Image credit: © Eric Canha-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 the end of the regular season. 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.

Chase Silseth $22
(Max Winning Bid: $75. Min Winning Bid: $1)
Silseth is one of those pitchers who feels like a sleeper, but he was Baseball Prospectus’ fourth ranked prospect in the Angels system heading into this year. The scouting knock on him was that despite solid fastball velocity the pitch played poorly because of lackluster movement and command. This year, Silseth has compensated for that by relying heavily on his slider, and he’s getting excellent results. The strikeouts (26 in his last three starts, including two 10+ strikeout performances) are what pop and make him worth adding in deeper leagues. He’s a borderline option in standard mixed this week with a tough matchup in Houston.

Davis Schneider $19 ($66, $1)
As a former 28th round pick in the 2017 draft, Schneider is about as under-the-radar as you can get. Despite a high strikeout rate and average tools at best, all he has done in the minors is sock the ball and 2023 was his best minor league season yet. The Davis Schneider Experience has continued in the majors, as he has two home runs and is 9-for-13 in his first three big league games. We know it won’t last, but it’s fun to take these rides sometimes (and it’s entirely possible he’s a starter the rest of the way for the Blue Jays).

Curtis Mead $17 ($47, $5)
Mead got off to a slow start at AAA, missed nearly two months due to a hand/wrist injury, and then came charging off the IL like he had something to prove, slashing .333/.433/.505. The Roto stats weren’t there even after the injury stint (one home run and two steals in 127 PA) and this and the Rays penchant for job shares could tamp down Mead’s fantasy value. I’d bet on the talent but unless you’re in an OBP league temper your expectations, especially in redraft.

Carlos Hernandez $13 ($43, $1)
With the trade of Scott Barlow to the Padres, Hernandez is probably the Royals new closer (Austin Cox did pick up a save last week). Hernandez struggled mightily with command in his previous life as a starter but seems to have solved for that in the pen and is now averaging close to 100 miles-per-hour on his heater while mostly abandoning his curve in favor of a slider he’s throwing in the high 80s. The bad team/fewer save opportunities warning applies, but my guess is Hernandez gets most of the save chances for Kansas City if he’s effective.

Jake Bauers $13 ($57, $1)
Prior to this season, Bauers was a borderline major leaguer whose primary skill was a good batting eye. Bauers has sold out for power and is socking home runs, particularly in the second half as the walk rate has started dropping. It helps that he’s playing mostly against righties, but it also isn’t just a Yankee Stadium thing, as he has five of his 11 homers on the road. Bauers is a matchup play when the Yankees have a lot of righties on the slate, and they get five of them this week in a six-game schedule.

Hyun Jin Ryu $13 ($41, $1)
Ryu was an incredibly underrated fantasy starter from 2018-2020 before injuries cut him down. He’s back with the Blue Jays and was underwhelming in his first start. The problem with trying to analyze Ryu is that he was never a high velocity arm so you can’t simply point to diminished velocity and say the stuff is no longer there. He gets a two start week in Cleveland and against the Cubs and you should sit him unless you’re desperate for wins.

Cole Ragans $10 ($35, $1)
Ragans was a top prospect for the Rangers way back in 2019 but it never materialized for him within their organization. He’s now with the Royals and was languishing in the bullpen before Kansas City pushed him into the rotation. In two starts, Ragans looked solid against the Rays and great against the tanking Mets. He has maintained his velocity as a starter, but the thing that jumped out in his start against the Mets was usage of a slider that made it difficult for New York to make contact. On paper Ragans is a sit almost everywhere, but if you need K’s, it’s worth gambling on the potential if you’re making a playoff push.

Luis Medina $8 ($21, $1)
Medina is a repeater from last week’s FAAB column, as more fantasy squads have taken notice of his recent run of strong performances. He stumbled somewhat yesterday against the Giants due to shaky command but is still worth considering for a solid matchup this week in Washington.

Brice Turang $8 ($21, $1)
If you looked at his season stats, you’d ignore what has been a disappointing player. If you’re in deep leagues and scouring the wire for any morsel you can get, you’ve surely noticed that in his last 62 PA Turang has a .314/.419/.451 slash line with two home runs and three steals. This is small sample size analysis folly, but it is also the sort of thing we need to cling to when we’re looking for hope. The hope if you grab Turang is that he keeps stealing bases and that the average is acceptable.

Zack Littell $7 ($17, $1)
Littell is a little different than your usual reclamation Rays pitching story in that he had some success in the majors as a reliever. Rather than taking a minor leaguer and reinventing him the Rays simply have leveraged Littell’s stuff that worked in the pen in a starting role. He’s stretched out now so should be in line for some wins against weaker opponents if nothing else. He has a home start against the rebuilding Cardinals this week.

Tout AL
Justin Verlander $768
(Other Bids: $442, $392, $380, $275, $254, $155, $0)
Jack Flaherty $442 ($240, $93, $1)
Randall Grichuk $392 ($285, $197, $158, $155, $71, $61, $16, $0, $0)
C.J. Cron $285 ($276, $267, $158, $155, $139, $19, $0)
Paul DeJong $158 ($121, $60, $31, $9, $1, $0)
Luis Urias $135 ($121, $47, $16, $9, $1)
Davis Schneider $111 ($33, $10, $0)
Cole Ragans $81 ($44, $9)
Dominic Canzone $59 ($14, $13, $9, $0)
Chase Silseth $53 ($30)
Josh Rojas $49 ($49, $11, $0)
Beau Brieske $41 ($10)
Jesse Scholtens $23
Pablo Reyes $10
Jason Foley $9
Xzavion Curry $5
Chad Wallach $2
Trayce Thompson $2
Austin Cox $1
Aaron Bummer $1
Kole Calhoun $0
Justin Topa $0
Tommy Kahnle $0
Jay Jackson $0
Chris Stratton $0

Waiting for a big prize paid in the AL when Verlander was not too surprisingly traded by the Mets. The risk in waiting for him was that the Dodgers might have jumped into the fray, but they didn’t (or perhaps Verlander leveraged his no trade clause to push for a trade to Houston due to familiarity) and AL teams waiting for an ace jumped for joy.

The other NL imports weren’t bad but come with question marks. Cron and Grichuk move out of Colorado and take an obvious value hit due to the lack of Coors while Flaherty is a wild card despite his great Orioles debut. DeJong and Urias both have some value if they are playing but Bo Bichette’s injury might not be too serious and Urias could go back to the minors once Trevor Story is ready to go later this week.

Josh Bell $33
(Other Bids: $24, $18, $16, $7, $2)
Paul Sewald $32 ($31, $26, $24, $19, $16, $7, $6)
Jake Burger $31 ($18, $16, $7, $2)
Michael Lorenzen $31 ($22, $18, $16, $12, $6, $4, $3, $2)
Brendan Rodgers $24 ($18, $16, $11, $2)
Johan Rojas $20 ($2)
Lyon Richardson $10
Jake Alu $7
($3, $1)
Alfonso Rivas $6 ($1)
Ryan Yarbrough $6 ($3)
Seranthony Dominguez $6 ($4)
Jace Peterson $4 ($3)
Alika Williams $1
Scott Barlow $1
Scott McGough $1

My primary target was Sewald and I got him by a hair, narrowly beating out Brian Walton of Creative Sports by $1. Walton managed to take his remaining $62 and split it into my second and third FAAB choices, Burger and Lorenzen. In retrospect, I should have put in $20-25 alternate bids on Lorenzen and Burger; it would have been costly if Walton didn’t bid $31 on both and one of those two went to one of the three teams ahead of me in the standings.

Rodgers was dropped for a FAAB reclaim, which is why he was available. This was one of the more aggressive FAAB periods we have had all season long, even without the AL imports. Rojas could be a great speed play the rest of the way, while Alu and Rivas both could earn significant playing time down the stretch.

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