I've been putting off writing about my participation in the Tout Wars N.L. auction for a little while now. This is partially because this blog aims to answer reader questions as they come and partially due to the fact that I'm now in four leagues and preparing for auctions in two of them.
I was asked to join Tout two days before the auction due to a last minute cancellation. I'm not currently in a carryover N.L., so I hadn't taken a close look at the N.L. since the CBS Sports Analysts auction back in early February. This didn't have much of an impact on most of my prices (how much did Ryan Zimmerman's value change from early February to late March?), but it did prohibit me from doing some of the fine tuning I normally like to do.
One thing I did do was look at Tout Wars' prices from last year. I had not been in a start-up auction for a while, but it seemed to me that the Tout Warriors were conservative with their bids. I tweaked some of my top bids down $2-3 because I didn't want to wind up pushing the envelope on too many stars and winding up with a Stars and Scrubs team.
However, that's exactly what happened...particularly on offense.
Here's a rundown by position. 5x5 Earnings from 2009 are in parenthesis (when supplied).
Catchers: Ronny Paulino $3, Yorvit Torrealba $1.
I pushed a little bit at the end on some of the few starters remaining, but didn't want to go to $9 on Carlos Ruiz or $7 on Nick Hundley. Paulino ($6) is a solid back-up for the Marlins with some pop and might be more of a straight platoon guy for the Marlins. Torrealba ($6) is nothing special but should move the chains, and Hundley also isn't exactly a top tier guy who will get 450+ AB.
Corners: Albert Pujols $40, Joey Votto $28, Mat Gamel $2.
Tout Wars is fairly conservative when it comes to its prices, but I tweaked down my numbers enough so that I thought I'd price enforce Pujols to $40 and still not get him. The bidding went cold, though, and I wound up with a guy who earned $45 last year. Votto ($26) is a slight bargain if he starts all year; he earned the same amount as Adrian Gonzalez in 83 fewer AB. Gamel ($3) goes on my D.L. this coming Sunday. I'm not a Casey McGehee believer, and am hoping for more AB from Gamel in the second half.
Middle: Hanley Ramirez $40, Jose Reyes $23, Ron Belliard $3, Cristian Guzman $3.
Ramirez ($41) wasn't quite as dominant as Pujols last year, but I'm hopeful that he'll maintain. Again, I couldn't believe no one would say $41. Reyes ($7) seems like my best buy of the auction if he's healthy, and he's supposed to be back this coming weekend. If he's healthy, I've got a lot of speed. Belliard ($10) is supposed to back up Blake DeWitt, but all I really need him to do is get another 250-300 AB. Guzman ($14) is also supposed to be a back-up, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him sneak in 300 AB as well.
Outfield: Carlos Lee $24, Alfonso Soriano $18, Eric Young Jr. $3, Josh Anderson $1, Mike Stanton $1.
Lee ($26) should continue to be a solid power source for both me and the Astros. I'm hoping he scores more than the 61 runs he did in '09. Soriano ($14) is finished as an elite OF, but should bounce back a little this year and earn what I paid for him. The rest of my OF is dicey. I need Young ($2) and Stanton (DNP) to be up sooner rather than later this year. Anderson ($9) was a mistake given Tout Wars' strict reserve rules. This was where my lack of preparation hurt me most. Had I looked more closely at the Tout Wars constitution, I probably would have taken a hitter on an active roster, since I can only keep four non-DL reserve players at any given time.
Starting Pitchers: Matt Cain $19, Kenshin Kawakami $8, Paul Maholm $5, John Lannan $3, John Maine $3, Chris Volstad $3, Madison Bumgarner $2.
Buying this ragtag staff (after Cain) certainly wasn't what I had in mind. After spending so much money on my offense (and overall), I was a little too conservative and let a handful of pitchers go at prices I should have paid. The result was a bit of a stretch on Kawakami and a number of par pitchers that aren't going to cut it for me. The plan is to see who pans out, quickly jettison anyone who doesn't, and churn the FAAB wires until I get the staff I want. Looking at the staff I don't feel too bad about it pitcher by pitcher. Everyone here has upside except for Kawakami and Lannan, and all I need is for one or two of the arms behind Cain to surprise. At $19, Cain is a pretty good ace, and I don't see his numbers regressing this year like some do.
Closers: Carlos Marmol $15, Matt Capps $12.
I like Marmol at this price because even if he loses the job, he's going to strike out a ton of guys regardless of his role. He earned $10 last year in 5x5, and $5 of that came in whiffs. Capps is OK at this price but given what some of the other closers went for I kind of wish I had let him go at $11. Reviews on him have been mixed this spring but I think he'll be OK.
It isn't a pretty team to look at, but based on last year's 5x5 earnings I have a $211 offense and a $66 pitching staff. If Reyes plays and can earn $25 instead of $7, that would bump me up to $295 team. Of course, this assumes that Belliard and Guzman repeat 2009, which is unlikely.
Stars and Scrubs is unseemly, which is why I believe most of the experts don't do it. However, if that's what the room is going to let you do, do it. I don't need all of my cheap offensive players to break out. If two of them can earn in double digits this year, I should contend this year.