ROTISSERIE: Tout Wars NL 2019 recap

Sometimes the start of one’s day can be misleading. Sunday I woke up a little under the weather (or perhaps a little under the remnants of Saturday night). Nevertheless, I forced myself out of bed and into the shower because I had promised Lenny Melnick that I’d appear on his SiriusXM show at 8:45 as part of the lead-in to the annual NL-only Tout auction at 10 a.m. in the SiriusXM studios. I left my hotel at 37th Street and Sixth Avenue at 8:05, knowing that it shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes to walk to SiriusXM on 49th Street. As I approached 42nd Street, I saw the street was blocked. I had run smack dab into a marathon. I gently asked a policeman if it would be possible to cross the street, and I was not so gently told "No." So back I went in the other direction until I found a cab at 38th Street. Then I had to convince him to head East to Park Avenue—the one avenue that crosses above 42nd Street. That diversion worked, but by the time I walked out of the elevators and into the SiriusXM studios, it was 8:55 and Lenny’s show was winding down.

So with my early morning troubles hopefully behind me, I turned to the NL auction. I’ve competed in NL Tout for over a decade, but have yet to win. For the past several years, I’ve been a contender, sometimes a fringe contender, with finishes as high as second and no lower than fifth. Most of those years I focused on hitting to the detriment of my starting pitching, and that had ultimately proved to be a recipe for disaster. 

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I’ve been using the Mayberry Method combined with Total Control Drafting and did so again on Sunday. However, this year I decided that I’d move more towards pitching than in the past with a goal of securing a few solid starters and at least one closer, even if it meant that I might have more hitting holes than I prefer to have coming out of the draft.

Unlike the start of the day, the draft went remarkably according to plan. I actually got 18 of the players I had targeted, including all of my corners and outfielders. Tout Wars uses OBP instead of batting average, so one of my goals was to load up—preferably early in the draft—with OBP studs. I think I succeeded quite well getting guys like Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Andrew McCutchen and Brandon Nimmo. The reason I wanted to accomplish this early was so I could roster a couple of players who, shall we say, are not exactly prone to taking pitches. One such player was Lewis Brinson whom I hope, along with Amed Rosario, will keep me competitive in stolen bases.

On the pitching side in this draft, there were no bargains. The most expensive player in the draft was Jacob deGrom, who went for $41. By contrast, the most expensive hitter was new Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper at $40. (Remember, this is an OBP league.) I had no plan to take Clayton Kershaw, but I figured that at $22 he was worth the risk. If he provides Kershaw-like stats over 140 innings, then $22 was a fair price, if not a bargain. Color me crazy, but I’d rather have Kershaw at $22 than Patrick Corbin at $22, and that’s what the Nats’ new starter went for. In the bullpen, I got Will Smith for $8, which I considered a bargain for a closer with little competition for the role, at least at this point of the season.  

Another of my goals was to roster a few multi-position players, and I wound up with Yangervis Solarte, Wilmer Difo, Bryant and Neil Walker. Tout uses 15-game eligibility, so Walker is surprisingly eligible everywhere but short and catcher.

Obviously, there are spots to shore up. Dominic Smith is currently in the swing position. If he doesn’t make the Mets, I’ll need to fill that up. Similarly it’s not clear what role Solarte will have with the Padres. One closer is not enough, so I’ll need to hunt the waiver wire for potential save sources.  However, overall I like the hitting-pitching balance for a change.

Here’s my complete roster

POS  PLAYER            SAL
===  ================  ===
C    Kurt Suzuki         3
C    Brian McCann        3 (see below)
1B   Anthony Rizzo      32
3B   Justin Turner      24
CI   Brandon Belt       17
2B   Neil Walker         5
SS   Amed Rosario       20
MI   Kolten Wong         5
OF   Andrew McCutchen   25
OF   Kris Bryant        31
OF   Brandon Nimmo      19
OF   Lewis Brinson       7
UT   Yangervis Solarte   1
SW   Dominic Smith       1

P    Clayton Kershaw    22
P    Joe Musgrove       11
P    Yu Darvish         10
P    Luke Weaver         3
P    Corbin Burnes       4
P    Brandon Woodruff    4
P    Derek Holland       3
P    Jeurys Familia      2
P    Will Smith          8

Res: Wilmer Difo, Max Fried, Kevin Newman, Mitch Keller

One final thought: It never hurts to get your hearing checked before the draft. I never realized I had bid on Brian McCann. Instead I thought I was bidding on Ryan McMahon. I was quite pleased with a successful bid of 3 until I saw McCann’s name go up in a catcher slot.  Sigh.

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