On March 6th, I took part in the Tout Wars Mixed Draft – a 15-team snake draft that is unique amongst expert leagues in that it is a 5×5 OBP league. Otherwise, pretty standard. Weekly transactions. 2 catchers. $1000 FAAB. This is the 5th year for the mixed draft (the AL/NL-only ones have been around longer) and my 4th year participating in it.

Last Year Recap (here was my post-draft recap and final standings)
FINALLY. After two straight close 2nd place finishes to Adam Ronis, I won this league (Even better, it was a Razzball Tout sweep as Grey won Tout Wars NL).

As the standings below suggest, I had a charmed season. Everything broke right for me. I think I drafted/managed a little bit better than the previous 2 years but no doubt I was probably the luckiest team in the league as well. Shout out to pal Scott White from CBSSports.com (1st year in league) and the always tough Ray Murphy of BaseballHQ who did great jobs but, unlike me, did not sell their soul to the fantasy gods.

If you click at my post-draft recap link above, it will be pretty apparent why this team did so well. A Harper/Stanton/Sale start (again, 5×5 OBP), Carrasco/Khris Davis/Kimbrel at 5-7, and a 12th round Moustakas created a killer foundation. I picked up Whit Merrifield, Tommy Pham, and Ozzie Albies on FAAB. I even traded well to solve early SB/OBP issues with Khris Davis for Yelich and Lance McCullers for Dee Gordon swaps.

2018 Draft

Here are the full results of the 2018 Tout Wars Draft. Below are my picks:

C 241 17.1 Mike Zunino Sea
C 420 28.15 Bruce Maxwell Oak
1B 91 7.1 Ian Desmond Col
2B 270 18.15 Josh Harrison Pit
SS 210 14.15 Jorge Polanco Min
3B 61 5.1 Joey Gallo Tex
OF 1 1.1 Mike Trout LAA
OF 31 3.1 Christian Yelich Mil
OF 150 10.15 Kevin Kiermaier TB
OF 151 11.1 Steven Souza Ari
OF 240 16.15 Shin-Soo Choo Tex
CI 120 8.15 Justin Smoak Tor
MI 330 22.15 Brandon Crawford SF
UTIL 271 19.1 Michael Brantley Cle
SP 30 2.15 Noah Syndergaard NYM
SP 60 4.15 Aaron Nola Phi
SP 180 12.15 Jon Gray Col
SP 181 13.1 Charlie Morton Hou
SP 211 15.1 Blake Snell TB
RP 90 6.15 Felipe Rivero Pit
RP 121 9.1 Raisel Iglesias Cin
RP 331 23.1 Hyun-Jin Ryu LAD
RP 360 24.15 Cam Bedrosian LAA
SP 300 20.15 Eduardo Rodriguez Bos
RP 301 21.1 Joakim Soria CWS
SP 361 25.1 Tyler Skaggs LAA
OF 390 26.15 Nick Delmonico CWS
SP 391 27.1 Chris Stratton SF
OF 421 29.1 Colby Rasmus Bal

Draft Thoughts

  • As defending champion, I got first choice on draft slot. A part of me wanted to pick somewhere around 5-7 and take Giancarlo Stanton (who is the best 1st round value IMO) but passing up on Trout in this format is insane (fun fact – Trout walked more often than he struck out last year).
  • This ended up being the most out of character Hit/SP/RP split of my draft season as I ended up going 62/27/11. This was not a set strategy but partially because of the way the draft worked out for me in the #1 slot and partially because I had Mike Trout.
  • As I have done all preseason and the past two seasons in this league, I went with 2 aces in the first 5 rounds with Thor and Aaron Nola. I have them at 175 and 181 innings pitched, respectively. Do not get hung up on the difference between 175 and 200 IP. Focus on the quality of those innings.
  • My strategy with hitting was to use early rounds to: 1) Build up OBP (easy when you start with Trout) and 2) Try to keep balance with HR/SB so I did not need to chase either later in the draft. This proved important as I ended up drafting enough speed on my team to avoid an SB-only guy (I think the only guy in the first half of the draft whose SB>HR is maybe Kevin Kiermeier).
  • I did look at ADP in this draft though I was less reliant on it because this is 5×5 OBP. I added an extra column on my draft sheet that was $OBP-$AVG to gauge players who might go sooner/later than ADP.
  • Picking at a turn also reduces ADP reliance. Joey Gallo at 5.1 looks odd. Not sure where he was going to go in OBP leagues (where his strong BB% turns his negative AVG into a non-liability OBP) but felt confident enough he wasn’t going to make it to 6.15. Besides bolstering power, I liked Gallo’s 1B/3B eligibility.
  • Raisel Iglesias at 9.1 was my first ‘value pick’ in this draft. I was perfectly fine waiting on RP2 but had a strong hitter base and felt Deshields might still be on the board at 10.15. He got drafted 4 picks later. Truth be told, I am wary this year with weak HR/RBI and I am avoiding them unless they come at a bargain (Deshields also burned me in this league 2 years ago and the same flaws remain – namely his hit tool sucks).
  • This is my least sexy draft of the year. No Acuna, Albies, or Calhoun whom I own on multiple teams. I think some of that comes down to draft position and value tweaks because of OBP. Albies went 6.3 so I had no real shot at him. Acuna fell to 8.10 and I probably grab him instead of Iglesias at the 8/9 turn if he is still on the board. There is definitely a chance I regret passing on Acuna at 7.1 for Ian Desmond.
  • This was a throwback draft for me as I used to punt middle infield all the time. But I rarely do anymore because MI bats got stronger and the market no longer adds much if any premium on 2B/SS. While Polanco/Harrison/Crawford are not my ideal MI trio, they are at worst solid placeholders until I find an up-and-comer on the waiver wire.
  • I am not a fan of crazy stat category permutations but I love me some 5×5 OBP. Even though I play with ‘experts’, I think the OBP wrinkle unquestionably leads to suboptimal drafting. Not pointing fingers – just a macro-observation. If you are more quant/mathy than other players in your league (or use my $ values), I highly recommend it. Based on my calculations, I drafted a $350 squad (average is $260) and my totals this year have been in the $320-$330 range. Some of that difference may be Trout though.
  • If you look on Twitter, you will find multiple preseason standings calculated off projections for this league. Anyone that reads me should know I put zero credence in these standings. Pointless exercise (and yet I can’t not look at them!). I do not even run my $ totals anymore on competitors. This is a good room so I do not discount the chances of anyone to dethrone me but, if forced to prioritize threats, it would look a lot more like the top half of last year’s standings (plus new addition Gene McCaffrey) vs the bottom half.