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.
Luke Weaver $4. Other bids: $4, $1. Tout Draft: $134 (SD)
One of the more difficult things to do as an analyst—fantasy or otherwise— is to acknowledge when your biases might come into play. Weaver is a pitcher whom everyone at Baseball Prospectus seems to dislike, both on the scouting and fantasy side. We all see a career for him, but more as a back-end starter rather than as a pitcher who will ever live up to his first-round pedigree.
This is not to suggest that Weaver ever will be an ace. But perhaps we are overcorrecting, and there is more to Weaver than a fifth starter with a strong fastball and little else. At the very least, he is a good strikeout play who is facing the Padres this week, a team whose offense has the second-highest strikeout percentage in baseball. In the short-term, I’d roll with Weaver. In the long-term, I’d rather consider Weaver for my fantasy staff than some low-strikeout pitcher with a superior DRA who is generating weak contact but not whiffs.
Mike Montgomery $2. Other bid: $2. Tout Draft $30 (@CIN)
It feels like I have written about Montgomery at least a dozen times this year in the FAAB Review. But no, this is only the third time I have taken fingers to keyboard to write about Double-M (cool nickname? No?). Montgomery is interesting in mixed leagues when he is starting, and the Cubs again have a need with Jon Lester on the DL for a couple of turns through the rotation. He has a 5.13 ERA as a starting pitcher and a 2.57 ERA as a reliever, although his FIP in both roles is nearly identical. Montgomery’s strikeout rate is higher as a starter, so he is perfectly fine as a streamer in deeper mixed formats.
Ezequiel Carrera $1
Juan Minaya $1
Kyle Gibson $1 (@CHW, @TOR)
Clayton Richard $1 (@STL, @MIA). Tout Auction: $37
Nicky Delmonico $1. Other bid: $1. Tout Auction: $55. Tout Draft: $36
Matt Olson $1
Kendall Graveman $1 (TEX)
Erasmo Ramirez $1 (@ATL)
With only six weeks (!) left in the regular season, pickups and bids are much more about need than anything else. In some leagues, it is possible that Minaya goes for $10 or more, but in LABR he only cost a dollar. Starting pitching was the order of the day in a very quiet week, as six of the 13 winning bids were for rotation arms.
Tout Wars NL
Brandon Nimmo $25. Other bids: $1, $0. LABR NL: $2.
(looks at Mets roster) how long was I on vacation?
Seriously though (adjusts tie), the Mets roster has undergone a radical transformation since their fire sale began July 27 with the trade of Lucas Duda to the Rays. Nimmo will be one of the biggest beneficiaries, as he is likely to get most of the at-bats in center field after Curtis Granderson was traded to the Dodgers. Many scouts believed Nimmo would develop power as he matured, but he has mostly been a contact hitter with good defense throughout his professional career. I have my doubts about Nimmo as a long-term solution as a starting outfielder, but in 2017 he will get significant playing time down the stretch. In an OBP league like Tout, Nimmo’s batting eye gives him an additional boost.
Chris Stewart $22
Tyler Lyons $15. Other bid: $0.
Lyons has been phenomenal in the second half, allowing no runs and only seven baserunners with 17 strikeouts in 13 innings. He does not have any saves because he has primarily pitched in the seventh and eighth inning for the Cardinals. He could vulture a few wins and/or saves down the stretch.
Grey Albright’s (Razzball) 17.5 point lead has more to do with the lack of activity in Tout Wars NL than anything else.
Andrew Heaney $10. Other bids: $2, $1. (TEX)
Sixteen months after tearing his UCL in his first start of 2016, Heaney returned to the mound Friday, allowing seven hits and five runs in five innings against the Orioles in Baltimore. He also allowed four home runs. Heaney’s velocity was not quite where it was pre-Tommy John, but he also was throwing significantly more changeups than he had in 2015 pre-injury. Heaney is an intriguing arm/talent but in redraft leagues there is significant risk to go with a moderate reward. He gets a big boost from his home park but even so my wariness remains. This is particularly true in LABR, where he cannot be stashed/reserved for his tougher starts.
Juan Minaya $4. Other bids: $3, $2.
This bid is mine. With $22 of FAAB remaining and with three teams ahead of me in overall FAAB, I decided to be somewhat aggressive with Minaya, the putative White Sox closer. Minaya picked up two saves this past week and while the White Sox are not projected to win very many games, this does not mean that Minaya cannot save a handful of contests down the stretch. With two closers already in tow (Ken Giles and Craig Kimbrel) on my LABR squad, I decided to add a third in an attempt to maximize my impact in the category. I’m not a big believer in Minaya’s stuff, but this could be the last chance anyone has at a closer via FAAB the rest of the way.
Motter and Stassi were my other buys this week. Motter replaced Tyler Wade, who has been worse than a zero since I picked him up thanks to his awful batting average. There are no guarantees Motter will play, but his power/speed combination off the Mariners bench is better than Wade’s no power/can’t steal bases of the bench combination, since the Yankees had no interest in using Wade at all. Stassi replaces Russell Martin, who I chose not to replace this past week.
I also made a trade, flipping Melky Cabrera to Ray Flowers of Sirius XM for Alex Cobb. I would have strongly preferred dealing an outfielder for a middle infielder to replace Wade, but there was absolutely no market. My excess in the outfield came because I FAABed Derek Fisher earlier this year; as a result, I had six outfielders and Victor Martinez when Kevin Kiermaier returned this weekend. Cobb replaces Jordan Montgomery, who was sent to the minors and probably will be on a strict innings limit/pitch count for the rest of the season. Entering the week, seven teams were within 5 1/2 points of first place in LABR AL. While some separation could occur in the next month and a half, it is just as likely that this race will go down to the wire with multiple squads.