2014 Tout Mixed Auction Review

After squeaking out last season’s Tout Mixed League title, I felt like I entered Saturday’s auction with a bullseye on my chest. Competing in a league with 14 of the sharpest fantasy minds in the business, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to sneak through many bargains. Without getting too deep into specific bids at the auction, here are the highlights as I saw them:

  1.        Elite starting pitchers have been inflated.  I wondered if this would happen, because the second and third tiers had been thinned by injuries during Spring Training.  Sure enough, the table decided to add a couple dollars to each quality starter, in comparison to previous seasons. A quick look at past Tout data shows that there were more $25 and $20 starters in this auction than any of the past five seasons. Because of the ace-inflation, I decided to make the unusual move to stay away from those hurlers. This decision could cost me a chance to compete for the title, but I’m very stubborn during an auction, and I won’t pay prices that I don’t believe in.
  2.        It is possible to own the two best players and still build a solid roster. Derek Van Riper had the most interesting auction I have ever seen, when he picked up both Trout and Miggy, and was still able to add studs such as Jose Bautista and Billy Hamilton.  But there was obviously a price for Derek to pay, and he ended the auction without any closers. Punting a category is a risky move, but he could always trade his way into the saves market by midseason. Derek’s team will be very interesting to follow.
  3.        Injured players were a great bargain, and I missed out on the deals.  Cory Schwartz was the biggest beneficiary of the table’s hesitancy to buy injured pitchers, as he bought Cole Hamels, Mat Latos and Mike Minor for a total of $26.  If all three of those starters are in his rotation by May 1, he will have a very dangerous team. If I have one major regret from the auction, it’s that I didn’t push the prices of Latos and Minor up another dollar, to see if I could have landed one of them.

I was happy with the individual prices I paid for my own players, but my overall roster construction leaves me with some work to do.  In my opinion, some of my best moves were…..

  1.        Quickly buying Jason Heyward ($20) and Yoenis Cespedes ($15) in the span of a couple minutes in the second half of the auction when the money was starting to run dry.  Both players are rising talents, and they are both good enough to post $30 seasons. I was able to freeze the table with a $20 opening bid on Heyward.  I was very surprised to land him for that price.
  2.        Getting two of the top five closers, Greg Holland ($18) and Trevor Rosenthal ($16).  It’s a known fact that many closers lose their jobs during the season.  Do you know why many of them lose their jobs?  Because they aren’t very good!  Holland, Rosenthal and Steve Cishek (my third closer) should have the skills to hold their spots all season.  Because I didn’t pay for elite aces, I will look to add to my strikeout total and lower my ratios by having a trio of dominant closers.  Holland and Rosenthal should average about four strikeouts per week.  That’s the same as many one-start pitchers, and the two stud closers will have a great effect on my ERA and WHIP.
  3.        I thought that my purchase of Everth Cabrera for $14 was one of my best buys.  Cabrera is one of a few players who could lead the Majors in steals.  I don’t like the values of many shortstops, and had I not bought Cabrera, I likely would have settled on a $1 player.  I had Cabrera valued at much more than $14, so I was happy to get a good deal at a position of need.

This auction was far from perfect for me.  Here are some of the moves that didn’t sit well on my plane ride home.

  1.        As I mentioned earlier, I lack an ace.  Julio Teheran is my top starter, and I don’t really have a No. 2.  After Teheran I have a group of cheap pitchers that I believe in, such as Scott Kazmir, Dan Straily and John Lackey.  But overall, my starting pitching is among the worst in the league. By not drafting an ace, I was able to stack my offense and own the best group of closers in the league, but I just couldn’t have it all.
  2.        Paying full price for some expensive hitters in the first hour of the auction. I have no problem with the prices I paid for Edwin Encarnacion, David Wright and Matt Carpenter. But had I held back on at least one of them, I would have been able to snag some great deals in the outfield in the later stages of the auction.

 

The first time I participated in Tout Wars my main excitement for the weekend was the auction itself. But after three years in the same league, I found that this year I looked forward to seeing the people more than picking the players.  The chance to catch up with long-term league mates, and meet the new faces in the bunch has become my favorite part of the trip.  I’m looking forward to working with my newly-formed roster for the next six months, but I’m looking forward to my March 2015 trip to Foley’s even more.

The full results of all three Tout auctions can be found here:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/lv?key=0AsAa9oCjuqbwdGJUMzl5bGlpbnVxSk5wel9VTnE3dHc&f=true&noheader=false&gid=5

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