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Wednesday 21st Feb 2018

 Once again, it was indeed Tout Time, and Saturday I bought my team for the the American League, as many of you know from the blitz of Tweets and great coverage on Sirius XM Fantasy Radio.

Of course, part of the addition of social media to the crazy electronic world in which we live, is that everyone is now an expert at everything. Mind you, as I have noted for the last 23 years, I am not an expert at much of anything.

With respect to fantasy baseball, I can play pretty well, and I can write a little better than I play, but surely there are a lot of humans out there who probably play better than me. If I do have a strength, it is--I hope--in being as fearless as possible in trying things, which as we know works pretty well sometimes, but also can fail majestically just as often.

But, I do sort of liken criticisms to how any of us might draft to parenting: That is, everyone I know who doesn't have kids always knows exactly how to handle other people's children.

Not that I feel defensive. After my $40 experiment on Clayton Kershaw in NL LABR, for Tout I felt like going back to my roto-roots, and simply draft a somewhat quiet, steady team featuring a roster full of good everyday players. I tried to avoid superstars and paying more than $25 on any player.

That said, I had pegged two guys--Chris Sale and Yoenis Cespedes--for that $25 tag, and did get the Detroit outfielder, but Sale went over, so I adjusted.

But essentially I was looking for a cost bottom line that in the context of the respective player's skill set would turn a profit of a couple of bucks.

Anyway, here is my team with basic thoughts. You can review the entire league here

C Josh Phegley ($3): Athletics back-up should get some time behind the versatile Stephen Vogt and has some good pop. A .255-5-32 line will do it.

C Mike Zunino ($9): You know I like his 22 homers last year: I am guessing his minor league .365 will push the average up.

1B Billy Butler ($15): Because 2014 was a down year, we tend to dismiss that it was still pretty good. Bounceback with a new team!

2B Micah Johnson ($9): Speedster looks like he has the Keystone slot locked going into the season.

3B Brett Lawrie ($15): New environ, playing on grass, and some position flexibility.

SS Alexei Ramirez ($22): Power/Speed/Generally healthy.

MI Eduardo Escobar ($1): The perfect MI, Escobar qualifies at second, third, short and even outfield in some leagues. .275-6-37 line last year.

CI Nick Castellanos ($16): Sophomore campaign on a good hitting team should pay off.

OF Kole Calhoun ($23): Everyone knows I love this guy: I thought he would cost a few bucks more.

OF Dustin Ackley ($8): Raked in college, raked in the Minors, and I think this year he will rake in the Majors.

OF Allen Craig ($7): Forgotten man could surprise us all. Or better, get traded somewhere and get a new start.

SW Marco Estrada ($2): In line to be the fifth starter in Toronto, Estrada has good WHIP/strikeout potential. Plugging him at swing gives me an extra potential starter, as you can never have enough.

OF Yoenis Cespedes ($21): Cheaper than I imagined, love him hitting behind Miguel Cabrera.

U Collin Cowgill ($2): Should get some nice playing time with Josh Hamilton down. I think if he gets 350-plus at-bats he will flourish.

P Yordano Ventura ($16): Adjusted after Sale, Ventura has enormous K and ace potential.

P Chris Archer ($17): Another up-and-comer, with big upside, going into his third season.

P Ervin Santana ($10): Ervin misses a lot of bats, and is very steady for the price.

P Chris Tillman ($14): Another steady hurler who still has his best years ahead.

P Kendall Graveman ($4): Looks like he has a spot in the rotation, along with a lot of upside in a pitcher's park.

P Jesse Hahn ($7): In the Oakland rotation, I think Hahn has very good things ahead.

P Tyler Clippard ($10): At best, he gets me saves and a surplus: at worst, he gets me innings, WHIP, and maybe some wins.

P Joe Nathan ($9): Iffy, but I don't think as iffy as everyone else. Should be good for at least 15 conversions.

RES Brock Holt: Versatile bat to plug in just about anywhere.

RES Carlos Sanchez: Handcuff to Johnson.

RES Grant Green: Like Ackley, Green has hit everywhere so far. If he can do it in the Majors, he has a job.

RES Barry Zito: Sentimental, but I still think he could be the new Jamie Moyer.

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