Tout Daily Picks: Boyds will be Boyds

It’s a clean slate as tonight marks the first week of Period 3. Here’s who the Touts are looking at to get the next segment off on the right foot.

Dan Strafford (FNTSY Radio, @DanStrafford)

Pitcher: Dylan Bundy – Bundy’s price is a bit elevated on DraftKings but should serve as a good pivot off of Nick Pivetta (remember the preseason hype for NP and now his elevated K% in minors should help that again). While Bundy can struggle mightily with the long ball, he gets a very solid matchup against Detroit. Their active roster ranks in the bottom half of the league in ISO agaisnt RHP and have a K% of over 26% on the season which is good (bad?) enough for second overall.

Hitter: David Dahl – Dahl’s price point at Coors Field stands out as a great discount. If priced as a typical Coors hitter there might be some reasoning for really diving into a bit of struggles with K’s on the year. But he stands to be fairly highly owned and with good reason. On the year he sports an ISO of .188 while Kelly has outperformed his underlying numbers, especially on his four seamer to date.

Jeff Boggis (Fantasy Football Empire, @JeffBoggis)

Pitcher: Matthew Boyd – Over the past 10 games pitched, Body has impressed with an ERA of 2.92 and a WHIP of 0.99. He takes on the Detroit Tigers on the road tonight. Salaried at $10,300.

Hitter: Austin Riley – Riley has hit successfully in 9 of his first 11 games since being called up by the Braves. He is hitting .341 with 5 home runs and 14 RBI. He’s batting 6th tonight and faces Washington SP Strasburg at home. Salaried at $4,000.

Howard Bender (Fantasy Alarm, @RotobuzzGuy)

Pitcher: Marco Gonzales – Love the price here which is likely surpressed by his lack of strikeouts. But he’s facing a Texas team that is posting a .286 wOBA with a 27.4% strikeout rate over the past week and strikes out nearly 29% of the time against southpaws. Not to mention the most dangerous hitters on the Rangers are left-handed and lefty bats are posting just a .280 wOBA against Gonzales.

Hitter: Max Kepler – Why not go with one of the hottest hitters in baseball (.500 with 3 HR, 10 RBI, 1 SB over last 7 games) leading off for the hottest-hitting team in baseball? Zach Davies has struggled against left-handed hitting since he returned and Kepler is sporting a .940 OPS against right-handed pitching this season.

Anthony Aniano (Rotoballer, @AAnianoFantasy)

Pitcher: Max Fried – For $8,100 Fried is pitching to a 2.88 ERA and 8.1 Ks/9. In his last 17IP he has 17Ks to only 5 earned runs. Washington is currently 19th is runs per game and OPS.

Hitter: Alex Bregman – Bregman for $4,800 versus Jon Lester. For his career Bregman is a .300 hitter versus lefties with 21 home runs.

Gene McCaffrey (The Athletic, @WiseGuyGene)

Pitcher: Max Fried – Bargain priced home start, Fried keeps showing that he’s the real deal.

Hitter: David Dahl – If he’s super-popular tonight, well, he should be. Sometimes you just have to beat the crowd somewhere else.

Jeff Erickson (Rotowire, @Jeff_Erickson)

Pitcher: Dylan Bundy – For thrills-seekers only. The last time I used Bundy it was in the infamous KC home blowup, so I’m playing with a chemical fire here, but he gives me savings with K upside against a bad lineup. Plus I’m guessing none, er, few of my esteemed colleagues will opt to use him. Also, I’m fading Fried because the Nats hit lefties well, and because it should be hot in ATL.

Hitter: Renato Nuñez – Nuñez has a .998 OPS against LHP’s, and an .874 OPS at home vs. .661 on the road. Even though the opposing starter is Matthew Boyd, I still like the matchup.

Tim Heaney (Rotowire, ESPN, @Tim_Heaney)

Pitcher: Rich Hill – Trying to shift a little bit but stay within the top tier of starters. This Mets lineup can do well against lefties, but Hill should breeze through this one at home.

Hitter: Niko Goodrum – Leading off against Dylan Bundy means at least two chances at the talented but homer-prone starter — or, better yet, more cracks at this bullpen.

Steve Gardner (USAToday Fantasy Sports, @SteveAGardner)

Pitcher: Trevor Richards – Richards has been good against bad teams and bad against good teams. He gets one of the majors’ worst offenses (the Giants) at home.

Hitter: Lorenzo Cain – The Brewers face the Twins’ Devin Smeltzer, who’s making his MLB debut. I’m banking on their leadoff guy getting 5 or more at-bats.

Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola)

Pitcher: Rich Hill – Mets offer decent strikeout potential and It never rains in California, but girl, don’t they warn ya? It pours, man, it pours — but not tonight.

Hitter: Rafael Devers – I’m a self-admitted wuss and avoid weather games like the plague. That said, my sticking my head out the window forecast for Boston (I’m maybe 25 miles west) says the game will play and Devers is dialed in.

Charlie Wiegert (CDM Sports, @GFFantasySports)

Pitcher: Matt Boyd – He’s been pitching great, just wish Chris Davis was in the lineup to get 4 K’s!

Hitter: Freddie Freeman – He’s been raking lately and will take Strasburg deep tonight!

Tout Table: Team Assessment

This week’s question is self explanatory:

Given the diligent manager stays on top of their team all season, Memorial Day Weekend is a natural checkpoint. What tips do you have when assessing your roster?

Lenny Melnick (LennyMelnickFantasySports, @LennyMelnick): If you’re 10 HR or so behind the pack at 1/4 pole, don’t wait to Mid yr to try and catch up..You need to be 10 better just to catch the pack..Best way to improve any % is addition by subtraction..

Charlie Wiegert (CDM Sports, @GFFantasySports): We’re a little past 1/4th of the season, don’t panic yet. This is a good time to access you’re strengths and weaknesses, but take note that perhaps injuries have caused some weaknesses to. If you drafted a Trea Turner, and your sucking at SB’s, that will change by July. Look to trade for guys off to a bad start, knowing they’ll come around; Matt Carpenter, Bryce Harper, etc.

Ray Flowers (Fantasy Guru Elite, @BaseballGuys): You need to be honest with your team – what it is or isn’t. Now is the time to start targeting categories. You should have a feel about how your team is actually going to produce, so check the standings. Where are you weak? Should you make a move to add a speedster? Maybe a closer? Starting to think about your place in the individual categories and how you can improve is a great thing to start to do at this time.

AJ Mass (ESPN, @AJMass): By now you should have an idea of your per-week pace compared to the rest of the teams in your league. Now, if you’re 10 HR behind the next team ahead of you in the standings, that may not seem like a huge deal to catch up simply by improving by a single HR per week. However, if 10 HR equals 20 percent of your current total, then it is indeed a huge deal. It’s figuring out whether or not simple improvement by your current roster is enough to overcome deficits or if a category is indeed a lost cause that can now be punted in order to allocate your resources elsewhere which will help focus your energies in the right direction.

Paul Sporer (Fangraphs, ESPN Fantasy Sports, @Sporer): Don’t give up on the ratios no matter how bad they might look. This has been a cause célèbre (I doubt I’m using that phrase properly) for our own Todd Zola and he’s so right. The key here, unlike other categories, is that not only can you improve, but your opponents can also come back to you. Keep grinding. It’s way, way, way too early to punt any ratio.

Jeff Boggis (Fantasy Football Empire, @JeffBoggis): Thoroughly access where you are in comparison to your opponents stats, access your team’s strength’s and weaknesses, and don’t punt any categories. Make trades where there is the ability to increase your stats, while potentially reducing other league manager’s stats. Grind, grind, grind!

Anthony Perri (Fantistics, @Anthony_Perri): The end of this month marks a third of the season, Take a look at all of your players and their underlying indicators. There are quite a few players every year that have been unlucky, start with BABIP for hitters and strikeout rates. For pitchers that are underperforming, have they lost anything on their fastball, how are their swinging strike rates in comparison to last year, their LOB%? These will help you decide what players need to go, and what players should remain on your roster.

Rudy Gamble (Razzball, @RudyGamble): In leagues that allow trades, this is a good time to identify teams with inverse needs (e.g. speed for power) as enough time has gone by for ‘draft day love’ to have dissipated. Now is also when FAAB buys should start taking category needs into account vs best player available.

Steve Gardner (USAToday Fantasy Sports, @SteveAGardner): The one-third mark makes it easy to see where you stand in the Roto counting categories, so I’ll look at those and adjust my expectations depending on what injuries I have and when those injured players are coming back. It’s a good time to explore trade options as well to bolster the areas where you know you need help. In keeper leagues, competing for a title may already be a lost cause, so it could be time to start thinking about trading short-term assets for potential keepers. In redraft leagues, there’s still time to get back into contention.

Al Melchior (FNTSY Radio, @almelchiorbb): It’s a good time to check in on the categorical standings, but I also want to get a sense of where I have real surpluses and deficits by position. For both purposes, I want to get a good sense of whose stats look like flukes, both in the good and the bad sense. A sort by wOBA-xwOBA is a good place to start. For example, my Tout Wars mixed auction team appears to be weak at OF, but both Kole Calhoun and Christin Stewart have underachieved their xwOBA by more than 25 points. I need to look closer at their peripherals, but I may be better off addressing other positional needs at this time.

Glenn Colton (Fantasy Alarm, @GlennColton1): Of course, checking categories and needs is important. However, the most important thing to do at memorial day is to look for players on your team overperforming who you might be able to sell high and players around the league underperforming you might be able to buy low. Also assess whether you should be hoarding FAAB or spending now — that is very team specific.

Anthony Aniano (Rotoballer, @AAnianoFantasy): In roto leagues at this point of the season try to fill needs in the standings and not positions in your lineup. If your 2B is not performing consider what was thought to be his best asset, speed, power, etc.. and find a way to improve what he is not providing from whatever position you can find it.

Patrick Davitt (BaseballHQ, @patrickdavitt): What everyone has said: Assess your categories realistically to see if you have significant surpluses or deficits that might become trade possibilities. One thing that hasn’t been mentioned is to keep in mind the added production you will get from your injured or reserve guys (or Farm players if you have them) when you are able to get them onto your active roster.

Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola): Following up on PD’s comment, with all the recent call-ups, some teams may have positional or statistical excess they’re willing to peddle instead of reserving or even releasing. It could pay dividends to find matches. Something else I like to do at this juncture is look at WHIP compared to ERA. Normally, they end up within three standings places. If they’re further apart, plan on ERA moving towards WHIP. This helps set a reasonable expectation for points not currently accounted for in the standings.

Ryan Hallam (Fighting Chance Fantasy, @FightingChance): Memorial Day is a big weekend for me in fantasy baseball. While I am willing to make moves on maybe the bottom five guys on my roster, I try to remain patient on a lot of the rest of it. Memorial Day is the perfect time to reflect on your draft, see where you are, and see where you can make the moves to improve your team to make the push for the next portion of the season. Now is the time to pull the trigger on guys like Joey Votto who just look completely lost and have two months of the year under their belt.

Peter Kreutzer (Ask Rotoman, Fantasy Baseball Guide, @kroyte): The biggest mistake is to underestimate your ability to bounce back. Giving up a category if it helps you gain more points isn’t a bad thing, but just because you’re behind by quite a bit doesn’t mean you’re done in any category. For one thing, some of the guys who stunk in the first quarter are going to be a lot better. At this point it’s good to be tactical, but unless you see a path to winning (or money) that comes from a radical move, playing the waiver wire and improving your pitching are potentially more productive than locking in a loss in a category. Picking off slow starters for modest prices can help a lot. Going big isn’t always being bold.

Ariel Cohen (CBS Sports, @ATCNY): To add a point not covered yet in the conversation – Take a look not just at where you are by category, but also in how close the categories are. If you are in the middle of the pack in SB and HR, but HR is more tight than SB – HRs start to become more meaningful for you, and you may want to turn your focus on it. In player valuation – that’s the theory behind SGP, isn’t it?

Mike Gianella (Baseball Prospectus, @MikeGianella): The best tip I can give is pay attention to your roster all season long. Memorial Day shouldn’t be a tie to suddenly look at your roster and say “oh my God, I need power!” This is the time of year when some people do believe its’ “time to look at trades” so it’s when I’ll start sending out feelers to those types of fantasy managers and take their temperature.

Mike Podhorzer (Fangraphs, @MikePodhorzer): We’re still relatively early in the season, so you can make bigger standings moves then you think with a big day. This also means that it’s probably easier to move up (or down) in the ratio categories than it might seem. Be objective when reviewing your players and avoid the temptation to keep the faith that obvious overperformers (Jeff Samardzija & Zach Davies have significantly outperformed their SIERA marks) will continue performing at their current level. Save your ratios by jettisoning these ticking time bombs before they unleash their damage on your roster.

Ray Murphy (BaseballHQ, @RayHQ): With 70% of the season left, I’m still primarily interested in identifying any areas where my team is away from the pack in a category (to the good or bad). If I’m within the clustered center of the pack, that spot remains highly variable and something I might look to fortify via trade. Where I’m out of the pack, those are the assets I might be able to offer in trade. But worrying about whether I’m 6th or 8th in a category separated by one night’s performance is just noise in the evaluation process.

Jon Hegglund (Baseball Prospectus, @JonHegglund): I like to do deep dives on a few of my key players who are underperforming to see if I should bet on positive regression or if their performances are reflective of underlying skill changes. It’s important to take action, but it’s equally important to not cut or trade a player who may be ready to bounce back.

Zach Steinhorn (Baseball Prospectus, @zachsteinhorn): We are now at the point in the season where league standings are no longer completely meaningless, so Memorial Day Weekend is a good time to closely examine each category to get a clear idea as to your strengths and weaknesses. Explore trade possibilities but don’t simply make a trade for the sake of making a trade. The waiver wire can often be the better route to take when looking to improve your roster. And don’t get discouraged if you are 10+ homers or 25+ RBIs away from gaining points. All it takes is a hot couple of weeks to catch up to the pack.

Scott Swanay (FantasyBaseballSherpa, @fantasy_sherpa): Perform a realistic assessment of your team’s points ceiling, both in the short term and the immediate term. If you don’t like what you see, determine if there are any categories with relatively low correlations to other categories (i.e. – stolen bases, saves) that you’d be better off punting, identify potential trade targets on other teams, and send out some offers. It can also be helpful after waivers have run to see if other teams have extra players they may be willing to deal as an alternative to cutting them. Nothing earth-shattering here, but worth keeping in mind.

Tout Wars Free Agency Bidding Recap – Sunday, May 26

Here we are again with our summary of the top free agent bids in each of the five Tout Wars leagues, with links to the detailed bidding action following our 8 p.m. ET deadline each Sunday evening. All prices are on a $1000 base.

After you review the detail below, please join our live chat, starting at 9 p.m. ET Sunday evening, to discuss these results with Todd Zola of Mastersball and other Touts.

American League

In the AL, it was a week of quantity and quality bidding (as measured by large bids). 25 players were rostered, led by a pair drawing offers over $100.

Former Milwaukee prospect and more recently failed Met Keon Broxton fetched a winning bid of $152 from Larry Schechter. The outfielder joined the Orioles this week and already hit a mammoth long ball for the worst team in the AL.

Middle infielder Lourdes Gurriel is back with the Jays and Mike Gianella of Baseball Prospectus got his man for $131. The Cuban’s 4-for-4 Sunday return for a Toronto team going nowhere had to increase interest.

Review all 5/26 AL bids here.

National League

21 players joined NL Tout rosters this week.

Slugger Kevin Cron has joined Arizona, but playing time would seem to depend on Christian Walker’s performance. Andy Behrens of Yahoo did not wait, making a winning bid of $161.

Despite a crowded Padres outfield, prospect Josh Naylor was called up for interleague play and the 21-year old has performed well in early duty. Tristan H. Cockcroft of ESPN was all-in – or more appropriately in for $87.

With Colorado closer Wade Davis out with an oblique injury, Scott Oberg has been anointed as the Rockies’ interim closer. Scott Wilderman of onRoto spent $78.

I took a $32 flyer on a first-time MLB starter. St. Louis is bringing up lefty Genesis Cabrera to take a tough assignment in Philly on Wednesday. The 23-year old with the 98 mph fastball is the best prospect from the Tommy Pham trade with the Rays and takes Michael Wacha’s rotation spot.

Review all 5/26 NL bids here.

Mixed Auction

25 was also the quantity of players who fetched winning bids this week in Mixed Auction, however, a trio of players were acquired for triple digits.

Leading the way is Derek Dietrich of the Reds, going to Derek Van Riper of RotoWire for $127. It is amazing that not only did the Marlins not ask the utilityman back for 2019, but that he had to settle for a minor league deal. With 13 long balls in 48 games, Dietrich is just three short of his career high.

Craig Biggio’s son Cavan was called up by Toronto and hit his first MLB home run on Sunday. Though not a national top 100 prospect, Biggio should play, as it is clear that his club isn’t going to win the powerhouse AL East. His new owner is Scott Engel ($125). Engel had a busy Sunday, also acquiring Cron for $111.

Review all 5/26 Mixed Auction bids here.

Mixed Draft

23 free agents were added via FAAB in Mixed Draft this week.

The top price in the league was the $251 Tim McCullough spent on Cron. That topped the Angels first baseman’s next-best offer of $181.

Biggio joined the roster of D.J. Short for an even $150. The same owner who just missed out on Cron, Greg Ambrosius of the NFBC, again came in second at $121.

Seth Trachtman picked up Oberg for $50 and new Pirates starter Mitch Keller for $45.

Review all 5/26 Mixed Draft bids here.

Head to Head

In the lowest level of action, just 14 free agents were picked up this week in the Tout Head-to-Head league.

Even so, the top dollar amount across all five leagues is the $290 Joe Pisapia spent on Biggio. He also dropped $220 on Cron, spending more than half of his full-year $1000 budget here on Memorial Day weekend. Perhaps Joe took stock of his team and decided to go big on offense.  Of note, in two of the three leagues in which both were eligible, Biggio went for more money than Cron. Mixed Draft is the exception.

Ian Kahn added Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber for $74.

Review all 5/26 Head to Head bids here.

Tout Daily: Vladito on a roll

It’s the final week of Period 2 with three more Golden Tickets up for grabs. Here are some of the players the Touts are counting on to got to the promised land:

Jeff Boggis (Fantasy Football Empire, @JeffBoggis)

Pitcher: Clayton Kershaw – Kershaw has quietly put together a nice string of games recently, winning 3 out of his last 4 contests. Fun fact: Current Tampa Bay Rays hitters have struck out 29.2% of the time against top-tier left-handed pitchers like Kershaw over the last two years (The League Average is: 20%).

Hitter: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – Two weeks ago when Vlad Jr. was first available in Tout Daily, I started him and he did nothing. Last week, I went with someone else and Vlad Jr. hit 2 home runs. Going with Vlad tonight, although it’s not the greatest matchup against Eduardo Rodriguez. He had the day off yesterday, is somewhat rested, and hopefully in for a big night!

Charlie Wiegert (CDM Sports, @GFFantasySports)

Pitcher: Spencer Turnbull – Anyone noticed how well Spencer has pitched lately. 1 run or less in 5 of last 6 starts, averaging one strike per inning, and he goes against the weak hitting Marlins

Hitter: Peterson & Senzel – The two highest priced guys in my lineup. both hitting lead off, and both with good pitcher matchups

Rick Wolf (Fantasy Alarm, @RickWolf1)

Pitcher: Caleb Smith – Very consistent strikeout pitcher with eight or more strikeouts in each of his last four games. He pitches tonight in Detroit where tonight’s lineup has a total of 2 ABs versus him. The only two hitters to worry about are Castellanos and Cabrera who is not himself lately.

Hitter: Gary Sanchez – Super chalk play with this one, but need to make sure folks are going all in on him versus the Orioles’ David Hess. Easy pickings, but paying up at catcher will force bargains other places. Like Minnesota stack if you cannot afford the Yankees stack.

Phil Hertz (BaseballHQ, @prhz50)

Pitcher: Clayton Kershaw – Rays look like a good match-up for Kershaw

Hitter: Ronald Acuna – Coming off a big game ; going against a shaky rookie.

Howard Bender (Fantasy Alarm, @RotobuzzGuy)

Pitcher: Julio Teheran – He’s been a stronger pitcher over his last five starts and has learned to handle left-handed hitting better. Not that it matters much with a start against the Triple-A SF Giants in a cold, damp setting at pitcher-friendly Oracle Park. Even with the wind blowing out to right, I don’t worry about the Giants lefty bats at all.

Hitter: Kike Hernandez – While Hunter Wood is opening, it should be lefty Jalen Beeks on the hill for the Rays through the middle innings. Hernandez is super cheap today and has an .891 OPS with a .380 wOBA against southpaws this season. You’re going to need to squeeze some bargain bats into your lineup with the way the pitching is priced again.

Gene McCaffrey (The Athletic, @WiseGuyGene)

Pitcher: Michael Wacha – I have to gamble with Verlander at the top of my ticket, so I’m going with a home start against a mediocre Royals team with no DH

Hitter: Gary Sanchez – I want some Yankees tonight, and Sanchez cleary has the best chance to hit a home run (or two!) of any catcher.

Anthony Aniano (Rotoballer, @AAnianoFantasy)

Pitcher: Spencer Turnbull – A starting pitcher for only $7800 against the Marlins who score the fewest runs per game in the league. He has allowed 5 ER with 24 Ks over his last 22.2 innings pitched.

Hitter: Scott Kingery – Versus a lefty this season, Kingery is hitting .333 with a home run and 3 RBIs with only 1 strikeout (albeit a small sample) but he has 4 of his 10 career HRs versus lefties in his brief career.

Jeff Erickson (Rotowire, @Jeff_Erickson)

Pitcher: Gio Gonzalez – The Reds have the second lowest wOBA on the road this year, have had trouble scoring generally and Gio has been cromulent lately. His $7.4K price allows me to afford a lot of good hitting.

Hitter: Dan Vogelbach – Lance Lynn has an Airplane ERA at home (7.27), so I’ll try to load in some Mariners (and Rangers) for a potential shootout.

Clay Link (Rotowire, @claywlink)

Pitcher: German Marquez – Marquez has been great away from home, posting a 2.55 ERA, 2.89 FIP and .223 wOBA in 35.1 innings away from Coors Field. He heads into one of the more pitcher-friendly venues in the league to face a Pirates team that ranks 20th in the league in wRC+ vs. RHP.

Hitter: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – Going back to this well again and again and again, until the cost aligns more closely to the skills (currently $3900 on DraftKings).

Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola)

Pitcher: Julio Teheran – I prefer using my DFS pitchers at home but when Oracle Park is Plan B, I’ll take it.

Hitter: Michael Brantley – Astros pricing prohibits a stack, but I’ll get some exposure to Dylan Covey

Tout Wars Free Agency Bidding Recap – Sunday, May 19

The latest in our weekly reports for 2019 summarizes the top free agent bids in each of the five Tout Wars leagues, with links to the detailed bidding action following our 8 p.m. ET deadline Sunday evening. All prices are on a $1000 base.

After you scan the detail below, please join our live chat, starting at 9 p.m. ET Sunday evening, to discuss these results with Todd Zola of Mastersball and other Touts.

Since Tout rules allow speculative bids on draft day and any time following, many of the top names promoted to the majors this week have been owned since March – but not all, in all formats. After all, teams are allowed just four reserves.

American League

The big money was flowing on two standouts plus 14 others purchased at more moderate prices in AL Tout this week.

$560 is the amount Patrick Davitt of BaseballHQ paid for Ranger Willie Calhoun, back from Triple-A. The 24-year old outfielder returned with a bang, batting .450 including two home runs and six RBI in his initial four contests of 2019. Bidding was widespread and heavy, with the second-best offer $433.

Speaking of which, Colton and the Wolfman spent that $433 on their second choice, Royals middle infielder Nicky Lopez. The 24-year old also made an impact in his initial five games, batting .300, with half of his six hits going for doubles. No stolen bases yet, but they are expected to part of his game along with a solid OBP (he has three walks already). The winning bidding edge was just $9.

Renato Nunez of Baltimore was acquired by Mike Gianella of Baseball Prospectus for $110. The third baseman is batting .088 over the last three weeks and .215 for the season. Mike must feel Nunez can return to his early-season form (batting over .300 as late as April 25).  

Review all 5/19 AL bids here.

National League

Bidding in National League was subdued, with 13 players acquired by nine owners. Leading the way was Pirates infielder Kevin Newman. Since being released by Justin Mason two weeks ago, the 25-year old hit .343 and received 35 at-bats, which is a lot for a free agent in the only-leagues. Newman’s new owner, Phil Hertz, spent $147.

From there, it was quite a drop to the $37 Todd Zola paid for pitcher Shaun Anderson of the Giants. The 24-year old right-hander was promoted from Triple-A and yielded two earned runs over five innings in his debut.

Needing Michael Conforto coverage, I spent $35 for recycled outfielder Carlos Gomez, who recently joined the Mets. Being totally honest, I am hoping Conforto gets over his concussion very soon.

Review all 5/19 NL bids here.

Mixed Auction

The members of Mixed Auction were in a buying mood, with a whopping 30 players acquired via FAAB this week.

Leading the way is top prospect third baseman/temporary left fielder Austin Riley of the Braves, who was acquired by Bret Sayre of Baseball Prospectus for $384. Playing time should not be an issue, especially after Riley’s strong debut week (.533, two home runs, four RBI in four games).

Sayre opened his pocketbook widely this week, also adding another top prospect, infielder Brendan Rodgers of the Rockies, for $232.

Another high-dollar player is Calhoun at $311, the proud purchase of Al Melchior. Lopez was acquired by Ron Shandler for $177. Cleveland rookie speed threat, outfielder Oscar Mercado, fetched $134 of Zach Steinhorn’s FAAB.

Review all 5/19 Mixed Auction bids here.

Mixed Draft

Of the 18 players added this week in Mixed Draft, four went for $222 or more.

Charlie Wiegert acquired the two most expensive players, Riley at $350 and Lopez at $303. League leader Rudy Gamble dropped $236 on Rodgers and Ray Murphy paid $222 for Calhoun. From there, prices dropped off very quickly.

Review all 5/19 Mixed Draft bids here.

Head to Head

20 players were picked up across the Head to Head league this week.

The same names were most popular. The leader was Rodgers, at an even $200 paid by A.J. Mass. Dr. Roto acquired Calhoun for $142 and Lopez went for $120 to Alex Chamberlain.

A new name to watch is next. In a speculative bid by Dr. Roto, Houston prospect Yordan Alvarez was acquired for $110. One week of zero stats doesn’t seem like a high price to pay considering the outfielder’s expected impact when finally promoted from Triple-A.

League leader Clay Link of Rotowire picked up new Brewers second baseman Keston Hiura for a nice-buy price of $81.

Note there is a discrepancy in the bidding, that once resolved, could alter the Head to Head League information provided here.

Review all 5/19 Head to Head bids here.

Tout Table: Rating the Rookies

This week, the Touts were polled on the recent cascade of call-ups, here’s what they have to say.

Which of the recent call-ups will have the greatest impact? Who are you handling with care? Who could surprise?

Alex Chamberlain (Rotofraphs, @DolphHauldhagen): This is probably a less-popular pick, given the marquee names called up this week, but my big FAAB target this week is Nicky Lopez. I’m always one to favor hitters with above-average plate discipline and/or contact skills; Lopez put on an absolute clinic at AAA (four times as many walks as strikeouts???) while running a good deal (9 SB in 12 attempts in 138 PA). His kind of polish, on a team hurting for impact players (outside of a select few), could make him a fantasy mainstay. I am treading most carefully re: Keston Hiura and Brendan Rodgers; I think Hiura might be a better real-life hitter than fantasy hitter right now, and I think we’re far from seeing the last of Travis Shaw. Rodgers, well… let’s just say the Rockies are not exactly adept in their handling of young talent. Oh, right, and a surprise… Willie Calhoun *truly* looks better than ever, Danny Santana is not a feasible long-term option, and the Rangers seem content for now with handling their outfield in timeshare fashion.

Anthony Aniano (Rotoballer, @AAnianoFantasy): People will trip over themselves trying add the Rileys,Hiura and Rodgers but Nicky Lopez of Kansas City is the player for me. Whit Merrifields ability to play the OF opens up second base for Lopez and his hit tools will play at the big league level. Any player who walks 14% of the time compared with only a 4% strikeout rate has the mature approach to handle big league pitching. Mix in just enough power/speed and Lopez will be a longterm middle infield add for this season. I’ll be treading lightly on Keston Hiura. That Brewers infield is already crowded once Shaw is fully healthy and unless Hiura is scorching hot he could easily be sent to AAA for more seasoning. Oscar Mercado can be a pleasant surprise if he viewed for what he is, a stolen base play. If you add him and keep expectations low in terms of power and batting average he could provide what he’s best at, stolen bases.

Jon Hegglund (Baseball Prospectus, @JonHegglund): I like Austin Riley to have across the board impact, but he’ll be getting plenty of attention in FAAB this weekend. Like Alex and Anthony, and probably many who will respond below, I like Nicky Lopez to be sneaky good. Remember what Jeff McNeil did last year? I think Lopez could have a similar under-the-radar impact–hitting second everyday in a surprisingly potent Royals lineup (at least the top half), he could make a difference in runs and average (and OBP, especially). Also, as a huge Willie Calhoun guy last year, I am contractually obligated to remind you not to sleep on him, now that he’s back. I’m less bullish on Hiura and Mercado, the former because he needs to hit right away to keep the “injured” Travis Shaw at bay, and the latter because it seems like Cleveland just has a bad vibe this year. Mercado will help in steals, but probably not as much as you hope.

Michael Stein (Fantasy Judgment, @FantasyJudgment): Of all the recent call-ups I am most excited about Austin Riley. I like his offensive prowess and the opportunities he will have hitting in a good lineup. While he may have some struggles in the outfield, I think the Braves will continue finding at bats for him. I even foresee him sticking around and sending Ender Inciarte to the bench when he comes off the injured list. I can also foresee the Braves giving Riley some time at third base to spell Josh Donaldson who has not been overly productive and is clearly not part of the Braves long-term plans.

Steve Gardner (USAToday Fantasy Sports, @SteveAGardner): I’ll join the Austin Riley chorus, partly because he’s been mashing in the minors and there is more than one pathway to playing time now that he’s seen some reps in the outfield. The Braves have a solid offense and Riley won’t face too much pressure to produce right away — even though he did.

Mike Gianella (Baseball Prospectus, @MikeGianella): I like all these players but I’m going to go with Riley based on the power potential and the idea that he’ll play someone on that team. I love Hiura as a player irl but in Roto formats I’m not as enthused as I am about these other names. No one mentioned in this article is going to slip under the radar among serious players but Shaun Anderson has the advantage of a great park and is a solid option who is unlikely to garner the FAAB budget-busting bids that some of these “bigger” names.

Jake Ciely (The Athletic, @allinkid): I know the Rockies have been pretty nonsensical with call-ups and rookies vs. veterans in the past (and still with Ian Desmond), but I’ll take Brendan Rodgers. Do the Braves (fool themselves) and try to get some trade value by playing Ender Inciarte once he’s back, and we see a possible demotion like Carter Kieboom if Riley’s defense is woeful in the outfield and he struggles at the plate? Speaking of defense, that’s a big concern with Keston Hiura. Willie Calhoun looks better, but neither Calhoun nor Oscar Mercado excite me offensively the way those three do, so going back to them, I’ll take Rodgers in Colorado and believing he’s here to stay. As an aside, I think Nicky Lopez is the underrated/overlooked add, as his playing time might be the safest.

Michael Florio (NFL Network, @MichaelFFlorio): I believe that Brendan Rodgers, Austin Riley and Keston Hiura have the highest upside of the recent prospects. Rodgers will get to play in Coors and join a good lineup. I also believe he will have a long leash at second base, as both Ryan McMahon and Garrett Hampson have been disastrious this season. The Rockies have gotten a .199 average from their second basemen this year. Riley and Hiura both join strong lineups as well, but both will have stronger competition breathing down their neck in Travis Shaw and Ender Inciarte. I believe if both hit, they will stick, but if they struggle their clubs have big league ready options. Calhoun is the perfect combo of opportunity and ability, if he can finally put it together at the MLB level. So far, so good though. Nicky Lopez is definitely the name that can surprise.He has shown great plate discepline in his minor league career, has a spot at second and consistently has hit in the two hole since getting the call. Mercado is the one I am most handling with care. He brings great stolen base ability to the table, but other than that he does not stand out nearly as much as these other prospects. With so many being called up, put in a bid on each. I missed out on the top tier guys, but got Nicky Lopez for $5 out of $100 and Mercado for $3 in leagues where FAAB has ran already. The others each went for $20+.

Ariel Cohen (CBS Sports, @ATCNY): If the Rockies mishandling of prospects scares owners, then great! I’m going with Rodgers as the prospect who could have the greatest impact. He will play SS in the short term, and if it goes well, could take over the 2B job long term. Plus, Coors Field I’ve heard is a nice ballpark for hitters to play in. Hiura to me is another Kieboom situation … meaning that he’s great long term, but I feel this is a short stint until Shaw returns. The Brewers also have little margin for error to play with. As for surprise – if you liked Jeff McNeil, you might like Nicky Lopez. KC should be able to give him more leash than some of the other call-ups this week. Riley might have the highest upside, and the power should play well in Atlanta’s home ballpark.

Howard Bender (Fantasy Alarm, @RotobuzzGuy): I really want to hop onto the Austin Riley bandwagon as the power is spectacular and a comp of Troy Glaus isn’t too far off. I’m just concerned as to where he plays once Ender Inciarte returns. I would prefer to see Riley over Markakis in the corner outfield or over Josh Donaldson at third, but I think the Braves need to make a deal or two before space opens up for him. So I’m in for the guy who probably has the best chance at regular at-bats between now and the end of the season and that’s Nicky Lopez of the Royals. They’ve got Whit Merrifield in the outfield full-time to keep second base oopen for Lopez and he’s got a nice blend of some power, some speed, but a solid average/OBP. He blends nicely with the Royals who are clearly built for speed and not comfort and should hopefully stay put all season. Of course, I probably also said similar things about Carlos Febles and Angel Berroa, so maybe I’m just sadly addicted to Royals middle infield mediocrity. Sigh.

Patrick Davitt (BaseballHQ, @patrickdavitt): I like Oscar Mercado and FAABed him for a buck a couple of weeks ago. Good speed potential, but more importantly a clear path to PT in a CLE OF that has a .295 OBP. Mercado had a .396 OBP in AAA before his callup. Of the who-don’t-ya-trust candidates, I’ll take Hiura, for the opposite reason: MIL is stacked with experienced, successful hitters, and it isn’t like his glove is going to keep him in the lineup.

Lenny Melnick (LennyMelnickFantasySports, @LennyMelnick): Nicky Lopez can impact the SB catagory ..Most others are good complementary players..

Ryan Bloomfield (BaseballHQ, @RyanBHQ): Will Brendan Rodgers stay up once Trevor Story returns? Will Austin Riley stay up once Ender Inciarte returns? Will Keston Hiura stay up once Travis Shaw returns? Will … ok, you get the point. All the focus right now is on how immensely talented these guys are—and for good reason—but what if their MLB stay is just a week or two? My pick for greatest impact: Nicky Lopez. He should have a relatively long leash, he’s shown solid plate/contact skills at Triple-A, and he comes with immediate SB impact. Guessing bid amounts is a fools errand, but I’ll hedge that Lopez won’t burn as large of a hole in FAAB wallets this weekend. I’m also on board with Michael Florio’s comment that Willie Calhoun might have the best combo of playing time safety + impact skills, but with the start he’s having, you’ll have to pay full freight.

Dr. Roto (Scout Fantasy, @DrRoto): Keston Hiura can flat out rake. There will always be a spot in a lineup for a hitter of that quality. Nicky Lopez is batting 2nd behind Merrifield and in front of Mondesi. He’s going to see a lot of fastballs and steal plenty of bases

Doug Dennis (BaseballHQ, @dougdennis41): I threw money at all of ’em and we’ll see what happens. But the guy I want most is Hiura. I think he will hit more than the others–including Lopez, although Lopez has the best floor and least risk bc of clear PT on a bad team.

Glenn Colton (Fantasy Alarm, @GlennColton1): who to target depends on your team situation. Do you have a big positional or category need. If you are desperate for swipes, Mercado jumps to the head of the line. That said, I think people are sleeping on Willie Calhoun who may be that hackneyed post-hype sleeper

Charlie Wiegert (CDM Sports, @GFFantasySports): Depends what you are looking for! If you’re looking for AB’s and rs, Nick Senzel will produce the most from now till season end, with Nicky Lopez not far behind both appear to have a clear path to playing time and hitting at the top of the order. Austin Riley will produce the most HR’s and RBI’s if he stays n the Braves lineup Willie Calhoun will not be far behindI

Ryan Hallam (Fighting Chance Fantasy, @FightingChance): I’m really hopefully for Willie Calhoun. If you heard me on Sirius/XM back in March I made my pick of Willie Calhoun live on the air with Todd Zola and Jeff Erickson. Now, I am hoping that this pick pays off. I like Brendan Rodgers, but always worry about the depth in Colorado. I have grabbed Oscar Mercado in a few leagues, and like others I also like Nicky Lopez. The reason I am targeting him is because I always seem to build my teams around power, at the expense of speed. Mercado (if he sticks) and Lopez are my chance to right the wrongs of my March drafts and get my lineups some much needed speed. That being said, all of these young kids have fantasy potential and if you are able to get any of them they should help your team.

Phil Hertz (BaseballHQ, @prhz50): I need more information . Is it a keeper situation? Am I in contention? The guys I like the most long term are Hiura and Rogers, but I’m not sure they’re the best choices for the rest of

Tim McCullough (Baseball Prospectus, @TimsTenz): It’s Austin Riley for me. He’s mashed against both Double-A and Triple-A pitching the last two seasons and is clearly ready for MLB. His power in that lineup will generate some nice counting numbers. I think people will be surprised by Red Sox second baseman Michael Chavis. He’ll have some adjustments to make at the plate to cover a couple of holes in his swing but he’s shown the ability to adjust before and will take over at second (sorry Dustin Pedroia). Chavis has excellent OBP skills and will produce solid numbers across four fantasy categories. I’m handling Jesus Luzardo with care.

Larry Schechter (Winning Fantasy Baseball, @LarrySchechter): While everyone is focused on the callups, if you need a starting pitcher, grab Daniel Mengden, who is probably available and definitely worthy of a spot in your mixed league. Of the call-ups, Nicky Lopez is by far the safest bet to get full-time AB’s the rest of the year. However he’s probably only going to be an upgrade for your roster if you’re in a 15-team mixed league and have a weak middle infielder to replace. IMO none of these call-ups are going to be big roster upgrades for anyone unless you’re in a mono-league. Mercado played against a LHP and then sat two games against RHP. He’ll have no mixed-league value playing only against LHP.

D.J. Short (Rotoworld, @djshort): I love Austin Riley and Keston Hiura for the long-term, but there’s at least enough playing time concerns there that I could see Brendan Rodgers coming out on top here. Second base has been a black hole for the Rockies this year, so here’s hoping he gets a real shot. Playing half of his games in Coors Field gives him a big edge here. And he’s been a lot better during his second stint in Triple-A. Granted, I don’t know what to make of any Triple-A numbers this year, especially in the PCL. Still, I’d rather see him putting up those sort numbers than not. Like others have said, Nicky Lopez might be the safest even if he doesn’t excite as much as the others in terms of counting stats.

Peter Kreutzer (Ask Rotoman, Fantasy Baseball Guide, @kroyte): I don’t think any of these really exciting prospects are bust-the-bank sure things this year, so moderation is advised, but if you have holes you really want to take your shot at those that might improve you. Since I’m not sure what exact roster of hopefuls we’re talking about, I’ll note that Willie Calhoun and Nicky Lopez seem to have the clearest path to regular playing time. Keston Hiura and Brendan Rodgers are probably the biggest talents, and could force their way into playing time. Austin Riley has power and the Braves need some punch, so who knows there. Oscar Mercado steps into a good situation, since Cleveland needs offense. My point is that you should target the guys who fix your problems, and bid strongly, but don’t make any of them your last shot at improving. While any of them could be great the rest of the way, in all likelihood, you’re going to need more, so hold onto a bullet to use later.

Mike Podhorzer (Fangraphs, @MikePodhorzer): Greatest impact assuming the playing time is there has to be Brendan Rodgers because of the Coors boost. Although I like Oscar Mercado’s fantasy potential, I expect him to be sent back down once Tyler Naquin is activated from the DL. So far, he has only started against lefties, so it doesn’t appear that the Indians have any intention of giving him a full-time job now, and if not now, then it’s probably because he’s not expected to be up for long. Nicky Lopez could surprise because of his elite minor league plate discipline and clear path to playing time. Though he might not be the strongest of fantasy contributors, he’s unlikely to flop, and he should hold a starting job the rest of the season.

Craig Mish (SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio, @CraigMish): At this point Austin Riley has more than earned his time in the majors. He still has a few games to go hypothetically until Ender Inciarte comes back but no way they pull him from the lineup. Brendan Rodgers’ leash isn’t as long but he’s a Coors field hitter and Garrett Hampson isn’t coming back soon. Keston Hiura follows those two, his path to PT is clear but Travis Shaw isn’t going away. For me it’s Nicky Lopez after that followed by Willie Calhoun and Oscar Mercado. Yordan Alvarez in leagues he is available, probably best to take a pre emptive strike now. The Pirates will also look to P Mitch Keller soon, I don’t see them rolling with the opener the rest of the season.

Michael Rathburn (Rotowire, @FantasyRath): Austin Riley will have the biggest impact because of his power. They will find a way to get him at bats. I love what Willie Calhoun has done in AAA and gotten back to the majors and I think he could surprise only because people might have written him off after last year.

Ray Murphy (BaseballHQ, @RayHQ): I’m interested in Riley and Hiura, but operating under the assumption that they will be bid through the ceiling. Lopez and Mercado are almost must-bids if you need their particular skill set, as SB are so hard to find. In a vacuum, I may be most interested in Willie Calhoun, as I think he’s much closer to a finished product than the others, thanks to his high-minors experience. TEX is a bit logjammed in the OF, but at some point (soon), Calhoun is a part of their future and Hunter Pence is not.

Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola): I wrote the question so I’ll scold myself for not answering it and answering something else. This is akin to the MLB trade deadline in AL/NL only leagues. In instances I don’t have the hammer, I’ll go just a little aggressive on the second-tier targets. For example, Jerad Walsh and Cole irvin. OK, since I don’t want to yell at myself, Riley is the upside play as Ender Inciarte isn’t going to block him. i think it’s dangerous to bag Mercado and assume you’ve fixed steals. I’d rather grab Mallex Smith if available. My surprise is Irvin. With everyone throwing 92-plus, his 88 mph not-so-fastball could be deceptive first time through the Senior Circuit.

Jason Collette (Rotowire, @jasoncollette): I’ve long been a fan of Austin Riley and was touting him after seeing him mash at the AFL in 2017. That said, for the price, give me Nicky Lopez. Excellent bat to ball skills and can scoot under a manager with a led foot.

Derek VanRiper (Rotowire, @DerekVanRiper): I think Austin Riley has slightly less playing time risk than Keston Hiura and Brendan Rodgers, and the output might be in line with Pete Alonso’s first 40+ games in the big leagues. Adjustments are key for hitters like that, of course, and since his hot week will likely drive prices north 25% of a FAAB budget in some rooms, I’m going to be somewhat careful with him. Rodgers, by virtue of playing half of his games in Coors *should* be the most impactful, but we’ve seen the Rockies go their own way with limiting the playing time of David Dahl, Ryan McMahon and Garrett Hampson in recent years. Value-wise the greatest impact might come from Nicky Lopez. The Royals have already installed him as their No. 2 hitter, they don’t have much to squeeze him off the roster talent-wise, and he’s got outstanding plate discipline with enough speed to be dangerous. Projections systems loved Willie Calhoun a year ago, and he’ll probably be cheaper than the “big three” this weekend, and the Rangers have no reason to send him back down to Triple-A at this point. Overall, throwing cost out the window, I think Calhoun is the best bet to make the greatest 2019 impact.

Mike Sheets (ESPN, @MikeASheets): If I’m going to heavily invest in one of these guys, it’s going to be Riley. We’re always looking for these prospects to come up and be difference-makers, and he has a good chance to be one. There is the concern about what happens when Inciarte comes back, but if Riley continues to rake, the Braves have to play him. While Rodgers also has the tools to be a difference-maker, I’m hesitant to get too excited. Based on how the Rockies have treated past prospects, I just don’t trust them to give him a long leash and let him play every day (he’s already on the bench on Sunday after starting his first two games). With so much attention going to Riley and Rodgers, Lopez has a chance to be a sneaky pick-up this week. His tools aren’t as loud as the others, but he has a good hit tool and can add value with his legs.

Clay Link (Rotowire, @claywlink): It’s between Hiura and Riley for me, but I’m going Riley. We now have minor-league batted ball data at RotoWire, and before Riley’s callup, he had a hard-hit rate north of 40 percent along with a sub-20% K-rate. Meanwhile, Hiura had a 34.4% hard-hit rate and a 27.2 K%. I’m a little worried about the swing and miss in Hiura’s game. Willie Calhoun has surprised in the days since his callup and I think he may continue to surprise. The Rangers need to evaluate what they have, and while Calhoun’s defensive deficiencies may cost him a full-time role, I think he will be in the lineup five days a week or so at the expense of veterans Hunter Pence and Shin-Soo Choo. I’m handling Oscar Mercado with care since it appears he’s going to be on the short side of a platoon, for now.

Jeff Boggis (Fantasy Football Empire, @JeffBoggis): Being that I live in Atlanta and follow the Braves, Austin Riley is the most exciting player to be called up that could make the greatest impact. He’s off to a blistering start with a .533 batting average, 2 home runs, and 4 RBI through his first 5 games in the major leagues. The batting average is unrealistic, but if the 22 year old keeps hitting for a decent average, he will stay up with the team.

Scott Swanay (FantasyBaseballSherpa, @fantasy_sherpa): I’m sure most will choose among Austin Riley, Keston Hiura, and Brendan Rodgers, but just to be contrarian, I’ll go in another direction. The first two of the three popular/obvious choices play for playoff contenders, which suggests they might not have the longest leashes on major league life if they get off to a slow start. The third figures to be fighting for at-bats w/ Ryan McMahon and Garrett Hampson, who is likely to be back in the majors soon. So I’ll look in the direction of two teams that aren’t going anywhere this season (Royals, Rangers), mention Nicky Lopez and Willie Calhoun as two players likely to see significant playing time going forward, and I’ll choose Calhoun based on his greater capacity for hitting baseballs over outfield fences.

Tout Daily: Sale and Morton Sharing the Chalk

Tonight is the third week of Period 2. Can anyone slow down Phil Hertz? Here’s how the Touts will go about trying.

Gene McCaffrey (The Athletic, @WiseGuyGene)

Pitcher: Charlie Morton – Call me lazy but any decent pitcher against the Marlins gets my money.

Hitter: Khris Davis – Testing the theory that he who is hot stays hot. Until he’s not.

Phil Hertz (BaseballHQ, @prhz50)

Pitcher: Charlie Morton – I was surprised that he wasn’t going for more. Any time you’ve got a good pitcher against the Marlins, it’s almost de riguer to pick him

Hitter: Matt Olson – He’s starting to roll and costs less than $4000.

Rick Wolf (Fantasy Alarm, @RickWolf1)

Pitcher: Caleb Smith – One of the most consistent pitchers on the slate and pivoting to him from Morton allows you to get Bregman into your lineup.

Hitter: Alex Bregman – Mashes left handed pitching and faces Carpenter tonight which should lead to many fantasy points.

Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola)

Pitcher: Chris Sale – Need to fade Morton to make up ground (plus I don’t play chalk on the road, too risky). Rox historically struggle on road vs. LHP, this is first game after a long Coors home stand, it’s cold with wind blowing in and Sale’s early woes have price relatively reasonable.

Hitter: Max Kepler – Bullpen game for LAA with Bedrosian and Pena, I’ll take the opposing leadoff guy with the platoon edge under 4K

Mike Gianella (Baseball Prospectus, @MikeGianella)

Pitcher: Charlie Morton – I was going to get cute but agree with the peanut gallery. Morton against the Marlins at this price is impossible to pass up.

Hitter: J.D. Martinez – Martinez against a southpaw in Fenway doesn’t seem fair.

Anthony Aniano (Rotoballer, @AAnianoFantasy)

Pitcher: Charlie Morton – The rule is simple: when it’s a OK pitcher versus the Marlins you think about it and when it’s a good pitcher versus the Marlins you do it. Charlie Morton is a good pitcher.

Hitter: Jose Martinez – He’s hitting .339 on the season and he faces Foltynewicz who’s allowing opponets to hit .271 this season with 2.7 home runs per 9

Jeff Boggis (Fantasy Football Empire, @JeffBoggis)

Pitcher: Charlie Morton – A no-brainer start in daily tonight. He will have his way with the Miami Marlins in this game.

Hitter: George Springer – Springer has 15 home runs on the season and has even added 4 steals this season. Hottest hitter over the past 2 weeks in fantasy baseball.

Derek VanRiper (Rotowire, @DerekVanRiper)

Pitcher: Wade Miley – Charlie Morton against the Marlins is a great cash-game play especially, but I need to diverge from the pack tonight with my second pitcher spot since Chris Sale is probably back in the Circle of Trust. Miley is throwing more cutters than I’ve ever seen a starting pitcher throw before, but he’s inducing a lot of weak contact, and occasionally, he can rack up a half-dozen strikeouts as well. The discount on Miley leaves a lot more flexibility with stacks on the hitting side as well.

Hitter: Nicky Lopez – Since I’m taking a GPP approach with my stack and sliding a little lower in the order than usual, I wanted a potentially underowned cheap option at shortstop. Lopez had a sub-5% K% at Triple-A this season, and while I don’t think he offers much power, he’s debuting in the No. 2 spot for manager Ned Yost, and he has enough speed to be active on the basepaths if he’s able to get on a couple times against Shelby Miller and the Texas bullpen.

Clay Link (Rotowire, @claywlink)

Pitcher: Jack Flaherty – He’s had a brutal schedule so far, and the numbers are just fine considering. Coming off a two-strikeout outing and with another tough matchup on tap, I expect low ownership.

Hitter: Robinson Cano – Cano has a .289 xBA according to Baseball Savant, and he’s down to a mere $3,500 on DraftKings. His xwOBACON, or expected wOBA on contact, is .423, his highest mark dating back to 2015. That seems like a good thing.

Steve Gardner (USAToday Fantasy Sports, @SteveAGardner)

Pitcher: Joe Musgrove – He had a fantastic start derailed by a back-to-back horrible outings. Can he bounce back in Arizona? I believe he can … and at $6500, he’ll open up cap room for offense.

Hitter: Paul Goldschmidt – As his $4300 price tag indicates, there’s a sense he’s underachieved this season. .270/.350/.479 with 10 homers isn’t too shabby for the first quarter. Taking aim at Mike Foltynewicz and his 5.94 ERA.

Patrick Davitt (BaseballHQ, @patrickdavitt)

Pitcher: Chris Sale – Sale. I looked at Morton, but every time I play a SP against MIA in DFS, he soils the bed. For the extra three Ben Franklins, Chris seems like he’s on Sale.

Hitter: Hitter Name –

Jeff Erickson (Rotowire, @Jeff_Erickson)

Pitcher: Chris Sale – I’m not going to sweat the ownership percentage here, and go with the pitcher that’s on a strikeout roll against a team that has a 25.7 K% against lefties.

Hitter: Michael Conforto – Loading up Mets against Jeremy Hellickson, nothing special to see here.

Tout Table: Business or Pleasure?

This week’s question:

How do you balance your role as an information provider and playing in showcase leagues like Tout Wars, LABR and high stakes contests?

Brad Johnson (Patreon/BaseballATeam, @BaseballATeam): I actually already wrote an entire article about this, and if you don’t mind, I’m just to link you to it. The short of it is I’ve adjusted the leagues and formats I play so that I don’t have a conflict of interest with providing information.

Michael Beller (Sports Illustrated, @MBeller): Is there a Hippocratic Oath for fantasy analysts? If there isn’t, there should be. We all want to win our leagues, but our first duty is to our readers, listeners, viewers, and anyone else in the general public who counts on us being transparent and forthright. The day I worry about how my role as an information provider affects my performance in industry leagues is the day I should find a new profession.

Michael Stein (Fantasy Judgment, @FantasyJudgment): My business model is not as an information provider but rather as a provider of services. There are so many smart and talented experts in the industry who provide information already so I focus on resolving league disputes and issues first before handling business for my own teams. There are certain times in the season that are busier than others, but for the most part I am able to successfully balance my duties as a fantasy judge with being the owner of a team in showcase leagues.

Mike Gianella (Baseball Prospectus, @MikeGianella): I write for a website that sells subscriptions and most of my content is behind a paywall. They’re paying me (indirectly) for advice and I dispense that, even though I know it sometimes costs me in LABR and Tout, particularly during auction season, when my bids are available for anyone who shells out the subscription fee at Baseball Prospedtus.

Doug Dennis (BaseballHQ, @dougdennis41): Information provider first, leagues are just what they are–I try my best, but I certainly don’t withhold information or thinking on anything based on what I might be doing in a given league.

Justin Mason (Friends with Fantasy Benefits, Fangraphs, Fantasy Alarm, @JustinMasonFWFB): At the end of day, my craft is more important than my own personal leagues. I can’t half-heartedly give advice, it wouldn’t be fair to the people that listen/read my work or to the people that employ or work for me.

Rudy Gamble (Razzball, @RudyGamble): At Razzball, I publish daily/weekly/ROS projections and values for every single player. Our writers provide a ton of advice in posts and answer a lot of team-specific questions in the comments. I think that is enough. It allows our readers/subscribers to own their decisions while providing all they need to make informed decisions.

Jeff Erickson (Rotowire, @Jeff_Erickson): Playing in these leagues makes me a better information provider. In fact, I think if we’re going to try to advise about a particular format, it’s a must to play in it so that you know it’s idiocyncracies. Over the years, I’ve increasingly believed that it’s less of a conflict than you might think. Sure, the league may know I’m high or low on a particular player, but more often than not it’s not that actionable. Sure, in Tout someone may make me pay $2 extra in an auction, or beat me to a player knowing that I like him, but (a) that’s more rare than you think, and (b) we’re all in this industry and have our own guys. Unless I have had some Larry Schechter-esque multi-year hold on the league, why would they bother countering my strategy? I saw Jeff Zimmerman’s column on FAAB and sure – there’s some natural level of conflict there – you don’t want your league mates knowing your exact bidding price, but more often than not, the league knows who the good targets are – it’s so super-rare that you’ve unearthed a gem that they haven’t thought of. How many sources are out there providing the names anyhow? Many of them are doing it for free, and of course Twitter has all of us yapping, showing off our self-proclaimed brilliance. For me, the greater conflict might be the timesuck. It’s hard to compete if you have too many leagues and/or too many responsibilities, but I think that’s more of an organization issue, and not a conflict in roles.

Charlie Wiegert (CDM Sports, @GFFantasySports): Much ofthe information I provide is the same as what I use, playesr i recommend for use the coming week are players I’d pick up and use if I have an opening for them.

Jeff Zimmerman (Fangraphs, The Process, @jeffwzimmerman): As the instigator of this week’s question, I’ve stated my dilemma after two league mates in TGFBI kept over bidding my players I got in Tout Wars. If people cared some much about a free league, what would people do in the NFBC? With the Tout Wars bidding running an hour earlier than NFBC, owners can still look. I understand that 95% of all pickups are known. It’s just if I getting a player by on a 1% bid in one league, it’s easy for someone else to 1.5% if they are looking at the same player. Also, I’d be interested in knowing how much each person has put up of their own money (not free entries given for promotional purposes). It’ll be interesting to see how the answers change. For me it’s $3.5K.

Ray Flowers (Fantasy Guru Elite, @BaseballGuys): I did a podcast about this very topic after reading a piece by Jeff Zimmerman. I always give 100 percent honest answers to all. My job comes first – and it’s not even close to personal glory. Not close. If it burns me personally in my leagues, putting all the info out there, so be it.

Howard Bender (Fantasy Alarm, @RotobuzzGuy): There is no difference. I practice what I preach. If I tell you to be aggressive adding a free agent, I’m going to be equally aggressive. Playing in leagues, whether free or high-stakes, is, to me, part of the job.

Ariel Cohen (CBS Sports, @ATCNY): As an NFBC/High Stakes player prior to being in the fantasy industry – instead of saying that I practice what I preach – I actually preach what I practice. My best advice comes from telling the readers/listeners the players that I am thinking about and the strategies that I employ in my leagues. I would never give anyone anything but the best advice. I will say that it has become increasingly difficult to play against others, as my views and my projections are now out in the public for all to see. In TGFBI this year, I was greated at the draft by 3 other players with, “Hey Ariel, I love your ATC projections – they are the best.” At the NFBC this year, I was greated with “Love your TGFBI podcast, I listen to it all the time. Thanks for the tips.” It is really hard to draft against yourself (as many use the ATC projections) – as the way to win is to draft players later than you think they should be drafted. I still haven’t figured out the best way to handle it, but my priority as an analyst is to provide the best content.

Dr. Roto (Scout Fantasy, @DrRoto): I feel I owe a duty to my listeners and followers to give them the best information that I can. If that costs me a title, so be it–or I need to work a little harder.

Phil Hertz (BaseballHQ, @prhz50): Nothing to balance. I call’em as I see ‘em even if I wonder if I’m tipping my hand.

Ron Shandler (, @RonShandler): For the first 10 years of my career, faring well in the experts leagues helped build my credibility as an information provider. During that time, it was a tenuous balance between providing that info and being successful in these leagues. Often, it meant avoiding situations that could be a conflict, the most public being when I moved from Tout-NL to Tout-AL in 2004 when I worked for the Cardinals. Today, everyone is already so smart and into their own methods that I don’t think anyone in the experts leagues cares what the rest of us write about – so we provide our information freely. Admittedly, the high stakes leagues – where you compete directly against your info users – may be different, but I don’t particiapte in those.

Craig Mish (SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio, @CraigMish): I’m fortunate enough to be in a position to know when players are coming up or even at times on the move. I think in the past I’ve done a good job telling people what I hear in advance so they can make the correct assessment on when to add or acquire a player based on the knowledge I have. I think most people in the industry would tell you I’ve also helped them with this (for better or worse), and the only reason I wouldn’t if it was sensitive in nature. For example, don’t add Harold Ramirez from the Marlins this week. (eye wink)

Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola): Once I changed “Occupation” on my tax return from “Peptide Chemist” to “Fantasy Sports Analyst”, I made the concious decison to hold nothing back. Truth be told, that was the case previous as well, but I made sure of it when this became my job and began freelancing. That said, my style is such there are few, if any conflicts. I don’t give a number when asked, “How much should I bid?” I don’t answer “Yes,” or “No,” when asked if a trade should be made. I don’t choose players from a list when someone wants to know “Who should I start?” Some find it annoying – “just answer the question, Zola” – others thank me for my response. I explain each decision is contextual, I have trouble enough managing my own team(s). I don’t have the time to learn the nuances to manage yours. Well, I don’t tell them that last part. Anyway, I explain the process I use to make the decision and offer any relevant player analysis, then leave it up to them, usually ending with, “Your team, your call.” I agree with Ron about the approach to showcase leagues, though we may familarize ourselves with our competitors stuff and even use it aganst them if the right circumstance. As for high stakes, I’ve been told flat out by some of the most successful players that I’m a moron for providing the info i do then playing so many contests. While I agree with the moron part, I disagree my results in the leagues are signficiantly influenced by my work. There are ample industry colleagues with lengthy track records of high stakes success to demonstrate my lack of similar success is all on me. If someone wants to jump me on Kole Calhoun or Ketel Marte, so be it, that’s not why I’ve had a couple years of disappointing high stakes finishes.

Vlad Sedler (Fantasy Guru Elite, @rotogut): My approach is one of Open Kimono since I write a weekly comrehensive FAAB recommendations piece. Sure, it is likely that competitors in my high-stakes leagues use my information against me. Or perhaps I put on the radar or ‘sell’ a player they weren’t otherwise looking at. But I’ve long been able to put my teams and my own welfare behind the duty I am paid for – to be transparent with my column and offer the best advice to help readers/subscribers do well in FAAB.

Ray Murphy (BaseballHQ, @RayHQ): As co-GM of a subscription site, there’s no debate here: we put our best work/views forward on our site, nothing held back. I play in NFBC as well, and while I’m always curious whether people in my league are reading my/our stuff, I don’t do a single thing differently whether or not there are subscribers competing with me.

Glenn Colton (Fantasy Alarm, @GlennColton1): Rick Wolf and I (Colton and the Wolfman) play the SMART system and Rules of Engagement without fail and everyone in expert/industry leagues knows it. Often Jeff Erickson, Doug Dennis, Steve Garder and more know who we will draft and what we will pay. We have nothing to hide. We want the best information for our radio listeners and best information for Fantasy Alarm readers.

Jeff Mans (Fantasy Guru Elite, @Jeff_Mans): In my opinion, once you become a content provider and especially when you seek payment for that service your primary obligation is to those customers. Participating in and doing well in these leagues is wonderful but an analysts focus should be on helping those that support their work win. I believe a common occurance in our industry is this belief that somebody in our league is watching everything we do and circling us like a buzzard waiting to outbid us on waivers. If that is the case, God bless them but that will never stop me from talking or writing about a player that I like or a roster move that I would make.

Al Melchior (FNTSY Radio, @almelchiorbb): This is not even a dilemma. My main responsibility is to those who read and listen to my content. I aim to be as transparent as possible. This is not always easy, because it often means discussing where I have made mistakes or acknowledging that I have been making decisions based on flawed principles. But even if I can’t always be the best, most competitive fantasy owner, I can always work towards the goal of being the best fantasy writer and analyst. That means getting better at articulating my decision-making process and sharing my insights on what has worked and what hasn’t worked, so that others can learn from both my successes and failures.

D.J. Short (Rotoworld, @djshort): I don’t even think about it, really. My job is to provide the best analysis possible for people. I literally write a column every week trying to uncover the top available options on the waiver wire. Sometimes it’s super obvious who those players are, but other times it’s possibly under-the-radar players who my leaguemates could benefit from if they pick them up. It’s really fine. I want to win in any and all leagues I’m in, but it doesn’t change how I handle my analysis in columns otherwise I wouldn’t be putting everything into it. And in a league like Tout Wars, it’s doubtful you are saying things that you guys don’t already know.

Tim Heaney (Rotowire, ESPN, @Tim_Heaney): I tweeted this at Jeff Zimmerman, Justin Mason about this issue: “I’m all for saying fewer words about some of your sleepers or tips — trade secrets, etc. — but we should all be at a level where we can inform our audience as deeply as possible while dealing with the fallout of any instance when we “tip pitches” to our opponents.” Our fantasy knowledge should be like Mariano Rivera’s cutter. The batter may know what’s coming, but Rivera was so good because he knew how to execute.

Tim Mcleod (PattonandCo, @TimothyLMc): As an information provider, it’s simply not an issue. Being transparent and putting it all on the table is what our readers/listeners expect. Anything less than that would be doing them a disservice.

Adam Ronis (Scout Fantasy, @AdamRonis): I have a job to be transparent and provide the information and analysis to help people win. If I write or talk about a player highly, you’ll often find them on my team. My primary job is to help the peopke that listen to me on the radio and pay for my information. I won’t hold anything back.

Dan Strafford (FNTSY Radio, @DanStrafford): I think the job comes first. If you’re playing in NFBC and other high stakes leagues for work, than that is what matters more. Your analysis should come after those FAAB periods. If you are an analyst first, than you should be transparent about your thoughts.

Mike Podhorzer (Fangraphs, @MikePodhorzer): I rarely post on social media, so I don’t have to wonder who might be using my opinions against me. I also just assume no one in my Tout league is actually reading my FanGraphs articles, and if they are, it’s not like I’m giving away my exact FAAB bids anyway.