CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article My Model Portfolio: Ho... (03/27)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Thr... (03/27)

March 27, 2014

Tout Wars Recap

General Impressions

by Mike Gianella

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

On Tuesday, I wrote about how I did in my NL-only Tout Wars auction. While I know that many readers like to read about one expert’s auction strategy, tactics, and execution, studying the Tout Wars auctions from a broader perspective can also provide a great deal of help to any fantasy player.

Tout Wars is the third and final major expert-league auction; it is preceded by LABR in early March and CBS in late February. I wrote about LABR’s AL and NL auctions earlier this spring and identified a few possible auction trends. If those trends held in Tout Wars, it’s likely that you may see similar results in your home league auctions this coming weekend. If not, they might be insignificant blips on the radar.

So what happened?

Will Pitching Cost More This Year?
In most of the early expert league auctions, more money has been allocated to pitching this year than in 2013. At first glance, it appears that this trend did not hold in Tout Wars.

Table 1: Expert Hitting/Pitching Dollar Allocation 2013 vs. 2014

League

Year

Hitting %

Pitching %

CBS AL

2014

68.3%

31.7%

CBS AL

2013

70.8%

29.2%

LABR AL

2014

68.6%

31.4%

LABR AL

2013

71.0%

29.0%

Tout Wars AL

2014

70.0%

30.0%

Tout Wars AL

2013

70.7%

29.3%

CBS NL

2014

67.0%

33.0%

CBS NL

2013

68.4%

31.6%

LABR NL

2014

69.6%

30.4%

LABR NL

2013

69.7%

30.3%

Tout Wars NL

2014

68.9%

31.1%

Tout Wars NL

2013

69.5%

30.5%

Pitching was slightly more expensive in Tout Wars in 2014 than it was in 2013, but the spike wasn’t nearly as dramatic as it was in both CBS leagues and LABR AL. In the NL, this can be explained in part by the season-ending injuries to Patrick Corbin ($9 in LABR) and Kris Medlen ($16). Corbin and Medlen’s combined $25 salary is slightly more than the $23 pricing gap between LABR pitchers and Tout Wars pitchers. Before the auction, I anticipated that the money that was spent on Corbin and Medlen would be redistributed to the better pitchers and in many cases this was exactly what happened.

Table 2: Pitcher Pricing Comparison: LABR vs. Tout, 2014

Pitcher

LABR

Tout

Max Scherzer

27

29

Yu Darvish

28

31

Justin Verlander

26

27

Chris Sale

25

29

Felix Hernandez

27

25

David Price

23

26

Clayton Kershaw

35

34

Stephen Strasburg

27

26

Adam Wainwright

24

27

Jose Fernandez

27

25

Cliff Lee

23

27

Madison Bumgarner

23

25

Total

315

331

Not every pitcher was more expensive, but both the AL and NL experts were willing to spend a little bit more on the top pitchers. Darvish, Scherzer, Sale, Price, Wainwright, Lee, and Bumgarner all received raises of $2 or more.

Closers Cost More in the AL, Less in the NL
In 2013, the experts shied away from paying over $20 for a closer in the AL but were willing to open their wallets in the NL. This trend turned on its head this year.

Table 3: AL Expert Closer Prices 2014

Pitcher

CBS

LABR

Tout Wars

Greg Holland

19

23

24

Joe Nathan

17

20

20

David Robertson

18

19

19

Koji Uehara

19

19

21

Glen Perkins

19

17

18

Grant Balfour

16

16

16

John Axford

14

14

13

Ernesto Frieri

16

14

17

Casey Janssen

16

14

15

Jim Johnson

18

14

15

Joakim Soria*

17

13

14

Fernando Rodney

17

12

12

Tommy Hunter

13

10

10

Nathan Jones

14

9

14

Josh Fields/Chad Qualls**

8

8

6

Total

241

222

234

*Feliz in CBS/LABR
**Highest priced Astros reliever

The Tout Warriors in the AL weren’t quite as aggressive as their counterparts in CBS, but they did push three closers past $20 and six more past $15. As I mentioned in my LABR recap, even expert owners can’t help being reactive to prior year’s events. Closers in 2012 crashed and burned in the American League and everyone pushed their prices down; in 2013, many closers recovered and all was forgiven.

Table 4: NL Expert Closer Prices 2014

Pitcher

CBS

LABR

Tout Wars

Craig Kimbrel

26

22

25

Kenley Jansen

24

20

22

Trevor Rosenthal

21

16

20

Jim Henderson

15

10

11

Addison Reed

16

12

15

Jason Grilli

16

12

15

Jonathan Papelbon

16

12

14

Sergio Romo

17

17

15

Bobby Parnell

15

7

12

Huston Street

15

10

12

Rafael Soriano

17

12

13

Steve Cishek

16

10

15

Aroldis Chapman*

23

20

16

Jose Veras

10

7

8

Rex Brothers**

11

6

6

Total

258

193

219

*combined Chapman/J.J. Hoover price in Tout Wars
**most expensive Rockies reliever

The National League saw a similar shift in closer pricing among the three expert leagues, although the prices in CBS were extremely high, with only Veras and closer-in-waiting Rex Brothers going for less than $15. Tout Wars saw a more typical distribution of expert dollars on the closer market, with only three closers costing more than $16. Every owner except for Lenny Melnick of Roto Experts bought at least one closer whereas in LABR four experts passed on a closer entirely.

What About OBP?
One thing that was different between LABR and Tout Wars was that OBP was instituted in place of batting average in all of the Tout Wars leagues this year. Many wondered what impact this might have on expert league prices. The answer in the two expert leagues was markedly different.

Table 5: OBP vs. BA Tout Wars NL: 2013 Risers

Player

LABR

Tout Wars

2013 w BA

2013 w OBP

Joey Votto

32

38

$30

$40

Dan Uggla

6

8

$7

$14

Giancarlo Stanton

26

30

$16

$22

Paul Goldschmidt

33

38

$41

$46

Lucas Duda

8

6

$7

$13

Ike Davis

8

11

$5

$10

Chase Headley

21

22

$14

$18

Luis Valbuena

0

1

$6

$10

Russell Martin

8

14

$12

$16

Adam LaRoche

17

18

$15

$19

Average

16

19

$15

$21

The most favorable OBP adjusted players received raises in Tout Wars, but the market wasn’t quite willing to push most of these guys all up to their “logical” prices. Martin was a significant exception, but his price went up more because he and Carlos Ruiz were the last two starting catchers on the board, not because of a specific OBP bump. Votto got a raise, but despite $40-plus earnings in OBP formats two of the last three years, the room just couldn’t bring itself to say $40.

Table 6: OBP vs. BA Tout Wars NL: 2013 Fallers

Player

LABR

Tout Wars

2013 w BA

2013 w OBP

Daniel Murphy

18

16

$30

$25

Zack Cozart

15

8

$14

$9

Wilin Rosario

20

18

$23

$18

Jean Segura

27

25

$34

$29

Starlin Castro

23

15

$12

$8

Chris Johnson

16

13

$21

$17

Nolan Arenado

22

17

$13

$9

Yadier Molina

19

18

$24

$21

D.J. LeMahieu

11

8

$14

$11

Adeiny Hechavarria

1

4

$6

$3

Average

17

14

$19

$15

The biggest discounts built in here are for players like Castro, Arenado, and Cozart, but they went for very high prices in LABR because owners didn’t spend early. This makes it hard to tell whether the Tout Wars prices were lower due to an OBP correction or if they dropped simply because Tout Wars spent more money early and wasn’t in a position where the league had to overpay in the middle.

Table 7: OBP vs. BA Tout Wars AL: 2013 Risers

Player

LABR

Tout Wars

2013 w BA

2013 w OBP

Shin-Soo Choo

25

35

$30

$41

Mike Trout

45

49

$41

$49

Josh Willingham

8

13

$5

$12

Carlos Santana

20

28

$18

$24

Chris Iannetta

3

10

$6

$12

Miguel Cabrera

42

45

$42

$46

Edwin Encarnacion

34

33

$27

$32

Mike Napoli

18

23

$19

$23

Adam Dunn

8

15

$14

$19

Dexter Fowler

17

19

$20

$24

Average

22

27

$22

$28

I didn’t go through the price differences for the entire AL auction, but some of these adjustments almost seem linear. Choo in particular looks like a straight up price shift from BA to OBP. Dunn and Santana’s price changes are almost too aggressive, although it is difficult to ascertain how much of this was an OBP adjustment and how much was a price adjustment.

You do have to adjust your prices for OBP but I’m of the mindset that you shouldn’t overpay for OBP any more than you should overpay for BA. Iannetta and Dunn are good examples to me of players who might be worth more using an OBP model but might not get to $10 or $15 in earnings due to playing time risk.

Table 8: OBP vs. BA Tout Wars AL: 2013 Fallers

Player

LABR

Tout Wars

2013 w BA

2013 w OBP

Manny Machado

19

13

$21

$15

Alexei Ramirez

15

15

$23

$18

Alcides Escobar

15

12

$12

$7

Torii Hunter

16

15

$24

$19

Adam Jones

33

30

$32

$27

A.J. Pierzynski

10

11

$15

$10

Jose Altuve

23

18

$24

$19

Erick Aybar

14

12

$16

$11

Omar Infante

10

9

$18

$14

Salvador Perez

16

16

$17

$12

Average

17

15

$20

$15

Again, some of the rough discounts are nearly linear. Machado takes the same pay cut in Tout Wars from LABR as he did in 2013 when BA is swapped out for OBP. Jones and Escobar each lose three dollars while Altuve loses five.

There isn’t anything necessarily wrong with this approach, but even when you substitute OBP for BA earnings in the category aren’t linear from season to season. A player’s OBP earnings can fluctuate by a dollar or two simply due to random variance; paying full sticker price for OBP ignores this variance.

OBP makes 5x5 resemble old school 4x4. In that format, the best hitters had higher earning ceilings, so at one point the temptation was to pay $50 or more for the top tier hitters. The problem with this approach is that a strong OBP hitter isn’t any less prone to completely crashing and burning as any other hitter. Pay $49 for Mike Trout and the losses are that much more severe if he suffers a serious injury in May. In the end, 5x5 OBP is a throwback to an older version of the game. You have to decide if potentially buying $45-50 worth of stats is worth the risk, of if you would rather let someone else get a mild profit in a best case scenario and come out of your auction with a more balanced team.

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

Related Content:  Fantasy,  Tout Wars,  Auction,  Expert League

1 comment has been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article My Model Portfolio: Ho... (03/27)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Thr... (03/27)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article Weekly Wrap: July 3, 2015
Fantasy Rounders: The Eve of Fireworks
Premium Article Rubbing Mud: The Variation of All Things
Premium Article What You Need to Know: July 3, 2015
Premium Article Pitching Backward: Manny Happy Returns
Everything You Could Have Learned This Week:...
Premium Article Daisy Cutter: Grandal's Ambitions

MORE FROM MARCH 27, 2014
Premium Article Skewed Left: PECOTA vs. Vegas
Premium Article Baseball Therapy: Advances in Chemistry?
Premium Article Minor League Update: Spring Training Games o...
Fantasy Article The Darkhorses: Strikeouts
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Three Murky Closer Situat...
Fantasy Article My Model Portfolio: Hopefully, No Scrubs
Fantasy Article My Model Portfolio: The Wright Guys

MORE BY MIKE GIANELLA
2014-04-01 - Flags Fly Forever Podcast: Ep. 13
2014-03-28 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Auction Values: Fifth Edition
2014-03-28 - Fantasy Article My Model Portfolio: Stars and Scrubs
2014-03-27 - Fantasy Article Tout Wars Recap
2014-03-27 - Flags Fly Forever Podcast: Ep. 12
2014-03-25 - Tout Wars Recap
2014-03-21 - Fantasy Auction Values: Fourth Edition
More...