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Welcome to the final 2017 edition of 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.

With the season and the quantity of bids winding down, instead of profiling players I thought I’d look at the races (or lack thereof) in all seven of the Tout and LABR expert leagues.

LABR Mixed

The Bids
Razzball:
Teoscar Hernandez $1
Fangraphs: Brett Phillips $1, Anibal Sanchez $1, Daniel Mengden $1, James Shields $1
MLB.com: Jon Jay $1

Table 1: LABR Mixed Top Four with Categories

Team Manager R HR RBI SB AVG W ERA SV K WHIP Tot
RotoExperts Jake Ciely

15

13.5

15

15

13

3

10

8

2

15

109.5

MLB.com Fred Zinkie

11

13.5

11.5

11

8

7.5

9

14

13

11

109.5

FanGraphs Mike Podhorzer

10

15

11.5

7.5

3

14

13

13

9.5

13

109.5

Razzball Rudy Gamble

14

8.5

8

7.5

6

1

12

15

14

15

100

I have played fantasy baseball for a long, long time and I have never seen a three-way tie heading into the final week of the season. Ciely stood pat. He was out of FAAB. Ciely cannot move up or down in any offensive category but home runs. On the pitching side, his strategy was to load up on starting pitchers, hope to gain in wins and strikeouts while not losing in ERA.

Zinkie added Jay to his roster to bolster his batting average. Podhorzer was the busiest of the top three, loading up on starting pitchers to improve wins and strikeouts. Sanchez, Shields, and Mengden all have two-start weeks, so while a 35-40 strikeout jump in a week is unlikely, Podhorzer is giving it a shot. Gamble added Hernandez, who looked terrific last week against the Yankees.

Tout Auction

The Bids:
Ray Flowers, Sirius XM
: Matt Boyd $4, R.A. Dickey $4, Bryce Harper $1
Fred Zinkie, MLB.com: Mike Minor $0, Pablo Sandoval $19
Al Melchior, FanRag Sports: A.J. Cole $0, Adam Morgan $0, Brad Brach $0, Yan Gomes $0, Travis Jankowski $0, Brett Phillips $0
Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com: Curtis Granderson $87
Jeff Zimmemrman, FanGraphs: Kyle Barraclough $67, Seth Lugo $60.
Tim Heaney, Rotowire: Parker Bridwell $0.
Scott Swanay, Fantasy Baseball Sherpa: Danny Salazar $0.

Table 2: Tout Mixed Auction Top Four with Categories

Team Manager R HR RBI SB OBP W SV ERA WHIP K Tot
FanGraphs Jeff Zimmerman

10

9

15

12

14

13,5

14

15

15

15

132.5

MLB.com Zach Steinhorn

13

11

13

10

9

13.5

2

10

8

12

101.5

MLB.com Fred Zinkie

15

15

14

6

15

12

1

2

4

14

98

RonShandler.com Ron Shandler

12

6

11

15

13

10

10

13

6

2

98

It has been a race for second for months, with Zimmerman pulling out to a big lead after a mediocre April and never looking back. Steinhorn, Zinkie, and Melchior (whose team has 97.5 points) all made move to finish second, with Melchior changing over a quarter of his roster for the final week.

Harper at a dollar is a tremendous move even if he only plays three or four times. Getting a closer in Brach for $0 is my second favorite move of the week in Tout Auction.

Tout Draft

The Bids:
Charlie Wiegert, CDM Sports:
Hunter Renfroe $205.
Corey Parson, Sports Illustrated: Daniel Mengden $39
Perry Van Hook, Mastersball: Tyler Chatwood $7
Tim McLeod: Jake Thompson $11, James Shields $2.

Table 3: Tout Mixed Draft Top Four with Categories

Team Manager R HR RBI SB OBP W SV ERA WHIP K Tot
Razzball Rudy Gamble

14

15

11.5

15

10

15

15

13

15

14

137.5

CBS Sports Scott White

15

14

13

11

15

10

10

10

8

11

117

Baseball HQ Ray Murphy

10

9

14

13

14

7

12.5

15

14

4

112.5

Sports Illustrated Corey Parson

13

13

15

7

13

12

4

7

11

13

108

Tout Draft is even more anticlimactic than the auction league, with Gamble cruising to his first win after second-place finishes in 2015 and 2016. The race is so anticlimactic that White and Murphy did not even bother making a move.

LABR AL

The Bids:
Mike Gianella, Baseball Prospectus:
Anibal Sanchez $3.
Tristan Cockcroft, ESPN: Lance McCullers $1, Gabriel Ynoa $1, Matt Andriese $1.
Ray Flowers, Sirius XM: Richard Ureña $1
Greg Ambrosius, Shawn Childs, NFBC: Bartolo Colon $1, Austin Hays $1.
Steve Gardner, USA Today: Ian Kennedy $1.

Table 4: LABR AL Top Four with Categories

Team Manager R HR RBI SB AVG W ERA SV K WHIP Tot
USA Today Steve Gardner

7

7

10

3.5

12

11

12

4.5

9

12

88

NFBC Ambrosius/Childs

8

10

11

1

3

11

11

1

12

11

79

SiriusXM Ray Flowers

4

8

7

11

7

11

10

4.5

7

7

76.5

FanGraphs Eno Sarris

12

12

12

5

4

4

5

6

5

10

75

When I ran this table in a July 11 FAAB column at the All-Star Break, the top four looked like this:

1) NFBC 86.5

2) Baseball HQ (Dave Adler) 76.5

3) Baseball Prospectus 74.5

4) ESPN 73

Gardner’s team was in ninth place and 27.5 points out of first, with 59 points. His team has had one of the best second halves I have ever seen in a Roto format. J.D. Martinez is a significant part of this resurgence, but part of the bounce back was due to Gardner’s ability to capitalize successfully on a close race in multiple categories. There was some luck (there always is) but Gardner deserves an incredible amount of credit for the work he did making this team a winner. This would be Gardner’s third victory in LABR AL.

Even though I have only lost three points since mid-July, my team had a mediocre second half and did not get the job done. Gains in home runs (four), steals (three), RBI (four), runs (five), wins (two), and saves (one) would leave me with 81.5 points, but just because you can gain points in multiple categories doesn’t mean that you will. Even this would leave me 6.5 behind Gardner. Realistically, I think I could finish second if everything went right, which it seldom if ever does.

Tout AL

The Bids
Rick Wolf/Glenn Colton:
Austin Hays $0, Daniel Norris $4. Pedro Alvarez $0
Patrick Davitt, Baseball HQ: Gabriel Ynoa $78, Ryan Goins $132, Tommy Kahnle $0.
Steve Moyer, Yakkertech: Alex Presley $9
Mike Podhorzer, FanGraphs: Anibal Sanchez $53, James Shields $10, J.J. Hardy $0
Larry Schechter, Winning Fantasy Baseball: Efren Navarro $1.

Table 5: Tout AL Top Four with Categories

Team Manager R HR RBI SB OBP W SV ERA WHIP K Tot
FanGraphs Mike Podhorzer

12

12

12

12

12

1.5

12

12

12

9

106.5

FanGraphs Jason Collette

10

7

6.5

10

11

12

9

10

2

8

85.5

Rotoworld Seth Trachtman

9

11

10

5.5

5

9.5

7

9

7

12

85

Winning Fantasy Baseball Larry Schechter

7

4

9

11

2

1,5

6

8

11

11

69.5

This was a race as recently as early August, but Podhorzer pulled away. His 60-point, perfect offense is impressive.

LABR NL

The Bids:

Steve Gardner, USA Today: Starling Marte $10.
Steve Moyer, Yakkertech: Chris Flexen: $2.
Eric Karabell, ESPN: Nori Aoki $2.

Gardner dropped Marte this past Monday, when it appeared the Pirates might shut him down for the season. Gardner bid the rest of his $10 FAAB, outbidding Karabell and his two remaining dollars.

Table 6: LABR NL Top Four with Categories

Team Manager R HR RBI SB AVG W ERA SV K WHIP Tot
USA Today Steve Gardner

10

12

9

5

6

12

12

9

11

12

98

ESPN Eric Karabell

8

9.5

8

6

11

10

10

10

10

10

92.5

RotoExperts Lenny Melnick

6

6

10

8

12

11

8

1

12

9

83

NFBC Ambrosius/Childs

9

9.5

7

9

3

6.5

9

6

9

7

75

Five and a half points is the biggest gap LABR NL has seen in at least two months. The race is not over, however, because Gardner and Karabell are in direct competition in multiple categories. For Gardner, a win this year would mark his first title in LABR NL and would also give him an impressive sweep of the mono LABR leagues. This would also be Karabell’s first title in LABR, although he has finished in second place six times in his 11 years in the league.

Tout NL

The Bids
Brian Walton, Mastersball:
Brent Suter $10, Jake Thompson $2
Mike Gianella, Baseball Prospectus: John Gant $0.
Phil Hertz, Baseball HQ: Walker Buehler $0, Carl Edwards $0, A.J. Minter $0.
Tristan Cockcroft, ESPN: Odrisamer Despaigne $1, Deck McGuire $1.

I picked up Gant to ensure I reach Tout Wars’ 950-inning minimum. With 27 1/3 innings to go and five starters on my active roster, I should get there easily.

Cockcroft might gain some points by adding two starters, but some might say he’s moving the Deck chairs on the Titanic.

I am not sorry.

Table 7: Tout NL Top Four with Categories

Team Manager R HR RBI SB OBP W SV ERA WHIP K Tot
Razzball Grey Albright

12

12

12

11

9

11

8

10

12

10

107

Mastersball Brian Walton

10

8.5

11

12

3

9

2

9

8

11.5

84

ESPN Tristan Cockcroft

11

4

7

7

12

8

5

12

11

5

82

Baseball HQ Phil Hertz

9

8.5

6

9

7

6.5

9

7

6

7

75

Tout NL is as boring as the other Tout leagues are. Albright has dominated most of the season. Who needs a balanced offense when you have Paul Goldschmidt and Giancarlo Stanton leading the way?

I’m in ninth and nowhere near the top four. It was an injury laden season that saw 14 of the 23 players I purchased spend some time on the disabled list, but even with good health I doubt I would have finished higher than third or fourth.

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