Welcome back 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. Tim McCullough covers the FAAB bidding in the Tout Wars Mixed Draft League, while I cover LABR Mixed and both NL-only and AL-only leagues. LABR uses a $100 FAAB budget with one-dollar minimum bids, while Tout Wars uses a $1,000 minimum budget with zero-dollar minimum bids.
Tout Wars’ free agent deadline is 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, while LABR’s deadline is Sunday at midnight ET.
TOUT WARS MIXED DRAFT
The Tout Wars Mixed League continues to pile on the weekly bids with another 26 players rostered this week. Starting pitchers led the way with 10 among this week’s additions. There were also several catchers and a couple of relief pitchers added, along with a prospect or two.
Leody Taveras $216
Richard Rodríguez $126
Rodriguez is the “next man up” in the Pirates’ bullpen. He notched a pair of saves and has 18 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings pitched with a 0.87 WHIP. Rodríguez has allowed earned runs in two of his last three innings, however, and home runs in two of his last four appearances. In other words, don’t become too enamored with Rodríguez.
Tyler Rogers $125
The Giants have used a committee to close out games, but Rogers appears to have the edge going forward. Still, he has a 5.40 ERA, despite allowing just one home run in 18 1/3 innings. If you are willing to pay a premium for saves, Rogers is your man.
Ian Anderson $123 (Other Bids: $73) (@BOS, WAS)
Sam Haggerty $53
Victor Caratini $45
Caratini doesn’t have a hit in his last 18 plate appearances, and his overall line is down to .249/.329/.314 as a result. He also has yet to hit a home run this season. Unless you’re trying to ride a streak or have a need for a player who is eligible both behind the dish and at the corner infield spots, you might want to look elsewhere.
Rowdy Tellez $38
Tellez has slugged six homers, but his .235/.300/.494 slash line is about as good as it gets. It appears that the Blue Jays will stand pat at first base and go with the combination of Tellez and Vladito. Tellez offers fantasy managers some pop, but he’s a batting-average drain.
Jon Lester $27 (Other Bids: $8) (@PIT, STL)
Lester has struggled of late, with six home runs allowed over his last 14 2/3 innings. The Pirates are a decent offense against left-handed pitchers (14th in the majors with a .780 OPS), but the Cardinals are one of the worst (26th with a .652 OPS). If you are streaming Lester this week, you should consider benching him against Pittsburgh, if you can.
Dakota Hudson $14 (@CIN, CHC)
Somehow, Hudson managed a 3.35 ERA over 174 2/3 innings in 2019, despite allowing a league-high 86 walks and striking out just 136 batters. His 1.41 WHIP was a terrible, and he also coughed up 22 home runs. None of this bodes well for the right-hander, so don’t overspend to get him. He is likely to be no more than a streaming option in mixed leagues.
Yoshihisa Hirano $13
Hirano may be part of the Mariners’ bullpen committee, but the journeyman reliever doesn’t really have the stuff that you want in a closer. At this point, you may be better off looking elsewhere for saves.
Ryan O’Hearn $11
O’Hearn appears to be entrenched as the Royals’ first baseman, despite a meager .247/.344/.390 slash line. Moreover, he has just two home runs, 17 RBI, and six runs scored in 90 plate appearances. Meanwhile, Ryan McBroom lurks as O’Hearn’s potential replacement. McBroom boasts a .321/.356/.643 line with five homers, nine RBI, and seven runs scored in just 59 PA. The Royals appear content to keep McBroom limited to pinch hitting, but that could change if O’Hearn continues his mediocre production.
Jeimer Candelario $7
Candelario has quietly put together a solid season after taking over for the injured C.J. Cron. He is batting .299/.342/.523 with four home runs, 15 RBI, and 16 runs scored. He is much better for AL-only league play but is adequate for mixed leagues, as well.
TOUT WARS AL
Leody Taveras $715 (Other Bids: $443, $132, $123, $76)
My $443 bid was aggressive but not aggressive enough, as Patrick Davitt of Baseball HQ beat me by nearly $300 of play money. Taveras is getting a full-time opportunity, and Davitt and I were both aggressive because we needed steals, which are at a premium. I am curious to see whether Taveras’ speed translates to the majors. While he did steal 32 bases in the minors in 2019, most of those steals were in A-ball. He had a poor 11-for-19 success rate at Double-A.
Bobby Dalbec $443 (Other Bids: $332, $167, $157, $152, $51, $44)
I did get Dalbec as a consolation prize. The Red Sox third-base prospect has loads of power potential, but it comes with all sorts of risk, including some awkward looking mechanics and a lot of swing-and-miss. There is a great deal of variance in this kind of profile. The ceiling could be a 40-home-run hitter, while the floor could be a capable major-league corner infielder who is a second-division regular. I’m not a long-term fan of Dalbec, but it’s worth rolling him out there for four weeks in an AL-only. I’m hoping to get a hot month from him.
I entered the week with more FAAB than any other team and decided to bid heavily on both Taveras and Dalbec. It looks like most of the players moving between leagues will go from the AL to the NL, and I didn’t want to wait nearly a full week to discover that no one significant was switching leagues.
Dane Dunning $237 (Other Bids: $76, $72, $32, $28) (@KC)
I thought Dunning’s five no-hit innings against the Royals might have led to more aggressive bidding, but Jeff Erickson of Rotowire was the only aggressive suitor. Dunning had not taken the mound in a professional start in more than two years prior to his 2020 debut. Command was a big issue for him, so it was great to see the right-hander walk only one batter in his last outing. He’ll take the hill again this week against the Royals in a matchup that is a fringe deep-mixed play.
Jarrod Dyson $102 (Other Bids: $62, $18, $17, $15)
Dyson has Grade A speed, but he was awful for the Pirates and now finds himself on a White Sox team where he’s merely a fourth outfielder and defensive replacement. Perhaps Dyson will have a three-to-five steal month as a pinch runner, but even in AL-only, it is tough to carry someone only for steals unless he will steal roughly 10 bases in the final month. In case you’re wondering how likely this is, the last player to steal 10-plus bases in 20-or-fewer plate appearances was Terrance Gore in 2016. Before that, you have to go back to the legendary Matt Alexander in 1980.
Randy Arozarena $76 (Other Bids: $62, $36)
Arozarena is a potentially high-impact player who could be limited by his platoon splits. (Spoiler alert: He is better against left-handers.) On a different team, Arozarena might be given a chance to run with an outfield job, but I worry thathe’ll be more of a platoon or fourth outfielder in Tampa. The power and speed are both there for him to be a 20/15 player in a 162-game slate, if Arozarena could cobble enough plate appearances together.
Nick Margevicius $76 (OAK)
Michael Pineda $76
Ronald Guzmán $75 (Other Bids: $54)
The Rangers brought Guzmán back from their alternate site after Todd Frazier landed on the IL. Guzmán will get most of the reps at first base. Although he hit a home run on Saturday, the batting average is a drag, and Guzmán doesn’t have enough power to be more than an AL-only play or an emergency option in mixed.
Josh Fleming $67 (Other Bids: $62) (MIA)
Heading into the season, Fleming wasn’t viewed as much of a prospect and was more of a future middle-relief type. He was effective in his first two big-league starts, but watching him, you can see why the scouts weren’t excited. Fleming doesn’t throw particularly hard, although he has a heavy sinker that generates grounders when it’s working. All these caveats aside, the results have been there, and this is a great matchup against the Marlins.
Deivi García $62
Kevin Plawecki $31 (Other Bids: $0)
Plawecki is a light-hitting backup catcher with a little pop, but he could be a starting catcher with a little pop if the Red Sox trade Christian Vázquez prior to the deadline. This is not a bad low-level gamble on at-bats in an AL-only, but it also doesn’t offer much upside.
Joe Panik $26 (Other Bids: $11)
Panik is the Jays starting shortstop out of necessity, as they wait for Bo Bichette to recover from his injury. (I initially typed Dante Bichette, and I suspect that I will do that roughly 100,000 more times before Bo retires.) Panik is a light-hitting infielder without much power or speed and is only for mono leagues when he is generating volume.
Jonah Heim $22
Jesse Hahn $18
Ljay Newsome $16 (OAK)
Carlos Hernández $8
Brian O’Grady $5
Miguel Andújar $5
Kevin Smith $3
Michael Pérez $1 (Other Bid: $0)
Luis Rengifo $1
Yohan Ramírez $0
Grayson Greiner $0
TOUT WARS NL
Mitch Moreland $734 (Other Bids: $550, $365, $315, $158, $102)
The first major dominoes of the trade deadline fell over the weekend, and the Padres acquired Moreland from the Red Sox to be their primary DH against right-handers. Moreland has been ripping the cover off the ball, with eight home runs in 79 plate appearances. However, he is usually more of a league-average hitter with average-to-above-average pop. Mike Clevinger got traded to the Padres after the Tout Wars 8:00 pm transaction deadline last night, so we’ll see whether Phil Hertz of Baseball HQ has any buyer’s remorse.
Ian Anderson $374 (Other Bids: $198, $152, $133) (@BOS, WAS)
Anderson was brilliant in his major-league debut against the Yankees, and he now has a strong two-start week on tap with the depleted Red Sox in Boston and Washington at home. Anderson has particularly good stuff. His big weakness as a prospect had been a lack of aggression with hitters at times, so it was good to see him attack hitters and only walk two against the Yankees. Anderson is a solid pickup in any format and a must-have in deep mixed and NL-only.
Trevor Rosenthal $342 (Other Bids: $341, $202, $191)
Acquired from the Royals, it is likely that Rosenthal will close for the Padres. Although, with Drew Pomeranz back, nothing is guaranteed. Rosenthal looked like his old self in Kansas City prior to the trade, although his control remains a problem. As a team looking to win this year, the Padres won’t be afraid to turn to Pomeranz if Rosenthal struggles like he did in 2019.
José Martínez $197 (Other Bids: $52, $12)
Martínez is back in the National League. He was traded to the Cubs on Sunday for two players to be named later or future considerations. Martínez will slot in as Chicago’s DH against lefties and could get some additional reps in the outfield and the odd start against a righty. He’s a solid enough player but is mostly a platoon or bench bat with some power.
José García $131 (Other Bids: $102)
García’s call up was an intriguing move by the Reds. He hadn’t played above High-A, and while the results were good, García didn’t seem to be a likely add to Cincinnati’s major-league roster, due to his inexperience and age. He is a decent prospect who could be a solid regular down the road but could be overmatched initially.
Taylor Clarke $103 (@SF)
Trevor Rogers $77 (Other Bids: $75) (@NYM, @TB)
Although walks were a problem, Rogers was great in his major-league debut against the Mets. He faced them again earlier today and gets the Rays later in the week. Despite the lively fastball, Rogers’ long-term future might be in the bullpen, although I’m willing to roll the dice on him in the short term.
Ian Anderson $9 (Other Bids: $8, $8, $5, $5) (@BOS, WAS)
Gregory Soto $8 (Other Bids: $4, $3, $3, $1)
Soto saved two games for the Tigers last week, and even if Joe Jiménez isn’t traded today, it looks like Soto is the primary option for saves in Detroit’s bullpen going forward. Soto throws gas, with an upper-90s heater and a high-80s slider, and the results have been solid. He throws strikes and keeps the ball on the ground. Even if the strikeout rate isn’t elite, it’s the sort of combination that managers tend to love in the ninth.
Diego Castillo $6 (Other Bids: $3, $1)
After a tumultuous month that saw 10 different Rays relievers get a save, the team may have finally settled on one reliever in the ninth. Castillo is tricky to value because the Rays eschew traditional relief roles. Nick Anderson could take the job when he returns from the IL, and Castillo is command-challenged at times. My hunch is that Castillo is the primary Tampa closer for now, but the landscape is littered with failed FAAB bids for “safe” Rays relievers.
Roman Quinn $3 (Other Bids: $1)
Quinn’s six steals were tied for fifth in the National League entering today’s action (with four others). He isn’t playing regularly, so in mixed leagues the decision on rostering Quinn comes down to whether you can live with a player getting 12-15 plate appearances a week with limited value in the non-steal categories. Quinn isn’t a complete zero in power or average, so the hope is that he’ll hit a couple of home runs and keep the AVG around .260 or so.
Sam Haggerty $2 (Other Bids: $2, $1)
Haggerty is like Quinn in that he steals bases and doesn’t do much else. Haggerty has the advantage of playing regularly and being on a Mariners team that has already thrown in the towel for 2020. Haggerty should play every day, so even if he is “only” a stolen-base threat, he could produce enough runs and RBI to make him worth the lack of over-the-fence power in mixed formats.
Nico Hoerner $2
Josh Lindblom $2 (Other Bids: $1) (DET)
After a five-year stint in the KBO, Lindblom has struggled in his return to the majors, with a 6.31 ERA in 25 2/3 innings. He does have 36 strikeouts, so if you need to roll the dice on a risky, underperforming arm, doing so on someone with a 32 percent strikeout rate is the way to go. He has a good matchup on paper this week against Detroit, although the Tigers have been hitting well of late.
José Trevino $1
Scott Barlow $1 (Other Bids: $1)
Jake Fraley $1
Chance Sisco $1 (Other Bids:$1)
Jesse Hahn $1
Travis Shaw $1
Trevor Cahill $1 (ARI)
Deivi García $1
Mychal Givens $1
Jason Castro $1
Hunter Renfroe $1
Kris Bubic $1 (CHW)
Leody Taveras $74 (Other Bids: $25, $3, $1)
Dane Dunning $20 (Other Bids: $5, $2) (@KC)
Josh Fleming $11 (Other Bids: $8, $6) (MIA)
Bobby Dalbec $9
Jarrod Dyson $8 (Other Bids: $1)
Franklin Barreto $7
Santiago Espinal $3 (Other Bids: $1)
Espinal is the superior defensive option at short to Joe Panik for the Blue Jays, but Toronto is opting for Panik’s superior offensive ceiling to Espinal’s defense. Even with regular playing time, Espinal has questionable value, and he’s not even getting that.
Anthony Bemboom $3 (Other Bids: $1)
The trade of Jason Castro to the Padres gives Bemboom a clear shot at the starting job for the Angels. Bemboom is a 30-year-old glove-first backstop who didn’t get his first opportunity in the majors until 2019, so while he has put up decent numbers in a very limited seven-game sample, I wouldn’t expect much. Bemboom could wind up splitting duties with whatever catcher the Angels call up from the alternate site to replace Castro.
Rafael Dolis $2 (Other Bids: $2)
Jordan Romano had the ninth inning locked down for Toronto, but a finger injury will put Romano on the shelf for at least two weeks. That gives Dolis a shot at some saves. Anthony Bass might have the inside track, but Dolis has pitched well outside of the occasional wildness and could see some opportunities.
Daniel Norris $2 (Other Bids: $1)
Norris has been effective out of the pen for the Tigers in a middle-relief role, but these bids are probably because he has been the subject of trade rumors and could find himself on a contender soon. It’s a decent speculative play in an AL-only, and a $2 bid is no skin off Steve Gardner of USA Today’s nose if it doesn’t work out.
Trevor Rosenthal $42 (Other Bids: $25, $22, $20, $13, $1)
José Martínez $27 (Other Bids: $8, $2)
Trevor Rogers $8 (Other Bids: $1) (@NYM, @TB)
Josh Fuentes $6
Johan Oviedo $6 (Other Bids: $1) (@CIN)
I won all three players above, so the easiest conclusion to draw is that I grossly overbid. This is true, although given my position in FAAB entering the week ($63 left to spend), I knew that I wouldn’t have enough money for Clevinger.
I have had a hole at corner infield all season, and the Rockies have been using Fuentes more and more at first base. It is painfully apparent that Daniel Murphy shouldn’t play the field anymore. Fuentes has done little with the bat. Colorado’s gamble (and mine) is that he gets enough of the Coors Bump to make him a usable, productive infielder.
Rogers and Oviedo were part of a desperate push that I am making for wins and strikeouts. I am already next-to-last in ERA and WHIP and too far back to hope that I can make much of a dent in either category. I had been carrying four starting pitchers for a couple of weeks, but it was time to face reality and grab as much volume as I possible. This strategy almost never works, but the most I can lose is a point apiece in ERA and WHIP.
José García $6 (Other Bids: $1)
Ender Inciarte $5 (Other Bids: $2)
Inciarte had been pushed into a backup role with Ronald Acuña’s return from the IL, but Acuña injured his hamstring in Sunday night’s tilt against the Phillies. If Acuña needs to go back on the IL, Inciarte could be a good source of stolen bases. He has scuffled with the bat but does have four steals in 27 games, and he’s showing decent plate discipline.
Tommy Milone $4 (Other Bids: $2, $1) (WAS)
Atlanta’s rotation is full of holes, and while Milone isn’t a world-beater, his acquisition from the Orioles makes sense. Getting volume from a starting pitcher, even an innings-eater like Milone, will save the bullpen from too much wear and tear down the stretch. This strategy didn’t work in Milone’s Atlanta debut last night, as he was rocked by the Phillies and didn’t make it out of the second inning. This is a risky acquisition, even in NL-only, and Milone would have been helped much more by a move out of the tough eastern pair of divisions.
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