Welcome back to the FAAB Review, the column that examines what been going on in multiple analyst leagues. The hope is that we can help you with your own FAAB bidding process and habits. This year, our primary focus is on The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational (TGFBI), a contest that contains 29 leagues of 15 teams each and crowns an overall champion. We’ll look at the 10 most popular FAAB buys in those leagues every week. We’ll also mention some of the highlights from Tout Wars AL and LABR NL, two deeper leagues in which I also compete.
TGBFI and Tout Wars use a $1,000 FAAB budget, while LABR uses $100. Tout Wars also allows teams to place $0 bids. All three leagues run their FAAB weekly on Sundays. For TGFBI. I’ll list the average winning bid, followed by the highest and lowest winning bids. LABR and Tout will show the winning bid followed by all losing bids.
All stats and matchup listings for pitchers are through Sunday’s games.
Alex Colomé $29 (High Bid $105, Low Bid: $1)
Back in March, there was a spirited debate among the Baseball Prospectus fantasy staff about whether Colomé or Taylor Rogers would be the Twins closer. Some of our writers felt that Rogers’ skills would win out and that the team’s familiarity with him made Rogers the favorite. I believed that the Twins wouldn’t have bothered to sign Colomé to a $6.25 million deal just to make him an eighth-inning option. I was right, but only for about two weeks. Rogers took over in late April, then fell into a committee with Hansel Robles in mid-May that lasted until Robles was shipped to Boston at the trade deadline.
Four months later, it turns out I was right again and Colomé is the exclusive closer for the Twins. It’s a weird move from a performance standpoint. While Colomé historically has been a good albeit not great reliever, he is having a terrible 2021. On the other hand, Rogers could miss the rest of the season with a finger injury, and none of the other relievers in Minnesota’s bullpen stand out. Colomé has a 2.70 ERA since the All-Star Break and could easily be a boring source for seven or eight saves the rest of the way. I got him in my TGFBI bracket for $3.
Andrés Giménez $22 ($65, $9)
Given Giménez’s age and relative lack of experience, I was surprised that his ADP was as high as it was back in March. Sure enough, Giménez looked overmatched and was sent to the minors in May. My negative assessment of him in 2021 redraft leagues doesn’t dim my overall feelings about him, which are that he could be a solid long-term fantasy contributor who could steal 20-25 bases with a little pop to boot. Giménez wasn’t available in my TGFBI, but I would have bid $15-20 on him in the hopes that he rediscovered something at Triple-A and can deliver on some of his considerable promise.
Jonathan Loaisiga $22 ($75, $1)
Aroldis Chapman went on the IL with elbow inflammation, potentially opening the door in the ninth for Loaisiga. Loaisiga picked up an eight-pitch save on Saturday, but it’s important to note that Chad Green had thrown a combined 40 pitches in the two days prior and might have been unavailable. Loaisiga has had the better year, but that’s hardly a knock against Green, who has also pitched well. If I had to choose between Colomé and Loaisiga for one roster spot, I’d go with Colome if I were strictly chasing saves, but Loaisiga if I was looking for a more talented pitcher who could contribute across the board in five categories.
Carter Kieboom $19 ($71, $1)
I don’t know what to make of Kieboom. I don’t want to completely write him off. He’s only 23, plenty of young hitters struggle in majors, and the lack of a minor-league season in 2020 really hurt his development. However, in the short term I’m lukewarm. Kieboom did cut his strikeout rate at Triple-A, but with that came a drop in AVG and the power output was light. He’s probably acceptable as a third corner in 15-team mixed, but the significant upside for which many were hoping when he was a prospect isn’t something that I’d expect to happen in 2021.
Dylan Floro $18 ($37, $1)
Floro was profiled in this space last week, where I wrote 71 wishy-washy words about how maybe Floro could be Miami’s closer but maybe it could also be someone else. We don’t have any more clarity since then, as Floro picked up a save last Tuesday but Anthony Bender grabbed one on Thursday. Bender is the superior reliever, but having had another week to consider this, my guess is that Floro finishes with the most saves in Miami from this point forward. However, I also envision Bender and maybe Anthony Bass scooping a combined 2-3 saves, which would dampen Floro’s value.
Sam Hilliard $16 ($81, $1)
Hilliard is 27, but although it feels like he’s been around forever and has failed repeatedly, he only made his major-league debut in 2019. There is quite a bit of circular logic at work, as some of this dismissiveness comes because he was never viewed very highly as a prospect, and he was never viewed very highly as a prospect because of his age. I’ve always had a soft spot for Hilliard, although admittedly this is because he’s a Rockies outfielder and gets the Coors bump. But Hilliard now has a .535 career slugging percentage (in 303 PA) and has been swinging a white-hot bat since Colorado brought him back to the majors on July 16. The 27 percent strikeout rate in that span is acceptable, and if he can maintain that rate, Hilliard could finally stick and be the power-hitting Coors outfielder for whom we’ve been dreaming since 2019, with the caveat that he’ll still sit against most lefties.
Travis d’Arnaud $14 ($52, $2)
I looked long and hard at d’Arnaud in my TGFBI bracket but decided to pass on the Atlanta backstop. The potential for high-end production when d’Arnaud (probably) returns this week cannot be ignored, and in a two-catcher league where you’ve been sucking along with someone like Martín Maldonado or Victor Caratini, he’s an obvious choice. Otherwise, dropping a productive catcher for d’Arnaud in the hopes that he replicates 2020 isn’t necessarily the right call. The Atlanta backstop wasn’t good before he landed on the IL with a thumb injury, and prior to 2020, the last time that he had a sustained offensive outburst for more than 150-200 plate appearances was in 2015. This doesn’t mean he can’t do it, but it also doesn’t mean that he will.
Mychal Givens $12 ($57, $2)
FROM: Mike Gianella
TO: Baseball Prospectus Editorial Department
Greetings and salutations. To save us both a little bit of time for the rest of the 2021 season, I am providing this template to use whenever the Reds change closers, which by my calculations seems to happen roughly once every five minutes.
[INSERT NAME] didn’t seem to be part of the closer mix in Cincinnati, but all that changed last week when [INSERT NAME] nabbed two saves against the [TEAM] and [OTHER TEAM]. How exciting and wonderful it is to be writing about another Cincinnati reliever! While [INSERT NAME OF DIFFERENT RELIEVER] was OK for a while, he couldn’t hang on to the job, because he [BLEW MULTIPLE SAVES/GOT INJURED/RETIRED TO PURSUE HIS TRUE PASSION AS A RODEO CLOWN]. [INSERT NAME] isn’t someone about whom I’m particularly excited, but saves are saves. If you need a closer, you should bid accordingly. But don’t bid too much, because [SAVES ARE ONLY ONE CATEGORY/YOU’RE ALMOST OUT OF FAAB/YOU NEED POWER MUCH MORE THAN YOU NEED SAVES].
Yadiel Hernández $11 ($33, $1)
At first glance, Hernández looks like an extremely late bloomer, but he’s a Cuban player who defected in 2015 while the Cuban national team was in North Carolina. He didn’t get his first opportunity at minor-league action until he was 29, for the Nationals at Double-A Harrisburg. Since that debut, he has hit at every level, with his best season coming in 2019 at Triple-A Fresno, where Hernández swatted 33 home runs in 508 PA. The Nationals sell-off gives Hernández a clean opportunity at a job, and thus far he has run with it, hitting over .300 with some power and a little speed. I’m not suggesting Hernández will be a superstar, but the lack of information on him and his advanced age both make me believe that he is being overlooked and is more than the placeholder many assume that he is.
Alec Mills $8 ($18, $2)
Mills has garnered some attention as a decent streaming option in deep mixed leagues because of a 3.66 ERA in 10 outings (nine starts) since he returned from the IL on June 8. While the fantasy results have been good, his peripheral numbers are about the same as they were pre-injury, and since the All-Star Break, Mills’ strikeout percentage has plummeted to 11 percent. That’s a four-start sample, but even if you take Mills’ entire 2021 into account, his 16 percent strikeout rate is 134th in the majors out of 149 pitchers (minimum 60 innings). Perhaps Mills will continue to walk the tightrope and survive, but even if he does, the combination of the lack of strikeouts and diminished win opportunities on a Cubs team that is now in full rebuild mode limits the fantasy potential substantially.
Tout Wars AL
Corey Dickerson $88 (Other Bids: $7, $6, $0)
Ernie Clement $62
Jorge Mateo $23 ($23, $7, $0)
Adam Eaton $7 ($0)
Emmanuel Rivera $5
Bailey Ober $4 ($3)
Seby Zavala $3
Jaime Barria $3
Ryan Tepera $2
Ryne Stanek $1
Taylor Jones $1
Owen Miller $0
The week after the major-league trade deadline is the calm after the storm in mono leagues. I’m slightly surprised that Dickerson wasn’t taken earlier by a team as an IL stash, but his role on a team stacked with outfielders didn’t seem clear. Now that he has been activated, his role is clearer, and it is bad news for Randal Grichuk and Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. The trio is being rotated into two outfield slots, and while Teoscar Hernández could also see some time off for rest, he still looks like a regular. Dickerson will likely sit against southpaws, so watch the matchups for all three of these Toronto outfielders closely.
Mateo is intriguing as a potential power/speed player who now has the opportunity in Baltimore that he wasn’t going to get in San Diego. Eaton is still managing to get somewhat regular playing time, even though the Angels promoted Jo Adell.
I bid $0 on Miller. Zero dollars is now my maximum bid, unless I want to try to reclaim FAAB on Mike Trout, which could happen if the Angels decide to shut him down for the rest of 2021 (insert uncontrollable sobbing here).
Jesús Luzardo $29 (Other Bids: $8, $5, $4, $2, $2)
Connor Joe $9
Hoy Park $6 ($2)
Frank Schwindel $3
Aaron Ashby $2
Braxton Garrett $2
Archie Bradley $2 ($1)
Manuel Rodríguez $2
Wade LeBlanc $1
Brusdar Graterol $1
Billy McKinney $1
Anthony Bass $1
Brad Boxberger $1
Blake Treinen $1
One of my LABR competitors (I’ll be kind and withhold their name and affiliation), bid a combined $55 minor leaguer and a player on the IL, which isn’t permitted in LABR. He wasn’t awarded these players and, additionally, the commissioner wisely didn’t back out these bids and permit the back-up bids to go through. As a result, this fantasy squad had $58 left to spend and very little left to spend it on, which explains the aggressive bid for Luzardo.
I bid $5 on Luzardo. I have him in Tout Wars AL and in an NL league where I’m similarly drowning in the stench of my own failure. That’s probably where Luzardo’s value in 2021 rests: as a pitcher who will hopefully get you some strikeouts and maybe some wins, but the ERA and WHIP won’t be pretty. He’s best left to a team that is either out of the race or needs a miracle to win.
I spent $4 of my remaining $11 FAAB on Rodríguez, McKinney and Bass. I already have two closers but don’t mind the low-end speculation on additional saves and preferred McKinney to Shogo Akiyama now that Nick Castellanos is off the IL. I dropped to fifth this week in LABR and suspect that my team’s upside is third place. Yippee.
Thank you for reading
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