Welcome to The FAAB Review, the series that looks at the expert bidding in LABR mixed, Tout Wars NL, and Tout Wars AL every week in an effort to try and help you, the Baseball Prospectus reader, with your fantasy baseball bidding needs. Bret Sayre and I participate in LABR mixed while I have a team in Tout Wars NL, so I can provide some insight on the bids and the reasoning behind them. LABR uses a $100 budget with one-dollar minimum bids, while the Tout Wars leagues use a $1,000 budget with zero-dollar minimum bids. I will also be including Bret’s winning bids in Tout Wars mixed auction league where applicable.
LABR and Tout Wars both use a bidding deadline of Sunday at midnight ET.
All 2016 statistics in this article were as of Sunday, June 12.
Carlos Estevez $17. Other bid: $3. Tout Mixed Auction: $77. Tout Mixed Draft: $117.
Saves are saves, even in Colorado. Jacob McGee went on the DL last weekend with a left knee sprain and Estevez appears to be his replacement. This bid could only be for a month’s worth of saves, but injuries do have a way of mixing up the closer’s role on more than a temporary basis sometimes. Bret and I had the three-dollar bid for the fire-balling Rockies’ reliever. A third closer would be nice, but even with the most FAAB in our pockets, I did not want to bid a significant amount on a Colorado reliever. The Tout mixed leagues weighed somewhere in the middle of our conservatism and Rudy Gamble of Razzball’s somewhat aggressive bid in LABR.
Tim Anderson $17. Other bids $6, $1. Tout Mixed Auction: $484. Tout Mixed Draft: $201.
With Jimmy Rollins designated for assignment, Anderson gets the call in Chicago. The White Sox didn’t bring up one of their better prospects to sit behind Tyler Saladino so Anderson will start unless his bat proves otherwise. Anderson is a free-swinger whose batting average is likely to be poor but the stolen base potential makes him an instant fantasy add in anything but shallow mixed leagues. He led off last night, which certainly would boost his value if he can stay atop the lineup.
Peter O’Brien $17. Tout Mixed Draft: $195.
The Diamondbacks finally decided that O’Brien’s ready for the major leagues so the former catching prospect moves to Arizona’s outfield with a relatively clean shot at left field. The raw power is tantalizing, but O’Brien has a long swing (this is fancy scout talk for “he misses and will strikeout a lot”) that will hurt his batting average. It’s worth giving O’Brien a shot and seeing if he can hit .250 or so and launch 25-30 bombs, particularly when the alternatives in the outfield this year have been Rickie Weeks and Yasmany Tomas.
Abad and Kintzler both have opportunities for saves in Minnesota, but it is unclear whether the Twins will use either pitcher as a traditional closer. Kintzler picked up a save for the Twins earlier last week then was used in the eighth against the Red Sox on Sunday (he blew the opportunity). Neither reliever has a particularly scintillating skill set, but the other options in the pen with Glen Perkins out are poor. Bret and I bid four dollars on Kintzler, once again missing out on a closer. I am writing this at 10:30 pm on Monday night, so watch the Twins do something in their bullpen after I submit this to editing that makes this entire paragraph moot.
Chase Anderson $5. Other bid: $3.
Anderson completed our troika of losing bids this week. He was awarded instead to Fred Zinkie of MLB.com. Anderson has looked somewhat better of late after a poor stretch of starts to start the season but our rationale for this pickup had more to do with a two-start week on the slate for Anderson than with his recent results. He started late last night at the Giants and then gets one later in the week at Los Angeles.
Motte is the other possibility for saves in Colorado, but with Estevez “announced” as the closer, it is more likely that Motte only picks up a stray save here and there.
Bret picked up Espinosa in Tout Mixed Auction, along with James Paxton with an aggressive $229 bid. The mystery surrounding what the Nationals are waiting for with Trea Turner persists, but with a five game lead over the Mets in the NL East, it has not mattered all that much.
Tout Wars AL
Daniel Mengden $186. Other bids: $77, $61, $31. LABR AL: $17.
Mengden lived up to expectations—both good and bad—in his debut start for the A’s. His velocity sat a couple of ticks higher than it had in previous seasons in the minors but his command tended to be elusive at times against the Reds. Mengden will certainly get more chances, but his value is predicated on keeping the ball in or around the zone and hopefully being able to survive as a pitcher who lives and dies on deception.
Justin Morneau $76
Arismendy Alcantara $37. Other bid: $1
Ike Davis $13
It was a big stash week in Tout Wars AL, with Morneau, Alcantara, and Davis all generating varying degrees of interest. Davis could bring back the most value, as it appears he will get consistent at bats against right-handers at first base for the Yankees. Morneau starts out on the DL for the White Sox, but should also get a shot at first base if healthy. Alcantara is the biggest wild card solely based on 2016 results.
Miguel Gonzalez $36. Other bids: $11, $1.
The White Sox did the right thing, relatively speaking, and kept Gonzalez and chucked Mat Latos overboard after trading for James Shields. The results have been there for fantasy, but the usual markers (high strand rate, poor FIP, so-so whiff rate) make Gonzalez a subpar bet the rest of the way.
It was a quiet week in both the Tout Wars and LABR AL leagues. Tonkin is a decent speculative play if you believe in neither Kintzler nor Abad.
Tout Wars NL
Carlos Estevez $509. Other bids: $200, $122, $117, $111, $50, $25, $4. LABR NL: $8
I bid $117 on Estevez. I already have two closers and while I still had a lot of FAAB, my need for saves is low. Grey Albright of Razzball is near the bottom of the standings and his bid is the “what the hell do I have to lose?” kind of bid I like when everything in your season has turned bad.
Matt Garza $231. Other bid: $4
Garza returns to the Brewers rotation this week after starting the year on the disabled list and then going through a three-start rehab assignment at A-ball. Maybe Garza is finished, but his 2014 season isn’t all that far removed from our collective memories, or at least it shouldn’t be. A 4.00 ERA with about seven strikeouts per nine innings is likely the midpoint of reasonable expectations. Scott Wilderman of On Roto made the aggressive play for Garza.
Zack Godley $191. Other bids: $65, $30, $11. LABR NL: $1
Wilderman was busy this week, sinking over 40 percent of his budget on two starting pitchers. Godley had a decent start in his 2016 debut for Arizona and has a good chance to stick in the rotation even after Shelby Miller returns.
Chris Coghlan $117. Other bids: $107, $99, $93, $62, $60, $22, $3. LABR NL: $11
Coghlan returns to the Cubs after a couple of months in Oakland. He is likely to play the role of a super sub once Jorge Soler is reinstated from the DL, but for now stands a good chance to at least split the left field job with Albert Almora. Coghlan is sneaky good even as a part timer and the chance for more than that in the short-term made him an obvious target in NL-only. My $60 bid was much too low.
Albert Almora $114. Other bid: $3 LABR NL: $7.
In retrospect, my winning bid was obviously way too high. I was reacting to a $32 bid (out of $100) in my other NL-only league earlier last week. While I didn’t expect to have to bid 32 percent of my budget to obtain Almora, I was nevertheless surprised that no one else bid more than three dollars on him, even after the addition of Coghlan. Almora does need to play every day to garner decent value in NL-only, and with Coghlan in tow this is probably not a realistic expectation barring another injury in the Cubs outfield.
Zach Eflin $42
This was my other buy for the week. I was on my own little island with how I expected the market to play out for these players. Eflin should get a two-start week for the Phillies and even if Vince Velasquez returns sooner rather than later Elfin has a chance to stick if Philadelphia decides to demote Adam Morgan instead of Eflin.
Cory Gearrin $31. Other bids: $3, $1.
The Giants have indicated a willingness to mix and match in the ninth as opposed to going with a traditional closer arrangement. This is a nice way of saying that Santiago Casilla may lose a save opportunity here and there for the Giants. Gearrin isn’t necessarily at the front of the line should Casilla falter, but he could get a couple of saves as the year progresses.
Boone Logan $12. LABR NL: $1
Logan is the longshot for saves in Colorado. In case you are wondering, Jason Motte was already owned in Tout NL.
The bottom of the NL-only pool in Tout was dominated by sneaky stashes. Wright is a super cheap option if he comes back even for only a week or two at the end of the season. Margot could be up for San Diego if they find a way to flip Matt Kemp to another team. Ottavino is the choice for many to eventually close in Colorado once he is healthy.