The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 795 – Tout Wars AL Review

03/23/20

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TOUT REVIEW

  • AL Tout Wars Review

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Best Ball Auction Results (Plus Second Draft Date/Time)

Last Friday, we held our first best ball auction on Fantrax. Today, I’m here to report both some of the results and a few tricks I learned along the way – and will be subsequently fixing. Lastly, I’m announcing Best Ball Auction #2 to be held on the evening of Wednesday, March 25.

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Are 2019’s Breakouts This Season’s Busts?

Two years ago during Fantasy Baseball Week at The Hardball Times, I researched whether last season’s breakouts were solid investments the following year. Spoiler alert: they are actually terrible investments. Of course, that’s as a group. That means that not every breakout from the previous season is going to fall flat the following year. So let’s discuss some of the big breakouts from 2019 and decide whether each turns out to be a poor investment bust or ends up holding onto their gains.

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Ariel Cohen’s 2020 TGFBI Recap – Pitchers

In my previous post, I looked at the hitting landscape for The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational (TGFBI) drafts. I also analyzed my own personal team from league #14, which was dubbed as the “league of death.”

Onto the pitching …

General Observations

Starting Pitchers

Let’s first compare starting pitcher ADPs from the past two seasons of TGFBI.

Average Draft Position (ADP) for 2019 Elite Starting Pitching
Rank Player ADP Min Max
1 Max Scherzer 6 3 11
2 Jacob deGrom 11 6 15
3 Chris Sale 11 5 16
4 Justin Verlander 21 14 25
5 Gerrit Cole 24 15 27
6 Aaron Nola 26 16 34
7 Corey Kluber 26 16 34
8 Blake Snell 29 22 35
SOURCE: 2019 TGFBI ADP

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Another Draft Recap: Scoresheet BP-Kings

There is nothing quite like Scoresheet. Like with other sim games, you’re the manager as well as the GM, making lineup, substitution and baserunning decisions over a full season’s schedule of games, but like traditional fantasy, you’re making those decisions based on how you expect players to perform in the current season. The unique nature of the game makes for unique drafting, where defense, handedness and platoon splits are important factors to consider.

I just completed my draft in the BP Kings industry league, where we filled out our 35-player rosters after submitting a keeper list of no more than 10 players. My team missed the postseason in 2019, but went 88-74 with a league-best 3.60 ERA. The team also had the third-lowest average of runs scored per game (4.5) out of 24 teams, so it’s fitting that half of my 10 keepers were pitchers. That was after throwing back useful relievers like Taylor Rogers, Giovanny Gallegos, Yusmeiro Petit and José Leclerc into the draft pool. I wound up keeping my rotation of Charlie Morton, Luis Castillo, Mike Minor, Aníbal Sánchez and Adrian Houser intact, while carrying over Eugenio Suárez, Franmil Reyes, Alex Verdugo, Kolten Wong and Elvis Andrus as the core of my offense and defense.
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Delayed Season Start Value Decliners

Yesterday, I discussed five players that aren’t generally thought of as gaining value due to the delayed start to the season. Today, I want to discuss players that stand to lose value because they were originally expected to enjoy a playing time boost replacing an injured player, but might no longer do so.

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Tout Wars Recap: Prep, Auction, & Why

This past weekend, I missed out on one of my favorite weekends when I head to New York for the Tout Wars 15-team mixed auction and the NFBC Main Event. While the NFBC Main Event was postponed, the Tout Wars auction went on but from the confines of our homes. Here are a few observations on a team I may not get to manage this year and how can these industry drafts help the people in their own leagues.

Thanks to Fred Zinkie and Tanner Bell who both jumped on Skype with me to bounce ideas off and at least giving me someone to talk to.

Preparation

Simply, I have a whole book on how I prepped for the auction. I didn’t deviate from it except in the following few ways. Each will be incorporated into future editions of The Process.

First, I split apart the player pool into four groups: Catchers, non-catchers, starters, and closers. The tendencies of the league are set with each group having their own valuations. The big change for me is a separate catcher group. I didn’t go through the whole replacement level valuations that boost up some catchers into the top-20 players and mess with the auction dollar distribution. Instead, I made them their own player pool. After catchers messed up my hitter valuations in LABR, I adjusted and fewer in auction adjustments were needed.
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Draft Recap: Tout Wars (Mixed H2H Auction)

I wanted to not write too many draft recaps this preseason. I didn’t want draft recaps to simply stand in for analysis. Turns out we might not have baseball until June or July or maybe ever. Draft recaps might be all we have in this pandemic hellscape. (I’m being dramatic, I know. But, also, maybe I’m not!)

I did recap my first-ever Tout Wars draft last year. Honestly, it went poorly. I didn’t click through the link to read what I wrote, but if I try to make it seem like I did well… I promise you, I didn’t. I ended the SiriusXM stream chastising myself for drafting so poorly. It’s true!

I did, however, recover nicely in-season once I finally learned how to use OnRoto and I got a handle on what seemed to me like the optimal roster-building strategy. My year-end roster looked nothing like my drafted roster, and I was able to navigate FAAB effectively enough to wiggle my way into a semi-finals matchup. (I was a benched Kole Calhoun home run away from beating Clay Link and heading to the finals to face Ian Kahn, where he would have annihilated me unceremoniously.)

This year, I’d like to think I fared much better. I actually calculated projecwhatevted points this time! I’m sad we all couldn’t draft in person, but I’m more than happy to draft online at Fantrax in the name of social distancing.

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12-Team Best Ball Auction #1

As part of the socially distanced festivities here at FanGraphs, I will be hosting a series of best ball auctions on Fantrax. Entry for this first league will be free. The only requirement is availability for the draft which be held at 11:00am ET on Friday.

I know this is an awkward draft time for many of you. The intent is for this to be the first of many such auctions, some of which will even run during reasonable nighttime and/or weekend hours. With that out of the way, shall we explore the settings?

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Under the Radar Injured Player Value Gainers

The delayed start to the season is going to have a significant impact on player values. If you originally expected a player to miss the first two months of the season, now that player is looking like he’ll be ready for opening day. We all know the big names that gain value with the later start date — Justin Verlander, Aaron Judge, James Paxton, etc. Let’s ignore them and discuss some of the less expensive players expected to have a smaller impact. Though the impact is certainly smaller, that doesn’t mean there isn’t profit to be had.

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