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May 12, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Expert League Assessment: First Quarter


Mike Gianella

With nearly 25 percent of the season in the books, Mike reviews how his teams are doing.

It is difficult to believe, but we are nearly one-fourth of the way through the regular season. It’s that time in fantasy baseball that is early yet not early. If you’re in second or third place and have a slow starting player or two you might not think much of it, whereas if you’re in eleventh place now might be a good time to take a long, hard look at your roster and figure out what you can do to improve your team.

I participate in three expert leagues: LABR, Tout Wars, and CBS. LABR is a mixed league, while CBS and Tout Wars are NL-only. Bret Sayre of Baseball Prospectus and I share the LABR team, while I run the CBS and Tout Wars teams by myself.

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March 27, 2014 6:00 am

Tout Wars Recap


Mike Gianella

After commenting on his NL-only squad on Tuesday, Mike shares others notes from the expert-league auction held last week.

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.

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March 25, 2014 9:25 am

Tout Wars Recap


Mike Gianella

Mike discusses his expectations going into the expert auction and how things played out.

There are a lot of different ways that fantasy players determine who is or isn’t an “expert,” but looking at who does or doesn’t win an expert league is our collective shorthand. On this count in Tout Wars, I have fallen short. I have now had four tries at winning a title (in the NL-only part of the league), and all four times I have fallen short.

Oh sure, I’ve had a couple of very good seasons. I finished tied for third in my rookie year in 2010 and came in second last year. But as any fantasy player—expert or not—will tell you, winning is the only goal that matters. I’m not exactly disappointed in my lack of a title thus far (how disappointed can you get when you’re losing to Nate Ravitz, Steve Gardner, and Tristan Cockcroft?), but like everyone else who plays competitive fantasy sports, I want to win.

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March 13, 2014 6:00 am

Sporer Report: My Tout Wars Team, Part One


Paul Sporer

Paul had the 14th pick in this year's mixed-league Tout Wars auction; read about his strategy and see how he did in the first seven rounds.

Last year was my first experience in one of the big industry leagues, as I participated with Jason Collette in the LABR mixed-league draft—a league I’m in again this year with him. This year, I have the distinct honor of pulling a two-fer in the big industry leagues, adding a Tout Wars invitation to the docket, as well. Like LABR, it’s a 15-team mixed-league draft. And just as in LABR, I was given the 14th pick in the draft. How crazy is that? I’m sure someone here at BP, probably Russell Carleton, can calculate the odds of me getting a pair of 14th picks in two different drafts! One major difference here was that OBP would be used in place of AVG, which definitely changes the dynamic for a handful of players.

The rather brisk draft took place on Tuesday night with the following draft order of industry titans (and me):

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April 17, 2013 5:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Big Spending in FAAB Leagues


Mike Gianella

After watching a Tout Wars owner break the bank early on two young pitchers, Mike wondered whether spending in April is a sound strategy.

Over the last three weeks in Tout Wars NL-only, Chris Liss has made quite a splash on the free-agent market. Out of a  $100 budget, Liss has already spent $83. While he has made a few one-dollar bids, $74 of those $83 were invested in two young pitchers: Jose Fernandez was purchased for $22 on March 31, and Tony Cingrani went for a whopping $52 this past Sunday, April 14.

While there is no question regarding Fernandez or Cingrani’s prospect pedigrees, Liss’s wild, early spending did make me wonder whether or not blowing the bulk of your FAAB by mid-April is the right play.

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Mike looks back on the team he bought in last week's Tout Wars auction, and explains how he will gauge his success.

Last Saturday, I had the privilege of participating in my fourth Tout Wars NL-only expert league auction, which was my first Tout Wars auction representing Baseball Prospectus. As always, it was an honor simply to be included among so many great fantasy players and baseball minds, and to rub elbows with experts whose work I’ve been reading for the last 15-20 years. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over sitting in a room with Ron Shandler, Lawr Michaels, and Peter Kreutzer and talking baseball with them.

For those of you that followed over me here from my old blog Roto Think Tank, the words I’m about to write already ring like a familiar mantra in your ears. For my new readers that only know me from Baseball Prospectus, my strategy in Rotisserie-style auctions is always the same:

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March 27, 2013 5:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Expert-League Auction Comparison


Jason Collette

With Tout Wars now in the books, Jason looks at the similarities and differences between that auction, CBS, and LABR.

This past weekend, I participated in the American League Tout Wars draft in New York City. If you missed my team review from earlier this week on the Unfiltered blog, you can find it by clicking here.  Once the expert auctions are done, I like to compare the results from the three industry auction drafts—LABR, CBS, and Tout Wars—to look for similarities and differences.  The three auctions take place at different times, with CBS coming in late February, LABR in early March, and Tout Wars in late March, so it allows us to see how hot or cold spring trainings as well as injuries affect experts’ evaluations and strategies. For example, Mark Teixeira went for $24 in the CBS auction, but after getting injured during the WBC schedule, his value fell to $6 in Tout Wars. Rick Porcello went undrafted in the CBS auction, but a hot spring has propelled his value to $4 in LABR and $5 in Tout Wars over the past weekend.

Despite the different personalities that make up the ownership rosters of each of the three expert leagues, the spending habits are rather similar on a macro level. The talent pool does not change that much over the course of the four weeks, between the CBS auction and the Tout Wars auction, so differences come down to strategy and any major injuries.

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March 26, 2013 5:00 am

Fantasy Auction Values: Sixth Edition, March 26


Mike Gianella

Mike adjusts his bid limits based on the latest injury news and the players' Tout Wars price tags.

Between some of my reactions to the prices at Tout Wars and a long list of injury news, it was an incredibly busy week for pricing updates. Below is a list of the most significant changes made this week.

National League Hitters

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With persistence, a plan and a few well-placed risks, Derek turned around a struggling Tout Wars team.

I’ve been talking a lot about theory lately, so I thought I’d lighten things up today and talk about my favorite subject: me.  More specifically, I wanted to update you on the progress of my Tout Wars team’s transformation. A couple weeks ago, I talked about how I approach making trades and offered up my Tout NL dealings as a real-life example.  That was in the midst of my process to turn my team into a contender, shifting my resources toward the categories that I could gain the most ground in.  My stated goals at the time basically boiled down to:

1.     Get saves

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Tout Wars added a roster twist this year, with interesting results so far.

Back in February, while preparing for Tout Wars, I penned an article discussing the league’s newest wrinkle: the Swingman position.  To recap, Tout Wars announced the Swingman as such:

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April 2, 2012 3:00 am

Resident Fantasy Genius: Common Players on my 2012 Fantasy Teams


Derek Carty

Whether he was expecting them or not, these guys are all over Derek's drafts.

With my final draft completed late last week, draft season is officially over for me, and I’m ready for the season to begin!  While we’re waiting for the first pitch (or at least the first pitch thrown in the United States), I thought it might be interesting to look at which players wound up on more than one of my teams.  I’m playing in six experts leagues this year, so I had plenty of opportunities to draft a player multiple times.

Before we get started, it’s important to remember that just because a player wound up on several of my teams doesn't mean he was a "have to have" guy for me or that I was targeting him specifically. Take this list for what it's worth: Simply that these players, for one reason or another, wound up on my team multiple times. Some guys I had a feeling ahead of time would wind up on my team (like Boesch, Ludwick, and Encarnacion) while others merely happened to end up on my team through no real preconceived plan (like Holliday, Soto, Hernandez, and Rivera). Then there are others that I thought would be on more of my teams but, for whatever reason, aren't (Mark Reynolds, Brandon Morrow, and Adam Dunn, among many others).

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How did our fantasy guru fare in his recent Tout Wars and LABR 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):

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