Last week, the subject was using free agent allocation budgets, or FAAB, with National League Tout Wars as the example.
Now, through three weeks, $121 has been spent by the 12 NL Tout league owners, or about ten percent of the full-season totals.
(In reality, the total is reduced by $30 due to penalties assessed three owners for low finishes last season. However, some FAAB re-enters the system when owners choose to drop 60-day disabled list players and reclaim the money spent on them. The plusses and minuses mean totals are not static.)
Digging into the numbers a bit more, there is one owner spending heavily with the other 11 of us basically watching. Rotowire’s Chris Liss has just $17 remaining after acquiring the two free agent plums available in the first three weeks – Miami’s Jose Fernandez and Cincinnati’s Tony Cingrani.
The rest of the league? The remaining 11 owners have spent an average of just $6 each. Personally, I have used $7 to date.
Though any free agent could have been had for a single dollar the week prior to his call-up, a bidding war ensued for both hurlers once their immediate path to the Majors was cleared.
Two weeks after Fernandez joined his roster as a relative bargain at $22, Liss had to be feeling good. As a result, he pushed his entire balance of $69 to the center of the table in an attempt to secure Cingrani.
Liss ended up having to fork over $52 of it, but he again got his man. With the Vickrey system in place, the high bid is reduced to $1 more than the second highest offer. That was from Baseball HQ’s Phil Hertz at $51.
Like many openings, both opportunities were created by injuries to others. Cingrani assumed the rotation spot of Johnny Cueto and could remain among the Reds’ starting five at the expense of disappointing Mike Leake even when Cueto is ready to return.
Out of the chute in 2013, the Marlins saw two members of their rotation hit the disabled list in Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez, both with shoulder problems. Fernandez was asked to make the leap from A-Advanced to the big leagues and responded well in his first two starts. The 20-year-old yielded just one earned run in 11 innings on five hits and three walks.
As fate would have it, Cingrani’s Major League debut was set for Thursday night at Great American Ball Park. His opponent was none other than Fernandez. More importantly, the lineup he had to face was that of the anemic Marlins, currently holding MLB’s worst record - to no one’s surprise.
On the other hand, Fernandez was not up against the Mets or Phillies, division foes with an aggregate record of four games under .500. This time, the challenge was the hard-hitting Reds - in their launching pad, no less.
Perhaps the nerves were present, as the first run was scored on a Fernandez wild pitch. He went on to yield a total of five tallies in just four frames. All is not lost, however, as Fernandez should fatten his stat line against the Twins this coming week.
Cingrani did not disappoint the home fans. Though the left-hander allowed eight baserunners in five innings, he also fanned eight. Only one Marlin crossed home plate. The Reds pen did their job and Cingrani picked up his first Major League victory.
As one would expect, Liss had both hurlers in his lineup for the week. In fact, he was required to play Cingrani. The net result on Thursday was +3 points in the standings for Liss. With a starting staff that already included Stephen Strasburg, Jeff Samardzija, Hyun-jin Ryu and Shelby Miller, it is not surprising that the Rotowire personality is among the league leaders in all pitching categories.
At this point, Liss’ strategy of spending big and early looks to be paying off handsomely.
Brian Walton was the 2009 National League Tout Wars champion, scoring the most points in the league’s 14-year history. Though he is the only one to remember or care, he also finished second in each of the two subsequent seasons. His work can also be found daily at TheCardinalNation.com and thecardinalnationblog.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.