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Sunday 17th Dec 2017

Just in case you haven’t fallen asleep from the Old Duck’s Friday column, maybe this one will do the trick! After taking a couple of weeks to unwind from what was an intense yet rewarding 2014 Tout Wars season, I figured that now would be a good time to look back on the year as a whole and evaluate my performance objectively. I spend a lot of time, probably way too much time, second-guessing my in-season decisions. So it’s kind of refreshing to say that this season, my good decisions far outnumbered my bad ones, and though it would have been nice to win the Mixed Auction Tout Wars league, finishing in third place out of 15 teams is an accomplishment in itself. I won’t bore you with my full roster and all that stuff. You can head over to the Tout Wars site for that information. Instead, I’ll keep it simple.



Nelson Cruz ($10) – My hope was 25 homers and 85 RBI. I got 40 homers and 108 RBI. If Cruz re-signs with the Orioles (which sounds likely), I could see 30 home runs and 100 RBI in 2015, health permitting. But would I be willing to shell out close to $30 for him, banking on a repeat performance? Not quite.

Jose Altuve ($16) – By now, it’s safe to say that Altuve is officially one of “my guys.” He’s my favorite player to watch and my favorite player to own. Expecting him to bat .341 again and swipe 56 bags might be unreasonable, but a .300 average to go along with 40 steals and around 100 runs scored (the young Astros lineup will only get better) is perfectly reasonable. It will cost at least $30 to roster him next year, and I will seriously consider taking the plunge.

Denard Span ($1) – I’ve always felt that Span was undervalued in fantasy, but I didn’t see this coming, particularly the .302 average and 31 steals. How much it will take to secure Denard’s services in March remains to be seen, and although I’m open to drafting him again, I probably won’t go much higher than ten bucks, which means I probably won’t be owning him.

Doug Fister ($9) – Strikeouts was my weakest category, and a big reason why is because I penciled in Fister for around 160 whiffs over 200 innings but received only 98 punchouts over 164 frames. But his record, ERA and WHIP were all Cy Young caliber. Look for his strikeout rate to recover in his second season in the Senior Circuit. He will be undervalued yet again.

Mark Melancon ($2) – In deeper mixed leagues, I usually shy away from drafting a third closer, opting instead to save some money and take an elite setup man who has a legitimate chance to assume stopper duties at some point during the first half of the season. Let’s just say that things worked out rather nicely with Melancon. Count on more of the same from him in 2015.


Ryan Braun ($38) – 19 homers, 81 RBI, 68 runs scored, 11 steals and a .324 OBP isn’t a bad stat line. But it’s more like a $15 stat line, at best. Braun could bring back some profit next year if his recent thumb procedure proves to be a success and results in a power restoration. But honestly, I’m tired of this guy.

Chase Headley ($15) – Something in between his 2012 and 2013 stats was the idea. Instead, we saw further regression. Headley’s hitting did improve a bit following his mid-season trade to the Yankees. If he stays with the Bombers next year, I’ll be tempted to throw a few bucks his way, especially in OBP leagues.

Desmond Jennings ($18) – Jennings used to be one of “my guys.” Not anymore. So disgusted with his sub-par performance, I traded him right around the All-Star break, which turned out to be a wise move, and not only because he missed the entire month of September due to injury. Will we ever see the former top prospect truly break out? At this point, I have my doubts.

Asdrubal Cabrera ($12) – Cabrera performed decently enough to remain in my starting lineup for the entire season. No, he didn’t pay me back for my $12 investment, but this wasn’t a disaster.

Matt Dominguez ($3) – Complaining about a $3 player might seem silly, but Dominguez continues to be a major OBP liability, which makes his adequate power contributions simply not worth it.


Henderson Alvarez ($9) – Nine bucks can’t even buy me a non-fast food dinner here in New York City, but in Tout Wars, it bought me a 2.62 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and nine wins over 17 starts. If you can live with the lack of strikeouts, Alvarez could once again net a profit.

Mark Buehrle ($1) – This one was all about timing, as I benefited from the best part of Buehrle’s season before cutting bait. How does six wins, a 1.68 ERA and 1.16 WHIP across eight starts sound? The veteran southpaw might just be the most boring fantasy option in all of baseball and should be left undrafted in the vast majority of mixed leagues.

Neftali Feliz ($12) – Making his return from Tommy John surgery, Feliz proved that he can still be a dependable big league closer despite the diminished velocity, converting 13 of his 14 save chances while posting a 1.99 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. He will likely open 2015 as the Rangers’ ninth inning man and it would not be surprising to see his strikeout rate improve. In mixed leagues, he’s a solid second closer with some upside.


Shawn Kelley ($16) – As a David Robertson owner, this was a purchase I had to make. The good news was that Robertson needed just the minimum 15 days on the DL. The bad news was that the 16 FAAB dollars spent on Kelley bought me only one save. But I’ll take the good news over the bad news any day.

Rafael Montero ($16) – The Mets called up Montero right around the same time they promoted Jacob deGrom. I won Montero for $16. Eventual league champ Derek Van Riper won deGrom for $1. Need I say more?

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