The ToutWars Mixed Draft took place on Tuesday, March 7th. It is a standard 15 team snake draft with weekly FAAB ($1000) except that it is 5×5 OBP vs standard 5×5. Other key exceptions vs standard weekly leagues include:

  1. You must start all FAAB purchases during the first week
  2. You can pick up minor leaguers with your FAAB (but you’ll be taking zeroes for a full week)
  3. Unlimited IL and you can replace a guy after lineups lock if they go on IL or return from IL (if you add a guy back into your lineup, you have to drop the guy being replaced)
  4. There are two Ohtanis available on draft day – the hitter and the pitcher.

This is the only non-standard 5×5 roto format I play. It is less that I am a purist and more that the only roto leagues I play tend to be analyst leagues (like this) or NFBC. In reality, I think alternate formats play to my strength as ADP becomes less of a guide (and possibly a hindrance/bias) and my Preseason Player Rater values (still free) play a stronger role.

Quick Perspective On The Difference Between OBP vs AVG
The biggest shift in OBP leagues is the standard 5×5 ADP becomes a less reliable gauge for predicting draft choices. This makes the draft room more unpredictable and advantages more prepared drafters. I look at 5×5 hitter ADP but am more willing in other drafts to jump guys 1+ rounds.

There are other minor shifts (1Bs look better b/c they typically have highest BB rates, hitters with high AVGs but mediocre BB rates become less valuable, etc.) but this ends up baked into the projections. I have to run 15-team 5×5 OBP custom but you can access my 12-team 5×5 OBP projections and those are updated daily for Season to Date and Rest of Season as well. All free.

Last Year Recap (here’s my post-draft writeup)

I rebounded from an ill-fated 2021 (10th place after my top hitters missed most of the year) to finish 2nd for the 3rd time (and top 2 for the 5th time) in 8 years.

It was an odd draft looking back on it now. While the Freeman/Bichette start from the 11th spot turn out pretty well, my aggressive 3rd round selection of pre-trade Jesse Winker paired with then teammate Jonathan India in the 4th backfired spectacularly. Despite those disasters, my offense crushed as did my cheap RP build (Taylor Rogers in 14th, Tanner Rainey in 23rd, Jorge Lopez in FAAB).

So it came down to Wins/ERA/WHIP where I had 29 less standings points than Mike Gianella explaining roughly 225% of our difference.

While there was certainly some bad luck on Wins, I lost because my starting pitching wasn’t good enough (see ERA/WHIP) and Mike crushed it with a solid ace/ace start (Burnes, Scherzer) and a great value in Darvish as an SP3 in the 8th. There wasn’t one player that befelled my ratios – it’s just none of my pitchers were particularly good on ratios aside from Dylan Cease (my other co-ace was Gausman who had a so-so 3.35/1.24). Even my key FAAB acquisitions (Jose Suarez, Nick Lodolo) were all fine. Hitting on a top SP instead of Winker or India certainly would’ve helped. I also regret not taking a chance on then-FA Carlos Rodon who was top of my SP board when I took Eovalid and Kopech in the 9th/10th round.

Congratulations to Mike Gianella for winning the league in his first year.

2023 Draft

Here are the full results of the 2023 Tout Wars Mixed League Draft.

Draft Strategy Overview

  • I had 2nd pick on KDS and chose 4th. I’m not sure that was the wisest decision but I like the control of picking before turns (and usually the top picks are the people who did better the year before).
  • Picking 4th, I was looking to start with two hitters and an SP. If Judge/Soto/Acuna falls, I’ll take them. Otherwise, Kyle Tucker. Best bat who falls in the 2nd would be my default but open to going SP/bat depending on the room.
  • Prioritize bats a little more than LABR – sacrifice an RP1 in the first 10 rounds over SP quality/quantity.
  • Aim for balance in hitting categories but prioritize HR/OBP over SB.

Early Round Notes

  • The first three picks went unfortunately as expected and preferred Tucker’s OF + speed over Vlad’s mildly more valuable stat line.
  • The room went heavy bat in the first two rounds (only 3 pitchers) so I liked the SP depth more than hitter depth. Took Olson here banking he had less a chance coming back to me than my SP preference in Strider. Not sure I was right on the Olson take but Strider did fall.
  • For picks 4-7, I wanted at least one SP but, otherwise, was just going to roll with whatever values fell to me. I might’ve gone Helsley over Gimenez in the 6th if he was on the board. Darvish/Springer/Gimenez/Kirk were all good values.
  • Jake McCarthy making it to 8.11 allowed me to basically deprioritize speed the rest of the draft and Lance Lynn (SP3 in 9th) and Rowdy Tellez (CI in 10th) provide nice padding in every way.

Random Observations

  • This draft is always so unpredictable vs ADP that I play more ‘value’ chicken on Saves and 2B/SS/3B/C2. I admittedly got burnt on the 10/11 turn where I was ambivalent to David Bednar or Alexis Diaz and figured I’d take the one that team #1 (Mike Gianella) didn’t take and grab Tellez at 10.11. Mike took Bednar at 11.1 but Team #2 (Trachtman) surprised me taking Diaz 11.2 as his RP2. Sewald in the 13th and Leclerc in the 16th are fine values based on my projections but ideally I get Diaz in the 11th and wait until the 18th or so before an RP2.
  • I was fine with several 3B values later in draft with Yandy Diaz (great OBP), Rendon, Moncada, and Donaldson. I lost the game of chicken on the first three and ended up taking Donaldson in the 25th. Oswald Peraza in the 19th, Luis Garcia (2B/SS) in the 23rd, and Royce Lewis as an IL stash with my last (29th pick) gives me an okay opening day MI + 3B (Gimenez and Urias at 2B/SS) with some possible upside today (Peraza) and later in season (Lewis).
  • My Hit/SP/RP split was 63/30/6 while the room was 63/27/9. That’s according to plan.
  • Not thrilled only drafting 3 RPs (Sewald, Leclerc, Trevor May). There were one or two cases in the back 1/3 where I got sniped.
  • I like my SP quality/quantity. I think Strider/Darvish are a strong SP1/SP2 and double-dipped at SP3 with Lynn and Morton. In other 2023 drafts, I’ve prioritized SP quality a little more and double-dipped on SP1 or SP2. Sandoval and Manaea round out a strong top 6 and Matz, Waldichuk, and Megill in the ‘free’ rounds provide two depth/matchup guys and a nice upside play in Megill if he makes the Mets starting rotation.
  • Some positive notes on my opponents:
    • I had Mike Gianella’s draft 2nd to mine coming into last year and he won. This year’s he’s 3rd so guess that means he’ll be runner-up. (I put little stock in preseason standings / team values but I had the top 4 actual finishers in my top 5 for draft value and my bottom 3 in draft value all finished in the bottom five. More signal than I would’ve expected.)
    • Most improved draft award goes to Tim McCullough who I have as 2nd in $ this year after being much lower in 2022. Or maybe he found our Player Rater and it goosed him up in my calculations.
    • Solid rookie draft in this league by BHQ’s Ryan Bloomfield who also did a live stream of the draft with fellow drafter Ray Murphy and co-host Bubba.
    • Very nice balance for Shelly Verougstraete’s team across all but SV and that may resolve by opening day with Fairbanks/Munoz/Montero in tow (although as someone who drafted Sewald, hoping it’s at best a Meatloaf situation)
    • Adam Ronis
  • Here is a view of the team through my draft room with a couple of customizations. There’s a little bit to unpack. So the assumption in the draft room is that the ‘average’ drafted team should be worth $260 and this can be viewed by category $ at a roughly 63.5/36.5 split ($150 for hitting, $85 for pitching, $1 of replacement value per player). Also, this view only looks at players with positive $ value. Why? Because it’s more likely negative $ players get replaced with better players and this removes noise from players who are in the ‘red’ b/c of injury or prospect stashes.
    • Observation #1: My team looks generally strong across most categories with SV/ERA closer to league average. I like the balance in the hitting. I skew towards high $K pitchers because that’s the most bankable stat for projecting so it is not surprising that’s my strongest stat.
      • Note: An interesting phenomenon I discovered is skewing K means you typically are going to look better on WHIP than ERA. Why? Mainly because K’s correlate with FBs (HR’s and XBH) which drives Runs. I targeted Sandoval (and considered Cobb) in the middle of the draft for his ability to manage contact and balance those stats a little bit.
    • Observation #2: Both the “Other Team Avg” and the projected values using the top 23 rounds worth of NFBC ADP come really close to matching the targets. IMO that is both a solid proof point for the underlying projections and the player rater $ formula that, in aggregate, it is matching ADP / consensus behavior. It is a lot easier/cleaner than tracking balance through some derived targets based on last year’s data.