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 10.
Tyler Clippard $8. Other bids: $3, $2. Tout Mixed Auction: $148.
Craig Kimbrel’s injury led to Brad Ziegler’s trade to the Red Sox which led to Tyler Clippard: Diamondbacks closer. If you are wondering why the bids are so light – both in quality and quantity – it is because Clippard is also rumored to be on the trade block, and the downside of the bid is that Mike Podhorzer of Fangraphs may have paid eight dollars for two and a half weeks of saves. The other possibility is that in a market with Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller potentially available Clippard will stay put and Podhorzer will win his gamble. Podhorzer has a 13-save lead over the second-place team in the category, so it is likely that he is looking to make a trade.
Koji Uehara $4. Other bids: $4, $3, $1. Tout Mixed Auction: $178. Tout Mixed Draft: $201.
Uehara potentially gains value with Kimbrel’s injury, but at best he will split the saves with Ziegler in Boston. Kimbrel is supposed to be out for 3-6 weeks. I would bet on the longer end of this timetable for Kimbrel. At four dollars, Uehara is okay as far as saves speculation goes. Keith Hernandez of USA Today Fantasy won Uehara’s services, and unlike Podhorzer is locked in a tight saves race. Even a handful of saves from Uehara could help a great deal.
David Freese $2. Tout Mixed Auction: $12
Ken Giles $2. Tout Mixed Auction: $3
Dylan Bundy $2
Mauricio Cabrera $1. Tout Mixed Auction: $22. Tout Mixed Draft: $27.
Cam Bedrosian $1
Josh Bell $1. Tout Mixed Auction: $34
Avisail Garcia $1
Joakim Soria $1
For the second week in a row, LABR FAAB was quiet. Josh Bell is a fun stash if the Pirates do indeed decide to send him to the minors before resumption of play today. If he manages to stick with the big club I suspect that he will be more than a pinch-hitter. There was lots of saves speculation, with Giles, Cabrera, and Bedrosian all fetching $1-2 bids. Soria is probably behind Herrera in the pecking order for saves in Kansas City while Wade Davis is out, but given the relatively aggressive bid on Uehara, I am surprised someone else did not bid on Soria.
Tout Wars AL
Brad Ziegler $250. Other bids: $43, $29, $6. LABR AL: $65.
Lawr Michaels of Mastersball was the aggressive bidder in both AL-only expert leagues, winning Ziegler in both LABR and Tout. He owns Kimbrel in both formats, so while the bids may seem prohibitively high, locking down the saves that you are losing in a mono league makes eminent sense. Uehara is already taken in most AL-only leagues, so even if you don’t believe in Ziegler, he is not only your best bet but your only bet in this format.
Aaron Hill $76. LABR AL: $11.
Tout Wars saw the unusual circumstance where multiple teams bid on Hill but he was the second or third choice for everyone but the winning bidder. This is likely due to the belief that Hill will not start – at least not every day – but also due to the fact that the AL experts believe that better players will be coming down the pike from the National League at the trade deadline. Hill should provide a decent amount of power even in a part-time role, but his value is contingent upon regular at-bats. Michaels bid $250 on Hill in a separate FAAB block, but did not have enough FAAB left to win him.
Kennys Vargas $72. Other bids: $50, $21, $14, $1. LABR AL: $16
Prior to the All Star Game, Vargas had an amazing week. On a team that has not hit well most of the season, it won’t take much for Vargas to cobble every day at bats together and offer some sustainable value. His 2015 was awful and made many forget Vargas completely, but he was 24 years old last season. The bad strikeout-to-walk ratio throughout Vargas’ career make him seem like a poor bet long term, but for 2016 only he is worth taking a shot on in fantasy.
Curt Casali $16. Other bid: $11
The demotion of Hank Conger sets Casali up for regular playing time behind the plate for Tampa. The power has tailed off significantly from 2015, but with six home runs in 186 plate appearances, Casali is not completely without value, but his .169 batting average this season does speak to a hitter who could plunge a team into negative earnings at the slot.
Ji-Man Choi $11. Other bid: $1. LABR AL: $1
Zach Duke $5
There were not a significant number of bids in Tout AL and the short week did not lend itself to much in the way of speculation. Dozier and Smith both are decent stashes at a buck, while the rest of these players look more like roster placeholders than anything of note. I hope that Matt McBride catches Jacob deGrom someday. They have faced each other in a batter versus pitcher matchup, but it isn’t quite the same.
Tout Wars NL
Daniel Hudson $66. Other bids: $59, $17.
Clippard is the short-term answer for saves in Arizona, but the smart money for the long term is on Hudson. Whether Hudson takes that role in 2015 remains to be seen, but a $66 bid out of $1,000 is a fairly reasonable price tag. Hudson was part of a long list of contingent bids for me last week. Had I missed out on Alex Dickerson or Christian Friedrich, I would have landed Hudson. I didn’t bid this week because I have two closers and do not have a pressing need for saves.
Will Middlebrooks $57. Other bid: $1.
With Hill off to Boston, perhaps Middlebrooks will get a chance for some regular at bats at third base for the Brewers. It seems more likely that Orlando Arcia gets promoted soon and that Jonathan Villar moves to third base. Either way, while Middlebrooks does have some power upside, he goes through long stretches where he cannot make contact and offers limited potential, even in NL-only. He is an acceptable gamble, but he is a gamble nonetheless.
Lucas Duda $40. Other bids; $8, $0.
My $8 bid was my only bid this week. I missed out because Lenny Melnick’s $59 bid on Hudson fell just short and Duda was his second choice in this bid block. My offense is populated by everyday players but the short week is a nice opportunity to stash players without worrying too much about a dead week of stats. Unfortunately for me, Melnick was more aggressive and earned the right to roll with Duda in the second half. Tout Wars has unlimited DL slots, so this was a particularly sharp move for Melnick.
Austin Hedges $23.
Hernan Perez $22. Other bids: $21, $3.
It doesn’t seem like Perez should be producing much in the way of fantasy value, but he keeps stealing bases and doing just enough elsewhere to offer NL-only viability. Perez is somehow on pace to steal almost 20 bases and while he should cool off, speed is a nice asset to have in a mono format, even if it isn’t attached to much else with the bat.
Michael Lorenzen $16. Other bid: $12.
I can no longer keep track of the Reds future closer situation, so I have decided not to bother doing so. It could be Lorenzen, it could be Raisel Iglesias, it could be our old friend Tony Cingrani. Even if Lorenzen doesn’t close, he offers enough in the way of strikeouts and decent ratios out of the pen to be viable in an only.
Derek Law $0
I thought about bidding on Verrett for his matchup this weekend against the Phillies, but decided not to do so. Alvarez is further speculation in the Braves bullpen if Arodys Vizcaino gets moved. Robinson is a solid add for the next week or two and perhaps longer if Ryan Zimmerman misses more time than expected.