I went into the Tout Wars draft without a real strategy, as I am one that let's the draft tell me where prices are going and don't want to get caught up in overpaying on players just to fulfill my pre-draft strategy. I had talked to Dan Strafford and Matt from CTM Baseball late Saturday night at Foley's about possibly going with a pitcher-heavy strategy, with an emphasis on dumping power and focusing on leadoff hitters with speed and run scoring ability. But, I knew that going with a pitcher heavy strategy could limit my ability to grab some of the top run scorers like Christian Yelich, Anthony Rendon and speedsters like Dee Gordon or Billy Hamilton, so I decided to scrap that strategy. I think this strategy works better in a straight draft and is more difficult in an auction.
Mike Gianella was joking with me before the auction about getting into a bidding war with him over Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, but I told him I wasn't planning on bidding on him, which I didn't. Not that I don't like him, but I didn't want to pay more than $30 on any starter, and there were only a few hitters that I was willing to pay more than $30 on, including Andrew McCutchen, Paul Goldschmidt, Giancarlo Stanton and Carlos Gomez. Mike also joked about bidding on Matt Kemp, who I think you all know I like quite a bit after his strong second half last season. The bidding on Kemp went to $29 and I just couldn't pull the trigger on going $30 on him.
I decided a few minutes into the auction that I wouldn't pay more than $30 on any player, and stuck to it.
With that said, here is my roster, and you can find the auction results in the link below:
You can find results from the AL-only and mixed league auctions in the link as well.
My 2015 Tout Wars NL-only roster
C - Andrew Susac, Giants - $3
C - Tony Sanchez, Pirates - $1
1B - Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers - $26
2B - Aaron Hill, Diamondbacks - $11
SS - Starlin Castro, Cubs - $22
3B - Nolan Arenado, Rockies, - $25
OF - Corey DIckerson, Rockies, - $25
OF - Jay Bruce, Reds - $24
OF - Marcell Ozuna, Marlins - $22
OF - Khris Davis, Rockies - $15
OF - Ichiro Suzuki, Marlins - $1
U - Enrique Hernandez, Dodgers - $1
P - Jordon Zimmermann, Nationals - $21
P - Lance Lynn, Cardinals - $16
P - Bartolo Colon, Mets - $3
P - Tim Hudson, Giants - $3
P - Mike Leake, Reds - $5
P - Dan Haren, Marlins - $4
P - Kenley Jansen, Dodgers - $15
P - Jonathon Papelbon, Phillies - $13
P - Casey Janssen, Nationals -$2
Corey Seager, Dodgers
Shawn Kelley, Padres
Brandon Beachy, Dodgers
Jason Grilli, Braves
This was my first Tout Wars NL-only auction, but I play in two NL-only home keeper leagues, so I am very familiar with the players and projections heading into the season. I mistakenly left my cheat sheets in my friend's car on Saturday night, so I had to use my phone for a list of available players.
The first player I won the bidding on was Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro at $22, followed quickly by Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen at $15 and Nationals set up man Casey Janssen for $2. But, I was in on the bidding on all of the top hitters, including Paul Goldschmidt, Andrew McCutchen, Carlos Gomez, Yasiel Puig, Bryce Harper, and others. After missing out on the bidding on Goldschmidt and McCutchen, that is when I decided to not pay more than $30 on any player.
I followed those buys with buys on Zimmermann, Gonzalez, Dickerson and Arenado for $21, $26, $25 and $25 respectively. AGonz is one of the more consistent hitters at the first base position, and I didn't want to own Freddie Freeman or Joey Votto, so AGonz was my guy. His power appears to be fully back, as he hit 27 home runs last year, leading the NL in RBI.
Zimmermann is one of the best starters in the National League, so paying $21 for him was not an issue. He was probably the Nationals best starter last season. I spent $25 each on two young Rockies hitters who could...could improve upon their 2014 breakouts. I think there is more power in Arenado's bat, and wouldn't be surprised to see him hit 25 home runs and drive in 90 runs this season. Dickerson has the power to put up similar numbers as well.
By not spending more than $30 on any player allowed me to buy some hitters I really like this season, including Arenado, Dickerson, Castro, Bruce, Ozuna and Davis. I own five of those six in the UBA NL-only keeper league, so both teams will live and die on my analysis on these hitters this offseason. Bruce is 100% healthy after dealing with leg injuries last season that impacted his power production. He is a good candidate to hit 30 home runs this season, and don't forget that the stole double digit bags last season.
Ozuna and Davis are emerging power hitters, and both have the power to hit 25 home runs in 2015. There are some in the industry who think Ozuna can be a star, with one scout saying he could hit 30-40 home runs at his peak.
My focus on power in the draft resulted in very limited stolen base potential and some lower tier starting pitchers, so I will have to grab any speed/innings eaters that show up during the season via FAAB or via trade. I like Zimmermann and Lynn at the top of my rotation, but was hoping to grab another second tier starter, specifically Pirates starter Gerrit Cole, but he was too pricey for my liking.
During one of the breaks, I was talking to Matt from CTM Baseball about not drafting another second tier starter, but have to say I was more than happy to grab Leake, Haren, Colon and Hudson for a grand total of $15. They won't strikeout too many batters, but they won't hurt me in the ERA or WHIP categories, and should provide decent win totals.