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Christian Yelich
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Draft Strategy

Tout Wars Progress Report

by D.J. Short
Updated On: May 14, 2019, 10:41 am ET

This is the second in the series of articles tracking my progress in the Tout Wars Mixed Draft league. This league features some of the industry’s brightest minds, so it’s a heck of a challenge. I’m coming off a fifth-place finish last year after finishing sixth in my rookie year in 2017, so I’m hoping to make a serious push up the standings this year.

Just to provide some context for those unfamiliar with how Tout Wars operates, this is a 15-team 5x5, with two catchers and on-base percentage instead of batting average. I last checked in following our draft in early March, which you can read here if you need a refresher. Just a little over six weeks into the season, I figured now was a good time to give a progress report. It's a helpful exercise for me to take stock of my team, but hopefully you get something out of it as well.

Here’s an updated look at the standings:

Tout Wars standings

As you can see, I’m hanging in there. Here’s how I’ve gotten there so far …

Notable investments which have gone well:

Christian Yelich (1st round)
Cody Bellinger (3rd round)
Felipe Vazquez (7th round)
Paul DeJong (12th round)
Luke Voit (14th round)
Jorge Soler (20th round)
Yandy Diaz (28th round)

Notable investments which haven’t worked out as hoped:

Most of my starting pitchers - The biggest disappointment of all has been Corey Kluber (2nd round), though it’s not all his fault. Granted, he was off to a very slow start prior to suffering a displaced fracture of his right ulna. It sounds like he could be sidelined until late in the season. Zack Wheeler (6th round) has been up and down and Chris Archer (10th round) has missed time with a thumb injury. Ross Stripling (15th round) isn’t even in the Dodgers’ rotation anymore and a bunch of my late-round targets (Trevor Cahill, Trevor Richards, Brad Keller) haven’t amounted to much.

Others who have disappointed:

Mallex Smith (8th round)
Miguel Andujar (9th round)
Marwin Gonzalez (16th round)
Steven Souza (17th round)
Franchy Cordero (21st round)

Recent FAAB acquisitions (from $1,000 budget for the season):

James McCann - 2
Raimel Tapia - 40
Chris Bassitt - 13
Lou Trivino - 65
Jed Lowrie - 25

It has been fun to watch Yelich and Bellinger lead the charge for my offense, but Kluber’s injury (in addition to Archer on the injured list and Stripling back in the bullpen) has thrown my roster for a loop. I’m confident that Wheeler will be just fine and I should get Archer back this week, but I just didn’t find it likely that I’d climb my way to the top of the standings without addressing my rotation. I'm near the bottom of the pack in WHIP and wins and near the middle in ERA. That’s why I pulled off a trade on Sunday to send Bellinger and Andujar to Charlie Wiegert for Jacob deGrom and Josh Reddick.

Sometimes the best trades are ones in which it hurts a little bit for both sides. And that’s the case here. Wiegert was already thriving with his pitching staff, but lacking in the offensive categories. I’ve already banked Bellinger’s stats until this point and it’s fair to think we’ve already seen the best of him this year. I still think he’s a fine player, but it made sense to deal from that strength to net a top starting pitcher just as it made sense for Weigert to do the same for his roster needs.

Adding Reddick provides some useful-if-unspectacular depth for my outfield after letting go of Bellinger. Lowrie, who was acquired on Sunday, should add third base-eligibility soon assuming he actually joins the Mets’ roster this week. So that will fill the void for Andujar, who I wasn’t really counting on for the remainder of the season anyway. Smith will hopefully be back with the Mariners soon, giving me some additional depth and a speed boost.

The core of my team is still strong, even without Bellinger, but I suspect I'll need to continue to tinker with the margins of my rotation in order to make a real push. Rudy Gamble has won this league in back-to-back years and he's clearly not going away this year either. Stay tuned. I'll check in another couple of times this season before doing a post-mortem in October.