Gone FAABing.

Gone_Fishing_(7631766304)I had the two highest bids in Tout Wars this week. $8 each for the Mets Eric Campbell and the Diamondbacks Chase Anderson. I would be lying to you if I said that either were close to my radar on Friday, so I thought it might be helpful lay out some of the reasons for going after these two. You can find Mastersball.com’s analysis of all the FAAB moves here.

First off, I went with a Stars and Scrubs team in Tout Wars, and my team is currently very near the bottom of the standings. Why? Because I’m not getting enough at bats. The injury to Ryan Zimmerman has cost me perhaps 100 at bats, and even with those I would be last in the league in PA. This is a huge burden which has come about because once productive part timers like Gregor Blanco and Nate McLouth and Ryan Doumit have been nearly shut out this season. This is my own fault, the risk with the strategy, the curse of the $3 players.

It also calls for aggressive action.

So, I’m looking for hitters. This week the other options were Josh Harrison, Tyler Colvin, and Joaquin Arias. I had $2 on Harrison as my backup if I didn’t get Campbell, but it seemed to me that Campbell was the belle of this ball. The Mets sent down Josh Satin and might (emphasis, might) give Campbell some AB. They might also send him back to Las Vegas, since Lucas Duda is once again healthy.

Campbell was hitting .355 in Las Vegas, which has a major league equivalency of about .260. I’ll take it, if he plays. He’s shown a little power and a little speed and he was replacing Stephen Souza, who had already returned to the minors, so the bar was as low as can be. I’m not looking for a home run here, but our $100 FAAB budgets in Tout can be used for home run swings and for picking off the best available guys each week and hoping you find a keeper. That’s what this play was.

Phil Hertz bid $4, so I ended up paying $5 for Campbell because of our Vickrey auction system.

In Vickrey, the team with the highest bid wins the auction, but pays $1 more than the second highest bid.  I bid $8 on Anderson because I was willing to pay that for a minor league pitcher who was showing extraordinary control, decent power, and had a solid major league debut on Sunday. He allowed one run in 5.3 innings, with one walk and six strikeouts.

Last year and this year Anderson has looked brilliant in Double-A. Last year in Triple-A he got killed, in the PCL, for 60 innings. Anderson is not a top prospect. He threw 92 yesterday, tops, and showed a curve and a change. He had a good outcome and may not get another chance this week because the White Sox have two days off.

I bid $8 thinking I might be outbid, but I wasn’t. No other money was bid, and Anderson cost me a $1. I’ll take it.

There is much to be afraid of looking at his 2013 Triple-A results, but pitching in the PCL and failing is not necessarily an indication that a pitcher is doomed. The parks are small, at altitude and in the desert’s dry air. It is a league that punishes pitchers, and sometimes that isn’t fair.

Whether or not it’s fair to Chase Anderson there is no way to know. We do know he wasn’t a top prospect, he’s not a power pitcher, he throws strikes, has good control, and even last year in the PCL wasn’t a homer monkey (though he did allow more than one per nine innings).

I have a staff that isn’t doing too badly, all things considered. This week I felt I had to get rid of Carlos Torres, who got me a save early but who has not been sharp lately, often pitching in the sixth inning. Auditioning another arm is worth the risk of spending $8 and monitoring closely. Between Anderson and Campbell it would be very helpful to catch some lightning in a bottle, but not crippling if neither pans out.

I love the weekly FAAB process. It is a little mini-auction, a chance to weigh risk and reward and do the right thing. At least sometimes.


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