Glendale Desert Dogs – AFL Preview PDF Print E-mail
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Thursday, 02 October 2014 00:00

The Desert Dogs will play their home games at Camelback Ranch Stadium, which is the spring training home of the Dodgers and White Sox. So, the prospects in the Arizona Fall League from those teams will be very familiar with the clubhouse, practice fields, and is some cases the stadium.

They will be joined this year by prospects from the Brewers, Orioles and Tigers with former major leaguer Lance Parrish, now with the Tigers, as the manager. Parrish has Andy Tomberlin (CHW) as his hitting coach and Chris Hook (MIL) and Mike Griffin (BAL) as the pitching coaches.

The premier prospect in the Desert Dogs lineup this fall will be Corey Seager, who also appeared in the AFL in 2013. That may seem like the Dodgers are pushing him but given the lack of clarity about their 2015 shortstop, it makes sense. Seager, the younger brother of Mariners third baseman Kyle, had a good first year, reaching high A, but had an even better season in 2014, starting again at Rancho Cucomonga but then being promoted to Double-A Tulsa. Seager, who turned 20 in April, is still at shortstop although many scouts have said he should move to third base, so we will see where he plays in Arizona. All he did this year was hit 20 homers and drive in 97 runs while hitting .349/.402/.602. If that didn’t get your attention, Seager had 75 extra-base hits; five triples and 50 doubles along with the 20 homers.

The Dodgers are also sending outfielder Scott Schebler, who dollar wise, was one of the best draftees they have had recently, signing for just $300,000 after being drafted in the 26th round in the 2010 draft. He worked his way up to high A Rancho Cucomonga in 2013, breaking out with 27 homers amongst 69 extra-base hits. He also stole 16 bases and was named the Dodgers 2013 minor league player of the year. Schebler followed that up with 28 homers, 14 triples and 23 doubles this year at Double-A Tulsa with a slash line of .280/.365/.556 – and yes, for fantasy players, ten stolen bases.

Outfielder Steven Moya, currently the #7 Detroit prospect on the rankings, was a great signing by the organization and a good inspiration for younger players as he started by signing as an undrafted free agent in 2008. Injuries slowed him as he had Tommy John surgery in 2012 and a strained left (non-throwing) shoulder in 2013 at high A Lakeland. But Moya exploded this year when promoted to Double-A Erie, earning every Eastern League award in the regular season and postseason by hitting 35 home runs with 105 RBI and adding 16 stolen bases with a slash line of .276/.306/.555.

The White Sox are sending their #2 and #3 prospects to the AFL this year. Tim Anderson was selected 17th overall in the 2013 draft out of East Central Community College in Mississippi and played right away at low A Kannapolis with 267 at-bats and 24 stolen bases. The 6’1”, 180 lb. shortstop played at three levels in 2014, earning Carolina League mid-season All-Star honors, hitting six homers with ten steals. He was promoted later to Double-A Birmingham and was even better on ratios with a .364 AVG and .500 SLG in just 44 at-bats.

RHP Francellis Montas, from the Dominican Republic, came to Chicago via the Red Sox in the Jake Peavy trade. Across three minor league levels in 2014, Montas moved up to the #3 White Sox prospect with a 1.44 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 80 strikeouts in 81 innings pitched and was a Futures Game selection.

Last Updated on Sunday, 05 October 2014 08:04
Scottsdale Scorpions – AFL Preview PDF Print E-mail
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Tuesday, 30 September 2014 00:00

This is the third of six roster previews for the 2014 Arizona Fall League which begins play on Tuesday, October 7.

This year’s Scorpions come from the Giants, Mets, Phillies, Pirates and Yankees and will play their home games at Scottsdale Stadium (in downtown Scottsdale), the spring training home of the San Francisco Giants.

Managing the Scorpions will be Jeff Bannister of the Pirates with pitching coaches Ray Burris (PHI) and Mike Couchee (SF) along with hitting coaches P.J. Pilittere (NYY) and Val Pascucci (NYM).

While there are several good pitching prospects on this team, the one you want to watch is Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pittsburgh, who in addition to being the Pirates #1 prospect on was recently named MLB Pipeline’s Pitching Prospect of the Year. Glasnow was drafted in the fifth round in 2012 and as a 19-year-old at Class A West Virginia led all Bucs pitching prospects with 164 strikeouts in 111.3 innings. A back injury delayed his start this season but he did get 23 starts at High A Bradenton and had a 1.74 ERA and 1.05 WHIP with 157 strikeouts in 124.3 innings pitched.

Another Pirate to watch is their #3 prospect, outfielder Josh Bell, who had a slash line of .325/.375/.459 with nine home runs and nine stolen bases in 425 minor league at-bats across two levels. The switch-hitting Bell also had 22 doubles and four triples, a nice 35 extra-base hits, which should result in more home runs as he gains more experience. And yes, the Pirates have a lot of really good outfielders, but if Bell continues to improve, he will find a spot in the lineup in Pittsburgh or via a trade in another city.

Brandon Nimmo leads a group of young Metropolitans (including the MZs – RHP Corry Massoni and 2B L.J. Mazzili (yes, Lee Jr. but he prefers L.J.). Nimmo, the Mets #3 prospect, is a 21-year-old outfielder (currently CF but likely to shift to a corner as he moves up) who throws right-handed but bats from the left side. At Class-A St. Lucie and then Double-A Binghamton, Nimmo had 40 extra-base hits and hit .278/.394/.426 in his fourth minor league season.

The Yankees are sending a trio of interesting fantasy prospects. Third baseman Eric Jagielo, who was only the fifth Notre Dame University player drafted in the first round (1.26 in 2013), had 18 home runs and 14 doubles in just 332 at-bats between rookie league and then High-A Tampa. Jagielo’s slash line was .256/.351/.461 in just his second professional season.

Outfielder Aaron Judge, another first round pick by the Yankees (32nd in 2013), will likely grow into more power given his 6’7” frame. He did win the Ameritrade College Home Run Derby while at Fresno State University, where in three years he hit .346 with 17 home runs and 35 stolen bases. Judge also hit two home runs in one game against Mark Appel. In his first year, he played at Class-A and Double-A stops and had 17 home runs amongst 45 extra-base hits with a slash line of .308/.419/.460.

Tyler Austin was a 13th round pick in 2010 that had a terrific entry in just 178 at-bats between the rookie Gulf Coast league and Low-A Staten Island, hitting .418/.579/.997 in 2011. Austin exploded in 2012 at Class-A Charleston, hitting .405 with 14 home runs, 54 RBI and 17 stolen bases in 266 at-bats in the first half of the year and was a Sally League mid-season All Star and selected for the Futures Game. He hasn’t progressed from there (especially with the stolen bases), partly due to a thumb injury in 2013, but he did continue to hit for a good average and had a .336/.419/.756 line this year with 34 extra-base hits at Double-A Trenton.

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 October 2014 08:18
Salt River Rafters - AFL Preview PDF Print E-mail
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Sunday, 28 September 2014 00:00

This is the second of the six team previews that will run before opening day on Tuesday, October 7. To see the introductory article for the 2014 Arizona Fall League, click HERE

The Salt River Rafters play their home games at Salt River Fields, spring training home of both the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies, obviously two of the five Rafter parent clubs. There will also be six or seven prospects from the Houston Astros, Miami Marlins and Minnesota Twins.

The team will be managed by Andy Haines (MIA), who will have Josh Miller (HOU) as the pitching coach and Kevin Riggs (COL) and Jacob Cruz (ARI) coaching the pitching staff, which may be the best but certainly most well known in the AFL this year.

Mark Appel, Archie Bradley and Eddie Butler are top pitching prospects that almost all fantasy baseball players are familiar with. They will be joined by two pitchers who had several innings in the Majors this year, Anthony DeSclafini of the Marlins and Christian Bergman of the Rockies.

And all of those and other good prospects will need a second look by fans whose first wish will be to see the top hitting prospect in baseball, Twins outfielder Byron Buxton, in action for his second AFL season. Buxton was sidelined by a wrist injury in spring training which limited him to just 124 at-bats in the minor leagues this year and had the Twins send him back to the AFL for more work.

Appel, who was drafted in the first round in both the 2012 (Pittsburgh at 1.08) and 2013 (Houston at 1.01) drafts, had an appendectomy in January that he never fully recovered from and limited him to just 83 minor league innings. The Astros hope Appel can regain his 2013 form in the Fall League. He is currently ranked the #2 prospect in the Houston organization by

Bradley, who by many accounts should have made his major league debut in the Diamondbacks rotation back in March, is Arizona’s best prospect and #10 overall on Likely due in part to an early letdown in going from the big club in Australia to Triple-A Reno, one of the more hitter friendly ballparks, and dealing with shoulder soreness limited the 6’4” righty to just 83 minor league innings. Tony LaRussa, a new GM and possible new field boss, will hope they see vintage Bradley at their home facilities.

Butler, who was drafted by Colorado as the first supplemental pick in 2012, pitched well that summer and then had a sensational 2013 with a 1.80 ERA across three minor league levels and pitched in the Futures Game. He did get a September call up this year after being limited to 117 minor league innings as he dealt with rotator cuff soreness.

Other Rafters to watch this year will be:

Vincent Velazquez, RHP, HOU, the Astros #8 prospect who struck out 91 batters in 64 innings.

Pete O’Brien, C, ARI, traded by the Yankees in the Brandon McCarthy deal who had 34 HR in three minor league stops.

Brandon Drury, 3B, ARI, now the #6 Diamondbacks prospect and the only thing they have to show for trading Justin Upton to Atlanta, he hit 23 HR between Class A and Double-A this year with a slash line of .299/.362/.510.

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 October 2014 11:35
Mesa Solar Sox - AFL Preview PDF Print E-mail
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 00:00

This is the first of the six team previews that will run before opening day on Tuesday, October 7. To see the introductory article for the 2014 Arizona Fall League, click HERE

The Mesa Solar Sox will play their home games in Cubs Park in Mesa for the first time this year.

The Solar Sox are composed of prospects from the Cubs, Angels, Athletics, Blue Jays and Nationals and will be managed by two-time World Series Champion Mike Mordecai, who currently works for the Toronto Blue Jays. The hitting coach will be Greg Sparks from the Oakland organization while the pitchers will be assisted by former big league pitchers Ron Villone of the Cubs and Matt Wise from the Angels.

Two of the young Cubs highlight this young roster which has three players that just turned 20 this year and one who won’t join them until next February. The two Chicago prospects are very well known already – shortstop Addison Russell, who was traded to the Cubs this season in the Samardzija/Hammel deal and RHP C.J. Edwards, who Chicago got from the Rangers in last season’s trade of Matt Garza.

Russell, who had limited at-bats early in the year due to a hamstring injury, did very well in his 50 games with the Cubs Double-A Tennessee team, with 13 home runs, 45 RBI and six stolen bases with a slash line of .294/.332/.536.

Edwards is a lean (6’2” but only 155 lbs.) right-handed starting pitcher who was also at Tennessee, starting ten games with 46 strikeouts in 48 innings, an ERA of 2.35 and a 1.06 WHIP. He could compete for a spot in the Cubs rotation next spring, likely dependent on how many free agent hurlers the Cubs might sign or trade for.

Other prospects of note on the Solar Sox Roster:

Robert Osuna, the aforementioned 19-year-old righty who is the nephew of former major league pitcher Antonio Osuna, underwent Tommy John surgery in 2013 and came back this year to log 22 innings with High-A Dunedin. He did have 30 strikeouts there and will get more innings in the AFL.

Another top Toronto prospect was a September call-up, as outfielder Dalton Pompey did get a few at-bats this month. More importantly, Pompey hit .315 across three levels in the Minors this year with 46 stolen bases and nine home runs. Still just 21, Pompey is regarded as the Blue Jays top position player prospect, rated #3 by behind pitchers Daniel Norris and Aaron Sanchez.

Kaleb Cowart, a third baseman in the Angels organization who was the club's first round pick in the 2010 draft, has struggled to come close to his numbers from his first full minor league season in 2012. But despite hitting just .223 this year at Double-A Arkansas, Cowart did steal 26 bases.

Matt Olson, 1B, Oakland, was a highly regarded two-way player in high school and was drafted in 2012 in the compensation round. He had 23 home runs at Low-A Midland at 19 years old and improved dramatically at High-A Stockton this year with 37 roundtrippers and 97 RBI. While he strikes out a lot (137 in 512 at-bats) which kept his average down (.262), he did get on base at a .404 clip and had a .543 slugging percentage.

Last Updated on Saturday, 27 September 2014 21:33
Tout Wars and LABR FAAB Report: Week of September 22 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Todd Zola   
Monday, 22 September 2014 09:09

Twenty-five down, one to go. For our last FAAB report, we'll combine both Tout Wars and LABR into one report. I'll hold Todd's Take until the end at which point I'll share what I feel is the best FAAB system.

Before we move onto the pick-ups, I'd like to thank my colleagues Lawr, Brian, Rob, Perry and Zach for their weekly commentary. In addition, a special thank you goes to USA Today's Steve Gardner for taking the time to send along the LABR FAAB results.

Good luck taking down your leagues. Hopefully we helped sort out a player or two along the way.





TWalker, Sea 12 Ron Shandler 12 Rick Wolf/Glenn Colton 11
JBurton, Min 1 Steve Moyer 6
BBoesch, LAA 1 Steve Moyer 6
CWalker, Bal 1 Mike Podhorzer 6



Rob Leibowitz' Commentary

With the league all but decided, the few remaining decent players were picked up by owners scrapping for every point they can get in an effort to avoid the Tout Wars penalty of losing $1 FAAB next year for every point they finish below 60 this year.




FGalvis, Phi 19 Scott Wilderman 19 Peter Kreutzer 18 Steve Gardner 10
Phil Hertz 3
JBour, Mia 19 Scott Wilderman 28 Peter Kreutzer 18 Tristan H. Cockcroft 15
Phil Hertz 3 Brian Walton 0
RZimmerman, Was 16 Tristan H. Cockcroft 34 Derek Carty 15 Mike Gianella 6
Phil Hertz 3 Brian Walton 0
EButler, Col 16 Peter Kreutzer 18 Derek Carty 15 Phil Hertz 2
AChafin, Ari 3 Mike Gianella 5 Peter Kreutzer 18 Phil Hertz 2
YFlande, Col 2 Peter Kreutzer
TMedica, SD 1 Tristan H. Cockcroft 15 Peter Kreutzer 18 Phil Hertz 2
AOttavino, Col 1 Derek Carty 15
RJohnson, Mia 1 Phil Hertz 3
CCulberson, Col 0 Peter Kreutzer 0
JJeffress, Mil 0 Steve Gardner 0


JWalden, Atl Derek Carty 15
RKalish, ChC Phil Hertz 3
RSantiago, Cin Peter Kreutzer 0

Brian Walton's Commentary

With the most money remaining, Scott Wilderman spent $19 each on two hitters, Phillies infielder Freddy Galvis and first baseman Justin Bour of Miami. Scott hit his $19 exactly for Galvis, while offering $28 via Vickrey for Bour.

In the last week, Galvis doubled his home run and RBI totals for the season after launching two long balls and plating six and bringing his season batting average up to .165. Bour, 26, hit his first career homer over the weekend and may continue to get starts ahead of Garrett Jones as the Marlins’ once-promising season grinds to its end.

The return, albeit limited, of Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was a major source of bidding this week. Originally drafted for $21 by Peter Kreutzer, Zimmerman was returned to the free agent pool as part of a FAAB reclaim. This time around, he drew $16 ($34 Vickrey) from league leader Tristan H. Cockcroft.

Speaking of Kreutzer, Rotoman made the final large bid of the week, paying $16 ($18 Vickrey) for Rockies starter Eddie Butler. The 23-year-old is a top prospect, but is making a big step up from an uneven Double-A summer. The right-hander did allow just one run over six innings last week, but the opponent was Arizona. It is unclear whether or not Butler will be given a second start during the final week.

In closing, it has been fun bringing you insight into the NL Tout Wars transactions this season and hope our efforts have helped yours.




KLobstein, Det 13 Derek Van Riper 20 Tim Heaney 19 David Gonos 12
Scott Swanay 11 Fred Zinkie 3 Al Melchior 0
RNolasco, Min 12 David Gonos 25 Derek Van Riper 20 Tim Heaney 19
Scott Pianowski 15 Scott Swanay 11 Derek Van Riper 6
Fred Zinkie 3
CBassitt, CWS 12 David Gonos 12 Scott Swanay 11
RErlin, SD 12 Tim Heaney 19 Scott Pianowski 15 Scott Swanay 11
Al Melchior 5 Nando DiFino 4 Fred Zinkie 3
NMartinez, Tex 4 Derek Van Riper 20 Scott Swanay 11 Fred Zinkie 3
ROdor, Tex 1 David Gonos 8 Zach Steinhorn 19 Ray Flowers 9
Fred Zinkie 0
JBurton, Min 1 Ray Flowers 13
AAmarista, SD 1 Ray Flowers 9 Fred Zinkie 0
KGibson, Min 1 Scott Swanay 11 Tim Heaney 19 Derek Van Riper 6
ODespaigne, SD 1 Zach Steinhorn 19 Scott Pianowski 15
CJoseph, Bal 1 Al Melchior 1
MGonzalez, Bal 1 Fred Zinkie 3 Zach Steinhorn 19 Al Melchior 0
JLocke, Pit 1 Fred Zinkie 3
RCastillo, Bos 1 Fred Zinkie 1
DPeralta, Ari 0 Fred Zinkie 1 Al Melchior 0
RRua, Tex 0 Zach Steinhorn 19 Fred Zinkie 1
EInciarte, Ari 0 Fred Zinkie 1
JParedes, Bal 0 Fred Zinkie 0


IDavis, Pit Zach Steinhorn 19
RFlaherty, Bal Ray Flowers 9
YEscobar, TB Ray Flowers 9
BCrawford, SF Ray Flowers 9
JBour, Mia Fred Zinkie 1
JSmolinksi, Tex Fred Zinkie 1
RGrossman, Hou Fred Zinkie 1
CVazquez, Bos Al Melchior 1
DRuf, Phi Al Melchior 0
AHechavarria, Mia Fred Zinkie 0
MAviles, Cle Fred Zinkie 0
PGosselin, Atl Fred Zinkie 0

Zach Steinhorn's Commentary

What do Kyle Lobstein, Ricky Nolasco, Chris Bassitt and Robbie Erlin have in common? All four are two-start pitchers for the season's final week. What do Derek Van Riper, David Gonos and Tim Heaney have in common? All three can very easily either gain or lose ground in both the strikeouts and wins categories. Of the four pitchers, I'm most optimistic about Nolasco, who sports a 1.35 ERA and 1.05 WHIP over his last three starts, but all of these guys are risky. Van Riper, Gonos and Heaney must have concluded that the potential gain in wins and strikeouts outweighs the potential damage in ERA and WHIP, a calculation that is much easier to make with only one week left in the season.

Even though he will be making only one start, Odrisamer Despaigne was my primary pitching target. In eight home starts this year, Despaigne is 3-1 with a 1.83 ERA and the Rockies rank dead last in the Majors in runs scored on the road. All of the numbers say that a strong outing is a near certainty, which probably means he will be terrible!

Well, my one-week long experiment with starting Garrett Jones at CI was a flop and Billy Butler continues to do absolutely nothing, so let's now go with Ryan Rua, who is swinging a hot bat while getting regular playing time for the last place Rangers.




JMarisnick, Hou 7 Brent Hershey 15 Ray Murphy 6 Nicholas Minnix 0
Tim McLeod 0
EMujica, Bos 1 Nicholas Minnix 5 Tim McLeod 0
JBurton, Min 1 Perry Van Hook 24 Nicholas Minnix 5 Tim McLeod 0
RErlin, SD 1 Brent Hershey 30 Nicholas Minnix 5
LMorrison, Sea 1 Ray Murphy 6 Nicholas Minnix 0 Tim McLeod 0
KLobstein, Det 1 Adam Ronis 11 Perry Van Hook 17
ACraig, Bos 1 Ray Murphy 6
RCastillo, Bos 1 Brent Hershey 25
DRuf, Phi 1 Brent Hershey 10
YMolina, StL 1 Brent Hershey 15
JSmolinksi, Tex 1 Perry Van Hook 12
ZPutnam, CWS 0 Tim McLeod 0 Nicholas Minnix 5
CCoghlan, ChC 0 Nicholas Minnix 0
DAckley, Sea 0 Nicholas Minnix 0 Tim McLeod 0
AAmarista, SD 0 Nicholas Minnix 0 Perry Van Hook 12 Tim McLeod 0
COwings, Ari 0 Tim McLeod 0 Nicholas Minnix 0
CGillaspie, CWS 0 Tim McLeod 0 Nicholas Minnix 0


JParedes, Bal Perry Van Hook 12
TWalker, Sea Adam Ronis 11 Nicholas Minnix 5
MGarza, Mil Adam Ronis 11
TMatzek, Col Adam Ronis 11
KHendricks, ChC Nicholas Minnix 5
CMaybin, SD Nicholas Minnix 0
JJay, StL Nicholas Minnix 0
PGosselin, Atl Nicholas Minnix 0
RRua, Tex Nicholas Minnix 0
YEscobar, TB Nicholas Minnix 0
CCron, LAA Tim McLeod 0

Perry Van Hook's Commentary

Things were a lot more interesting in the TOUT mixed draft league. While nine of the fifteen teams made no bids for the final week the six who did saw some strange results. The two highest bids – Brent Hershey’s $30 try for San Diego SP Robbie Erlin, and my $29 bid for new Twins closer Jared Burton both were Vickrey reduced to one dollar winning bids. Even my underbid in that group, $17 for Tiger SP Kyle Lobstein went for one dollar to Adam Ronis who had bid $11 hoping to capture a good two start week.

My second bid of $12 for Rangers OF Jake Smolinski was also a one dollar winning bid.

Meanwhile Tim McLeod who is tied for the league lead at 111 points with me was out of money but no problem as with the paucity of bids he was able to get Chris Owings, Conor Gillaspie and Zach Putnam – not his first choices in each group but then he had no FAAB left and got all for $0 bids.





Jordan Schafer, MIN $18 NFBC/Stats, Inc. 18



Perry Van Hook's Commentary.

Not much to report from the AL for the last period as eight of us had no FAAB units left.

In fact there was only one bid as Larry Schechter bid his last $18 to add OF Jordan Schafer.




Rickie Weeks, MIL $9 RotoExperts 9
Travis Wood, CHC $2 NFBC/Stats, Inc. 2
Andrew Chafin, ARI $2 NFBC/Stats, Inc. 2 RotoWire - DVR 2


Yohan Flande, COL NFBC/Stats, Inc. 2
Blake Treinen, WSH NFBC/Stats, Inc. 2
Eddie Butler, COL NFBC/Stats, Inc. 2
David Hale, ATL NFBC/Stats, Inc. 2
David Holmberg, CIN NFBC/Stats, Inc. 2

Lawr Michaels' Commentary

The final LABR NL transaction period was a quiet one, with three teams involved with three bids, although there were just a pair of winners.

RotoExperts dropped $9 for the rights to Rickie Weeks, as Lenny Melnick made his last push for the title.

Meanwhile, NFBC/Stats guys Greg Ambrosius and Shawn Childs bagged Travis Wood for a couple of bucks, and also won the rights to Andrew Chafin for another deuce.

I actually finished the season with $18 in my till, and the reality is over the past month I ran a full lineup that was generally as good as the replacements would make it.

What that really means is my lineup was obviously not that good, or I would not have finished in 11th, with just under 50 points.

However, I am not really sure how much differently I would approach the draft. I would gamble $21 on Mark Trumbo, and Matt Kemp proved to be worth the $20 I dumped on him. OTOH, Max Venable and I shall not be sharing roster space anytime in the near future.

But in another year, this combination of players might well be a winner.

That's why we play the game, right?

Thanks for following this year.




Jeff Locke, PIT $12 Baseball HQ 12
Rusney Castillo, BOS $10 10
Robbie Erlin, SD $11 Baseball HQ 11 1
Jimmy Paredes, BAL $1 1
Aaron Harang, ATL $1 1
Ryan Rua, TEX $1 1


Wilmer Flores, NYM 1
David Freese, LAA 1

Todd Zola's Commentary

First place is still up for grabs with Steve Gardner from USA Today looking to track down Ray Murphy from BaseballHQ with Fred Zinkie from lurking. Steve is out of FAAB so he's relying on his current squad to lake up the ground. Ray had a little something saved for a rainy day and opted to get more starts.

I envy my colleagues and their cat and mouse game for points. While I won't call this a lost year, things definitely did not go as planned. Something I try to keep in mind is to judge the process, not the outcomes. On draft day, I went with a contrarian strategy of not forcing starting pitching and instead opting for two stud closers then back-filling with second and third tier starters. Let's just say that the reason I am not battling for the title is not because of that decision. This isn't to imply that I didn't find faults elsewhere I aim to correct. I did. I'm just saying to look at things objectively.

Todd's Take

Playing in Tout Wars and LABR the past several seasons as well as participating in other industry leagues and the high stakes arena, I've gained significant perspective with regards to the various free agent acquisition formats. And while no system if perfect, there is one I feel matches the closest to my philosophies.

By means of background, I have an issue with the direction this fine hobby has taken. While I fully understand the need and have no problem adapting to any scenario, it bugs me that most of the changes to the game are designed to reduce risk. Many are disguised as strategy, but I snicker at that notion since much of what is passed off as strategy is really just common sense.

Examples are the addition of reserve lists allowing free movement of players to and from active status, shifting of 4x4 scoring to 5x5 and daily (or at least more than once-a-week) transactions. In one way or another, these are all parachutes, softening the landing of thought processes that no longer entail as much risk as when the game was invented.

Truth be told, FAAB itself falls under the umbrella of reducing risk, though in a vacuum I have no issue with it, given its need in large part results from the presence of reserve lists, If we're going to have a bench and ability to release players from our squads freely, I prefer the dynamics of FAAB over waiver claims.

There are two elements of FAAB that some leagues use that introduce even more safety nets to the process. The first is Vickrey with the second being $0 bids. My system would not utilize either.

I understand the arguments for Vickrey bidding. It's impossible to properly guage market value of a player. It's impossible to relate FAAB dollars to auction dollars. That said, the overriding principle that pushes me away from Vickrey is owning your bid. Above all else, you should be charged what you're willing to pay. Ask ten people how they arrive at that amount and ten different answers will emanate. And that's a problem and an argument for Vickrey. But again, the most important factor should be how much the person is willing to pay. At least to me.

As far as $0 bids go, that's another buffer. The thinking is, "I'll go all-in and if I get the player, I can still make $0 bids when I need a player." Obviously, the repercussion is picking from the entrails of available players, but still, you have the opportunity. I'd prefer having to make a decision of how much is the player worth to me versus how much I need to leave for the rest of the season. No parachute. No safety net. Make a decision and live with the consequences.

At this point, you may assume the FAAB system used by LABR is my preference since there's no Vickrey or $0 bids. While I admit I prefer LABR over Tout Wars, the winner is....

The National Fantasy Baseball Championship, more commonly called the NFBC.

In short, the NFBC uses a budget of 1000 with no $0 bids. Why is $1000 better than $100? As mentioned, I understand the Vickrey arguments with respect to properly gauging market price. And it's not as if the problem disappears with the larger amount, but it does provide more wiggle room. Not to mention, deciding how close to going all-in while still leaving some $1 bids is facilitated with the larger total. Yeah, now I'm introducing my own parachute but having played with both 100 and 1000 budgets, I find the 1000 to be fairer.

Both Tout Wars and LABR use a rule whereby disabled players are eligible to be released while getting a rebate of FAAB dollars in proportion to the auction price. If the $1000 system were adapted, I'm sure that respective brain trusts could figure something out.

And with that, we'll conclude the weekly Mastersball FAAB reports. Thanks for your patronage and we look forward to returning next April.

Last Updated on Monday, 22 September 2014 13:20
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