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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):

Tout Wars NL

 

LABR NL

Pos

Player

Price

Pos

Player

Price

C

Ramon Hernandez

$12

C

Ramon Hernandez

$10

C

Rod Barajas

$7

C

Geovany Soto

$12

1B

Todd Helton

$11

1B

Todd Helton

$10

2B

Tyler Greene

$5

2B

Tyler Greene

$5

3B

Chipper Jones

$8

3B

Ian Stewart

$8

SS

Jason Barlett

$10

SS

Alex Gonzalez

$8

CI

Mike Morse

$24

CI

David Wright

$30

MI

Juan Uribe

$4

MI

Mark Ellis

$3

OF

Justin Upton

$38

OF

Jason Heyward

$25

OF

Dexter Fowler

$19

OF

Nyjer Morgan

$13

OF

Jon Jay

$11

OF

Jon Jay

$7

OF

Ryan Ludwick

$6

OF

Ryan Ludwick

$7

UT

Nate Schierholtz

$7

OF

Andres Torres

$11

Swingman

Casey Blake

$5

UT

James Loney

$16

P

Rafael Betancourt

$17

P

Huston Street

$15

P

Drew Storen

$12

P

Carlos Marmol

$12

P

Eduardo Sanchez

$1

P

K-Rod

$3

P

Matt Cain

$22

P

Cole Hamels

$22

P

Anibal Sanchez

$11

P

Ted Lilly

$10

P

Ryan Dempster

$11

P

Ryan Dempster

$9

P

Tim Stauffer

$7

P

Tim Hudson

$7

P

Erik Bedard

$7

P

Erik Bedard

$9

P

R.A. Dickey

$5

P

R.A. Dickey

$5

     

P

AJ Burnett

$3

BN

Robbie Erlin

R1

BN

Jeremy Guthrie

R1

BN

Michael Fiers

R2

BN

Scott Hairston

R2

BN

Michael Martinez

R3

BN

Michael Fiers

R3

BN

Yamaico Navarro

R4

BN

Josh Spence

R4

     

BN

J.A. Happ

R5

     

BN

Wade LeBlanc

R6

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.

I’ve discussed my Ludwick love before, and I went into Jon Jay a bit in my NL outfielder rankings. I like my prices on both of them, especially the LABR price for Jay.

So what do you think of my teams? If you’d like to compare, you can view the rest of the Tout teams here and the LABR teams here.

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!

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sam19041
3/26
Derek, nice work -- auction AND making time for the writeup. Your teams are balanced but seem light on star power. Was "spread the risk" your plan? I like your Tout team better, if only because I like Morse over Wright. You could do well in both; took some risks, though most seem to be modest ones. Might have liked some more aggressive upside plays. Helton was an excellent risk-reward call, as an example. BTW Jason did a great job blogging while you were drafting too. You guys did a nice tag team.
sam19041
3/26
On further reflection, your Tout team is much more appealing (Upton, Chipper, etc.).
derekcarty
3/26
Thanks, Sharky. Yes, spread the risk was definitely the plan. In a deep NL-only league, I'd like to get a starter at every position, if at all possible, rather than a couple of superstars and then some gaping holes. The superstars aren't going to provide you any upside, and holes certainly won't either. If you have a lot of mid-tier guys, you'll get some at a bargain and others will have the chance to beat their price, unlike a guy like Matt Kemp who you really just want to break even with.
derekcarty
3/26
Oh, and I agree, Jason did a phenomenal job :)
tonygartner
3/26
It appears, given the price you paid for Morse, that you are not concerned about his shoulder issues. Would that be true? Thanks
steinba1
3/26
I have a draft tonight, any chance there is a PFM update today? Thank you for all of the great news and insights.
geofflong
3/26
Yes, please. And specifically, could someone please insert the expert tiers for NL outfielders and NL starting pitchers into PFM? I think that's a neat addition, but not very useful when the two biggests sets of players don't have tier rankings inserted. Thanks.
derekcarty
3/27
They'll be in there today.
swarmee
3/26
What needs to change since yesterday? They've already updated the Reds bullpen situation, which is the latest news that would actually change someone's dollar value. Utley missing some time wasn't a surprise.
geofflong
3/26
All I'm looking for is the tiers. I can't speak to steinba's needs.
jfranco77
3/26
I think it's interesting that both teams are largely the same. If you're right about a handful of guys you could win both leagues and be hailed as a fantasy supergenius. I do like the spread-the-risk strategy.
swarmee
3/26
It doesn't surprise me that he's got the same core on each team. We all have our own biases, and if we think a player will earn $20 and is stalled at $10, we go $11. I'd like to see a little more upside on the bench, rather than just 4th outfielders and 6th pitchers. What's the love for Michael Fiers? I follow NL pretty deep and have never heard of him. However, getting two closers on each team for a reasonable amount is a good strategy in an NL-only. You automatically come out of the auction with a min of 5 points in the saves category. And if either Sanchez or K-Rod become closers, you've got 10+. I guess my main criticism of both teams is the lack of stolen bases. If Tyler Greene doesn't start for the Cards, there goes ~25 that you really need.
derekcarty
3/27
Fiers is a Brewers starter who's both pretty talented and could see some time in the rotation this year if someone gets hurt.
Robotey
3/27
I've been doing 2 NL only leagues for the last 5 years, so I'm always cognizant of which players I 'double-down' on. I try to limit it, but then it's only natural that it should occur because if you like a player at a price, you like him, and if he's there, you'll bid. Unfortunately for me, last year one of those players was Kelly Johnson--for $24 in each league! Go figure! What are your thoughts in dealing with multiple leagues? Evidently you don't mind doubling up but are you wary of it at all? At first glance I think you drafted a 3rd place team. This year's NL is rife with SP's--thanks to Gio, Cahill, etc. coning over, while hitting took a HUGE hit losing Prince and Albert. If ever there were a year when hitting is at a premium it's this year. So wouldn't this be the year to spend a little more on hitting? Instead of grabbing a 2nd closer I'd take that $ to grab a more bankable power OF. $16 for Loney? Go $10 more and get some power. Nonetheless you've put yourself in a strong spot and if you can trade an arm for a bat you could take the crown.
swarmee
7/16
How are these leagues going? You should be doing great in starting pitching while underwhelming in hitting, unless you made some big trades. Can you do a mid-season report. Good call on Fiers. Obviously Dempster and Dickey have been studs for you. Somehow I got Dempster for $2 in my NL-only keeper league. Will be interesting to see which league he gets traded to, and what if any prospect return comes from the AL. Guess I'm hoping that he goes to the Braves or another NL suitor.