Zinkie’s Mixed Auction Tout Wars Wrap

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Zach here,

For the third time in the last five years, Fred Zinkie is the Mixed Auction Tout Wars champ. Here’s Fred’s end-of-season review. As he notes, it was an impressive showing by the MLB.com representatives, though I still cannot comprehend how my 20-plus point lead in late-June turned into a double-digit point deficit. I guess fourth place isn’t too bad though.

Fred writes:

What a great showing for MLB.com in the 2015 Tout Wars Mixed Auction League! The three representatives from our site — Cory Schwartz, Zach Steinhorn and myself — all finished among the top-five teams in this 15-team league. I do not want to speak on behalf of Cory and Zach in terms of how they reached their impressive point totals. But I am happy to share some big-picture takeaways on how I managed to make a late run to the top spot.

I was flexible

Elite closers are always a staple of my rosters. Like Cory, I have always believed that the road to fifth place is paved with closers of the future. When the top-tier stoppers demanded a loftier price than I anticipated at the auction, I reluctantly opened the season with Hector Rondon and Addison Reed as my sole sources of saves. Reed proved to be even less productive than I expected, and in May I knew I needed to change course. I traded Rondon, punted saves and finished second-to-last in that category. But my use of eight or nine starters per week across the final four months of the season allowed me to slowly climb to the top of the league in both wins and strikeouts.

I was persistent

The next time your fantasy squad gets off to a slow start, remember this article. My club sat in 14th place at one point in the second half of May. At that moment, it would have been easy for me to give up on the 2015 season and settle for a bottom-half finish. But I continued to dedicate the same amount of time to weekly trade talks and free-agent analysis. Eventually, my hitters started to come around and I began my ascent up the standings.

I had fun

I love to talk about trades with my fellow owners. The discussions allow us all to be more closely connected, and they enhance our experience in the league. When I saw the opportunity to make a deal this season, I rarely passed it up. By my count, I finalized 32 trades across a five-month stretch. Most of the trades involved multiple high-end players. When my team was struggling, I made trades. When they were surging, I made trades. I also hit the waiver wire hard all season. Over the course of the season, 93 players were part of my active lineup. I made some really poor trades, and I made some really good ones. I found some terrific producers on waivers, and I also plucked several lemons off that tree. But I was active, and I made the moves that felt right at the time. The Tout Wars Mixed Auction League owners are an extremely active group, and it is fun to be part of that action.

I did not get attached

Brian McCann, Lucas Duda Chase Headley and David Freese were the only players from my original 29-man roster to remain on the squad throughout the season. When attempting to better my team, no player was ever off limits. I have always been determined to never miss an opportunity to improve because of my own attachment to a certain player. It was not easy to part with certain stalwarts, but being open-minded was a key aspect to my success this season.

I got lucky

My team finished the season with 112.5 points, which is a fairly low total for the top spot in a 15-team league. To put that point total in perspective, I finished second in the LABR Mixed League despite totaling 123.5 points. If one of my Tout competitors had been able to build a massive point total, my slow start to the season would have doomed me a consolation prize. In such a competitive league, it is not unusual to see the teams tightly-clustered. But my 2015 point total was the lowest of any champion in my five years with this group.

I am already looking forward to meeting up with this terrific cast of characters when we participate in the 2016 auction in March! It is an honor to be part of an esteemed group in an ultra-competitive league. I lost many hours of sleep in the second half of September, as I watched Scott Swanay and Tim Heaney make major strides towards the top spot. I have tremendous respect for Scott, Tim and all the competitors in this 15-owner group.

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