Image credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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 at season’s end. 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 deep 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.


Ramon Urías $24 (Maximum Bid $51, Minimum Bid $11)
Urias was profiled last week in this space, and more teams in TGFBI scooped him up as he continues to hit. He isn’t going to slug .723 like he has done in July but at this point it’s worth riding the hot hand and hoping the power boost means he’s more of a 20-25 home run hitter than a 15-20 one. In draft and hold leagues with deep benches, the play is to start Urías on the road only. He has a .905 OPS away from Camden Yards and a woeful .661 OPS at home. In more typical leagues, it’s tough to use someone like him in this fashion.

Jesús Luzardo $23 ($69, $5)
Could Miami promote Luzardo to the majors this week to replace the injured Max Meyer? Luzardo hurled four no-hit innings in a rehab assignment at Triple-A Jacksonville last Friday and while he might need another tune-up or two the Marlins could just stick him back in there this week in Cincinnati and hope for the best. He was solid in six starts before he hit the shelf in mid-May with a forearm injury. He’s a great strikeout play who is also a potential ratios risk.

Kyle Finnegan $21 ($127, $1)
Finnegan is another FAAB Review repeater (he averaged $24 in winning bids last week). He picked up a clean, five-out save yesterday against the Diamondbacks and is the favorite to close for the Nationals. One fly in the ointment is there are rumors Finnegan is being shopped by Washington in advance of the August 2 trade deadline. 

JJ Bleday $19 ($51, $1)
Bleday was a highly touted college prospect who has been somewhat disappointing in his brief time in the minors. With four regulars on the IL the Marlins needed someone healthy to provide at-bats so Bleday was promoted and should at a minimum be on the strong side of an outfield platoon. The scouting reports speak to a hitter who can really drive the ball but has all sorts of weaknesses advanced pitching can exploit. As a former first rounder, Bleday will get plenty of opportunities but based on the scouting looks I’m skeptical, particularly in redraft formats.

Mitch Keller $19 ($57, $2)
Always listen to Michael Ajeto. On June 13, Ajeto wrote a brilliant piece breaking down the evolution of Keller’s fastball and the addition of a sinking fastball to Keller’s arsenal. The results have been very good while occasionally bordering on excellent. Keller is a must roster in 15-team leagues and should at the very least be stashed in standard mixed leagues. He’s even starting to strike more batters out of late. Keller gets a tough home start against the Phillies this week. Many of the data models say he belongs on the bench, but I don’t believe the metrics are taking Keller’s recent improvements into account.

Jake Odorizzi $15 ($43, $2)
Odorizzi is a serviceable starting pitcher in deeper leagues who is a matchup play in most circumstances. In many instances he’s the kind of pitcher I wish I could use only once when he has a two-start week but since I play in weekly leagues, I don’t have this option. Odorizzi gets to pitch in Oakland tonight (yay!) and at home against the Mariners on Sunday (boo!). Houston’s defense helps his ERA somewhat while their offense theoretically increases his opportunities for wins (although he’s only 10-9 in 34 career outings for the Astros).

Kutter Crawford $14 ($23, $3)
Last week I speculated that Crawford was likely to be added to the Red Sox rotation due to Chris Sale’s injury and it turns out my boring prediction was correct. He was serviceable against the Blue Jays and gets a better matchup his next time through against the Guardians. I remain ambivalent about Crawford and while I know bad vibes isn’t a fantasy category the Red Sox recent woes make me wary that they’re about to go into a tailspin.

Jean Segura $13 ($36, $1)
If you’re wondering if it’s time to speculate on Segura in leagues where he has been dropped, the early TGFBI bids are instructive. It’s time to stash him if you have the roster space and don’t want to pay more than 3-4 percent your budget next week. The challenge with this gambit is that Segura hasn’t even started a rehab assignment and is still working through physical therapy in the hopes he can successfully grip a ball and a bat. When Segura is healthy, he is a no-brainer to be in your active lineup, but health is the big question

Nick Pratto $13 ($47, $1)
Pratto was in the majors for what was expected to be a brief trip to Toronto, but an Edward Olivares injury will give the big first baseman an extended opportunity to stick with the Royals. The strikeouts will always be high, but unless you’re in a points league that won’t matter too much. Pratto works the count and gets enough walks that his OBP should keep him in the majors and give us an opportunity to enjoy his power. For fantasy, there’s an added speed bonus that should give you a handful of steals at a position where those are typically difficult to come by.

Austin Slater $11 ($21, $1)
Slater is typically tough to roster in anything outside of NL-only, but he’s in the middle of an extended two-and-a-half week stretch where the Giants are scheduled to face a lot of southpaws. Slater has an .864 career OPS against lefties and a .656 OPS against righties. He has been very good in a very small sample against righthanders this season and has received a little more playing time as a result but it’s unlikely the Giants are going to revamp their entire philosophy to give Slater more reps. In his last 600 PA entering yesterday’s action,  he has 22 home runs, 29 steals and a .261 AVG. He’d be a fantasy all-star if only we played in leagues that prorated stats.

Tout Wars AL

Nick Pratto $203 (Other Bids: $174, $63, $29, $27, $7)
Chad Pinder $42 ($27, $14, $7 $6, $3)
Zach Jackson $42
Kutter Crawford $24 ($8, $3. $1)
Rafael Montero $19 ($7)
Yolmer Sánchez $17
Clarke Schmidt $13
Spencer Watkins $13
Chris Archer $8 ($3)
Roman Quinn $7 ($7, $2)
Ernie Clement $4
Bradley Zimmer $4
Joe Kelly $3
Korey Lee $3
Yu Chang $3
J.J. Matijevic $3
DL Hall $1
Charlie Culberson $0

Pratto was taken in the active phase of Tout Wars’ salary cap draft (at $3) and then dropped in early April. It happens. Even in the deepest leagues, reserve slots are worth their weight in gold. I’m more surprised that someone didn’t try to stash him on the cheap last month, particularly since he was tearing it up at Triple-A Omaha. With eight days until the major-league trade deadline, it’s interesting to wonder if Pratto will be a better addition than any of the players who will be traded from the NL in the next week or so.

Pinder always feels like a dude who would hit 20-25 home runs if he ever got a full-time opportunity, but he’s 30 now and has never come close. He’s better against lefties than righties but it’s not enough of a split that teams will be clamoring for his services in a trade next week. He’s extremely useful in AL-only, and I’m somewhat surprised he was available.


Adrian Sampson $4
JJ Bleday $4
Jason Delay $2
Zack Thompson $2

Sampson is the sort of pitcher who is iffy in mixed leagues but virtually a must use pitcher in mono, at least based on this year’s performance to date. The 3.34 ERA is pretty, but that’s because of 5 2/3 shutout innings out of the bullpen. Take that away and Sampson has a 4.05 ERA in five starts. That’s not going to win you any leagues, but we need volume from pitchers like him all season long. He’s a borderline 15-team mixed streamer this week against the Pirates but that’s a rarity. Next week’s projected start in St. Louis is a more typical matchup and fits the NL-only model quite well.

Thank you for reading

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