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.

May 12 FAABraganza! Who bought who and why.


Corbin Martin’s debut for the Astros was zeroed in on by several in this league. No solace that my bid of $123 was second to Tim McLeod’s winning bid of $149.

At the other end of the rookie spectrum I was surprised that J.P. Crawford went for only $8. He could easily work his way into an everyday role even after injured Mariners return.

There was a hefty market for players drafted in March who were in the free agent pile this week:Danny Duffy for $53 to Charlie WiegertAsdrubal Cabrera for $69 to Greg Ambrosius (dropping Carter Kieboom)Francisco Pena also $69 to Ambrosius.

There were also two teams that needed a catcher who went the $0 bid route to roster Travis d’Arnaud and Alex Avila. Any way to save a buck is worth a try. — Perry Van Hook

See all the bidding in Tout Mixed Draft.

TOUT MIXED AUCTION: Corbin Martin’s one walk nine strikeout performance on Sunday fired some Mixed Auction imaginations as well. Tim Heaney’s 154 bid won the day over Derek VanRiper’s $137.

Another C Martin, this one named Chris, drew a bid of $148 from Gene McCaffrey. Chris Martin saved a game this week for the Rangers, and could very well save some more.

Brent Hershey spent $81 on John Means, the Orioles starter who has impressed so far despite his lack of pedigree. Results are so much more important, as long as they last.

Bret Sayre went cheap, spending $1 each on Yordan Alvarez, who may get the call to Houston at any point (all he has to do is keep him active for week to put him on reserve) and Stephen Vogt, who has been hot. –Peter Kreutzer

See all the bidding in Tout Mixed Auction.

TOUT WARS AL: The two Martins were the big draws in Tout AL as well. Corbin went for $355 to Nando Di Fino, while Chris went to Howard Bender for $167. Bender coincidentally also spent $167 on Charlie Tilson, not a Martin but another guy whose first name starts with the letter C.

Jeff Erickson had the losing bid on Corbin, with $177. Doug Dennis’s $157 was the losing bid on Chris. Glenn Colton and Rick Wolf had second bid on Charlie, with $77.

Shed Long drew a $65 winning bid from Nando DiFino, which could prove savvy. I like Jason Collette’s $25 win on Jordan Luplow, who had a two homer game this week. –Peter Kreutzer

To see all the Tout Wars AL bids click here.

TOUT WARS HEAD TO HEAD: In the 12 team head to head league Clay Link picked up Corbin Martin for $66, besting Jake Ciely’s $63 bid. Burn.

Andrea LaMont had the week’s big buy, with Matt Olson drawing a bid of $224. The penultimate bid there was Ralph Lifschitz’s $28, which means Olson wasn’t a bargain but could still prove to be one.

Other interesting bids were $64 to Lucas Giolita, who is getting a little hot, from Ian Kahn, and $55 to Charlie Tilson from Dr. Roto. There was no bidding on Chris Martin in this league, by the way. –Peter Kreutzer

To see all the Tout Wars Head to Head bids click here.

TOUT WARS NL: An oft disappointing player, one I picked as a sleeper this year, gets sent to the minors, kicks it into gear and is called up. A massive winning bid ensues. That’s the log line to The Mac Williamson Story, as written this week by Phil Hertz. On Netflix in August.

Phil was supposed to be writing these notes this week, but got held up at a Mothers Day dinner. Grey Albright’s $78 bid finished second.

Harold (not Hanley) Ramirez, newly signed in Miami, went for $111 to Andy Behrens. The bids for Williamson and Ramirez expose an NL desperate for hitters. –Peter Kreutzer

You can see all the Tout Wars NL bids by clicking here.

Good luck everyone.

Who Is Winning Tout Wars Draft and Hold?

The new Tout Draft and Hold league is going strong, and Mike Sheets has a small lead over Matt Modica. We’re still working toward getting a public link for the lead, but for now this most recent standings will have to suffice.

Tout Daily: Will Jose Show the Way?

It’s the second week of Period 2. Pricing remains sharp. Who will the Touts turn to this evening?

Howard Bender (Fantasy Alarm, @RotobuzzGuy)

Pitcher: Jose Berrios – Nothing wrong with going chalk for pitching tonight and Berrios has everything you could want in this match-up against a struggling Blue Jays lineup. Toronto already has the fifth-lowest wOBA and wRC+ against right-handed pitching, but now couple it with just how ice-cold they’ve been recently — .246 wOBA, 0.99 ISO and a near-27% strikeout rate — this should be a walk in the park for the Twins righty.

Hitter: Brandon Lowe – Ride the wave until it breaks. Lowe has been outstanding for the Rays this season and he’s really taken to the leadoff spot in the absence of Austin Meadows. He’s still striking out too much, but in this match-up against Taylor Clarke, I’ll bank on Lowe’s power and poise to get the better of Clarke, whose numbers at every level he’s pitched, have been far from strong.

Rick Wolf (Fantasy Alarm, @RickWolf1)

Pitcher: Caleb Smith – I always look for the most consistent picther. Many will be worried that he is facing the Cubbies, but he has 8Ks in each of the last three games he has pitched plus he has won three of his last four including at Philly. He is sharp, consistent and has great poise. Look for 20+ from the young Marlins’ hurler tonight.

Hitter: Andrew Benintendi – The Red Sox gave Benintendi the night off last night and he is super hot with multi-hits in three of his last four and the only reason he did not have multi hits in that game was that he walked three times. He does not strike out a lot so he gives you points in every game. He is face an Orioles pitcher in David Hess who gave up five home runs in the last four games and will face a formidable lineup around Andrew. Safest play tonight.

Patrick Davitt (BaseballHQ, @patrickdavitt)

Pitcher: Jose Berrios – TOR is 27th this season in OPS vs RHP, and #2 in fanning vs RHP at 27%. And the Jays have been really struggling of late vs RHP: .216 BA in the last two weeks, 668 OPS, 24% K%.

Hitter: Tommy Pham – Pham has been running pretty hot lately, and tonight faces rookie RHP Taylor Clarke, and even if Clarke exits early as expected, Pham has a career .861/.850 OPS vs RHP/LHP, so he should be OK no matter what happens. Also, Ben Clemens of Fangraphs this week named Pham a slightly-less-awesome version of Mike Trout. Who doesn’t want a share of that?!

Gene McCaffrey (The Athletic, @WiseGuyGene)

Pitcher: Noah Syndergaard – I’m having a rough time on Tuesday’s so I’m taking a different tack and going pitching heavy with Berrios and Noah. Both are facing high-K offenses.

Hitter: Matt Carpenter – Looking hitterish, nice and cheap at $3800.

Jeff Boggis (Fantasy Football Empire, @JeffBoggis)

Pitcher: Madison Bumgarner – Pairing him with Syndergaard tonight. Bumgarner is cheap at $7,600 versus $10,100 for Syndergaard, and only averages 0.8 fantasy points per game less. I’m OK with this game being at Colorado today.

Hitter: Vlad Guerrero Jr. – He let me down last week, so he owes me a big game tonight at home against Minnesota starting pitcher, Jose Berrios. Time for Vlad Jr. to start warming up. He’s cheap at only $3,600. Hope it begins tonight!

Anthony Aniano (Rotoballer, @AAnianoFantasy)

Pitcher: Cal Quantrill – After going 5.2 serviceable innings in his debut Quantrill get a second start against the offensively inept Mets who are averaging 1.67 runs over their last 3 games and haven’t scored 4 runs since April 28. At $5700 Quantrill allows me to pay up at other positions.

Hitter: Chris Taylor – Taylor is 9 for his last 17 with 2 doubles, 2HRs, 6 RBIs and 1 SB. He’s hitting .289 with 3 HRs versus lefties on the year and faces LHP Fried tonight. His price of $3600 is very friendly

Charlie Wiegert (CDM Sports, @GFFantasySports)

Pitcher: Jon Lester – He has pitched great over his last few starts and gets weak hitting Marlins. Should be good for 25+ points

Hitter: Javier Baez – Has been on fire and hitting the long ball, plus he torments lefties. Caleb Smith has been great at home, but Wrigley is different!

Dan Strafford (FNTSY Radio, @DanStrafford)

Pitcher: Noah Syndergaard – The San Diego Padres currently sit with the second highest K% against RHP on the year, at 26.5%. Over his career, Syndergaard has struggled about with the location of his fastball but was very effective with the four seamer last time out. This is a prime matchup for him to build on that success. The Padres sport a 3.2 implied run total with the Mets rising on the money line from -130 to -142. There are a lot of question marks around pitching today, especially on certain sites where SP pitching has contracted. Syndergaard gets top billing for me.

Hitter: Bryce Harper – I’ll point out that Brandon Belt is underpriced at Coors Field, but the weather is far from ideal. So we’ll spotlight Bryce Harper. Harper has obviously struggled on the season with a K% nearing 30% for the season thus far. His walk rate still remains elite. His hard hit rate and exit velocity remain consistent with his career norms. Tonight, he gets a matchup with Dakota Hudson. Hudson has yielded 2.63 home runs per 9 against LHB in his young career. I’ll take the power of and upside of Bryce Harper at a slightly depressed price point.

Phil Hertz (BaseballHQ, @prhz50)

Pitcher: Thor – Banking on the last outing being the true Syndergaard. Plus San Diego’s not an offensive juggernaut

Hitter: Justin Turner – Seems like a bargain price even though Fried’s been pitching well. P.s. I’m another who thinks Belt’s underpriced at Coors

Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola)

Pitcher: Daniel Norris – Oy vey, what am I doing? The Angels are starting 3 LHB (including that Ohtani guy) and the rest (except that Trout guy) don’t scare me.

Hitter: Joey Votto – This feels like such a donkey play, but at such a reduced price, leading off against Fiers, even on the road, call me Eeyore.

Michael Florio (NFL Network, @MichaelFFlorio)

Pitcher: Cal Quantrill – The Mets have the lowest wOBA in the majors over the last two weeks, as well as the fifth highest strikeout rate, and the second-lowest ISO in that span. Their offense has been abysmal and at just $5,700, Quantrill is a bargin in a favorable matchup at home. It allows me to also pay up for bats.

Hitter: Nolan Arenado – Getting a value at pitcher allows me to pay up for a bat and Arenado is my favorite on the slate. I get that MadBum has pitched better than anyone expected this season, but Coors Field will do him no favors. Plus, Arenado has always mashed lefties and this year in no different as he has a .371 average with a .450 OBP and a .486 ISO against southpaws. I am expecting him to mash in Coors tonight!

Clay Link (Rotowire, @claywlink)

Pitcher: Noah Syndergaard – I watched Thor filet the Reds his last time out, so this may be a case of recency bias, but he’s been far better on the whole than the surface numbers would suggest.

Hitter: Justin Turner – Not hitting for power, and not hitting lefties so far this season. I’m betting on the latter being an aberration and that Turner gets a couple base knocks against Max Fried.

Jeff Erickson (Rotowire, @Jeff_Erickson)

Pitcher: Hyun-Jin Ryu – So many good pitching options, but I think Ryu might be the starter less traveled, but he’s almost automatic at home.

Hitter: Eugenio Suarez – Suarez has woken up, and while losing the great venue to hit in hurts, he still gets Mike Fiers. I’m also rolling with a Rays stack.

Steve Gardner (USAToday Fantasy Sports, @SteveAGardner)

Pitcher: Jon Lester – Hoping the threat of rain will keep people away from the best matchup on the board. Marlins hitters have a .596 OPS vs. lefties.

Hitter: J.D. Martinez – Getting back to his familiar DH spot, he won’t have to worry about robbing homers from O’s hitters. He can concentrate on hitting them himself off the O’s gopher-ballers.

Who’s Winning Tout Wars, May 6, 2019 Edition

With a bit more than a month passed in the 2019 season, Tout Wars standings are starting to define themselves a bit. Here’s a look at the teams in the lead:

Tout AL: Jason Collette has a slim lead over Patrick Davitt. Here are the standings through May 5:

Tout Mixed Auction: Derek VanRiper has a slim lead over Eric Karabell. The standings:

Tout NL: Brian Walton has a lead over Grey Albright.

Tout Mixed Draft: Rudy Gamble is winning, of course. DJ Short and Scott White are trying to make it interesting.

Tout H2H: Clay Link has a four game lead over Ryan Bloomfield and Ian Kahn.

Tout Table: Correcting an Inadvertent Drop

This week, the Touts address an administrative conundrum:

How should it be handled when someone inadvertently drops a player?

Jeff Zimmerman (Fangraphs, The Process, @jeffwzimmerman): As long the person immediately admits the issues, they should be added back. Weird stuff happens. If the league or commish is going to be an ass about it, make sure they state their hardline take in the league rules. At least everyone knows the rules Nazi will be watching.

Alex Chamberlain (Rotofraphs, @DolphHauldhagen): As a dingus who has done this more than once before (big thumbs, small phone screen, cut me some slack!), I think as long as you announce it to the league and/or commissioner immediately after the transaction occurs, there shouldn’t be an issue. If you don’t notice that you accidentally dropped someone and then make a fuss over it after another owner claims him (which, if you have FAAB or even an 48-hour waiver claim buffer, is PLENTY of time to notice), then that’s on you. Technology is meant to facilitate our fantasy baseball experience but sometimes it can backfire.

AJ Mass (ESPN, @AJMass): I used to work at a casino in the poker room and we always operated under the concepts of “immediate reporting” and “significant subsequent action.” That same standard should be applied here. If a fantasy manager inadvertently drops a player and immediately reports the mistake to the commissioner (or other appropriate authority), he should be returned. Mistakes happen. If the report comes a few hours later, he should also be returned, so long as there hasn’t been anything significant to happen in the interim (news that said player has been promoted from Triple-A or will become the closer, etc.). Easy peasy.

Ray Flowers (Fantasy Guru Elite, @BaseballGuys): Here is the link to my write up about the poll, and the question.

Anthony Aniano (Rotoballer, @AAnianoFantasy): In the average league an accidental drop should be reversed as long as the accident is brought to the league’s attention immediately after it occurs. Days or even hours later is too long not to notice the mistake and at that point the released player is now fair game.

Brad Johnson (Patreon/BaseballATeam, @BaseballATeam): Typically, I’ll undo the move so long as I’m informed immediately of the mistake. Same for accidental trades. If there’s a delay that makes it seem as if the owner is maybe pulling a fast one, I might refuse. I’ll also add language to our constitution when necessary to govern these sorts of scenarios. If you care enough about your league to make a fuss about undoing an accidental add/drop, then you should have a constitution.

Anthony Perri (Fantistics, @Anthony_Perri): It all depends on the circumstance. If it’s brought to the attention of the league commissioner within the first few minutes, there should be no question. However there are special circumstances that should be taken into consideration, including the website commissioner product.. For instance, one website commissioner product that I’m in, has a setup that separates the difference between a drop and a reserve as “Res” and “Rel” (when setting the lineup). I dropped Mike Trout one year and wasn’t aware until someone pointed it out to me, my league mates were sympathetic and understood that it was a clear mistake.

Ariel Cohen (CBS Sports, @ATCNY): If the fantasy owner immediately gives the league notice, the player should be awarded back by the commissioner. Certainly, if the mistake is alerted to within the hour – there should be no issue to reverse the transaction. I think that reversing an inadvertent drop should also be allowed for the overnight right after a waiver period before lineups come out the next day. The exception would be if some “news” – good or bad – has come out about any player involved. The main idea is that if it can be determined that it was accidental, an owner should not be penalized – whether it be in a big money league or just in a social league. As an example of a correction rule – In one of my leagues, we instituted a “Four Hour” rule for lineups (which all lock at the start of the scoring period). If you inadvertently set a wrong lineup, you can alert the commissioner to make a change on your behalf up to 4 hours thereafter.

Bret Sayre (Baseball Prospectus, @BretSayreBP): Your league commissioner should have a period of time during which they’ll reverse inadvertent drops (I would recommend an hour or two), during which the owner can raise the issue if it was indeed inadvertent. In the end, we’re supposed to be having fun here. That said, if the player has any playing time or any news comes out during the period between the drop and the notification that it was inadvertent, they’re out of luck.

Seth Trachtman (Rotoworld, @sethroto): As a commissioner, I prefer to give the owner a mulligan if I catch the drop before someone else picks up the player. The same goes for an accidental pickup, like picking up the wrong Rougned Odor (cough, cough). However, if another owner picks up the player before the accidental drop is identified and the accident impacts multiple owners, usually at that point I’d let the moves stand. I qualify all of this by saying I think each unique situation should be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. Honest mistakes do happen, and decisions should be made with that in mind.

Derek VanRiper (Rotowire, @DerekVanRiper): As long as there is quick, near immediate acknowledgment of the erroneous drop, it should be corrected.

Michael Stein (Fantasy Judgment, @FantasyJudgment): As the Chief Justice of Fantasy Judgment, I have had this scenario submitted to me for resolution in the past. I believe a GM who inadvertently drops a player and immediately recognized the error by alerting the commissioner and entire league should be allowed to have the player placed back on their roster. Mistakes happen and people click the wrong buttons at times, so as long as the error is acknowledged right away with valid justification then it is fine to revert them back onto the roster. The exception to this is if there is breaking news about that player which would lead one to believe it was not an error, but rather seller’s remorse. The commissioner will have to use his/her discretion in evaluating those circumstances and decide whether it is more likely a mistake or regret.

Brian Walton (CreativeSports2, @B_Walton): If the problem is brought up in a timely manner, the move should be reversed – PLUS – the commissioner/SWAT should inform the league what happened so there is no misunderstanding later. This latter point is often disregarded, but the best leagues have open communications.

Jason Collette (Rotowire, @jasoncollette): If the issue is raised within 30 minutes of the error, make the change. If the person didn’t realize the move until later that day or the next day, too much could have happened in that time to reverse it. Every site gives you a confirmation step before you do something, so two-click accidents are tough to make.

Jeff Zimmerman (Fangraphs, The Process, @jeffwzimmerman): Per Collette Another major industry league is hosted on a website which doesn’t have this safeguard. I know because I “tested” it out this year.

Howard Bender (Fantasy Alarm, @RotobuzzGuy): This actually just happened to me as I ‘fat-thumbed” my way into dropping Domingo Santana while using a site’s app. I reached out to the commish who said he understood and told everyone in the league to not put in any waiver claims. If the person who made the mistake reaches out to the commish immediately, then the commish should be able to simply reverse the transaction. Unfortunately, some websites do not allow the commish to override a transaction which means it drags out and, like in my case, when an owner who “forgot” to withdraw his waiver claim gets the player, it then becomes a headache to make a series of transactions to right one simple wrong.

Michael Beller (Sports Illustrated, @MBeller): This one is pretty simple. So long as the offending owner addresses it in a timely manner, the move should be reversed. This is fantasy baseball, and while we all want to win, we’re mainly here to have fun. It’s no fun being ruled over with an iron fist.

Greg Ambrosius (NFBC, @GregAmbrosius): In the NFBC and NFFC we realize that mistakes on cuts can happen, especially with so many people doing transactions from their phones. If contacted immediately, we do allow the cut player to be replaced and we tell the league members what just happened. The FAAB pickup can NEVER be altered, whether that involves the price spent or the player that was picked up. But the cut is easier to replace and is allowed in high-stakes for the fairness of the league and the fairness of the overall contest. Having a superstar in one league’s FAAB pool due to a human error doesn’t help the integrity of the overall contest. Correct the error and keep that league whole. A few years ago in football some teams owned both Adrian Petersons or both Steve Smiths and there were some owners who cut the wrong Adrian Peterson or the wrong Steve Smith. Simple correction and one that just uses common sense to correct.

Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola): As others have stated the process should be explicitly written in the league’s Constitution. Admittedly, Tout Wars fails in this regard, at least for now. I’m sure we’ll formalize our policy which is to indeed reverse moves if notified right away. As a few have shared, not all sites are as user-friendly as others and we’re in an era where many manage teams over their phone. As a desktop guy, i often need to remember this is the case. That said, the overriding approach used in Tout Wars is each participant is ultimately responsible for his/her team so if the mistake isn’t caught immediately, it may not be reversed. It then becomes incumbent open the fantasy manager to “check their work”, especially if they’re playing one one of the more error-prone platforms.

Tim McCullough (Baseball Prospectus, @TimsTenz): As much as we all compete with one another and hope for our opponents to “give up” on a player and put him on waivers, this is supposed to be a friendly game. If a mistake is made and reported in a timely manner to the commissioner, then a mistaken drop should be reversed. Timely is where the sticking point is but a few hours shouldn’t be a big deal.

Dr. Roto (Scout Fantasy, @DrRoto): If the person catches the mistake quickly enough I am always open to reversing the move. No sense punishing someone for a minor error. If it gets caught after 2-3 days, that becomes more or a case by case issue.

Patrick Davitt (BaseballHQ, @patrickdavitt): I’m all for returning the inadvertently waived player if the Commish is notified immediately. The issue is what “immediately” means. I’ve seen references to “half an hour” “quickly enough,” “before anyone else picks the player up,” etc. I hate to be a stickler for “da rules,” but it’s important that there BE a rule here so there’s no post-move bickering about how soon was soon enough. Where the waste solids hit the A/C is when the player is picked up by someone else. Personally, I think the move should be final and irrevocable after the transactions deadline has passed.

Grey Albright (RazzBall, @razzball): I once drove my wife to the airport but dropped her off at the mall by accident. We’re still happily married

Rudy Gamble (Razzball, @RudyGamble): There are two scenarios to think through IMO. If we are talking about an average to mediocre player, as long as the owner recognized the mistake before another owner picks him up, I am okay with giving him back to the erring owner. If we are talking a top player, I would rather give him back to the original owner than potentially decide a league’s fate because one guy was on his phone when dufus owner dropped Trevor Bauer.

Tim McLeod (PattonandCo, @TimothyLMc): Fess up right away, and simply fix the error.

Ian Kahn (Rotowire, @IanKahn4): In all of theses cases it seems that common sense should prevail. If a player were to drop a top player by a slip of the finger, and not notice till the next day, I would always try to rectify the situation. This is a fun game. It’s important to keep it that way.

Rob Leibowitz (Rotoheaven, @rob_leibowitz): I’m with the majority. As long as the error occurs before anyone picks up the player again, I will correct it. Playing too cutthroat is a way to destroy a league. Correcting mistakes and keeping the game fun and non confrontational is more important in the long run. Also I consider it more of a commissioner’s discretion situation which doesn’t need to be explicitly stated in the rules. The commish should always have the ability to make decisions that are in the bests interest of the league.

Ray Flowers (Fantasy Guru Elite, @BaseballGuys): What if a league has a N/A spot for minor leaguers. Someone drops Mallex Smith. Then, they notice he was sent to the minors. Then, the ask for the drop to be changed cause it was a mistake. Was it a mistake, or did the person just not pay attention and note that Smith was sent to the minors? How could we then know if the person actually made a mistake by hitting the wrong button, or, perhaps they just didn’t do their homework and didn’t notice that Smith had been demoted?

Ryan Hallam (Fighting Chance Fantasy, @FightingChance): As long as the error is brought up right away, I definitely think the person who made the drop should be able to get the player back. Are we really that serious that we are trying to take advantage of someone’s error to win? Everyone is human, everyone makes mistakes, as long as it isn’t hours later, put the player back on their roster.

Charlie Wiegert (CDM Sports, @GFFantasySports): Depends on the game. Friend leagues ( like Tout, FSTA, Labr), no harm, no Foul and if caught before any other moves get affected, change it back. But in bigger money leagues ( like NFBC, High $ leagues, etc.), where there are rules are established , rules have to be followed or the games operator has to maintain the integrity of the games.

Lenny Melnick (LennyMelnickFantasySports, @LennyMelnick): Common Sense should prevail

Michael Rathburn (Rotowire, @FantasyRath): As long as the mistake was recognized within timely fashion, (24 hours) the move should be ok to reverse.

Steve Gardner (USAToday Fantasy Sports, @SteveAGardner): Even the best players occasionally make a mistake. As the commissioner in LABR, I always give the owner the benefit of the doubt if the error is identified promptly. No one wants to win or lose a league on a technicality.

Mike Sheets (ESPN, @MikeASheets): I’m with the consensus here. If it’s a mistake and the owner alerts the commish of the mistake within a reasonable amount of time, it should be reversed. I’ve made this mistake before, and I’ve known other experienced players who have made this mistake, too. Fix it and move on.

Tristan H. Cockcroft (ESPN, @SultanofStat): Echoing a lot of what’s been said: so long as the manager in question reports the error to the commissioner promptly, the player should be returned to that team. As to what “promptly” means, it’s almost always easy to tell when it was an honest mistake versus regretting the drop. As to Ray’s follow-up question, moving players into IL or N/A spots on mobile can often trip some people up, myself included, so I’m understanding with that. But specifically with the Mallex Smith example, it’d come down to what time the drop was made. If it was at noon ET on Tuesday and I get that e-mail at 6 p.m., the drop needs to stand because Smith’s demotion wasn’t formally announced until just after 5. And, yes, I do occasionally get managers wanting to reclaim a player whose status changed after the drop — that shouldn’t be allowed.

Phil Hertz (BaseballHQ, @prhz50): Not much to add. Even in cutthroat leagues, if the owner reports things right away, then correcting the error is fine. A couple of notes, I might still charge for the move or impose a fine, since it will be extra work to correct. Also I might come out differently if the same owner did this more than once or (or twice).

Justin Mason (Friends with Fantasy Benefits, Fangraphs, Fantasy Alarm, @JustinMasonFWFB): I think this depends on the league you are playing in. If this is a fun league with friends, then you take it back. If there is serious money involved, then you don’t.

Mike Podhorzer (Fangraphs, @MikePodhorzer): I included a rule in my league’s constitution that if the owner who made the mistake notifies me within 10 minutes of the error, I would reverse it.

Scott Swanay (FantasyBaseballSherpa, @fantasy_sherpa): I think it depends on how competitive the league is/how understanding other owners are. I generally try to put myself in other owner’s shoes and give them the same benefit of the doubt I’d want to be shown if I were the owner in question. I think the timeliness of notification and common sense should be the 2 overriding criteria in such cases. A companion problem that just came up in a home league (AL-only) I play in that has $100 FAAB – the other owner won some marginal player with a bid of $55, then claimed he’d meant to bid only $5 on the player in question but had fat-fingered his entry. After determining that no other owner had bid more than $5 the Commissioner let him keep the player for $5, which seemed fair to all of us.

Ray Murphy (BaseballHQ, @RayHQ): If identified immediately, then I think it’s fine to roll back an inadvertent drop. They are generally easy to correct with no consequence to other players. Other categories of errors, like fat-fingered bids, are obviously tougher to undo. But when it’s a clear error identified in a timely fashion, I’m a benevolent commissioner.

Adam Ronis (Scout Fantasy, @AdamRonis): As long as the mistake is made publicly on the message board or in an email to the league immediately, it can be fixed. Unfortunately, in a league with significant money on the line this might not be good enough. As always, address this mishap now and come up with a rule so there’s no controversy in the future.

Jeff Boggis (Fantasy Football Empire, @JeffBoggis): If a league manager makes a mistake of dropping a player, I have no problem adding them back to their roster. But the league manager must contact the commish immediately and inform him of the mistake. It would also help if the league manager emails the league to explain the mistake. We’ve all done this.

Nando Di Fino (The Athletic, @nandodifino): I’d like to link to Ray’s link. If I can’t, I’ll say that I don’t see the side of the argument where a fantasy player shouldn’t get the dropped player back. This game was designed to be very personal — calling in and faxing moves to the commissioner, scoring by hand, etc. An inadvertent drop would never happen in its original iteration. But on a cell phone, with changing UI… I could see where an inadvertent finger move could lead to a drop instead of an IL move, or a wrong player being put into the drop box. So I’m for the return of the player. But you need a window. Four hours max.

Vlad Sedler (Fantasy Guru Elite, @rotogut): It should depend on the type of league. In friends and family league, it should be forgiven if the person clearly states it was done in error and he/she is not a repeat offender. In all other types, the rules of that league or site takes precedence.

Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola): Reading through the replies, I haven’t changed my mind, an inadvertent drop should be returned, however as someone who as been on the administrative side of as many league as just about anyone, it isn’t cut and dried. I’ve always felt the same action should have the same repercussions, regardless of the outcome. I also want as many rules to be black and white as possible, especially in a league like Tout Wars where we are governing 81 teams in six different leagues with three different SWATs handling the work. The less subjectivity, the better. The obvious approach is to set a hard deadline for reporting a mistake. The problem is,my colleagues are all over the place in this regard, though it is league contextual. Having a deadline to report the error puts the onus on the person to check their work after it’s entered. This is perfect since ultimately, especially in a league like Tout Wars, we all need to be responsible and accountable for our own teams. RARELY, there may be a move reports disingenuously. In the short window, news broke, affecting the decision. Or, the individual changed their mind from what they would have done. I’d like to think we don’t have any of this in Tout Wars. However, even if we did, the incredibly rare instance someone took advantage is significantly trumped by the occasional correcting of an accidental drop.