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Welcome back to The FAAB Review, the weekly series that looks at FAAB bidding in expert leagues to help you, the Baseball Prospectus reader, with your fantasy baseball 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.

It was another quiet week in LABR Mixed, so I’m going to look at the Tout Mixed Draft league instead.

Tout Mixed Draft
Ryan Madson $210. Other bids: $69, $37.

He doesn’t usually appear in the team’s Presidents Race, but Sunday afternoon Gerald Ford interrupted the race halfway through to announce to the crowd that their long, Nationals nightmare is over.

The Tout Mixed Draft league was the only league where either Madson or Sean Doolittle was available. As I’ve pointed out in the past, good relievers are valuable in deeper mixed leagues regardless of their save totals. It is unclear at press time who will close, or if Dusty Baker will play matchups as he has been doing most of the season. In leagues where they are available, 20 percent or so of your FAAB budget is appropriate for either pitcher. If you are desperate for saves, you can double that but you probably should choose between either Madson or Doolittle.

Trevor Rosenthal $74.

Brent Suter $69. Other bids: $41, $11. [@PIT (yesterday), @PHI]
I wrote about Suter in FAAB review this past week. His first outing was last night, so none of the bidders had any additional insights into Suter than they did the week before in the NL leagues prior to submitting their bids.

Steve Pearce $41

Alex Claudio $26. Tout Mixed Auction: $24. LABR Mixed: $1.

Can Alex Claudio be the Rangers’ closer the rest of the season? That’s surely the bet that Ray Murphy of Baseball HQ is making. It is a modest bet, but it is worth noting that Murphy preferred Claudio to Madson, who was Murphy’s second choice at $26. Matt Bush has not had a save since June 27, and while Bush has pitched well since a poor outing against the White Sox on June 30, the Rangers are using him in a set-up role. The bet on Claudio hinges upon three factors:

1. Will the Rangers try to reestablish Bush as closer?

2. Will Keone Kela be healthy enough to return (he could come off the DL later this week) and establish himself in the ninth?

3. Will the Rangers, who started the week two and a half games out in the wild card race, try to trade for a closer?

Claudio’s statistical profile doesn’t scream closer. He is a low strikeout arm who averages 87 miles-per-hour on his fastball. He survives by generating a lot of groundball outs. I can count the number of modern examples of pitchers like this who succeeded as closers on one hand, but there are examples (Brad Ziegler is the pitcher who obviously jumps off the page). It seems sensible to bet against Claudio, or in this case not to bet on him at all, but saves are saves. A bid between five to $10 seems appropriate. Pitchers like Claudio are next to worthless in mixed leagues if they are not getting saves.

Ronald Torreyes $23

Andrew Cashner $23. Other bid: $12. [@BAL (yesterday), @TB]
In an era when strikeouts are climbing, Cashner marches to the beat of a different drummer. His fastball velocity has dropped two miles an hour since 2013, although the odd thing about Cashner is that even when he was throwing gas he never generated a lot of swings and misses. But now Cashner is down to a paltry six percent swinging strike rate. His strikeout rate is a mere 4.4 per nine innings. Somehow, Cashner’s ERA was 3.54 entering last night’s start. In cases like this, I search and search through a player’s splits to see if there is anything to offer hope. In Cashner’s case, I don’t see it. He is an AL-only option and nothing more.

Jabari Blash $17. Other bid: $11.
Blash is back from Triple-A and starting in place of the injured Hunter Renfroe. He has hit for power in the minors, and in a very small sample size of 135 major league plate appearances has hit for power as well. He could provide some cheap home runs for your fantasy squad, albeit with a poor batting average, which has been the rub thus far.

Corey Spangenberg $12. Other bid: $11.
Jordan Zimmermann $12 [@KC (yesterday), @MIN]

Josh Tomlin $12. Tout Auction: $12 [@SF (yesterday), TOR]

Luis Perdomo $12. [@COL (yesterday), @SF]

Chris Tillman $2 [TEX (yesterday), HOU]

Ezequiel Carrera $2
Chad Green $1.
Other bid: $1.
Brock Holt $1

Brad Hand $1. Tout Auction: $4.

Bret Sayre didn’t make any moves in LABR. In Tout Wars, he picked up Tomlin.

Tout Wars NL

Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson were not available to bid on this week in Tout Wars.

Jose Quintana $866. Other bids: $862, $517, $385, $201, $169, $121. LABR NL: $109 (STL)

If you want to read about the fantasy impact of Quintana’s move from one side of Chicago to the other, go read George Bissell’s take. This article will focus on why teams bid what they did on Quintana.

Here is how the bidding played out in Tout Wars.

Table 1: Tout Wars NL bids, Jose Quintana

Team

Manager

Bid

FAAB to spend

Points

Rank

ESPN

Derek Carty

None

$897

68.5

4

Baseball Prospectus

Mike Gianella

$866

$880

49

10

ESPN

Tristan Cockcroft

$862

$866

96.5

2

On Roto

Scott Wilderman

$169

$861

84.5

3

Sirius XM

Craig Mish

$201

$792

30.5

12

USA Today

Steve Gardner

None

$683

60

9

Mastersball

Todd Zola

$517

$550

35.5

11

Mastersball

Brian Walton

None

$546

60.5

8

Razzball

Grey Albright

$121

$472

102

1

Yahoo

Andy Behrens

None

$437

61

7

Roto Experts

Lenny Melnick

$385

$404

64

6

Baseball HQ

Phil Hertz

None

$135

68

5

Five teams did not bid. Three teams bid but did not bid close to their maximum. For nearly all teams, the decision was likely governed by the idea that they would not win against one of the teams with $800 or more.

Carty could have assured himself a win with an $881 bid but did not bid at all. He has 43 out of a possible 48 points in wins, ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts. Adding Quintana would not help much, and Tout NL is not an aggressive trading league. It is likely he is hoping that a hitter is traded from the AL in the next two weeks.

The four people who bid close to their maximums were me, Cockcroft, Zola, and Melnick. Zola and Melnick did not have nearly enough FAAB so the bidding came down to me and Cockcroft. My bid would have won even if Cockcroft bid $866 due to the standings tiebreaker.

I cannot win this year, but there is a FAAB penalty for 2018 for teams that finish below 60 points so I am trying to avoid that. I also could trade Quintana, either for hitting or a combination of hitting and FAAB.

I dropped Jeurys Familia to obtain $110 in FAAB earlier this year and my goal was to pick up a significant AL import. So, I look at this as a trade of whatever Familia does the rest of the season (assuming he comes back) for Quintana. From that perspective, this is a win, even if Familia does return.

Table 2: LABR NL bids, Jose Quintana

Team

Manager

Bid

FAAB to spend

Points

Rank

ESPN

Derek Carty

None

$115

62

6

Yahoo

Dalton Del Don

$109

$109

37

12

ESPN

Eric Karabell

$92

$92

90

2

Colton and the Wolfman

Rick Wolf/Glenn Colton

$72

$90

89.5

3

Sandlot Shrink

Bob Radomski

$71

$87

56.5

8

Baseball HQ

Doug Dennis

$66

$71

61

7

USA Today

Steve Gardner

$10

$65

97

1

Mastersball

Brian Walton

$40

$46

47.5

11

Yakkertech

Steve Moyer

$28

$33

53.5

9

Roto Experts

Lenny Melnick

None

$23

67

4

NFBC

Greg Ambrosius/Shawn Childs

$11

$21

66.5

5

Rotowire

Derek Van Riper

$19

$19

52.5

10

Carty is in a similar position in LABR as he is in Tout. His pitching is great, his offense is awful, and while getting Quintana would help a little more in LABR waiting for a hitter is likely the more prudent course of action.

Most of the bidders in LABR bid most or all their remaining FAAB on Quintana, except for Gardner. He is first in every pitching category except saves so is also hoping a top hitter crosses over, preferably one who can steal bases.

Del Don won Quintana by spending all his FAAB. He is in last place and there are no penalties for finish last in LABR, but I have no quarrel with this strategy. Finishing last in any league stinks. Finishing last in an expert league is painful.

Magneuris Sierra $53. Other bid: $1.

Sierra is back, this time due to injuries to Cardinals outfielders Stephen Piscotty and Randall Grichuk. Sierra will play regularly the next week or two, and offers stolen base potential for NL-only fantasy managers and little else.

Jabari Blash $23. Other bids: $13, $12, $0.

Blash was profiled above in the mixed league section of this article.

Chad Bettis $15
Chris Heisey $13
Sean Rodriguez $5
Jesse Winker $1

George Kontos $1
Jared Hughes $0

LABR AL
Garrett Cooper $6. Tout AL: $145.

Entering 2017, Cooper was not considered a prospect in any circles and looked like organizational depth. But he was having a strong year at Triple-A and the Yankees made a minor trade with the Brewers to try yet another first base solution. Yes, it was at Colorado Springs but even taking park factors into account it was a much better season than Cooper has ever had. I would have bid a couple of bucks on him had I needed a corner infielder. I’m not a fan of the $145 bid in Tout but the $1,000 budget in that league does lead to some uneven bids, particularly in the second half when some teams have a lot of money left. It is possible that the Yankees trade for a first baseman and both Cooper and Ji-Man Choi are displaced in the next week or two. Something else to consider is that Cooper has only faced lefties thus far. He could be on the bad side of a platoon and even if the Yankees stand pat his at bats could be limited.

Zack Granite $3. Other bids: $3, $1.

Zack Granite would have been a great name for an ancillary character in The Flintstones. Perhaps he could have been one of Fred’s bowling buddies, or a new neighbor on the other side of Fred’s house who made Barney feel threatened or inadequate. Or maybe he could have been a new employee at Slate Industries who did his job so well that it made Fred jealous. I would say the possibilities are endless, but this isn’t true. For a show that took place in prehistoric times (or did it?) and featured appliances that were animals, The Flintstones had a limited imagination when it came to plots.

Granite received a significant boost to his fantasy value when Byron Buxton went on the DL. He could play every day and be a significant speed source. However, he is going to need to improve on his 1-for-14 start.

I bid a dollar. I like Granite but with only $30 left in FAAB I didn’t want to go past this for what would be a temporary replacement for Kevin Kiermaier.

Domingo German $1
Alex Claudio $1
Adam Rosales $1

Cockcroft purchased Claudio. The fantasy managers in LABR don’t believe in him either.

I bought Rosales for a dollar to replace Tyler Wade. It isn’t an exciting bid, and barring a trade my middle infield in LABR is going to stink for the rest of the season. My hope is that enough Athletics are traded so that Rosales lucks into regular at bats. I do not have a lot of hope.

I also made a trade, flipping Masahiro Tanaka to Colton and Wolf for Ken Giles. I have faith in Tanaka going forward, but I saw an opportunity to pick up points in saves and ERA/WHIP as well. I will lose in strikeouts but will stream starting pitchers the rest of the season and hope to have some luck on the FAAB wires as well.