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I thought about doing something radically different from previous years, but the more I crunched the dollar numbers in the weeks leading up to my 8th Tout Wars Mixed Auction draft, the more I became convinced that following a true Stars and Scrubs approach would leave too many roster holes. In an experts league like Tout, you won’t be able to secure many of your favorite endgame targets if you’re limited to $1-2 bids. I understand the argument that there isn’t a huge difference from a value standpoint between a $1-2 player and a $5-9 guy, but being forced into a situation where you have no choice but to grab the leftovers who you did not particularly want on your roster isn’t fun at all. While it’s important to spend aggressively early, it’s also important to have some flexibility late.

So, I’d stick with a more balanced strategy, where I’d target specific players within various price ranges, a strategy that has led to one league title and top-4 finishes in four of the last five years. This would minimize the risk of a disaster season and maximize the probability that my squad would be competitive throughout the year. And, with a few breaks here and there, a few players who deliver double-digit dollars worth of profit and a few savvy waiver wire pickups or trades, maybe I could win this whole thing again.

The one significant difference in my spending plan this year is that I was prepared to shell out $30+ to acquire an ace. This has never been my style, but the BP Fantasy Staff has been preaching all winter about the importance of owning at least one ace this season, and I’m fully on board with that piece of advice. Maybe I wouldn’t spend 40 bucks on Max Scherzer, but Gerrit Cole, Aaron Nola, Blake Snell and Carlos Carrasco were among my targets (spoiler alert: I ended up with Nola). As for my preferred $40+ hitter, I longed for a reunion with Mookie Betts, who I bought last year for $44 but I expected would require somewhere in the neighborhood of a $49 investment this year. Backup plans to Betts (and I entered the draft with multiple backup plans for each roster slot) included Aaron Judge, J.D. Martinez and Bryce Harper. Well, I did indeed draft Betts, though I ended up paying $51 for him. But I was fine with that, as Betts obviously provides the five-category foundation upon which the rest of a championship roster can be built.

Going a couple dollars over my projected prices to roster my top choices at a certain position or dollar value range became a trend throughout much of the auction, but I was able to win several of my #1 targets at a bargain price, which helped to even things out.

Here’s the final product:


C Wellington Castillo


Stock has crept up over the last month but this 20-HR threat still offers profit potential at this price. I’ve now taken him in three of my four drafts so far.
C Mitch Garver


He’s fine but I regret not making a $1 nomination on a slightly more appealing C2 earlier in the endgame.
1B Carlos Santana


My top 1B target at this price point. Remember, Tout is an OBP league.
2B Robinson Cano


Still an ultra-reliable four-category producer.
SS Elvis Andrus


Not expecting a 2017 repeat, but 20 steals and 75 runs would make this a worthwhile investment.
3B Mike Moustakas


Another year with Moose, who is continually underrated and now gets to hit in a formidable Brewers lineup for a full season. I would have gone to $15.
CI Yonder Alonso


20+ homers for a buck. Why not?
MI Marcus Semien


One of the more overlooked fantasy shortstops. I’m hoping for 15/15 with a helpful runs total. He could very well exceed those hopes.
OF Mookie Betts


Not much to say here. Another 30/30 season is well within the realm of possibility.
OF Michael Conforto


Could be in line for a breakout season after slashing .273/.356/.539 with 17 homers and 52 RBIs in the second half last year. Sports a career .349 OBP.
OF Ender Inciarte


Was light in speed at the time of this buy. Sounds like Inciarte will at least open the season in the leadoff spot, which certainly enhances his fantasy appeal.
OF Hunter Renfroe


Crowded SD outfield worries me a bit, but this is a small price to pay for a potential 30-HR guy.
OF Brett Gardner


Assuming he holds on to a starting job, no reason not to expect 90+ runs and 15+ steals. Carries added value in OBP leagues.
UT Justin Bour


Cheap power with a quality OBP.


SP Aaron Nola


Wanted an ace and got an ace.
SP Masahiro Tanaka


Uncharacteristic of me to take on this sort of health risk but I like the price and a home run rate reduction could vault him into borderline ace territory.
SP Jose Quintana


He was a $20 pitcher at this time last year and an ultra-consistent mid-rotation fantasy starter for the previous half-decade. At this price, I’m comfortable banking on a bounceback.
SP Joey Lucchesi


Showed promise in his rookie season but ran out of gas down the stretch. I like the strikeout potential and the home park.
SP Zack Godley


Was very inconsistent last season but the strikeouts have always been consistent and some of the advanced stats (FIP and BABIP, in particular) suggest that he was a bit unlucky.
SP Kyle Gibson


Coming off a career year and the strikeout hike is encouraging. I’m not convinced that he’ll be a reliable mid-rotation fantasy starter going forward but as an SP6, he’s solid.
RP Roberto Osuna


I always make it a point to draft at least one high-end closer. Osuna fits the bill.
RP Cody Allen


Heads into the season with a decent amount of job security but a poor first month could change that. I did something wise in the reserve rounds, though. Stay tuned.
RP Dellin Betances


I like the idea of drafting a lockdown setup man to help in ERA/WHIP while racking up a steady dose of strikeouts. Think of Betances as one-third of an ace. Of course, I did not know at the time that he would open the season on the IL.

RESERVES: Ty Buttrey, Joe Jimenez, Derek Holland, Luis Urias, CC Sabathia, Bo Bichette

As a Cody Allen owner, I was relieved that Buttrey was available when I picked fifth in the first round of the reserve draft, and I followed up that selection with Jimenez, another potential saves source. Holland and Sabathia offer some rotation depth. I can place Sabathia on the IL once the season begins and pick up another SP. Urias should play every day to open the season and will look to prove that he deserves to remain in the lineup even after Fernando Tatis Jr. gets called up. Bichette is a pure minor-league stash who I may be forced to drop if he doesn’t get called up sometime in the first half and I need the roster spot.

Overall, this team turned out the same way most of my drafted teams turn out. The offense is strong while the starting rotation might be lacking a #2-#3 type. Tanaka has to stay healthy and consistent and I really need rebound seasons from Quintana and Godley. Oh, and Allen pitching well enough to keep his closer job would be nice. But coming out of any draft, I’d rather be short a starting pitcher than short a hitter. Last year in Tout, my most reliable starter for the majority of the season was Zack Wheeler, who I added via FAAB in mid-May.

My search for this year’s Zack Wheeler is already underway.

Thanks to Peter Kreutzer, Todd Zola, Ron Shandler, Jeff Erickson and Brian Walton for everything they did to ensure yet another memorable Tout Wars weekend.

The full auction results are here.

Thank you for reading

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Stephen Ledet
Nice draft