As you’re probably aware by now, the Mastersball crew spent last weekend in the Big Apple, participating in the Tout Wars festivities. Along with Brian Walton, I represent the site in the National League Auction. Instead of giving you the standard pick-by-pick review, I thought I’d offer my reasoning for a couple of purchases that I don’t usually make. This will serve as an excellent example of how really understanding your rules and the repercussions can aid on draft day.
By means of reminder, Tout Wars has a rule whereby teams are penalized a FAAB unit for each point they fall below a set threshold. For the first time since the implementation of the rule, I’m beginning the season with less than the maximum 100. I ended the 2014 season with 53.5 points which translates to 93 FAAB units.
Even though trading of FAAB is allowed, and we are able to get FAAB rebated for players put on the disabled list, I am going in with the mindset that I’m out of the running for having the hammer at the July 31 trading deadline, so I may as well spend early and often. Further, if I’m going to spend early and often, I should design my roster to best take advantage of this.
The two paths I opted to use were dedicating a couple of roster spots to $1 end-gamers as well as buying a couple of promising minor leaguers that aren’t likely to break camp but that should be up my mid-season. In essence, the prospects would serve as my trade deadline acquisitions, hopefully a bit earlier. Initially I’d use reserves to backfill the open spots, then I’d be aggressive with FAAB looking for an upgrade.
The $1 players I picked up are Charlie Culberson and Chris Denorfia. In reserves, I backed them up with Daniel Descalso and Brandon Barnes. I’m not thrilled that I’m locked into a shortstop only for Culberson having blocked the middle via buying a pair of second basemen in Kolten Wong and Daniel Murphy. That said, Descalso also qualifies at shortstop so I have the market cornered on potential Troy Tulowitzki replacements.
The players sent to the farm on my active roster are Jose Peraza, Maikel Franco and Robbie Erlin. There’s a very good chance that all three will be up and contribute this season. Peraza cost me three bucks, Franco was double that while Erlin was a buck as my last pick. Peraza is presently at swingman, so Barnes or Descalso could be promoted, or if I wanted to drop someone, I could FAAB a pitcher into the spot. Franco is occupying corner but will be replaced by Tommy Medica. I have better opportunity to upgrade Medica as compared to shortstop since either a first baseman or third baseman will do the trick. Assuming he’s ready by opening day, I took a shot that Joel Peralta would be selected to fill in for Kenley Jansen and get me some saves from a reserve pick, activating him for Erlin.
I really didn’t do a very good job of acquiring multi-position players, which would have aided this tactic. Other than Culberson and Descalso, the only two-position player is Scott Van Slyke, who is my sole first base eligible option. I’m fine with Van Slyke, but am obviously looking to upgrade the roster spot shared by my versatile Rockies.
I have no idea if this will be effective. Obviously, if Peraza, Franco and Erlin contribute, I’ll appear to be a genius. If not, not so much. But part of the fun of this is thinking outside the box and trying to get an edge above and beyond knowing baseball. It seemed apparent that figuring out a way to mitigate less FAAB would help me in the big picture. The scheme discussed above interweaves that with upgrading end-gamers and stashing a couple of prospects, something I usually don’t do. But the way I see it, the entire available player list is the equivalent of an extra roster spot for me since I’ll be liberally dipping into the free agent inventory. Assisting this is there are separate disabled lists, so I’ll always have reserves devoid of injured players. I’ll be short a reserve spot or two until my guys are hopefully promoted, but the player pool is not like a mixed league, there isn’t as much activity between active and reserves.
The entire Tout Wars results are HERE. I’m happy to address any specific player questions or elucidate strategy in the comments or forum.