Zach’s Mixed Auction Tout Wars Recap
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Coming off a third place finish last season, my highest finish since joining the Mixed Auction Tout Wars league back in 2012, I went into Saturday afternoon’s auction determined to do even better. To be honest, however, I had my doubts. I mean, how does a team that drafts Jose Altuve, Nelson Cruz and Chris Carter for a combined $36 while posting the lowest ERA in the league not win it all? I don’t have the answer, but that’s besides the point. I need to let that go.
Anyway, onto 2015, and my auction preparation method was the same as always. I started by sketching out an ideal team that I projected to fit under the $260 cap by assigning dollar values to each starting roster slot with those players in mind. Then, at each of those roster slots, I’d list several lower priced alternative choices, assigning each of those guys a dollar value as well. Missing out on my top target at a certain position and settling on one of my backup options would save me some money, which I could in turn use to upgrade at another position. All in all, I’m fairly pleased with my squad, but like in any auction environment, so much depends on the unique situation, the needs of the other owners and often the nomination order. Although it’s easy to second guess yourself, either for not going the extra dollar to secure one player or overpaying for another, you just can’t do that kind of stuff.
So, without further ado, my 2015 Tout Wars roster:
C – Wilson Ramos ($10) – I’m just going to keep drafting Ramos until he finally stays healthy for a full season and puts up that 20-home run campaign that we’ve been anticipating for awhile now. Ten bucks isn’t exactly a steal, but there is profit potential here.
C – Carlos Ruiz ($1) – His 16-HR 2012 campaign is clearly an anomaly, and Ruiz is in the twilight of his career. But as my second catcher, he won’t hurt me in any category, and with Tout using on-base percentage instead of batting average, he might actually help me in that category (.347 OBP last season).
1B – Anthony Rizzo ($40) – Yes, I overpaid for Rizzo. But he was my primary target at first base, and with reliable power so hard to find these days, Rizzo is one of the few players in baseball with legit 40-HR potential. And the best part is that he’s only 25 years of age, so he should only improve. Plus, he’s developing into a dominant OBP force.
2B – Kolten Wong ($17) – Wong is another player who’s on the rise. His minor league track record suggests that last season’s .249 AVG and .292 OBP will prove to be the exception rather than the norm. I’m counting on 15-plus homers and roughly 30 steals, though I must admit that uncertainty as to where he will bat in the lineup is concerning. The lower he is in the order, the lower his runs and stolen base potential will be.
SS – Elvis Andrus ($15) – I originally planned on drafting Jean Segura here, but after saving money with some of my other purchases, I opted to go the extra few bucks on Andrus, who should both score more runs than Segura and post a higher OBP in addition to swiping 30-plus bags.
3B – Kyle Seager ($22) – I’m a big fan of Seager, who is fresh off a career year and should benefit from an improved Mariners lineup. I can totally see him duplicating last year’s 25 homers and 96 RBI with the potential for more in his age-27 season.
CI – Kendrys Morales ($3) – I nominated Morales early on, figuring that I could get him at a bargain basement price to fill my CI slot. I was willing to go as high as $8 for him but thankfully heard crickets. Here’s hoping that a fresh start in Kansas City will do him some good. A repeat of his 2013 line (.277 AVG, 23 HR, 80 RBI) is within reach.
MI – Neil Walker ($10) – Walker was actually one of my backup plans at 2B, so I was thrilled to get him as my MI. There aren’t too many middle infielders who can realistically hit 20 home runs. Walker is one of them.
OF – Justin Upton ($27) – Carlos Gomez was the guy I really wanted to fill my OF1 slot but when the bidding got to $38 and I hesitated to say “39”, Tim Heaney beat me to it, and $40 seemed a bit much. I’m not disappointed with Upton, but I’m not pumped up about it either. Hopefully, he can find a way to get to 25 homers despite playing half of his games at Petco. On the bright side, if I had decided to splurge on Gomez, there’s no way I could have afforded Rizzo.
OF – Brandon Moss ($17) – Like with Morales, Moss was a player who I wanted to nominate early in hopes of winning him at a discount since my league mates would still be aiming higher. As it turned out, I wasn’t able to draft Moss at a discount, but $17 was exactly the amount I set aside for him. Moss was able to post back-to-back 25-plus HR seasons despite playing half of his games in Oakland. Moving away from the Coliseum certainly can’t hurt as he tries to return to the 30-HR level as a member of the Indians. I think he’ll get there. Adding to Moss’ appeal is his solid walk rate, so he’s not as much of a liability in OBP leagues.
OF – Oswaldo Arcia ($7) – Arcia is young and raw but the power is legit. I’ll be able to stomach the low OBP if it comes with 25 homers. Either way, the price was right.
OF – Denard Span ($4) – Purchasing Span for $1 at last year’s auction proved to be one of my best buys, so why not own him again? He isn’t expected to return from the DL until the beginning of May, but I couldn’t let him go for three bucks. Even with the month lost, I’m figuring I’ll get 20 steals with 75 runs. Add in the replacement player for April and Span is well worth four dollars.
OF – Michael Saunders ($3) – Staying healthy has been an issue for Saunders throughout his big league career, but if he can avoid the DL and receive regular at-bats, 20 homers isn’t a stretch playing his home games in a hitter-friendly park.
UT – Josh Reddick ($1) – Cheap power. That’s all there is to it.
SP – Cole Hamels ($20) – Hamels wasn’t my first choice (I really wanted David Price) but he was the clear fallback option, and I managed to get him at a fair price. He continues to be underrated in fantasy. A legit ace who can be had for a low-end ace price.
SP – Chris Archer ($10) – Again, Archer was not Plan A for my SP2 slot, but I do like the across the board upside. He battled control issues in the first half of 2014 but improved in that area as the season went along.
SP – Lance Lynn ($9) – No, I’m not expecting another sub-3.00 ERA. However, I am expecting an ERA in the mid-3’s to go along with plenty of whiffs, and since the biggest reason why I came up short in Tout last season was my low strikeout total, I made a special effort to emphasize that category.
SP – Ian Kennedy ($8) – See above. Kennedy’s ratios will be OK but not great, but he has a legitimate chance to post his second straight 200-strikeout season.
SP – Derek Holland ($2) – One of my main cheap SP targets. Many have forgotten just how good he was two years ago, and he was equally impressive upon his second half return last season. Holland also adds to my group of high-strikeout arms. For two bucks, he’s a steal.
SP – Josh Collmenter ($1) – Posted a 2.63 ERA and 0.89 WHIP at home last season. Collmenter might have fallen to the reserve rounds, and he probably won’t be an every-week starter for me. But he will make for a fine option in the right matchups.
RP – David Robertson ($20) – My relief pitcher formula in auctions consists of drafting one elite closer, one mid-tier closer with a high degree of job security and one setup man who has a good chance of taking over as his team’s closer at some point early in the season. Robertson fits the bill as the elite closer, and he didn’t cost quite as much as the other closers in that group.
RP – Glen Perkins ($12) – Perkins was disappointing last season, particularly in the second half, but a forearm injury probably had something to do with it. He’s only one year removed from being considered a no doubt top-10 closer. With better health, he has the skills to return to that level. And it’s not like the Twins have any other viable ninth inning options.
RP – Sergio Romo ($1) – Call it a hunch, but I think Romo will return to his old closer role sooner rather than later. Santiago Casilla has done a nice job in his place, but the Giants didn’t sign Romo to a new lucrative multi-year contract for him to pitch in the eighth inning. Call it a hunch.
Mike Leake – Still underrated despite back-to-back quality seasons. I’m not so sure he can maintain last year’s 6.9 K/9 but he’s a capable starting alternative in case Collmenter struggles.
Francisco Lindor – Couldn’t resist drafting at least one top prospect. It’s sounding like Lindor could make his big league debut sometime during the first half if he produces at Triple-A.
Colby Rasmus – Cheap power outfielder alternative to Saunders or Reddick. Maybe this will finally be the year for Rasmus?
Dustin Ackley – Post-hype sleeper? Ackley will open the season as the strong side of a left field platoon with Rickie Weeks, but Weeks is always injured and Ackley is steadily improving as a big league hitter.
Mike Moustakas – While we’re on the topic of post-hype sleepers, we might as well throw Moose into the mix. He could very well flop again, but whatever, it’s a fifth-round reserve pick.
Bartolo Colon – Seriously, how many Opening Day starting pitchers can you get in the final round of the reserve draft? OK, I’m not being very serious.
All in all, I think I’ve fielded a competitive team, though my speed is on the weak side, with only Andrus, Wong and Span (when he returns) as my 25-plus SB guys. The good news is that it’s a lot easier to trade for speed than trade for power, and my power shouldn’t be a problem. On the starting pitching side, I really like my front five, which I purchased for a combined $49, and I’m sure I won’t place near the bottom of the standings in strikeouts this time around. As for the bullpen, I accomplished my previously discussed plan. All I need now is a string of blown saves by Santiago Casilla and I’ll be good to go.
Thanks to all of the Tout Wars organizers and of course to our auctioneer Jeff Erickson, who at one point in the middle of the proceedings ran out of the draft room to yell at some noisy fans who were hanging out by the bar and then returned to the room to a round of applause!
CLICK HERE to view the full results of all four Tout Wars drafts.