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Welcome to The FAAB Review, the series that looks at FAAB bidding in expert leagues to help you, the Baseball Prospectus reader, with your fantasy baseball bidding needs. Zach Steinhorn covers the Tout Wars Mixed Auction league and LABR Mixed, while Mike Gianella tackles Tout Wars AL and LABR NL. This week, Mike also looks at Tout Wars NL and LABR AL. LABR uses a $100 FAAB budget with one-dollar minimum bids, while Tout Wars uses a $1,000 budget with zero-dollar minimum bids.

Tout Wars’ free agent deadline is at 8 pm ET on Sunday while LABR’s deadline is Sunday at midnight ET.


Hector Neris $203 (Other bid: $7)

Although Neris has pitched well so far this season, posting a 2.84 ERA and a 0.79 WHIP through seven appearances, I did have to double-check Jeff Zimmerman‘s winning bid amount when looking at this week’s FAAB list for the first time. In these FAAB Review articles, I sometimes note that the winning bidder surely wishes that Tout still used a Vickrey system for FAAB, and this is an extreme example, as Jeff would have still gotten Neris if he had bid $195 less than his actual bid. Neris picked up his first save of the season last weekend but Philadelphia’s most recent save was recorded by Pat Neshek, so it’s looking more and more likely that Gabe Kapler will continue to frustrate fantasy owners and follow a matchups-based approach in the ninth inning this year. There’s a decent chance that Neris will lead the team in saves in 2019, but he will need to save 15+ games to earn his FAAB cost, and I’m not ready to bank on that number.

Touki Toussaint $179 (ARI) (Other bids: $64, $46, $37, $8)

Toussaint was outstanding in his 2019 Braves debut on Saturday versus the Mets, allowing just an unearned run in a six-inning relief outing, striking out seven in the process. Manager Brian Snitker said on Sunday that the 22-year-old will now move into the starting rotation, at least for the short term. Toussaint showed some promise during his first taste of the big leagues late last season, so if he pitches well enough as a starter to stick around in the rotation for the long term, Brent Hershey of BaseballHQ will be glad that he won this five-team competition for Toussaint’s services.

Jordan Lyles $49 (SF) (Other bids: $9, $3, $1)

Lyles, the owner of a career 5.22 ERA and 1.45 WHIP, has opened his 2019 campaign by posting a 0.82 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP through his first two starts. The 28-year-old hasn’t served as a full-time starter since 2015, and considering his lackluster big league track record, there’s every reason to be skeptical that he can finally put together a mixed league-worthy season. Regardless, he should thrive this week versus a Giants offense that, heading into Monday’s games, ranks last in the majors in OPS. Right?

Derek Dietrich $47 (Other bids: $33, $13)

With four homers and 11 RBIs through his first 13 games this season, Dietrich is off to a fine start. The problem is that he isn’t guaranteed everyday playing time going forward, and he’s never really been a reliable longer term fantasy option. He does, however, offer valuable positional flexibility, as he’s eligible at second base, first base and outfield in Tout.

Josh Phegley $42 (Other bids: $38, $4)

I considered bidding on Phegley, as my catcher situation is less than ideal with Welington Castillo splitting at-bats more evenly than I had anticipated with James McCann and Mitch Garver getting sporadic playing time but homering three times in a week when I benched him. Anyway, Phegley is playing regularly right now and he’s been plenty productive, tallying three homers, nine RBIs and ten runs in 13 games while getting on base at a .341 clip. But ultimately, I couldn’t get past the overall big league track record on the hitting side, which includes a .268 OBP and a .651 OPS, so I passed. Still, the catcher position in fantasy is as weak as it’s ever been, so Phegley could certainly serve as a viable second catcher in deeper mixed leagues going forward if he continues to get consistent at-bats.

Leury Garcia $42

David Fletcher $33

Trevor Hildenberger $23 (Other bid: $14)

Hunter Dozier $18

Adam Wainwright $18 (NYM)

Dwight Smith Jr. $16

Colin Moran $14

Austin Dean $13

Dominic Smith $11

Brian McCann $8

Speaking of catchers, this could turn out to be a solid add by Ron Shandler, as McCann is expected to return from the IL when first eligible on Wednesday. Even if he splits time evenly with Tyler Flowers, McCann’s power ability makes him an above-average option at the backstop position.

Jarrod Dyson $7

Nick Anderson $3

Taylor Ward $2

Lance Lynn $1 (LAA)

Coming off two straight stellar outings on the road in which he allowed a combined three runs over 13 innings while striking out 14, Lynn is making his case as a guy who could help owners in deep mixed leagues in his starts away from Arlington. I thought about bidding on Lynn (and I would have bid more than $1) but I’m not lacking in SP quantity and his next start is at home, so it didn’t make much sense.

Robbie Grossman $1

J.B. Wendelken $0


Trevor Hildenberger $65

There were some backup bids for Hildenberger that didn’t go through, all of them at $0 or $1. One very useful thing about social media is you can see what other experts are saying, and in this instance, I figured Jeff Erickson of RotoWire would be bidding on Hildenberger after the Twins reliever cleaned up Blake Parker’s mess yesterday against Cleveland and picked up a save. Hildenberger is solid but he’s not demonstrably better than anyone else in Minnesota’s pen and I’m not convinced that one solid appearance makes him the closer. It’s a decent pickup, but I wouldn’t read too much into one save. I do like where Erickson is coming from with this move. His team is off to a strong start, he has two closers (Blake Treinen and Aroldis Chapman) and Hildenberger could give him an opportunity to trade from strength. If it doesn’t work, it’s 6.5 percent of his FAAB budget and it won’t matter one way or the other come October.

Roenis Elias $59 (Other bids: $24, $7)

Elias was one of my two buys and while this was aggressive, I need saves (my closer was Hunter Strickland) and I don’t mind speculating on a pitcher who has performed well this season and sits behind Anthony Swarzak in Seattle’s messy committee. I doubt Elias will close for a whole host of reasons but if Seattle does go with a true committee approach, it’s possible Elias gets a few matchup saves against left-handers.

Josh Phegley $26 (Other bids: $17, $2)

This one was also mine. I wasn’t expecting to get Phegley, believing someone with a dead spot at catcher would bid aggressively for the hot-starting Oakland backstop, but almost no one did and now I have three catchers (I’ll reserve Isiah Kiner-Falefa for now). I’ll try to trade one but have no problem whatsoever betting a nominal amount that Phegley’s fast start could lead to 15-20 home runs in a starting role for the A’s while Sean Murphy bides his time at Triple-A. If this was just one hot week, I spent less than three percent of my budget on a dud. Shrug.

Hanser Alberto $17
Taylor Ward $12,
John Means $11
Richard Lovelady $8
Terrance Gore $6
Austin Romine $6,
Matt Manning $5
Jake Diekman $2
Dylan Moore $2
Hector Velasquez $1 (BAL)
Javy Guerra $0
Tom Murphy $0


Tyler Austin $55 (Other bids: $37, $8, $21, $4, $2)

I love players like Austin, who are throwbacks to a different era when big league teams carried 15 hitters and had the luxury of a righty-masher on the bench to nab the occasional start against a left-handed pitcher or as a pinch-hitting option late in the game. In our world of 12-13 pitchers on a 25-player roster, Austin’s skill set gives him very limited utility. Those 24 home runs in 420 career plate appearances might make you drool, but Austin is a career .207/.258/.398 hitter against righties. His new home venue isn’t going to help matters either. Austin is worth a speculative bid for the power, but he will be exposed if he’s a regular.

Yonathan Daza $33 (Other bids: $21, $0)

Thirty-one steals at High-A ball in 2017 jump off the page but there wasn’t much else going for Daza as a prospect. If he does manage to cobble out a full-time role in Colorado, maybe he’s a poor person’s version of Gerardo Parra and can be viable in NL-only because of the batting average. I wouldn’t count on those low minors steals translating to the majors.

Nick Anderson $37 (Other bids: $5, $4, $3, $1)

Anderson is the trendy pick in the Marlins bullpen as a stash, and looking at the early returns, you can see why. His fastball is good, but it’s his slider that is giving hitters fits in the early going. It looks more like a curve in terms of the way it breaks; if so, it’s a very hard curve. Whatever it is that Anderson is throwing, it’s working extremely well and in an unsettled bullpen with Sergio Romo at the front of the line, Anderson is worth a cheap add.

Pat Neshek $19
Nick Burdi $2
John Ryan Murphy $2 
(Other bid: $0)
Sam Dyson $1
Tim Locastro $0
Dan Winkler $0
Kyle Farmer $0


Dan Vogelbach $21 (Other bids: $17, $12, $7, $6, $5, $5, $5, $4, $4, $4)

There was little doubt that Vogelbach would garner the highest winning bid in LABR Mixed this week. The question was how high. The answer was $21, as Jeff Erickson of RotoWire beat out ten other owners in the sweepstakes. I did not participate in the bidding, mainly because corner infield isn’t a need, though six homers, 11 RBIs and nine runs in 12 games is hard to discount.

Carlos Gonzalez $13

Whereas corner infield isn’t a need, outfield is most definitely a need. LABR rules stipulate that minor leaguers cannot be added in FAAB, so Gonzalez, who was called up by the Indians over the weekend, was available for the first time this week. He should play regularly versus right-handed pitching and could see a decent number of at-bats against lefties as well considering the sorry state of Cleveland’s outfield. The former fantasy first-rounder might be a shell of his former self, but I still view him as an upgrade over Curtis Granderson, who will now head to my bench. Gonzalez should provide similar power production without killing my batting average. I did misjudge the level of interest in him, however, as I ended up wasting 12 FAAB bucks, so I’m not too thrilled about that.

Touki Toussaint $12 (ARI) (Other bids: $8, $4, $3, $3, $3, $2,  $2)

Jordan Lyles $8 (SF) (Other bids: $4, $4)

Brett Anderson $6 (TOR)

Josh Phegley $5 (Other bids: $2, $1, $1, $1)

Keon Broxton $5

Hunter Dozier $3 (Other bids: $3, $3, $2, $2)

There was quite a bit of interest in Dozier this week, although the interest was of the low-priced variety. Serving as the starting third baseman for a rebuilding Royals squad, the 27-year-old has opened the season by posting a .277/.352/.489 slash line with three homers through 13 games. There’s cheap 20+ HR potential here.

Derek Dietrich $3 (Other bid: $2)

Nick Anderson $2 (Other bids: $1, $1)

Renato Nunez $2 (Other bids: $2, $1, $1, $1)

Terrance Gore $2

Richard Lovelady $2

David Fletcher $2

Chris Owings $1 (Other bid: $1)

Lucas Giolito $1 (KC)

Roenis Elias $1

The ninth-inning situation in Seattle remains mostly a mystery, but Elias did earn his second save of the season in his most recent outing and now sports a 1.86 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP through eight appearances this season. For a buck, why not?

James McCann $1

Adam Wainwright $1 (NYM)

From fantasy ace to $1 FAAB pickup. Things haven’t come easy for Wainwright in recent years, from both a performance and health standpoint. But could better days be ahead? The 37-year-old struggled in his first start of the season but he’s looked good in his last two starts, tossing 12 innings of three-run ball with 13 strikeouts. That said, I am somewhat concerned about this week’s matchup, as he will be facing a Mets team that ranks second in the NL in runs scored.


Trey Wingenter $3
Tayron Guerrero $3
Yonathan Daza $2
Yoan Lopez $2

Four uncontested bids in LABR NL made for a very light week. I nabbed Guerrero for $2 too much, taking a stab on his velocity in a soft Marlins bullpen. I’ll be trolling for saves all year, but with Jon Lester on the IL, I also need strikeouts. I also traded Kyle Freeland for outfield depth, and for the week I’m down to four starting pitchers. I’m hoping Lester and Alex Wood eventually bring me back to six starting pitchers, and it’s a little easier to find SPs on the wire in an -only league than it is to find everyday hitters.


Zack Cozart $13 (Other bids: $4, $3, $1)

Cozart was dropped by Bret Sayre last week to make room for Dan Vogelbach and it’s not surprising there was at least one aggressive bidder in LABR. Cozart is off to a terrible start but the Angels are on the hook for another two years at a significant price, so Cozart will play unless he’s hurt or completely cooked, which I don’t believe he is.

Chris Davis $5 (Other bids: $1, $1, $1)

Davis finally broke out of his 0-for-gazillion slump with a big game this weekend. He’s still nearly worthless for fantasy purposes and the Orioles could cut bait on the formerly prodigious slugger. He’s an acceptable risk in AL-only but he is a risk.

Terrance Gore $4 (Other bid: $2)

In mixed formats, Gore is almost worthless; the value of the 20-30 steals he could get are dragged down by the replacement level cost of having zeros in three counting categories. In AL-only, if Gore can get to that lofty steal total, he’s gold. Perhaps “zeros” is overstating matters, as Gore could play in a depleted/bad Royals lineup and be more than a glorified pinch-runner, but it’s a bad bet to waste a roster spot on him in anything but -only formats.

Jake Diekman $3

Connor Sadzeck $2 (Other bid: $1)

As mentioned above with Elias, while Swarzak is the presumptive favorite for saves in Seattle, this looks like a committee. Sadzeck was used as a starter for years in the Rangers system before they finally moved him to the pen in 2018. He can dial it up to the upper 90s as a reliever and has abandoned his other secondary offerings in favor of an upper 80s slider. The starter-converted-to-reliever profile could work, but that can be said for lots of minor league arms.

Hector Velazquez $2 (BAL) (Other bid: $1)

Velazquez’s outing today will probably be over by the time you’ve read this. He’s a journeyman, former Mexican League arm who was a borderline option even for this start in AL-only. Unless he did well in the start, in which case I recommend cheating and putting him into your lineup retroactively.

Jose Rondon $1 (Other bid: $1)
Dylan Moore $1
Homer Bailey $1 (Other bid: $1)
Brad Miller $1
Kevin Plawecki $1

Thank you for reading

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