Collette Calls: My AL Tout Wars Team

Collette Calls: My AL Tout Wars Team

This article is part of our Collette Calls series.

2022 marks my 16th year playing in Tout Wars. I began in 2007 when the co-owners of RotoJunkie, Byron Cox & Bob Kohm, both had late conflicts come up against the draft weekend and could not make it to New York City. I was traveling at an extreme level in those days, so I had travel points for flights and hotels to burn. I volunteered and they entrusted me with the seat at the table. I went from actively consuming the Tout Wars results to sitting at the table contributing to them in a very loud heartbeat. Thankfully, I had the pleasure of finding a seat between Cory Schwartz and Scott Pianowski when I arrived in the room and could not have drafted two better people to randomly sit between as I stumbled into the room with an immediate sense of overwhelming insecurity. My 15 years of home leagues did little to prepare me for the event, and my eventual 9th place finish that rookie year validated it. Thankfully, I finished second the following season and continue to be invited back to the event each spring. 

Tout Wars weekend has long been my favorite weekend of the year because it is the perfect collision of fantasy baseball, college basketball and seeing so many friends within the industry. Covid-19 has now taken away the in-person event for a third consecutive year, taking away some of the magic of the weekend. On the plus side, I got better sleep this weekend than I've ever had in the city and my liver isn't the one yelling at me as much as my knees and feet after walking nearly 50,000 steps over the past two days while sightseeing and seeing some area friends. I went by 18 W 33rd St and poured some water out for Foley's; the space still sits unoccupied and it was sad to see the facade boarded up remembering the many great times had there from 2007-2020 with friends, family and co-workers. This year, rather than spending the draft in a banquet room of The Stewart Hotel, I spent it in my actual hotel room with a wi-fi signal less reliable than the Orioles' bullpen. 

My plan for Tout Wars was to quickly apply my lessons learned from the AL LABR salary cap draft from two weeks ago. I budgeted dollar amounts for 22 of the 23 roster spots, leaving $10 in one of my utility spots for wiggle room, much like the free space on a bingo card. Tout Wars is an OBP league that also swaps out the 5th outfield spot for a super-utility swingman, which can be either a hitter or a pitcher. The tweet below shows my pre-draft plan in old-school notebook form:

The plan was to only nominate players from that sheet and use the roster spot prices as guidelines for my bids. I ended up rostering players from that list in 19 of my 23 active spots as I picked up a few non-listed players who I found to be bargains or at least fairly priced late in the event. 

Values are using a 68/32 split to match my pre-draft budgetary plan. The projections and values pulled from other systems are from the FanGraphs' player pages and their auction calculator

Catchers

PAID

PLAYER

SYSTEM

PROJ $

RUNS

HR

RBI

SB

OBP

$7

Danny Jansen

RotoWire

$6

39

13

38

0

.295

 

 

ATC

$8

44

15

43

0

.318

 

 

Steamer

$9

47

17

49

2

.321

 

 

BAT X

$8

42

14

40

1

.317

$4

Luis Torrens

RotoWire

$9

41

15

52

0

.318

 

 

ATC

$4

30

10

34

0

.304

 

 

Steamer

$0

22

7

24

1

.293

 

 

BAT X

$3

31

10

32

0

.293

I was intent on playing the back half of the catching pool while chasing upside and avoiding dollar days at the position. There are those who advocate spending big in mono leagues for the horses at this position, but I am not in that camp. The one year I did so, I purchased Joe Mauer in 2011 and watched him miss half the season and my team suffer for it. I have written up both Jansen and Torrens in different pieces this winter and like the power upside for both players even if their current path to excessive playing time is a bit cloudy. 

Corners

PAID

PLAYER

SYSTEM

PROJ $

RUNS

HR

RBI

SB

OBP

$16

Trey Mancini

RotoWire

$16

85

26

78

0

.335

 

 

ATC

$17

77

24

76

0

.332

 

 

Steamer

$14

81

25

83

1

.331

 

 

BAT X

$20

76

25

77

1

.339

$4

Rougned Odor

RotoWire

$0

NYP

NYP

NYP

NYP

NYP

 

 

ATC

$6

41

17

46

4

.282

 

 

Steamer

$3

38

15

42

2

.285

 

 

BAT X

$5

41

18

46

4

.287

$10

Yandy Diaz

RotoWire

$13

57

12

50

0

.376

 

 

ATC

$14

58

12

54

1

.363

 

 

Steamer

$17

70

14

64

2

.371

 

 

BAT X

$13

57

13

53

2

.354

I wanted at least one position flexible player in this area and ended up with two of them. This was the first time I have purchased Mancini all winter as the new configuration of Camden Yards scares me given how much he has enjoyed it over the years. I continue to grab shares of Odor, who I have pegged as one of those volume players who will accumulate numbers on a bad team. The risk I have is that Odor may be bad enough to play his way out of the Baltimore lineup in April, or they leave him out there to drag down my OBP because the Rangers are paying 98% of his salary this year. Given I now have him on six different teams, it is clearly a risk I am worth taking. Diaz is also someone who I continue to roster as I find him coming at a nice price with his second-half power surge hiding under the radar. He too has dual-position eligibility and if the new loft to his swing can continue to build upon the 13 homers he hit over the last half of his 2021 season, this will be a great price in an OBP format. 

Middle

PAID

PLAYER

SYSTEM

PROJ $

RUNS

HR

RBI

SB

OBP

$16

Enrique Hernandez

RotoWire

$12

71

18

61

2

.317

 

 

ATC

$14

81

22

69

2

.326

 

 

Steamer

$17

87

24

75

2

.326

 

 

BAT X

$16

77

25

75

2

.333

$18

Amed Rosario

RotoWire

$13

72

12

59

13

.319

 

 

ATC

$13

73

13

59

14

.318

 

 

Steamer

$11

70

14

64

10

.318

 

 

BAT X

$13

68

11

58

12

.322

$8

Tony Kemp

RotoWire

$10

52

8

35

8

.354

 

 

ATC

$7

50

7

36

8

.343

 

 

Steamer

$10

54

9

45

9

.351

 

 

BAT X

$5

45

5

31

8

.329

I am upset with myself for what I paid for Rosario. He was the 90th player nominated, and I allowed myself to get sucked in even though I already had Pham, Buxton and Benintendi contributing to my speed. I saw Rosario one of the last potential difference makers for speed, and his dual eligibility was an added bonus. I simply paid too much for the upside. Hernandez, like all three players here, has dual eligibility and I like him quite a bit as the leadoff hitter for Boston in front of that loaded offense. The addition of Trevor Story should cement Hernandez at the top of the lineup and should exceed most of the run projections you see below. Kemp should play every day as Oakland continues to dismantle its roster, something his projections do not yet reflect. No system has him playing more than 130 games, but when he does play, he gets on base and may run more frequently this season as Mark Kotsay looks for ways to generate offense without his Two Matts. 

Outfield

PAID

PLAYER

SYSTEM

PROJ $

RUNS

HR

RBI

SB

OBP

$17

Tommy Pham

RotoWire

$16

69

16

53

18

.349

 

 

ATC

NY$

67

16

54

14

.355

 

 

Steamer

NY$

62

15

53

12

.350

 

 

BAT X

NY$

74

18

58

14

.368

$24

Joey Gallo

RotoWire

$19

85

36

78

4

.345

 

 

ATC

$25

87

38

89

4

.346

 

 

Steamer

$25

91

41

100

4

.342

 

 

BAT X

$27

88

39

92

4

.351

$26

Byron Buxton

RotoWire

$15

71

25

63

14

.306

 

 

ATC

$20

81

29

72

15

.318

 

 

Steamer

$22

83

31

86

15

.317

 

 

BAT X

$24

81

30

73

16

.332

$19

Andrew Benintendi

RotoWire

$16

73

16

74

11

.340

 

 

ATC

$15

68

17

69

10

.337

 

 

Steamer

$17

68

17

68

12

.336

 

 

BAT X

$20

72

21

71

12

.344

There is plenty of talent in the outfield pool in the American League, and my intention was to acquire a good chunk of it. Those outfielders are listed in the order I acquired them as I looked for overall production from three targets while looking for one big power source. Pham has the skills, but has still not found a home for them yet. (Editor's Note: Pham signed with Cincinnati on Wednesday evening). I get his stats wherever he signs. Buxton has not exceeded even the 300 plate appearance plateau since the 2017 season, and this is the first time he has ever been on one of my teams. I quipped in the chat room that if any fantasy owner can relate to Buxton's injury history, it is me. Here is to hoping for just one minor injury this year for the Uber-talented kid. Benintendi is in a great spot in Kansas City as he is projected to hit in the middle of the lineup and play every day, contributing across all five categories. If he is going to hit in front of Santana, he should have opportunities to be in motion to help the club stay out of the double play assuming Salvador Perez is not on base in front of him. Gallo is cast in a completely different light in an OBP league such as this, and a full season in Yankee Stadium as he looks to improve his resume for free agency should be fun. 

Utility

PAID

PLAYER

SYSTEM

PROJ $

RUNS

HR

RBI

SB

OBP

$1

Jarren Duran

RotoWire

$11

64

11

38

17

.323

 

 

ATC

$5

48

9

37

12

.310

 

 

Steamer

$1

22

5

20

5

.305

 

 

BAT X

$6

49

9

37

11

.316

$6

Bradley Zimmer

RotoWire

$10

51

10

41

18

.336

 

 

ATC

$4

42

9

34

14

.313

 

 

Steamer

$3

28

7

25

8

.306

 

 

BAT X

$5

43

10

33

11

.308

Neither of these two players were on my list, yet there they are. I threw Duran because I saw several teams were low on projected steals and figured someone would say $2. That never came, so now I have a speed asset to deal once some teams crawl out of the gate. Zimmer was my last rostered player, and I went with him because he is a starting outfielder in Cleveland with the only true competition being himself. He has his flaws just as much as he still possesses crazy athleticism. He will hit down in the lineup and could end up in a platoon situation, but I am banking on Cleveland's affection for the running game here to help enhance Zimmer's value. 

Starters

PAID

PLAYER

SYSTEM

PROJ $

W

SV

K

ERA

WHIP

$25

Lucas Giolito

RotoWire

$20

12

0

205

3.49

1.10

 

 

ATC

$24

12

0

207

3.74

1.14

 

 

Steamer

$21

12

0

208

4.01

1.21

 

 

BAT

$23

13

0

203

4.03

1.20

$18

Sean Manaea

RotoWire

$12

13

0

131

3.89

1.19

 

 

ATC

$20

11

0

176

3.73

1.16

 

 

Steamer

$23

11

0

182

3.68

1.17

 

 

BAT

$25

10

0

176

3.73

1.16

$12

Michael Kopech

RotoWire

$13

9

0

166

3.42

1.19

 

 

ATC

$15

9

0

163

3.77

1.22

 

 

Steamer

$18

9

0

174

3.85

1.19

 

 

BAT

$13

9

0

159

4.15

1.27

$3

Zach Plesac

RotoWire

$8

8

0

112

4.07

1.13

 

 

ATC

$6

10

0

125

4.48

1.25

 

 

Steamer

$1

9

0

133

4.77

1.35

 

 

BAT

$7

10

0

120

4.61

1.27

$2

Zack Greinke

RotoWire

$5

9

0

110

4.47

1.22

 

 

ATC

$7

9

0

116

4.41

1.24

 

 

Steamer

$3

9

0

131

4.58

1.34

 

 

BAT

$1

9

0

107

4.76

1.34

$2

Dane Dunning

RotoWire

$2

7

0

103

4.19

1.36

 

 

ATC

$4

8

0

119

4.28

1.34

 

 

Steamer

$4

8

0

116

4.33

1.37

 

 

BAT

$6

9

0

115

4.33

1.34

You can see from the original plan that I did not intend to spend on two high-profile pitchers, but once I saw how the closer market played out (more later), I zagged and grabbed a pitcher at a bargain in Manaea after settling on Giolito early as my staff ace. I double-tapped the Chicago rotation, getting in on a good price for Kopech in the middle of the draft before spending late dollars to fill out the rotation. Dunning was the only late rounder I was targeting (see why), but jumped in on good prices for both Plesac and Greinke when others tried to sneak them through in dollar days. Overall, I'm happy with the balance of upside and volume with this rotation, but recognize the ERA risks in the back half of the rotation. Manaea's final value will be determined by where he is traded, and I am hoping it is to a contender with a nice ballpark. 

Relievers

PAIDPLAYERSYSTEMPROJ $WSVKERAWHIP
$12Craig KimbrelRotoWire$427773.131.04
  ATC 311923.411.14
  Steamer 44933.661.21
  BAT 311943.611.16
$5Jorge AlcalaRotoWire$5410713.841.13
  ATC 310693.951.21
  Steamer 34674.011.27
  BAT 310694.091.28
$5Michael FulmerRotoWire$8421653.321.26
  ATC 312603.761.26
  Steamer 36633.841.25
  BAT 212573.841.22

LABR and Tout use the same pitching categories, so I should have expected closer prices to be similar between the two leagues. I was hoping that two more weeks of moves would have added some more stability to the position, but once again, closer prices were above my desires.

CLOSER

LABR PRICE

TOUT PRICE

Liam Hendriks

$26

$23

Aroldis Chapman

$19

$23

Ryan Pressly

$20

$21

Raisel Iglesias

$23

$22

Emmanuel Clase

$20

$23

Jordan Romano

$17

$23

I went to $20 bid on every one of those guys in Tout, but was unwilling to go above that, so I then waited to grab Kimbrel near the end of the fourth trip around the virtual table hoping that he gets traded somewhere he can close. I then took the other options in Minnesota and Detroit at the same price, but feel like Fulmer has the more immediate path to saves with a shaky Gregory Soto as his main competition. I've expressed enough love for Alcala this winter, but Taylor Rogers is still around and a retooled Minnesota roster may be less willing to deal the reliever than I imagined they might be even a week ago. 

Reserves

PAIDPLAYERSYSTEMPROJ $RUNSHRRBISBOBP
$0Brett PhillipsRotoWire$6328279.295
  ATC$0257237.290
  Steamer$2247228.296
  BAT X$0257217.291
$0Leody TaverasRotoWire$83983114.314
  ATC-$1266219.297
  Steamer-$2164145.293
  BAT X-$1276207.296
PAIDPLAYERSYSTEMPROJ $WSVKERAWHIP
$0Tanner ScottRotoWire-$332594.501.50
  ATC-$132683.941.37
  Steamer$132723.511.32
  BAT$032633.521.38
$0Jose SuarezRotoWire$0701044.661.38
  ATC-$1801114.701.39
  Steamer$0801154.671.41
  BAT-$1801084.761.40

The reserve rounds were about drafting some upside and insurance plans. Phillips and Taveras allowed me to further add steals to my roster to trade to other places. I recognize I can use another power bat, so I am hoping I can look to move some speed for power as the market materializes in the early going. Scott is very much in the picture for saves in Baltimore with Tyler Wells now being stretched out, but Scott has had his chances before and has walked his way out of the opportunities. I can afford to let him sit on my bench to see how the late innings materialize in Baltimore. Suarez is an option in the six-man rotation for the Angels and someone that I can at least stream against the Oakland AAAthletics. 

I am happy with the overall product while recognizing there is some room for improvement in picking up some power and needing some breaks to catch saves. I used a similar approach to my 2021 LABR bullpen, leaving the draft with a questionable trio of Iglesias, Clase and Scott Barlow for a combined $22 and ended up leading the league in saves. I am not asking for that kind of return on my $22 investment this season and would gladly settle for finishing middle of the pack in saves. I have five multi-positional players on the roster, which is a bonus in mono leagues with shortstop being the only position for which I do not have an immediate second option on my roster. Given I have eight true outfielders on my roster and 11 players overall with outfield eligibility, that will be the strength I trade from should I need another shortstop.

Kudos to the folks at Fantrax, whose salary cap room software performed extremely well. I hope I never have to use it again for Tout Wars. I miss my friends and the fun we have when we are in the same room as we compete with one another. 

RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only MLB Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire MLB fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason Collette
Jason has been helping fantasy owners since 1999 at RotoJunkie, Fanball, Baseball Prospectus and now here at RotoWire. You can hear Jason weekly on many of the Sirius/XM Fantasy channel offerings throughout the season as well as on the Sleeper and the Bust podcast on iTunes. A ten-time FSWA finalist, Jason won the FSWA's Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year award in 2013 and the Baseball Series of the Year award in 2018 for Collette Calls.
MLB Barometer: 2022 All-Risers Team
MLB Barometer: 2022 All-Risers Team
Yahoo DFS Baseball: Tuesday Picks
Yahoo DFS Baseball: Tuesday Picks
DraftKings MLB: Tuesday Breakdown
DraftKings MLB: Tuesday Breakdown
MLB Picks Tonight: Expert MLB Bets for Tuesday, September 27
MLB Picks Tonight: Expert MLB Bets for Tuesday, September 27
FanDuel MLB: Tuesday Targets
FanDuel MLB: Tuesday Targets
MLB Bets at DraftKings Sportsbook: MLB Player Props and Picks for Tuesday, September 27
MLB Bets at DraftKings Sportsbook: MLB Player Props and Picks for Tuesday, September 27