Justin Mason’s 2024 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 27th season of Tout Wars. This year, I was in the 15-team mixed auction league where I finished second last season, losing the lead on the last day to Bret Sayre of Baseball Prospectus. 


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 Mixed Auction Participants
Last Season’s Finish Player Site(s)
1 Bret Sayre Baseball Prospectus
2 Justin Mason FanGraphs, Friends with Fantasy Benefits, Fantasy Pros
3 Kev Mahserejian Rotoballer, The Operating Room Podcast
4 Scott Chu Pitcher List
5 Jeff Zimmerman FanGrpahs, The Process
7 Scott Swanay Fantasy Sherpa
8 Brent Hershey Baseball HQ
9 Doug Anderson Fantrax
14 Scott Engel Rotoballer
15 Alex Chamberlain FanGraphs
New To Tout Wars Dave Adler Baseball HQ
Played in NL Only League Tristan Cockcroft ESPN
Played in NL Only League Todd Zola Mastersball, Rotowire, ESPN
Won 12-Mixed Draft League Andy Behrens Yahoo!
Won H2H Points League Frank Stampfl CBS


My Strategy

Having drafted against the majority of these competitors in this league or other leagues) 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

So, unlike last season when I waited until almost 90 minutes before getting a player, I was able to snag a few early players this year before having to wait to finish out my roster. As I will discuss, I made some major missteps in my auction and left feeling worse than I did leaving the auction last season.


My Team

Justin Mason’s 2024 Tout Wars Team
Pos Player Spent My Value + / –
C Gary Sanchez $1 $1.00 $0.00
C Elias Diaz $1 -$2.56 -$3.56
1B Christian Encarnacion-Strand $10 $13.71 $3.71
3B Matt Chapman $4 $9.78 $5.78
CI Vinnie Pasquantino $10 $20.92 $10.92
2B Brendan Donovan $4 $7.13 $3.13
SS Anthony Volpe $15 $19.69 $4.69
MI Xander Bogaerts $14 $16.05 $2.05
OF Ronald Acuna $61 $59.24 -$1.76
OF Randy Arozarena $27 $28.56 $1.56
OF Bryan Reynolds $16 $20.25 $4.25
OF Jarren Duran $8 $14.85 $6.85
OF Daulton Varsho $8 $17.92 $9.92
UT Nathaniel Lowe $1 $16.53 $15.53
P Josh Hader $22 $17.81 -$4.19
P Tanner Bibee $13 $14.65 $1.65
P Zach Eflin $17 $17.96 $0.96
P Alexis Diaz $10 $17.52 $7.52
P Bailey Ober $12 $15.52 $3.52
P Braxton Garrett $1 $5.32 $4.32
P Shane Baz $2 $1.32 -$0.68
P Dean Kremer $2 $8.24 $6.24
P Steven Matz $1 -$0.22 -$1.22
R Colt Keith $0 $0.00 $0.00
R Clayton Kershaw $0 $0.00 $0.00
R Michael Wacha $0 $0.00 $0.00
R Michael Massey $0 $0.00 $0.00
R Brenton Doyle $0 $0.00 $0.00
R Austin Hays $0 $0.00 $0.00
Hitters $180 $243 $63
Pitchers $80 $98 $18
Totals $260 $341.19 $81.19
SOURCE: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1u_02nYWw8ZgNlEGozVziEtP0lX_Y3q42UPeKQeebkwE/edit?usp=sharing

Obviously, the big move was going in on Ronald Acuna Jr. I had decided that I would go full price on him which I had at about $59, but when the price got to $60 I made a split second decision that I regretted pretty quickly. Not that I think drafting Acuna is a bad decision, but spending so much on one player is just hard to build around. I think it left me in a position where I could not go the extra few dollars on starting pitching and once again, my weakness is in my starters. Considering Corbin Carroll went for $37 and I had him as being with $38.66, I would have rather gotten him at $40 and spent the extra $21 on a pitcher like Logan Gilbert.

Let’s talk about my pitching. I love Eflin, Ober, and Bibee this year. I have them all as top 20 starting pitchers, so I do not mind that the lead off my staff, but I do worry about my depth. I am a big fan of Braxton Garrett, Shane Baz, and Steven Matz but they are starting the year on the IL. Now, Tout Wars has unlimited IL spots, which will allow me to backfill their spots, but I wish I had grabbed another mid tier starter or better.

I also overspent on Hader which I regret. I love getting at least one elite closer, but I could have saved a few bucks on Emmanuel Clase or taken better discounts on a number of guys that went later.

Another mistake I had made was going after Christian Encarncion-Strand. I got him less than my price for him, but I knew that I would be able to get much better on other first basemen later like I did on Nathaniel Lowe. I could have used that $10 somewhere else and made even more profit.

I am pretty happy overall with the makeup of the team and I did get a lot of extracted value from the offense especially. That being said, I am not a fan of rostering $1 catchers, but while last season people in the league undervalued catchers, this year they overvalued them. It made more sense to just wait and play the waiver wire, but typically the last few catcher tend to give negative value as my table suggests they will.

There was a lucky moment as Eury Perez came up and almost no one in the room had heard his injury news, but he went for more than I wanted to spend at the time. When someone mentioned the news after the bidding, I looked on Twitter and saw that TJ Friedl had gotten hurt and was able to avoid bidding on him when he was put up.

I didn’t get a ton of positional flexibility which would have been nice, but I did add Brendan Donovan who has two eligible positions and could add more as well as Colt Keith who begins the year with third base eligibility and will pick up second base quickly.

I grabbed Kershaw as another stash in the reserves, but totally blanked that I should have picked up deGrom instead. I also wish I had grabbed another closer spec or two instead of an extra outfielder in the reserves.

Overall, I am a bit disappointed in my team. I do not think it is bad, but I think there were opportunities to really build a monster team in this auction and I made some small mistakes which I now need to overcome.

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.

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2 months ago

Nathaniel Lowe for a dollar, but Brendan Donovan for $4. Man, were people really out on the so-so year from Lowe last year? Nice, cheap 20 or so homers ideally from a guy in a good lineup even if he’s a bit banged up right now.

I like the team, though you’re right the pitching has to break right to be competitive. Eflin can’t get injured again, neither can Ober (and he has to drive his hype train all season). It’d be great if Kershaw came back before the All-Star break but it sounds like you’ll have to hope he helps in the final month or two at best.