It has been a week since the dust settled in the realm of the Tout Wars and LABR leagues, in a year where I drafted pretty well, and basically made it to the wire in one league, and made a swap in the second hoping to move up from fifth, and the result was I dropped from fifth to tenth.
Going into each auction, both American League 12-team 5x5 contests, I tried to stick to my basic precepts:
- Let everyone drop some cash before you buy.
- That said, don't let a bargain pass.
- Exploit the mid-game.
- Control the end game.
- Try not to spend too much on one player, making $35 the most I would spend save a radical last minute epiphany transmitted by the Rotisserie gods just as the bidding went to $52 on Mike Trout.
I do generally try to build balance out of that, and my history is one of success, but one where my teams are invariably pitching heavy and power light. This is largely because I look to WHIP and OBP as primary stat objectives. However, this year I went back to my John Benson days strategies and focused on steals and saves, for good things follow those categories.
LABR brought me Chris Sale ($33), Craig Kimbrel ($21), Danny Valencia ($10), Coco Crisp ($1), and Marco Estrada ($8) on the good side while Brad Boxberger ($11), Joe Mauer ($11), Ketel Marte ($15) and Avisail Garcia ($15) brought me down. Actually, my high-priced hitter was George Springer ($31) and the group was decent--good enough for mid-pack till August--but not a front runner, and in the end Larry Schechter nosed out Tristan Cockcroft for the win.
So, I swapped Sale to my mates Glenn Colton and Rick Wolf in an attempt to boost my power, replacing Sale with Daniel Norris. While the power helped, Steven Wright and Lance McCullers and Matt Shoemaker all fell to enough injuries to kill any chance of anything.
In Tout, I went with too many of the same players, opting though for Sonny Gray ($25) in lieu of Springer, thinking a good frontline starter will be trade bait: that all i needed to do was pad some counting stats in pitching. As a complement, I grabbed David Price ($31), and instead of Boxberger went with Roberto Osuna ($8). If I made a mistake there, it was $7 for Rusney Castillo rather than a couple of bucks on Travis Shaw, whom Rob Leibowitz smartly grabbed as a first round reserve selection.
Still, that team was in the throes of things, raising as high as second place with a couple of weeks to go in the season, and with enough tight contests in points among the top six teams, it was possible for a couple of good days to tighten and/or loosen things all around respectively. But ultimately, it was too little, and not quite late enough as Seth Trachtman hung on to take the title.
In the end, I feel good about how I built the teams, for even though neither won, going back to those simple basics of steals and saves and OBP and WHIP were the foundation. Where I need to go is trusting i can build some pitching, and build more around hitting, which somehow runs contrary to the notion that good pitching will beat good hitting.
As usual, I must thank my Tout and LABR mates, especially Steve Gardner, Todd Zola, Rick Wolf, Glenn Colton, Jeff Erickson, Peter Kreutzer, Ron Shandler, Zach Steinhorn, Cory Schwartz, Derek Van Riper, and the rest of the guys. I look forward to seeing you at FPAZ, and then again during the spring tour next year. And, I look forward to reporting the results to all.