring back 30+ dollar value if he can raise his batting average to the .275 range, and I think he’ll do just that. Paul Konerko going for a mere 20 dollars made the Tex pick look like a stretch, but the beauty of the auction is that you can get the guys you want, right? That said, at this point I found myself in the undesirable situation of being around 10 bucks over budget, so I sat tight while most of the other studs flew off the board. But then the bidding on CC Sabathia stopped at 20. I had set aside about 18 for my ace, planning on going with Yovani Gallardo. I had to call out 21 for CC, and I got him. Good value I thought, but definitely not what I had planned. The pattern of going over budget by a few dollars on a particular roster slot (Matt Cain for 16, Kevin Youkilis for 21) continued a few more times. These were all players I liked a lot and felt were bought for fair or, in the case of Cain, below market value. But I had budgeted 14 for my #2 SP, thinking I would draft a Ricky Romero/Gio Gonzalez type player and expected the Youkilis bidding to stop at around 18.
Although I ended up building a very strong offense, a lineup that I feel stacks up well against any of the other teams, my starting pitching beyond my top two is mediocre at best, and I couldn’t manage to add a second closer to pair with Jonathan Papelbon. This will put me at a huge saves disadvantage to start the season. The lack of proven high strikeout starters bothers me a little more, however, and I may be forced to make an early season trade to address this issue. I have plenty of high quality hitting to trade though, so I’m fairly confident that a deal could be struck if needed.
I believe that this squad as currently constructed could finish middle of the pack. Acquiring a solid #3 SP along with a capable second closer might loft me into top-5 territory. All in all, Saturday was a whole lot of fun, and I look forward to competing against the best in the business over the next six months!
As always, your comments are welcome, and click here to view the results from all three of the Tout drafts.
-Zach – –