Zach Steinhorn is one of a half dozen owners in contention for the Tout Wars Mixed Auction title.
Although most of my Mastersball column space this season has been devoted to Mixed Auction Tout Wars, Iâ€™ve made a conscious effort to avoid patting myself on the back, mostly for superstitious reasons, of course. And Iâ€™m not about to pat myself on the back now, not with less than a month remaining in the season and with six teams within 11 points of the lead and a mere four points separating second place from fifth place. Iâ€™ve been in that top six for the vast majority of the season, and just to enter September having a legitimate chance to win this league is pretty special. The â€œsecond place is first loserâ€ line is nonsense, especially when competing against the best in the business. Would I be bummed if I fall a few points short of first place? Sure. But would I remember 2014 the same way as I remember my first two Tout Wars seasons, in which I finished in 10th and 11th out of 15 teams? Absolutely not.
Anyway, a few weeks ago, I received an e-mail from league mate Fred Zinkie, and when I saw the subject line, â€œToutâ€, I was positive that it was yet another one of his weekly trade proposals. Instead, Fred noted that while scanning my current roster and comparing it to my post-auction roster, he noticed that almost every player I purchased in the auction was still on my roster. I think the figure was 20 out of 23. He went on to say that this kind of roster stability was something he had never seen in a contending team and that he would not offer me any more trades because he was curious to see how things play out should I continue with virtually the same roster.
I knew I was a patient owner, but even I didnâ€™t realize that the numbers were this extreme. So I guess itâ€™s fair to say that my auction performance is the main reason for my success this year. Adding Mark Buehrle for one FAAB dollar in early-April and benefiting from the good part of his season before cutting ties with him at the right time certainly helped. Picking up Henderson Alvarez for $9 in early-June was nice. But nothing can compare to drafting Nelson Cruz for $10. Or Denard Span for $1. Or even Jose Altuve for $16.
Iâ€™m going to stop here though, for superstitious reasons.