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Tuesday 19th Sep 2017

As introduced last week, we are taking a look at the early 2017 performances of the rookie-eligible players selected on draft day in National League LABR. These players were rostered during the first week of spring training contests, so much has occurred since then – some good and some bad.

In Part 1, I highlighted 21 players, but only made it halfway through the 12-team NL LABR league’s initial rosters. Here, we will pick up the rest, starting with those who were offered up for bidding in the main auction draft, followed by the reserves.

Drafted

Austin Barnes, C, Dodgers – Steve Gardner, USA TODAY, $1
Though the former Miami prospect remains a reserve, his 52 plate appearances here in 2017 is already a new career high. Barnes also has a career-best .511 slugging percentage with two-thirds of his hits having gone for extra bases. In a two-catcher NL-only league of 12 teams, simple math tells us at least nine backup catchers will have to be active at any point in time. Barnes looks like he was a good end-game choice.

Amed Rosario, SS, Mets – Gardner, $1
As the infield injuries mount, the most recent being the move of Asdrubal Cabrera to the disabled list, the questions at Citi Field increase. When will Rosario be promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas? Well, the Mets say he is not ready, sliding Jose Reyes over to short and using Cabrera’s roster spot on a reliever. Still, expect Rosario to make his MLB debut after his Super Two risk passes, likely by mid-season.

Hunter Renfroe, OF, San Diego – Derek Van Riper, Rotowire, $11
The outfielder was handled a bit oddly last September, with a guessing game as to whether or not he would be added to the Padres roster. Despite just getting 35 MLB at-bats from the 21st on, Renfroe’s 14 RBI in 11 games and impressive minor league pedigree made him a popular pick in drafts this spring. It has been tough sledding in 2017, however, as he is batting just .218 with a 27.2 percent strikeout rate. On the positive side, the 25-year old has seven home runs and 17 RBI through 40 games.

Austin Meadows, OF, Pittsburgh – Van Riper, $1
Meadows’ off-season outlook seemed to be tied to the on-and-off trading saga that ended with Andrew McCutchen remaining with the Pirates. Yet when center fielder Starling Marte went down last month, it was not Meadows who received the call. To be fair, it was not warranted. Meadows’ poor results at Triple-A to date, including a .221 batting average in 295 plate appearances over this year and last, suggests more development time is needed.

Josh Hader, SP, Milwaukee – Doug Dennis, BaseballHQ, $4
Milwaukee’s top mound prospect is progressing at Colorado Springs, not an easy place to pitch. On the positive side, the 23-year old has 36 strikeouts in 40 2/3 innings, but the 24 walks and nine home runs yielded have to be addressed before Hader will be deemed ready for the bigs.

Josh Bell, 1B, Pittsburgh - Dalton Del Don, Yahoo Sports, $19
Last season, Bell was just two at-bats short (128 of 130) of losing his rookie eligibility. What we have seen in 2017 in comparison to his 2016 debut is a lower batting average and higher strikeout rate, but more power. He will need to step up his play to provide a solid return on that $19 investment, which is certainly quite possible.

Reserves

Rio Ruiz, 3B, Atlanta – Van Riper
With only struggling Adonis Garcia ahead of Ruiz, Atlanta’s starting third sacker’s move to the disabled list with an Achilles injury last week could have opened the door for the prospect, but that did not happen. Instead, Johan Camargo was called up to sit behind Jace Peterson, who is moving over from second. Ruiz’ struggles against left-handed pitching is what appears to be the holdback, despite him swinging a hot bat overall at Triple-A. My guess is that if this was later in the season, we would see Ruiz now.

Amir Garrett, SP, Cincinnati – Dennis
Doug Dennis lives in the Queen City and as such, is to be trusted on his choice of Reds. After being taken in NL LABR, Garrett impressed in spring camp and made the rotation to open the season. After a month of being bombed, though, the 25-year old was returned to Triple-A, but he will be back to face the Cubs on Thursday. Despite the bumps in the road, Garrett remains one of Cincinnati’s best five starting options.

Jeff Hoffman, SP, Colorado – Derek Carty
The Rockies’ top take in the Troy Tulowitzki trade has yet to make his mark. Hoffman did not make the team this spring and was passed over when Jon Gray was injured. Still, the right-hander was called up to make a spot start last week and performed credibly against the Dodgers at home (three runs in 5 1/3 innings). When all is said and done, however, any pitcher who makes half of his starts at altitude will be a “rocky” choice. Add to that the fact that LABR does not allow streaming of pitchers and it is a challenge to see 2017 value for Hoffman in this league.

Brock Stewart, SP, Dodgers – Carty
Injuries caused the 25-year old to be pressed to the majors early, as he made five starts for the Dodgers last season. However, a lingering shoulder injury that surfaced this spring has kept Stewart on the disabled list all season to date. There is no clear return date for the talented lefty.

Grant Dayton, RP, Dodgers – Carty
Well, there is quite a pattern here, with Derek Carty having taken three NL West pitchers among his reserves. Unlike the other two above, Dayton is a lefty reliever who was coming off a strong 2016 debut. After making the club this spring and pitching well early, the 29-year old suffered an intercostal strain last month. Struggling following his return, Dayton was sent down to Triple-A earlier this week.

Tyler Beede, SP, San Francisco – Del Don
The 23-year old reported to camp as one of the combatants for the fifth starter job, but not only did not make the Giants, he was also passed over when Madison Bumgarner had his unfortunate dirt bike-related injury. Through 36 2/3 Triple-A innings this season, Beede has an uninspiring 26 strikeouts to 14 walks and a decent 3.68 ERA. His time will surely come soon enough.

Socrates Brito, OF, Arizona – Del Don
The last profiled player has undoubtedly the worst luck. After stints with the Diamondbacks the last two seasons, Brito seemed positioned to play a greater role in 2017, likely as the fourth outfielder. However, early in spring training, the 24-year old suffered what sounds to be a very painful injury – an “open dislocation” of his left ring finger. Surgery and a move to the 60-day disabled list followed. Perhaps there will still be time for Brito to contribute in the second half.

Brian Walton was the 2009 National League Tout Wars champion, scoring the most points in the league’s 18-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 @B_Walton.

Generally speaking, annual draft leagues handle prospects in one of two ways. Either league rules allow minor leaguers to be drafted at any time or the constitution requires players to reach Major League Baseball before they are eligible for pick up.

Even in the latter case, rules may be less restrictive on draft day. At that point, season-opening rosters are not yet in place, so which players are major leaguers and which are not is unclear.

In terms of the two major industry leagues, Tout Wars adopted the former model, while LABR follows the latter case.

Making matters even more challenging in LABR is the fact that the drafts are among the very earliest, traditionally held on the first weekend in March.

Past history has shown that in many of these leagues, one cannot wait for top prospects to be called up to the majors. In LABR, any owners who wanted to be proactive had to make their decision at the start of March. Or even if their favorite prospect was bypassed by others on draft day, there would surely be an expensive bidding war when the player was finally called up.

In preparation for drafting, the questions we asked ourselves were along this general theme. How many prospects do I want to draft and how many can I afford to hold among my six reserve spots until they are eligible in the league (in other words, when they are called up and prove they are worth starting)?

In my two years in the league, my observation has been that owners cannot even wait until the reserve rounds of the draft if they want to roster the brightest prospects. Some bidders have been willing to spend several dollars on minor leaguers whose contributions were coming later in the season, at best.

Now that we are a month into the season, I thought it would be interesting to see which prospects were taken in National League LABR in early March and how they are doing. Listed first are those who went in the auction, followed by reserve choices.

Drafted

Ty Blach, RHP, San Francisco – Lenny Melnick, $1.
I was even tipped off by a Bay Area friend that Blach was a great end-game stash in NL-only formats, but did I get him anywhere? No, I did not. In this league, Lenny Melnick did and was rewarded when Madison Bumgarner had his unfortunate dirt bike mishap and Blach moved from the pen into the rotation.

Alen Hanson, IF, Pittsburgh – Bob Radomski, Sandlot Shrink, $1.
One of the beneficiaries of Jung-ho Kang’s troubles with the law opened the season on the Pirates’ 25-man roster, but has done little with the bat. Hanson’s line through 22 games is .171/.216/.286/.502.

Cody Bellinger, 1B/OF, Dodgers – Greg Ambrosius/Shawn Childs, NFBC, $2.
This looks like a brilliant purchase by the NFBC team. Though Adrian Gonzalez’ injury opened the door a crack, Bellinger’s play in his big league debut blew it wide open. The early pick as NL Rookie of the Year.

J.P. Crawford, SS, Philadelphia – Ambrosius/Childs, $3.
I drafted Crawford a year ago and held him all season, only to get nothing, Odds are much better the shortstop will make his MLB debut in 2017, though he needs to step up his hitting first. Over the first 29 games at Lehigh Valley, the 23-year old’s line is a disappointing .167/.286/.196/.482.

Koda Glover, RHP, Washington – Ambrosius/Childs, $2.
On the surface, Glover’s 5.03 ERA in his first 19 1/3 MLB innings last season suggested nothing special, but the NFBC duo saw the unsettled closing situation in the Nation’s Capital and got what already appears to be a nice bargain.

Gavin Cecchini, SS, Mets – Steve Moyer, Yakkertech, $1.
How can anyone argue with taking Mets infield reserves, especially based on what we have seen since draft day? Cecchini is off to a so-so start with Triple-A Las Vegas, batting .254 with two home runs and nine RBI in 30 games, but he received “The Call” on Monday.

Jae-gyun Hwang, 3B, San Francisco – Moyer, $3
The infielder was a trendy draft pick based on a good pedigree from a decade of play in Korea. Hwang did not make the Giants’ roster out of spring camp, however, and has a .293/.320/.379/.699 start at Triple-A. Further, the 29 year-old has yet to go deep through 28 games. Still, with the Giants struggling, the call could eventually come.

Reserves

Dylan Cozens, OF, Philadelphia – Melnick
The Phillies outfield prospect is struggling mightily in his Triple-A debut, with a slash line of .178/.256/.346/.602.

Yefri Perez, 2B, Miami – Melnick
Coming off a decent stint in the Arizona Fall League, the 26-year old was asked to repeat Double-A. It is going poorly with the bat in the early going, as evidenced by his .120/.270/.152/.422 line through 27 games at Jacksonville.

Nick Kingham, RHP, Pittsburgh – Eric Karabell, ESPN
This is a long-term hold. Given Kingham is likely not going to return from his Tommy John surgery until the second half and would need to reestablish himself at Triple-A, September might be his only shot to provide anything in 2017.

Steven Brault, RHP, Pittsburgh – Karabell
Karabell’s second speculative choice of a Pirates pitching prospect has a 3.52 ERA and a 31/15 strikeout to walk count in his first 30 1/3 Triple-A innings this season.

Destin Hood, OF, Miami – Brian Walton, Mastersball
Though Hood has four homers and 17 RBI to go with a .255 average over his first 30 Triple-A games this season, he has the misfortune of playing behind arguably MLB’s best outfield over the first month in the Marlins’ trio of Ozuna, Yelich and Stanton.

Scott Kingery, 2B, Philadelphia – Walton
The second baseman drew positive reviews early in camp and now has seven homers and 19 RBI to go with a .959 OPS in his first 27 games this season. However, Kingery is still at Double-A, making the chances for 2017 contribution shaky.

Dominic Smith, 1B, Mets – Walton
My third speculative buy was partially based on Smith’s power potential and part on my lack of confidence in Lucas Duda. The former Mets first-rounder is off to a nice start with Triple-A Las Vegas with 21 RBI in 33 games and a slash line of .326/.378/.470/.847.

Rhys Hoskins, 1B, Philadelphia – Ambrosius/Childs
The first sacker is off to a great first month-plus at Triple-A with eight long balls and 21 RBI in 31 games. Hoskins’ slash line at Lehigh Valley is a lusty .330/.412/.631/1.043. Ahead of him, both Tommy Joseph and Brock Stassi are struggling. It should only be a matter of when.

Brett Phillips, OF, Milwaukee – Ambrosius/Childs
Another solid choice by the NFBC team is producing well at Triple-A Colorado Springs, with six homers and 26 RBI in just 25 games. Phillips’ slash line is .304/.390/.565/.956.

Cody Reed, LHP, Cincinnati – Ambrosius/Childs
The lefty has made just one start, which was a disaster, but his numbers have been ok in six outings out of the Reds pen. A red flag is 15 walks to go with 15 strikeouts in 14 innings. Reed’s overall ERA is 6.43 with Cincinnati this season.

Ozzie Albies, 2B/SS, Atlanta – Moyer
The top prospect and native of Curacao has a so-so start with a line of .254/.289/.389/.678 through 30 games. Of concern is 30 strikeouts against seven walks. Albies has stolen nine bases in 10 attempts.

A.J. Cole, RHP, Washington – Moyer
After eight underwhelming starts for the Nats last season and a rotation ahead that looked locked down, Cole was a spring afterthought. Now, barely a month into 2017, Cole is back up and delivered a strong six-inning, one-run season debut last Saturday.

T.J. Rivera, IF, Mets – Moyer
The infielder proved to be a nice fill-in for the injury-racked Mets in 2016 and though he did not make the roster this Opening Day, looks to reprise his role again in 2017. It is only 177 career MLB plate appearances, but his .325/.364/.481/.845 line could help any NL league fantasy roster.

Raimel Tapia, OF, Colorado – Moyer
With Ian Desmond back, Tapia may have to wait longer to get an extended chance. He is just 0-for-7 with the Rockies this year, but has been raking at Albuquerque with 20 RBI in 24 games and an eye-popping line of .405/.436/.595/1.030.

Time to take a break!

To be honest, until I got into it, I had no idea we had rostered this many rookies and prospects. I have profiled 21 players - and I am only halfway through the 12-team league! Next time, I will pick it up with the rest of prospects taken by NL LABR owners on draft day.

Hopefully, there are a few players here who you can grab and use – when your league rules allow, that is!

Brian Walton was the 2009 National League Tout Wars champion, scoring the most points in the league’s 18-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 @B_Walton.

Know your league’s rules. It is a very simplistic message, already obvious to all. Yet, even industry people lose sight of it sometimes. Even those who write columns about rules.

As I type this, the Colorado Rockies are playing the best baseball in the National League, as evidenced by their 14-6, .700 record. They are carrying a four-game winning streak and have earned identical home and road 7-3 marks.

The Rockies pitching staff, a group most wise fantasy owners are conditioned to avoid, has logged a cumulative 3.61 ERA, second in the NL only to the vaunted arms of the New York Mets.

In this young season to date, I have rostered three of Colorado’s starting pitchers in NL LABR, the League of Alternative Baseball Reality. Given the above success of the team, and their pitching in particular, it should be good news, right?

Not so. As we are so often reminded, fantasy is not the same as reality.

You see, I picked the wrong three Rockies arms in which to invest.

In no small part due to these bad decisions, I am dead last in the league in both ERA and WHIP, despite my team being ranked seventh overall. Where did I go so wrong so quickly?

I am hardly the only industry analyst who felt Jon Gray was on the verge of a breakout season - to the point I was willing to place the winning bid of $9 back on March 5 in Phoenix. Unfortunately, Gray made three no-decision starts before suffering a stress fracture in his foot, originally thought to be a toe injury, which has put him on the shelf for at least a month.

On draft day, chasing value, I pushed my luck a bit by going $3 on Tyler Anderson. At that point, I was going off the lefty’s solid 2016, during which he posted a 3.54 ERA in 19 starts. His spring training went on to be ok (4.08 ERA) – with nothing that prepared me for his ugly start to the regular season – a 7.32 ERA through four starts.

I cut Anderson for a setup reliever this week and undoubtedly waited too long. On the other hand, one might wonder if I am guilty of early-season panic, but I prefer to consider it self-preservation.

My third Rockies hurler, rookie Kyle Freeland, tempted fantasy owners with six innings of one-run ball at Dodger Stadium in his MLB debut on April 7. I rushed out and bid $2, at least as happy to throw failed Phillies closer Jeanmar Gomez over the side. By then, Gomez’ ERA was 15.00, but hey, I got one save.

Freeland’s second outing, the first on my roster, delivered the cold, hard reality check. Still on the road, against the tanking (er, rebuilding) San Diego Padres, the lefty was hammered for six earned runs in 4 2/3 innings, a lusty 11.57 ERA. Immediately, off my roster he went in Week 3. Since then, Freeland has thrown 11 innings, allowing just one earned run. Yet, he remains on the NL LABR waiver wire. That says something.

Even if a pattern of sometimes pitching well could emerge that would have enabled me to consider streaming Anderson and/or Freeland, that avenue is blocked. The practice of streaming pitchers is not allowed in LABR. The only way to bench and keep a player is if he is injured or sent to the minor leagues.

Although I knew this rule coming in to the draft, I never thought Anderson’s performance would degrade so badly so quickly. So far, Freeland has three good outings to just one bad, but the fact that the ugly one stained my record has served as a painful reminder of the downside of chasing wins.

Well, those habits are hard to lose completely. This week, I tried to pick up Phillies rookie starter Josh Elfin, but my $2 bid fell just short, on a tiebreaker. It is just as well. Despite now going with four starters and five relievers, I will probably be better off with Cardinals reliever Matt Bowman, anyway.

My message is a simple one. Don’t chase lower-odds scenarios hoping to force fit the big score. Be satisfied with smaller incremental moves rather than trying to create a big bang – unless you are pretty confident that the guy you are after is going to come through.

Brian Walton was the 2009 National League Tout Wars champion, scoring the most points in the league’s 18-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 @B_Walton.

When I stay on point at least, the primary focus of this column is fantasy baseball rules. One of my frequent messages is the importance of anticipating issues and addressing them before they become a problem for your league.

We have all been in the alternative situation at one time or another. Faced with an immediate problem and a need to make a fast decision about which some will be happy and others will be upset – the league commissioner has to make a call. Since no one is completely unbiased and not everyone can win, bad feelings are almost certain to ensue.

Today’s advice is to avoid this by planning ahead in your leagues for the two-way player.

As most fantasy players know, Christian Bethancourt has become the next to serve as both a position player and a pitcher in the same season.

The Padres player is the first such case in MLB since Brooks Kieschnick in 2004, according to USA TODAY. Even then, Kieschnick, who was primarily a reliever, appeared in just three games in the outfield and four more as designated hitter that year. In other words, he did not reach fantasy eligibility as an offensive performer in most leagues.

On the other hand, Bethancourt is a catcher by trade who next took up the outfield and even played a bit of second base in 2016. His games played tally last season was 41 behind the plate, 12 in the outfield and one at second.

Therefore, to date, he qualified only as a catcher in the vast majority of leagues this spring.

The question you should be asking, however, is what to do now that Bethancourt is officially both a hitter and a pitcher?

The options

The spectrum of possibilities could go from the ridiculous to the sublime.

1) Allow the two-way player to accrue stats as both a pitcher and hitter.
2) Allow the two-way player to be shifted from a hitting spot to a pitching spot, whenever the league allows changes to the active lineup.
3) Require the two-way player to be designated as either a hitter or a pitcher for the entire season, but not both.

Let’s take these one at a time.

The realities

Since today’s pitchers are not allowed to accrue stats when they hit, it makes no sense to allow option #1 for any two-way player. End of discussion.

Option #2 is intriguing, but would require the league stats service to support toggling a player between hitter and pitcher - as often as the league allows active roster changes. In most cases, that would be weekly. More on that in a bit.

The third option is realistically where we are today. Since Bethancourt was a catcher coming into this spring, the only hope for expanding his role for fantasy value in 2017 will be if he again appears in the outfield – a reasonable possibility. Pitching is not on the table.

A true swing player

There is actually a fourth option, which could further complicate matters. Some leagues, such as Tout Wars, employ a swing position. Instead of the fifth outfielder in a standard 14 hitter/nine pitcher format, this is basically a utility player who can be either a pitcher or hitter.

The capability to toggle the two-way player back and forth inherent in option #2 would be required here, as well. In an extreme case, it might even be needed during a given week, as Tout rules allow replacing of an injured player the very next day – if an eligible replacement player is already among a team’s reserves.

Practical 2017 implementation

In March, as I prepared for drafts in my industry leagues, I asked several commissioners for their ruling on Bethancourt.

One reply was just what I did not want to see. The official said that the odds of Bethancourt becoming a fantasy factor this season were so low that it did not warrant attention at this time.

As you would expect, I disagreed, urging the league to be forward-thinking on the matter.

Ultimately, that league’s stat provider is putting in their work plan for 2018 to write the code to enable option #4 – the most flexible choice. In the meantime, Bethancourt is a catcher and will not be eligible on the mound in 2017.

Another of my league commissioners initially ruled in favor of #2, but upon checking with his stats provider, learned it could not be implemented in 2017. He was required to back track to the default hitter-only case, as well.

Yet another league’s stat service realized up front that it did not have the technology to implement the change, so proposed creating two different Bethancourts – a hitter and a pitcher – and require leagues to choose between the two for the entire season.

The real reason to get ready

When all was said and done, dealing with Bethancourt coming into 2017 was relatively easy, since he had yet to pitch. This may not be the case in 2018. Next spring, he may qualify as both a hitter and a pitcher, so don’t wait to set your league guidelines. Figure it out now - both what you want to do later as well as determining if your stats provider can give it to you.

Sure, being a two-way player is difficult, as Bethancourt learned when he went unclaimed off outright waivers recently and ended up back in Double-A.

While Bethancourt may never cut it, the MLB arrival of the Babe Ruth of Japan, Shohei Otani, may occur as early as 2018. While few care about the Padres' two-way player, everyone will soon care about the Japanese outfielder/pitcher.

So it is time to become prepared. Start working with your stats provider to ensure they can deliver the capability that you will need - and get it into your constitution.

Brian Walton was the 2009 National League Tout Wars champion, scoring the most points in the league’s 18-year history. He also holds the all-timeNL 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 @B_Walton.

Understanding your league rules - as well as unwritten practices - can pay off.

This past week, a combination of stalling on my part and a fortunate trap door opening enabled me to secure a FAAB rebate on an injured player who looked to be out for the season, but had not yet been placed on the disabled list.

Late in the National League Tout Wars draft - held in late March after I had been to both Arizona and Florida to catch as many spring training games as possible - I threw out Phillies starter Clay Buchholz for a dollar and got crickets. After all, most at the table had probably been burned once or more during his prior life with the Boston Red Sox.

In making my dollar bid, I rationalized the choice by noting that Buchholz’ Grapefruit League ERA was just 2/3 of a run worse that staff “ace” Jeremy Hellickson, all the while ignoring the fact the actual numbers were 6.63 and 5.92 respectively.

Given the reality of the situation, I just could not bear to start Buchholz this season. That proved wise after he flamed out to a 12.71 ERA through two starts. But by keeping him, I left myself with no in-week flexibility.

Tout allows mid-week substitutions, so when Junior Guerra went down on Opening Day, I could have replaced him the next day. However, Buchholz was my only reserve and I could not bring myself to activate him. (In all honesty, I created this limitation myself because I used three of my four reserve spots on minor league prospects, but that is a different story for another day.)

Just before I was going to finalize my decision to cut Buchholz, he was injured. The injury occurred last Tuesday, so I was fine to hold him for a few days until I could pick up a $10 FAAB rebate. However, five days later, the Phillies had still not placed him on the disabled list, the requirement for a FAAB claim.

As the weekly deadline approached, Buchholz was still in limbo. His injury appeared to be severe, a torn flexor tendon, yet the team had not made its roster move. I was in a bind, as I needed to get Colorado’s Tyler Anderson (8.59 ERA) out of my lineup with starts ahead this week against the Dodgers and Nationals.

But I had no one to plug in without acquiring a pitcher via the weekly free agent bidding process. I decided to go for it and if I had to burn my $10 FAAB reclaim and drop Buchholz before he went on the DL, so be it.

I had a way to buy myself more time, though. Tout allows free agent bids to be placed on Sunday night without contingent releases being defined. Owners are allowed until Monday’s first pitch to make their rosters right.

During the day on Monday, an opening was created for me when the Marlins designated Tyler Moore for assignment. The bad news is that he was my corner infielder. The good news is that I could temporarily fill his spot with one of my minor league stashes, Cody Bellinger. I made Moore my immediate drop, enabling me to hold onto Buchholz and bench Anderson as well.

Sure enough, on day seven, the Phils finally put Buchholz on the DL. Though the move was retroactive to April 15, it did not help me, as my weekly deadline had passed. In the new week, I released him and put in my claim, with $10 coming back to me after next week’s FAAB bidding, per league rule.

I will get zero stats from Bellinger this week (unless the unlikely occurs and he is called up), but now that Buchholz is out of my life, I can acquire a replacement corner infielder next weekend and move the Dodgers prospect back to my bench.

Hey, it is only $10, but that could be the difference later on between winning and losing a key free agent bid. I was able to get my money back by being patient and creative as well as fortunate.

Brian Walton was the 2009 National League Tout Wars champion, scoring the most points in the league’s 18-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 @B_Walton.

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