No, I don’t yet have football on my mind, though I readily admit that my 2015 performance in National League Tout Wars has been disappointing enough to push me in that direction.
It seems that everywhere I look, I am in ninth in every place I should be in third or better and in third where I should be in ninth.
Overall, my squad is in ninth place, my low point of the season, 31 points out of a share of the league lead.
The offense remains my strength, with nine points each in runs and home runs and 10 points (of a possible 12) in RBI.
Tout’s stats provider onRoto.com offers a number of gems for its users at no additional charge. One is called “Standings with Draft Day Rosters”. I was disappointed, but not totally surprised to see my squad ninth in this category as well.
In other words, according to that site's projections, I didn't have a good draft and the current standings indicate that all of my moves since draft day have accomplished nothing other than keep me in ninth place.
In hindsight, making more aggressive free agent bids on the right players could have helped close some of my considerable standings gap. Then again, to my recollection, there has not been a Jose Fernandez-type difference maker available on the wire this season. Savvy Tout owners grabbed every prospective rookie impact player weeks early – while I had been preoccupied with filling immediate roster gaps.
As a result, I still have $82 of my $100 FAAB allocation – the third-most amount of money remaining. That is not a place I want to be, but it seems my destiny. Unless there are at least three solid deals with players coming into the Senior Circuit around the corner, I am again lined up to lose out on the interleague trade deadline plums.
In all fairness, my current FAAB balance was augmented by a $12 rebate. I received that in return for Cincinnati’s Homer Bailey, who is done for the season. For about another month – until the All-Star break - 100 percent of the price paid for injured players turned in is returned per Tout league rules.
Speaking of Bailey, he was one of my core of pitchers selected at the draft table. Here are the current ERAs of the group:
Bailey – 5.56 in two starts before throwing in the towel on the season
Gio Gonzalez ($16) – 4.82 in 13 starts
Julio Teheran ($16) – 5.07 in 14 starts
Steve Cishek ($16) – 6.43 in 21 relief appearances
Given the magnitude of this train wreck, perhaps it is surprising that I actually am in ninth place – scoring three points each in four of the five pitching categories. Those ERAs look more like the numbers of a last-place squad.
Only Francisco Liriano ($16), with a 2.94 ERA in 13 starts, is performing as expected. The Bucs’ starter may be keeping my squad out of the cellar.This spring, my big-money arms seemed like low-risk acquisitions, each in their 20’s with good pedigrees. After all, coming into 2015, here are these pitchers’ ages and career ERAs:
Bailey (28): 4.17
Gonzalez (29): 3.59
Teheran (24): 3.16
Cishek (28): 2.65
None of them are anywhere near their career numbers, but I am not crying. The reality is that no one forced me to make the highest bid for these players. I wanted them and got them.
My lesson? “Draft better pitchers next time” is about all I can come up with. I wish I had a snappier commentary, but sometimes, we just strike out.
Brian Walton was the 2009 National League Tout Wars champion, scoring the most points in the league’s 17-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.