(*) ROTISSERIE: 2021 NL-LABR - Doug Dennis team recap

[Ed. note: With the Tout Wars industry drafts completed over the weekend, most of the major experts leagues drafts are now complete. We'll hit the Tout Wars summaries from our staff starting tomorrow, but here's the NL-LABR recap from earlier this month.]

In LABR NL, I wanted to try to repeat success from past years by carefully selecting a balanced offense against a smaller set of pitching, but with one exception--I wanted to roster one strong closer.  I managed that almost right away when Edwin Díaz (RHP, NYM) came up in the first few picks and I grabbed him for $18. Then I waited. And waited. And waited some more. Lots and lots of players went off the board. I was determined not to spend more than $19 for any of them, and maximize PAs. Into the first break, I had one player.

Finally after that, the bargains started to come and I pretty rapidly rostered Willson Contreras (C, CHC) for $16, Eric Hosmer (1B, SD) for $19, Didi Gregorius (SS, PHI) for $19, A.J. Pollock (OF, LA) for $16, Lorenzo Cain (OF, MIL) for $12, Justin Turner (3B, LA) for $18, Jason Heyward (OF, CHC) for $12, and Charlie Morton (RHP, ATL) for $10.  I still had $83 for 7 bats and $37 for 7 pitchers budgeted.

The bats came faster. I got Eduardo Escobar (3B, ARI) for $15, Brian Reynolds (OF, PIT) for $14, Daulton Varsho (C, ARI) for $12, Jon Berti (2B, MIA) for $9, and Miguel Rojas (SS, MIA) fell to me for $10. Ha-Seong Kim (2B, SD) came aboard for $10. I had one slot left for $13.

On the pitching side, I could not roster starting pitchers I wanted. Instead, I got some better skill sets and hope for roles to follow. I got Freddy Peralta (RHP, MIL) for $7, Tony Gonsolin (RHP, LA) for $7, Dustin May (RHP, LA) for $6. Then I pivoted to relievers and handcuffed Héctor Neris (RHP, PHI) at $5 to Archie Bradley (RHP, PHI) at $8. That $8 stung a bit, because it left me with just the $4 for the two remaining pitching slots, but I did have $13 for that one bat slot and maybe I could move money over if I had to do that.

I put $1 on Merrill Kelly (RHP, ARI) and no one budged, so I got him for $1. Then I put $1 on Spencer Howard (RHP, PHI), someone took me to $2, so I went $3 and won that bid. I had the dreaded $13 for one player and no one to spend it on. It is important to spend all of the budget, even in the end game, because if a player gets hurt early, you get their salary back in FAAB. So it was going to be $13, regardless of the player selected, and no one else could outbid me, which meant I was leaving some money on the table. Here, I got Gregory Polanco (OF, PIT) and at worst he would have cost me $5, but I spent the $13.  A wasted $8 that I could have used so many other ways. Especially on pitching. Regrets.

My reserves were pretty cool, I thought. I got flamethrowing lefty José Alvarado to complete the Phillies box set, I got Victor González​ (LHP, LA) because he is an elite lefty who could vulture all kinds of things for the Dodgers in 2021. I got Austin Adams (RHP, SD) who could get lost on the Padres, but with that skill set, I don't think so. I got John Curtiss (RHP, MIA) who has the best skill set in the Miami bullpen, just no one knows it--yet. I hedged against Daulton Varsho getting sent to the minors and grabbed Andrew Knapp (C, PHI) who may get more games in April anyway if J.T. Realmuto (C, PHI) isn't 100%. And I got Yonathan Daza (OF, COL) because who doesn't love a Colorado outfielder with a great glove who is also tearing up spring training.

BaseballHQ.com projections gives this team 1,027 runs, 249 home runs, 954 RBIs, 126 steals and a .266 BA. On the pitching side, the projections say 69 wins, 67 saves, 1,160 strikeouts, 3.62 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. I need a starting pitcher (or two). Maybe Peralta, Gonsolin and/or May get me there, but I expect I will have to make some trades.

Let me know what you think! Happy to answer any questions about these players or others.

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