Justin Mason’s 2023 Tout Wars Mixed Auction Team

Every year, fantasy analysts from around the country gather for a collection of leagues called Tout Wars. This year was the 26th season of Tout Wars and the first time we have been able to do these auction leagues live since COVID-19 shut things down prior to the auctions in 2020. This year, I was in the 15-team mixed auction league.

 

Format
The league is a 15-team auction with standard two-catcher rosters. The scoring is 5×5 Roto with OBP instead of average. Here are the competitors from this year.

Tout Wars Auction League
Player Site(s) Previous Titles
Zach Steinhorn Creative Sports 2016 Mixed Auction Champion
Bret Sayre Baseball Prospectus 2019 Mixed Auction Champion, 2015 Tout X Champion
Scott Engel Rotoballer
Scott Swanay Fantasy Sherpa
Alex Chamberlain FanGraphs
Justin Mason Friends with Fantasy Benefits, FanGraphs, Fantasy Pros
Doug Anderson Fantrax
Jeff Zimmerman FanGraphs, The Process 2021, 2017 Mixed Auction Champion, 2016 H2H Champion
Scott Pianowski Yahoo
Brent Hershey Baseball HQ
Nick Pollack Pitcher List
CJ Kaltenbach Elite Fantasy
Scott Chu * Pitcher List
Garion Thorne* DraftKings
Kev Mahserejian* Rotoballer, The Operating Room Podcast

*First year in Tout Wars

You can also see the entire draft board from all Tout Wars leagues here.

 

My Strategy
Having drafted against the majority of these competitors in this league before, I felt I had a good understanding of what would likely happen. Typically, we see pretty high prices and then a ton of bargains in the middle. While I don’t have an issue bidding early, I figured that my projections would have me out on a lot of the early prices. I prefer to build a pretty balanced roster to begin with because it gives you a better chance at one or two injuries or busts from devastating your roster. I thoroughly expected to play the middle and that is exactly what played out.

 

The Draft
The prices were insanely high early on. The only player I had rated as worth more than $40 was Juan Soto. He went for $48 and three others (Kyle Tucker, Aaron Judge, and Ronald Acuna Jr.) went for $40 or more. The prices remained high for quite a while and I didn’t actually win a player until almost 90 minutes into the auction. I remained patient and I think it worked well for me. I would end up becoming very active once things slowed down for others, finishing my draft before anyone else by about 15-20 minutes.

 

My Team

Justin Mason’s Tout Wars Team
Pos Player $$$ Value +/-
C Alejandro Kirk $15 $19.24 $4.24
C Danny Jansen $10 $11.56 $1.56
1B Christian Walker $16 $19.57 $3.57
3B Ke’Bryan Hayes $8 $14.21 $6.21
CI Vladimir Guerrero Jr. $35 $35.76 $0.76
2B Brendan Donovan $5 $10.69 $5.69
SS Nico Hoerner $11 $11.68 $0.68
MI DJ LeMahieu $3 $11.07 $8.07
OF Bryan Reynolds $19 $19.77 $0.77
OF Steven Kwan $10 $15.36 $5.36
OF Ian Happ $12 $14.61 $2.61
OF Cody Bellinger $5 $11.60 $6.60
OF TJ Friedl $7 $7.72 $0.72
UT Josh Jung $3 $9.63 $6.63
P Brady Singer $9 $14.48 $5.48
P Joe Musgrove $15 $15.07 $0.07
P Tyler Glasnow $7 $9.60 $2.60
P Jordan Montgomery $12 $15.03 $3.03
P Drew Rasmussen $10 $12.31 $2.31
P Lance Lynn $13 $17.83 $4.83
P Trevor Rogers $4 $7.30 $3.30
P Alexis Díaz $8 $8.37 $0.37
P Emmanuel Clase $23 $22.07 -$0.93
RES Jose Suarez $0 $4.98 $4.98
RES MacKenzie Gore $0 $0.03 $0.03
RES Nelson Cruz $0 $8.40 $8.40
RES Taylor Rogers $0 $1.99 $1.99
RES Leody Taveras $0 $2.99 $2.99
RES Edwin Díaz $0 $0.00 $0.00
Total $260 $335 $75

 

The first thing you might notice is I spent more on pitching than most do during an auction. This was a bit by design but got thrown off by some of my end game hitters going for less than I expected them to. I had budgeted more for guys like Cody Bellinger and Josh Jung and was surprised they didn’t go for more, so I was able to roll that into pitching.

The second thing that you might notice is that I have a bit of injury risk already. Joe Musgrove, Tyler Glasnow, and Leody Taveras are all going to start the year on the IL and Edwin Diaz may already be done for the season. However, Tout Wars has unlimited IL spots which means I can afford to take on that risk. There are very few formats where I would roster a guy like Glasnow at all but this is one of the ones I am willing to take that gamble especially with how cheap he was.

One of the criticism of my draft has been the fact I took both Jansen and Kirk on the same team. While I typically wouldn’t do this in most leagues, Jansen and Kirk are the exception to the rule because they both should play a ton in spite of being on the same team.

After running my projections on my team, I think my offense is well balanced and doesn’t have many issue. I might need to add power at some point, but I don’t think that would be too difficult because my on base percentage is pretty nice so I can afford to sacrifice it a bit if I need to. My pitching is pretty strong, but if I have a weakness with it, I think it is in my wins with Singer and Rogers being on bad teams and Glasnow and Musgrove starting the year on the IL. I loved grabbing Suarez and Gore in the reserves, but Gore doesn’t help me in wins.

I have a ton of positional flexibility, with Brendan Donovan and DJ LeMahieu both being triple eligible and Nico Hoerner picking up second base eligibility early in season.

The biggest mistake I made was that I likely could have gotten Freidl for $1 or $2, but threw him out for $7 because I didn’t want to leave money on the table. In Tout Wars, if you lose a player to injury and drop him, you get 10 times his auction price back in FAAB prior to the All-Star Break. I could have used that $5-$6 to upgrade somewhere else. My other mistake was not getting more aggresive on “my guys.” While I got Freidl, I could have gone the extra dollar on guys like Jordan Walker, Jarred Kelenic, Randy Arozarena, and JT Realmuto. I stayed true to my values though and they all went above them, so it is not really a mistake in theory.

Overall, I am pretty happy with my auction and while I did make a few small mistakes, I think it is a very competitive team that should be in contention as long as I don’t get hit by a ton of early injuries.





Justin is the co-host on The Sleeper and The Bust Podcast and writes for Rotographs covering the Roto Riteup as well as other periodic articles. In addition to his work at Rotographs, Justin is the lead fantasy writer/analyst and co-owner for FriendswithFantasyBenefits.com, and the owner of The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational. He is also a certified addiction treatment counselor. Follow Justin on Twitter @JustinMasonFWFB.

7 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
TradeDeadlinemember
1 year ago

Hi Justin,

Thanks for posting this. Really interesting. I’ve seen some argue that you should always go stars and scrubs in a mixed auction because of the inevitable roster churn at the bottom of the roster. Will be great to see how a more balanced approach plays out.

I think you have linked the 2021 boards above.