By Brian Walton
The subject of our Mastersball-KFFL Roundtable last week was FAAB spending strategy. I did not join in the discussion -- partially because I was traveling and by the time I could have joined in, there was little unique to say, and partly because my primary focus of play is AL- and NL-only leagues.
Ax dull, broke FAAB open
In single-league formats, the available player pool at any given point in time can be properly characterized as being somewhere between mediocre and putrid.
As a result, any discussion of spending a lot of money up front to get "difference-makers" and not hoarding cash for mid-season player transfers from league to league is just as true but is hardly relevant.
Let's get real. If a player would have been considered by anyone to be even a potential "difference-maker," he would have been drafted in the first place.
To help put this into perspective, consider National League Tout Wars.
After the first two weeks of bidding, 96 percent of the available FAAB money remains.
Given everyone understands the importance of spending early, why has only $50 been spent across the entire league?
The answer is because there is almost no one to buy.
It is not that Tout rosters are excessively large. There are just four reserves beyond the standard 23 players. In an attempt to better stock the free-agent pool, the reserve rosters were reduced from six several years back.
An unlimited disabled list mirrors the major leagues. It means owners are not forced to play injured players or have to make tough decisions to drop good but injured players to acquire replacements.
Owners are given just two weeks after a player is activated by his real MLB team to either activate or release the former-DL player. That makes hoarding difficult, if not impossible.
Some owners roster top prospects still in the minor leagues. They are willing to tie up their roster spots now in hope of a major boost later without having to get in a bidding war when the prospect reaches the bigs.
To discourage too much of this advance speculation (beyond the self-limiting four-man reserve restriction), Tout rules require a minimum $1 bid for minor leaguers. Further, any player acquired must remain in the active lineup for one week before becoming eligible to be reserved.
Every minor league prospect taking up a roster spot should mean one more major leaguer is available in the pool.
Looking at the free-agent list, you would have a hard time believing that.
Only one hitter with more than eight at-bats during the previous week was available to FAAB this past transaction deadline. Every NL stolen base in the season to date was collected by players already rostered in Tout.
Who had the only HR, RBIs on the wire?
Mastersball, founded in 1997, is a leader in providing in-depth analysis, research, projections and applications to the advanced fantasy baseball player. A 2010 merger brought the writers of CREATiVESPORTS into the fold, widely known for 15 years of insightful fantasy analysis and commentary.
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