In this year of FAAB (at least for my early-season columns), I have been thinking out loud about my concerns about the devaluation of free agent allocation dollars, using National League Tout Wars to help illustrate my points.
One factor I did not mention in earlier columns is what appeared to be a minor adjustment in the Tout Wars rules for 2013, but in reality is very significant. Driven by a majority of the league participants, the change is to remove the $10 minimum for all Vickrey bids over $10.
For example, in past years, had I bid $50 for Tony Cingrani and been the only bidder, I would have to pay $10 for him. If that same situation would have occurred in 2013, my cost would be just $1. (Had there been another bidder lower than me, I would pay $1 more than that offer.)
In other words, all things equal, Tout Wars FAAB will not be exhausted as quickly in 2013 as in prior years as the average dollar spent per player should decline.
In my last column, I looked at Tout spending by month in the NL-only league over the last three seasons. This time, we will dig into the top expenditures each month in 2010 through 2012.
Six months times three years means there were 18 top acquisitions. In reality, I will review just 14 of them here. The reason why is that twice in 2010 and 2011, there were multiple $10 players (reference the Vickrey discussion above).
In addition to the players and the amount of the winning bid, I looked up their maximum 5x5 statistical contribution to their new NL Tout teams that season. I say “maximum” since these players were not rostered the very day they entered into the NL pool. Further, they were not required to be in the active lineup other than for the first period after being acquired.
Top player acquisitions per month - National League Tout Wars, 2010-2012
A few observations by year.
2012 - Of the four hitters, only Alex Presley delivered much. Even in his case, the batting average left a lot to be desired. Matt Adams could have been a nice pickup had he remained healthy or if Tout was a keeper league (which it is not). $83 for continued disappointment from Travis Snider should have almost been expected. Brandon League’s six late saves after joining the Dodgers was a relatively good buy.
2011 - Dee Gordon’s 24 steals and .304 batting average over the final two-thirds of the season helped justify the $66 spent on him. Mark Ellis’ 25 RBI over three months was not terrible, but $41 was not cheap, either. $83 for Edwin Jackson brought five wins and 51 strikeouts during August and September. By then, there wasn’t much else around to spend money on.
2010 – Both Neil Walker and Pat Burrell’s last career hurrah provided good return. At the other end of the spectrum, $52 for five steals, 17 runs scored and an otherwise empty line from Scott Podsednik seemed no bargain.
Of course, these are not the only players acquired via FAAB during those seasons nor were they the most impactful ones – just the most costly each month.
My conclusion is that the best players added may not be the most expensive acquisitions, so keep plugging away in hopes of catching lightning in a bottle. Just don’t expect it to happen and perhaps you will not be disappointed.
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.