Tout Wars NL FAAB Success

Last night I bid $5 on Houston second baseman Jose Altuve, a youngster who is playing now and should continue to play for the Astros regardless of how he hits. And he might not hit much. I was blown out of the water. My bid beat Steve Gardner’s ($0), but trailed Mike Gianella ($6), Scott Pianowski ($18), Nate Ravitz ($22), Chris Liss ($25), and ultimate winner Cory Schwartz ($37). I bid $5 because Altuve is very young (he started this year in Hi-A), and not really a power or speed guy. He’s had a high BA this year at all levels, but he’s jumping from Double-A (where he had just 150 AB) to the bigs. I think there’s a really good chance he’ll hit .240 with little power, and wasn’t interested in paying for that.

But Cory told me that he’s “not a big fan of saving the money for a better option to come along. If there’s a guy who fits the needs, go out and get him.” I agree with that, yet this year the pickings have seemed thin despite my having needs from Day 1. It seems like a good reason to go back and see what opportunities were missed:

March 31:

The big bidding was on Jose Contreras, who went to Lenny Melnick and Paul Greco for $17 (I’m including the bid here, not the reduced Vickrey bid, which in this case was $11). Contreras has saved five games, with so so quality.

Chris Liss beat out Cory Schwartz, $9 to $8, for Stephen Strasburg.

The big winner was Brian Walton, who bid $4 on the Cubs’ regular second baseman for the year, Darwin Barney. There were no other money bids on Barney.

April 4:

The big winning bid was Steve Gardner’s $6 bid on Wil Nieves.

Cory Schwartz bought Chien Ming Wang for $3 uncontested.

Nate Ravitz bought Erick Almonte for $3 uncontested.

April 11:

In the wake of the Utley injury I went $7 hard after Pete Orr.

Most contested was Antonio Bastardo, with $5 bids from Scott Pianowski and Phil Hertz, and a $2 bid from Mike Gianella. Bastardo has eight saves and sterling qualitatives.

Phil Hertz bid $6 on Wes Helms.

April 18:

There were a lot of small bids on Jon Jay, who went to Tristan Cockcroft for $7. He’s put up 250 solid AB.

Livan Hernandez drew mostly free claims interest, but went for $5 to Scott Pianowski. He’s been decent.

I paid $4 for Jason Marquis, who has been okay.

Phil Hertz and Brian Walton each bid $2 on Eduardo Sanchez, who not long after looked like he might get a shot to close games for the Cards. But didn’t.

April 25:

Jason Pridie got competing $9 bids from Chris Liss and Phil Hertz. He’s put up 130 weak AB thus far.

Brandon Wood and Justin Turner both went for $7 to Phil Hertz. There were other smaller bidders. Wood actually has his BA above the Mendoza Line, but has been typically awful. Turner was a good buy, with 271 solid AB.

May 2:

Scott Pianowski bid big ($15) on Daniel Descalso. I had second best with $6. He’s put up 231 AB that can be described as not awful.

Vance Worley attracted Chris Liss’s attention. $12 worth. Brian Walton bid $3. Worley has been excellent.

Rob Leibowitz bid on Ryan Vogelson ($13), and Nate Ravitz chased ($9). Vogelsong got shelled the next day, but has been excellent since.

May 9:

Lenny Melnick and Paul Greco bid $11 on Aneury Rodriguez. There was a $2 trailer. Rodriguez may have been the answer, but the question was not “Which young pitcher will help fantasy leaguers this year?”

Phil Hertz bid $6 on Josh Collmenter. THere were some $1 bids. So far that wicked delivery has held up. He’s been excellent.

May 16:

Mike Gianella bid $16 on Fernando Martinez, besting a clutch of lesser ($3, $4, $5) bids, for nought.

Chris Liss jumped in on Brooks Conrad ($7) and Jeff Samarzdjia ($5).

Phil Hertz helped his staff with a $2 John Lannan.

May 23:

A couple of $3 bids on Jason Giambi. Mine was the winner and has worked out okay.

May 30:

Jordan Lyles attracted bids of $16 (Rob Leibowitz), $15 (Melnick/Greco), $14 (me and Liss), $12 (Cory Schwartz) and $3 (Scott Wilderman). He’s only contributed strikeouts this year.

Melnick/Greco also bid $15 on Joe Saunders, who nobody else bid on, and did better.

Their $15 bid on Emmanuel Burriss was a big winner, too, on FAABday, and he’s stolen some bases in limited duty, with an awful BA.

June 6:

Just about everyone was in on Xavier Paul after his trade to Pittsburgh, where regular at bats seemed a possibility. Cory Schwartz won the bidding with $15. There were other bids of $14, $12, $10, $8, $6 and $2. He’s collected only 121 AB but stolen 10 bases in part time play. Useful, at least.

Scott Pianowski ($10) edged Chris Liss ($8) and Mike Gianella ($7) for Brandon Crawford, who has been terrible in 145 AB for the Giants.

Phil Hertz bid $6 on Chris Nelson. Steve Gardner bid $4 while Brian Walton offered $1. Nelson had some moments (3 steals) but a bad BA and was optioned to the minors July 1.

Chris Liss bid $6 on Logan Ondrusek and he’s been excellent in relief. There were other claims for $0.

June 13:

This was the week of Dee Gordon who, like Jose Altuve was young and unproven, though he was also a bigger prospect. Gordon attracted bids of $73 from Nate Ravitz, $65 from Cory Schwartz, $43 from Chris Liss and Scott Pianowski each, $35 from Mike Gianella, $21 from Phil Hertz, $13 from me, and some even more token bids. Gordon was sent back to the minors after 82 at bats with a .232 BA and nine steals.

Phil Hertz picked off minor leaguer Collin Cowgill that week for $2. He has yet to arrive, though promotion is expected soon. Brian Walton picked off minor leaguer Zack Cozart for $1. he arrived last week, only to sprain his elbow and go on the DL.

Lucas Duda attracted $9 from Rob Leibowitz and $5 from Cory Schwartz, but went to Phil Hertz for $12. He’s collected 118 .280 AB with not much production.

June 20:

Craziness breaks out. $12 is the big bid for Dwayne Wise, from Phil Hertz. Someone else bids $3. Wise has collected 41 AB batting .191 with three steals.

The next big bid is Mike Gianella’s $11 offer for minor leaguer Paul Goldschmidt. Chris Liss goes $4. Phil Hertz offers $1. He may be promoted later this year.

Lots and lots of bidding for George Kottaras after Jonathan LuCroy got hurt in Milwaukee. Kottaras went for $8 to Tristan Cockcroft and has hit about .202 ever since.

Better still, Mike McHenry was traded from the Red Sox to the Pirates and drew a $9 bid from Rob Leibowitz. He’s approaching 100 AB with a .253 BA, one homer and six RBI.

Phil Hertz reserves Cowgill and adds Dave Sappelt for $2 to his outfield.

June 27:

This week’s hot property is Chase D’Arnaud, another good glove weak bat middle infielder promoted ahead of his time. The bidding is much: Cory Schwartz ($65), Rob Leibowitz ($33), Lenny Melnick/Paul Greco ($15), Mike Gianella ($8), and a few others below that. So far that’s for 101 at bats with a .220 BA and seven steals.

Scott Wilderman bid $8 on Jesus Guzman. I was runner up with $6. He’s hitting .302 in 100 AB since, with some pop, and looks to be in line for plenty of PT during the second half.

Wilderman also picked up Sam LeCure with a $6 bid. There were no other bids. LeCure was coming off the DL. He is having a fine year as a swing man.


I’m sure Cory is right that you should be aggressive, but I’m not sure there was much to be had with this weak crop of FAABable players. To truly measure the value of these picks would require one to look at the alternatives who went for free. Those are the guys I ended up with, and they haven’t helped much either. But we keep getting excited by FAAB because we know one of these days some pickup will make a huge difference.

Probably this coming week, when the best AL player traded to the NL will likely go to second place challenger Steve Gardner.

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