Tout Daily: Hertz Dialed In

Tout Daily is back for the 2019 season. Tout Daily is a DFS league where the season is broken into five four-week segments. The top three point scorers in each period are awarded a Golden Ticket into the Championship Round. In addition, the Tout accruing the most points over the 20 week regular season earns a wild-card entry into the tourney.

Phil Hertz from Baseball HQ lapped the field in Week 1. His lineup was so dominating, Phil’s 195.35 points would have still lead the pack without Mike Trout’s two-homer evening. Along with Trout, Phil got a big night on the hill from the Pirates’ Joe Musgrove and his seven scoreless, eight strikeout effort against the Reds. Lady Luck also was in Phil’s favor. “At 6:15 pm, it started to pour in Maryland,” Hertz explains. “Remembering I had Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto and Jonathan Schoop in my lineup, I checked the Philadelphia weather report.  All it showed was rain and more rain.  I brought up my lineup.  Out went Realmuto, in came Tyler Flowers. Out came Schoop, in came Ketel Marte, etc.  So if it hadn’t started to pour at home, Steve Gardner and Michael Beller probably win. “

Marte totaled 34 points while Flowers added 19. Phil also played Adam Jones and his 25 points.

There was a rare tie for second as defending champion Michael Beller from Sports Illustrated and Steve Gardner from USA Today each tallied 154.2 points.

Week 1 was a rare Friday night Tout Daily contest. We return to Tuesday this evening, our regular night. Be sure to check back later as the Touts share their favorite hitter and pitcher picks for the Tuesday night slate. We’ll also have a chat posted on where you can follow along and get your fantasy baseball questions answered.

Here’s the Tout Daily Leaderboard:

Tout Table: Smooth Saleing or reason for concern?

After a brief hiatus, the Tout Table is back! This week’s question:

What is your level of Chris Sale concern? Who from this list do you prefer rest-of-season over Sale: Blake Snell, Jameson Taillon, Luis Severino, Carlos Carrasco, Walker Buehler, Trevor Bauer, Clayton Kershaw, Mike Clevinger, Jack Flaherty and Patrick Corbin?

Larry Schechter (Winning Fantasy Baseball, @LarrySchechter): I took Sale at pick #9 in the first round of my NFBC Platinum league, so I have been extremely concerned about the lack of velocity. When I log on to answer these “tout table” questions I always write my answer before looking at others answers. But tonight I wanted to read what everyone else had to say first, looking for reassurance. It does make sense to think that they wouldn’t sign him to that contract without knowing for sure that he’s healthy, and his lack of spring innings, etc., so I am feeling a little better after reading everyone’s answers…but until I see the velocity come back, won’t be relieved. For the record, my pre-season projections for him were 180IP, 2.86, 0.96, 14.5 Wins, 245K

Brad Johnson (Patreon/BaseballATeam, @BaseballATeam): I’m definitely worried, but I wouldn’t say I’m ready to call him a non-ace yet. I valued him around pick 20 to 25 entering the season. Now I have him slightly after pick 30. In other words, two rough starts have barely affected my valuation despite elevated concern. As for pitchers I prefer, I’d definitely take Bauer over him. Probably Snell too. In other ace news, I’ve moved deGrom ahead of Scherzer on my personal pref-list.

Ray Murphy (BaseballHQ, @RayHQ): We ran a survey of HQ staff a couple of weeks ago, and I was surprised at how pessimistic we were as a group… very disconnected from our pretty optimistic projection. But, big picture: there was nothing structurally wrong with him after last season. Boston just gave him a giant extension, and I don’t think he’d be getting paid like that, or pitching right now, if there were a health concern. I think Boston is just playing the long game and managing his workload, thus making his first two starts were the equivalent of mid/late March starts for another pitcher. Just in case I’m wrong, I might consider taking Bauer or Snell from the above list instead of him. But nobody beyond that.

Gene McCaffrey (The Athletic, @WiseGuyGene): I was worried before the season started because the Sox babied him in the World Series, showing that surely they will baby him in the regular season. I’m a little more worried by the velocity loss but it’s hardly conclusive. That said, I would prefer ALL the above listed pitchers to Sale with the exception of Severino. I just don’t see ace IP to match the ace price, even if Sale turns it around.

Derek Carty (RotoGrinders, @DerekCarty): I called Sale the top pitcher in fantasy before the season, and I still stand by a healthy, no-concerns Sale being the top option. He’s the best pitcher in baseball with the best run support of any ace. Losing 2-4 mph of velocity is a big deal if it sticks around, but his velocity through April last season was low, and he finished the year with one of his highest average velocities in years. The velocity paired with the late-season shoulder injury last year is what has people freaking out, but I’m not ready to lose my cool yet. It’s entirely possible Sale is just easing himself into the season. Yes, there’s concern that an injury does exist, but the extent of that concern is what matters. A no-concerns Sale is a $45-50 player. Most of the guys on this list are in the $20-30 range, some are more like $10-15. If you’re really scared, MAYBE you can think about Snell or Bauer. But you’re banking on either 1) Sale losing substantial value or 2) those guys repeating their career-best 2018 seasons. That’s risk in and of itself, and after two starts, this is a lot of value to give up if you’re not really sure that Sale isn’t going to be the same guy we’ve come to expect for the majority of this season.

Charlie Wiegert (CDM Sports, @GFFantasySports): I’m not worried at all. He missed most of Spring Training and is just now catching up. Give him 2-3 more starts and he’ll be back to normal. I still think he’s the number 3 starter, behind Mad Max and Degrom.

Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola): Maybe I’m blinded by too many duck boat parades, but I’m not concerned about health. I am a liitle worried short-term we may not see as many whiffs, but if the trade-off is September punchies, I’ll take that exchange. I’d be looking to acquire him, even dealing someone like Gerrit Cole or Aaron Nola for Sale if I can also get a decent stick as well, especially if I lost someone like Trea Turner, Daniel Murphy, Miguel Andujar or perhaps Marcell Ozuna.

Doug Dennis (BaseballHQ, @dougdennis41): I was all-in on Sale this year, rostering him in 3 leagues and taking the discount on what I perceived as his value. My worries are more about players on the IL right now–not Sale.  I don’t prefer any of those list pitchers over Sale, ROS.

Tim McCullough (Baseball Prospectus, @TimsTenz): If there was a true medical issue with Sale’s shoulder, I doubt the Red Sox would have extended his contract earlier this spring. In addition, it appears they have a plan to ease Sale into the season. After giving him just nine innings in spring training, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him limited to a max of six innings per start through April and perhaps into early May with the goal being to preserve him for September and beyond. If the Sale owner in my leagues is panicking, I’m buying.

Anthony Perri (Fantistics, @Anthony_Perri): Seeing him only averaging 89.6 MPH on his fastball in last start is alarming, until you look back to last year and see that his fastball was also less than his norm in April. In fact last April 15th, he averaged 89.5. So when you combine that with the extension that Boston gave him this offseason….there is optimisim that he will rebound.

Dan Strafford (FNTSY Radio, @DanStrafford): I think a healthy amount of concern is worth while any time a pitcher isn’t hitting the velocity levels we’ve seen them consistently at. With no context, I’d be more concerned about Sale, but we’ve seen this story before. Sale is someone who has intentionally dialed things back in the past and been just fine. In a fantasy context, you’d need to best understand your league mates to consider what to do next. Sale’s value is clearly down from where we were to start the year and bailing on him now isn’t advisable without massive returns. It’s close, but I still would rank Sale first out of the pitchers listed.

Alex Chamberlain (Rotofraphs, @DolphHauldhagen): The odd part about looking at Sale’s game logs… many of his lowest velocity readings occur in the months of April and September. They account for 11 of his 18 worst starts by fastball velo, including his April 15 start last year. Don’t know if it’s a mental thing, just mailing it in a couple of times a year, especially early on. I’m hardly a scout, but it looked to me he wasn’t going 100% the other day. That doesn’t preclude an injury — he could be half-assing it because he’s injury — but I’d like to think it was more a conscious decision than one induced by injury. I’d definitely wait one more start to move him, if that decision is on the table. His value is already relatively low after the last start; waiting one more probably can’t make things any worse, only better. Assuming he is broken, I still might only place Snell, Bauer, Carrasco, maybe Clevinger and Flaherty above him (keeping the injured Severino and Kershaw below him for now). Lots of hypotheticals, though. Wouldn’t sound the alarms just yet.

Scott Engel (Rotoballer, @scotteTheKing): The entire Boston staff has not started the season well. But I am not ranking any one of those guys over Sale yet. I have seen aces like Corey Kuber start slow before and turn it around. I dont panic after two April starts. I just want him to stay healthy

Chris Liss (Rotowire, @Chris_Liss): Moderately concerned. Would take Snell and Bauer over him without a second thought. The others except for Kershaw and Severino would be closer calls.

Michael Stein (Fantasy Judgment, @FantasyJudgment): I am very concerned about Sale because of his injury history from 2018 as well as his unconventional throwing motion. The drop in velocity is not cause for panic in a vacuum, but coupled with his previous injuries there is good reason to be worried. It is understandable that he would want to hold back in order to prevent any re-aggravation. The idea is for him to pitch the entire year and avoid any time on the injured list so starting the season throwing softer does make sense. That being said, his fantasy value is partially premised on high strikeout totals so his decrease in velocity diminishes his fantasy value. I prefer Snell and Bauer over Sale for the rest of the season based on health and track record.

Seth Trachtman (Rotoworld, @sethroto): I’m a bit more concerned than I was entering the year, but the fact his velocity was very similar last April (including one sub-90 mph start, like he had in his second start this year) is more reassuring. He was my second ranked pitcher behind Max Scherzer entering the year. I’ve dropped him a few spots, but I’d only put Trevor Bauer and Walker Buehler ahead of him at this point.

Dr. Roto (Scout Fantasy, @DrRoto): Watch Sale become more of a pitcher than a thrower this season. It doesn’t mean that he won’t be good–it just means that I don’t anticipate him striking out 300 batters anymore. Snell and Bauer will have more Ks for sure than Sale by season’s end.

Phil Hertz (BaseballHQ, @prhz50): I’m not overly concerned after all the Sox just gave him oodles of money. That said, I’d probably take Snell and Bauer over him and if I can have another week, I migh5 also take Kershaw.

Lenny Melnick (LennyMelnickFantasySports, @LennyMelnick): Did Sox extend an injured pitcher for 5 years? Relax Sale and Bauer over all

Howard Bender (Fantasy Alarm, @RotobuzzGuy): Not worried about Sale at all. Alex Cora deliberately held back his starters so they were all in line for full work in October. Sale threw fewer than 10 innings of Grapefruit League ball and he’s supposed to be in midseason form? Nah. Not to mention, do we really thing the Red Sox are going to give a guy a five-year extension without checking the medicals real thoroughly? I’m super bullish on both Clevinger and Flaherty, but you just can’t deny what Sale has done over the years. If you believe he’s healthy, and I do, then he’s got to be your top arm.

Ariel Cohen (CBS Sports, @ATCNY): It is a 2.5. I am not concerned … but it does register as something to thing about. Sale is a PITCHER first and foremost. He will battle and be effective even if his velocity isn’t as high as it was in the past … and this could just be an April ramp-up. In either case, you aren’t dropping him, you are still playing him each and every week, and no one is trading you any pitcher close to him at this time anyways – so there isn’t anything for fantasy owners to do. As far as who I would rather have over him – the only one I would consider would be Snell.

Vlad Sedler (Fantasy Guru Elite, @rotogut): Very little concern about Sale but after these first two outings, it’s the perfect time to field some buy-low offers in case his current owner is panicked. From the list, the only guy I prefer to Sale rest-of-season is Bauer, and that’s because he’s going to be the best pitcher in baseball this year.

AJ Mass (ESPN, @AJMass): Let’s put it this way. Last season, on April 17, Jacob deGrom had a 3.24 ERA and a .312 slugging percentage against. Some people may have asked, “What’s the matter with Jake?” All he did the rest of the season was post a 1.50 ERA and a .272 slugging percentage against. Sure, Sale *could* be hurt. He also may win the Cy Young. Small sample sizes are sometimes bad. Remember Sale’s back-to-back starts at the end of May/beginning of June last year where he had an 8.71 ERA (.452 SLG)? Did that mean to sell? Until the IL becomes his home, you stick with him.

Michael Rathburn (Rotowire, @FantasyRath): As a Sox fan, I am concerned a little. I watched both starts and the power RHB on the Mariners took the outside FB and crushed it. It also happened vs. the A’s but not as much. I can see him trying to avoid that pitch until his velocity comes back. I wouldnt take any of the other pitchers over him with the exception of Blake Snell.

Andy Behrens (Yahoo! Fantasy Sports, @andybehrens): I don’t want to appear as if I’m completely dismissing Sale’s opening week issues, but this isn’t the first time we’ve seen him dial back velocity. There were no serious warning flares this spring. For me, he’s a strong buy. I don’t see a name on this list of pitchers (other than Snell) who belongs in the conversation with Sale.

Patrick Davitt (BaseballHQ, @patrickdavitt): I’m confident that it’s OK because I trust the team. I can’t see them signing Sale to an extension with salary-cap implications if they had any concerns with Sale’s long-term health. And as someone noted upthread, the team seems to be orienting its pitcher management to an extended run into October. I also think that Sale and the team might be trying to manage the long-term transition from Sale being a power pitcher to being more of a “smart” pitcher who gets guys out without maxing his delivery. That will likely have implications for his strikeout totals, which is why I’d probably lean to Bauer and Snell over Sale, but I’m not super-concerned about Sale.

Jeff Boggis (Fantasy Football Empire, @JeffBoggis): Sale owners don’t need to be in panic mode. Even if they are, they won’t be able to get full trade value right now. His fastball is in the high 80’s, but I feel it’s more related to a slow spring training rather than pitching mechanics or injury. Blake Snell would be the only pitcher that I would consider in a trade for Sale.

Ray Flowers (Fantasy Guru Elite, @BaseballGuys): There has to be some level of concern. That said, sheer panic is taking things way too far. If you’re not going to give an elite performer like Sale some rope, then it brings me back to the position I’ve always held – don’t take pitchers as foundational blocks of your team. Why people would spend a top-15 pick on a guy who didn’t qualify for the ERA title last year and on a guy who threw all of nine innings in spring, and then express concern when he starts slowly is a bit beyond me. He will find his groove eventually. He’s too talented not to.

Scott Swanay (FantasyBaseballSherpa, @fantasy_sherpa): Selfishly, I’m not concerned because I don’t have him on any of my teams this year. Keith Law and others have had concerns about his delivery for years, but so far those haven’t been borne out. He’s no Max Fried, but what we’re dealing with here is likely nothing more than a small sample size issue. Snell and Bauer are the only pitchers Todd listed who I think have the potential to produce similar value to Sale over the course of the entire season, but neither have the track record of sustained excellence that Sale does. I’d be buying low on him if the opportunity presented itself.

Derek VanRiper (Rotowire, @DerekVanRiper): Maybe it’s naive, but I’m trusting that the medical staff in Boston was confident in Sale’s health before green lighting the five-year, $145 million extension he just signed. I know we saw Luis Severino go on the shelf soon after signing an extension with the Yankees, so that logic isn’t bulletproof, but when you factor in his past history of reduced early-season velocity and his slow-played progress through the spring, I’m not ready to drop Sale’s projections beneath any of the pitchers included in this question. I think it’s easy to justify Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, or Aaron Nola ahead of Sale if you wanted to reduce risk, but ultimately, that could be a costly error based on two starts.

Michael Florio (NFL Network, @MichaelFFlorio): I am worried about Chris Sale. I get the reports that this is by design and watching video comparing him this year to last year, it is hard to argue that he is fully exerting himself. But velo is down across the Red Sox rotation. Either this is by design or their spring plan was attrocious. Still, Sale sitting at 88 MPH is concerning. He had just one strikeout and barely drew any swinging strikes. Of the pitchers listed I would take Bauer, Snell and Walker Buehler if I could in a trade. Other than that, I would take a shot on Sale returning to form.

Mike Gianella (Baseball Prospectus, @MikeGianella): I’m moderately worried about Sale, which is saying something, since I think people tend to overreact to reduced velocity in March/early April. But there’s a difference between being 1-2 MPH below your noirmal velocity and 3-4 MPH below. There’s usually an injury lurking when there’s that much of a drop and even when there isn’t it takes a while for pitchers to adjust to their new, diminished “normal”. I’m grabbing Snell, Bauer or Carrasco over Sale right now if I can, and I’d consider Buehler under the right circumstances.

Anthony Aniano (Rotoballer, @AAnianoFantasy): On a 1-10 scale my concern for Sale is a 3. The velocity is low but it’s early April, if he is still hovering at 90 mph after 5 starts or 6 starts my concern will grow. His secondary stuff is still good enough to get batters out. Of that list Snell, Bauer, are a preference over Sale. Younger arm with less wear and tear. Buehler still has to prove he can perform over a full season at the major league level.

Jon Hegglund (Baseball Prospectus, @JonHegglund): I’m not a Sale owner in any leagues, so this is a purely theoretical question for me, but I’d be moderately alarmed. That said, Snell would be the only name on this list that I would elevate above Sale at the moment. That the velocity issues from late last season and in the playoffs have continued is a big concern for me. Also, while he may well become vintage Sale eventually, how many sub-par starts will you be booking while you wait for him to ramp up? And finally, I’m not fully comforted by the idea that the Red Sox wouldn’t have extended him if they had even the slightest worries about his health. Hey, this logic holds true until it doesn’t. Teams make bad decisions sometimes. If you are a Sale owner, I think you have to hold, but you drafted him knowing full well about the red flags from last season, so you have to keep the faith.

Mike Sheets (ESPN, @MikeASheets): I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned. Maybe it’s true that Sale is simply taking it easy early and will ramp up his velocity in the coming weeks. However, the fact that he was pounded by the Mariners in his first start and recorded only one strikeout in his second doesn’t make that explanation easy to swallow. Ultimately, Sale’s secondary stuff is good enough to compensate for diminished velocity, but I don’t want to be having these questions and discussions about a first-round player. At this point, I’d feel better with Snell or Bauer.

Justin Mason (Friends with Fantasy Benefits, Fangraphs, Fantasy Alarm, @JustinMasonFWFB): I think it is naive to not have any concern, but ultimately the Red Sox are a smart organization and I don’t think they would be running out Chris Sale every fifth day or have given him a long term contract if they had any concern about the structural integrity of his arm or his health. In my most recent starting pitching ranks over at Fantasy Alarm, I ranked Sale either among starting pitchers behind Scherzer, deGrom, Verlander, Bauer, Cole, Snell, and Nola.

Ian Kahn (Rotowire, @IanKahn4): I would take Trevor Bauer over Sale at this point, but that has as much to do with Bauer as it does with my concern for Sale. Sale looked like he was throwing batting practice the other day. He was far from giving full effort. That seemed to be a choice on Sale’s part. One would think that the Red Sox know exactly where he stands physically, and that contract shows great faith in his present and future. I just think the Sox didn’t have a great Spring Training plan with their pitchers, and they are paying the price in the early going. I expect to see vintage Sale coming our way in the next few starts.

Mike Podhorzer (Fangraphs, @MikePodhorzer): Level of concern: high. However, it’s only been two starts and nine innings! I projected Sale to earn significantly more than any of the other pitchers listed, so it’s still a bit too early to prefer any of those names.

Steve Gardner (USAToday Fantasy Sports, @SteveAGardner): Many pitchers go through the dead-arm period coming out of spring training. I’m not going to worry unless his reduced velocity and effectiveness last for a couple more weeks. The Red Sox gave him a full exam before signing him to his contract extension this spring so that’s the most important piece of info for me.

Clay Link (Rotowire, @claywlink): I’m concerned about Sale, as I have been since the end of last season. The fastball velocity was down to 92 and then 90 in his final two regular-season starts, and it was down around 90 in the ALCS. Now that concern is hightened, as he’s had close to a full offseason and the velocity hasn’t returned. The silver lining is that he was at least able to work around the diminished velo in his second start, and that lends hope to the idea that he can still be successfull without the velocity, just with fewer strikeouts. Pitchers I would definitely take over Sale: Blake Snell, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer and Mike Clevinger. I wouldn’t take Severino or Kershaw over him since they’re hurt and we don’t quite know what we’re getting from either when they come back. Jameson Taillon, Walker Buehler and Jack Flaherty aren’t far off from Sale, but I’d still lean Sale. For now.

Tout Wars Free Agency Bidding Recap – Sunday, April 7

Welcome to our 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

The big money in AL Tout this week went toward Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier, the recipient of regular playing time now that about half the Bronx Bombers’ roster is on the injured list. Chris Liss of Rotowire made sure he got his man, spending a hefty $443, the top bid of the week across the five leagues. Interestingly, the next two offers were exactly $348 and $347.

Alen Hanson, always a stolen base threat, but never hitting enough to earn regular playing time, moved this week to his third MLB stop, Toronto. Nando DiFino of The Athletic needed an infielder to replace Troy Tulowitzki and took home Hanson for $133.

15 other AL players were acquired this Sunday evening.

Review all 4/7 AL bids here

National League

The Giants needed a center fielder and were willing to give up three players to Toronto to acquire veteran Kevin Pillar. Never an OBP machine but a consistent source of double-digit steals, the 30-year old should get regular at-bats by the Bay. Despite a dreadful start to the season, Pillar was in demand in a very shallow talent pool. Mastersball’s Todd Zola’s $312 topped bids of $225 and $221, among others.

Another outfielder receiving at-bats currently is Jason Martin of Pittsburgh. However, this may be short-lived as Gregory Polanco has already begun his minor league rehab with two other mates soon to follow, Lonnie Chisenhall and Corey Dickerson. Yet, Craig Mish of SiriusXM bought for today, paying $57 for the 23-year old.

A total of 15 players were added to NL rosters this period.

Review all 4/7 NL bids here

Mixed Auction

21 players were rostered in this busy week in Mixed Auction.

Scott Pianowski of Yahoo whipped out his bankroll, spending a total of $462 on two veterans enjoying an early season power revival – second baseman Kolten Wong of St. Louis ($331) and Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward ($131).

Seattle Opening Day starting pitcher Marco Gonzales had to complete a pair of starts before generating interest, but the lefty, not known for high strikeouts, drew a stout $146 winning offer from Ray Flowers of Fantasy Guru.

Jake Lamb’s return to his home away from home, the IL, opened the door for Christian Walker to secure regular playing time at first base in Arizona. Michael Rathburn made the purchase for $129.

Review all 4/7 Mixed Auction bids here

Mixed Draft

A whopping 28 players were purchased in Mixed Draft this Sunday evening, with all 15 owners participating in the action.

The dollar amounts were somewhat muted, however, with just one player fetching triple digits. Arizona first baseman Walker went to Michael Beller for $179.

Ask Rotoman, aka Peter Kreutzer, acquired Yankees pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga for $97. It is not clear how long the 24-year old will remain up, but the prospect tossed four one-run innings his first time out.

Thought to be a fourth or fifth outfielder coming into the season, injuries to others not only elevated Jarrod Dyson to a starting role for the Snakes, but he is leading off. Anthony Perri submitted the winning bid of $86.

Review all 4/7 Mixed Draft bids here

Head to Head

Many observers scratched their heads when D.J. LeMahieu and the Yankees paired up this off-season. It took less than a week for Miguel Andujar’s injury to create a need at third base, now filled by LeMahieu. Dan Strafford paid an even $200 get D.J. on his roster.

Jake Ciely targeted saves, spending a total of $165 for Anthony Swarzak of Seattle ($83) and a dollar less for Minnesota Twin Blake Parker.

20 players were acquired across the league this week, with Andrea LaMont executing a major spring housecleaning. RotoLady bought a whopping seven free agents, coupled with one IL move and six releases. Her winning bids ranged from $41 (Heyward) to just $1 (Kelvin Herrera).

Review all 4/7 Head to Head bids here

Tout Daily is Back

Welcome to Week 1 of Tout Daily, our year-long DFS league with a twist. The regular season is segmented into five periods, each four weeks long. The top three cumulative scorers in each period earn a trip to the Championship Tournament. A wild-card entry is awarded to the top scorer over the 20 week schedule.

Each contest, we’ll post several Tout’s pitcher and hitter for the slate. Here’s who we like tonight.

Jeff Boggis (Fantasy Football Empire, @JeffBoggis)

Pitcher: Nick Pivetta – With Collin McHugh (HOU – P) at $9,500 and Shane Bieber (CLE – P) at $9,300, I’m looking at some lower cost alternatives tonight so that I can go heavier on hitting salaries. My concern with starting either Nick Pivetta (PHI) or Jake Odorizzi (MIN) is that there is a 67% chance of rain tonight in Philadelphia. Check the weather forecast 30 minutes before game time and have a backup plan just in case.

Hitter: David Peralta – Peralta is off to a hot start this season with 7 doubles in his first 7 games this season. He is hitting .455 on the season. Let’s not lose sight that Peralta hit 30 home runs last season. He’s a very intriguing play tonight if you need a high upside outfielder at a value price.

Phil Hertz (BaseballHQ, @prhz50)

Pitcher: Brandon Woodruff – Like Brandon Woodruff’s price. If nothing else should bring some K’s with him.

Hitter: Bryce Harper – Talk about red hot; I’m sticking with him until he cools off.

Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola)

Pitcher: Trent Thornton – Out of character for me, I prefer safe arms in Tout Daily but I’ll go with the deceptive Thornton facing a weakened Indians lineup

Hitter: Justin Bour – Angels Stadium new-found friendliness to LHB power is still a secret. Lynn has been known to serve up a homer now and again.

Michael Florio (NFL Network, @MichaelFFlorio)

Pitcher: Shane Bieber – I know it is pretty crazy to write up about the second highest pirced pitcher on the board, but the Blue Jays are nearly getting no hit nightly and strikeout a bunch.

Hitter: Kole Calhoun – Angels stadium plays well for left handed power bats, and Lynn does not fair too well there. Also, he has been hitting leadoff which should allow me to squeak in an extra PA.

Dan Strafford (FNTSY Radio, @DanStrafford)

Pitcher: Trent Thornton – If everyone isn’t playing Trent Thorton on DraftKings, I’m not really sure what to say. The guy has an elite spin rate on his breaking ball and is facing an Indians lineup that is devoid of talent. Jose Ramirez is out of a lineup that currently sports a 36 WRC+ and league worst wOBA (.215) against RHP. As the cheapest pitcher on the slate, Thornton should be an easy SP2 for everyone.

Hitter: Joey Gallo – Go big or go home. Joseph Nicholas Gallo is an absolute beast with the power bat. Over his short career, he sports .304 ISO against RHP on his career. Felix Pena may strike hime out once or twice, but does yield 1.27 hr/9 with just 19.7% K%. Look for a moonshot tonight.

Derek Carty (RotoGrinders, @DerekCarty)

Pitcher: Kevin Gausman – Most people will gravitate to Collin McHugh or Shane Bieber at this price point, but Gausman faces easily the weakest lineup (Miami) of the trio and has the elite pitch-framing Tyler Flowers paired with an extreme pitchers’ umpire behind the plate. He’s coming off the DL, but he threw 90 pitches on Saturday so he shouldn’t be any more limited than Bieber, who is also making his first start of the year. Gausman always has that blowup outing potential, but the matchup is elite and the ownership will be likely be lower than the other top guys today.

Hitter: Justin Bour – Lance Lynn is one of the weaker pitchers on the slate, and he comes with an extreme platoon split, making a lefty like Bour (who is severely underpriced) one of the top overall 1B plays today.

Gene McCaffrey (The Athletic, @WiseGuyGene)

Pitcher: Trent Thornton – Good night to go cheap with pitching – no obvious dominators – so I’ll go with Trent Thornton

Hitter: Joe Musgrove – The Reds’ offense has been abysmal over the past week, and I don’t think they get it going tonight against Musgrove. He has only pitched in relief so far this season, but Musgrove looked excellent in that outing. His willingness to pound the zone and ability to induce swings and misses will be a winning combination tonight and throughout the season.

Clay Link (Rotowire, @claywlink)

Pitcher: Joe Musgrove – The Reds’ offense has been abysmal over the past week, and I don’t think they get it going tonight against Musgrove. He has only pitched in relief so far this season, but Musgrove looked excellent in that outing. His willingness to pound the zone and ability to induce swings and misses will be a winning combination tonight and throughout the season.

Hitter: Carlos Correa – I’m fading Frankie Montas’ brilliant debut a bit and rostering both Correa and Jose Altuve. Correa has said he feels good and the early hard-hit numbers bear that out (41.7% per FanGraphs).

Rick Wolf (Fantasy Alarm, @RickWolf1)

Pitcher: Frankie Montas – The main reasons to take Montas is the price. Colin McHugh is much more of a sure thing tonight, but by saving $1500 on the pitcher, I can execute the Rangers left handed bats stack plus get all the hitters with tons of upside versus opposite handed pitchers. Montas needs his command tonight. Major leaguers hit his mistakes. He was sharp last time out with the single mistake to Kole Calhoun who took him yard.

Hitter: Joey Gallo – Gallo has a .527 wOBA versus RHP this season and is the kind of player you need in your tournament play. He is capable of a double dong on any given night. Tonight he faces Felix Pena who took 61 pitches to get 11 outs on the 30th of March. This is a great spot for all the left handed bats on the Rangers. Go big, baby!

Michael Beller (Sports Illustrated, @MBeller)

Pitcher: Joe Musgrove – I’m a pay-for-pitching zealot, but there’s no one on tonight’s slate that warrants the price tag in my estimation. Cincinnati’s offense is off to a terrible start, and this should be a good spot for Musgrove in his first start of the season. He’s going to force every team he faces to swing the bats, and I’m just not afraid of a Reds team that has to be aggressive.

Hitter: Bryce Harper – I love the look of a Phillies’ stack tonight, and I’ve got Harper paired with Jean Segura. No reason to get too cute, here. Harper is 8-for-16 with three homers in his brief tenure with the Phillies.

Jeff Erickson (Rotowire, @Jeff_Erickson)

Pitcher: Brandon Woodruff – Like seemingly everyone else, I’m looking to save money on my pitching so that I can load up on hitters – maybe that’s too chalky, but oh well. I like Woodruff’s stuff and price.

Hitter: J.D. Martinez – I’m running a Red Sox stack – Martinez, Betts, Benintendi, Xander and Devers. If Zach Godley beats me, so be it.
Mike Gianella (Baseball Prospectus, @MikeGianella)

Pitcher: Rick Porcello – Everyone’s shying away from the “higher priced” arms on this slate, but give me Porcello, a humidor and an NL lineup where he gets two free at bats against the pitcher, please. I did go cheaper on my second arm, which gave me an opportunity to add Acuna, who is a HR/SB threat every night.

Hitter: Ronald Acuna

Charlie Wiegert (CDM Sports, @GFFantasySports)

Pitcher: Brandon Woodruff – Saving some $’s hoping to get 7 innngs and 5-7 k’s vs Cub lineup still not clicking yet

Hitter: Carlos Santana – He’s been hot and Cleveland desperately needs him. Going against Blue Jay rookie Thornton, hoping experience wins out.

Tout Wars Free Agency Bidding Recap – Sunday, March 31

This is the second of our weekly reports for 2019, 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.

(In case you missed the results from our first FAAB period, held on Wednesday, March 27, just scroll down the page. 82 players were rostered across the five leagues.)

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

American League

For the second straight period, bidding was relatively heavy in AL, with 18 players taken.

Dumped by the Royals and scooped up the injury-challenged Angels, outfielder Brian Goodwin drew a strong winning bid of $109 from Patrick Davitt of BaseballHQ. Goodwin should see time as long as Justin Upton will be out, which could be a couple of months. In the same race, Jeff Erickson spent $31 on Peter Bourjos, who must have more than nine lives.

If one can believe Ned Yost, former starter Ian Kennedy will share save opportunities for KC with Wily Peralta. One save is on the books, and Howard Bender snapped up Kennedy for $81. At $53, another potential saves source, Seattle’s Cody Gearrin, joined the roster of Colton and the Wolfman.

Review all 3/31 AL bids here.

National League

It is a selfish question, but the reason I want to know if Padres lefty Nick Margevicius is going to stay around is to determine if I am going to have to memorize his name like Grudzielanek, Mientkiewicz and Rzepczynski. Despite never pitching above A-ball, Nick spun five one-run innings at the Giants. His new owner is Derek Carty, who paid $31.

The top dollar player this week in NL is outfielder Rosell Herrera, formerly of Kansas City and now with Miami. Herrera holds the honors of being the only free agent available this week with 10 or more at-bats. (Margevicius was also the only hurler with at least five innings pitched.) The talent pool is that depleted.

None of the 16 other players added fetched more than $19.

Review all 3/31 NL bids here.

Mixed Auction

Wow! A whopping 32 players were purchased in Mixed Auction this week.

Leading the way at the top price across all five leagues this week is the $228 spent on Taylor Rogers of the Twins by Michael Rathburn. Rogers received and converted the save opp on Opening Day, but it is not clear he owns the job over Trevor May or Blake Parker.

Tim Beckham, he of the first-week home run feats for the Mariners, joins Al Melchior’s roster for $76. Al does not get the stats already accrued, however. Ray Flowers plucked Goodwin for an interesting bid of $69 and outfielder Scott Schebler of the Reds landed on Jeff Zimmerman’s roster for $63.

(Note to self: For a good story idea, poll the Touts on how they select their precise bid amounts.)

Review all 3/31 Mixed Auction bids here.

Mixed Draft

Old standard Jake Odorizzi of the Twins was the top player off the board in Mixed Draft with a winning bid of $125 submitted by Seth Trachtman. Odorizzi yielded a solo home run over six innings in his initial start. Tim McCullough was also in search of a starting pitcher and nabbed Marco Estrada of the A’s for $91. The 35-year old fanned just three, but tossed six scoreless innings against the Halos on Friday.

Tom Kessenich of the NFBC apparently favors symmetric bids as he speared a pair of Mariners for a total off $99. Beckham cost $66 and Gearrin was a $33 buy. D.J. Short added Schebler for $50.

Lucas Giolito carried a no-hitter into the seventh against the Royals on Sunday and for $37, Michael Beller wants to see more of those kinds of results from the former White Sox top prospect.

21 players in all were acquired in Mixed Draft this week. Review them all via the following link.

Review all 3/31 Mixed Draft bids here.

Head to Head

18 players were the subject of winning bids in Head to Head.

Top dollar of $150 went to Brad Keller of Kansas City, acquired by A.J. Mass. The Royals’ Opening Day starter dominated the Pale Hose hitters for seven shutout innings. If there is more to come, Keller will be nice buy.

Never a shy guy, Paul Sporer whipped out his checkbook and dropped almost a quarter of his full-season spend, a total of $246, on the trio of Beckham ($119), Toronto starter Marcus Stroman ($89) and Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong ($38).

Ian Kahn spent $176 himself, primarily chasing saves with Arizona’s Greg Holland ($81) along with injured Brewers reliever Jeremy Jeffress ($77) plus some DH from the Indians named Hanley Ramirez ($18), who took Odorizzi deep on Saturday.

Review all 3/31 Head to Head bids here.

Tout Wars Free Agency Bidding Recap – Wednesday, March 27

Welcome to the first of our weekly reports for 2019, summarizing the top free agent bids in each of the five Tout Wars leagues, with links to the detailed bidding action. All prices are on a $1000 base.

A provision reportedly forgotten by some of the Touts was the annual pre-Opening Day free agent period. This year, it was pre-US opener, held on Wednesday evening, March 27.

There was one significant rub, however. Only a handful of MLB clubs made their formal injured list proclamations prior to Thursday – and until they did and it was reflected on the league site, such players were considered active.

This required many Touts had to take a calculated risk that if they acquired replacement players via FAAB that they could move their injured players to the IL prior to Thursday’s first pitch. That may have tamped down bidding action.

American League

Not so in the AL, however, as action was heavy, with 22 players acquired. Leading the way was right-hander Aaron Brooks, named Oakland’s fifth starter with Chris Bassitt out. Howard Bender doled out $116 for the privilege of rostering Brooks.

Doug Dennis of BaseballHQ went heavy on offense, paying $101 each for Lucas Duda and Carlos Gonzalez. While parking Mark Trumbo on the injured list, Larry Schechter added new Orioles’ right fielder Dwight Smith Jr. for $65.

All 3/27 AL bids here:

National League

Bidding was lighter in the NL, as 16 players were acquired, but just seven for a non-zero amount. Worried I would be fighting with Florida-based Craig Mish for new Marlins starting pitcher Sandy Alcantara, I checked first-week bids last year and upped my offer to $105. Sadly for me, Mish remained on the sidelines and most other owners did too, meaning I paid almost $90 more than necessary.

The top acquisition on offense was new Reds shortstop Jose Iglesias, who went for $59 to Steve Gardner of USA TODAY.

All 3/27 NL bids here:

Mixed Auction

18 players were added via the initial bidding period, with $117 spent by Gene McCaffrey to snare new Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson in spirited bidding. For just $2 less, Jeff Zimmerman added presumed Twins closer Blake Parker and doubled down on relievers, paying $54 for Wily Peralta of Kansas City.

A new fifth starter with strikeout potential, the Angels’ Felix Pena, was acquired by Zack Steinhorn for $65. Pena seems to have a spot at least until Andrew Heaney returns. With Greg Bird seeing time at first base for the Yankees currently, Al Melchior won his services for $52.

All 3/27 Mixed Auction bids here:

Mixed Draft

Again, 18 players found new homes on Wednesday night, with starting pitching the primary target. Frankie Montas of Oakland was the top dollar player acquired in the Mixed Draft league. In fact, the A’s starter drew the highest winning bid across the five leagues, $161 from Tim McCullough. Tims were spending big that evening, with Tim McLeod adding Hudson for $111.

Yet another new starting pitcher, Kyle Wright of the Braves went to Charlie Wiegert for $51 and Marlins pitcher Caleb Smith went to Scott White for $43.

All 3/27 Mixed Draft bids here:

Head to Head

Action was relatively quiet in Head to Head, with just eight players acquired on Wednesday night. Marlins starters were hot commodities across the leagues, as a third one, Pablo Lopez, went to Ian Kahn for $101.

Hunter Strickland of Seattle, who picked up two saves in Japan, dropped his first in the US after being acquired by Ryan Bloomfield for $68. Hang on tightly!

All 3/27 Head to Head bids here:

What is next

Check back Sunday night, March 31 for the next round of bidding results and our live chat session!

Gain Free Agent Insight from the Touts Each Sunday Night!

With competitions in five different formats, one or more of the Tout Wars 2019 leagues likely matches up with your chosen style of play, whether AL- or NL-only, or Mixed Auction, Draft or Head-to-Head.

For those whose leagues have weekly free agent (FAAB) acquisitions each Sunday night, the Touts are here to help you. We’ve moved our own deadlines to 8 p.m. ET each Sunday. That enables us to share with you our bids, hopefully before you have to make your own.

Sunday Night FAAB Reports

To that end, right here on, we will post as quickly as possible after 8 p.m. ET Sundays, a quick summary of the week’s top bids along with links to the detailed bidding results in each of the five leagues.

Sunday Night Chats

Further, we are going to test a new Sunday night chat, also here at It will begin at 9:00 p.m. ET and continue until all questions are answered, or midnight, whichever comes first. The chats will be hosted by one of the Touts. You can ask about the week’s bidding in any of the leagues as well as get your own league questions answered by a prominent industry analyst. Other Touts may also stop by to defend/explain their moves.

Whether these chats will become a weekly fixture will depend on how much they are used and how effective they are perceived to be – so, if they are of interest to you, please take advantage.

All of this – the weekly FAAB Reports as well as the chats – begin this Sunday evening, March 31.

Please join the Touts to gain a bidding edge in your leagues!