The 2013 Tout Wars weekend is officially over. But the second guessing has just begun!
My ninth season of drafting in this league ended with a night at Foley’s, and everyone got a chance to discuss the good, the bad and the ugly. Most of what everyone discussed over beers and Irish fare will be posted on the ToutWars.com site. I’ll share my thoughts here, of course, and discuss my strategy and why I did (or didn’t do) whatever.
Remember a few things – this was a 15-team Rotisserie Mixed League Auction, with a $260 salary cap, and on-base percentage replaces batting average as the fifth hitting category. This is the first year of that category swap, so we’ll see how it works out.
My 2013 Tout Wars Team
My goal was to go with an 80/20 hitting-to-pitching salary split. It didn’t work out that way, as I started to fill my offensive spots, but I’m happy with the amount I spent on both sides. My first player – Craig Kimbrel – changed my entire strategy right off the bat.
1B Billy Butler, Kansas City ($24)
I took the on-base percentage category seriously and really strategized around it. My thinking was, it’s going to be new to a lot of people (including myself), and if there were ever a year to take advantage of it, this would be it. I expect Butler to lead my team in OBP, and I got him as the eighth-most expensive first basemen in the league.
2B Dustin Pedroia, Boston ($28)
I kinda end up with Pedroia a lot. I do believe in getting at least one very good middle infielder. I paid as if the thumb injury isn’t a concern, so we’ll see how that turns out. He’s one of four players that could turn in 20-20 seasons for me.
SS Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland ( $18)
While Elvis Andrus went for a lower price ($15), Ian Desmond went for an exorbitant price ($25). I love Cabrera hitting in the Indians’ new lineup.
3B David Wright, N.Y. Mets ($28)
I have Evan Longoria as the second-best third baseman, but many have Wright. He’s one of six at the position to go for $25 or more. Among the top Fantasy third basemen in 2012, Wright (.391) and Miguel Cabrera (.393) were the only ones above .390.
MI Brian Roberts, Baltimore ($2)
The middle and corner infielders dried up quickly. Roberts has to overcome injuries, and so far, in spring training, he’s playing very well. He could also be my first cut.
CI Jeff Keppinger, Chicago White Sox ($3)
Once the bigger bats of the first base position went away, I was left with slim pickings for the corner spot. I chose Keppinger because of his OBP (.341 over past three seasons), position eligibility (1B/2B/3B) and his hot start to spring training (.462 through 15 games).
C Salvador Perez, Kansas City ($10)
If he stays healthy, he could be a top-five hitting catcher from a batting-average perspective, which helps in the other categories, as well.
C A.J. Pierzynski, Texas ($3)
Yes, last season was a mirage for the 36-year-old catcher. But hitting in Texas should help him use his cane to hit better. In a 15-team, two-catcher league, I’ll take Pierzynski over guys like Russell Martin, John Jaso, J.P. Arencibia and A.J. Ellis. They all cost more than his $3 price tag.
OF Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh ($37)
Cutch was one of only four players to have an OBP north of .400 in 2012, and he joins just Ryan Braun and Mike Trout as the only players with 30 or more homers and 20 or more steals. Some, including SiriusXM’s Kyle Elfrink, think 2012 is the best it’s going to get for McCutchen.
OF Adam Jones, Baltimore ($20)
One of my favorite buys of the entire day. Jones hits in the heart of Baltimore’s lineup and his 74 extra-base hits last season ranked among the top 10 in the majors. If people can get on base ahead of him, those 74 extra-base hits will turn into more than just 82 RBI.
OF Ben Revere, Philadelphia ($10)
One of my least favorite buys. Revere is a true one-category mercenary, as he finished last season with 40 steals (one of only six players to do so). I need him to hit atop the Phillies batting lineup, get on base and score a ton of runs. This pickup puts me in the top-five in steals.
OF Michael Morse, Seattle ($7)
Morse is healthy, and I’m a big fan of his power potential as much as I am his OBP (.346 over the past three seasons).
OF Leonys Martin, Texas ($4)
Currently expected to hit ninth in the Rangers’ lineup, Martin could be a big Fantasy boon if he can get into the top of the order. For now, I’ll have to settle for his speed and solid OBP. He won’t hurt me – until he stops getting on base.
DH Adam Eaton, Arizona ($3)
My heart got the better of me with this one. I’ve been a fan of Eaton (and eatin’) all spring, and was really looking forward to snatching him up here. Had to go to $3 to get a guy that’s likely out until his elbow injury heals in May. My thoughts are – he’s an injured guy that I will put on the DL and allow me to pick up another hitter. This is why drafting an injured player isn’t always a bad idea. Now, when he comes back from injury, I’ll hopefully have a tough decision to make.
My goal with my pitching is to not pay more than $20 on any one pitcher. Then I got caught with Kimbrel, who I was absolutely shocked no one paid more than $22 for. I can live with this mistake. In past years, I’ve been caught policing on guys like Roy Halladay and Justin Verlander. I’m happier with this hiccup than I was those.
SP Jake Peavy, Chicago White Sox ($9)
If you told me that Peavy would be my most expensive starting pitcher after the draft, I’d say, “Was I in a coma for part of the draft?” But the players that were cheaper made me feel better. Peavy proved he’s healthy (over 200 innings for the first time in five seasons, with four complete games in 2012), and his sub-1.100 WHIP could lead this rotation.
SP Josh Johnson, Toronto ($8)
This is the pick that could win the Tout Wars championship for me. Johnson has to stay healthy (31 starts last year) and make a seamless transition to the American League. He arrives in the AL East, which is significantly depleted offensively from previous years, minus the Blue Jays’ offense. Gone are Adrian Gonzalez, B.J. Upton, Carl Crawford and even Nick Swisher, not to mention the over-the-hill remaining talents of Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Shane Victorino.
SP Hiroki Kuroda, N.Y. Yankees ($8)
Kuroda’s move to the American League was quite a success, with a career-high 16 wins and 219 innings pitched. Granted, his 38 years of age are worrisome, but the Yankees aren’t quite dead in the water yet. It seems like everyone’s quick to bury them, and forget they won the AL East last year.
SP Anibal Sanchez, Detroit ($6)
After coming over from Miami midseason, Sanchez has 12 starts with the Tigers. While he only won four of those outings, he posted a 3.74 ERA, walking just 15 batters in over 74 innings. I’m not a fan of the Tigers’ bullpen, but this offense is stacked.
SP Hisashi Iwakuma, Seattle ($3)
The 31-year-old import was a big success in Seattle as a starter, once he moved out of the bullpen for good. In 16 starts, mostly after the All-Star Break, he posted a 2.65 ERA and an 8-4 record. Without question, this could be one of my biggest bargains at $3.
SP Shelby Miller, St. Louis ($3)
The timing of everything just came together for me. The Cardinals hadn’t yet named him a starter (they did on Monday), and the prospect wasn’t nominated until late in the auction. The top-five Baseball America prospect has to shake off a mediocre arrival to the majors last season, but the Cardinals are a stellar team for him to work things out with.
RP Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta ($22)
He’s the unquestioned top closer in the game right now, yet Jonathan Papelbon went for just as much money. I think this was the case where he was the first closer nominated and no one had set the mark yet. Had Papelbon gone for $22 before Kimbrel, there’s no way Kimbrel goes for the same amount. While I didn’t want to spend for a top closer, I don’t regret the money spent, since it automatically gives me four or five Rotisserie points without even taking another closer.
RP Jonathan Broxton, Cincinnati ($2)
Since I had Kimbrel, I didn’t want to continue to invest in the saves category. So my next two relievers were guys that could end up closing games, but are also two guys I could cut for a hot Sergio Romo-types once the season starts. With Broxton, I have a proven closer, coming off a career-best 2.48 ERA, that is behind a starter-turned-closer-turned-starter-turned-closer in Aroldis Chapman. Quick, name a better way to injure a pitcher!
RP Phil Coke, Detroit ($2)
With a rookie closing games in Detroit, the Tigers could choose to have a Coke and a smile before things get out of hand in Motown. Unfortunately, they could also have an Al Albuquerque and a smile. Not cool.
Total spent: $260
Going into the reserve draft, I wanted to double down on pitching because I had spent so little on it. But I also needed to draft at least one hitter because of Eaton’s injury.
1.11 Roberto Hernandez, SP, Tampa Bay
The battle for the Rays’ fifth rotation spot lasted just long enough for owners to leave the artist formerly known as Indians P Fausto Carmona available. My hope is that pitching coach Jim Hickey can settle him down, like he did players like Kyle Farnsworth and Fernando Rodney. He’s a much different type of pitcher, but I’m still hopeful.
2.05 Justin Masterson, SP, Cleveland
The Indians ace shows flashes at times and disappears at other times. The big righty has thrown over 200 innings in each of the past two seasons, and he has an improved lineup helping him now.
3.11 Jonny Venters, RP, Atlanta
Handcuffed my expensive closer with the player that would likely draw a $30 FAAB bid if Kimbrel got hurt.
4.05 Rob Brantly, C, Miami
In a league where 30 catcher-eligible players are starting every week, I snatched up the Marlins’ starting backstop, who should get 300-plus at-bats and post a .330-plus OBP, which would rank him among the top 15 at the position.
So that’s how my team shapes up. There are plenty of holes to fill (saves!) and I’ll certainly be paying attention to the waiver wire as April rolls into May. But for a base, this team looks good in several areas.
I took ESPN’s projections (only because that company wasn’t represented in our draft), and my team is projected to end up with the following stats, with the Rotisserie points that I would have earned last year with these stats:
- 238 Homers, (11th, 4 Roto points)
- 986 RBI, (5th, 11 Roto points)
- 1,040 Runs scored, (4th, 12 Roto points)
- 180 Stolen bases, (4th, 12 Roto points)
- .343 OBP, (category was not used in 2012)
- 1.255 WHIP, (6th, 10 Roto points)
- 3.62 ERA, (4th, 12 Roto points)
- 1,453 Strikeouts, (1st, 15 Roto points)
- 48 Saves, (13th, 3 Roto points)
- 106 Wins, (1st, 15 Roto points)
Total Roto points for my 2013 Tout Wars team, without OBP: 94 – If I land in the top-third of on-base percentage, which I fully expect to, that’s another 10 Roto points, giving me 104. That places me fifth in the league for both 2011 and 2012.
… And that’s before I trade Kimbrel!
We don’t know everything that’s about to happen, but one thing we do know is that nothing works out the way we plan it! On May 1, I might have a completely different plan for this team. But for now – this is my 2013 Tout Wars squad and I’m sticking to it!