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Monday 23rd Oct 2017

Twenty-five down, one to go. For our last FAAB report, we'll combine both Tout Wars and LABR into one report. I'll hold Todd's Take until the end at which point I'll share what I feel is the best FAAB system.

Before we move onto the pick-ups, I'd like to thank my colleagues Lawr, Brian, Rob, Perry and Zach for their weekly commentary. In addition, a special thank you goes to USA Today's Steve Gardner for taking the time to send along the LABR FAAB results.

Good luck taking down your leagues. Hopefully we helped sort out a player or two along the way.





TWalker, Sea 12 Ron Shandler 12 Rick Wolf/Glenn Colton 11
JBurton, Min 1 Steve Moyer 6
BBoesch, LAA 1 Steve Moyer 6
CWalker, Bal 1 Mike Podhorzer 6



Rob Leibowitz' Commentary

With the league all but decided, the few remaining decent players were picked up by owners scrapping for every point they can get in an effort to avoid the Tout Wars penalty of losing $1 FAAB next year for every point they finish below 60 this year.




FGalvis, Phi 19 Scott Wilderman 19 Peter Kreutzer 18 Steve Gardner 10
Phil Hertz 3
JBour, Mia 19 Scott Wilderman 28 Peter Kreutzer 18 Tristan H. Cockcroft 15
Phil Hertz 3 Brian Walton 0
RZimmerman, Was 16 Tristan H. Cockcroft 34 Derek Carty 15 Mike Gianella 6
Phil Hertz 3 Brian Walton 0
EButler, Col 16 Peter Kreutzer 18 Derek Carty 15 Phil Hertz 2
AChafin, Ari 3 Mike Gianella 5 Peter Kreutzer 18 Phil Hertz 2
YFlande, Col 2 Peter Kreutzer
TMedica, SD 1 Tristan H. Cockcroft 15 Peter Kreutzer 18 Phil Hertz 2
AOttavino, Col 1 Derek Carty 15
RJohnson, Mia 1 Phil Hertz 3
CCulberson, Col 0 Peter Kreutzer 0
JJeffress, Mil 0 Steve Gardner 0


JWalden, Atl Derek Carty 15
RKalish, ChC Phil Hertz 3
RSantiago, Cin Peter Kreutzer 0

Brian Walton's Commentary

With the most money remaining, Scott Wilderman spent $19 each on two hitters, Phillies infielder Freddy Galvis and first baseman Justin Bour of Miami. Scott hit his $19 exactly for Galvis, while offering $28 via Vickrey for Bour.

In the last week, Galvis doubled his home run and RBI totals for the season after launching two long balls and plating six and bringing his season batting average up to .165. Bour, 26, hit his first career homer over the weekend and may continue to get starts ahead of Garrett Jones as the Marlins’ once-promising season grinds to its end.

The return, albeit limited, of Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was a major source of bidding this week. Originally drafted for $21 by Peter Kreutzer, Zimmerman was returned to the free agent pool as part of a FAAB reclaim. This time around, he drew $16 ($34 Vickrey) from league leader Tristan H. Cockcroft.

Speaking of Kreutzer, Rotoman made the final large bid of the week, paying $16 ($18 Vickrey) for Rockies starter Eddie Butler. The 23-year-old is a top prospect, but is making a big step up from an uneven Double-A summer. The right-hander did allow just one run over six innings last week, but the opponent was Arizona. It is unclear whether or not Butler will be given a second start during the final week.

In closing, it has been fun bringing you insight into the NL Tout Wars transactions this season and hope our efforts have helped yours.




KLobstein, Det 13 Derek Van Riper 20 Tim Heaney 19 David Gonos 12
Scott Swanay 11 Fred Zinkie 3 Al Melchior 0
RNolasco, Min 12 David Gonos 25 Derek Van Riper 20 Tim Heaney 19
Scott Pianowski 15 Scott Swanay 11 Derek Van Riper 6
Fred Zinkie 3
CBassitt, CWS 12 David Gonos 12 Scott Swanay 11
RErlin, SD 12 Tim Heaney 19 Scott Pianowski 15 Scott Swanay 11
Al Melchior 5 Nando DiFino 4 Fred Zinkie 3
NMartinez, Tex 4 Derek Van Riper 20 Scott Swanay 11 Fred Zinkie 3
ROdor, Tex 1 David Gonos 8 Zach Steinhorn 19 Ray Flowers 9
Fred Zinkie 0
JBurton, Min 1 Ray Flowers 13
AAmarista, SD 1 Ray Flowers 9 Fred Zinkie 0
KGibson, Min 1 Scott Swanay 11 Tim Heaney 19 Derek Van Riper 6
ODespaigne, SD 1 Zach Steinhorn 19 Scott Pianowski 15
CJoseph, Bal 1 Al Melchior 1
MGonzalez, Bal 1 Fred Zinkie 3 Zach Steinhorn 19 Al Melchior 0
JLocke, Pit 1 Fred Zinkie 3
RCastillo, Bos 1 Fred Zinkie 1
DPeralta, Ari 0 Fred Zinkie 1 Al Melchior 0
RRua, Tex 0 Zach Steinhorn 19 Fred Zinkie 1
EInciarte, Ari 0 Fred Zinkie 1
JParedes, Bal 0 Fred Zinkie 0


IDavis, Pit Zach Steinhorn 19
RFlaherty, Bal Ray Flowers 9
YEscobar, TB Ray Flowers 9
BCrawford, SF Ray Flowers 9
JBour, Mia Fred Zinkie 1
JSmolinksi, Tex Fred Zinkie 1
RGrossman, Hou Fred Zinkie 1
CVazquez, Bos Al Melchior 1
DRuf, Phi Al Melchior 0
AHechavarria, Mia Fred Zinkie 0
MAviles, Cle Fred Zinkie 0
PGosselin, Atl Fred Zinkie 0

Zach Steinhorn's Commentary

What do Kyle Lobstein, Ricky Nolasco, Chris Bassitt and Robbie Erlin have in common? All four are two-start pitchers for the season's final week. What do Derek Van Riper, David Gonos and Tim Heaney have in common? All three can very easily either gain or lose ground in both the strikeouts and wins categories. Of the four pitchers, I'm most optimistic about Nolasco, who sports a 1.35 ERA and 1.05 WHIP over his last three starts, but all of these guys are risky. Van Riper, Gonos and Heaney must have concluded that the potential gain in wins and strikeouts outweighs the potential damage in ERA and WHIP, a calculation that is much easier to make with only one week left in the season.

Even though he will be making only one start, Odrisamer Despaigne was my primary pitching target. In eight home starts this year, Despaigne is 3-1 with a 1.83 ERA and the Rockies rank dead last in the Majors in runs scored on the road. All of the numbers say that a strong outing is a near certainty, which probably means he will be terrible!

Well, my one-week long experiment with starting Garrett Jones at CI was a flop and Billy Butler continues to do absolutely nothing, so let's now go with Ryan Rua, who is swinging a hot bat while getting regular playing time for the last place Rangers.




JMarisnick, Hou 7 Brent Hershey 15 Ray Murphy 6 Nicholas Minnix 0
Tim McLeod 0
EMujica, Bos 1 Nicholas Minnix 5 Tim McLeod 0
JBurton, Min 1 Perry Van Hook 24 Nicholas Minnix 5 Tim McLeod 0
RErlin, SD 1 Brent Hershey 30 Nicholas Minnix 5
LMorrison, Sea 1 Ray Murphy 6 Nicholas Minnix 0 Tim McLeod 0
KLobstein, Det 1 Adam Ronis 11 Perry Van Hook 17
ACraig, Bos 1 Ray Murphy 6
RCastillo, Bos 1 Brent Hershey 25
DRuf, Phi 1 Brent Hershey 10
YMolina, StL 1 Brent Hershey 15
JSmolinksi, Tex 1 Perry Van Hook 12
ZPutnam, CWS 0 Tim McLeod 0 Nicholas Minnix 5
CCoghlan, ChC 0 Nicholas Minnix 0
DAckley, Sea 0 Nicholas Minnix 0 Tim McLeod 0
AAmarista, SD 0 Nicholas Minnix 0 Perry Van Hook 12 Tim McLeod 0
COwings, Ari 0 Tim McLeod 0 Nicholas Minnix 0
CGillaspie, CWS 0 Tim McLeod 0 Nicholas Minnix 0


JParedes, Bal Perry Van Hook 12
TWalker, Sea Adam Ronis 11 Nicholas Minnix 5
MGarza, Mil Adam Ronis 11
TMatzek, Col Adam Ronis 11
KHendricks, ChC Nicholas Minnix 5
CMaybin, SD Nicholas Minnix 0
JJay, StL Nicholas Minnix 0
PGosselin, Atl Nicholas Minnix 0
RRua, Tex Nicholas Minnix 0
YEscobar, TB Nicholas Minnix 0
CCron, LAA Tim McLeod 0

Perry Van Hook's Commentary

Things were a lot more interesting in the TOUT mixed draft league. While nine of the fifteen teams made no bids for the final week the six who did saw some strange results. The two highest bids – Brent Hershey’s $30 try for San Diego SP Robbie Erlin, and my $29 bid for new Twins closer Jared Burton both were Vickrey reduced to one dollar winning bids. Even my underbid in that group, $17 for Tiger SP Kyle Lobstein went for one dollar to Adam Ronis who had bid $11 hoping to capture a good two start week.

My second bid of $12 for Rangers OF Jake Smolinski was also a one dollar winning bid.

Meanwhile Tim McLeod who is tied for the league lead at 111 points with me was out of money but no problem as with the paucity of bids he was able to get Chris Owings, Conor Gillaspie and Zach Putnam – not his first choices in each group but then he had no FAAB left and got all for $0 bids.





Jordan Schafer, MIN $18 NFBC/Stats, Inc. 18



Perry Van Hook's Commentary.

Not much to report from the AL for the last period as eight of us had no FAAB units left.

In fact there was only one bid as Larry Schechter bid his last $18 to add OF Jordan Schafer.




Rickie Weeks, MIL $9 RotoExperts 9
Travis Wood, CHC $2 NFBC/Stats, Inc. 2
Andrew Chafin, ARI $2 NFBC/Stats, Inc. 2 RotoWire - DVR 2


Yohan Flande, COL NFBC/Stats, Inc. 2
Blake Treinen, WSH NFBC/Stats, Inc. 2
Eddie Butler, COL NFBC/Stats, Inc. 2
David Hale, ATL NFBC/Stats, Inc. 2
David Holmberg, CIN NFBC/Stats, Inc. 2

Lawr Michaels' Commentary

The final LABR NL transaction period was a quiet one, with three teams involved with three bids, although there were just a pair of winners.

RotoExperts dropped $9 for the rights to Rickie Weeks, as Lenny Melnick made his last push for the title.

Meanwhile, NFBC/Stats guys Greg Ambrosius and Shawn Childs bagged Travis Wood for a couple of bucks, and also won the rights to Andrew Chafin for another deuce.

I actually finished the season with $18 in my till, and the reality is over the past month I ran a full lineup that was generally as good as the replacements would make it.

What that really means is my lineup was obviously not that good, or I would not have finished in 11th, with just under 50 points.

However, I am not really sure how much differently I would approach the draft. I would gamble $21 on Mark Trumbo, and Matt Kemp proved to be worth the $20 I dumped on him. OTOH, Max Venable and I shall not be sharing roster space anytime in the near future.

But in another year, this combination of players might well be a winner.

That's why we play the game, right?

Thanks for following this year.




Jeff Locke, PIT $12 Baseball HQ 12
Rusney Castillo, BOS $10 ESPN.com 10
Robbie Erlin, SD $11 Baseball HQ 11 MLB.com 1
Jimmy Paredes, BAL $1 MLB.com 1
Aaron Harang, ATL $1 MLB.com 1
Ryan Rua, TEX $1 ESPN.com 1


Wilmer Flores, NYM MLB.com 1
David Freese, LAA MLB.com 1

Todd Zola's Commentary

First place is still up for grabs with Steve Gardner from USA Today looking to track down Ray Murphy from BaseballHQ with Fred Zinkie from mlb.com lurking. Steve is out of FAAB so he's relying on his current squad to lake up the ground. Ray had a little something saved for a rainy day and opted to get more starts.

I envy my colleagues and their cat and mouse game for points. While I won't call this a lost year, things definitely did not go as planned. Something I try to keep in mind is to judge the process, not the outcomes. On draft day, I went with a contrarian strategy of not forcing starting pitching and instead opting for two stud closers then back-filling with second and third tier starters. Let's just say that the reason I am not battling for the title is not because of that decision. This isn't to imply that I didn't find faults elsewhere I aim to correct. I did. I'm just saying to look at things objectively.

Todd's Take

Playing in Tout Wars and LABR the past several seasons as well as participating in other industry leagues and the high stakes arena, I've gained significant perspective with regards to the various free agent acquisition formats. And while no system if perfect, there is one I feel matches the closest to my philosophies.

By means of background, I have an issue with the direction this fine hobby has taken. While I fully understand the need and have no problem adapting to any scenario, it bugs me that most of the changes to the game are designed to reduce risk. Many are disguised as strategy, but I snicker at that notion since much of what is passed off as strategy is really just common sense.

Examples are the addition of reserve lists allowing free movement of players to and from active status, shifting of 4x4 scoring to 5x5 and daily (or at least more than once-a-week) transactions. In one way or another, these are all parachutes, softening the landing of thought processes that no longer entail as much risk as when the game was invented.

Truth be told, FAAB itself falls under the umbrella of reducing risk, though in a vacuum I have no issue with it, given its need in large part results from the presence of reserve lists, If we're going to have a bench and ability to release players from our squads freely, I prefer the dynamics of FAAB over waiver claims.

There are two elements of FAAB that some leagues use that introduce even more safety nets to the process. The first is Vickrey with the second being $0 bids. My system would not utilize either.

I understand the arguments for Vickrey bidding. It's impossible to properly guage market value of a player. It's impossible to relate FAAB dollars to auction dollars. That said, the overriding principle that pushes me away from Vickrey is owning your bid. Above all else, you should be charged what you're willing to pay. Ask ten people how they arrive at that amount and ten different answers will emanate. And that's a problem and an argument for Vickrey. But again, the most important factor should be how much the person is willing to pay. At least to me.

As far as $0 bids go, that's another buffer. The thinking is, "I'll go all-in and if I get the player, I can still make $0 bids when I need a player." Obviously, the repercussion is picking from the entrails of available players, but still, you have the opportunity. I'd prefer having to make a decision of how much is the player worth to me versus how much I need to leave for the rest of the season. No parachute. No safety net. Make a decision and live with the consequences.

At this point, you may assume the FAAB system used by LABR is my preference since there's no Vickrey or $0 bids. While I admit I prefer LABR over Tout Wars, the winner is....

The National Fantasy Baseball Championship, more commonly called the NFBC.

In short, the NFBC uses a budget of 1000 with no $0 bids. Why is $1000 better than $100? As mentioned, I understand the Vickrey arguments with respect to properly gauging market price. And it's not as if the problem disappears with the larger amount, but it does provide more wiggle room. Not to mention, deciding how close to going all-in while still leaving some $1 bids is facilitated with the larger total. Yeah, now I'm introducing my own parachute but having played with both 100 and 1000 budgets, I find the 1000 to be fairer.

Both Tout Wars and LABR use a rule whereby disabled players are eligible to be released while getting a rebate of FAAB dollars in proportion to the auction price. If the $1000 system were adapted, I'm sure that respective brain trusts could figure something out.

And with that, we'll conclude the weekly Mastersball FAAB reports. Thanks for your patronage and we look forward to returning next April.

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