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.
  1. Sparty Scott says:

    I need to decide on my last 2 keepers in a 12 team 5×5. My choices are Rhys Hoskins, Severino, and Buxton. I’m leaning towards the first 2 guys, but I am hesitant to keep pitchers. My other keepers are Trout, Arenado, Kris Bryant, and Rizzo. Is Buxton worth keeping over Hoskins or Severino?

    • Sparty Scott says:

      @Sparty Scott: Head to Head league, by the way

    • @Sparty Scott: jeez, first world problems! i would keep severino and buxton b/c you already have 1B/3B and Hoskins might just be 1B eligible next year. But, otherwise, Hoskins/Severino.

      • Sparty Scott says:

        @Rudy Gamble: Thanks for the advice. I didn’t think about next year when Hoskins and Rizzo are probably only eligible at 1B. Its a Yahoo league so I’m planning to play Rizzo at 2B this season, but I’m guessing that won’t happen again. Thanks again!

  2. Pouss-Pouss says:

    Nice, Rudy. I love the draft recap pieces.

    Question: I’m in a league with fielding percentage as a category (yes, yes, I know it’s a terrible measure of defensive ability, but it is what it is). No fantasy site that I’m aware of gives predictions for FPCT or includes FPCT as a category on player raters/auction value predictors. What would you recommend as a means of calculating $ for FPCT? Looking at players’ FPCT from the previous year and just substituting that for predictions? Fangraphs has their “Fld” statistic, but it’s not the same. Thanks!

    • @Pouss-Pouss: wow….you stumped me. i’ve got no better idea than “take last year’s data” for each player and take league average for any rookie.

    • Jbona3 says:

      @Pouss-Pouss: Just building on Rudy’s point, I see fielding percentage a really stable metric from year to year (regardless of it’s actual value as a way to measure defense), so looking at last years data, or a couple years, is probably a fine way to prioritize players.

      A few things you might want to think about/control for are players moving to new home stadiums, especially OF – if the dimensions are different or there are weird angles this could have an impact. Similarly, positional changes are something to keep an eye out for.

      Lastly, this is going to get a bit stats nerd, but in addition to just looking at the fielding percentage, you might want to think about converting the data to a Z-Score. In doing so, you’ll be looking at larger whole numbers rather than percentages out to the 3rd or 4th decimal place and that’ll make it easier to recognize the variation in the data. (You can do this in excel.)

      • Pouss-Pouss says:

        @Jbona3: Thanks for these thoughts! Not stats nerdy at all. I always calculate z scores for all categories in my homemade value calculations. A question for you fellas, Rudy and Jbona, since I “have you here”: When calculating z scores who do you use as the “sample” (i.e., the comparison group from whom the mean and standard deviation are used to calculate z)? Do you multiply the roster size by the number of teams in the league (e.g., 10 x 25 = 250 in ESPN standard leagues) and then use the top 250 players as your z-score sample? Or the top 250 ranked in each statistical category when calculating each category’s z scores? I’ve always been curious about who the comparison group is in z score calculations for your (and Fangraph’s) auction values.

    • branta says:

      @Pouss-Pouss: This feels like it should be a crime. Your commish should be drawn and quartered.

      • Pouss-Pouss says:

        @branta: Agreed!

  3. Loro1991 says:

    Hey Rudy, this is more related to your post on category targets, but I am completely stumped on how to approach these settings and this draft and you seem like the guy to ask.

    We are a 12 team 6×6 H2H [OBP SLG HR R RBI SB] – [QS K WHIP ERA Kp9 SV] ESPN w/ CI MI

    Keep 3, my keepers are Nola 12th Round, Castillo 14th, Hoskins 15th

    I pick 2nd, my options are going to be Mookie Betts, Kris Bryant, Machado, Scherzer, Kluber etc

    Should I pick Bryant over Betts? Am I right to go for the potential .1000 OPS over the steals? There are practically no ‘elite’ hitters left for me in the 2nd and 3rd rounds where I will pick 23rd and 26th. I might have a chance to get Dozier, Severino. Bregman Rendon Abreu Darvish Martinez etc should be available. Should I value the steals scarcity or go for one of the few elite ops guys? Kp9 and K’s also makes pitching a different game with how fats Kp9 guys fall off the draft board, but I have Castillo and Nola for a start.

    Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated on how to approach value in this draft with these setting. Always enjoy your articles, thanks!

    • Loro1991 says:


      Taking a 3B first would leave me the option of shifting Hoskins to the OF. I want to be able to maybe reach on Gallo. And Rendon seems hard to pass up with one of my 2nd/3rd picks. But 1B and 3B are stacked! Taking Bryant instead of Betts/Machado/Blackmon leaves me less able to go for a Greg Bird along with trying to reach for Gallo

  4. I don't want to brag but i have irritable bowel syndrome says:

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    running a keep 9 in espn. no way to check this on their site as far as i can see, but do keepers slot into earliest rounds or latest rounds? obviously if it’s earliest rounds i’ll need to reverse the draft order

    2. similar question. in espn how do you go about slotting guys into rounds if you want specific rounds for them? this last isn’t my issue now but it’d still be good to know.

      • I don't want to brag but i have irritable bowel syndrome says:

        @I don’t want to brag but i have irritable bowel syndrome: i found it, the espn people themselves finally got back to me about it. but what they don’t tell you (even when on the phone with one of them) is that the site automatically makes sure that the teams that got first previous year automatically draft last in the first non-keeper round (this is good but it should be mentioned). something that yahoo is actually better at (there comish can very easily just slot keepers into whatever round you want and you can SEE THE DRAFT RESULTS while doing it, much better)

  5. David says:

    14 team h2h with OBP replacing AVG, do you prefer Altuve over Goldy? It seems the only place Altuve beats Goldy fairly handily is SB’s. What are your thoughts?

    • AL KOHOLIC says:

      @David: speed guys that give u all other categories are rare. Goldys steals will be around 15 this year and humidor is scaring some off. Plus there is so much power to be had at 1st base late in drafts the better value here is Altuve

  6. Brian says:

    Rudy, Great stuff as usual. Have you ever considered spending 80% or so of your budget on non injury prone first rounders, maybe 3 hitters and 1 pitcher? Obviously you would have to be all over the waiver wire , but I always am anyway. Last year I won my head to head league prettt much with Stanton my 2nd round pick and my keepers of aranando , turner , Seager and segura. They were pretty much the only staples on my team, and from memory turner and segura spent time on IR. That is what gave me idea. Anyway just curious on your thoughts.

    • @Brian: I don’t do a ton of auctions but I am open to stats/scrubs in shallow leagues. 80% seems extreme. My experiences in shallow auctions is that stars/scrubs is popular. I would start with my $ and then come up with mathematically consistent way to nudge top guys up (e.g, make sure you add / remove same $ from $1+ universe).

  7. MakeLoveLikeWar says:

    You looooove yourself some Stanton. Don’t you worry about his health? Is it he worth a 1st-round pick if he only plays 100-120 games?

    • Let Us Now Praise Famous Death Dwarves says:

      @MakeLoveLikeWar: nobody is worth a 1st round pick if they end up playing 120 games max, not even trout. all of this being said rudy isn’t worried about stanton’s health, as most of his injuries are the fluky kind not repeated soft tissue kinds.

      • @Let Us Now Praise Famous Death Dwarves: yes, I concur. I have an injury lost time model based on previous years. If a guy has pre-existing condition, I adjust it. Misperceived injury risk is something I consider a market inefficiency to exploit.

        • MakeLoveLikeWar says:

          @Rudy Gamble: Interesting. Which other players do you consider “misperceived injury risks” that are worth targeting?

  8. phil says:

    Rudy, when you calculate your auction values for cbs/espn 5X5, 1b,,2b,3b,ss,mi,ci,5 of, U, 9 pitchers, those values are based on what total budget? I’m in a cbs league with 2 catchers and 2 utility spots. 24 total players with a budget of $260. I’m trying to adjust dollar values based on my league settings.
    thank you

    • @phil: mine is based on $260. I don’t adjust for 2nd catcher as I view it as a $1 expense. 2nd UTiL Just $1 too. So I wouldn’t adjust as there is enough disagreement on end game players that you probably don’t pay a premium.

      One thing to consider, though, is what players to consider for 2nd UTIL. I tend to go with a 4th cornerman if guys like Duda, Cron, etc are still on board. Could also look at a guy like Josh Harrison who doubles as multi-pod backup.

  9. snarky anklebiter says:

    So no concerns on the reliability of Mets’ pitchers? 12 team league and I’m expecting Thor may be there at 33 and it gives me the heeby geebies.

  10. Tom says:

    Sorry Rudy but as I look over this squad I don’t see a repeat in the making.

  11. Chucky says:

    Mid round dart throws….Avi Garcia? What’s not to like with a cleanup hitter, in a great park too? I expect some regression from 330, but even 30 points….still makes him lethal at cleanup. Do you expect him to join the fly ball revolution ? Big man.

    • @Chucky: he looks good in my rankings. Never end up drafting him for some reason. Solid value.

  12. Hurt Yo enis says:

    In a two catcher league like this how much of a boost do catchers get jn general if at all? Around what pick does Sanchez become reasonable in a two catcher format?

    • @Hurt Yo enis: I don’t change my rankings/projections/auction values for 1 vs 2 catcher. I force the nth catcher (n=# of teams) to be $1 which usually requires a $2-3 nudge i want to say. I have a few posts that are googlable about the logic behind not making the traditional $8-10 adjustment. I think it’s helpful to then look at rankings vs ADP and identify catchers who are as close to my unadjusted $ as possible. This year, it’s Posey and Tyler Flowers.

  13. David says:

    You OF and pitching are sick…I do worry Ian Desmond may be a bench player and you don’t have a backup CI, but otherwise I think you be solid.

    • @David: Thanks. Yeah, spent a lot of draft capital on OF and SP so it better be! No doubt that the Desmond pick does not look so hot 10 days later given: 1) CarGo and 2) Desmond fellating monkey dong in ST. We’ll see how next 2 weeks go before the first FAAB period.

  14. Super Terrific Carpal Tunnel Virusy Box vs Mail Robot (who wins) says:

    finished the FF recap. i’m in this league which is probably closest of mine to the ones you’ve posted. some differences:
    16 team roto. keep 4 at previous season’s ADP. deep rosters. OBP over AVG, slugging, OPS, total bases, steals % and hits added for hitting: holds, QS, K/BB, K/9, net saves and holds added. i got about rankings by using a .65 your OPS or QS/holds vs .35 grey for hitters and SP, and just QS/H for RP (since grey isn’t ranking for holds at all, some very good RP aren’t ranked by him certainly not for deep enough leagues).
    C realmuto (1st time i’ve probably ever gone catcher this early in deeper league, 8, was top of my board. )
    1B hoskins (2)
    2B albies (10 he was the last of the group i wasn’t going to throw up with having start, barely got him probably too)
    3B devers (K, 28)
    SS bregman (3B, K, 6)
    CI morales (15)
    MI gyorko (19)
    LF rosario (7)
    CF pollock (3)
    RF mookie (K, 1)
    OF puig (4.2 had traded for an extra 4th rounder in moving stanton for myers last year)
    util brantley LF (16)
    util maybin CF/LF (LAST starting steals guy left along with cargo 2 at the time 16)
    util wong 2B (26)
    NA (2 slots) big willie (17), senzel (22), the keep at previous season ADP prices really incentivizes nabbing 1 or 2 breakout possible. see devers (28), can’t believe the hoskins owner didn’t keep him as 28th.

    SP (about 7 optimal, 1800 max innings, with one of them streamer), ray (K, 13), archer (4.1), shark (11), wacha (12), clevinger (18), ryu (21), gohara (will be DL’d 25),
    RP (room for 6): rivero (5), colome (9), lyons (23), boxy (24), dyson (27)

    so i now grab a holds guy, a BN bat, and wait for gohara to get DL’d (3 slots) to add the SP streamer. this look balanced? hard to tell as war room doesn’t seem to adjust it’s criteria for 16 teamers with deeper rosters in yahoo such as here.

  15. Tony says:

    Hi. I joined RCL#24 that didn’t fill. The draft did go off with only 4 teams though…all auto-picked i believe. What’s the refund process? Thanks.

  16. Nation says:

    Great recap as always rudy! Always good to see the post draft thoughts and musings. The hitter/pitching split was interesting to see and like you mentioned may be mostly due to getting trout, and then RP2 at pick #9 skewing those numbers a bit.

    I do have a question about hand calculating auction values (i like the exercise of doing it even though I can look at your values or say fantasy pros or some such), particularly as it pertains to keeper values-

    When taking into account keepers, is it better to calculate your auction dollar per standard deviation with the kept players included, or excluded?

    For example, if I know Stanton is being kept, should I include his projections in the data set (and all other players being kept) and calculate $ values, then remove Stanton and his $value and remaining budget? Or just exclude entirely? Apologies if you need more elaboration if im not explaining correctly.

    • @Nation: Thanks. So you start with the projected $ and then look at all the keepers. The sum of their Keeper $ – Projected $ equals the surplus money there is to spend in the league. Let’s say it is $300 and it’s a 10 team league which makes original budget $2600. Then you take all players $0+ and multiply their projections by 2900/2600. Make sense?

  17. Milarky says:

    Hey Rudy, you gave me some advice on how to use your dollar values for a deeper mixed roto league that includes SLG% (thanks for that by the way). Can you clarify a few things for me?

    1) For the hitting values, you said to add up the 5×5 $ with SLG$ and multiply by something like 0.9. Do you mean (5×5$+SLG$)+.9, or do you mean 5×5$+(SLG$*.9)?

    2) Can you explain your thinking on the math there? I get incorporating the SLG$, but curious as to how you landed at the multiplier.

    3) My last keeper decision boils down to picking one of Gordon, Schoop and Buxton. I was originally thinking Gordon, but first look at the results seem to suggest Schoop, or maybe even Buxton if I think he can take a step forward. If I’ve already got Stanton (DH only), Rizzo and Rendon, who would you go with in this format?

  18. Johnson says:

    Hey Rudy – Always appreciate the recaps, thank you. I’d love your thoughts on Darvish vs. Carlos Martinez in a keep 6 (6×6 w/ wins and QS) league. I’m debating between the two for my last spot. I’ve won the last 2 yrs and am keeping Scherzer as well – so I’m capable of both winning now and have a solid foundation for the future. The key question here – how do you evaluate long term potential vs. short term upside in a league such as this? Thanks!

    • Thanks. I play only redraft leagues so I don’t think much beyond this year. I would go with Darvish because I think he is the better pitcher.

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