It is Tout Wars weekend: the weekend of the fantasy draft season that culminates with the convergence of the Touts in New York City.
Perhaps because we do draft in midtown Manhattan, and the joy of spending five days in the Big Apple is the catalyst. It always means some time with my cousin Richard, which is great, and it means some great food. Wings at Virgil’s, for sure, and usually great deli with Gene McCaffrey. Of course, it also means time with Brian Walton and Lord Z.
The weekend also means that I get to draft in what may indeed be the toughest league of all, AL Tout Wars.
Since the season begins Saturday night, with the Dodgers and Diamondbacks, the Tout schedule was juggled so that instead of kicking things off with the American League, we will finish things off on Sunday while the NL and Mixed auctions take place later today (note you can listen to all the drafts live on Sirius/XM, channels 87/210).
Since I have made it a tradition to put my wish list out there each season just before the draft, this year will be no different. So, here are some of the guys I am looking at, and how much I think they will cost.
Chris Sale ($25): I love having a pitching anchor—and I mean stabilizer, and not dead weight—and I think Sale is getting close to being the American League’s version of Clayton Kershaw. Well, maybe not quite so dominant, but close. I want him stabilizing me.
Colby Rasmus ($12): I wouldn’t say I have man-love for Rasmus nearly as much as I think he is both talented, and will grow up someday. I think today is someday, and he will be a tad undervalued.
Michael Brantley ($14): Kind of the same as Rasmus, though younger, more consistent, and ready to put it together. Potential 20/20, though.
Alberto Callaspo ($5): Versatile Athletic will give some on-base numbers with a little pop, while also providing position flexibity.
Yordano Ventura ($6): Perhaps Ventura will be the best barometer of the flow of the draft, depending upon when the Royals' young fireballer is nominated. I realize he could indeed go for the $6 I think he is worth, but that just as likely, Ventura could go in the $15 range. If that is the case, my mates can take the gamble.
Adrian Nieto ($1): I think I can fill my #2 catcher spot with the Rule 5 pick who is the back-up to Tyler Flowers. That means Nieto, with a .346 minor league OBP, should stay on the roster and if he can hit with more consistency than Flowers, could steal the starting job.
Luke Gregerson ($2): Perfect #3 reliever, and he might even cop a few saves.
Ian Kinsler ($15): Make or break for Kinsler as an over $10 player. I am hoping that being on the Tigers and hitting around Miguel Cabrera will help rebuild his game to the $20 range.
Dan Straily ($12): Would be solid as a #2. I think Straily is underrated still, but not for long. This is a guy with 592 minor league punch outs over 551.3 innings, to go with a 1.221 WHIP.
Leonys Martin ($15): Would love to get Martin, who along with Brantley and Rasmus will give me a nice power/speed outfield base without costing too much.Of course, there are others I covet, but for one thing, I would hate my competitors to know everything I am thinking, and for two, well, it gives if you dial into Sirius/XM Sunday, you can hear for yourselves.