March 26, 2012
Resident Fantasy Genius
Tout Wars and LABR NL Drafts
This past weekend, I ventured into New York City for the annual Tout Wars draft. Earlier in the week, I was moved from the Tout Wars Mixed to the NL-only league, which means that I’d be a participant in the two highest-profile NL-only auction leagues for the 2012 season: Tout Wars and LABR (which I drafted at the beginning of the month). Since I didn’t get a chance to write up my LABR team, I thought it would be useful to show you how it compares with my Tout team, give some thoughts on the common threads between the two, and get your opinion on how my teams look.
You’ll find my rosters below (note that LABR uses 10 pitchers and six reserves, while Tout uses nine and four; additionally, Tout uses a “swingman” instead of a fifth outfielder, which can be filled by any hitter or pitcher):
Overall, I like both of my teams, particularly the pitching. I anchor the staff with one ace (Hamels and Cain), two closers, and then take a large number of solid to good guys to round out the rest of it. There really isn’t a weak link, no $1 Aaron Harang or Joe Saunders. Dempster, Bedard, and Dickey make an appearance on both teams, and I really like the three of them. I mentioned all three in my NL starting pitcher rankings, and I feel all could easily exceed their prices. Bedard has injury risk, sure, but he’s at least healthy now and should be phenomenal any time he takes the mound in Pittsburgh.
My hitting, on both teams, is a little riskier. Each team has quite a few aging guys and/or injury risks. They came at such good prices, though, that I’d rather take on some risk with the benefit of a superior mean expectation than a “stable” guy at market value. Todd Helton makes both teams (for $10 and $11), and because he’s aging with an injury history seemed to get discounted from my value of $17. He can still hit and has approached 500 plate appearances for two consecutive years after accumulating 645 three years ago, so I’ll take him at that price every time.
Ramon Hernandez made both teams, but he wasn’t really a guy I was targeting or thinking I would get. He just happened to be the catcher I made a move on as my options were dwindling. I see him as a very small bargain.
Tyler Greene is a guy I’ve liked for a few years, and now that he may start at second base for the Cardinals, he became one of my late-round top options should I fail to get better middle infielders like Jose Altuve (who went for $17 in both leagues). He has a very enticing power/speed blend, and I would love to see what he might do at the top of the Cardinals’ order, as has been rumored.
Since I’m soliciting your feedback, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a new startup company that I work for called Fantasy Squared. Fantasy Squared is a market-style game where users can buy and sell shares of events that happen in an underlying fantasy league—which team will win, who got the better end of a trade, etc. Knowing how much you guys like to voice your opinion on my teams, I saw this as an exciting way to really quantify these opinions and a way for you to show just how much you really know, competing against others who also think they know as much (or more) than the experts do. You can head over to Fantasy Squared now for more information, and you can trade on the three Tout Wars drafts that took place this weekend. We’re in our beta phase, so feedback is welcome!