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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 17.

Tout Mixed Auction
I normally write about LABR Mixed in this space, but with only three winning FAAB bids I thought it would make more sense to write about the auction side of Tout Mixed this week. Todd Zola of Mastersball has a 23-point lead in LABR; I wonder if this is contributing to fewer moves across the board than usual. It is more likely that it was a quiet week due to the All Star Break and the lack of any late breaking news that would have led to more energetic bidding. Bret and I managed to “steal” Kyle Schwarber from the rest of the league last year with a modest six-dollar bid. As I have reiterated time and time again in this space, the pickings this year have been slim compared to 2015. In need of saves, we won Sergio Romo for two dollars. The wheels have fallen off for Santiago Casilla, and while Romo is no sure thing, he is worth the risk at a low price.

I have said this a few times this season, but it is highly likely that Bret and I will need to make a trade to compete. In a redraft league like LABR, finding trade partners can be challenging, as teams in the second division are unlikely to make a significant move so as not to upset the top of the standings for the sake of finishing sixth instead of ninth. We are not quite in the homestretch yet but are getting there. If our team is going to start making a serious push toward Zola, it will have to do so now.

Andrew Cashner $65. Other bid: $26.
Cashner has struggled mightily, but despite this fact there are rumors that the Padres could move him at the trade deadline due to a pitching poor trade market. Cashner is one of those odd pitchers who seems like he should have better numbers based on his reputation but doesn’t. His strikeout rate has never been elite, and while the fantasy results have been good in the past, Cashner has never quite performed like some hoped he would when the Padres acquired him for Anthony Rizzo. I used to have a soft spot for Cashner and bought him in Tout Wars NL for three years in a row. This year, I finally cut the cord.

Jim Johnson $51. Other bids: $9, $4. Tout Mixed Draft: $235. LABR Mixed: $4
Arodys Vizcaino is hurt, so it is likely that Johnson gets most of the saves for Atlanta. It is possible that Johnson is a trade chip, so this could be a two-week purchase, but it is also possible that the market for Johnson is light and that he gets saves until Vizcaino returns, presumably next month. Vizcaino himself has been mentioned as a trade target, but his injury puts a damper on any trades prior to the non-waiver trade deadline.

Ryon Healy $44. Other bids: $22, $12.
I am probably going to spell Healy’s first name incorrectly for a long time. Healy was never regarded as a significant prospect entering this season, in part due to a profile that suggested a contact hitter without enough power for a corner position, but Healy started hitting home runs at Triple-A and the Athletics decided to give him a try. Based on performance, Yonder Alonso is the obvious candidate to lose playing time, but Coco Crisp and Danny Valencia have been mentioned as potential candidates to lose at bats as well. Healy’s numbers in the minors were great this year, but he did slip quite a bit when he moved from Double-A to Triple-A. He should be a decent back end third baseman in deep mixed, but Healy certainly isn’t without risk.

Ryan Rua $43
Oh, you spell it R-y-o-n
And I spell it R-y-a-n
You play for Oakland
It’s in the same division
Ryon! Ryan! Oakland! Division!
Let’s call this whole bit off.

Kendall Graveman $26

Oh, you’re both Ryans
And I am a Graveman
You’d think I worked at a funeral home
But actually I play baseball
Ryon! Ryan! Oakland! Division!
I am a horrible human being.

All right, that’s enough, Ryan, Ryon, and Graveman. This is ridiculous, and my readers deserve better.

Logan Verrett $16. Other bid: $0
Verrett is a capable, middle-of-the-road fifth starter. This would be fine for NL-only, but in deep mixed you want to populate the back end of your rotation with low-end third starters or—at worst—top-shelf fourth starters. Verrett can survive in the majors, but the Mets defense combined with Verrett’s somewhat hittable repertoire make him a no for me.

Peter Bourjos $9

J.J. Hardy $8
Jace Peterson $7
Sandy Leon $5.
Other bids: $2, $1.

Edwin Diaz $1

Bourjos has been so good for so long that he is becoming impossible to ignore in deep mixed. Hardy and Peterson are both also solid adds for teams looking for every day at bats.

Bret added Hardy and Diaz in Tout mixed. Even if Diaz doesn’t inherit the ninth inning role in Seattle, I dig him in fantasy for the strikeouts.

Tout Wars AL
Drew Pomeranz $692.
Other bids: $552, $502, $381, $150, $117, $30.
LABR AL: $88. Other bids: $56, $50, $46, $40, $31, $12, $9, $4, $3.

I rarely do this, but since Pomeranz was a significant target in both Tout and LABR, I thought I would take a look at the standings and the bid mechanics in both leagues.

Table 1: Tout Wars AL FAAB Left/Pomeranz Bids

Team

FAAB Left

Bid

Points

Pitching

Points

Trachtman

$431

$381

86.5

36.5

Schechter

$794

$150

85.0

42.0

Davitt

$789

$0

74.0

42.5

Shandler

$570

$552

70.0

31.0

Michaels

$209

$0

67.5

41.5

Wolf/Colton

$32

$30

67.0

19.0

Collette

$551

$502

61.5

44.5

Liss

$69

$0

61.0

50.0

Leibowitz

$793

$692

59.0

18.0

Moyer

$511

$0

58.5

9.0

Erickson

$641

$0

47.5

34.5

Podhorzer

$891

$117

42.5

22.5

Table 2: LABR AL FAAB Left/Pomeranz Bids

Team

FAAB Left

Bid

Points

Pitching

Points

Winning Fantasy Baseball

$105

$4

97.5

44.0

USAT Sports

$85

$12

95.5

44.5

USAT Fantasy

$84

$46

85.5

45.5

ESPN

$91

$56

84.5

37.0

Mastersball

$13

$0

70.0

48.0

FanGraphs

$41

$31

65.0

30.0

Baseball HQ

$54

$40

56.5

33.0

SiriusXM

$75

$9

56.5

28.0

Wolf/Colton

$6

$3

52.5

22.0

Yahoo

$90

$88

45.0

16.0

NFBC

$21

$0

39.5

15.0

RotoWire

$55

$50

32.0

27.0

Tables 1 and 2 look at the 24 AL experts in Tout Wars and LABR, how much FAAB they had left, and what they decided to bid on Pomeranz. I also included the total points in the league and the points each team had in pitching.

The premise behind bidding aggressively for Pomeranz is that he will remain a good pitcher in the AL, that there are not many pitching options available for trade in the NL and that you should strike now instead of waiting for a payday that may never come. The premise against bidding heavily for Pomeranz would include all of the opposite: he will slip in the AL, some better arms will come through (or some better hitters), and it doesn’t make sense to empty the FAAB wallet when more players are coming later.

In both expert leagues, the winning bidder was not a team at or near the top of the standings. In Tout, Rob Leibowitz’s $692 won the day. Leibowitz is in ninth place. In LABR, Yahoo’s Brandon Funston won Pomeranz with a super aggressive $88 bid out of $100. Funston entered the week in 10th.

The decision to pursue Pomeranz aggressively was tied very closely to: a) a low pitching points total and b) a low position in the standings. Some of the teams close to the top in both LABR and Tout made strong bids, but no one was willing to spend nearly all of his FAAB on Pomeranz. Whether this was due to the risk of Pomeranz moving to the AL or because better free agents may come along later remains to be seen, but in this case no one at or near the top of the standings was willing to make the gamble on Pomeranz as a big ticket item.

Jake Marisnick $55. Other bid: $0.

Marisnick started in left field for the Astros last week, but this was only because Colby Rasmus was out due to an illness. He’s back now, so while Marisnick can pick up the odd stolen base and is fifth outfielder material in AL-only, it isn’t likely that he will be elevated to anything more than that.

Luke Maile $12
Shawn O’Malley $11. LABR AL: $1
Miguel Gonzalez $10
Jake Smolinski $6.
Other bid: $0
Ryon Healy $4. Other bid: $0. LABR AL: $8
Matt Boyd $1
Dan Otero $0
Roberto Perez $0

Healy is the most surprising bid in this group; even if you don’t think he will amount to much, a $20-30 bid if you have a gap on offense makes a lot of sense. Maile will share at bats with Curt Casali in Tampa and given Casali’s AVG struggles this season makes for a decent sleeper.

Tout Wars NL

Jake Barrett $100. Other bids: $6, $6. LABR NL: $12.
Barrett picked up a save yesterday after the Diamondbacks new closer Tyler Clippard couldn’t get the last three outs against the Dodgers. This could mean nothing, but it could also mean that Barrett is next in line should Clippard falter or if Clippard is traded later this month. Barrett excites many because he fits the closer mode of a hard thrower, but he also has difficulty throwing strikes at times. This year has seen more of the former and less of the latter, as Barrett has kept his walk rate below four while keeping his velocity around 95 miles-per-hour. I made a speculative play on Barrett in another NL-only I participate in for one dollar, but in Tout I let him go because my need for saves is low.

Reynaldo Lopez $81. Other bid: $52.
Lopez’s raw numbers in the minors do not look exciting, but a recent leap forward at Double-A makes his full season totals somewhat misleading. He has legitimate swing and miss stuff, and with a delivery that offers plenty of movement Lopez could generate a significant number of strikeouts for fantasy teams even if the ERA/WHIP aren’t there. Consistency has been the key for Lopez all along, but the Nationals obviously feel he’s ready and Lopez will make his debut today at home against the Dodgers. Whether this is a spot start or the beginning of a run in the rotation for Lopez, he is worth bidding a decent amount for in NL-only. If he sticks in the rotation, I’d try him in mixed. I dig the upside more than I do with many young pitchers.

Jose De Leon $25
De Leon has not been called up yet, but I decided to take a chance on his imminent arrival. He is sort of a West Coast version of Lopez, with glittering strikeout numbers in the minors but questions about consistency focused in particular around delivery and maintaining pitch control. The ceiling is fairly high, but even for a starting pitcher in the minors the number of potential outcomes is greatly varied. I suspect De Leon will be up in the next couple of weeks, but what do I know?

Chris Taylor $16
C.J. Edwards $13
Yefri Perez $6
Ramiro Pena $1
Anthony Recker $0
Edubray Ramos $0

Taylor had a big game on Friday and could see more time at second base for the Dodgers if Chase Utley continues to struggle (hmmmm, let me pull this non-arbitrary sample size out of my keister), putting up a…oh my…. 228/.307/.301 line with one home run and zero steals in 137 plate appearances. Edwards and Ramos are intriguing middle-relief arms who deal in fire and are great adds in mono.

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jfranco77
7/19
What are the A's doing with Danny Valencia? He's good! They should trade him or something, instead of sitting him.
wilymo
7/19
i don't think they're really sitting him; they made that announcement, and he sat the first game healy was up, but he's started every game since. i think it really just meant that they're giving 3B to healy for a while. but valencia's still getting most of his time in at DH, 1B, etc there's been some talk that there hasn't actually been much trade interest in valencia, which seems odd to me, but i'm not in charge