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
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.
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.
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 . I realize it looks bad.