ROTISSERIE: The Great BHQ #ToutChase19, pt. 4

Industry "experts" leagues are funny beasts. Though there are some differences between them and a "regular" home league, it still comes down to competition and the spoils of bragging rights. The stakes may be different in expert leagues—there's no difference in payout for finishing first or 11th—but in this competitive content creation market, an expert league championship or two definitely legitimizes one's platform. 

Over the years, we at have won or placed in our fair share of these leagues. And on the whole, with two weeks left in the 2019 season, we're set up to have another good year on that front (see the bottom of this article for details). But within the past several weeks, there's some interesting parallels between several BHQ teams in different leagues of Tout Wars—one of the best-known experts leagues that started play in 1998. (Reference for the different contests, participants, individual league constitutions and historical data.) We thought these parallels might make for an exercise that BHQ subscribers and even others may find insightful in the season's final weeks.

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In Tout Wars-AL, Tout Wars-NL, and Tout Wars-Mixed Auction, BHQ representatives are in the hunt for the championship. As of today—September 16—none of the three are in sole possession of first place, but all three are within "spittin' distance," and trying to squeeze out just those few extra points to make that leap into the top spot by September 30. We thought it would be fun to chronicle each of these three teams' quests in semi-real time, with five checkpoints along the way between now and the end of the season. The goal is to gain some insight into the participants' thinking as they make their final roster moves and we all watch their final boxscores and the league standings that culminate the year.

Patrick Davitt (AL), Phil Hertz (NL) and Brent Hershey (Mixed Auction) will update us on their progress each Monday and Friday for the rest of the season. The header for each league links to the current standings (though note that if you are reading this AFTER the "Installment date," some of the commentary might not make sense as the link is dynamic will be current for each day). In each installment, we will ask the participants to respond to several questions regarding their roster and category management. Thus, we've dubbed it The Great BHQ #ToutChase19. 

So far in this series: Part 1 (9/16/19)  |  Part 2 (9/20/19)  |  Part 3 (9/23/19)

Installment #4 of 5: September 27, 2019

This be it ... down to the final three games. Still some intrigue left as we watch scoreboards this weekend. We just asked our three participants to give an update on the week so far, and three games to come:

Tout Wars-AL (Patrick Davitt)
3d place, 5.5 pts behind leader

I had already thrown in the towel, and maybe my guys got the bad vibe, but instead of picking up any ground at all, I’m down one point on the week. I’ve lost a point in OBP, with a .256 for the week so far, easily my worst week of the season. Heck, .256 would be pretty disappointing in a BA league! My 8 RBI are equally pathetic, but the category is so spread out—my nearest pursuer is 12 back—that my 11 points are safe. On the pitching side, I’ve notched some fancy 7.20/1.80 decimals (Oliver Perez 54.00/6.00; Ian Kennedy 18.00/3.00; Emilio Pagan 2.,25 WHIP), and Leibowitz, the overall leader, has crept to within 0.07 in ERA. But given the huge amounts of innings, I doubt he can close the gap over the weekend. One danger of an all-reliever approach is that if a few of them all soil the linens at once, they can really deal a blow. 


Tout Wars-NL (Phil Hertz)
1st place, 5 pts ahead

Though my lead over Brian Walton had grown to 5 points, things were not smooth sailing all week. First my strategy to go with all injured pitchers for the final week blew up when the Commissioner ruled that my claims of the injured pitchers were invalid. Under the Tout Wars constitution, players not on the 25-man roster can be claimed only if one bids at least 1 FAAB, and I had no FAAB left. So far, the ruling has not hurt my team, and thanks to an excellent outing by Clayton Kershaw and a good outing by Joe Musgrove, the ruling might even have helped. A big issue going forward is that two of my active pitchers are Brewers, and the Brewers play at Coors this weekend. 

On the hitting side, things have gone well in stolen bases where my four steals ties for the lead for the week and, more importantly, provides a cushion that may keep me from losing points in that category. All of the other hitting categories have gone south, but fortunately the poor performance is mostly costing me chances to gain points rather than actually lose points. Most of my playing time decisions on Sunday have not worked out so far. Bryant has been shut down and it sounds like Rizzo may follow. Similarly Suzuki has been limited to pinch-hitting,  and newly claimed Almonte suffered a leg injury in his second game on my roster. Kolton Wong, who I benched, may play this weekend.

I think my chances to prevail are good so long as ERA and WHIP don’t implode. That means I’ll be watching how Suter and Woodruff, my Milwaukee pitchers, perform at Coors.


Tout Wars-MixedAuc (Brent Hershey)
3d place, 12.5 pts behind leader

Amazing how one's confidence is directly correlated to team performance. So far my squad has flipped the script from Monday, as I'm solidly in the lead in this week's "period" standings. Both on the hitting and pitching sides, things are going well—activating Rowdy Tellez on Monday has paid dividends, for one—and there's some tight categories where I've still got upside. But it still takes squinting very hard—IE, a pretty much perfect weekend for both me and others close to my opponents—to think this will be anything but a solid third-place finish. 

I continue to wonder about my choice to chase saves mid-season at the expense of starting pitching. While I added another 3 points in the saves category since Monday, I also ceded a point each in Wins and Ks. Now that may be micro-managing some, as I've got 4.5 starts left this weekend (Rich Hill counts for the .5) and the team that jumped me in Ws and Ks, Jeff Zimmerman, just has one weekend start. So I could easily reclaim those two points by Monday.

There are very few places, though, where the two teams I'm chasing in the overall standings are reachable for me in categories (in other words, where 2-point swings are possible). For Scott Swanay (2d place), I'm back 3 HR and .0012 in OBP. For Bret Sayre (1st place), there are no spots where I will be able to overtake him, and he has very little downside in general. He's done a great job all year and has pretty much insulated himself from letting this slip away.

For the final trio of games, I'll be watching the starts of Jose Urquidy, Pablo Lopez, Garrett Richards, Dylan Bundy and Hill very closely. Urquidy (Friday night) Richards (Sat) and Bundy (Sun) have excellent Matchup scores, so that's a plus. But at this point, not much more to do but root, root, root for our own teams. Enjoy, all!

We'll be back with a final report and recap on Monday.

Other notable expert league updates as of 9/27/19:

  • Brent Hershey/Ray Murphy, FSTA League: First place, up by 8.5 points
  • Doug Dennis, XFL: First place, up by 4.5 points
  • Ray Murphy, Tout Mixed Draft: First place, up by 5.5 points
  • Dave Adler, AL-LABR: Third place, behind by 1.5 points

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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.