On March 21, I drafted my 10th Tout Wars roster and my first as defending NL-Only champion.
Expecting the other managers to aim at me during the salary-cap selection format, I knew the draft wouldn’t be easy. In the end, I was pretty happy with my roster.
Part One: Getting stars
I have always been happy to go after the most coveted players, and this was no exception.
Fernando Tatis Jr. (38 units): I threw Tatis as the first player on the board, expecting him to go for at least 40 units. I was surprised when my price-enforcing 38 bid was not topped. The top pick in many 2021 drafts, Tatis wound up being the hitter with the fifth-highest salary.
Trevor Bauer (27): I have Bauer ranked as the No. 2 NL pitcher and was happy to later see six other pitchers command 26-27 units. The right-hander should be among the league's strikeout leaders and will be the next in a long line of Dodgers who have recently posted stellar ratios.
Francisco Lindor (33): Lindor will be my most-rostered player this year. I expect his initial campaign with the Mets to be a smashing success. Last year I started my team with a pair of five-category studs (Tatis and Trevor Story), and I was happy to do the same thing with Tatis and Lindor this year.
Luis Castillo (25): I entered the room with the plan of either grabbing Jacob deGrom (who went for 40) or a pair of stud pitchers. This is my first time rostering Castillo this year, so I can’t consider him to be a target. But with so many top starters going for 26-27, I was glad to get a member of the tier for a couple of units less.
Ozzie Albies (27): I expect Albies to be another power-speed star for my team, and the key to his value is hitting well enough to hold a lineup spot among Ronald Acuna, Freddie Freeman, and Marcell Ozuna.
Keston Hiura (20): I had a hunch that I would end up with Hiura. I’m expecting a bounce-back season from the talented youngster, including 30 homers and 10 steals. As a bonus, he will soon be eligible at 1B and 2B.
Max Muncy (25): This may have been my favorite roster addition. Muncy has triple-position eligibility, and after adding four power-speed threats, I needed a pure power hitter who logs a high OBP (this league used OBP instead of batting average).
Part Two: Crickets
Even with everything going according to plan, I felt especially broke and nervous during the first break. I had the smallest remaining budget, which meant that I would be on the sidelines for a while. And true to form, I acquired just two players in the next hour.
Adam Wainwright (2): Nothing fancy here, but I expect Waino to take his turn every fifth day on a solid Cardinals team. The veteran won’t match his 2020 success, but he should still provide a double-digit win total.
Tommy Edman (18): I like the value on Edman, but my team had enough speed already. Still, I couldn’t watch Edman go for a salary that I considered to be under his value. I fully expected someone to click “19” but it didn’t happen. Oh well, I will settle for having the Cards leadoff man and winning the steals category. And four-position eligibility doesn’t hurt.
Part Three: Back in the game
After a short nap, while everyone else filled their roster with 10-20-unit players, I was ready to participate again. Here is the rest of the roster:
Adam Duvall (5): I loved getting the powerful Duvall as a compliment to my speedsters. I expect him to start 4-5 games per week and go deep 30 times.
Omar Narvaez (3): Cheap catchers were part of the plan, and I was happy to get one who is the No. 1 backstop on his team. For a small investment, I’ll buy into the theory that Narvaez can recover from a disappointing 2020 season.
Brandon Crawford (4): Nothing fancy here, but Crawford logs plenty of playing time and will provide some home runs. I was hoping to nab several Crawford-types and stay out of the players who spend most of their time on the bench.
Alex Avila (1): I had a pretty good idea that I would end up with Avila, who logs a higher OBP than most backup catchers and is working behind a No.1 (Yan Gomes) who doesn’t have a history of heavy workloads.
Jake McGee (3): I expect McGee to get at least 10 saves and maybe 25 as the best reliever in the Giants bullpen. I was surprised to grab him for so little, but wallets were light at this point.
Mitch Keller (2): At the very least, Keller will get me a decent number of strikeouts. But I’m hoping that this once-coveted prospect will soon figure things out and become a ratios stabilizer.
David Bote (3): I like Bote more than most bench players, as the Cubs use him often and he has generally performed well. Also, there is a chance that he opens the year as their starting second baseman.
Austin Slater (2): I like Slater’s power-speed mix, but I’ll need some injuries in the Giants outfield for this pick to really pan out. I’m expecting 10 homers and 10 swipes.
Garrett Cooper (3): I was looking to add one more player with some power, and Cooper fit the bill. He doesn’t have a starting job at the moment, but he is the primary backup at three spots and should have plenty of stretches in 2021 where an injury pushes him into a steady role.
Odubel Herrera (2): After a lengthy absence for off-field troubles, Herrera seems to be making the most of a fresh opportunity by the Phillies. Expected to win the center field job, he could go deep 15 times and steal a handful of bags.
Adrian Houser (2): Houser was a popular 2020 sleeper after producing solid results in '19. He didn’t meet expectations, but I’ll give him a chance to turn things around across a longer season.
Stephan Crichton (1): I was surprised to add Crichton for the bare minimum, but budgets had pretty much run out at this point. He was a ninth-inning option late last season and could quickly prove to be better than presumed closer, Joakim Soria.
Miles Mikolas (1): Am I excited about Mikolas? Nope. Not one bit. But we have unlimited IL spots in this league, and I can put him there until he joins the Cards rotation.
Overall, I like this team. On the hitting side, I have too much speed and could use a little more OBP, but I’m assuming some managers will be interested in trading for a speedster. On the pitching side, I would like to find some quality setup men on waivers in the coming weeks and protect my ratios.
If you’re in my league, reading this article, and looking for steals, hit me up! And finally, thank you to Todd Zola, Jeff Erickson, and the entire Tout LLC. for their efforts in organizing these contests.