Zach’s Mixed Tout Wars Recap

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at St. Louis Cardinals

Coming out of the draft in my inaugural season in Mixed Tout Wars, I didn’t like my team at all. I had mismanaged my auction budget to the point where I was limited to $1 bids way too early in the proceedings. I ended up finishing in 10th place out of 15 teams. Last year, I did a better job showing restraint and left the Sirius/XM studios here in Manhattan relatively pleased with the roster I had assembled but not overly pumped. I ended up finishing in 11th place. Well, this year, I feel really good about my squad. I’ll probably finish in 12th place!

So, how did I prepare this time around? Exactly the same as before. I allocated a certain amount of dollars for each position on the roster with specific players in mind who would fill those slots, making sure that the total dollar amount was roughly $260. If the bidding for my top choice at a given position exceeded the amount I had predicted, I would turn to my second (preferably slightly cheaper) choice, and then my third choice, and so on, redistributing my budget allotment accordingly. The main difference this year is that I wanted to spend a bit more on pitching than usual. In a weekly lineup league that is deeper than 12 teams, I think it’s important to draft at least one sure-fire ace along with a #2 with ace potential. Instead of my usual 180/80 hitting/pitching split, or even 185/75 distribution, I was planning on something closer to 170/90, with approximately $25 earmarked for my ace and $25-30 reserved for two closers.

Anyway, enough buildup. Here’s the roster I ended up with, in the order I purchased the players.

Freddie Freeman ($29)

Prince Fielder and Joey Votto were my top two choices for my 1B slot, and I was willing to spend 34, maybe 35 bucks for either of them. Note that this is an OBP league, so both Fielder and Votto carry even more value than they would in a standard AVG league. But when I got a chance to grab Freeman for what I thought was a fair price, I pounced, fearing that Fielder and Votto would match or exceed my $35 limit (they went for $35 and $38 respectively). Freeman was #3 on my list, and I figured that the $6 savings could come in handy later in the auction. Oh, and the Braves’ first baseman is no OBP slouch either.

Chris Sale ($24)

I had budgeted $23 for my ace and hoped that I could land King Felix for that amount. Nope. I reluctantly went to 24 on him but when Tim Heaney said “25” I bailed. Just four players later, Sale was nominated, and since he was among my fallback option group, I was willing to go to the same $24 level that I hoped would be enough to win King Felix, and I’m fine with this. Sale is already a legit ace, and entering his age-25 season, I think the best is yet to come.

David Robertson ($17)

A little more than I wanted to spend for my top closer, and there’s some risk attached to Robertson since he’s new to the stopper role. But he has all the skills to thrive in the ninth inning. Don’t be surprised if he’s a no doubt top-5 closer by this time next year.

Gio Gonzalez ($16)

An ideal #2 SP. The ratios aren’t quite ace-caliber but I’ll take the 190-plus strikeouts along with the chance that he can pitch more like the 2012 Gio than last year’s version, which was still pretty good.

Ryan Braun ($38)

I had my heart set on Andrew McCutchen and was fairly confident that I could get him for no more than $38 being that he went for $35 in NL LABR. Not quite. I even went out of my comfort zone, going as high as $40, but that was it, and he was sold for $41. So I had this open $38 slot and wanted to use it on an elite OF. I was rather surprised I had to go the full $38 for Braun, but if he turns out to be the old Ryan Braun, he’ll earn this price. If not, well, I might regret this purchase.

Addison Reed ($13)

Reed was actually the final guy in my RP1 tier, so I was thrilled to get him as my second closer. His control could still use a little work, but for 13 bucks there’s definitely some upside to be had.

Wilson Ramos ($14)

A popular “sleeper” backstop choice this spring, and for good reason. 16 homers in 78 games last year. All he needs to do is finally stay healthy for a full season.

Doug Fister ($9)

Exactly the price I paid for Fister last year and now he moves to the NL, which is never a bad thing for any pitcher, and his strikeout total should benefit. It sounds like the elbow inflammation is no big deal, as he’s scheduled to make his first regular season start on April 6th.

Desmond Jennings ($18)

I’ve owned Jennings on at least one of my fantasy teams in each of the last three years, anxiously awaiting for that breakout season. It would be nice if it comes this year. Is a 20/30 season truly out of the question?

Chase Headley ($15)

Kyle Seager and Pablo Sandoval were my top two choices at 3B but both exceeded my $15 limit, so I opted for Headley. Not expecting a 2012 repeat but not expecting a 2013 repeat either. The bottom line is that he played hurt for much of last season, so at least a partial mulligan is warranted. Headley also walks quite a bit, which will help his OBP, and he can also contribute double-digit steals.

Jose Altuve ($16)

A personal favorite who still has room for growth (no pun intended), particularly in the walks department, But you’re not drafting Altuve for his OBP. You’re drafting him because he’s 30-plus steals in the bank, and still just 23, he has the potential to improve in all other facets of his game. Plus, he’s flat out fun to watch.

Asdrubal Cabrera ($12)

Cabrera is coming off arguably the worst season of his big league career that included a woeful .299 OBP, but he still managed to slug 14 homers in 136 games. If you miss out on the elite choices at the shortstop position, Asdrubal makes for a nice fallback option. A bounce back season to the tune of 18-20 homers, double-digit steals and an OBP in the .330 to .340 range is well within reach.

Chris Carter ($10)

This is where the OBP factor becomes important. While Carter is a major liability in leagues that use AVG, his high walk rate results in an OBP that, while not particularly helpful, isn’t overly damaging. So I’ll enjoy the homers without having to stress over the AVG.

Nelson Cruz ($10)

Aside from Texas, Cruz could not have possibly landed in a better spot than Baltimore, where he should take advantage of the cozy confines of Camden Yards to at least reach the 25-home run plateau. My ideal OF3 choice was Nick Swisher, and I really could have used the OBP boost, but Cruz was nominated a few minutes before Swisher, so I had no way of knowing that Swisher’s winning bid would also be $10. But I’m not beating myself too much over this, as Scott Swanay, the owner who bought Swisher, ended up leaving more than 60 bucks on the table, so there’s a pretty good chance he would have bid me up on Swish.

Dan Haren ($5)

Will we ever see vintage Dan Haren again or are his days of ace-level production officially over? He struggled for much of last season before finding his groove down the stretch. Pitching on a good team and in a favorable home park, maybe he will return to ace form. Or maybe he won’t. For a mere five bucks, it’s worth it to find out.

Alcides Escobar ($3)

A low-risk, high-reward pick to fill my MI slot. Best case scenario, he repeats his breakthrough 2012 season of 35 steals and a .331 OBP. Worst case scenario, he puts up a stat line similar to last year’s .259 OBP and 25 steals, which would be kind of depressing. I’ll gladly take something in between. By the way, age-27 season alert!

Mark Melancon ($2)

Arguably the most valuable setup man in fantasy. Melancon is one Jason Grilli injury away from becoming a high-end saves source, and do you really think that the 37-year-old Grilli will stay healthy all year?

Wade Miley ($2)

Nothing special but a serviceable back end of the rotation type who will give you innings without hurting your ratios.

Denard Span ($1)

Underrated source of runs and steals. A safe fifth outfielder.

A.J. Ellis ($1)

Why not? A regular starter who will hit double-digit homers, and the OBP factor helps his value.

Nathan Eovaldi ($1)

Young with upside. Eovaldi’s minor league strikeout numbers suggest that we could see some improvement in that area as well. Health permitting, he should be a mainstay in the Marlins’ rotation this year. I’ll start by pitching him in favorable matchups. If that doesn’t work out, I can just cut him and pick up a boring Mark Buehrle type.

Matt Dominguez ($3)

Unable to land a legitimate OF4, I instead chose to shift Chris Carter from CI to OF and draft Dominguez to serve as my CI. He needs to improve his OBP skills but the power seems to be legit. Plus, his above average defense at the hot corner will keep him in the lineup every day.

Dayan Viciedo ($1)

Cheap power to fill my UTIL slot. It’s as simple as that.

RESERVES: Justin Smoak, Phil Hughes, Kris Bryant, Jason Kubel

Either Smoak or Kubel could end up supplanting Viciedo at UTIL. Hughes should benefit from a fresh start in Minnesota and a move away from home run friendly Yankee Stadium. Bryant ranks among the game’s top prospects but now it sounds like he has virtually no chance of being called up before September, so he will be my first cut.

OBP could be a major issue for this team, and from the projections, I really don’t see any way that my current roster can produce an OBP higher than .330, and it will probably be closer to .320. But outside of OBP, I should compete in every category. Maybe my OBP deficiency will keep me from winning the league, but there’s no way I’ll finish lower than last year’s 11th place. But then again, last year I thought there was no way I’d finish lower than 10th, so who knows.

Six months is a very long time.

As always, your comments and questions are welcome.

CLICK HERE to view the complete rosters of all of the Tout Wars teams.


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