What Went Wrong: Tout Wars Mixed Auction

Al Melchior writes about his first Tout Wars season:

Here’s what went wrong in my rookie season in Tout for my Mixed League auction team.

I normally go most aggressively after safe, consistent players at scarce positions, but I didn’t stick to that approach on auction day. I spent the most money on Ryan Braun ($40), Justin Verlander ($29), Mat Latos ($19) and Hanley Ramirez ($17). Braun and Ramirez were calculated risks, and they paid off in the sense that they produced when they played. They just didn’t play nearly enough. Starting pitching isn’t exactly a scarce position, but I did view Verlander as an elite, and I don’t think there was any way I could have seen his disappointing season coming. Latos, at $19, was one of my better buys.

With so much invested in my core, I didn’t have much to fall back on when Braun, Ramirez and Verlander didn’t produce as expected. David Freese, Josh Reddick, Marco Scutaro, Alexi Ogando and Shaun Marcum all fell far short of expectations, and a midseason buy-high on Mike Leake just did more damage to ERA and WHIP levels that hovered near the bottom of the standings. I did manage a timely early July swap of Jean Segura for Matt Holliday, and while Holliday provided much-needed help with runs and RBI, I never was able to replace Segura’s steals.

There may not be another spate of suspension risks going into next season, but I’ll certainly focus more on risks that fall outside of the realm of skill decline. And rather than pursuing steady players like Freese and Scutaro to fill out my roster, I’ll likely pursue higher-upside types, as some of my more “consistent” players had down years.

P.S. I’ve had a great time, even though I didn’t turn in a strong season. Thanks for bringing me aboard!

Fernando DiFino answered:

New rule starting next year: no more big free-agent signings on my team. Carl Crawford, Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols — they’ve all kind of burned fantasy owners in their own special way their first year with a new team.

Rule 2: no more punting OPS. That strategy does not work.

Rule 3: take PED accusations seriously.

That’s pretty much all I learned from this year. I had some unexpected down years from a couple guys I thought could have a nice year (Axford, Cespedes, Middlebrooks), a couple injuries that didn’t help, and I think I actually did pretty well in FAAB. It was just a weird season spent waiting for bouncebacks that never came.