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 24.
For the second week in a row, LABR Mixed was much quieter than either of the Tout leagues. Based on LABR rules, David Dahl and Alex Bregman were not available to bid on Sunday. In Tout Mixed Auction, Bret had already stashed Bregman a few weeks ago and obtained Dahl on Sunday for a mere $92, spending all of his remaining FAAB on the Rockies outfielder. In Tout Mixed Draft, a similar scenario played out as well. Bregman was stashed a few weeks ago and Dahl went for a mere three dollars this week. Dahl isn’t guaranteed at bats barring a trade, but these bids seem extremely conservative for an outfielder with so much upside.
Ryan Schimpf $6. Other bid: $1. Tout Mixed Auction: $56. Tout Mixed Draft: $45.
I wrote about Schimpf a few weeks ago in the Tout NL section of this column. I was fairly dismissive of his ability to help a fantasy team, so sure enough Schimpf went out and proved me wrong by hitting a lot of home runs and mouthing “Gianella blows” to the camera after each and every home run (I may have made this last part up, thought I cannot be certain). I certainly wasn’t the only expert dismissing Schimpf, but there is a lesson to be learned about looking too much at minor league numbers and attempting to extrapolate them to major league performance, particularly with an career minor leaguer like Schimpf. Major league teams don’t promote players they believe have zero chance to succeed, and it is easy to ignore a recent uptick in minor league performance (and major league potential) if a player isn’t a top prospect. It is a bias I would like to overcome, although it is difficult to do without a far more rigorous examination of players who experience a non-standard growth curve and why they succeed in the majors.
Schimpf could fall off of the map, but the power looks legitimate and with Cory Spangenberg out for the season, it is fairly likely that the Padres keep running Schimpf out there.
Delino DeShields $3. Tout Mixed Auction: $35.
Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo both went on the disabled list, opening up time for DeShields in the Rangers’ outfield. He was quite valuable in fantasy last season and then disappeared early in 2016 before being demoted to Triple-A. DeShields didn’t exactly light it up at Round Rock, but he did steal a lot of bases, which is the only reason why fantasy experts in a 15-team mixed league are interested in DeShields. He is fine as a short-term add; in the long term, Choo will be back and it is possible that the Rangers will explore the trade market this week in an attempt to add another bat. If you need steals, DeShields is a must add in 14-team mixed and deeper. Batting at the bottom of the lineup does not hurt a speedster’s value in the AL as much as it does in the NL.
If you thought my comment on DeShields was overblown, Hernan Perez was purchased in three expert leagues this week. Steals are at a premium this season, and obtaining them is more difficult than it has been in years. I was high on Garcia coming into this season, but cannot recommend him now outside of NL-only. Vargas has intriguing pop, although he strikes me as a feast or famine hitter.
Tout Wars NL
David Dahl $291. Other bids: $226, $80.
As I have noted in the past, while a casual player might suspect that a league of experts would be all over the news of a Dahl promotion, only three of the 12 experts in Tout placed a bid on Dahl: Steve Gardner of USA Today ($80), me at $226, and Phil Hertz of Baseball HQ at $291. I only had $258 left, so even if I had bid the entire enchilada I would have fallen short of Hertz. It is an aggressive play, but if Dahl starts he has an opportunity to make as much impact as any AL import after the non-waiver trade deadline.
For whatever reason, the NL experts have not done as well stashing players like this as they have in the past. I am certainly guilty of this as well, bidding a significant amount on Willson Contreras the week he was called up instead of stashing him a couple of weeks beforehand. Contreras has been fine, but I could have saved a significant amount of FAAB by locking him up earlier. The $1,000 FAAB allotment is the likely culprit. Teams have a large chunk of change and as a result are not afraid to spend in large increments whenever a need arises or if a player strikes their fancy. This is worth further study at the end of the regular season, but most teams have not allocated their FAAB well under the $1,000 budget, either spending moderate chunks on players with limited upside early or waiting too long for a big payoff that never came. This is particularly true in NL-only, where opportunities to make a big splash have been extremely limited this year.
(Hertz emailed me later to point out that he did stash Dahl on the cheap weeks ago but had to drop him due to a roster crunch)
Andrew Toles $25. Other bids: $14, $1. LABR NL: $3.
Toles was never considered much of a prospect, and disappeared from organized baseball in 2015 after being benched in 2014 for “not hustling” during a game. The Dodgers picked him up before 2016 began, and Toles found his way back to the majors. He is a longshot to succeed as an everyday player, but as long as he is playing Toles is enticing thanks to his speed. Don’t expect him to come anywhere close to the 62 swipes he picked up at A-ball way back in 2013, but a 20-25 steal player could be lurking. Did I say “longshot” yet?
I grabbed Jenkins for three dollars in my never ending quest to cobble together pitching points in more than just saves and strikeouts. He is a placeholder while I wait for last week’s pickup, Jose De Leon, to make it to the majors. Jenkins’ matchup against the Phillies this week is much better than his last matchup at Coors.
Tout Wars AL
This is the calm before the storm that is the trade deadline. Aroldis Chapman dominated the Sunday night headlines/social media chatter but was not traded before any of the FAAB deadlines and will be a big target in the NL next week. It is likely that most of the players switching leagues will move from the NL to the AL, as many NL teams are playing for next year. Not all of these teams have extremely valuable chips to deal (as an example, Jeremy Hellickson and Jeanmar Gomez are arguably the best players the Phillies are peddling) but there are also players like Jay Bruce, Carlos Gonzalez, and Melvin Upton who could be on the move in the next six days.