Image credit: © Rich Storry-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 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 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.

Francisco Álvarez $120
(Max Winning Bid: $303, Min Winning Bid: $7)
Álvarez was taken and dropped in most mixed league drafts—particularly ones that were held in mid-March or earlier—once the Mets decided to send him back to Triple-A before Opening Day. Omar Narváez’s injury brings Álvarez back up to the Mets and puts him into a job share with Tomas Nido. Alvarez could DH on occasion, but even in two catcher leagues he is a tough sell because he is DH-only eligible, and it could take 3-4 weeks for him to gain eligibility in some formats. In leagues with deep reserves or unlimited IL lists he is a no brainer stash, but in NFBC/TGFBI this isn’t quite as obvious.

Kris Bubic $58 ($150, $8)
Bubic was barely even worthy of AL-only consideration last month, but an added one and a half miles-per-hour to his fastball and a new, mid-80s slider has led to extremely positive early results. More than the new repertoire the key for Bubic will likely rest with his command, which is something he has struggled with throughout his big-league career. He’s only 25 years old, so a step forward wouldn’t be an enormous shock. He gets a significant litmus test this week against Atlanta.

Jose Alvarado $51 ($108, $16)
Alvarado isn’t the closer, but Craig Kimbrel and Seranthony Dominguez have both struggled while Alvarado has been fantastic. If April sample sizes are small then April reliever sample sizes are miniscule, but it wouldn’t surprise anyone if Alvarado got the next opportunity and ran with the job. The only odd challenge fantasy managers might have is because no one else in the bullpen has been reliable Alvarado might be more of a high leverage reliever than a traditional closer while the Phillies sort all this out.

Patrick Wisdom $38 ($137, $4)
The .320 AVG is nice to look at, but Wisdom is the same extremely low AVG mistake hitter he has always been. If you can stomach the low AVG then Wisdom makes for a solid addition at third base or corner infield as long as he’s playing every day. He will go through prolonged slumps that make him worthless some weeks and isn’t a good player to roster if you are the impatient sort.

Chas McCormick $37 ($67, $12)
Attempting to ascertain who the beneficiaries of the new rules would be before the season even started felt like a fool’s errand. McCormick only had eight steals in 227 games prior to 2023 but also had enough speed to reach double digits even under the old rule set. He has been moved to the lead-off spot for the Astros and suddenly gets a significant fantasy boost because of the steal potential and the additional runs opportunities. McCormick should have been rostered in far more mixed leagues to begin with and now he is an obvious addition.

Bryce Elder $33 ($133, $1)
Elder relied on a slider-heavy approach to dominate the Cardinals in his 2023 debut, which resulted in an opportunity to hang in Atlanta’s rotation for at least another week while Max Fried recovers from a hamstring injury. The fastball velocity was down, so it is difficult to know if we are looking at a pathway to sustained success or a one-start sample fluke. The matchups this week against the Reds and at the Royals are tasty, and Elder is a useful streamer in deep mixed and worth considering in 12-team mixed.

Jhony Brito $31 ($78, $1)
Brito wasn’t a heralded prospect, but has worked his way to the majors thanks to the strength of a strong fastball and a power changeup. He lacks a quality breaking pitch and has mostly relied on those two pitches in the early going. Whether that’s enough remains to be seen and Brito already looks to be more of a low strikeout arm, which limits his fantasy upside. He gets a tough matchup against the Twins that I’d leave him on the bench for in mixed.

Adam Frazier $24 ($85, $3)
Frazier is a deep league special: a player whose value hinges upon volume, regular playing time, and a solid batting average. That batting average wasn’t there last season for the Mariners so he became a frequent drop in mixed leagues. This year the AVG is back and while there was some concern Frazier would get shunted into a super utility/part time role that hasn’t happened yet. When the Orioles do eventually start promoting some of their prospects that could be a problem, but in the short-term Frazier is a solid add if you need that volume with a few steals to go along with it.

David Villar $24 ($74, $1)
I thought Villar would be more of a part-timer or platoon player for the Giants but instead he has mostly settled in as an everyday infielder. There is some risk that J.D. Davis or Wilmer Flores could eat into Villar’s reps but for now it’s worth grabbing Villar and hoping for a 20+ home run infielder who blossoms into a top 15 third baseman.

Alec Burleson $15 ($66, $1)
With Lars Nootbar on the IL, Burleson is on the strong side of a left field platoon with Dylan Carlson. Burleson was once known as a swing-happy hitter but has pared his whiff rates down so much that he profiles as a strong batting eye guy with decent power. He might face a roster crunch once Nootbar returns but he’s an easy add if the Cardinals have the roster space.

Tout AL
Akil Baddoo $227
(Other Bids: $211, $86, $58, $39, $31, $3)
Kyle Muller $115
Franchy Cordero $79 ($57, $29, $27, $26, $23)
Donovan Solano $31 ($26, $22, $0)
Jake Burger $31 ($1)
Rob Refsnyder $27 ($1)
Vidal Brujan $26
Jackie Bradley Jr. $26
Dean Kremer $22 ($7, $2)
Trey Wingenter $7
Jose Quijada $6
($0, $0)
Colin Poche $6
Tucker Davidson $5
Eli Morgan $3
Romy Gonzalez $0
Matt Wallner $0
Jorge Alcala $0

Baddoo was initially drafted and then released before the season started. This is where the difference between LABR (six non-IL reserves permitted) and Tout’s (four) reserve rules stands out. Baddoo was one of my mono league sleepers (I had him with a $9 bid limit in AL-only before he was optioned) and while I still believe he was overrated entering last year he could still be a 20-steal player with a decent enough AVG.

Unlike Baddoo, Muller wasn’t drafted, which is a mild but not major surprise. He gets a matchup where he’s usable in AL-only thanks to Baltimore’s favorable pitching environment but he shouldn’t be overrated, even against the Orioles. The low strikeout rate hurts him as well. He’s OK to roster but even in mono leagues is more of a matchup play than a rotation mainstay.

Nelson Cruz $15 (Other Bids: $13, $8, $3)
Carl Edwards Jr. $12 ($6, $1)
Geraldo Perdomo $7 ($3, $2, $1)
Ian Gibaut $6
Jose Azocar $3
Jason Delay $2
($1, $1, $1)
Kody Clemens $2 ($1)
Stuart Fairchild $2 ($1)
Eli White $1
Nick Madrigal $1
Steven Wilson $1
Rougned Odor $1
Tomas Nido $1
Phil Bickford $1
Chad Kuhl $1
Tucker Barnhart $1
Tim Locastro $1

I have some healthy cynicism that Cruz won’t make it through the season but he also should have been rostered in an NL-only. I couldn’t bid because I already had a DH-only hitter in J.D. Martinez. I was also considering Perdomo as a Rodolfo Castro replacement before Oneil Cruz landed on the IL with a broken left ankle. Castro is the Pirates first option to start at short with Cruz on the shelf and has somewhat more upside than Perdomo.

Edwards could be the new closer in Washington, but it’s also possible that it’s simply a committee for the Nationals. I briefly considered bidding but held back, mostly because it appears that between Evan Phillips and Andrew Chafin that I have a closer and part of a committee. I have been too liberal with bids in LABR in the past and this year am taking a more conservative route (it helps that I haven’t had too many offensive injuries).

Thank you for reading

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