Welcome back to The FAAB Review, the weekly series that helps you, the Baseball Prospectus reader, with your fantasy baseball free-agent bidding needs. Every week, I closely scrutinize the expert free-agent bids in LABR Mixed, Tout Wars NL, and LABR AL.
As a reminder, LABR uses a $100 budget with $1 minimum bids, while Tout Wars uses a $1,000 budget with $0 minimum bids. LABR and Tout Wars use a bidding deadline of Sunday at midnight ET for all FAAB claims. Any statistics mentioned in this article are through the previous Sunday’s games.
Dinelson Lamet—Padres $8 Other bids: $3, $2, $1. Tout Auction: $78. Tout Draft: $83. (CHC)
Memorial Day Weekend is typically a quiet time for expert FAAB bidding and 2017 was no exception. LABR Mixed took up the rear, with seven FAAB transactions, compared to 11 for Tout Mixed Auction and 19 for Tout Mixed Draft. Many of the winning bids in the Tout Draft league were not competitive, though, with eight of those 19 winning bids falling under $5. If you have holes on your roster this is a good week to try to plug them and save your FAAB in the process.
Lamet was the headliner in LABR. The 24-year-old Padres right-hander impressed against the Mets, throwing in the mid-90s with ease and mixing in a high-80s slider to boot. Wilson Karaman’s observations in The Call Up are worth your time. The concerns for Lamet are how sustainable his stuff is against left-handers, as well as whether his changeup can be a viable third pitch in the majors. The fantasy advice from this corner is to take a chance and enjoy the ride with a pitcher who has the power stuff to give hitters fits his first time through the league.
Leury Garcia—White Sox $6
Ty Blach—Giants $2. Other bid: $1. Tout Draft: $38. (@PHI)
I wrote about Blach a few weeks ago in the Tout NL section and he has even fewer strikeouts than the low amount I was expecting. The ERA is fine, but even if he manages to continue to keep it under four, a strikeout rate of 3.9 per nine innings barely plays in NL-only, let alone mixed. Blach’s matchup against the Phillies later this week is sneaky bad. Philadelphia is showing signs of busting out and Blach has been terrible on the road.
Josh Tomlin—Cleveland $2. Other bid: $1. (@KC)
Coming off a complete-game victory against the Royals, there is relative buzz about Tomlin’s performance. But he is the same pitcher he always has been: a control artist who doesn’t strike out many batters, has good outings when he can manage to keep the ball in the yard, but also has outings where the ball seems to do nothing but leave the yard. Even though it is a rematch, the Royals are as good of a matchup as you are going to get with Tomlin. He goes through phases where everything looks OK but also is the kind of pitcher who can destroy your team’s ERA and WHIP quickly.
Jorge Bonifacio—Royals $2. Tout Draft: $55.
Bonifacio is exactly the kind of player I was referencing at the top of this section: a sneaky good player who slipped through the cracks on a holiday weekend.
The big buys in both Tout leagues this weekend were Joe Ross ($417 in Tout Auction, $99 in Tout Draft) and Matt Davidson ($91 Auction, $29 Draft). The Tout leagues are typically ahead of the curve when it comes to free-agent pickups, so it was surprising to see both players available, particularly Ross. Given the starting pitchers picked up this week in LABR, you can see why Gene McCaffrey of Wise Guy Baseball plunked down over 40 percent of his initial FAAB budget on Ross.
Bret didn’t bid on anyone in LABR. In Tout auction, he purchased Chris Carter for $68 and put in an $88 bid on Ross.
Tout Wars NL
Franchy Cordero—Padres $17. Other bids: $17, $15, $14. LABR NL: $2
Cordero drew a quartet of low-end bids in Tout, including my $14 bid to replace Ryan Braun. Cordero is an extremely toolsy outfielder who is still very raw but was called up to the Padres based on need and lack of depth. The raw Triple-A numbers look terrific, but the TAv tells us that Cordero has been good and not a world beater. There is enough here to make this kind of modest bid in NL-only worth it. The hope is that Cordero sticks and at a minimum provides a bunch of stolen bases.
Reymond Fuentes—Diamondbacks $17. Other bid: $0.
Fuentes was Todd Zola of Mastersball’s consolation prize after missing out on Cordero. Fuentes was getting regular playing time due to injuries to David Peralta and Yasmany Tomas, but with the Diamondbacks outfield healthy again, Fuentes will return to a reserve role.
Paul DeJong—Cardinals $14. Other bids: $12, $11. NL LABR: $3.
Danny Santana—Braves $14.
Nick Franklin—Brewers $14
Asher Wojciechowski—Reds $4
John Brebbia—Cardinals $1
Paul Sewald—Mets $0
Robert Stephenson—Reds $0. Other bid: $0.
Matt Albers—Nationals $0
Matt Bowman—Cardinals $0
Chris Hatcher—Dodgers $0
Andres Blanco—Phillies $0
Brian Goodwin—Nationals $0
Five of these moves were mine. Ryan Braun and Manuel Margot’s DL stints continued my injury-riddled season and I replaced them with Santana and Franklin. They probably won’t help much, but this is NL-only so I’d rather have lousy real-life reserves as opposed to absolute zeros in two offensive slots. DeJong replaced Christian Colon in my continued search to nab a third baseman. Like Cordero, DeJong has some power/speed potential and could have a short-term opportunity due to injuries. Albers replaces Kevin Siegrist, who wasn’t very good and was on my roster for far too long. Bowman fills in for Brandon McCarthy this week. I remain conservative with my pitching strategy, though I may have to reconsider this tactic soon. I am in fourth place overall, but all the injuries on offense mean I might need to chase strikeouts instead of dumping the category as I have done thus far. The Starling Marte suspension and Margot injury leave me in a position where I am going to find myself dumping three categories if I am not careful. That’s not optimal.
Alec Asher—Orioles $13. Other bid: $1. LABR AL: $63. (BOS)
Lawr Michaels nabbed Asher in both expert AL leagues. Asher looked bad against the Astros in his first start after replacing Ubaldo Jimenez in the Orioles rotation, and the Red Sox matchup isn’t much better. Asher has been fine as a multi-inning reliever out of the pen, so perhaps Lawr is gambling on a return for Asher to this role.
Danny Farquhar—Mariners $1
As was the case in Tout, I was busy in LABR, purchasing Joseph and Marrero, to replace Ian Kinsler and James McCann. This was far from ideal, but my efforts to trade a starting pitcher for a hitter were met with two very low-end offers and silence. My offense is not cooked just yet, but I need more than a few of my players to perform better in order to avoid getting buried in every offensive category except for runs.