We held Tout Weekend as planned back in March, though not in person and with no party at Foley’s and before many of us knew what Zoom was. We drafted online, on Fantrax, hoping baseball would be back in a month or two or, many of us expected, around the Fourth of July.
That guess was better than most of my draft day picks. Baseball resumed on July 23rd, and with one day of the postseason under our belts, the expanded playoffs will continue for the next month. But Tout Wars is done, as was my team, it turns out, the moment the draft ended.
In that draft I bought a stars-and-scrubs style team. A couple of the scrubs, Dominic Smith and Tony Gonsolin, worked out. If the core of my team had been average those two would have pushed the team toward contention. But the rest of the team wasn’t average. Let’s take a look why:
Ronald Acuna Jr. $44 ($47 value): Earned $29, all prices for OBP 5×5. Obviously didn’t earn out, but compared to Yelich ($19) he was a better buy at the same price, in spite of the time he missed. You pay great players a lot because even when they aren’t great they contribute a lot of stats. Acuna and Yelich showed that in 2020, small consolation to me and Justin Mason, Yelich’s owner who finished 2 points ahead of me in the standings.
Walker Buehler $30 ($29 value): Earned $8. When your ace is a tres you’re going to have problems. It doesn’t appear that there was anything wrong with Buehler when he was on the mound, but he missed some starts with a blister in September, and was unlucky in wins when he got five innings in pitching for a team that led baseball in runs scored.
Ozzie Albies $27 ($33 value): Earned $10. He came on at the end, showing why it wasn’t madness to expect a lot. Missing a month of a two-month season puts you in the hole, to be sure.
Nolan Arenado $35 ($40 value): Earned $13. His auction price was depressed because of the threat he might be traded to a less commodious ballpark. My bet was he wouldn’t, and he wasn’t. Alas, he was not having a great season when he hurt his shoulder in early September, and he struggled after that until he was shut down. Players slump at times, and in the short season there was scant time to get a second chance to fix things.
Will Smith $14 ($14 value): Earned $12. He got on at a good clip, missed 10 days with a neck injury, and will have better seasons than this one, which was fine.
Wilson Ramos $13 ($17 value): Earned $6. A bad season for Ramos.
Reisel Iglesias $13 ($13 value): Earned $17. Finally, someone who performed as expected, maybe a little better.
Yasiel Puig $5 ($3 value): Did Not Play. Tantalizingly close to signing with the Braves in July, he got the Covid and did not get another chance. He was one of two shots at picking up a significant producer for cheap for a think outfield.
Mike Moustakas $22 ($22 value): Earned $9. All my stars tanked. Moustakas, like Albies, was hurt for much of the season. In my notes after the draft I said that I really wanted Corey Seager, a switch that would have helped my team quite a bit.
Dylan Carlson $8 ($8 value): Earned $2. There were two risks here. One, that he wouldn’t get a chance, the other that if given the chance he wouldn’t produce. I felt certain enough that he’d get the chance that I’d take the risk he wouldn’t produce. He didn’t. Given my needs I went for it and took a shot that didn’t pan out. If the rest of the team was working this wouldn’t have mattered.
Mike Foltynewicz $12 ($12 value): Earned -$9. I was going to get either Folty or Lamet for $13, I thought. I didn’t get Lamet, was pleased to have Folty, until the season started. Another close call.
Ender Inciarte $6 ($6 value): Earned $4. Part of the reason he got as many at bats as he did was because Acuna was hurt. Still, it was Markakis’s decision to come back and play that cost Inciarte playing time. Well, that and his own limited offensive production.
Freddy Galvis $7 ($7 value): Earned $8. As expected, the poor OBP offset most of his offensive contributions, but not all.
Chris Archer $5 ($7 value): DNP. Had season-ending neck surgery in June.
AJ Pollock $7 ($14 value): Earned $23. I was pleased as punch to get him at $7, and he came through. Too bad it was wasted.
Wade Davis $2 ($4 value): Earned -$9. He only lost so little because he only pitched 4.1 innings. A calculated risk that he’d be a saves source. Didn’t count on the return of Daniel Bard, or Davis’s shoulder going out.
Sean Newcomb $2 ($4 value): Earned -$12. Rounding out a pitching staff, you throw your darts and hope for the best. Sometimes you get the worst.
Of my reserve picks, Dominic Smith earned $19 and Tony Gonsolin earned $23. A winning year is when your core team does okay and you’re able to augment with good pick-ups.
Notable waivers pickups were Ben Gamel ($4), Andres Gimenez ($12), Donovan Solano on August 3 ($15 for the season), and David Peterson ($9), all good, but at the end of August I sprung for Jose Israel Garcia, Julio Mateo, Taylor Clarke and Trevor Rogers, all with potential but in the end hurtful, not helpful.
In the end, I finished with 50 points. My draft day roster finish was similar, next to last, but with only 40 points, so I improved. For now, that’s the positive message I take away from this weird season.