ROTISSERIE: Shadowdrafting NL Tout 2017

This past weekend I was in Manhattan for the extravaganza weekend of Tout Wars. Saw old friends, made new ones, the whole deal. On Sunday, I watched the NL-only auction and shadowdrafted a team in real time. "Shadowdrafted" is really a misnomer—I simply added $1 to players that I would roster at a given price as they came up in the auction to create a fake team. It allowed me to gauge who I would have gone after if I were an owner in the league.

I used the same $30 pitching strategy that I used in LABR-NL when I really did buy a team. In Tout, there are some important rules differences, such as OBP instead of BA; four reserves instead of six and the four can be freely interchanged with active slots; $0 FAAB bids, which are not allowed in LABR; the ability to FAAB players who are not on the active roster of an NL team; and the use of a "swing" slot where a team can deploy either a utility hitter or a pitcher. These create some strategic differences. Also, there has been news on roles and injuries since LABR. For these reasons, I used a different set of projected prices for Tout than I used for LABR. Also, I did not know the historic slot prices for Tout, so had to wing it on expectations for a given category (steals/saves) and for given scarcity views (catchers/closers). Finally, when I had only $1 for a slot, I waited until all the buys were completed, then selected my $1 players before the reserve round. Then for my reserves, I waited until all reserves were taken and selected my four reserves.


Here is the team I "shadow" selected at auction from this methodology:

DRD Tout-NL mock     Tout$  DRD
==================   =====  ===
c  d'Arnaud (NYM)     $5+1    6
c  T.Murphy (COL)     $4+1    5
1b Goldschmidt (ARI) $40+1   41
3b Bryant (CHC)      $37+1   38
ci Prado (MIA)        $7+1    8
2b Panik (SF)         $9+1   10
ss Villar (MIL)      $29+1   30
mi Spangenberg (SD)   $1+1    2
of Braun (MIL)       $26+1   27
of K.Broxton (MIL)   $19+1   20
of Dahl (COL)        $14+1   15
of Tomas (ARI)       $14+1   15
of A.Toles (LA)       $6+1    7
sw Winker (CIN)       res     1
DRD Tout-NL mock     Tout$  DRD
==================   =====  ===
p  Alx.Wood (LA)      $5+1    6
p  Leake (STL)        $4+1    5
p  W.Y.Chen (MIA)     $5+1    6
p  Buchholz (PHI)     $1+1    2
p  EduRamos (PHI)     res     1
p  D.Law (SF)         res     1
p  Cecil (STL)        res     1
p  Ottavino (COL)     $3+1    4
p  Kelley (WAS)       $7+1    8
DRD Tout-NL mock     Tout$  DRD
==================   =====  ===
res Tazawa (MIA)            res
res McGee (COL)             res
res Coghlan (PHI)           res
res C.Torres (MIL)          res

You can judge this for yourself.  First, there were players I simply could not quit from LABR to Tout, which either means everyone else is valuing them too low, or more likely, I am too high on them: David Dahl (OF, COL), Yasmany Tomas (OF, ARI), Wei Yin Chen (SP, MIA) and Adam Ottavino (RP, COL). I am still high on all four as profit centers, though, for what little it may be worth.

As a goal, I generally want to spread the risk on hitters. But here, I felt that Paul Goldschmidt (1B, ARI) went too cheap at $40, then Kris Bryant (3B, CHC) was too cheap at $37, then Ryan Braun (OF, MIL) was too cheap at $26. From there I was scrambling to fill out a team of players getting regular PAs.

I would have to find early replacements for Tom Murphy (C, COL) and David Dahl (OF, COL) but simply could not pass at these two prices. The early spend forced me into rostering Cory Spangenberg (MI, SD) and Andrew Toles (OF, LA) but I was not unhappy at those prices. I was not able to take advantage of the "swing" position from a hitter's standpoint—I simply had no money left.

There were quirky things as in most auctions. Anthony Rizzo (1B, CHC) went for $32 (after Goldschmidt, of course!) and then later on when pickings were slim, Wil Myers (1B, SD) went for $31. These kinds of things are just a function of when a player comes out and where owners think their money will go, then adjust later.

On the pitching side, starters were very hard to come by. Alex Wood (LHP, LA) fell to just $5—that was a great price and a quirk of the draft when he fell through the cracks. Shawn Kelley (RHP, WAS) seemed to be an afterthought in the wake of Koda Glover (RHP, WAS) fever (Glover went for $5). Everything else was very tough. The $1 relievers came after all of the 12-teams had filled their rosters. All three are fine $1 selections, though in retrospect, I should have rostered two more lousy starters here, knowing that I could substitute them freely.

Even getting that fourth starter was very difficult. I would not be happy rostering Clay Buchholz (RHP, PHI) even at $2 but struggled to roster any other starters and in fact, would not have been able to "shadow" select any reserve starters, which makes this $30 pitching strategy a likely failure in this particular auction. One makes up for lack of quality by sifting through quantity.

Here, unlike LABR, the starters were scarfed up and relievers were left alone. Given that reserves can be moved in and out of active slots freely, this makes a lot of sense. It is a quirk of the rules that I did not plan for in this auction, but would in the future, using the differences in slot values.

This team will not be played out. But it does give you one more viewpoint on where/how one person might spend in a given NL-only auction.

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