Lawr Michaels was a member of the board of Tout Wars since, like, there was a board. He has been a tireless advocate of the fantasy baseball community for a really long time. How long? He started by writing for John Benson.
He passed away today after a recent bout with illness. He died way too young.
In 2009 he won Tout Wars AL (because, if I recall correctly, his team hit an improbable eight homers on the last day), which gave him first nomination. He did something novel with it.
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!
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.
Tout Weekend is fast approaching. This year teams competing in the four Tout Wars auction leagues will need the luck of the Irish, as all four auctions are taking place on March 17. Yes, St. Patrick’s Day.
The location is Richmond County Bank Ballpark, home of the Staten Island Yankees. In the home dressing and exercise rooms, particularly.
Tout Wars Party: Friday March 16, 2018. 7pm at Foleys NY, at 18 West 33rd Street. Come one, come all.
Tout Mixed Auction: Saturday March 17, 2018. 9am at RCBB. Auctioneer: Jeff Erickson
Tout NL: Saturday March 17, 2018. 10am at RCBB. Auctioneer: Brian Feldman
Tout AL: Saturday March 17, 2018. 3pm at RCBB. Auctioneer: Joe Pisapia
Tout H2H: Saturday March 17, 2018. 4pm at RCBB. Auctioneer: Todd Zola
SiriusXM Fantasy Sports will be carrying live coverage of the four auctions, which can also be followed live on the auction spreadsheet (link to come), and Twitter (@toutwars).
The event will be open to a limited number of guests. If you’re interested in attending, let a Tout know. Only people on the guest list will be admitted to the park. There will be food and drinks available for purchase by guests.
Thanks to the Yankees for inviting us, and Andrea LaMont and Lenny Melnick for working out the details.
At the end of April, Mike Podhorzer was in second place, a few points behind Jason Collette. By the end of May he was solidly in first. By the end of June his lead was pretty much insurmountable. In any case, it was never surmounted.
Podhorzer’s team was built on two big stars, Mike Trout and Francisco Lindor, and a solid closer, Craig Kimbrel, but his season’s success depended on a pair of young Yankees, Aaron Judge and Luis Severino, and the emergence of Matt Olson as a power hitter in Oakland.
Podhorzer built his pitching staff on the back of David Price, but when Price went down, he was able to sustain because of the continued excellence of Severino. The result wasn’t a ton of innings, but it was top finishes in ERA, Ratio, Saves and, surprisingly, a second-place in strikeouts despite only putting up 1100 innings. That’s thanks to Severino and Kimbrel.
Using Clay Davenport’s projections applied to the Tout AL rosters, Mike Podhorzer is going to win Tout AL big this year, finishing 10 ahead of Larry Schechter and nearly 20 ahead of Rob Leibowitz. Here’re the projected results, thanks to onRoto.com‘s Toy Box.
But onRoto doesn’t project the standings based on rest of year projections using only one projection system. They also run them with the BaseballHQ rest of season projections. With BaseballHQ, Podhorzer and Schechter are closer, much closer, but there is also an alsoran, Patrick Davitt, who becomes a contender in a seriously tight race.
Post mortems are tough. You try to explain your team, your thinking, your approach, and you constantly run the risk of sounding like you’re talking about your fantasy team! Which is a no-no, of course.
Jeff Erickson gives his 2016 Tout Wars team a post mortem. It was an ugly season for Jeff, and he fearless wades into the mess to explain why. SPOILER ALERT: Hitting.
But he does such good, honest job it’s worth the read to learn how to do your own post-mortem. Read it here. It’s on the free side of Rotowire.