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Saturday 16th Dec 2017

During this last week, among my baseball-related activities were to assess how I could improve my under-performing team in National League Tout Wars and of course, watching the 2014 All-Star Game from Minneapolis Tuesday night.

When encountering a friend recently with whom I had not spoken for several months, he queried me how my Tout team is doing. Surprised that I am deep in the second division, he asked me why.

My answer may have seemed a bit trite, but it was accurate. “I picked the right players in the wrong season,” was my conclusion.

That got me thinking.

As I studied the player introductions for the Mid-Summer Classic, I did not recall seeing even one member of my Tout squad. That was not a good feeling to say the least. After all, with all the injury and Sunday pitching replacements, 41 players ended up being named to the NL roster. With 12 Tout teams, my “fair share” should be close to 3 1/2.

On the broader point, I wondered if there might be any correlation between NL Tout standings and the number of National League All-Stars on each of our rosters.

In reality, I did have two All-Stars, both reserves from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Neither was part of my master plan for the 2014 season and one of them is about as tenuous as a selection could be.

I grabbed Josh Harrison as a free agent when he first came up and he has not only delivered solid stats, but also offers significant positional versatility. On the other hand, setup man Tony Watson has been sitting there unclaimed on the waiver wire almost all season long. The lefty just joined my Tout team a few weeks ago and has been on the bench all but the first week. In other words, Watson's impact on my results has been very, very small.

The league-wide details follow with a summary afterward.

Starters Tout owner
C: Jonathan Lucroy ^, Brewers Steve Gardner
1B: Paul Goldschmidt, D-backs Seth Trachtman
2B: Chase Utley, Phillies Todd Zola
SS: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies Peter Kreutzer
3B: Aramis Ramirez, Brewers Phil Hertz
OF: Andrew McCutchen, Pirates Peter Kreutzer
OF: Carlos Gomez, Brewers Lenny Melnick
OF: Yasiel Puig, Dodgers Seth Trachtman

Pitchers Tout owner
RHP: Henderson Alvarez @, Marlins Seth Trachtman
LHP: Madison Bumgarner ^, Giants Peter Kreutzer
LHP: Aroldis Chapman ^, Reds Steve Gardner
RHP: Tyler Clippard %, Nationals Mike Gianella
RHP: Johnny Cueto ^, Reds Gene McCaffrey
RHP: Zack Greinke *, Dodgers Seth Trachtman
RHP Tim Hudson %, Giants Phil Hertz
LHP: Clayton Kershaw ^, Dodgers Steve Gardner
RHP: Craig Kimbrel ^, Braves Todd Zola
RHP: Pat Neshek *, Cardinals Gene McCaffrey
RHP: Francisco Rodriguez ^, Brewers Scott Wilderman
RHP: Tyson Ross *, Padres Mike Gianella
RHP: Jeff Samardzija ^$, Cubs/A's Lenny Melnick
RHP: Alfredo Simon %, Reds Peter Kreutzer
RHP Huston Street %, Padres Seth Trachtman
RHP: Julio Teheran *, Braves Steve Gardner
RHP: Adam Wainwright ^, Cardinals Tristan H. Cockcroft
LHP: Tony Watson *, Pirates Brian Walton
RHP: Jordan Zimmermann ^, Nationals Todd Zola

Reserves Tout owner
C: Yadier Molina, Cardinals Seth Trachtman
C: Miguel Montero @, D-backs Seth Trachtman
C: Devin Mesoraco *, Reds Tristan H. Cockcroft
1B: Freddie Freeman ^, Braves Gene McCaffrey
1B: Anthony Rizzo #, Cubs Derek Carty
2B: Dee Gordon ^, Dodgers Todd Zola
2B: Daniel Murphy *, Mets Scott Wilderman
SS: Starlin Castro ^, Cubs Tristan H. Cockcroft
3B: Matt Carpenter *, Cardinals Steve Gardner
3B: Todd Frazier ^, Reds Steve Gardner
OF: Charlie Blackmon ^, Rockies Lenny Melnick
OF: Josh Harrison *, Pirates Brian Walton
OF: Hunter Pence ^, Giants Lenny Melnick
OF: Giancarlo Stanton ^, Marlins Derek Carty

^ Player ballot-elected
* Choice of manager/MLB
# Final Vote winner
@ Injury replacement
% Replaced Sunday pitcher
$ Inactive

NL Tout warrior All-Stars Standings
Seth Trachtman 7 3
Steve Gardner 6 1
Peter Kreutzer 4 5
Lenny Melnick 4 T8
Todd Zola 4 T8
Tristan H. Cockcroft 3 2
Gene McCaffrey 3 10
Derek Carty 2 4
Mike Gianella 2 6
Phil Hertz 2 7
Brian Walton 2 11
Scott Wilderman 2 12

Not surprisingly, the two teams with the most NL All-Stars sit first and third in the standings. Seth Trachtman of The Sporting News is in third place, but leads the way with seven All-Stars. USA TODAY’s Steve Gardner is leading the league currently and is second with six All-Stars.

Yet, in between them is the second-place team, managed by two-time champion Tristan H. Cockcroft of ESPN. He is doing very well despite sporting just a trio of All-Stars, as his track record indicates he knows how to win.

Further, tied with me and three others at the bottom of the heap with just a pair of All-Stars is the fourth-place team of Derek Carty. That clearly indicates that one does not need a heavy complement of All-Stars to field a competitive team.

I guess I will have to continue searching for another excuse.


Brian Walton was the 2009 National League Tout Wars champion, scoring the most points in the league’s 16-year history. He also holds the all-time NL Tout single-season records for wins and saves. His work can also be found daily at TheCardinalNation.com and thecardinalnationblog.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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