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.
Max Meyer $83 (Maximum Bid $400. Minimum Bid $4)
As my colleague Timothy Jackson said in his part of The Call-Up piece for Meyer, the young Marlins righthander has a chance to be one of the best rookie starting pitchers this side of Spencer Strider. There is certainly risk that Meyer remains a work in progress or that he’ll be more of a solid SP4 than something close to an ace in the short-term, but we’re reaching the part of the season where it’s time to use your FAAB and take some risks if you are close but still missing a key piece or two. I got Meyer for $144 in my TGFBI bracket in the hopes that he’s more of an ace and less of a mid-tier arm or worse. I have no idea if this will work or not but given my position in the standings (2nd in my bracket but off the lead by over 10 points) feel this is a risk worth taking.
Esteury Ruiz $66 ($178, $3)
Ruiz was a once highly regarded prospect who gradually fell off nearly everyone’s radar when his bat slipped in 2018 and never completely recovered. His offense has reawakened this year and because of Ruiz’s game breaking speed everyone quickly remembered him. Yes, minor league steals must be taken with a huge dose of skepticism, but Ruiz is fast and if he plays he will run and could be the NL West’s answer to Jon Berti. He is probably going to stick in the outfield as a regular but even if he only starts 3-4 times a week Ruiz is a must-add in any categories format larger than 10-team mixed if you need steals.
Leody Taveras $38 ($76, $6)
I wrote about Taveras two weeks ago in this space and expressed some skepticism due to his subpar BB/SO rate and lack of steals. The walk rate remains poor, but Taveras has started running and more importantly has solidified his role as the Rangers center fielder. His defense is Gold Glove caliber, which means he can survive with a modest walk rate if he doesn’t completely crater offensively like he did in 2021. If you need the steals, Taveras has a lower ceiling than Ruiz but is more likely to get playing time the rest of the way.
Matt Carpenter $28 ($58, $3)
The legend grows. Carpenter now has 13 home runs in 97 plate appearances for The Bronx Bombers and while it’s obvious he’s not going to slug .911 or break Roger Maris’ team record for dingers in half a season there is an excellent chance Carpenter is the everyday DH the rest of the way, even if it means New York must sacrifice a little defense by using some of their other DH candidates in the field. This goes beyond a hot hand scenario and the reality that this is a formerly injured hitter who is now healthy and will settle into being an above average hitter with pop even after he cools off.
Kyle Finnegan $24 ($64, $2)
Tanner Rainey’s season-ending injury has thrust Finnegan back into the closer’s role. Thankfully for us, Davey Martinez isn’t one of those coy managers who says six different things and makes it all awkward for us. He directly told the media it is Finnegan’s job. Finnegan has barely been above average this season but is in a weak bullpen with no obvious candidates to usurp the job from a skills perspective. Add Finnegan if you need saves but don’t bid much more than this average bid.
Domingo Germán $20 ($119, $1)
On Saturday, Yankees manager Aaron Boone indicated Germán could take Luis Severino’s rotation slot after the All-Star break due to Sevy’s low-grade lat strain (the team expects him to miss about two weeks). The results during Germán’s minor league rehab assignment have been great but the strikeouts aren’t there and his velocity is down. The potential for wins on a great Yankees squad make him worth plugging into your roster but he has a career 4.54 ERA, a propensity for the long ball, and will pitch half his games at Yankee Stadium. There is opportunity but not much upside.
Joey Bart $15 ($81, $1)
It is a small, 32-plate appearance sample, but since his return from the minors earlier this month Bart looks like a revitalized hitter. His swing is cleaner and while he is still striking out too much it is at a far more acceptable rate. Bart is likely to be a batting average risk no matter what but in two-catcher formats all you need from him is some moderate pop. The Giants lineup isn’t what it was last season but there is enough there for Bart to get some solid run and RBI opportunities even if he only hits .220-.230.
Braxton Garrett $12 ($31, $1)
Garrett’s 3.70 ERA is solid, but he is the definition of a matchup play, with a 1.00 ERA and 11 strikeouts per nine versus teams with losing records and a 5.79 ERA and 6.9 K/9 against teams over .500. He’s going to be a useful streamer coming right out of the break with a rematch against the Pirates, but the Marlins schedule is brutal from August 9 until the end of the month, with matchups against Atlanta, the Padres, Dodgers, Athletics, Dodgers again, and then the Rays. There is some improvement that shouldn’t be completely discounted but I’ve seen some analysis assuming Garrett’s year-to-date performance as something that’s baked in for the rest of the season. That’s not true for any pitcher, and Garrett’s skills don’t support that assumption.
Kutter Crawford $11 ($23, $1)
Before yesterday I would have fretted that Crawford didn’t have a spot in Boston’s rotation but a Chris Sale injury against the Yankees probably opens a slot for him. He’s a pitch mix/deception arm, something I’m generally not a fan of but it has worked so far. Even if it all goes south once hitters get a second look, these sorts of pitchers frequently do well out of the gate as it can take some time for batters to adjust or figure out what they should be looking for.
Ramón Urías $9 ($20, $1)
At first glance Urías looks like a consolation prize, someone you’re just sticking in there because someone else got hurt. A closer look shows that he is an acceptable infielder in 15-team mixed, particularly at third base, which has now been a disappointing position for two years running. He will hit a few home runs and provide a solid batting average if he hangs on to the job for the rest of the season. It’s nothing special but we all need a third baseman. He is fringy but useful.
Tout Wars AL
Tout Wars runs their FAAB on Wednesday at 8 pm this week.
Esteury Ruiz $6 (Other Bids: $5)
Kyle Finnegan $3
Mike Minor $1
Carl Edwards $1
Ruiz and Finnegan were both profiled above in the TGFBI section.
I’ve had Minor on my reserve list in a different, non-LABR NL-only almost every week. I think about using him sometimes and then chicken out. He strikes out a fair number of batters but everything else is awful. He was picked up in LABR because his new team is projected to fall short of the league’s innings limit. Edwards and Finnegan were picked up in tandem by the same team, which is a decent play in this format.
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