Each week, your friends at Mastersball will post the results of the weekly LABR FAAB run, featuring the winning bid as well a the runner-up bids. There are three LABR leagues, a 12-team AL only, 12-team NL only and 15-team Mixed Draft League. You can see the complete standings for each league by clicking on the appropriate heading, located just under each player photo.
Included with each league report will be commentary from a Mastersball staff member participating in that league. We invite you to ask questions and post comments at the bottom of the report.
All contingency bids for awarded players are included. Sometimes, this bid is tied to a player that the owner received, so at times the bid amount is larger than the winning bid. We are including it to provide as much information and context as possible with each report.
|Jake Junis, KC||NFBC/Stats, Inc. 13||Colton & The Wolfman 2|
|Brian Johnson, BOS||Rotowire 13||NFBC/Stats, Inc. 11||Baseball Prospectus 2|
|Chris Tillman, BAL||Winning Fantasy Baseball 9|
|Buck Farmer, DET||Baseball HQ 7||ESPN.com 6||SiriusXM 2||Baseball Prospectus 2|
|Colton & The Wolfman 2|
|Peter Bourjos, TB||Baseball Prospectus 3|
|Ruben Tejada, BAL||USA TODAY Sports 1||Baseball HQ 1|
|Cheslor Cuthbert, KC||Baseball HQ 1|
|Dan Jennings, CWS||SiriusXM 1|
|Christian Bergman, SEA||Baseball HQ 6|
|Jaycob Brugman, OAK||Baseball Prospectus 3|
|Sam Gaviglio, SEA||Rotowire 3|
|Bryan Shaw, CLE||Winning Fantasy Baseball 1|
|Danny Barnes, TOR||Rotowire 1||SiriusXM 1|
|Josh Rutledge, BOS||Baseball HQ 1|
|Nick Vincent, SEA||Winning Fantasy Baseball 1|
|Tommy Hunter, TB||Winning Fantasy Baseball 1|
Lawr Michaels' Commentary
The scramble for starting pitching continues in AL LABR as a quartet of arms drew the top four bids. Brian Johnson went to Clay Link and RotoWire for $13, outbidding three other owners. Continuing the theme, Royals rookie starter Jake Junis fetched $13 from Shawn Childs and Greg Ambrosius, though only one other owner had interest. Chris Tillman went unopposed to Larry Schechter for nine bucks. Finishing off the high level search for arms, Dave Adler copped Buck Farmer for $7, besting four more bids.
Yes, emphasizing pitching is indeed everything these days.
As for hitters, Steve Gardner acquired Ruben Tejada for a dollar, Peter Bourjos went to Mike Gianella for three, and Cheslor Cuthbert also moved to team Adler for another dollar.
Finally, Dan Jennings rounded out the bidding with Ray Flowers bagging the reliever for a buck.
Eight teams bid on the four starting pitchers Lawr discussed. Only three teams bid on two different hurlers. Farmer garnered the most bids, which makes sense to me as I like him the best of the lot. It appears he figured something out in Triple-A, throwing more strikes while keeping the ball in the yard. Coming into the season, I was on Matthew Boyd, but his struggles have paved the way for Farmer to nail down the fifth spot in the Tigers rotation, something that has troubled them for a few years.
The only pitcher receiving one bid was Tillman. When someone as savvy as Larry bids on someone as... well... crappy as Tillman, I like to try to figure out why. The most obvious reason would be Larry is eschewing ratios in an effort to pound up as many wins and whiffs as possible. This is in sync with his current stead, sitting next to last in ERA and fourth from the bottom in WHIP. The thing is, Larry has Dallas Keuchel, David Price and Felix Hernandez, not to mention Aroldis Chapman about to come off the DL. Granted, Keuchel and King Felix are on the DL while Price could see a return visit at any time. Still, there's points to be had in WHIP (moving in ERA would be tough). LABR rules force Tillman to be active this week. The O's righty will take the hill in Guaranteed Rate Park to take on a White Sox club not especially dangerous versus right-handers. Maybe Larry is playing both sides of the fence. Tillman's match-up isn't terrible so perhaps the plan is to let things flesh out a little longer, and if it appears racking up whiffs will earn more points than will be lost in ratios, Tillman fits that strategy just fine. Keuchel, Hernandez and Price can be dealt for offense, with their spots being taken by other starting pitchers no one else wants. It's obviously not something one does heading into a season, but it's something I've had to use on occasion, with varying degrees of success. This much I know. The times it's worked, I wasn't going to compete without doing it and the times it failed, I wasn't going anywhere anyway.
|Jose Pirela, SD||Mastersball 15||USA TODAY Sports 7||NFBC/Stats, Inc. 3||Colton & The Wolfman 2|
|Derek Carty 1|
|Sean Newcomb, ATL||NFBC/Stats, Inc. 9||Mastersball 7||Colton & The Wolfman 2|
|Pat Neshek, PHI||Yakkertech 6||USA TODAY Sports 3||Colton & The Wolfman 2||Mastersball 2|
|NFBC/Stats, Inc. 1|
|Tyler Moore, MIA||NFBC/Stats, Inc. 3||Lenny Melnick 3||Derek Carty 1|
|Pedro Baez, LAD||USA TODAY Sports 1|
|George Kontos, SF||Mastersball 1||NFBC/Stats, Inc. 1|
|Enny Romero, WSH||NFBC/Stats, Inc. 2|
|Aaron Hill, SF||NFBC/Stats, Inc. 1||Mastersball 1|
|Hunter Strickland, SF||NFBC/Stats, Inc. 1|
|Oliver Perez, WSH||NFBC/Stats, Inc. 1|
|Ryan Raburn, WSH||NFBC/Stats, Inc. 1|
|Johan Camargo, ATL||Mastersball 1|
|Kelby Tomlinson, SF||Mastersball 1|
|Patrick Kivlehan, CIN||Derek Carty 1|
Brian Walton's Commentary
With $40 of draft-day middle infield value moved to the disabled list this past week in Jonathan Villar and Cesar Hernandez and my team skidding into the cellar, I needed some help badly. As a result, I bid extremely aggressively for San Diego call-up Jose Pirela and got my man. Despite being second base eligible, Pirela has primarily been playing left field and leading off for the Padres. In his first week up, the 27-year old former Yankees prospect batted .500, including five extra base hits. Unfortunately, I will not receive those stats.
I also placed a $7 bid on talented Braves rookie left-hander Sean Newcomb, but lost out by $2 to Greg Ambrosius/Shawn Childs of NFBC/Stats Inc. In his big-league debut on Saturday the 24-year old, a former Angels first-rounder, limited the Mets to four hits and an unearned run over 6 1/3 innings.
Middle relievers with strong ratios always have a place in –only leagues and three of them were among the additions this week. My next contingent bid after Newcomb was on the Phillies’ Pat Neshek, but I was outbid again, this time with Steve Moyer of Yakkertech the winner at $6. Neshek has an advantage over the other relievers picked up this week – Pedro Baez of the Dodgers and George Kontos of the Giants – being the steadiest arm in a shaky pen. I ended up with Kontos, but to be honest, I am mad at myself for not noticing Baez was in this week’s free agent pool. Kudos to USA TODAY’s Steve Gardner and his wise under-the-radar addition.
Perhaps Brian was implying it, but another advantage enjoyed by Neshek is he could be in line for a couple of saves as Hector Neris has been hanging splitters lately. By the tone of the reports, it's not so much that Neris has been relieved of his closing duties as he's being put in time-out for a little while. The report last week said Phillies manager Pete Mackanin wanted to talk to Neris about his recent outings, implying he wasn't going to get the call in the ninth until he was able to recapture the splitter that rendered him so effective last season. Neither Neshek nor Neris has pitched since June 6 so it's unclear if Neris needs to work out the kinks in the bullpen or show his Skipper he can get hitters out under real game conditions.
I really like Brian's pick-up of Jose Pirela. Obviously, he's not going to keep up his current pace, but the 27-year old was crushing Triple-A upon his promotion, slashing .331/.387/.635 with eight steals for El Paso. We're getting close to the point where conserving FAAB for the trade deadline is in play. If you don't think you'll be in the running for one of the top cross-overs, assuming there are any, it's worth making an aggressive play for the Padres IF/OF.
|Mallex Smith, TB||Razzball (Rudy Gamble) 27||Yahoo Sports 38||MLB.com 26||Baseball HQ 23|
|Fangraphs 16||Scout Fantasy 12||Fantasy Alarm 12|
|@TheFantasyFix 11||USA TODAY Sports 8||Mastersball 7|
|Rotowire 3||RotoExperts/ FNTSY 2|
|Lewis Brinson, MIL||Fantasy Alarm 12||Razzball (Rudy Gamble) 17||Fangraphs 12||@TheFantasyFix 4|
|RotoExperts/ FNTSY 2|
|Matt Albers, WSH||Fangraphs 8||Scout Fantasy 2||@TheFantasyFix 2||MLB.com 1|
|Buck Farmer, DET||MLB.com 8||Baseball Prospectus 3||Mastersball 3||RotoExperts/ FNTSY 2|
|Scout Fantasy 2||Rotowire 1|
|Jose Pirela, SD||USA TODAY Sports 6||Mastersball 4||RotoExperts/ FNTSY 2||MLB.com 1|
|Sean Newcomb, ATL||Baseball Prospectus 6||MLB.com 5||Scout Fantasy 5||RotoExperts/ FNTSY 2|
|USA TODAY Sports 2|
|Pat Neshek, PHI||@TheFantasyFix 5||USA TODAY Sports 3||Scout Fantasy 3||Rotowire 2|
|RotoExperts/ FNTSY 2|
|Mike Montgomery, CHC||USA TODAY Sports 3||Scout Fantasy 1||Baseball HQ 1|
|Alex Meyer, LAA||Baseball Prospectus 3||Rotowire 2||USA TODAY Sports 1|
|Jake Junis, KC||Mastersball 2|
|Seth Lugo, NYM||RotoExperts/ FNTSY 2||@TheFantasyFix 6||Scout Fantasy 3||USA TODAY Sports 2|
|Rotowire 1||RotoExperts/ FNTSY 1|
|C.J. Cron, LAA||Mastersball 1||Baseball HQ 1||Rotowire 1|
|Scott Feldman, CIN||Rotowire 1||MLB.com 1|
|Joe Panik, SF||Rotowire 1||MLB.com 1|
|Kyle Gibson, MIN||Baseball Prospectus 1|
|Chase Headley, NYY||Baseball HQ 1|
|Chris Iannetta, ARI||Fangraphs - Sleeper & Bust 1||Scout Fantasy 1|
|Cory Spangenberg, SD||MLB.com 1|
|Tyler Moore, MIA||Baseball HQ 1||Fantasy Alarm 1|
|Scooter Gennett, CIN||Fantasy Alarm 11|
|Jose Iglesias, DET||Fantasy Alarm 6|
|Daniel Robertson, TB||Fantasy Alarm 2||MLB.com 1|
|Chase Utley, LAD||Rotowire 1||MLB.com 1|
|Eric Sogard, MIL||Rotowire 1||MLB.com 1|
|Alec Asher, BAL||Baseball Prospectus 1|
|Sandy Leon, BOS||Fangraphs - Sleeper & Bust 1|
|Tucker Barnhart, CIN||Fangraphs - Sleeper & Bust 1|
|Christian Bergman, SEA||Rotowire 1|
|Franchy Cordero, SD||Rotowire 1|
|Matt Joyce, OAK||Rotowire 1|
|Keone Kela, TEX||Scout Fantasy 1|
Todd Zola's Commentary
Something I've talked about the past few seasons is how prospects being called up after the Super-Two deadline is the Mixed League equivalent of the trade deadline in AL and NL only formats. We're getting close, but not quite there yet. Though, a few worth prospects have been summoned, the latest being Brewers outfielder, Lewis Brinson. Milwaukee also advanced top pitching prospect Josh Hader, but he has no mixed league potential yet since he'll start out as a reliever. Brinson is your classic toolsy player needing to make enough contact to have his power and speed play for fantasy.
While Brisnon drew a modest five tries, Mallex Smith received bids from four-fifths of the 15-team league. Coincidentally, the three owners not bidding on Smith don't chew Dentyne gum. No doubt, you know the deal with Smith, he runs about 50 percent of the time he reaches base, but you can't steal first. His hitting the ground running upon taking over for Kevin Kiermaier elevated the bidding to a point I knew I had no chance. The kicker is I own Kiermaier, but you likely guess that anyway the manner this season is going.
The other top prospect making his debut was Braves lefty Sean Newcomb. Newcomb has no issues missing bats. The problem is, when he's not missing bats, he's missing the strike zone.
Not only did I lose Kiermaier, but Devon Travis returned to the DL as well. I had ample bodies on my bench to field a lineup without making a move, but since I still am a C.J. Cron truther, in part because we play in a fantasy football league together (I've never met him), I dropped a buck on the Halos first-sacker.
One step forward, two steps back. That's the story of my season. I'm sticking with my goal of landing in the middle third of the standings by the end of June, but even that will be an ordeal. I've been approached with some trade offers, but I haven't had the courage to sit down and do the category math, figuring out where I can manage the categories, like what was discussed above. Doing so feels like an admission of failure, though I know deep down it's the right thing to do for my flailing squad.