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
Premium Article The Call-Up: Rafael De... (07/24)
<< Previous Column
Expert FAAB Review: We... (07/18)
Next Column >>
Expert FAAB Review: We... (08/01)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Minor League Update: G... (07/25)

July 25, 2017

Expert FAAB Review

Week 17

by Mike Gianella


Welcome back to The FAAB Review, the weekly series that looks at FAAB bidding in expert leagues to help you, the Baseball Prospectus reader, with your fantasy baseball bidding needs. Every week, I closely scrutinize the expert free agent bids in LABR Mixed, Tout Wars NL, and LABR AL.

As a reminder, LABR uses a $100 budget with $1 minimum bids, while Tout Wars uses a $1,000 budget with $0 minimum bids. LABR and Tout Wars use a bidding deadline of Sunday at midnight ET for all FAAB claims. Any statistics mentioned in this article are through the previous Sunday’s games.

Tout Mixed Auction
Rafael Devers $201. Other bids: $150, $77, $77, $34. Tout Draft: $85.
After months of speculation about if the Red Sox would call up Devers, the team announced Sunday he would be promoted and make his MLB debut Tuesday against Seattle. Ben Carsley covered the fantasy side in The Call Up. Statistically speaking, I agree with Ben’s redraft assessment. Devers might be a superstar in the future, but the realistic expectation for 2017 is a .270-.280 batting average at a 15-20 home run pace. While this would be an excellent outcome for a 20-year-old in his first taste of major-league ball, there are 47 corner-eligible infielders who are on pace to hit 20 or more home runs. Some of these players are also eligible at middle infield, while a handful of them are either hurt or in the minors. However, this does give you an idea of what Devers is up against in 2017’s high octane offensive context. If he merely survives in the majors, he is a third corner infielder in deep mixed, at best. The higher range of outcomes certainly would make him a high-end third baseman, but the other possibility is that he does not hit at all or that the Red Sox go out and trade for a third baseman, either in the next week prior to the non-waiver deadline or in August. Ben’s projection for Devers is Yulieski Gurriel without the batting average. That would be an achievement for Devers as a player. It would make him a borderline play in Tout or LABR Mixed.

Zach Davies $57. Other bid: $34. (@WAS, CHC)
It is a fine line for pitchers who don’t throw hard and need to rely on command to thrive in the majors. Davies wasn’t exactly a sexy pick heading into the season but conventional wisdom was that he would be able to build off 2016’s success and post an ERA in the mid-to-high 3.00’s with a solid WHIP. Instead, Davies’ ERA is 4.76 and the strikeouts are a hair below six per nine innings. Davies has started using his change less to try and turn things around and has seen his strikeout rate improve somewhat in July. This is a rough pair of matchups for Davies. I would not use him in NL-only this week, let alone mixed.

Jason Heyward $37. Other bid: $11.

Heyward has been better in 2017 than he was in 2016 but is having the second worst season of his career since 2011. Some of this is because of injury, but even taking this into account Heyward has been subpar and has not been worth using in mixed leagues. There will always be someone who will point to Heyward’s latest small sample size victory—in this case, his .313/.365/.500 slash in his last 52 plate appearances—but inconsistency has been a big part of the problem. Even if Heyward returned to his 2012-2015 form, the reality is that this version of Heyward is not capable of stealing 20 bases. Without the steals, Heyward makes for a pedestrian fantasy option in mixed even if he does bounce back.

Ben Revere $36. LABR $2.
In real life, Revere has been terrible for the Angels. In fantasy, steals are steals—Revere has 11 of them—and Cameron Maybin is on the disabled list. Shane Robinson is the lone backup outfielder on the roster, which means that Revere is guaranteed playing time against right-handed pitching. If you need the speed and have enough power and batting average on your team to absorb what Revere won’t contribute in those categories, grab him.

Tyler Clippard: $35. LABR: $3. Tout Draft: $154.
Anthony Swarzak $35.
Other bid: $0. LABR: $3
The low-end bids in Tout Auction and LABR for Clippard are appropriate. Clippard is a saves flier who has been dreadful the past two months (he has a 10.43 ERA in his last 13 2/3 innings) and has not struck out a batter in four outings. The White Sox are probably hoping to generate whatever value they can for Clippard so they can flip him to a contender, but if he pitches like this it will not work. If he is available, I would rather have Anthony Swarzak, and the experts in Tout Auction and LABR at least believe that it is a coin flip. Swarzak has a lower ERA, has pitched better than Clippard of late, and keeps the ball in the yard. He doesn’t fit the mold of a dominant reliever, but no one in Chicago’s bullpen does. Swarzak picked up a save against the Cubs on Monday. This is partially because Clippard had pitched in back-to-back outings, but it could portend future saves for Swarzak.

Noah Syndergaard $20

Jason Hammel $19. Other bid: $5. [@DET (yesterday) @BOS)
See Zach Davies. Established starting pitchers who are sitting in the free-agent pool at this late juncture are not there because they are getting the job done. The strikeout rate for Hammel isn’t nearly as bad as it is for Davies, but otherwise these are two pitchers who are marginal additions in mixed who have a tough week ahead. I’d would have used Hammel in AL-only but not in mixed for two turns on the road.

Chris Smith $15

Alex Meyer $15. Other bid: $3.
Sometimes it takes tall hard-throwers like Meyer a lot of time to establish the consistency needed to survive in the majors. In Meyer’s third trip through, it appears he might finally be doing this. The walk rate is still way too high, but Meyer has had more good outings than bad ones this season and could be on the verge of turning a corner. He is only a two-pitch arm, which makes me more than a little nervous, but he has been murder on righties and has the benefit of Anaheim for half his starts. UPDATE: Meyer was placed on the DL last night with shoulder inflammation.

Tucker Barnhart $12. Tout Draft: $2
Kyle Barraclough $12.
Other bids: $7, $7. LABR: $4
Brett Phillips $8. LABR: $3

Wilmer Difo $6
Rafael Montero $6 (@SEA)

Jabari Blash $5. LABR: $3
Hector Sanchez $3

Mikie Mahtook $2
Bruce Rondon $2
Carlos Asuaje $0. LABR: $2
Jeff Hoffman $0 (@STL)

Alex Wilson $0

Barraclough is a decent speculative add in case the Marlins trade A.J. Ramos. Rondon and Wilson were added in case the Tigers trade Justin Wilson, although Shane Greene is the morning line favorite in Motor City. With Keon Broxton’s demotion, Phillips is penciled in as the starting center fielder in Milwaukee but Lewis Brinson has torn it up at Triple A since his demotion and could be up shortly.

LABR AL
Tyler Clippard $16. Other bids: $7, $3. Tout AL: $262.
Clippard is a different story in AL-only than in mixed (see above), where even a handful of saves could help considerably and the ERA/WHIP hit won’t be nearly as awful. The bidding was limited not only because of the risk but because some teams are probably saving their money for what they hope is a trading bonanza, either this week or next. It is amusing that the expectation a month ago was that most of the talent would move from the NL to the AL because the wild card races were much tighter in the junior circuit. Will Trevor Cahill be the player everyone bids their money on next Sunday?

Ryan Goins $2

Caleb Joseph $2
Caleb Smith $1
Darwin Barney $1

Chris Smith $1. Tout AL: $16 [@TOR (yesterday)]
Giovany Urshela $1.
Other bid: $1.

Adam Engel $1

Dan Jennings $1

The Engel buy is mine. I’m incrementally wasting FAAB to fill up my fifth outfield slot while Kevin Kiermaier is out. Hopefully Engel can steal some bases before Kiermaier returns.

Tout Wars NL

J.D. Martinez $867. Other bids: $841, $700, $626, $505, $463, $437, $357, $14. LABR NL: $93.

Another week, another marquee player for the NL-only experts to fight for in the expert leagues. Let’s see how it played out in tabular form!

Table 1: Tout Wars NL bids, J.D. Martinez

Team

Manager

Bid

FAAB to spend

Points

Rank

ESPN

Derek Carty

$867

$897

66.5

5th

ESPN

Tristan Cockcroft

$841

$866

93

2nd

On Roto

Scott Wilderman

$626

$838

79.5

3rd

Sirius XM

Craig Mish

$700

$792

31.5

12th

USA Today

Steve Gardner

$505

$678

64

8th

Mastersball

Todd Zola

$463

$537

35

11th

Mastersball

Brian Walton

None

$493

65

7th

Razzball

Grey Albright

$357

$472

107

1st

Yahoo

Andy Behrens

$437

$437

61.5

9th

Roto Experts

Lenny Melnick

None

$388

68

4th

Baseball HQ

Phil Hertz

None

$135

66.5

5th

Baseball Prospectus

Mike Gianella

$14

$14

42.5

10th

Last week, I noted that Carty passed on Quintana because it was likely that he was waiting for a hitter. He turned that likelihood into a reality, bidding $867 and beating Cockcroft by a dollar. Carty has plenty of room to move up in the standings in hitting and almost no room in pitching so his strategy made sense. Clayton Kershaw’s injury could make Carty regret choosing Martinez over Quintana, but at the time he had no way of knowing Kershaw would get hurt.

Nine of the 11 other fantasy managers bid. Everyone was aggressive, but no one bid their max except for me and Behrens; neither one of us had a realistic shot at Martinez. Everyone besides me and Carty is likely hoping for a windfall from the AL at the trade deadline.

You can read George Bissell’s comments on the fantasy implications of Martinez’s move to Arizona here. Martinez was a must buy in NL-only and should be owned in nearly every format. Health is the only potential issue with Martinez, and he was day-to-day with a hand injury before returning to the lineup last night. If he is back for good this week, look for Martinez to hit a bunch of home runs with a solid batting average.

Table 2: LABR NL bids, J.D. Martinez

Team

Manager

Bid

FAAB to spend

Points

Rank

ESPN

Derek Carty

$93

$115

63

6th

ESPN

Eric Karabell

$92

$92

94

2nd

Colton and the Wolfman

Rick Wolf/Glenn Colton

$88

$90

84

3rd

Sandlot Shrink

Bob Radomski

$72

$87

57

8th

Baseball HQ

Doug Dennis

$66

$71

59.5

7th

USA Today

Steve Gardner

$53

$66

98

1st

Mastersball

Brian Walton

None

$46

43.5

11th

Yakkertech

Steve Moyer

None

$32

53.5

9th

Roto Experts

Lenny Melnick

None

$23

68.5

5th

NFBC

Greg Ambrosius/Shawn Childs

$9

$19

69

4th

Rotowire

Derek Van Riper

$18

$18

51

10th

Yahoo

Dalton Del Don

N/A

$0

39

12th

Carty purchased Martinez in both leagues and is in the same position in both LABR and Tout. He needs offense more than pitching, even without Kershaw. He is extremely unlikely to win either league, but in a redraft league your goal should always be to maximize your points.

As was the case last week with Quintana, the correlation between the amount of FAAB left and the bids placed was very high. Most of the teams with less than $50 to spend did not bother bidding, except for Ambrosius/Childs and Van Riper.

Sean Doolittle $375. Other bids: $174, $150, $117, $27, $14. LABR NL: $18.
Ryan Madson $237. Other bids: $100, $31, $14. LABR NL: $21.

With two saves under his belt, Doolittle has emerged as the closer favorite in the Nationals bullpen, and as a result generated more aggressive bids in Tout Wars. Melnick in fact nearly emptied his FAAB to obtain the Nationals reliever. While manager Dusty Baker has said he will mix and match in the ninth, Doolittle has faced nine righties and five lefties in his first three outings in Washington. Their roles could flip at some point, but Doolittle looks like the closer while Madson looks like the eighth-inning guy. Madson is likely to get saves to prevent Doolittle from pitching on three or more consecutive days, as Baker did say he was mindful of Doolittle’s workload.

Antonio Senzatela $251. Other bid: $15. [@STL (yesterday), @WAS]

I’m not sure why Behrens proffered such an aggressive bid on Senzatela, unless he is certain that he will not get any big names from the AL and figured he would simply bid aggressively on someone he wanted. Senzatela got off to a fast start in April but since May 14 has a 6.13 ERA in 54 1/3 innings. He does get two road starts this week, but given the strength of his opponents I’d leave Senzatela on the bench or the free-agent pool this week.

Brett Phillips $113. Other bids: $31, $14.
With Broxton demoted to Triple A, Phillips will start in center field against right-handers for the Brewers. Phillips has some pop but his high strikeout rate makes him a batting average risk and he hasn’t put up dominant minor-league numbers since he was in A-ball way back in 2014 and early 2015. This isn’t to say that Phillips can’t improve, but he might only be a temporary stopgap for Lewis Brinson or a trade target at the deadline and not a permanent solution.

Hector Sanchez $27. Other bid: $0. LABR NL: $1.
With Austin Hedges on the DL, Sanchez and Luis Torrens are splitting time behind the dish in San Diego. Sanchez has seven home runs in 71 plate appearances for the Padres. While no one believes this can continue, Sanchez is worth using in NL-only while Hedges is out.

Daniel Nava $3

Chris O’Grady $1 (CIN)

Allen Cordoba $0. Other bid: $0. LABR NL: $1

Asher Wojciechowski $0

Miguel Rojas $0. Other bid: $0.

Max Moroff $0

I picked up O’Grady and Rojas. This is the first time I have carried five starting pitchers on my roster in Tout. Rojas replaces Conor Gillaspie, which won’t solve my third base problem. I activated Neil Walker and for the first time since April have a healthy and intact lineup.

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,  Transactions,  Experts,  FAAB,  Bidding

0 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Premium Article The Call-Up: Rafael De... (07/24)
<< Previous Column
Expert FAAB Review: We... (07/18)
Next Column >>
Expert FAAB Review: We... (08/01)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Minor League Update: G... (07/25)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
What You Need to Know: Return of the Baby-Fa...
Short Relief: Boys To Men To Marriage To Exp...
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: August 21, 2017
Transaction Analysis: Clips and Hatch
Premium Article Monday Morning Ten Pack: August 21, 2017
Premium Article Flu-Like Symptoms: Vin Mazzaro's Second-Wors...
Transaction Analysis: Grand Exit

MORE FROM JULY 25, 2017
Transaction Analysis: Panda 2.0
Advance Scouting Series: Jaime Garcia
Premium Article Advance Scouting Series: Jay Bruce
Short Relief: The Sub Shop and Other Stories
What You Need to Know: Relentless Royals
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of July 24
Fantasy Article Closer Report: Week 17

MORE BY MIKE GIANELLA
2017-08-01 - Expert FAAB Review: Week 18
2017-07-27 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Getting Ready for the Tra...
2017-07-26 - Flags Fly Forever Podcast: Ep. 143: Did You ...
2017-07-25 - Expert FAAB Review: Week 17
2017-07-20 - Transaction Analysis: First We Take Manhatta...
2017-07-19 - Fantasy Article Deep League Report: Week 16
2017-07-19 - Flags Fly Forever Podcast: Ep. 142: Celtics ...
More...

MORE EXPERT FAAB REVIEW
2017-08-15 - Expert FAAB Review: Week 20
2017-08-08 - Expert FAAB Review: Week 19
2017-08-01 - Expert FAAB Review: Week 18
2017-07-25 - Expert FAAB Review: Week 17
2017-07-18 - Expert FAAB Review: Week 16
2017-07-11 - Fantasy Article Expert FAAB Review: Week 15
2017-07-05 - Expert FAAB Review: Week 14
More...