Desk of the Editor: Tout Wars Review
Picture it. It is your birthday and you’ve spent most of your day in bed due to illness (non-COVID, thank goodness). What a crappy birthday. You feel horrible and even if you did feel great you couldn’t go anywhere due to social distancing.
*Phone lights up*
Ugh. Is this another Happy Birthday Text? I’m really not in the mood.
*glances at phone*
“…We would like to invite you to participate in Tout Wars 2021…”
There are many reasons why I decided to “get into” the fantasy baseball “industry” (though I feel we’re more a community than an industry). First and foremost, I just love baseball. Secondly, I love this game we created from other people playing a game. Thirdly, I wanted to get a more diverse voice in the community.
When I set out on this, I had many goals but the one at the top was to participate in Tout Wars. To be honest, I never thought it would happen. But after years of writing, podcasting, and interacting in the community, I was lucky enough to receive an invite. I’m still in shock, to be honest.
Draft Prep and League Info
Because I was the newbie to the 15-team Mixed Draft, I had the last pick in the KDS and I got the 15th pick. It wasn’t what I wanted, for sure, but I think I can make this work. I think. Once I see where I am drafting, I do a quick run of the Bat X and ATC projections on the FanGraphs Auction calculator. Am I married to these numbers? Of course not. I like to run these against league settings to see if there are any players that stand out, either positively or negatively.
Here are those all-important league details:
15 teams. 2 Catchers, 5 OF, MI, CI, UTL, 9 Pitchers, 6 reserves. OBP instead of AVG and Wins instead of Quality Starts.
So lets get down to business…
Lucas Giolito, SP, CWS (1-15)
(Okay, Shelly. This is your first pick in Tout Wars. Do NOT mess it up!) I was hoping that Bryce Harper or Shane Bieber would make it to me with this pick but…nope. Bieber went 8th followed by Bryce Harper with the 10th pick and my “plan” was already ruined in the first round. Looking at the board and knowing pitching was being pushed up, I knew I had to select an ace here. The big three were already off the board, so I went with Lucas Giolito. Honestly, I would not be surprised if he won the AL CY young this year but this pick meant more than that.
Lucas Giolito is the best. In his career, he went from top prospect to worst pitcher in the major leagues to bonafide ace. When was the last time a pitcher has done that? (Also, Giolito is a super awesome dude.)
Also, Giolito means a lot to me from a baseball writing standpoint. Lucas Giolito was the subject of my first article over at Pitcher List and, honestly, was my big start in the fantasy baseball community. So why not start out my first ever Tout Wars draft with Giodude.
Trevor Story, SS, COL (2-16)
Okay..first pick out of the way. What now?
I needed to find power and speed and was surprised to see Story was still on the board. Sure, losing Arenado really hurts his RBI opportunities but his skill set works in any lineup. Am I afraid Story will be traded at some point? Not really. If and when he is traded, he will be moving to a contender and actually should boost his production. I was stoked to start my draft off with an ace and five-category stud.
Rafael Devers, 3B, BOS (3-45)
With both hitting and pitching locked up in the first two rounds, I didn’t really have a plan with my third pick. Being on the turn, I was just going to see how the draft would play out. Many of the big-time starters were selected between my picks so as my selection was coming closer, I knew I would probably be leaning more towards a bat.
Phew. Adalberto Mondesi was selected prior to my pick so I wouldn’t have to debate taking him here.
I was hoping Aaron Judge or Zac Gallen would fall, they did not but…Rafael Devers did! Woop woop! I jumped at the chance to lock in Devers, an absolute stud. I’m concerned that Cora and the Red Sox will have Devers batting from the fifth spot to start the season but even if that’s the case, lineups change and Devers can still put up great RBI totals hitting behind J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts.
Randy Arozarena, OF, TB (4-46)
I loved how the draft fell to me at this point.
Story, Devers, and Arozarena.
That is an excellent start to a draft. We have power, speed, and OBP locked up. Sure, Arozarena is (probably) not going to be as good as he was in the playoffs but I think he will hit about .265 with 25+ bombs and 15 swipes, and that is on the conservative side.
Liam Hendriks, RP, CWS and Josh Hader, RP, MIL (Rounds 5 and 6)
After going three hitters in a row, I knew it was time to address pitching, or the lack thereof. I was hoping that Lance Lynn or Carlos Carrasco would fall to me but with how fast pitchers were coming off the board, I was betting on it. Towards the end of the fourth round, I noticed that none of the closers had been selected yet. “Wouldn’t it be cool if somehow I could double-tap Hader and Hendriks with my next picks?” I thought. Then at the start of the fifth round, the great Tim McLeod selected Edwin Diaz.
There is NO way that both Hendriks or Hader would make it back to me, let alone both. But as fate would have it, most of the other managers were focusing on hitters and they did make it all the way back.
The best part of the move is that I can now focus on mid-range starters and hitters, while locking up saves, strikeouts, and ratio. Perfection.
Mike Moustakas, 2B, CIN; Zack Wheeler, SP, PHI; Michael Brantley, OF, HOU; Giancarlo Stanton, OF, NYY (Rounds 7 through 10)
I pick up my second starter in Zack Wheeler and think the lowered strikeout rate we saw in 2020 was just a blip. He is also working with a new pitching coach, Caleb Cotham, who spent the last couple of seasons with the Cinncinati Reds. Mike Moustakas will be my starting second baseman and I am buying in a bounceback season. He also has 1B eligibility and if Euengio Suarez does move over to short, he could gain 3B eligibility during the season. Michael Brantley will help in batting average and I really needed to add to my outfield depth. While I’m not the biggest fan of Stanton (just because of injury risk…he seems like a great guy!), how on Earth did he last to the tenth round?!? I do a quick Twitter search to make sure I wasn’t missing any news and (phew!) there was none. I loved picking up that amount of power this late in the draft.
Aaron Civale, SP, CLE; Andrew Vaughn, 1B, CWS; Clint Fraizer, OF, NYY; Anthony Santander, OF, BAL (Rounds 11 through 14)
I might have snagged Civale a bit earlier than his ADP but there was NO way he was going to make it back to me, especially in this room. I believe in his new mechanics and vast pitch arsenal. I take my first gamble of the draft with my next pick, Andrew Vaughn. Sure, he might not have a guaranteed spot to start the season, I really think he does. The White Sox believe they have a chance to win the whole thing and Vaughn makes their already stacked lineup even better. I pick up two more OFs in Clint Fraizer and Anthony Santander. The Yankees lineup, just like the White Sox is stacked and Frazier FINALLY has an everyday role in LF. Anthony Santander had a breakout season in 2020 and should hit towards the top of a (relatively) good lineup in Baltimore.
Dustin May, P, LAD; Ryan Yarbrough, P, TB; Yusei Kikuchi, SP, SEA; Tejay Antone, P, CIN (Rounds 15 through 18)
Okay, Shelly. You HAVE to take pitchers at some point. I select pitchers with my next four picks. I’m still a fan of Dustin May and honestly, the “hate” in the community has gone too far. I think the Dodgers are going to be very fluid with the backend of their rotation and with that team, May should rack up some wins too. Ryan Yarbrough is a solid starter and again, Tampa Bay is going to be a great team and there should be some wins there. Kikuchi and Antone have been darlings of spring training. Both have picked up a few ticks of velocity and have performed very well. Antone had an injury scare in his most recent start but he should make another start soon. There is a risk the Reds use him as a reliever to start the season but even if they do that, I think he will throw multiple innings a-la Josh Hader in 2019 so he can stay stretched out.
Rowdy Tellez, 1B/DH, TOR; Ty France, 2B/3B, SEA; Max Stassi, C, LAA; Bryan Reynolds, OF, PIT (Rounds 19 through 22)
After four pitchers, I hit the bats again. I think this will be the year Rowdy breaks out. He has above-average power, a killer lineup, and will be hitting in Dunedin and Buffalo for half of his games. Let’s get Rowdy! Ty France brings multi-eligibility and I think he will get the starting 2B job out of spring for the Mariners. Max Stassi was my first catcher and looked good after a swing adjustment last year before injury limited his season. I’m still a believer in Reynolds. He has just flat-out hit at every stop in the minor league so this 60 game sample is not going to change my mind.
Ryan Jeffers, C, MIN; Trevor Rogers, SP, MIA; Evan White, 1B, SEA; Logan Gilbert, P, SEA (Rounds 23 through 26)
Ryan Jeffers performed admirably in his initial callup with the Twins in 2020. Sure, he is probably on the short side of the catching platoon with Mitch Garver but, if Garver doesn’t bounceback, he could find more playing time. I was fine getting him as my second catcher as there were definitely worse catchers still on the board. I pick up another starting pitcher/spring training darling, southpaw Trevor Rogers.
I’m not sure I’ve seen the Marlins have a left-handed starter look this good since Dontrellle Willis. Trevor Rogers has a real chance. https://t.co/u4GhuZ4J2E
— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) March 16, 2021
I take a chance on Evan White with my next pick. He flashed some power last year and I believe more in his ability to hit based on scouting reports and minor league results. I pick up yet another Seattle Mariner in Logan Gilbert. This is definitely a stash for the first month or so but when he does make his debut, he should be a #2/3 starter with strikeout upside.
Nico Hoerner, 2B/SS, CHI; Jarren Duran, OF, BOS; Alec Mills, P, CHI (Rounds 27 through 29)
Nico Hoerner’s lineup spot is not ideal (8th…ouch) but he has performed extremely well in spring. As of this article, he is hitting .375, one home run, and three stolen bases. If he continues to run, maybe he can pick up double-digit swipes? Jarren Duran, like Logan Gilbert, is another stash but he is one injury away from full-time playing time in Boston. Mr. Irrlevant of the Tout Wars Mixed draft was Alec Mills. He should be lined up to face the Pirates in his first couple of starts so maybe they are two cheap wins.