Welcome back to the FAAB Review, the column that reviews the goings-on in multiple analyst leagues in the hopes we can help you with your own FAAB bidding process and habits. This column will mostly focus on The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational (TGFBI), a contest that contains 31 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 focus on some highlights in Tout Wars AL and LABR NL, two deeper industry leagues.
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.
Juan Yepez $121 (Maximum Bid $318, Minimum Bid $28)
My TGFBI league was the lone bracket out of 31 where Yepez wasn’t available (he was drafted as a reserve pick by Baseball Prospectus’ own Adam Lawler — solid pick, my man). The concern with Yepez this offseason was that his defense wouldn’t play in the majors. The universal DH solved for that, and while the presence of Albert Pujols creates a theoretical logjam at DH, Yepez has started three times at DH and twice in the outfield since his call-up. St. Louis will live with his defense in the outfield if he can hit and so far, he is mashing. There is 25-30 home run potential if Yepez sticks (dead ball caveats apply). I don’t think I would have bid this much if Yepez was available in my TGFBI, but I understand why so many were so aggressive.
Jose Miranda $96 ($245, $23)
I did bid on Miranda and my second place offer, $78, fell well short of the $152 winning bid. Multiple injuries on the Twins give Miranda an excellent chance to stick in the major league lineup but his batted ball profile combined with the deadened ball will dampen his fantasy value a good deal. The projection models and the scouting scuttlebutt see him as more of a 15-home run hitter than the 30-plus home run guy he was in the minors in 2021, which is fine but unsexy given the aggressiveness of these bids. Miranda probably needs to display more patience at the plate to live up to his ceiling, but if he does it, it strips away some of his fantasy value in non-OBP leagues. I like him, but the more I think about it the more I’m glad I didn’t go hog wild and bid $154 or higher.
Royce Lewis $73 ($308, $1)
I bid $26 on Lewis and got him, even though I didn’t have a pressing need at middle infield. He could get sent back to the minors in a week if Carlos Correa’s finger injury doesn’t require an IL stint, but his raw talent and skill set could quickly force the issue in Minnesota. Lewis hadn’t played a game since 2019 but didn’t miss a beat upon his return, hitting three home runs, stealing eight bases and batting .310 at Triple-A. The speed is what makes Lewis worthy of a stash, and he has a higher real life and fantasy ceiling than any of the non-Correa Twins infielders. It also isn’t difficult to envision a scenario where the Twins try him in the outfield if all other options fail. I don’t want to oversell this, as we’ve seen players like Lewis quickly get sent down and spend a full year in the minors, but the reward if he does stick is considerable.
Josh Winder $56 ($173, $11)
It is Twins week at the FAAB Review. Winder blew the doors off in two starts last week at Tampa and against the Athletics but with the return of Sonny Gray doesn’t appear to have a rotation spot. It takes very little imagination to envision a path back to the starting five for Winder. Chris Paddack left a game over the weekend with an elbow issue (also, cough, Chris Archer, cough). My concern with him isn’t that he can’t start or be successful in the role but that the Twins might want to keep him in the bullpen to keep his innings low this season.
Edward Olivares $42 ($188, $1)
Is this the year Olivares finally sticks with the Royals and puts up the 20/20 season his patient and forlorn believers all know he’s capable of? It looked like Kansas City had finally committed to their talented and toolsy prospect, sticking Olivares in right field and letting him do his thing … until yesterday when a quadriceps injury sent him to the bench. He could land on the IL this week. Bummer. Olivares’ early numbers are BABIP-influenced but he easily has 15/15 upside with a batting average that won’t kill you. Here’s hoping the injury is minor.
Brandon Drury $38 ($175, $2)
Drury has been one of the very few bright spots on the Reds, with five home runs and a .276 AVG in 84 plate appearances. The fun will end at some point, but on a thin team without a lot of internal options to replace him Drury could carve out a regular role even after Cincinnati’s many injured players return. 15-20 home runs with a .250 AVG is realistic and while that’s hardly sexy his third base eligibility makes him not only worth adding but quite necessary in deep formats. My word the hot corner is thin.
Yadiel Hernandez $36 ($97, $4)
I kind of called this one in my Week 19 FAAB Review in 2021, when I wrote:
I’m not suggesting Hernandez 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 he is.
Hernandez was slated to be a bench bat heading into 2022 but he has outplayed Lane Thomas and continues to mash. He now has a .286/.334/.442 slash line in 392 major league PAs and while his .436 BABIP this season isn’t sustainable I believe he can hit enough to keep the gig, especially on a thin Nationals squad.
Jarren Duran $27 ($111, $1)
Duran was called up to Boston this weekend, started one game, and was sent back to Triple-A. If you were out celebrating Mother’s Day, you might have missed it. Duran is destroying Triple-A pitching and is a good stash if you have the roster space. I don’t know when he’ll be back up, but Boston’s outfield is sporting a collective .579 OPS and sure could use a boost. Duran is an excellent speed gamble if you’re desperate for steals. I was one of the $1 winners for him.
Rafael Montero $19 ($55, $1)
Montero has been terrific for the Astros and his fantasy managers and picked up two saves while Houston closer Ryan Pressly was on the IL. A blown save by Pressly on Thursday generated some excitement for Montero but Pressly righted the ship on Saturday with an eight-pitch save. Montero is a very good reliever but needs another Pressly injury or major blow-up to reclaim the role.
Ben Gamel $12 ($53, $1)
Gamel is boring, but you need boring players like this in deep mixed leagues to fill out your fifth outfield slot and/or reserve list in leagues with daily lineup changes and weekly FAAB. He is platooning with Jake Marisnick, which limits the value of both players. It helped Gamel’s cause last week when the Pirates played exclusively against righthanders. Gamel and the Pirates have a righty-heavy schedule for the next two weeks, which makes him a fine short-term add if you need volume.
Tout Wars AL
Jarren Duran $39
Jeffrey Springs $32 ($0)
Andrew Velazquez $32
Ryan O’Hearn $26 ($13, $2)
Cal Raleigh $19
Luis Rengifo $17
Willi Castro $17
Zach Reks $12 ($2)
Marwin Gonzalez $7
Erik Swanson $6 ($0)
Felix Bautista $2
Jaime Barría $2
Ben Rortvedt $2
Aaron Whitefield $1
Sam Hentges $0
Ryan Brasier $0
I always lament how little offense there is in mono leagues, but this week the script flipped, with five of the six highest bids in Tout AL going for hitters. Duran was up for a sip of coffee, but I imagine he’ll be back at some point this season. He has seven steals in 67 plate appearances at Triple-A Worcester with a .397 AVG.
With David Fletcher returning to the IL because of a recurring hip issue, Velazquez and Rengifo could both see additional playing time up the middle in Los Angeles. Neither is a particularly attractive fantasy option, although Velazquez’s speed is the slight tiebreaker in his favor. Raleigh is the catcher of the future in Seattle but looks to split time with Luis Torrens for now.
Patrick Corbin $2 ($1)
Kyle Freeland $1
Connor Overton $1
Travis Jankowski $1
Hanser Alberto $1
Luis Guillorme $1
Humberto Castellanos $1
There were seven winning bids in LABR NL, with only one above the minimum. Corbin is not as awful as his 7.16 ERA indicates, but he’s not good anymore, either, and his upside is an NL-only starter on a team that PECOTA projects for 67 wins. I’d be more interested in Freeland on any other team and in a format where I can reserve him. It’s ride-or-die in NL-only FAAB purchases and in many weeks it will be more die, and that death will be painful. Overton and Castellanos are both fringy even in mono. It’s OK to play the volume game with Castellanos in a two-start week against the Marlins and Cubs. That’s different than saying he’s a good recommendation.
We need to fill 14 offensive slots, even in NL-only leagues. As you can see by the three hitting selections above, offensive is a good choice of word.
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