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, July 3rd.
Brandon Maurer $14. Other bids: $14, $3, $3. Tout Auction: $77.
With $24 left to spend, we decided to be fairly aggressive and spend (opens up calculator function on smart phone) 58 percent of our remaining budget on Maurer. Unfortunately, Rudy Gamble of Razzball made the same decision and beat us to Maurer because of the standings tiebreaker. This stung even more because Fernando Rodney is on our team and has almost definitely lost the opportunity for saves thanks to his trade to the Marlins. This isn’t the end of the world for us—we were in second place entering the week and trending upward—but barring another trade or another closer losing his job it is likely we will have to wait for Aroldis Chapman to get traded at the end of the month and for our Andrew Miller to assume the ninth-inning role in the Bronx. My regret is not so much with this move but with our earlier moves of adding Jameson Taillon ($32), Shawn Kelley ($14), and Sean Manaea ($18) for a combined $64. We have a great deal of pitching depth but have had a difficult time moving any of it in trade. The Taillon injury sort of solves this problem, but not in the way I intended.
Cody Asche $2. Tout Draft $27.
It is difficult to believe that this is Asche’s fourth season with the Philadelphia Phillies, but here he is, hanging around for yet another campaign with the club. He isn’t going to be good enough to be part of the next winning Phillies team as anything more than a reserve, but he is doing fine at the moment, hitting enough home runs and stealing enough bases to be viable in deep mixed leagues and in NL-only.
Mike Zunino $1. Tout Auction: $24.
Brandon Nimmo $1. Other bid: $1
Brandon McCarthy $1. Other bid: $1. Tout Auction: $242. Tout Draft: $57.
Nate Jones $1
Tucker Barnhart $1. Tout Auction: $21.
Peter Bourjos $1. Tout Auction: $15
Tyler Anderson $1. Tout Auction: $50.
Jace Peterson $1. Tout Auction: $22.
Kyle Gibson $1
Holiday FAAB periods are generally quiet, and all three mixed leagues followed this rule of thumb on America’s anniversary. In need of strikeouts, Bret sunk $242 of his budget into McCarthy in the Tout Auction league. Zunino is an intriguing pick-up in any two-catcher format, particularly if you believe he can steal enough at bats from incumbent Chris Iannetta to be relevant.
Tout Wars NL
Brandon Maurer $138. Other bids: $135, $123, $106, $101, $90, $58, $34. LABR NL: $11.
I bid $90 on Maurer, falling well short of Phil Hertz of Baseball HQ’s $138 bid. I currently have two closers and am near the top of the standings in saves, so decided to be conservative with my bid. Hertz also has two closers, but perhaps is concerned that the Phillies could move Jeanmar Gomez at the trade deadline. Hertz could also try to trade one of his three closers, although trading in Tout NL this year has been very light. If I only had one closer and could have picked up a boost in the category, I would have bid at least $150 on Maurer.
Mauricio Cabrera $75. Other bid: $28. LABR NL: $3.
Cabrera throws extremely hard, hitting triple-digits on the gun frequently. However, his control has been an open question throughout his entire minor league career, making many wonder if Cabrera will be viable as a major leaguer. The bids here are due to the possibility that Braves closer Arodys Vizcaino could be traded and that Cabrera could step in to the role. It is a possibility, and certainly worth Lenny Melnick of Roto Experts’ $75 speculative bid. This is a bid that makes more sense if your team is in the bottom third of the standings—as Lenny’s is—and you need to take risks. Watching Cabrera today against the Phillies, I was not particularly impressed, but one inning isn’t particularly meaningful as a takeaway.
Brock Stewart $30
Tommy Pham $23. Other bid: $20.
Pham is in a quasi-platoon with Kolten Wong in the outfield, but is getting enough at bats and producing enough power to make him a viable option in NL-only. Long term, the hope is that Randall Grichuk reemerges and reclaims a spot in the Cardinals outfield. For now, Pham is worth plugging into your fantasy lineup as long as he is getting 15-20 plate appearances per week.
Two of the lower end purchases here were mine. I grabbed Dickerson and Friedrich. My ERA and WHIP have been destroyed, so at this point I am chasing mediocre matchups or better in hopes for wins and strikeouts. With Jon Jay on the shelf, Dickerson is splitting at bats with Travis Jankowski in the Padres outfield, with Melvin Upton shifting between left and center. Dickerson’s numbers in Triple-A were impressive, even taking the PCL into account, and I need more than a little luck on offense to make up for the deficiencies I have on the pitching side.
Tout Wars AL
Nick Franklin $37. Other bid: $5. LABR AL: $1
I was high on Franklin entering the 2015 season. I thought he could potential be a 10-home-run, 15-steal player and even if the average didn’t move past .250 or so believed this could play in deeper mixed formats. I was extremely wrong. Franklin is putting together some regular at bats for Tampa in their outfield, but he needs to play every day to have value since he strikes out in a third of his at-bats. Franklin is a lowend play in AL-only.
Mike Aviles $35. Other bids: $3, $0.
Aviles is on the wrong side of a platoon with Steven Moya in right field. But while Aviles overall numbers are poor, he has been productive of late, and is worth a low end AL-only bid for a shot at the odd home run and stolen base.
It was another extremely quiet week in Tout AL. I saw Benintendi at Double-A Trenton last Wednesday, and while Yoan Moncada is viewed as the better prospect, I came away impressed with Benintendi’s compact swing and sneaky stolen base speed. One of the other fantasy analysts I attended the game with believes that Benintendi could be up in two or three weeks. He isn’t listed on Baseball Prospectus’ Stash List, but in early July this appears to be a strong addition to a fantasy reserve list in an AL-only.