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July 13, 2011

Fantasy Beat

Tout Wars Mixed 1st Half Recap

by Jason Collette

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Playing in Tout Wars is a rewarding experience because of the exposure the league gets.  It, alongside LABR (the League of Alternative Baseball Reality), is one of the two best gauges fantasy players have to see how the “experts” apply their knowledge at the draft table.  It is one thing to read the work each participant publishes online, but it is another to see what they do with their own imaginary money, or in the case of playing in high-stakes leagues such as the ones in the NFBC leagues, real money.

Last week, we looked at the AL-only league and how Larry Schechter and Jeff Erickson have turned their profits into the top spots in the standings and how others have suffered some serious losses from the prices they paid at the draft table either due to bad valuations or bad luck related to injuries.  Monday, we saw how Brian Walton has been able to build a commanding 23 point lead in the NL-only league on the strength of his two bargain closers in Ryan Madson and Craig Kimbrel.  This week, we look at the 15-team mixed league to see how it is shaking out at the break. 

Here are the current standings for the 15-team mixed league:

1.       Fred Zinkie – 114 points

2.       Tim Heaney – 109 points

3.       Gene McCaffrey – 102.5 points

4.       Nick Minnix – 102 points

5.       Eric Mack – 95.5 points

6.       David Gonos – 92.5 points

7.       Andy Behrens – 92.0 points

8.       J.P.  Kastner – 88 points

9.       Nando Di Fino – 83 points

10.   David Feldman – 71 points

11.   Charlie Wiegert – 68.5 points

12.   Derek Carty – 61 points

13.   Paul Petera – 44.5 points

14.   Seth Trachtman – 43 points

15.   Scott Swanay – 33.5 points

The fact that this league has no clear favorite right now is not terribly surprising after watching it play out last season.  Behrens won the league last season with 121.5 points, but Wiegert and Steve Gardner were both less than five points off his heels and all three had a legitimate chance at winning the league heading into the final weekend of the season.  Zinkie leads coming into the break, but half of the league is within 20 points which is not an impossible amount to make up.  Earlier this month, I covered the new rule in Tout Wars related to standings and FAAB for the following season, and for the mixed league, the threshold is 75 points.  Currently, six of the teams are below that point so they will have to find ways to make up those points so that their FAAB budgets do not take a hit next season.  Based on the current player values, here are each team’s profit/loss totals based on the prices paid on the draft table.

·         Heaney: -21

·         Zinkie: -34

·         Mack: -36

·         McCaffrey: -41

·         Wiegert: -59

·         Minnix: -59

·         Gonos: -63

·         Behrens: -72

·         Kastner: -81

·         Carty: -82

·         Di Fino: -95

·         Feldman: -106

·         Petera: -115

·         Swanay: -127

·         Trachtman: -181

Just like the NL-only league, nobody has turned a profit so far this season, but the five smallest losses are also in the top five spots in the standings.  Zinkie has survived double-digit value losses from Magglio Ordones, Matt Holliday, Tyler Colvin, Geovany Soto, as well as losing Buster Posey by having ten of his players turn profits this season with Michael Bourn and C.J.  Wilson leading the way.  Heaney’s team is the one that has benefitted from surprise closer value in this league as he paid but $13 to roster both Craig Kimbrel and Brandon League, and that duo has combined to bring back $26 in profits joining Danny Espinosa, Freddie Freeman, and B.J.  Upton as players who turned at least a $10 profit for Tim.  Jorge Posada, Rafael Furcal, Madison Bumgarner, and Ryan Dempster, on the other hand, have done the exact opposite.  McCaffrey spread the risk on his roster rather well as Coco Crisp, Seth Smith, and Alexi Ogando have returned $36 in profits from an $11 draft day investment while Chris Carpenter, Josh Johnson, and Delmon Young ate up those gains and then some as the $53 spent on them has returned just $2 in production this season. 

The guys at the bottom of the list have had no such luck.  Petera does not have a single player showing double-digit profit this season but Omar Infante, Jayson Werth, Brett Myers, Hong-Chih Kuo, John Lackey, Shin-Soo Choo, and Ubaldo Jiminez have all lost double-digit value.  Additionally, his three largest buys on draft day – Kevin Youkilis, Werth, and Choo, have lost him $34 in value.  Trachtman has watched David Ortiz, Michael Morse, and Chris Young earn double-digit profits, but unfortunately, they are just three of the six players to make any profit on his roster.  Trachtman has an amazing 12 players that have lost $10 or more in value and the $65 he spent to roster Carl Crawford and Joe Mauer has been the death blow to his team as that duo has produced a negative value this season.  Amazingly, he is not in last place and that is because Swanay’s team has shown little profit gains.  Only three players on Scott’s roster have returned any profit at all, but three of his big four acquisitions have not.  Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols, and David Wright cost him $101 at the draft table but the trio has combined to produce just $37 worth of value.

Overall, here are the ten most profitable players in Mixed Tout Wars so far this season:

1.       Asdrubal Cabrera: +$25

2.       Curtis Granderson: +$24

3.       Michael Bourn: +$21

4.       Lance Berkman: +$20

5.       Matt Kemp: +$19

6.       Alex Gordon: +$19

7.       Carlos Beltran: +$19

8.       David Ortiz: +$18

9.       Elvis Andrus: +$16

10.   Michael Brantley: +$16

Unlike the AL- and NL-only leagues, no closers made the top ten in profit gains.  In fact, the first closer gain does not show up until 17th overall on the list with Kimbrel, followed closely by Drew Storen.  Seven different outfielders returned massive profits, but not a single pitcher made an appearance, and a starting pitcher did not show up on the list until just ahead of Kimbrel (and that was Jair Jurrjens). 

On the flipside, here are the ten players that are driving owners crazy in the league this season:

1.       Ryan Zimmerman: -$37

2.       Joe Mauer: -$36

3.       Adam Dunn: -$32

4.       David Wright: -$30

5.       Carl Crawford: -$30

6.       Hanley Ramirez: -$29

7.       Evan Longoria: -$27

8.       Phil Hughes: -$24

9.       Buster Posey: -$23

10.   Justin Morneau: -$23

The star power on that bottom ten list is rather alarming, and Seth Trachtman has the second and sixth biggest loser on his roster in Mauer and Crawford.  21 different players have cost owners at least $20 in value this season, but only six of them have been pitchers. 

The scatterplot below shows the trends for the profit/loss figures for the 345 players that were drafted back in late March.

In all, 118 of the 345 players (34 percent) have turned a profit so far.  Conversely, 63 percent of the players have lost value.  As a result, half the league still has a realistic chance of winning the title, and the fact that Andy Behrens has three of the 20 most profitable players and yet is only in seventh place points out to just how diverse the league is right now.  Zinkie continues to lead the league despite owning just five of the 50 most profitable players, but turning a profit on 10 of his 23 players is certainly a formula for success.

Jason Collette is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jason's other articles. You can contact Jason by clicking here

Related Content:  Michael Bourn

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