One of the biggest industry setups in the league, Tout Wars brings together the elite minds in the fantasy game. This season, I’m switching from the 15-team mixed league auction to a new and I think exciting new format that attempts to move the fantasy game more in line with the real world product on the field. This is my report of how the draft played out, but before that breakdown, let’s spend a moment talking about what makes this league different.
5 x 5 Rotisserie style scoring BUT the categories are very different.
Hitting Categories – OBP, HR, RBI, Runs, SB
Pitching Categories – Innings, ERA, WHIP, K, Solds
*OBP instead batting average (at it should be).
*Solds (Saves+Holds) instead of saves (as it should be).
*Innings instead of Wins. I would have preferred QSW, but I like the durability component.
ROSTER: 2-C, 1-1B, 1-3B, 1-CI, 1-2B, 1-SS, 1-MI, 5-OF, 1-UT, 9-P, 6 reserves
This league is staying old school saying that you need to have participated at a position five times last season in order to qualify at the spot this year (for more on that I discussed qualifications here). I think that is too low, but so be it. Five games in-season gets you a new spot too.
FREE AGENT ACQUISITION BUDGET
This league will indeed be using FAAB. Each team will have $1,000 to spend over the course of the year. You must have $1 to big on a player (no zero bids).
There is no limit to the number of players that can be placed on the Injured List. Players must be activated by the scoring period after they are activated.
1 Jeff Boggis
2 Ron Shandler
3 KC Bubba
4 Doug Anderson/Chris Clegg
5 Al Melchior
6 Alex Fast
7 Ray Flowers
8 Jim Bowden
9 Andy Behrens
10 Chris Towers
11 Jen Piacenti
12 Jake Ciely
*Round taken in parenthesis.
Catcher: Sean Murphy (15), Buster Posey (17)
First Base: Matt Olson (8)
Second Base: Ozzie Albies (4)
Third Base: Anthony Rendon (2)
Shortstop: Bo Bichette (3)
Middle Infielder: Nick Madrigal (13)
Corner Infielder: Justin Turner (11)
Outfield: Christian Yelich (1), Austin Meadows (7), Victor Robles (12), Hunter Dozier (18), Brandon Nimmo (19)
Utility: Lorenzo Cain (23)
Pitchers: Brandon Woodruff (5), Sonny Gray (6), Chris Paddack (9), Joe Musgrove (10), Kenley Jansen (14), James Paxton (16), Taylor Rogers (20), Zack Eflin (21), Sean Manaea (22)
BENCH: Robbie Ray (24), David Dahl (25), Garrett Crochet (26), Richard Rodriguez (27), Jonathan Hernandez (28), Madison Bumgarner (29)
DRAFT WRITE UP
*This is a real-time write up, put together while the draft was taking place.
ROUND 1: Gotta keep in mind this is an OBP league. As such, Mike Trout isn’t going to fall to me. He’d be an ideal get here, but I have to think that he goes before me. The real question is – will Cole/deGrom go? I don’t want to take an arm in the first round, but if the group pounds pitching the first six picks, do I? Remember, this is an innings pitched league, and if we removed the uncertainty of “wins” from the elite guys, we now have four pitching categories we can feel good about with the horses, right? It will probably be Trea Turner or Jose Ramirez or Christian Yelich. Ultimately, I went Yelich who has had a .400 OBP his last two full seasons (it was even in the .350s last year when he was awful). Turner went the pick after me by the way. I’ll still be hunting for another shortstop early.
ROUND 2: Anthony Rendon is stable, productive, and boy does he get on base with a .399 mark the last four years. Rock solid.
ROUND 3: I’m eying Bo Bichette and Alex Bregman here. That would be an idea 1-2-3 draft for me. I really wanted to go Bregman. Three reasons I didn’t. (1) I could used 20-steals here because Rendon won’t be swiping bags. (2) I have Bregman everywhere. The second point is a lot less “real” than the first one. (3) Shortstop is deep, but taking one early allows me the freedom to wait on the middle infielder if that is how the draft plays out while giving me some third base freedom if it plays out that way.
ROUND 4: My first two selections afford me a little latitude in the OBP column, so I will grab the dynamic Ozzie Albies. He’s another guy who will steal bags, and he should score a ton of runs in a loaded Braves’ lineup. Love the top-4 here.
ROUND 5: Thinking starting pitcher here, or perhaps back to the corner infield spot at first base. I’ve got five guys to target, and there are four picks until I’m up, so I’m certainly getting at least one of the fifth-round targets. Lance Lynn went. Jose Abreu went. It was down to Paul Goldschmidt and Brandon Woodruff. I will hope that Goldy falls to next round, though I can’t believe he will. I’m thinking Woodruff, who has innings concerns, would make a great duo with Zack Greinke next round. We shall see if either of my targets fall (I’m not hopeful).
ROUND 6: Shoot. Greinke went. The old standby is gone. One pick to Goldy. Do I get sniped? Crap-pants. Come on man. That is some weak sauce there folks – with Goldschmidt going one pick before me. I went with Sonny Gray. He has thrown the 29th most innings the last two seasons (231.1). Stable, successful, and a passable SP2.
ROUND 7: Power/speed, performance. It is all there – if Austin Meadows is healthy. Recall that in his breakout season of 2019 he went .364-33-89-83-12.
ROUND 8: Sniped again. Man, twice in eight rounds as Kris Bryant goes right before me. Matt Olson has more power and his OBP was .115 points above his average last year. He was at .351 in 2019 and he moved his walk rate from 9.3 percent that year to 13.9 percent last season. Good thing I grabbed him cause my two fall backs – Muncy and Hoskins – went right after the Olson selection.
ROUND 9: Pitching is the target here. Berrios/Wheeler/Paddack are on my radar for that third starting spot. Got about six spots until I’m up, so hopefully one of the trio will remain and the sniping will be at an end, at least for a while. I always draft Berrios, every year, and I would love to have him in this format. This is getting to be a bit absurd. Wheeler and then Berrios in the two picks before me. I guess that is just how it is going to go in this draft. To date, 1/3 of my choices have been sniped. Oh yea, Chris Paddack was my selection.
ROUND 10: Joe Musgrove. I got a guy I targets. Drinks on me! Finally. I do have guys ranked ahead of Musgrove, but I went with him because this is an innings league, and he seems like a better bet to toss innings than the few names that I have listed ahead of him in the traditional rankings. Gotta play your league settings.
ROUND 11: I’m gonna get aggressive here. Targeting Donaldson/Turner at third base. The corner infield spot is gonna start to thin out, and I want to be in before that happens. I’m gonna grab OBP here, so I can target other bats that don’t produce well in that category. Justin Turner had a .400 OBP last year and the last four years the mark is absurdly good at .397. I’m thinking I can build up some OBP love and then deal for some bigger power bats in-season.
ROUND 12: Victor Robles is a huge question mark. No way around it. There are others who are more stable, others who are safer. Zero debate there. But, Robles could go 15/30, so I get the speed component, and he came to camp in better shape than ever before (wink, wink). He might even get a shot to leadoff. His low OBP will be offset by Turner with the previous selection.
ROUND 13: Nick Madrigal was a temptation last round, but I got him here. He doesn’t walk enough, but he’s gonna post at least a .333 mark, he will steal bags, and I just love the hit tool. Of course, the power is less than ideal, and he really is a better play in an average league, so perhaps I let my love of his game push him a bit higher than I should of in this setup. At least he should swipe bags – maybe 20.
ROUND 14: Kenley Jansen will get saves, and even if he slips, he’s still gonna get holds, right? I anticipate him holding on to the closers gig by the way. He has 30-saves each year from 2014-19, and he did have a 12.2 K/9 rate last season with a 15 percent swinging strike rate. He still has juice.
ROUND 15: Sean Murphy should succeed this year, provided his lungs are fully healthy which sounds likely to be the case. He has a .846 OPS through two years that includes a .355 OBP.
ROUND 16: James Paxton fell to a point, where even if he’s throwing 140-innings, it just makes too much sense not to take him. It is not like everyone else is going to suddenly throw 180-innings this season. Health? Who knows. Skills? You bet.
ROUND 17: Buster Posey, Hunter Dozier or Taylor Rogers. My mind tells me I can wait on Rodgers – it is a solds league after all. Dozier – I’m gonna hope he falls one more round. I went Buster Posey. The catcher spot is about to get wild. There are still guys that can hit, but many of them would be pushed if you asked them to post a .325 OBP. I’ll take a guy who shouldn’t have an issue posting a .350 OBP, and that is idea at this point of the draft – getting some stability. See how all the catchers are starting to go now as well?
ROUND 18: The waiting game at reliever continues. I will play the game. Hunter Dozier will play third base for the Royals this season. He already qualifies at first base and in the outfield. Triple-position eligibility is big with the way that teams use the IL these days. He also got a four-year contract, so even if he starts slow, he’s staying in the lineup for the Royals. Dozier’s walk rate exploded last season to 14.5 percent, so even though he hit .228 his OBP was .344. That’s a .346 mark the last two seasons.
ROUND 19: Taylor Rogers would be great here. I’m nervously waiting out the next three selections. Instead, I went Brandon Nimmo as I’m playing the game of Solds – which is turning into a game of chicken here. Nimmo had a .404 OBP last season and his career mark is elite at .390. He will hit atop a revamped Mets’ lineup. Not much power or speed, but if he stays healthy, he blows past this cost.
ROUND 20: I’m in not. Watch. Relievers will start to go. That’s my guess. I took Taylor Rogers.
ROUND 21: Thinking this is a good spot to get me some innings. I’m targeting an SP. Zach Eflin and Sean Manaea are popping here. I really like both. I will be writing more about why that is the case with Eflin later this week. He did strikeout out 10.7 batters per nine last season as well.
ROUND 22: Sean Manaea has a 1.07 WHIP his last 43 starts. He’s similar to Ryan Yarbrough who went in Round 14 (I do prefer RY).
ROUND 23: Lo Cain didn’t play last year (well, he played five games). As recently as 2019 he posted 18 steals with 75 runs, and from 2014-19 he averaged .294-11-53-77-24 with a .355 OBP. Can he be that guy? I’m not expecting it. Can he be 85 percent? Hopefully.
ROUND 24: Robbie Ray throws enough innings to be of interest, when you toss in the immense strikeout upside. He’s got a big an arm as anyone left at this point, and he might also be as volatile as anyone. There’s a solid chance he outpaces this cost, and in the very least he gives me punchouts to help make up for a guy like Manaea who aren’t huge punchout arms.
ROUND 25: David Dahl wasn’t a wasted pick, but it might have been better for me to take a 2B/SS here. Dahl, if healthy, well, you know the deal. Can he stay healthy in Texas? Hopes springs eternal, right?
ROUND 26: Garrett Crochet or Aaron Bummer. If we are going with the White Sox setup man, and we’re in a solds league, I think the outlook is extremely close. Ultimately I went the 100 mph with the hope he can stay healthy and dominate.
ROUND 27: Richard Rodriguez is an impressive arm. How many solds will he get with the Pirates? Fair question, but there’s a ton to like in that power arm with a huge swinging strike rate.
ROUND 28: Jonathan Hernandez is a better pitcher than Jose Leclerc who went in the same 28th round. I got the better arm. We got solds in this league. I like it.
ROUND 29: I almost went Andrelton Simmons here, and thought about Jonathan Schoop too. I went Madison Bumgarner. He will throw innings. Will the be anything other than league average? We shall see.
I think I’m a bit down in power. My mistake, if you can call it that, was Madrigal at second base. I probably should have grabbed a Schoop type late for some power, in fact it likely would have been the correct move in that my OBP could take that hit, so I will have to give consideration to dealing a guy like Madrigal to someone who needs some steals help if it comes to that, or merely grab some up the middle power once one of my pitchers heads to the IL which can’t be long from now, right?
Overall, I like the way the team turned out. The staff seems rather boring, but stable (per the plan). The offense is some vets and some youth. It has some bounce back types and absolute loads of OBP. As always, health/waivers/trades will likely be the end all about how the team starts out, but I’ve given myself a chance with this start.
Here is a link to the draftboard.