NL Leader Talks but Doesn’t Brag

Brian Walton is doing just fine in NL Tout. He’s got a comfortable, if not insurmountable, lead, and he’s playing the game very well.

Although he doesn’t write about his fantasy teams much, at midseason he took a breath and gave a peak at what is going on in his head. Not surprisingly, his rooting interests often conflict.

Perry Van Hook’s Mixed League Analysis–Midseason

TOUT Wars (17 team, Mixed)

By Perry Van Hook

Well I finally got Votto back into the lineup, but losing Beltre at the same time was a double blow – he had started hitting better and it means I have to play Melvin Mora and hope for a turnaround, or play the valuable but still part time Willy Aybar whom I added a few weeks ago because he could be a MI or CI substitute if needed.
Currently the lineup is:
C  – Pierzynski and Y. Molina
CI – Votto, Mora, and Atkins
MI – A. Ramirez, Barmes, and J. Lopez
OF – Ellsbury, N. Cruz, Werth, Juan Rivera, and Dye
UT – Spilborghs (this week with Rockies at home for seven)
Reserve – L. Scott and Willy Aybar

The offense has climbed to 65 points now, fourth in the league, with
BA=.2796 for 15 points; HR=137 for 14 points; RUNS=501 for 10 points; RBI=516 for 10 points; and SB=102 for 16 points

On the pitching side I now have 57.5 points (now sixth) with
ERA=3.93 for 13 points; K=578 for 9 points; S=25 for 7 points; W=48 for 13.5 points; and WHIP=1.28 for 15 points
SP – Carpenter, Hanson, Zimmermann, Washburn, Nieve, Mazzaro, and Blackburn
RP – Broxton and MacDougal
Reserve – Lowe and Saunders (wish I had been that smart a week ago)

While the pitching points have only gone up a point (losing two points in WHIP), I think the stats are better positioned to gain more points in most all categories. Hanson has been worth the wait, and hopefully that will continue in Coors this week.

TOUT differs in many ways from other expert leagues and the recent rule changes have put the emphasis on the individual writer/analyst, and not the site where they are currently working. When there is a vacancy, there is a nomination process, followed by a vetting by a committee and finally a vote. I was glad to have been voted in this year to start with a couple of other newbies in the Mixed League. (If you survive and are “promoted” it is to the AL or NL only leagues). Information about all three of the leagues and the participants as well as articles and comments can be found at the league website (http://www.toutwars.com/).

Here are the TOUT standings after Week 13:
Rank        Team            Points
1)     Jason Pliml, MDC        132.0
2)    Chris Liss, Rotowire        130.0
3)    Perry Van Hook, FB.com    122.5
4)    J.P. Kastner, CreativeSports    103.0
5)    Michael Salfino, SNY.tv      98.0
6)    Paul Petera, HQ          92.0
7)    David Gonos, OpenSports      90.5
8)    Eric Karabell, ESPN          90.0
9)    Andy Behrens, Yahoo.com      88.0
9)    Alex Patton, pattonandco      88.0
11)     Larry Schechter, Shrink      86.5
12)    Brendan Roberts, ESPN      84.0
13)    Eric Mack, CBS          80.5
14)    Alex Cushing, mlb.com      74.5
15)    Doug Dennis, HQ          66.5
16)    John Hoyos, rotojunkie      66.0
17)    Will Carroll, BP          38.0

For a complete look at Van Hook’s expert league review, click HERE

Mixed, One Third of the Way

by Perry Van Hook, www.fantasybaseball.com

As we start Week 9, I just made my first trade in this league, sending Roy Oswalt to Paul Petera for Jermaine Dye. Part of my rationale was that I was doing very well in the pitching categories without Oswalt contributing much and I had Chris Carpenter back from the DL and looking and feeling great, with a very good spot starter in Nick Blackburn. While I could have traded either Derek Lowe or Carpenter for Dye, another part of my rationale was that Oswalt was supposed to be my ace SP on both my NFBC main event and online leagues as well as in the FB.com staff league. If in fact Oswalt turns his season around like he did in the second half of last year, he will help those teams immensely and I won’t mind the fact he is doing well here for one of my opponents. OTOH, if the WBC did in fact get him off to a start he can’t recover from or he is traded to the White Sox or some other poor pitching ballpark, or he just keeps scuffling, I will be glad I translated the extra starting pitcher for the power I need from Dye. Especially with Joey Votto now on the DL for at least a couple of weeks.

Currently the lineup is:
C – Pierzynski and Y. Molina
CI – Atkins, Mora, and Beltre
MI – A. Ramirez, Barmes, and J. Lopez
OF – Ellsbury, N. Cruz, Werth, Juan Rivera, and Dye
UT – L. Scott
Reserve – Spilborghs and R. Santiago

For the first eight weeks they have generated 43.0 points (roughly 9th), falling from last month
BA=.2710 for 9 points; HR=68 for 6 points; RUNS=303 for 4 points; RBI=301 for 7 points; and SB=70 for all 17 points

On the pitching side I now have 57.0 points (now fifth) with ERA=3.98 for 13 points; K=359 for 9 points; S=11 for 4.5 points; W=33 for 14.5 points; and WHIP=1.25 for 16 points

SP – Carpenter, Lowe, Lohse, Saunders, Zimmermann, Washburn, Gaudin, and Blackburn
RP – Broxton
Reserve – Medlen and Hanson

Blackburn is reserved when on the road (except this week for a start against the Mariners); the others only when they are pitching in Texas, Colorado, or Yankee Stadium. I have Chad Gaudin now available for starts in San Diego or other friendly matchups. I added Kris Medlen just before he came up (allowed in TOUT but not in most leagues). Perhaps swayed by his fantastic Triple-A numbers and the two start week he was schedule to have in his first week I made a heavy bid – $33 on him. Fortunately it only cost me $15 as the underbid using the Vickerey system was $14. That didn’t work very well in his first two starts, but yesterday he got his first win giving up only one run and striking out nine. I will likely reserve him to start Week 9 with the likelihood that Tom Glavine returns to make a start late in the Week.

Here are the TOUT standings after Week 8:
Rank     Team        Points
1)         Jason Pliml, MDC                   131.0
2)         Michael Salfino, SNY.tv        113.0
3)         J.P. Kastner, CreativeSports   113.0
4)         Chris Liss, Rotowire               110.0
5)         Perry Van Hook, FB.com       100.0
6)         David Gonos, OpenSports       98.5
7)         Alex Patton, pattonandco        97.5
8)         John Hoyos, rotojunkie            90.5
9)         Brendan Roberts, ESPN          90.0
10)       Paul Petera, HQ                       90.0
11)       Larry Schechter, Shrink           88.5
12)       Eric Mack, CBS                       80.0
13)       Eric Karabell, ESPN                77.5
14)       Andy Behrens, Yahoo.com     76.0
15)       Doug Dennis, HQ                    67.5
16)       Alex Cushing, mlb.com           62.0
17)       Will Carroll, BP                       45.0

Hammer and Tongs! (A Mixed League Rant)

by Doug Dennis, baseballHQ.com

My first year in Tout has been a total embarrassment so far.  To start with, I am not even listed among the players.  That is a good thing, because I’d rather be anonymous than associated with the team I drafted, currently riding in 16th place.  Who knew there even was a 16th place?  (I guess Will Carroll–he’s in 17th).  da dum dum!  I was a last second addition, got a cheapo flight at 6am (that’s get up at 4am!) from Cincinnati to Newark and back all within 24 hours (it was as if I’d never left!) and by the time I turned my attention to figuring out *how* to draft a mixed league roster with 17 teams in it, the plane was over Pennsylvania.  That’s not an excuse–that’s just the way it was.

Without a quick and ready way to calculate out a budget strategy for such a league, I figured that I needed something between a regular NL-only or AL-only budget and a mixed league where everyone owns nothing but all-stars.  But how?  I threw up my hands about two drinks in (was I over Latrobe?) and decided to just get offense and trade around later.  $251 of offense, $9 of pitching and then use my tiny 4-man reserve list (we really need a bigger reserve list!) for additional pitchers.

Flight arrived, bus to Port Authority, a short walk later and Glenn Colton is complimenting me on my Yankees hat while drafting AL-Tout.  Shortly thereafter, I was seated next to J.P. Kastner, (who laughed at me every time I bought a player) and Eric Mack (who was convinced that I was a Mets fan)–because–I spent some ungodly amount of money to roster David Wright and Jose Reyes.  At that point (in retrospect), my season was already over.  What–the Mets new park is a place where hits die on the track and its the Yankees who are in a band box?  Why did no one tell me this?  I coulda had Nick Swisher and Robbie Cano for far less.  But I digress.

Unable to stop myself, to Wright and Reyes, I added Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez, Nate McLouth, Adam Lind (that was a good one!), but then (and apparently, this was bad) Mike Napoli, Mike Jacobs, Mark DeRosa, David DeJesus, Jose Guillen, Pat Burrell and Ryan Garko.  Oh, yeah, and that other Met, Brian Schneider–the one who has not played.  I ask you, should not this offense be good?  Well, it is just a bit above average in this mixed league.  If only I had this offense in NL-only!   Slightly above average offenses are not helpful when juxtaposed with a $11 (not $9) pitching staff.

Oh, I mean, I got my money’s worth with that $11.  I got Fernando Rodney.  I got Koji Uehara.  I got Dan Wheeler and J.P. Howell.  I got Dallas Braden.  It isn’t like these guys stink, but in a mixed league . . . ai caramba!  Middle relievers are so pointless.  Closers had better be top shelf.  Braden gives me his all, but without 8 Ks a game, he’s killing me.  I also got Brett Anderson, Kenshin Kawakami (Kamakaze is what I call him because he always destroys my ERA), Jeff Niemann, David Purcey . . . not good.  Especially with Clay Buchholz cluttering my reserve list.  What team keeps Buchholz in the minors and uses Brad Penny?  Seriously  . . .

I limped out of the Marriott knowing that this team was going to stink and stink big, unless I could rob Will Carroll blind.  I gave it a try once or twice.  Now he doesn’t return my calls.

After the draft, I went to some Soho bar with Steve Moyer, Michael Salfino and Ron Shandler.  Someone else came too that I liked a lot, but can’t remember who it was.  The bar was cool, and we stayed until I had to get a cab back to Newark Airport and catch my flight home.  Through my haze at 5 am, I did some quick calculations–with average luck I could finish 10th. I shook the calculator and did it again.  10th.

I had someone offer me the Orioles pitcher Guthrie for David DeJesus.  I suppose that my roster did make me look plenty stupid–easy pickings for the sharks at the table.  I made one trade recently–got Mark Buehrle for Pat Burrell and Ryan Madson.  Madson promptly gave up a 3-spot and Burrell got hurt.  Maybe things are looking up–maybe I can move up from 16th to 10th.  After all, in my read of the rules on the flight to Newark, I noted that complete stink bomb players get booted the following year.  I don’t want that to be me!  It is embarrassing enough as it is.  Watch out Karabell–I’m gunning for you!

Welcome to My Toutmare!

by Peter Kreutzer, NL

My most expensive pitcher isn’t on the DL, but he’s been so ineffective pitching that he got knocked out of last night’s game by taking a line shot off his pitching arm. My second most expensive pitcher got through three innings on Opening Day and has been on the DL ever since. My fourth most expensive pitcher threw a beauty of a game, then in his second start got hurt and is on the DL I mention these things to explain why today I have 9 pitching points (out of a possible maximum of 65).

Yes, I have Cole Hamels, Brandon Webb and Chris Carpenter on my team. Because I obtained Hamels while price enforcing, I don’t have a closer, but I don’t mind that. Well, I wouldn’t mind that if my team was wracking up wins from dominant starts by my hydra of aces. At least Chris Young and Anibal Sanchez have been good, though they bring their own worries.

And the hitting has been in the first tier, presently with the fifth most points in the league, which makes a comeback seem possible. It’s not even the end of April, and this has been a shorter April baseball-wise than usual, but there are good reasons to worry about April performance. It isn’t that bad performances doom a player the rest of the year. Sometimes they are just the random fluctuations that come with a lucky or unlucky hop here or there.

But sometimes, as was the case with Webb on Opening Day, the bad performance indicates an injury or some other condition that represents real information. I looked at Hamels’ spring problems as a little issue, something he would get past because he always had, but now as he struggles I face $61 of my $91 pitching staff missing considerable time this year.

That kind of offsets the pleasure of grabbing Brian Barden on my reserve list.