In my three years as a competitor in the Tout Wars mixed auction, I've finished third, 15th and sixth. One would think that via the every-other-year law (Bret Saberhagen Axiom?), 2014 doesn't look too hot for me.
While holes remain in what I compiled Saturday in New York City against 14 competitors, there's a sturdy foundation. And that's true even after I found out two of my purchases received bad injury news during the draft.
Kipnis down with OBP
Each team is allotted a $260 cap for 23 players, with 4 no-cost reserves. Tout uses OBP instead of BA, which drastically alters values. You'll also see that, as usual, timing can have its way with the market
I went into the action knowing I wanted a power-speed mix along with a three- or four-pitcher base of top skills, preferably 3 top-30 SPs and 1 top-10 (preferably -5) CL. I was conservative until my third purchase at Pick 65, when I started to build my franchise players. I planned on being aggressive after each break in the action so I didn't become desperate as more time passed.
It was fun and challenging, as usual. Thanks to the Tout board for allowing me to sneak back into the field, and my opponents proved that this is some of the best action you'll see in the industry -- around the table and at the bar (props to Foley's for the party).
- View my roster on the next page and tell me how I did on the social media superhighway.
- Access the order of nominations and buys, courtesy of Jason Collette, the room's bookkeeper/chat ringmaster.
- Browse other competitors' reax pieces (including one that's a harsh, palpable lesson for any drafter).
Tim's Tout Wars mixed auction club
- My first two buys were a discounted Aroldis Chapman ($11), which I felt was solid for four months of play and excellent for five. Though it was a bit pricey, Felix Hernandez was worth all $25. Anibal Sanchez's shoulder concerns allowed me to get him for $14; he seems to be holding up. Glen Perkins ($14) offered a relative bargain (look at the others similar to his price) and a deadly K-SV combo when Chapman resurfaces.
- With Jason Kipnis ($28), Jose Reyes ($24), Adrian Beltre ($27) and Anthony Rizzo ($17), I didn't plan for this heavy an infield commitment. Because of their excellent OBPs, they all were below, equal to, or marginally above my draft-adjusted tags. After hearing about Reyes' injury, I backed him up with Jonathan Villar ($4) and Javier Baez ($1). Grabbing Aramis Ramirez ($14) was a happy accident; I was trying to pass him to someone else.
- I've been preaching about gathering money-making OF all year. In an auction, it's more difficult to load up there, especially when you splurge on INF. Justin Upton ($29) was the last of my OBP-leaning elite tier. Carlos Beltran ($15) should to plenty of damage when on the field as a Yankee. I had to sacrifice OBP with Rajai Davis ($7) and Avisail Garcia ($5), but my HR-SB needs required their presence.
- I possessed enough toppers near the end to land some of my targets, including Miguel Montero ($8), one of the biggest beneficiaries of the OBP format. I think he rebounds in a big way from injury and bad-luck statistics last year, and I wanted to make him my top backstop if I couldn't get a big name.
- My other biggest buy near the end was $4 Will Venable. He's ineffective in BA and OBP, but to land a 20-20 type at this point -- as a complement and not a midrange focus in this deep a game -- was gravy. He has downfall potential, but at this stage and cost, it'd hardly cripple me.
- Josh Johnson ($2) would've been a fine dice roll, but he's already on the DL. Ivan Nova ($2) is my No. 3 -- concerning, yes, but not crippling. Hector Santiago ($2) and Tommy Milone ($1) have some upside. $1 Jesse Crain could add to a trove of SV.
- My reserve rounds (no cost) landed Yonder Alonso (OBP), Emilio Bonifacio (SB, 2B-OF eligibility), Jon Niese (skilled SP) and Jameson Taillon (hopefully Gerrit Cole 2: Electric Boogaloo).
For as concretely as we and others want to present them, projections and category targets are an abstract component to any fantasy draft. You're not going to get all of those statistics; they're basically a guideline.
That being said, I topped 200 in both HR and SB, while maintaining a midrange-at-minimum OBP standing. I'll need to work the wire for more SP, but even in this size of a game, that's the most fun -- and with preparation, the most easily accomplished -- piece. I rather would have weaknesses in my final 5 pitching spots than be digging for offense.
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 LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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