Rudy Gamble Wins Tout Wars Mixed Draft League for the Second Year in a Row

Rudy (Still) Can’t Fail
by Jeff Erickson

We’ll delve into Rudy Gamble of Razzball’s hegemonic-like dominance of the Tout Wars Mixed Draft League momentarily, but first, a song:

I know that the spelling is different, but any excuse to include a Clash song has to be taken.

For the second year in a row, Rudy Gamble of razzball.com has won the Tout Wars Mixed Draft League. Once again, he had to hold off Adam Ronis of Scout.com for the title. I wanted to say that Rudy and Adam are the Red Sox and Yankees of the Mixed Draft League, but that wouldn’t do justice to the size of the field they are besting each year, and the comparison fails because there’s no carryover from year-to-year. Moreover, Rudy made a better analogy in his write-up of his victory—they are Federer and Nadal, with a combined four firsts and three second-place finishes over the last four years.

With the win, Rudy vaulted into third place on the All-Time Tout Wars leaderboard, behind only Fred Zinkie and Larry Schechter, despite having played only four years. Thus, Rudy will get another meal named after him at our annual Tout Wars get-together at Foley’s. It’s a good bet that if you ever have leftover Tout Wars currency from that meet-up and it has Rudy’s visage on it, you should keep it so that you can use it the following year.

It’s worth noting that Ronis isn’t that far behind on the list, sixth all-time and fifth among active participants, and fellow Razzballer Grey Albright has demonstrated similar strength, following up his 2017 win with another “cash” finish in 2018.

If you’re looking to see where I’m on the list, don’t bother. Seriously, it’s embarrassing. Having me write this article is like having Anders Jarryd or Manuel Orantes compare themselves to Federer or Nadal.

So … how did Rudy do it? Let’s take a quick look at the standings first:

The first thing that jumps out is Rudy’s utter dominance of the pitching categories. He won four of five categories outright and finished third in saves. He did this despite getting only 25 starts from his first pitcher, Noah Syndergaard, who he took at the 2-3 turn. Unlike many of his competitors, he backed up Thor with a second ace, getting Aaron Nola at the 4-5 turn. Two great starters aren’t enough to dominate the starting pitching categories, however – he had to hit on the slippery mid-round starters to succeed, and he did that in spades by getting Charlier Morton in the 13th and Blake Snell in the 15th rounds.

One might be tempted to dismiss those picks as windfalls – but I think that’s underselling the skill in picking in the mid-tiers. Moreover, because he had that second ace, he was less reliant upon ‘hitting’ with all of his mid-tier SPs. Obviously, there are so many landmines that he could have gone with (and in one case, in Round 12, did go with, in Jon Gray) instead of Morton and Snell – just looking at the draft grid, some disastrous alternative picks in that range included a lot of injuries (Danny Salazar, Garrett Richards, Taijuan Walker, Dinelson Lamet) and underachievers (first-half Cole Hamels, Chase Anderson, Aaron Sanchez, Jake Odorizzi). Rudy was able to combine all that top end starting pitching with quality contributors late in the draft, too – getting significant contributions from Eduardo Rodriguez, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Tyler Skaggs, the latter two in the reserve rounds of the draft.

Rudy might not have won saves, but he got two solid closers in Felipe Vazquez and Raisel Iglesias that weren’t ever a threat to lose their jobs. 2018 was a really frustrating year to chase saves – plenty of closers lost their respective jobs, but often their replacements weren’t all that stable, either. Iglesias was Rudy’s first “value pick” at 9.1 – and it had the added bonus of preventing a disaster in Delino DeShields.

Turning to the hitting, once again most of Rudy’s value came from the draft rather than through trades or the waiver wire. Starting out with Mike Trout is great, especially in an OBP league, and then he hit perfectly at 3.1 with Christian Yelich. After that, he had a number of solid players but few breakout hitters (at least compared to the year before, when he nailed Tommy Pham and Whit Merrifield), though he got great values with Shin-Soo Choo (16.15) and Michael Brantley (19.1).

It wasn’t the proverbial “perfect draft” for Rudy – he had to overcome injuries and suspensions from Kevin Kiermaier (10.15), Steven Souza (11.1) and Jorge Polanco (14.15), for example. But he avoided the critical early-round disasters, which is so important in a format like this. He also invested very little in scarce positions. Catchers were a disaster in 2018, but with his catchers coming in Rounds 17 (Mike Zunino) and 28 (Bruce Maxwell), any shortcomings there weren’t that damaging.

Can Rudy be stopped? All signs point to no, but you should tune in next spring and of course read up at Razzball to find out!

Tout Wars Write Ups

From bottom left: Derek VanRiper, Al Melchior, Jeff Zimmerman, Fred Zinkie, Zach Steinhorn

Commentary about all the Tout Wars auctions and drafts of 2018 is here. We’ll be updating this as pieces come up in the next week or two, so check back for more writeups and links.

NL: BehrensGardner | WaltonAlbright |

Mixed Auction: SwanayVanRiper/Heaney podcast | FlowersZinkie  |ShandlerSayreMelchior podcast| Pianowski | HersheyHeaney | Steinhorn

Mixed Draft: GambleShort | White | Ronis (podcast) and part 2 |

AL: Michaels | PodhorzerLissDennisErickson | Leibowitz | Davitt |

H2H: Mason | Link | Rotoman |

Tout Wars Radio Mixed Auction/NL

Tout Wars Radio AL and H2H

 

LINK: Jeff Zimmerman, two-time Tout Champ, looks at the stats teams can buy on waivers

We missed this FanGraphs’ piece from February, which uses Tout Wars 2017 stats to ask and answer the question of how many stats do teams find in their original rosters, and how much is added later?

It’s well worth a read.

 

Tout Warrior Steve Moyer Has Died

Thats Steve all the way to the right, at the 2016 NL auction. He was tracking the auction on the spreadsheet.

Steve Moyer never won a Tout Wars title, but he was there at the leagues’ founding in 1998, and his contributions were an important part of Tout’s history. In 2001 we held the AL and NL auctions in his baseball memorabilia-filled basement in the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania. Why? Because he thought we should, and he was right.

We have set up a GoFundMe to benefit Steve’s two daughters. Please feel free to contribute if you’re so moved, or to share it if you cannot. Thanks.

You can read memorials by Lawr Michaels and Peter Kreutzer at rockremnants.com, and by Ron Shandler and Steve Gardner and no doubt others on Facebook. The official obituary is here.

Tout Wars Mixed Draft 2018 Is Tonight!

Meet the Touts! Participants listed by draft order.

1. Rudy Gamble (1st in 2017 Mixed Tout Wars Draft)

Affiliation: Razzball
Years in Tout Wars:4 (2017 Mixed Draft Champion)
Twitter: @RudyGamble

2. Ray Murphy (3rd in 2017 Mixed Tout Wars Draft)

Affiliation: BaseballHQ
Years in Tout Wars:7
Twitter: @RayHQ

3. Tim McCullough (9th in 2017 Mixed Tout Wars Draft)

Affiliation: Rotoexperts
Years in Tout Wars:7
Twitter: @Tim_Rotoexperts

4. Greg Ambrosius (10th in 2017 Mixed Tout Wars Draft)

Affiliation: NFBC
Years in Tout Wars:6
Twitter: @GregAmbrosius

5. Perry Van Hook (12th in 2017 Mixed Tout Wars Draft)

Affiliation: Mastersball
Years in Tout Wars:8

6. Tom Kessenich (14th in 2017 Mixed Tout Wars Draft)

Affiliation: NFBC
Years in Tout Wars:6
Twitter: @TomKessenich

7. Jeff Boggis (15th in 2017 Mixed Tout Wars Draft)

Affiliation: Fantasy Football Empire
Years in Tout Wars:3
Twitter: @JeffBoggis

8. Gene McCaffrey (8th in 2017 Mixed Tout Wars Auction)

Affiliation: Wise Guy Baseball
Years in Tout Wars:12
Twitter: @WiseGuyGene

9. Michael Beller (9th in 2017 Mixed Tout Wars H2H)

Affiliation: Sports Illustrated
Years in Tout Wars:3
Twitter: @MBeller

10. Adam Ronis (5th in 2017 Mixed Tout Wars Draft)

Affiliation: Scout Fantasy
Years in Tout Wars:5 (2015, 2016 Mixed Tout Wars Draft Champion)
Twitter: @AdamRonis

11. Charlie Wiegert (7th in 2017 Mixed Tout Wars Draft)

Affiliation: CDM Sports
Years in Tout Wars:10
Twitter: @GFFantasySports

12. Scott White (2nd in 2017 Mixed Tout Wars Draft)

Affiliation: CBS Fantasy Sports
Years in Tout Wars:2
Twitter: @CBSScottWhite

13. DJ Short (6th in Mixed Tout Wars Draft)

Affiliation: Rotoworld
Years in Tout Wars:2
Twitter: @djshort

14. Anthony Perri (8th in 2017 Mixed Tout Wars Draft)

Affiliation: Fantistics
Years in Tout Wars:6
Twitter: @Anthony_Perri

15. Corey Parson (4th in 2017 Mixed Tout Wars Draft)

Affiliation: FNTSY
Years in Tout Wars:2
Twitter: @TheFantasyExec

Follow along with the live spreadsheet here.

We hope to see you on Twitter with the #mixedtoutdraft hashtag, on the Tout Wars Facebook page and the SiriusXM Fantasy Facebook page.

 

Tout Wars Rocks. And Goes to the Movies.

Lawr Michaels and Justin Mason host the Tout Wars Hour on the FNTSY Sports Net each week. And each week Lawr, who runs Creativesports.com, asks the week’s guest, usually a Tout Wars member, about his favorite pop culture picks, including movies, music and TV.

Tim McCullough today takes a look at those picks, and finds that there is no shared aesthetic among the Touts. Take a look here.

Enjoy this Eno Sarris pick while reading:

Fantasy Postseason for Charity Race

The website Fantasy Postseason is running a fun contest for charity during the playoffs and World Series, and a bunch of Tout Wars players are involved. One, Steve Gardner, is in the lead. You can read the details here, but the bottom line is that Fantasy Postseason is donating $1500 in the winner’s name for hurricane relief efforts.

If you would like to give to the Salvation Army – please give directly through their website.

The leaders are Steve Gardner, Jared Wilk, Paul Shapiro, Rick Wolf and Adam Ronis. Here’s the Top 10:

Tout Wars 2017: What Happened?

This is the place for links to analysis of the 2017 season by the Touts. Read what they had to say before the season here. This page will be updated from time to time, as there are more submissions.

Mixed Auction: Jeff Zimmerman (winner) | Ray Flowers

AL: Mike Podhorzer (winner)

NL: Mike Gianella (this is behind the BP paywall as I post, but that should be lifted later today)