Battle of the Touts Tonight on Twitter

gonosvszinkie2013One point, one game, one champion. Follow @davidgonos and @fredzinkie on Twitter tonight, for their reactions of their down-to-the-wire pennant race, on Twitter. Game time is 8:05 pm ET.


It’s Official: Tristan Cockcroft is your 2013 Tout Wars National League Champion

After the draft his team ranked with a handful of others (Zola, Pianowski, Walton, Gardner, Hertz) as the top teams in Tout NL this year, but if you look at his place of finish from week to week, it doesn’t seem that close:


Only the last one matters, of course, but the picket fence impresses. (Todd Zola squeezed ahead briefly following the All Star break).

Tristan also set a new record with a 1.151 WHIP, breaking Greg Rosenthal’s 2004 record of 1.16.

Congratulations to Tristan Cockcroft, repeat Tout Wars Champion in 2013.

Fred Zinkie and the Price Is Wrong.

Fred Zinkie writes:

As if 162 games wasn’t enough, my Tout Wars journey is going to last one more day!  After a full slate of regular season action, I lead David Gonos by one point.  This is the closest race I’ve even been a part of, and that includes when I won this league in 2011 at around10:00pm on the final day of the regular season.  If the Blue Jays had finished their comeback on the Rays this afternoon, I’d be bathing in Yoo-Hoo right now.  But they fell one run short, so I will sleep lightly for one more night.

No matter what happens in Monday’s game, I’m not moving.  I would take some surprising performances to push me off the 120-point mark.  I lead Patrick Davitt by one RBI, and he doesn’t have any hitters left.  I don’t have any pitchers to threaten Scott Swanay and his four-strikeout lead (well, I do have Chris Archer, but there’s no way he’s getting into that game).  And, I own the tiebreaker on David, as I lead him in six of the ten categories.  So, if David wants to win this thing, he’s going to have to come and get me!  The problem is, he might be able to do that quite easily.

ny_g_price1_sy_400David is the proud owner of another David — Price.  And as (his) luck would have it, Price lines up perfectly to make this start.  A win for Price would net David another half-point.

Gonos also has three hitters playing in the game — A.J. Pierzynski, Leonys Martin and James Loney.  He trails Zach Steinhorn (who owns Desmond Jennings) by one homer.  If will be hard to the two Rangers to get a homer off the stingy Price, but it could happen.  I would feel a lot better is this game was being played in Tampa Bay!

David also trails Cory Schwartz (the 2012 Tout champion) by one run scored.  Schwartz can counter with Ian Kinsler and David Murphy, but this might be the easiest category for David to gain a full point.  Murphy is unlikely to play in the game, and if Kinsler doesn’t score a run, Gonos would need just two runs from his troika of players to earn a full point.

In the end, I’m hoping for a 1-0 Rangers win!  But somehow, I don’t think Martin Perez is capable of that kind of performance at this time of year.  In the end, a low-scoring game with no homers and the Rangers coming out on top is best for me.  David will be hoping for a slugfest, where Price escapes with a win and one of his hitters knocks a ball out of the yard.

During the past month, David and I have moved up in down in points but my lead rarely changed.  He always kept me within sight, but he has never been able to pass me.  To be best of my knowledge, David hasn’t finished a day in the lead in our league all season.  It would be a crazy finish if Tuesday morning is the first time we see him atop the standings.  But, this is the time of year for crazy things to happen!

Tout Mixed Auction: Gonos Fishing.

by Fred Zinkie

Like David, I assessed each category….

HR – probably not moving, but could gain or lose a point.

SB – probably not moving, but there’s a slim chance Dave could catch me, which would be a two-point swing.

RBI  – I could easily gain or lose a point.

R – Probably not moving, but there’s a chance I could lose a point.

OBP – Probably not moving up, but could easily lose a point.

W – Not moving up, but could easily lose a point.

SV – Probably not moving at all, but there’s a chance I could lose a point.

K – There’s a very slight chance I could gain a point, and I could lose one for sure.

ERA – Not moving at all.

WHIP – I can’t move up, and there’s a chance I could lose a point.

In the end, there aren’t many chances for me to move up this week.  I could gain a couple points, but there are many more for me to lose.

The last week of the season is tricky, because many fantasy teams aren’t as motivated, and the real teams aren’t as motivated either!  Placing my bids with just $4 left forced me to take whatever was left over.  In the end, I decided that volume was going to be my approach this week.  I want to have many starts, closers and hitters each day.  Here’s who I settled on:

1B – Sean Halton replaces Todd Helton.  I wanted to own a motivated Helton for most of his final stint at Coors Field, but he has just two more games at that venue.  Helton has just five games this week, and two are against the Dodgers twin aces – Kershaw and Greinke.  So, I replaced Helton with the next closest name – Halton!  I actually picked Halton because he has flashed some power and the Brewers play seven games this week.

OF – Cesar Hernandez replaces Nate Schierholtz.  I got great mileage out of Schierholtz all season, but he seems to have hit the wall.  His September numbers are terrible.  He faces some skilled hurlers this week, so I went with Hernandez, who I’m hoping with give me a better OBP.  For late-season callups like Hernandez, I like to make sure their Minor League OBP’s were good, since we are dealing with such a small sample size at the Major League level.  Hernandez has done well at both levels, and he should start six games this week.

OF – Jose Tabata replaces Josh Willingham.  I waited a long time for Willingham to come around and it didn’t happen.  Now his foot is bothering him again, and the Twins are giving him regular rest.  I’m expecting just three starts this week for Willingham, and the Twins face the talented Tigers staff in their first series of the week.  I’ll take my chances with Tabata, who has been doing a good job of getting on base this month.

OF – Craig Gentry replaces Curtis Granderson!  This one is my shocker of the bunch.  Gentry has been playing well of late, and the slumping Rangers play three of their seven home games against southpaws this week.  I was originally going to bench Eric Young, who has been a drain outside of steals in recent weeks.  But then Gonos added Billy Hamilton, and I decided to bench Granderson instead.  The Yankees center fielder has been awful in September.  He finishes things off with four left-handers this week, two of which come against Matt Moore and David Price.  I could also see Granderson heading to the bench at least once in the Astros weekend series, once the Yankees are officially eliminated.

SP – J.A. Happ replaces Sonny Gray.  Gray has one start this week, and I’m guessing that the A’s will limit him to five or six innings.  Happ has a two-start week and looked good against the Yankees last time out.  I chose Happ mainly because his second scheduled start comes against Chris Archer, who I also own.  That gives me a great chance to get a win from that game.

SP – James Paxton replaces Casey Janssen.  Needing wins more than saves, I decided to use Paxton this week.  I saw a tweet from Greg Johns of on Sunday night, saying that Paxton will start the Mariners season finale.  That news made him a two-start pitcher, which put him on the top of my radar.  I lost out on two-start hurlers in Eric Stults and Todd Redmond, but with Happ and Paxton to go along with Roark, Archer and Ross, I should have plenty of K’s and wins by the end of the week.

This race is going to be tight!  In the end, a lot of my final success or failure will be due to random luck.  I made the best decisions I could, but managers will make many decisions with their lineups and staffs this week, and those decisions could leave me or David high and dry.  I tried to avoid two-start pitchers if I feel like their second start may be changed, and I also tried to avoid hitters who could be rested for the playoffs.

Tout Mixed Auction: How To Beat a Zinkie

by David Gonos,

There are a few things I’ve come to realize in my eight Tout Wars seasons

  1. I’m usually a very good drafter (especially in auction leagues).
  2. Drinking the night before the auction is always good luck for me.
  3. I usually lead the league – or hang out among the top group – in the first couple months of the season.
  4. I usually fade back as injuries attack my roster and in-season studs get snatched up by other more aggressive owners.
  5. I’m a bad in-season fantasy manager.
  6. And I’m a horrible end-game player.

I tell you all of this because my Tout Wars team was a little different in 2013. I managed to hang around the top in the first couple months, and then ascend to the upper crust (just two or three of us in a 15-team league) in the second half of the league, and stay there.

My team managed to escape crippling injuries, although I had to wait quite a bit for Adam Eaton to make his debut on my team.

And I’ve made several very good trades at the right time.

But now, with one week to go, I’m four points back of the lead, chasing only MLB’s Fred Zinkie. It has been this way for about six weeks now, and I decided to take to Twitter to trash talk Zinkie into accidentally dropping three superstar players after putting his lineup in with a nervous twitch.

But, alas, he stayed strong.

So here’s what I need to happen:

I can lose points in the following categories:

  • Runs – Can’t gain, but I can lose one point.
  • Home Runs – Can gain 1.5 points, can lose two points.
  • RBI – I can gain one point.
  • Stolen Bases – Can gain a point (and make Zinkie lose a point) if I have eight more SBs than him this week. Very unlikely, but more on that in a second. I can lose one point here, too.
  • OBP – Safe.
  • Wins – I can gain 1.5 points, or lose one point here.
  • Saves – I can gain one point.
  • ERA – Safe.
  • WHIP – Safe.
  • Strikeouts – I can gain or lose 0.5 points here.

In this final week, I can realistically gain 6.5 points this week, and I can realistically lose 5.5 points.

It became apparent that I could use some power (who can’t?), some speed (always) and some wins and strikeouts.

I picked up Jordano Ventura for double starts, giving me 10 starts this week. I’m hopeful of picking up at least six wins from my starters, against weak teams like Houston, Colorado twice, Miami, San Francisco and the White Sox. This should also give me a nice boost in strikeouts.

As far as speed, I went all in on buying Billy Hamilton, hoping he can help make up that eight-SB difference between Zinkie and myself. Hamilton picked up seven steals all on his own this past week, so let’s see what the speedy part-timer can do for me in the final week. If he steals me seven more and I win the whole thing, I will become the fattest guy ever walking around in a Billy Hamilton jersey!

Unfortunately, adding Hamilton made me sit Michael Morse. When I grabbed Hamilton, I thought he would be SS eligible, but he’s only OF eligible. I’m a dope. (See Point No. 5 above.)

So here we go, it all comes down to the final week.  Over the past couple months, I’ve come close to Zinkie, and even tied him once last week, but I’ve yet to overtake him. He also owns the Roto tiebreaker over me, so I need to beat him outright.

Here goes nothin’!

Follow along with the fun on my Twitter account, @davidgonos, as I have the week long sweats (It’s like Thanksgiving all over again!)


Down To The Wire: The Tout Wars Mixed Auction Pennant Race

On July 1st David Gonos was 23 points behind 2011 Tout Wars Mixed Auction champ Fred Zinkie, but since then Gonos has played on a top-ranked 116 point pace, while Zinkie has had the fourth best score in the league, with 97 points since July 1. The result is that Zinkie’s lead is down to two points.

A quick look at Gonos’ team shows limited upside. He’s in a three-way tie in Wins and seven strikeouts behind the first place team, but he’s vulnerable in Runs, HR and RBI.

And he’s been charging! Zinkie knows what needs to happen:

To win, I need my team to hit well down the stretch. I likely won’t move much in the pitching categories.  If my team hits well, I should be able to stay over 120, which gives me a good chance to hold David off.

So many things could go wrong!  The last week is so unpredictable! My pitching could totally blow up.  If that happened, I could lose a couple pitching points.  But the bigger problem would be if my team posts low hitting counting stats in the last week.  I could lose several points in that situation.

Throughout the season, I always avoid being emotionally affected by the daily success or failure of my team by using the theory “everything evens out”.  When my closer blows a save, no big deal.  Every closer blows a few saves per season, mine just happened to use up one of his today.  He may not blown one for the next month.  If my team bats .100 on a given day, no big deal.  That’s going to happen at times, and they may have a day later on when they bat .500.  But late in the season, everything doesn’t even out!  That’s what makes the last week so stressful.  There won’t be time to make up a blown save, .100 batting average day etc.

The best thing that could happen for me to win, would be for David’s team to really suck next week!

Down To The Wire: The Tout Wars Mixed Draft Pennant Race

Mike Podhorzer has been in the lead for most of the year, but last week he fell behind Tom Kessenich temporarily, and has been chased by Gene McCaffrey, too. Today, after a monster week, Podhorzer is three points ahead of Kessenich, and 13 ahead of McCaffrey. He knows what his team has to do:

What has to go right for you to win?

Run support! My starting pitchers’ bullpens not blowing leads! It really just comes down to the almighty win. The category is so tightly bunched that at the moment, only seven wins separates 5th place and 12th. And only 4 wins stands between me and an additional 4 1/2 points. Of course, my team needs to also continue hitting the long ball and stealing the occasional base. I don’t ask for much, really.

 What could go wrong that would cause you to lose?

My starting pitcher’s team getting shut out…the horror! Blown saves costing my starter the win. Poor middle reliever work. A team-wide power slump. A sudden lack of interest in stealing second base. Any of these scenarios could cause me to miss out on winning and getting doused with that imaginary Yoo-Hoo shower.

Tom Kessenich is atop that large bunch in the Wins category, where seven teams are within five wins of one another. He only has one point up, however, while Podhorzer has 2.5 potential points going down. But the two have potential up and down scenarios most categories. If Podhorzer has a good week he’s going to be hard to catch, but if he stumbles Kessenich could roar right past.

For Gene McCaffrey, everything has to go right, starting with his team’s feet:

I need steals, and I need to grab a few pitching points without losing anything I have. Gardner went down, so I picked up Gose and Dee Gordon. Either can win it for me but they need to get to 1st base, ya know?