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Diary of a Fantasy Madman
Written by Zach Steinhorn   
Thursday, 29 March 2012 00:00

The Tout Wars crash course began just a few hours after I heard the news that a spot had opened up in the Mixed Tout league and that I was invited to join. Seven days. That’s all the time I had, and I would have to make the most of it. How exactly does one prepare for an auction draft with some of the country’s most skilled fantasy owners? Well, I went ahead and identified exactly the guys I would be targeting along with several fallback options. Then, I assigned a rough dollar value to each of these players. This method of preparation helped, but not quite as much as I thought it would. We all know that there’s no such thing as a scripted auction.

This past Saturday afternoon, at approximately 3:15 PM ET, I made my Tout Wars debut, joining 14 other fantasy gurus in a moderately sized conference room over at Sirius XM headquarters in midtown Manhattan that was barely big enough to fit us all. I was a little nervous at first, but once the first few players went off the board I settled down. Little did I know that our auctioneer, Rotowire’s Jeff Erickson, was known for his blazing fast paced style. Great. What a way to welcome a rookie!

Just a few minutes into the proceedings, one of my prime targets, Justin Upton (my personal MVP pick) was nominated, and though I had budgeted roughly 35 dollars for him, I was forced to spend 40. This didn’t bother me too much though as I don’t mind paying top dollar for elite talent. When Carlos Gonzalez, a very comparable player to Upton, also went for 40 bucks, I felt satisfied with my investment. I managed to secure my #2 target as well, shelling out 34 bucks for Mark Teixeira. Again, I overpaid by a little, but I’m pretty sure that Tex could bring back 30 dollar value if he can raise his batting average to the .275 range, and I think he’ll do just that. Paul Konerko going for a mere 20 dollars made the Tex pick look like a stretch, but the beauty of the auction is that you can get the guys you want, right? That said, at this point I found myself in the undesirable situation of being around 10 bucks over budget, so I sat tight while most of the other studs flew off the board. But then the bidding on CC Sabathia stopped at 20. I had set aside about 18 for my ace, planning on going with Yovani Gallardo. I had to call out 21 for CC, and I got him. Good value I thought, but definitely not what I had planned. The pattern of going over budget by a few dollars on a particular roster slot (Matt Cain for 16, Kevin Youkilis for 21) continued a few more times. These were all players I liked and felt were bought at fair or, in the case of Cain, below market value. But I had budgeted 14 for my #2 SP, thinking I would draft a Ricky Romero/Gio Gonzalez type player, and expected the Youkilis bidding to stop at around 18.

Spending a bit too much early on in the draft prevented me from taking advantage of bargains late as there were a bunch of quality players, particularly starting pitchers, who were bought for 5-10 dollars. I don’t regret chasing Upton and Teixeira, but maybe 24 dollars for Hunter Pence, although fair value, wasn’t the best idea considering my financial constraints. Maybe I should have more often followed the approach I took at shortstop, realizing that $21 for Jimmy Rollins, my first choice, was too steep and going with a $13 Erick Aybar instead.

Although I ended up building a very strong offense, a lineup stacked with both power and speed that I feel matches up well against any of the other teams, my starting pitching beyond my top two is mediocre at best. I also  couldn’t manage to add a second closer to pair with Jonathan Papelbon. This will put me at a huge saves disadvantage to start the season. The lack of proven high strikeout starters bothers me a little more, however, and I may be forced to make an early season trade to address this issue. I have plenty of high quality hitting to trade though, so I’m fairly confident that a deal could be struck if needed.

I think that this squad as currently constructed could finish middle of the pack. Acquiring a solid #3 SP along with a capable second closer might loft me into top-5 territory. All in all, I haven’t had so much fun on a Saturday since I took my SATs ten years ago, and I look forward to competing against the best in the business over the next six months!

Visit toutwars.com to view the results from all three of the Tout drafts.

Last Updated on Thursday, 29 March 2012 08:14
 

More Articles by Zach Steinhorn

Comments  

 
# Polka 2012-03-29 17:15
I hear you on watching studs go bye after we shot our load...Josh Johnson went for $4 at the end of our auction part...After seeing Pujoles, Miggy and A-Gon all go for over $60, I already knew what it would cost to get Votto, had to snag lower tiered 2b and SS with Kipnis and A. Castilla...got CC for $39, Lester for $20 and Darvish for $17 too...Longoria was a big earlt purchase for $44 and Stanton at $35, but I like my team overall, now it's time to defend the Title!!!
 
 
# Polka 2012-03-29 17:17
I paid $66 for Votto whao is top five First Base no doubt, but got Konerko for $9 and he's usually no lower than 7 or 8 right below Tex and above Hosmer..figure that out?
 

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