Tout Wars Mixed 2010: Team Carty

Sunday morning I traveled to Citi Field to take part in my first Tout Wars draft. I’ll be playing in the mixed division against some very tough competition, including LABR rivals Steve Gardner, Perry Van Hook, and Doug Dennis, among 11 others.

Here is how my roster turned out:

Tout Wars Mixed 2010 — Team Carty

C: Mike Napoli – $15
C: J.R. Towles – $1
1B: Russell Branyan – $1
2B: Ian Stewart – $15
3B: Martin Prado – $12
SS: Alcides Escobar – $4
CI: Troy Glaus – $6
MI: Rickie Weeks – $12
OF: Nelson Cruz – $23
OF: Carlos Quentin – $18
OF: Jay Bruce – $16
OF: Julio Borbon – $16
OF: Carlos Beltran – $16
UT: David Ortiz – $12

P: Tim Lincecum – $32
P: Josh Beckett – $17
P: Hiroki Kuroda – $3
P: Justin Duchscherer – $1
P: Colby Lewis – $1
P: Francisco Cordero – $12
P: Jason Frasor – $10
P: Brandon Lyon – $2
P: Takashi Saito – $13

BN: Ryan Sweeney (OF)
BN: Mike Adams (RP)
BN: Pedro Feliz (3B)
BN: J.P. Howell (RP)

The elephant in the room

The one glaring take-away from my roster, which I’m sure I’ll receive some criticism for, is Takashi Saito for $13. Obviously setup men don’t go for $13, and I ended up spending that much on Saito because I had too much extra money at the end of the draft. The choice was spend my remaining $13 on him or leave $12 on the table. I chose the former because, should he be placed on the 60-day DL, I can claim 13 FAAB dollars instead of just $1.

Still, the fact remains that I probably shouldn’t have had an extra $12 at the end of the draft. That could have bought me a hitter upgrade, an extra closer, or another solid SP earlier in the draft. Here’s why I had that extra money:

1) I usually keep a “petty cash fund” of a few dollars set aside for the end-game so I make sure I can get some of my sleepers. You don’t want to tie your hopes to a guy like Colby Lewis rounding out your pitching staff, have him valued at over $10 (I did), and then watch him go to someone else for $3 or $4 because you’re missing that extra dollar you need to get him. In the CardRunners expert league, for example, this “petty cash” was the difference in my getting an extra quality OF in Juan Pierre. In Tout Wars, sadly, it meant me spending $13 on Takashi Saito.

2) I had a few late-round targets I wanted that I was saving some money for. As it turned out, I didn’t need nearly as much as expected. My last few buys of the draft included Lewis ($1), Duchscherer ($1), Kuroda ($3), Lyon ($2), Branyan ($1), and Escobar ($4). I think all of these guys are extreme bargains, and I didn’t expect to get them all so cheaply. I also got Stewart ($15), Bruce ($16), and Weeks ($12) relatively late and cheaper than I expected. Had a spent an extra buck here and an extra buck there on these guys, things wouldn’t look nearly as bad, even though the resulting roster would be exactly the same. As I approached the end of the draft, I felt like these were the guys I wanted, so even though the money was split between them awkwardly, I can’t complain too much.

My strategy

Another thing you may notice about my roster is that I have a lot of injury-prone or injury-risk players. Beltran, Weeks, Glaus, Branyan, Duchscherer, Saito, and maybe Quentin and Ortiz all stand out as such. This was intentional. In an NL-only or AL-only league like LABR or CardRunners, I think it’s important to avoid injury risks as best as possible and draft players who will accumulate a lot of ABs and IPs. I probably wouldn’t touch Beltran or Weeks or Glaus in an NL-only league, but in a mixed league, things are very different. One of the key points of my 2010 Tout Wars strategy was embracing risk in a reasoned and intelligent way.

In an “only” league, replacement level might be a guy like Jamey Carroll or Juan Castro. In a mixed league (even a 15-team one), though, replacement level means guys like Nate Schierholtz and Yuniesky Betancourt. These guys aren’t studs by any means, but they will get quite a few ABs. As I wrote about last offseason, while Beltran’s contributions alone may not be worth $16 (and, hey, maybe they will be), if you combine his numbers with a guy like Schierholtz or Ryan Sweeney while he’s injured, you end up with far more than $16 in value. And if Rickie Weeks decides 2010 is the year he wants to avoid the DL, you’re going to get even more than that.

Sure, you’ll miss a few games here or there in a weekly transaction league if a guy gets injured on a Wednesday or if he gets hit with nagging, day-to-day injuries (I did try to avoid these types—the Chipper Jones and J.D. Drews of the world—and go more for all-or-nothing injury risks), but I believe the overall effect will be positive.

Furthermore, to help with flexibility in my eventual waiver wire choices, I grabbed a few multi-position players in Stewart, Prado, and Glaus. I could have gotten a few more, but having guys like this is more icing on the cake than anything else when you consider the ultimate difference between a replacement OF and a replacement CI.

A few more thoughts

This auction, in my opinion, saw hitters go for more than they were worth while pitchers went for less, at least in the early rounds. I didn’t really plan on getting two studs like Lincecum and Beckett, but I changed gears a bit when I noticed this trend. I almost snagged a third top-notch starter like a Ricky Nolasco or a Jon Lester in the mid-teens, but I decided that even at those prices, it would force me to go thin on my hitting, especially with the premium being placed on hitters at the time.

Despite the early inflation on hitters, I managed to keep my cool well enough and ride out the $42 Chase Utleys and $39 Carl Crawfords. My most expensive hitter ended up being Nelson Cruz at $23, but I feel like my hitting is still very strong, peppered with quite a few quality high-mid-tier options and several breakout candidates.


My biggest regret is letting Carlos Pena go for $12. I’m not Pena’s biggest fan or anything, but that’s some serious value for CBS’s Eric Mack. At the time I thought I might be running a little low on cash and had just spent an extra dollar on a guy that I sort of regretted spending it on, and immediately after he was sold I was upset I hadn’t jumped in.

I went too high on Frasor, who was thrown out pretty early on. Guys like Matt Capps and Trevor Hoffman ended up being better buys, if only as a matter of job certainty.

Concluding thoughts

Everything considered, I think I have a very good team. I’d be interested to hear any of your thoughts, and please, keep the Saito hate to a minimum smile. I realize it looks bad.

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  1. Mark said...

    Is there anyone who comes out of a draft thinking they don’t have a good team?

    I’m not a fan of your pitching.  It’s a bit of the stars and scrubs theme which means bold action on pitchers who have limited pedigrees if the scrubs pull you down.

  2. Adam said...

    I think your ratios and your K/9 on your pitching staff should be good, but you are counting on two starters – Duch and Kuroda – who you can only (reasonably) count on for a max of 250-300 IP combined; you also don’t have any starters in your reserve to take their place if they miss time. Are you worried that you might not accumulate enough innings to acquire a competitive amount of K’s and W’s? Or did you consciously select only a few starters with a bunch of relievers (and two reserve relief aces) and follow Shandler’s MRI plan, hoping to dominate ERA, WHIP, be near the top in saves, and stay afloat in W’s and K’s?

  3. DonCoburleone said...

    I actually like this team Derek. There is definately alot of risk, but the bottom line is in order to win super competetive leagues like this you have to draft risky guys. All the injury guys aside, you also are taking big risks with Escobar and Borbon being your top speed/runs guys. They have very little Major League experience and if they struggle it could kill your steals and severely hurt your run scoring. But Napoli, Branyan, Stewart, Glaus, Quentin, Beltran, Ortiz and Bruce give you massive power potential. All you need is 4 or 5 of these guys to stay healthy and/or beat their projections and you’ll be near the top in HR’s and RBI. 

    I also like the pitching, Lincecum is simply the best pitcher in baseball. Beckett seems to always get undervalued, I’ve had him in alot of my leagues the last 2 seasons. Sure his ERA is usually in the high 3’s, but 14-18 wins, 180+ K’s, and a solid WHIP? Sounds like a #2 fantasy starter to me. Then another guy who I love but gets no respect in fantasy circles is Hiroki Kuroda. He was hurt alot last year but in 2008 he threw 183 innings. His average line in 2 seasons in MLB is 150IP, 105K’s, 3.75ERA, 1.20WHIP. Throw in 10 or 11 wins to that line and you’re talking about a freaking steal for $3. Colby Lewis and Duchscherer who the heII knows, but all you need is one of them to pull off a league average year and boom there’s your top 4 starters. And saves wise you should get plenty from Cordero/Frasor/Lyon (I don’t trust Lindstrom at all to hold the Houston job) and who knows maybe Billy Wagner’s arm falls off sometime in April or May and you end up with the Braves closer in Saito.

  4. Jonathan Sher said...

    I wonder if you took too far the sound strategy of targeting high ceiling injury risks.  In addition to Beltran, Weeks, Glaus, Branyan, Duchscherer, Saito, and Quentin, who should have no “maybe” attached as an injury risk, Mike Napoli is a playing time risk both because of injuries, his throwing arm and Mike Scioscia’s infatuation with Jeff Mathis. Putting aside the pitchers, and I realize Saito was chosen for reasons unrelated to his talent, six of your 14 hitters are injury risks, some hugely so.

    Let me make a comparison. We all know the conventional wisdom to spend more on hitters than on pitcher. I’ve never spent more than $80 on pitching and it’s usually closer to $70. But take that strategy to an extreme and cap pitching at $20; at some point the pendulum swings too far and strikes you in the head.

  5. Jason B said...

    Methinks your outfield is very solid top-to-bottom, while your infield kinda makes baby Jesus cry =)

  6. Ed said...

    Been following you for a while now.  You helped me win a league a couple of years ago before you moved over to Hardball Times with your spot-on predictions of Oliver Perez when he had his banner year and James Shields in his break out year.  I was very pleased that the Tout Mixed spreadsheet had been posted prior to my auction last night so that I could get a better understanding of price ceilings for various players I was targeting.  I was especially interested in your choices.  However, I did not like the make-up of your team.

    There are a few diamonds in the rough and some picks were quite helpful in seeing how others valued them, specifically Branyan and Lyon, but overall I think this is not a very well balanced team.  Certainly not what I expected.  I think Minnix-KFFL has the best team of the bunch, but that means nothing. I think you fall way short of the median values in these categories:
    >Steals – You,re not even competing here
    >BA – Branyan, Glaus, Stewart, Weeks are sure to always be putting downward pressure here.  And Quentin, Bruce and Ortiz hopefully will be neutral.

    In the pitching categories, I think you did well.  Your WHIP should be your most dominate category followed by ERA.  Your relievers and back-ups give you enough wiggle room to manage.

    What I may have done differently:

    I think you have two very similiar sets of hitters. 

    In Field Group:  Branyan, Stewart and to a degree Glaus (I think he is not going to be the power hitter he once was by choice).

    Outfield/Util:  Quentin, Ortiz and Bruce. 

    Either group as part of your team is fine and likely competitive, but together you clearly miss out, significantly, on SB’s and BA. 

    Since you are high on Branyan, you should have targeted someone other than Stewart for 2B…say Polanco.  The $8 savings could have been applied to getting a Werth or Choo…or even a Pierre.

    Ortiz or Quentin are too similar in risk and skills.  You could have gone with Span, CarGo, and even M. Bradley (for BA) and utilized your savings somewhere else.

    In general, it appears you went in this draft with too many “value” picks and not enough forethought on what you need in each category to win.  I think you need to unload some power as quickly as you can.  If Stewart starts hot, I would really look to make a move…or even Quentin and/or Bruce.  Good luck this season!

  7. Kampfer said...

    Takashi “$13” Saito… ok I am not going to talk about it. I am surprised how cheap many of your players are. Many of your $1~$5 dollars purchase are under market value. I am wondering how much CarGo went for though. If you are willing to pay 16 for Beltran, while not a 20~22 dollars for CarGo? I think he is well worth it.

  8. Derek Carty said...

    Thanks for your thoughts, guys.  I forgot to mention that full results can be found here:

    Carlos Gonzalez went for $10, although in this format, I probably prefer Beltran.  I could end up being wrong, but I’d rather take an injury risk than a PT/skills risk in a mixed league where I’m employing this kind of strategy.

    You’re absolutely right.  If you don’t come out of a draft thinking you have a good team – or rather, the best team – there was a problem with your draft.  So me saying that I like my team and think it is the best really isn’t saying much; it’s what I should think.  I’m not so sure I’d consider this stars and scrubs, though.  I think all three of my back-end SPs could post ERAs under 4.00, and I think it’s actually likely that Kuroda and Duchscherer do.  I’d say the same about Lewis, but there’s a bit more variability with him.

    I’m not worried at all.  In a mixed league, even a 15-team one, there will always be solid enough pitchers on waivers that I can pick up should someone get injured.  Combine 150 IP of sub-4.00 ERA from Kuroda and 120 IP of sub-4.00 ERA from The Duke with 120 IP of 4.20 ERA from a replacement player and you’re still getting enough innings with good ratios – all for $4.  I also forgot to mention that Tout Wars has unlimited DL spots, which was another reason I went with this strategy.

  9. Derek Carty said...

    Absolutely.  I league as competitive as Tout or LABR, you need to take some risks.  I like to think mine are calculated risks, the right kind of risks, and hopefully they’ll pay off.  I agree about Lindstrom, which is why I like Lyon as a bargain pick.  Gervacio is scary in that bullpen, but Lyon should be next in line barring anything crazy, I would imagine.

    Jonathan Sher,
    You could definitely be right, but as I said, in these kinds of leagues you have to take risks.  I’ve got my team projected out to over 7,000 ABs.  Of course, since they’re my projections it should be high, but even if I lose a few guys to injury, I still think I should accumulate enough ABs to be competitive in the counting categories.

    Thanks for the honesty.  BA is certainly an area I’m lacking in, although I’m not sure I agree about SBs, especially if Beltran runs and Weeks stays healthy.  Cruz, Borbon, and Escobar could contribute 90 all by themselves, and then a lot of the others should contribute piecemeal in the 5-10 area.  And I think I have a lot of power, so if I have to make a trade mid-season, that’s always an option.

    I do absolutely love Ian Stewart, though, and wouldn’t have wanted to avoid him.  I love his power and think is BA will improve.  I own him in LABR too, so I am definitely relying on him a bit.

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