Monday, October 18, 2010

Tout Wars N.L. Recap Part II: In-Season

Last time out, I wrote about my Tout Wars N.L.-only auction. I had a good-but-not-great auction. The hitters I purchased panned out but the pitchers I bought did not.

I recognized the flaws in my team hours after the auction ended. The big question was: would I be able to fix those problems and come out ahead or had a dug myself too much of a hole on the pitching side?

It turns out that I spun my wheels most of the season. I drafted an 82 1/2 point team and walked away at the end of the season with an 82 point team. In GM-speak, that's a C season.

So what did I do wrong?

1) I put too much stock into a poor start
At the end of April, I was not only dead last, but buried, 13 points out of 12th. While I knew that my team wasn't that bad, my poor start left me wondering if I needed to trade for hitting and for pitching. As a result, I sat back and was passive on the trade front, not making my first trade until June 7.

2) I wasn't aggressive enough with my FAAB
I am more accustomed to keeper leagues and this was my first go-round with the Vickrey Method of FAAB bidding. As a result, my bids were far too conservative for most of the season. I lost out on a number of players - mostly on offense - who either would have picked me up a few points in runs/RBI or - more importantly - given me some strong trade chips to try and swap for pitching. I got Alex Gonzalez for $53 close to the deadline. Most owners had no interest in him as a trade chip.

3) I tried chasing rate stats instead of being patient
Kenshin Kawakami, John Lannan and John Maine all were terrible for me early. I should have followed my own advice and picked up one or two middle relievers early, protected my rate stats, and let strikeouts fall by the wayside. Instead, I picked up poor starting pitchers repeatedly hoping to catch the lightning in a bottle I didn't catch at the auction. The problem with this approach is that if you didn't get burned during the auction, you will via FAAB. While I certainly shouldn't be too hard on myself for missing out on R.A. Dickey and Livan Hernandez, I probably should have stayed away from Doug Davis and Dontrelle Willis.

In retrospect, though, my fate was sealed coming out of the auction. After Cain, I had too many starting pitchers who didn't come through and would have needed to hit the jackpot twice on free agent pitching pick ups to even get to the middle of the pack. While my Stars and Scrubs offense maintained, it left me with too little depth to be aggressive in the trade market during the season. I did correctly identify a steals surplus mid-season and flipped Jose Reyes for Josh Johnson, but even that wasn't enough.

The end result was a third place tie in my rookie season of Tout Wars. It's not a result I'm exactly proud of, but I do believe I held my own in a tough auction environment. If I have the honor of being invited back next year, I think the advantage of having been through one Tout Wars auction and playing one full season with the Tout Wars rules will give me something to build on for next year.

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