Fantasy Baseball: Mixing it up in Tout Wars mixed

      March 28, 2013 @ 13:43:57 PDT

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POS
Starter Tm
$
C
Carlos Ruiz, C SUSP Phillies
5
C
Joe Mauer, C/1B Twins
23
1B
Prince Fielder, 1B Tigers
38
3B
Pedro Alvarez, 3B Pirates
8
CI
Mark Teixeira, 1B DL Yankees
5
2B
Chase Utley, 2B Phillies
16
SS
Erick Aybar, SS Angels
8
MI
Michael Young, 1B/2B/3B Phillies
4
OF
Alejandro De Aza, OF White Sox
9
OF
B.J. Upton, OF Braves
23
OF
Matt Holliday, OF Cardinals
27
OF
Torii Hunter, OF Tigers
5
OF
Gerardo Parra, OF Diamondbacks
1
UT
Adam Lind, 1B Blue Jays
1
POS
Reserve Tm
$
BN
Travis Hafner, UTIL Yankees
0
BN
Juan Francisco, 3B Braves
0
POS
Starter Tm
$
P
Jonathan Papelbon, RP Phillies
22
P
Matt Moore, SP Rays
16
P
Matt Cain, SP Giants
23
P
Jered Weaver, SP Angels
20
P
Trevor Rosenthal, RP Cardinals
2
P
Kelvin Herrera, RP Royals
1
P
Andrew Cashner, SP Padres
1
P
Chad Billingsley, SP Dodgers
1
P
Wei-Yin Chen, SP Orioles
1
POS
Reserve Tm
$
BN
Joshua Fields, RP Astros
0
BN
Jake Arrieta, SP Orioles
0

My FIRST strategy sunk me to last place - funny how that worked - in the 2012 mixed Tout Wars auction, so I'll be starting the 2013 season with only $63 in FAAB. I came to the conclusion I needed to try a different approach with this self-dug hole.

This time, I planned an attack of something closer to Stars and Scrubs to maximize my returns during the leveled playing field of the auction, where all 15 competitors had an equal opportunity with $260. ("Sherpa" Scott Swanay, you nailed it.)

This format's switch from BA to OBP provided one avenue for an advantage, even though as Nick pointed out, it wasn't exactly a secret. Still, I resolved to spend the extra buck on stability for reaching first base and/or quality power-speed combos as often as possible.

Though I wanted to acquire a few elite pitchers, maybe two stoppers, since they are the most replaceable commodity in this format, they held less importance in my idea. That played out at an even more extreme level than I expected.

My batter core of Fielder, Mauer, the elder Upton and Holliday provides a sound base for that; Upton's OBP deficiency is countered by his 25-30 profile. I didn't intend to spend on Fielder but felt the market price was right for a masher that constantly approaches a .400 OBP.

I at least considered that Alvarez had potential to grow more in OBP than in BA because he can at least take walks. It wasn't an ideal situation, but his likelihood of at least sniffing 30 homers again for that price made do.

Stashing Teixeira and Ruiz at low prices was my way of getting a jump on the waiver wire, so to speak, by using our unlimited DL.

Aybar and Young (thanks, 15-game eligibility) are hardly sexy but provide across-the-board stability. At-bat collection with a track record was something I valued for MIs in my dire FAAB situation, and the replacement value for these two wouldn't be exorbitant anyway.

Three of my OFers have 20-plus SB history and/or potential, so that should at least keep me afloat.

I stuck with my plan of purchasing SP stalwarts and a top-shelf stopper and built up some $1 players. This position boasts the best opportunity at streaming, so I'll be playing that as much as possible and for as cheaply as possible.

The Papelbon price

I called his name for the same cost as Craig Kimbrel and for $1 more than Aroldis Chapman, who each had been snapped up previously. I should've gone the extra buck on one of the others and have taken some flak for buying the Phillies' stopper. But it's not as if I spent that money on John Axford.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim SP Jered Weaver
Weaver should weave more brilliance

If Kimbrel and Chapman are Tier 1 stoppers, Papelbon is 1A, if not in the same group, so I viewed the importance of locking up Paps as a relativity issue compared to the rest of the stopper lot - on the same weekend that we learned Jason Motte has an elbow injury.

Only once has Paps posted an ERA higher than 2.94. So he "only" strikes out 11 or so per nine. He's money, so I spent it on him.

Make-or-break buys

Weaver ($20) - Was fine with Moore and Cain but couldn't resist this one. I think people are dogging his K/9 too much - he fought through some injuries last year that probably affected his location and elite fly-ball authority. I could've spread this out over a few hurlers, but he should return to his 2011 peripherals and continue his top-notch production. Plus, having both Mike Trout and Peter Bourjos in the outfield will help. Sometimes, a history of hard-to-hit guile means succeeding despite a low K/9 isn't all luck.

Moore ($16) - I bought him early on in the draft, and the market subsided for midrange pitching in the middle time span of the bidding, as it tends to do. I missed out on plenty of those clearance buys, and I probably was a bit antsy on this lefty, but I believe in his growth. This one was really about auction timing, and I'm not upset about it. But the fact others, like Gallardo, went for a buck less irks me a little.

Utley ($16) - With health comes 20-20ish production, and he's by far, in a vacuum, one of the best at reaching first among keystoners. I was pleased that he went for the same price as Dan Uggla, $2 lower than Rickie Weeks and $3 below Brandon Phillips.

$1 favorites

Parra - I'll take someone who'll net at least 350 at-bats in this injury-riddled OF and steal 20 sacks.

Lind - If the smidge of improvement versus LHPs this spring carries over, they'll have little choice but to play him nearly every day. He's only a few years removed from a breakthrough year (this year's Aaron Hill?). And, like me, he took up yoga this winter, so....

Chen - Did you see that second-half K/9?

***

So patience was a slight issue, but I didn't lose the league this past Saturday. I simply bought heavy early on and had to sit on the sidelines for a bit.

I'll still have to search for saves, which isn't the optimal path for someone with my FAAB dearth. This will force me to be more active on pre-emptive pickups and trade discussions, which is how you win these anyway.

Come along for the ride, won't you? All the action in the four leagues can be found here.

If you're drafting this weekend, go to our Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide!

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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