Tout Table: Help for the Final Month

This week’s question: There have been several callups in August. Who is most likely to be a contributor down the stretch?

Derek VanRiper (Rotowire, @DerekVanRiper): Aristides Aquino might have already locked up the actual most valuable player called up in August, but I think Josh Rojas has a chance to be one of the most impactful callups down the stretch. The early returns through 13 games are nothing to write home about (.194/.275/.222 entering play Tuesday), but his combination of plate skills, and path to regular playing time (at least against right-handed pitching) for the D-backs should be enough for him to secure a place in the team’s 2020 plans as well. On the pitching side, I’m beginning to buy into Logan Webb as the most valuable starter added to a rotation in the past month. Innings-wise, he doesn’t appear to have a hard cap that will shut him down early, and pitching half of his games in San Francisco alone makes him a home streamer in most mixed-league situations.

Seth Trachtman (Rotoworld, @sethroto): Beyond Aristides Aquino, Nick Solak looks like he will have the opportunity to be a major offensive contributor. He’s become an everyday player since Texas promoted him, getting most of his playing time at DH, and has been in a relatively favorable spot hitting mostly fifth and sixth in the Rangers batting order. Arlington is obviously a nice backdrop for hitters, and Solak has consistently hit as a pro at every stop. He hasn’t flashed the steals this year that he did last season (21 stolen bases in 126 games at Double-A in 2018) but has already started to produce for Texas. He’s consistently shown batting average and power ability, and could be a nice source for offense at the relatively thin second base spot as the Rangers try to see if he’s worthy of a regular spot to open 2020.

Tim McLeod (Prospect361.com, @RunTMc59006473): The news today that David Peralta is looking at shoulder surgery, creates an opportunity for Tim Locastro and he can fly. He could very easily prove to be a difference maker if one is chasing stolen bases. Now that the playing time concerns have been cleared up in San Francisco, Mauricio Dubon is an intriguing option.

Andrea LaMont (LennyMelnickFantasySports, @RotoLady): Sept Callup Intl Lg MVP Ryan Mountcastle Balt

Peter Kreutzer (Ask Rotoman, Fantasy Baseball Guide, @kroyte): As an owner of Dubon in a keeper league I’m hoping Tim is right, but the bigger point is that right or wrong, the issue at this point in the season is playing time. Aquino’s massive start may well prove the most valuable, even if he doesn’t do another thing, that’s in the bank, but for the guys who are just getting the call now the issue isn’t so much talent as it is opportunity and who gets hot. Plus who gets the most at bats against the Triple-A caliber pitchers they’ve already shown they can hit. These are guys you plug into your weakest situations after spending whatever FAAB you have for the guy/s who’s/’re the best fit position-wise and cross your fingers. You might get this year’s Luke Voit. You might not.

Scott Swanay (FantasyBaseballSherpa, @fantasy_sherpa): Aristides Aquino seems like the obvious choice among those who’ve made their MLB debuts this month. If we expand the set of players being considered to include guys who’ve recently returned to the majors and might impact your fantasy team’s fortunes in September, I would include Mike Foltynewicz, David Bote, Greg Allen, and Aaron Civale.

Patrick Davitt (BaseballHQ, @patrickdavitt): Agree with Peter that Aquino is the obvious choice for PT reasons, one of few reasons CIN fans will have to buy tickets down the stretch. I’m hoping CHW calls up Luis Robert, who ripped through three levels of the minors and slashed .331/.381/.625, including .302/.350/.637 at AAA. Free swinger, with 4.5-5.0 K/bb ratios. 14 HR/36 RBI/7 SB (2 CS) in 147 AB in AAA as well.

Charlie Wiegert (CDM Sports, @GFFantasySports): You always take notice of a Rockies hitter Sam Hilliard who hit 35 hr’s at triple A got the call and homered in his first big league game. The Rockies have good reason to play him a lot in September to see what they’ve got, so 5-10 HR’s is possible !

Glenn Colton (Fantasy Alarm, @GlennColton1): I know this is chalk but Aquino is just so locked in. With time left in August, he already has hit more dingers in his first 100 AB than any other player in history. Oh and hitting in Cincy in the summer will not hurt!

Anthony Aniano (Rotoballer, @AAnianoFantasy): Aristides Aquino. 13 HRs in 102 at bats with a acceptable 22.5% K rate. A wRC+ of 186 makes him a must play and game changer down the stretch.

Eric Karabell (ESPN, @karabelleric): The Rockies still have a nine-game homestand left and finish with 3 games at home, so we cannot ignore outfielder Sam Hilliard, a lefty slugger that hit 35 home runs and stole 22 bases at Triple-A. Perhaps he is not really a prospect, but those numbers were not a fluke. Oakland’s Seth Brown is another non-prospect type with swing-and-miss in his game but he bashed 37 homers at Las Vegas and should be more productive than Khris Davis, if the team lets him prove it.

Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola): EK for the win – love those calls. As an aside, why do second division teams call up promising prospects only to sit them when they initially struggle? Isn’t that the point of looking at young players, to allow them to get over the hump with little pressure? Sigh. Anyway, hopefully the Seattle Mariners just let Jake Fraley play despite looking overmatched early. I’m also interested in shortstop Willi Castro and hope the Detroit Tigers give him a long leash.

Rob Leibowitz (Rotoheaven, @rob_leibowitz): I am taking a gamble (picked him up last week in AL Tout) that Sean Murphy of the A’s gets some significant playing time this September. He’s missed a lot of time due to a knee injury earlier this season, but adding his bat and glove behind the plate would be a nice addition to their team. He’s currently raking in Triple-A at a high level (.310/.390/.638) (not one I expect to continue), but certainly an improvement over anyone else Oakland is putting out there behind the plate. Hoping he’ll be the next Terry Steinbach, possibly with a little more punch and patience.

Clay Link (Rotowire, @claywlink): Nick Solak should be owned in all competitive leagues; he’s now batting cleanup for Texas. I’m kicking myself for having Solak as a lower priority than Willi Castro in AL LABR last weekend. I could have had Solak. Castro caught my eye with his .360 wOBA, 113 wRC+, 11 homers and 17 steals at Triple-A, but it’s been a tough go for him this week. At least his playing time appears safe. Sam Hilliard is really interesting. The Rockies are baffling in how they handle prospects, but Hilliard is off to a nice start, and David Dahl is still not even jogging on his injured ankle. Hilliard will likely be a top add this week, and I think for good reason. I’m also looking forward to seeing what Sheldon Neuse can do, and I’m getting a sense that Bobby Dalbec is increasingly likely to get the call. Dalbec could get his feet wet with Mitch Moreland set to become a free agent this offseason.

Phil Hertz (BaseballHQ, @prhz50): Besides the obvious Aquino pick, I like Hilliard next.

Justin Mason (Friends with Fantasy Benefits, Fangraphs, Fantasy Alarm, @JustinMasonFWFB): Kyle Tucker is reportedly going to be up September 2nd. He should have a huge impact the rest of the way.

Al Melchior (FNTSY Radio, @almelchiorbb): Aristides Aquino, Nick Solak and Sam Hilliard have all been mentioned, and they would be my top three in that order. This is far more speculative, but there’s a chance that Paul Sewald could enter the Mets’ saves picture. Of course, Sewald isn’t a rookie, and he had even been up earlier this year, but since getting called up in mid-August, he’s been an entirely different and better pitcher. He has 13 Ks in 7 IP with a 15 percent SwStr% and a 22% called strike rate. His velocity is up considerably, so he may sustain this, and there could be an opportunity to replace Edwin Díaz and allow Seth Lugo to set up.

Brent Hershey (Baseball HQ, @BrentHQ): Good names throughout here, as I’m a late-season fan of Solak, Hilliard and Bobby Dalbec (AB-dependent of course; but has the raw power to go on an Aquino-lite Sept HR run). But how about a pitcher? This one is a deep leaguer, for sure, but Hunter Harvey seems like he’s carving out a late-innings role for BAL; they’re certainly pre-disposed to trying stuff in Sept. Harvey started at Bowie, but I don’t think his RP numbers at AAA have quite gotten the attention they deserve: 22K / 5 BB in 16 IP. Similar results in MLB, and we all know that BAL bullpen has been in flux all year. Could be as good a choice as any to grab a save or four over the next several weeks.

Perry Van Hook (Mastersball, @): well IF he gets the call, I would bet on Gavin Lux who would be playing second base for the Dodgers. Max Muncy is on the IL with a crack in his right wrist but the Dodger brass hasn’t made a decision yet on whether they will bring Lux up next week as they’re hoping Muncy won’t be out long

.

Todd Zola: Agreed Perry, but that’s usually earlier in the season with high profile prospects. When you call up someone in August, there’s really no time to send them back down. With guys emerging this season and not gifted with prospect pedigree, may as well let them learn under fire. One last general point, some second division teams may wait until the minor league playoffs are over (if they’re involved) before advancing prospects. The example Rob offered, Sean Murphy is a good example as Las Vegas has teh best record in the PCL. And TZ – sometimes when young players struggle the club doesn’t want them to go through a prolonged period that might affect them mentally so they send them back down before (they think) that will happen

Who’s Winning Tout Wars H2H?

Just three days remain in the final weekly contest of the Tout H2H regular season, and while Clay Link sits safely atop the standings, earning a first-week bye, there is plenty of other action as teams scramble toward the playoffs.

The battles for second and sixth are close.

Ian Kahn and Jake Ciely are locked in a duel for second place, which earns the second place team a first week playoff bye. These standings reflect the current state of this week’s games (remember that each week a team can win 2 points for winning hitting, 2 points for winning pitching and 2 points for winning the overall points, or lose 2 points in each for losing hitting, pitching and overall).

Right now Jake Ciely is 2-4 on the week, while Ian Kahn is 6-0.

Coincidentally, Ciely and Kahn are playing the teams with the worst records going into this final week, but while Kahn has so far done what’s necessary, Ciely’s pitching has struggled. He has a bunch of starters with tough matchups this weekend, while Joe Pisapia is throwing mostly relievers. The bottom line is Ciely needs to hold onto his hitting Ws while also winning either the pitching or overall points to secure second place on his own. He otherwise needs Kahn to falter.

In the battle for sixth place, which is existential when it comes to playoff chances, Ryan Bloomfield is up 4-2 on the week over Alex Chamberlain, who is in fifth place on the season, while Paul Sporer is down 0-6 to Dan Strafford, who is overall fourth. This promises to be a fraught weekend for Bloomfield and Sporer, with Bloomfield having the bigger margin of error (if he takes the hitting points, too, from Chamberlain he should find himself in fifth place).

A reminder about the playoff format: The first week, teams 1 and 2 have a bye. 3 plays 6 and 4 plays 5.

The next week 1 plays the lower seeded remaining team, while 2 plays the higher seeded remaining team.

Weeks 3 and 4, the two remaining teams face off for two weeks. The winner is Tout Wars H2H champion.

Tout Wars Free Agency Bidding Recap – Sunday, August 25

This is our final August weekly report for 2019, summarizing the top free agent bids in each of 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 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.

American League

Action for the Junior Circuit was fairly busy, with 17 players added via FAAB.

For $75, Chris Liss acquired Seattle prospect outfielder Jake Fraley. The 24-year old shot through Double-A and Triple-A this season, with a total of 19 long balls and 80 RBI in 96 games. Fraley has started five of the last six games, but is batting just .133 in very early action.

Mike Podhorzer acquired the next three highest-priced players this week – Houston’s Framber Valdez for $47, Matt Magill of Seattle for $38 and Brandon Dixon of Detroit for $36. The lefty Valdez was recalled from Triple-A to sub for Aaron Sanchez and spun six scoreless innings with eight strikeouts against the Angels on Sunday. Magill, the next in a long line of real and presumed Mariners closers, saved two games last week, but also had a blown save and a loss. First baseman Dixon is the cleanup hitter for the Tigers and leads the team with 14 homers, but is in the midst of a dismal August.

Review all 8/25 AL bids here.

National League

With a week until rosters expand and a week and a day until the minor league seasons end, free agent activity was muted in the National League, with just seven acquired.

Billy Hamilton has returned to the National League, as a designated pinch-runner for the Atlanta Braves. In his first three games with his new club, the 28-year old has two steals, a run scored and a bonus RBI. Don’t expect many of the latter. Phil Hertz, in a battle for the league, spent $24 to acquire the former Red and Royal.

Word out of Miami is that Opening Day starter Jose Urena, sidelined by a back injury since June, may become the Marlins’ closer in September. Then again, the last-place Fish haven’t had a save in a month, so work could be sporadic for Urena. Marlins insider Craig Mish spent $20 for the acquisition.

Review all 8/25 NL bids here.

Mixed Auction

20 players were picked up off the waiver wire this Sunday in Mixed Auction.

Leading the way, fetching $67 of Jeff Zimmerman’s cash, is Reds shortstop Freddy Galvis. Though he has yet to steal a base with his newest team, the 29-year old has shown surprising pop, with three home runs and seven RBI in his first 11 games there.

Ray Flowers dropped $39 on Magill and $38 for Nick Solak of the Rangers. The former Rays second base prospect is 7-for-21 including three extra base hits in his first six MLB contests and may see regular playing time in the final month.

For $27, reborn outfielder Harrison Bader of the Cardinals joined Zach Steinhorn’s roster. While demoted to Triple-A, Bader found his stroke and since his return has logged a .533 OBP by being more selective at the plate.

Review all 8/25 Mixed Auction bids here.

Mixed Draft

This week’s Mixed Draft action was slow, with 12 players being purchased.

Top dollar was just $23, paid by Perry Van Hook for Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco. The 26-year old spent three weeks in Triple-A before being recalled, but regular playing time down the stretch seems a question, with Scott Kingery holding down the hot corner as of late.

Shortstop Aledmys Diaz of Houston was acquired by Adam Ronis for $14. The veteran, who was out with dizziness, is scheduled to be activated on Tuesday and should be the regular while Carlos Correa is on the shelf.

Review all 8/25 Mixed Draft bids here.

Head to Head

15 free agents were acquired for FAAB (or $0 bids) this Sunday in Head-to-Head.

Magill was the top acquisition, going to Ryan Bloomfield for $39. Bloomfield also picked up Colorado outfielder Raimel Tapia for $26. The 25-year old has been a quiet success for the Rockies in the second half, but missed the last two games with a hand injury.

The Dodgers’ Dustin May had already been picked up in many leagues, but not here until Sunday, when $21 of FAAB was used for his acquisition by Ian Kahn. The rookie right-hander was bombed in his only relief appearance before being moved back into the rotation. May will bring a 4.26 ERA into his start on Monday against San Diego.

Review all 8/25 Head to Head bids here.

Tout Table: Down the Stretch

This week’s questions: We’re just past the quarter pole. What are some of your favorite tactics down the stretch?

Rick Wolf (Fantasy Alarm, @RickWolf1): My absolute favorite late season strategy is “addition by subtraction”. Let’s say you have a lead in home runs/RBI or wins/Ks. Look to unload the pitchers with high ratios who get wins since you don’t need them. Trade them for any small upgrade. If you need to move up in ratios…dropping or trading starters with high ERA/WHIP and using strong middle relief pitchers is the way to protect and win! It is also useful with batting average for home run hitters. When you have a low average home run hitter, you can often trade him for a high average hitter who is not a slugger. This corrects your batting average or OBP while not hurting you in the category that you do not need. Another winner.

Gene McCaffrey (The Athletic, @WiseGuyGene): Pay extra-special attention to the September call-ups on bad teams. Many of them will play fulltime or close to it. Watch for what their managers say about their playing time – sometimes they actually tell the truth!

Doug Dennis (BaseballHQ, @dougdennis41): 1) In roto, trade to turn your surplus in one category into incremental points in another category. 2) If you are in keeper or dynasty, made the deal if it gets you the win; make the deal if you are out and it gets you the keeper you need for next year, but for god’s sake–don’t lose focus because it’s football season–pull the trigger! 3) Preserve your ratio categories (ERA/WHIP/OBP) as it gets a little crazy late in the year and you don’t want to accidentally drop points there; 4) Sept call-ups are very often a cheap place to buy steals, fwiw.

Lenny Melnick (LennyMelnickFantasySports, @LennyMelnick): Trade LOW % Hitters and Pitchers Addition by Subtraction Thank You Rick Wolf

Mike Gianella (Baseball Prospectus, @MikeGianella): This is the time of year to stream and sit starting pitchers aggressively. In keeper leagues in particular, I’ve seen too many leagues won or lost because someone held onto a freeze for next year who isn’t performing. If you’re in a tight ace, you can’t have any loyalty to “your player” or to a stale projection from five months ago. This is also when I start looking at ROS schedule very closely. The Phillies (for example) have a soft week and a half coming up. I’m looking to maximize matchups and pick up starters of theirs in shallower leagues where they were dropped. The tanking culture (in the AL in particular) leads to far more favorable matchup opportunities than I have seen since the beginning of the last expansion era in the late 90s/early 00s.

Phil Hertz (BaseballHQ, @prhz50): In addition to the ideas above, I try to pay attention to the moves coming up from the minors. Paying attention can get you players, not necessarily highly touted, who are going to have a nice two or three week period and that can make the difference in a couple of close categories. The corollary is to pay attention to your own players. Someone who may have been productive all year, can get benched for a prospect, or go into a major funk. The time for rebounding is short and it may be necessary to move on from that player.

Ryan Bloomfield (BaseballHQ, @RyanBHQ): To echo Phil’s point, I like to take advantage of September playing time experiments on teams that are just playing out the string. Guys like Jon Berti, Isan Diaz, and maybe Austin Dean on the Marlins; Josh Rojas in Arizona; etc. are good examples of hitters who might get a long look. Rojas and Berti are great SB sources, and we all need bags. It’s also a good time to look at September IP limits and shutdown candidates (looking at you, Chris Paddack owners). Start looking at Plan Bs for those guys.

Jeff Erickson (Rotowire, @Jeff_Erickson): If you still are allowed to trade, one fun tactic is to not just trade for categories that you need, but to force your opponents to protect their weaker categories. If you’re in second place and the team in first is vulnerable to losing 2-3 points in saves, if it’s possible to trade with one of those teams chasing the first place team in saves, by all means, do so.

Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola): Start your best nine pitchers, regardless of need through the month, maybe even into September. Good starting pitcher matchups will be hard to find. Even if you’re close in saves, take advantage of matchups now, get those whiffs and wins, even if it costs saves. If you need saves, overload with closers in September. There’s a finite number of good starting pitcher matchups, don’t waste them for balance when you can even it out later.

Eric Karabell (ESPN, @karabelleric): Because so many non-contenders give up early, it can be easier to find new and perhaps inexperienced free agents with playing time coming their way. Make a 2-for-1 trade. Or add players you might not need to keep away from other contenders. Strengthen your bench. And never stop trying to improve.

Ray Flowers (Fantasy Guru Elite, @BaseballGuys): Please look at the standings. I continue to get questions – who should I add? – with one being an infielder the other an outfielder. One being a power hitter, the other being a batting average lifter. The time to take the best player is gone. It’s time to play the categories.

Larry Schechter (Winning Fantasy Baseball, @LarrySchechter): I agree with most everything already written. I’ll add a tid-bit that in Tout Wars I had Joe Jimenez, who just became the closer after the Shane Greene trade. My position in the saves category is such that even if Jimenez gets 10 saves or so, it does me no good. So I looked to trade him, and started by identifying teams that if they got more saves, would also hurt the top teams in the league in the saves category. My slight chance of coming from 5th to win means I need every possible point possible for me to gain and the top 4 to lose. And I did trade him to Nando who is competing with all four of the top teams for saves.

Brent Hershey (Baseball HQ, @BrentHQ): Some great ideas here so far that I’ll echo to some extent: I also think it’s important to pay attention to late-season roster openings for the out-of-the-race MLB clubs. Sometimes those fringe guys are playing for a shot at the MLB roster next season, and can provide fantasy help in the short-term. I’m also more willing to ride out hot streaks for a historically lesser-skilled player, hoping that the eventual regression comes next spring rather than over the last six weeks. In deeper leagues where I have pitcher ratios established, I’m also more likely to replace any injured SP with a quality-ratioed reliever. These can often be easier to find. But also would heed what others have said … know your context as far as categories and as well as the weak links on your roster. Sometimes those small upgrades can make a difference even at this point in the season.

Jeff Zimmerman (Fangraphs, The Process, @jeffwzimmerman): Lineups, lineups, lineups. The “big” change is rosters expanding and those extra players are going to take away playing time from regulars. This applies to the rookie callups like Gavin Lux and Kyle Tucker. The Astros and Dodgers are trying to continue to win. Both prospects could help their parent club but they may play every other day, at most.

Vlad Sedler (Fantasy Guru Elite, @rotogut): Avoid zeroes at all costs and have backups at all positions (or at least, multi-position eligible guys). A league championship could come down to an RBI, strikeout or WHIP point on the final day. Be fully prepared when roster expansion takes place in September and pay attention to teams that may have run away with divisions who might rest their stud players more often those final two weeks. Every at-bat and pitch counts!

Patrick Davitt (BaseballHQ, @patrickdavitt): Everything above is great advice. An expert seminar on late-season tactics. The least appreciated idea is tactically trading to move your surplus onto the roster of another team who can gain points at the expense of the teams you’re chasing in the overall (or who are chasing you). A point lost by your overall opponent is as good as a point gained by you, and if it so happens that you can “place” your stats onto a team that will pass two or three overall opponents, you can realize an important “gain” without getting any actual points for your own team.

Scott Swanay (FantasyBaseballSherpa, @fantasy_sherpa): Paying more attention than I would earlier in the season to pitcher matchups and the number of games a hitter’s team has in a week if I’m deciding among several options.

Ian Kahn (Rotowire, @IanKahn4): Trying to take advantage of all of the football focus that is going on, especially in Dynasty Leagues. Now is a great time to find those guys who are just getting called up to the majors and are showing signs that they could have real value this offseason and going into 2020. A little extra attention in these final weeks can pay major dividends in the future.

Mike Podhorzer (Fangraphs, @MikePodhorzer): Pay close attention to playing time changes as teams out of the playoff hunt are going to be looking toward the future and giving their youngsters a shot with every day at-bats. Some of these guys may not have been top 100 prospects, but a quick look at their minor league results could reveal a potentially rewarding pickup.

Scott Pianowski (Yahoo! Fantasy Sports, @Scott_Pianowski): It’s a stretch to call this a tactic, but just showing up is gigantically important. Do your diligence, set your bids, pour over the box scores like you did in April. And remember you’re trying to solve the category puzzle and win the league – or move up – not necessarily make moves that will make sense in a vacuum. It’s all contextual. Tastes will vary, but if it’s a league with a high percentage of retained owners, I like built-in incentives that give everyone a good reason to compete, full throttle, for the complete season.

D.J. Short (Rotoworld, @djshort): A bunch of things, really. As Scott said, you need to just keep being diligent about making sure your roster spots are filled and lineups set for each day. It gets easy to lose sight of that down the stretch, especially in a daily league. The season is looooooong. On a related note. I like to have multi-position eligible players on my roster for the stretch run, as there are a variety of things that pop up in September which cause fantasy owners to have to switch their lineup on a dime. It’s exceedingly valuable.

Tout Wars Free Agency Bidding Recap – Sunday, August 18

Another Sunday night means another weekly report, summarizing 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 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.

American League

14 players were acquired by American League owners in this week’s free agent period.

Leading the way at $128 is Royals outfielder Brett Phillips, a new member of the roster of Colton and the Wolfman. The former Brewers prospect should be playing in center along with Bubba Starling now that Billy Hamilton has been designated for assignment.

Chris Liss added catcher Jose Treviño of the Rangers for $35. It must be driven by a hope for better things to come as Treviño is batting just .188 in his first nine games after a .229 mark in Triple-A. His defense is good enough to keep earning him at-bats.

At $33, Rick Porcello joined Mike Podhorzer’s team. The Red Sox right-hander has alternated bad and good starts over his most recent six outings, but that is progress, as his ERA has crept down to 5.49.

Review all 8/18 AL bids here.

National League

This week, 17 free agents joined National League rosters via free agent bidding.

Former Astros prospect Josh Rojas joined the Snakes in the Greinke trade and has been called up. Starting at third base for Arizona, the 25-year old is batting .263 in his first 19 MLB at-bats. Todd Zola snapped Rojas up for $113.

When Neal Walker was about to come off the injured list of the Marlins, league leader Phil Hertz jettisoned the infielder. That led to a mini bidding frenzy this week, with Steve Gardner winning the bidding at $55.

In this evolving world of August waiver moves, Freddy Galvis returned to the Senior Circuit and is starting in the middle infield for the post-Scooter Reds. In his first five games with his new team, Galvis batted a cool .529. No steals yet, but the former Phillie-Padre-Blue Jay could pick up a few in the late going for a needy owner. Justin Mason’s top bid was $31.

Review all 8/18 NL bids here.

Mixed Auction

In a fairly busy Sunday night, 19 players were acquired via FAAB in Mixed Auction.

The top dollar and third-highest free agents were acquired by Scott Pianowski. Arizona’s Nick Ahmed for $113 and Adrian Houser of Milwaukee for $44. The D-backs’ infielder was red-hot this past week, with five long balls and 13 RBI in seven games. The Brewers’ right-hander has allowed one run each in three of his last four starts, logging a 2.74 ERA during that period.

Ron Shandler acquired Arizona’s Rojas for $57.

Left-handed pitcher Kolby Allard of Texas joined Scott Swanay’s roster for $35. The former Brave, who moved to the Rangers in the Chris Martin trade, has a 4.50 ERA in his first two American League starts, which were against the Brewers and Blue Jays. Allard fanned 12 in his 10 innings.

Review all 8/18 Mixed Auction bids here.

Mixed Draft

Mixed Draft had a busy week, with 22 free agents purchased.

At $89, Rojas led the way, joining Rudy Gamble’s roster.

It took $51 of Tim McCullough’s FAAB for acquire Brewers reliever Matt Albers. With closer Josh Hader slumping, the 36-year old Albers has picked up three saves already this month for a Milwaukee team which has been giving up runs at an alarming rate.

Peter Kreutzer, aka Rotoman, picked up Edwin Rios for $32. The first-third baseman was back from the minors and productive when given a chance while Alex Verdugo is out for the Dodgers. Rios had a two-home run, three RBI game in Miami on Wednesday and batted .333 for the week. However, he was still optioned to the minors on Sunday.  

Review all 8/18 Mixed Draft bids here.

Head to Head

The busiest league action this Sunday came in Head-to-Head, with 24 players acquired. Spending was muted, however.

Top dollar was just $35, spent by Dan Strafford on Pirates infielder Colin Moran. The third baseman is coming off a hot week during which he batted .368, with two doubles, two runs scored and two RBI. That raised his season batting average to .280 with a .327 OBP.

Ian Kahn made a nice acquisition of Daniel Hudson of the Nationals for $23. With Sean Doolittle placed on the injured list, the 32-year old Hudson should be in the middle of mix for saves with the resurgent Nats. He picked up one save this past week.

A player already picked up in many other leagues previously, Mike Yastrzemski, went to Andrea Lamont for $22. The Giants outfielder had a strong week, with five home runs and eight RBI in just five games. The 28-year old is up to 16 long balls in 71 games in his rookie season.

Review all 8/18 Head to Head bids here.

Tout Daily Picks: May Day

It’s the final week of the Tout Daily regular season. The final three Golden Tickets are on the line. Here are some of the players the Touts are banking on to get it done.

Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola)

Pitcher: Eric Lauer – Cheap, in a decent spot

Hitter: Jake Lamb – Not stacking Snakes, they’re slithery and hard to keep in one place, but like some exposure to Hoffman.

Jeff Boggis (Fantasy Football Empire, @JeffBoggis)

Pitcher: Chris Sale – I originally planned on starting Clayton Kershaw, but his start was pushed back to tomorrow. Starting Chris Sale tonight in his place. Sale’s disappointing season has depressed his salary to $10,700 tonight. He is coming off his last start with 46.8 fantasy points and 13 Ks. Hoping for a repeat performance tonight.

Hitter: Vlad Guerrero Jr. – I’m still amazed at his salary being below $4,000, but I’ll take it at $3,800. Tough matchup against Lance Lynn might explain his salary, but I’m willing to take a chance on Vlad tonight.

Derek Carty (RotoGrinders, @DerekCarty)

Pitcher: Matt Boyd – Boyd may be popular, but it’s for good reason. He’s the top pitcher on the slate and is cheaper than some of the other strong aces like Chris Sale and Lance Lynn. He faces a weak Mariners lineup with a proclivity to strike out, has a good pitch-framer in Jake Rogers, and an elite pitchers’ umpire

Hitter: Kris Bryant – Jason Vargas is bad, and the depths of how bad he is have been masked for years by Citi Field. A contact prone, flyball pitcher will not fare well in homer-friendly Citizens Bank Park, especially while lacking the platoon advantage against some of the best right-handed hitters in the game. Bryant, Baez, and Castellanos are all underpriced tonight.

Steve Gardner (USAToday Fantasy Sports, @SteveAGardner)

Pitcher: Dustin May – The Dodgers haven’t been shy about letting their top pitching prospect pitch as far as he can into games. With a great matchup vs. Miami, he could last into the 7th and get 7-8 K’s.

Hitter: Franmil Reyes – Yes, he’s facing Chris Sale. But at only $3,300, he has to be one of the better values out there after homering yesterday off another lefty starter.

Clay Link (Rotowire, @claywlink)

Pitcher: Jack Flaherty – Still way underpriced on account of his lackluster first half. Since the All-Star break, Flaherty has a 0.86 ERA and 43:9 K:BB.

Hitter: Aristides Aquino – Pricey now, but I’m drinking the Kool-Aid.

Anthony Aniano (Rotoballer, @AAnianoFantasy)

Pitcher: Dustin May – A K per inning and faces the Marlins. Too good to pass up

Hitter: Bryce Harper – He leads a Phillies stack versus Quintana at $4500

Tout Wars Free Agency Bidding Recap – Sunday, August 11

We are back with another weekly reports, summarizing 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 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.

American League

I guess it was post-trade deadline blues across AL Tout, as just 14 free agents were purchased.

It was oldies but goodies week, as Byron Buxton was acquired by Rob Leibowitz for the top sum of $56. The Twins outfielder is on the injured list with a shoulder problem, so it appears Rob is willing to take a week of zeros in hopes that Buxton can return strongly later in the season.

Howard Bender was busy, spending $90 on two injury infielder fill-ins – Ryan Goins of the White Sox ($52) and Dawel Lugo of the Tigers ($38). Goins has been producing at third while Yoan Moncada is out and Lugo is covering the hot corner for Jeimer Candelario.

Colton and the Wolfman dropped $50 on infielder/outfielder Tim Lopes of the Mariners. Fresh off a concussion-driven time out, the 25-year old had a pair of two-RBI outings in his four appearances this past week.

Review all 8/11 AL bids here.

National League

17 free agents were acquired in the National League, the most spent on any player being $20.

That is the amount of my winning bid on new Cubs catcher Jonathan Lucroy. I am not expecting miracles from the well-traveled former Brewers star, but I will get more at-bats from him and a batter contribution than from OBP-drain Yan Gomes.

The Braves have no shortage of former closers in the pen, with veteran Mark Melancon declared “the man” on Friday. He proceeded to give up four runs in the ninth on Saturday, with the help of Shane Greene, who blew the save. Pre-trade deadline closer Luke Jackson converted on Sunday. Still, Grey Albright spent $12 on Melancon, who I dropped last week thinking he would not get any saves with Atlanta. I might still be right.

St. Louis prospect outfielder Lane Thomas was called up 10 games ago and got just five plate appearances and no starts while infielder Tommy Edman made four starts in right, the latter’s first professional games in the outfield. Finally given a start on Sunday, Thomas hit a grand slam and an RBI triple, plus threw out a Pirate at home. Still, with Tyler O’Neill soon coming back from injury, Thomas’ chances for playing time remain with Mike Shildt – not a good thing. Craig Mish was willing to invest $9 in Thomas.

Review all 8/11 NL bids here.

Mixed Auction

Finally, a normal week, with 23 free agents acquired in the Mixed Auction league.

Leading the way at $77 was Jeff Zimmerman’s purchase of rookie right-hander Aaron Civale of the Indians. In two starts totaling 12 innings, the 25-year old has yielded just one earned run on five hits and four walks with 13 punchouts. Not bad at all…

Ron Shandler took a shot at Melancon for $73.

Derek Law of Toronto went for $61 to Scott Engel. The right-hander has logged 11 straight scoreless appearances and even if Ken Giles wasn’t iffy, he has earned a shot at the ninth. All three of Law’s saves have come in August, with two this past week.

Mitch Keller of the Pirates joined the roster of Zach Steinhorn for $54. The 23-year old prospect was sent down two months ago after three rough starts, but is getting another shot for the reeling Bucs on Monday against the Angels.

Review all 8/11 Mixed Auction bids here.

Mixed Draft

It was a busy Sunday night in Mixed Draft, as 27 players joined team rosters.

Leading the way at $164 is “The Punisher”, Aristedes Aquino, who homered in four straight games, including three long balls on Saturday. The Reds outfielder has 14 RBI in his last eight games, though Adam Ronis will get none of those impressive numbers.

Mike Foltynewicz is back from Triple-A and the Braves’ right-hander drew $70 of D.J. Short’s FAAB. The 27-year old fanned seven in 5 1/3 innings in his return, but was charged with three earned runs at Minnesota. On Sunday, Folty yielded four runs in six frames against the Marlins. A tough home showdown against the Dodgers is next.

With the Pirates’ season going nowhere, Jose Osuna is back from the minors and the infielder/outfielder is starting regularly. For good reason, as the right-handed hitter is batting .412 over the last two weeks with 10 RBI in 12 games. His new owner is Perry Van Hook ($49).

Review all 8/11 Mixed Draft bids here.

Head to Head

19 players were added via FAAB in the Head-to-Head League this Sunday.  

Dan Strafford, a name I almost never mention here, spent big, placing $300 in total on two players – Aquino for $200 and Yankee Mike Tauchman for an even $100. The New York outfielder has been on fire, with five home runs and 12 RBI over his last seven games.

Nick Anderson of Tampa Bay joined the roster of A.J. Mass for $75. The former Marlin has 11 strikeouts in just five innings since joining the Rays. Anderson has a win and a hold, but no saves yet with his new club.

Overall spending was down, as no other Head-to-Head player cost more than $12 to purchase this week.  

Review all 8/11 Head to Head bids here.