Tim won the season handily, topping perennial contender Fred Zinkie by 23 points. He took the lead in late May for good, made a few trades during the season, but the Draft Roster Standings suggest that his winning team was put together on auction day.
His big draft day buys were Javier Baez ($6), Eddie Rosario ($3), Blake Snell and Miles Mikolas ($6 each). That left plenty of budget for extravagances like JD Martinez and Madison Bumgarner, and a championship.
It is always a challenge when you sit down at the fantasy baseball auction table with the best of the best. Of course, that is why we love Tout Wars. 2018 was very very good to team Colton & the Wolfman as we managed to take home our second AL title in 5 years. In 2018, Team Colton and the Wolfman made one change to the auction approach — rather than go value hunting in the middle and late rounds (i.e., bidding on anyone who is being priced below our predicted value), we had our list of mid-priced and low-priced guys we really liked and tried very hard to stay on track and get players from that list. Well, since we won both Tout Wars AL and Doubt Wars AL, I guess it worked (despite spending $30 on Gary Sanchez who hit well under the Mendoza line and $20 Robbie Cano who got suspended for half the season)
That we grabbed guys like Jose Ramirez and Andrew Benintendi is nice but hardly genius. The guys at the lower tiers we liked and grabbed were such “household” names as Kyle Gibson (3.62 ERA and 179K for $2); Matt Boyd (159K and a 1.16 WHIP for $1); Keona Kela (24 saves for $1); Marcos Gonzales (13 wins, 1.22 WHIP for $3). That was where the rubber met the road for us in 2018. You do your studying, you figure out who you like and you go get them! Of course, when you play against the best in the world, you also have to be lucky and this year, we were (when we traded Vlad, Jr. to Chris Liss for ERod only to have Vlad get hurt a short time later). I am sure Chris will forgive us for that (nah, he won’t).
Sadly, no review of 2018 would be complete without recognizing that we lost a very special member of the fantasy baseball community when Steve Moyer passed away unexpectedly in March. His skill, humor, and humanity will be sorely missed. That his good friend and fantasy baseball great Doug Dennis was the one to stand in for Steve and auction in his spot was appropriate, sad, touching and uplifting all at once. Doug showed composure, compassion and Moyer-like humor that day in March under very emotional circumstances which only left us even more impressed with Doug than we already were. Bravo to our friends both still with us and alive in our memory.
To end on a lighter note — as much as we admire Doug (and we do), we are still a little sore he bid $2 to steal Melky from us just because he knew it would get a roar. Of course Moyer would have loved the move!
Jake Ciely has been one of the most energetic owners in Tout H2H, talking about the rules and format of the league. After a couple of years trying experimental hybrids of category based standings as well as points, Tout H2H went full points in 2018, and Jake soared.
All the talk after the March auction was about Justin Mason’s pitching heavy strategy, which turned out to be right, but wasn’t as well implemented as Jake’s was. With Monday and Friday roster resets, the game was obviously to load up on quality innings and have a decent offense.
Jake’s team did that better than any others. Which makes him the 2018 Tout Wars Champ. Well done.
My story starts in early March when Steve Moyer died. It made the entire 2018 season very strange/odd/bad for me. The high point was probably drafting a Tout-AL team in his place and I wish I had done him more justice. The projections after the draft (but before the season started (from both “Toybox” sources on the onroto.com website) projected me to come in first. But I could hear Steve’s voice in my ear: “Oh no, Doug you did it all wrong!! No one ever wins after being projected first!!” Probably true, too. I had very terrible pitching from Marcus Stroman, Mike Leake and from assorted relievers early on and I could never scramble it back into anything useful. I won’t be as patient next time. I did ok on offense at first, with the worst part there being Dee Gordon cratering and having to trade him at a discount and letting go of incremental SB points. It all led to me staggering around between seventh and ninth until the final week where I free-fell into a tie for tenth. Ugh. All around, a poor season, but I am hoping to be invited back in 2019 so I can get back on the horse—perhaps with a little less emotion this time.
My second year in Tout Wars H2H was a big improvement on the first.
The move to a points-based scoring system (from categories), with every out recorded being worth a point, played into my strengths as a player. I’ve found that I am better at finding an edge on the pitching side, and in this format, I was rewarded greatly (more so than in standard 5×5 leagues) for my pitching finds. I finished second, and while it’s sometimes said that second place is “first loser,” I consider this a great accomplishment given the quality of the field.
I won six consecutive matchups to close out the season and felt like I really had the league down from a roster-construction standpoint late in the year. Unfortunately for me, by the time I had the pieces in place, it was too late to catch Jake Ciely. I emerged from the auction and reserve draft with a poorly constructed roster — four hitters on my bench. By the end of the season, I did not have a single hitter on my bench, and I think that’s the way you have to play this 12-team points format. With two lineup periods per week — Monday and Friday lineup submissions — it’s important to just have a slew of arms to rotate into your lineup to maximize points. I learned to treat the waiver wire as my bench for hitters, picking up hitters only when there was a need in my starting lineup.
My highest scorers:
Justin Verlander – 732 points
Aaron Nola – 665 points
Blake Snell – 639 points
Carlos Santana – 466.5 points
Xander Bogaerts – 461 points
Dallas Keuchel – 440 points
Jesus Aguilar – 439.5 points
Lorenzo Cain – 430 points
Stephen Piscotty – 423 points
George Springer – 420 points
Tyler Anderson – 387 points
Steven Matz ($1)
Tyler Skaggs ($61)
Tyler Glasnow ($0)
Hyun-Jin Ryu ($57)
Willy Adames ($0)
Interestingly, James Shields, who I streamed for only one week, would have ranked 12th on my team in points had I left him in for all of his starts (384 points), highlighting the importance of innings.
Busts: Willson Contreras ($11), Nomar Mazara ($11) — not a terrible year for Mazara in standard roto leagues, but he finished with fewer points than Kyle Seager in this format — Luke Weaver ($10), Dinelson Lamet ($5), Scott Kingery ($5).
In an up and down race, which saw 2017 champ Grey Albright take an early lead, lose it in May to eventual champ Steve Gardner, take it back again and open it up again through August, only to be pushed aside by Gardner in early September, and then be passed by Tristan Cockcroft, too. Whew.
Here are the final standings.
Gardner may have been challenged by three-time champ Cockcroft in the end, but he was able to hold on. And his victory was foretold by the draft day standings. He had the best auction in the league.
The closeness of the final standings may be because Gardner had a comfortable hand all season. he made no trades, and only one big FAAB pickup. That would be 707 samoleons for Eduardo Escobar, which helped, it may have made the difference, but wasn’t a difference maker.