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Touts About Their Tout Drafts/Auctions 2021

What were they thinking? Listen to them, read them:

Mixed Draft 12 (Draft board): Entrekin/Fast (podcast) | Flowers | Towers | Behrens | Fast (podcast) | Melchior ($) | Entrekin |

Mixed Draft 15 (Draft board): White | Short | Gamble | Verougstraete | Van Hook | Wiegert |

Draft and Hold (Draft Board): Williams/Anderson (podcast) | Sheets | Hegglund | Hegglund/Gianella (podcast) |

AL (Draft Board): Erickson | Liss | Bloomfield | Podhorzer | Gianella | Gianella/Hegglund (podcast) |

Mixed Auction 15 (Draft Board): Karabell | Swanay | Steinhorn | Sayre |

NL (Draft Board): Kreutzer | Albright | Zinkie | Cockroft/Zola |

Head to Head (Draft Board):

Tout Table: Down on the Farm

With Minor League baseball back, it’s time for the Touts to do some prospecting.

What prospects are you following closely? Is there an under the radar minor leaguer we should track?

Chris Liss (Rotowire, @Chris_Liss): Bobby Witt because I over drafted him in a few leagues. Think Josh Lowe might get a shot once injuries strike in Tampa too.

Scott Pianowski (Yahoo! Fantasy Sports, @Scott_Pianowski): I almost never pick wait-for-them rookies in non-keeper leagues, but I couldn’t help myself with Jarred Kelenic (call me crazy, but I think his floor is Kyle Tucker). I’m hoping the Mariners feel more pressure than usual to get their best team on the field, and maybe that means Julio Rodriguez comes up this year, too. As for pitchers, I’m expecting MacKenzie Gore to get a chance in San Diego this year and be a contributor, either as a rotation guy or a wipeout, fire-breathing reliever. Fantasy baseball has never been more reliever-friendly – as the wins keep moving away from starters – so it won’t bother me if Gore isn’t starting right away.

Nando Di Fino (The Athletic, @nandodifino): I’m still hooked on Rylan Bannon — .280 avg and .375 OBP in 292 career games; he hit 22 HRs in 2018 (and 10 in 40 games in 2017, then dropped off a little in 2019) and Baltimore’s current second basemen are both hitting below .165.

Jock Thompson (Baseball HQ, @JOCKatHQ): My top under-the-radar guy is no more; happy to say I was able to pick up Shane McClanahan in one of my keeper/dynasty leagues. Right now given what’s happening to BAs, look for hit tools. On that note, I’m also high on Tyler Soderstrom (OAK catcher), at least for dynasty play (obviously he won’t show in OAK this year). Hit tool and power, potential fast-tracker.

Tim McLeod (Prospect361.com, @RunTMcP361 ): Pedro Leon. Carlos Correa appears to be heading into Free Agency after turning down a six-year $120 mill offer. Leon will be playing the bulk of his time at SS this year as he attempts to knock the rust off after coming over from Cuba. Keep your eyes on this kid as the power/speed combination and fast-tracking by the Astros, could make him a very alluring pickup in Keeper leagues for 2022.

Peter Kreutzer (Ask Rotoman, Fantasy Baseball Guide, @kroyte): For selfish reasons (I took them on reserve in my AL only league) I’m tracking Brandon Marsh, Vidal Brujan, and Trevor Larnach, looking forward to minor league games, expecting new news to topple expectations both for the good and the bad. Marsh is coming back from injury, Brujan is wicked fast, and Larnach is young, but all will be fantasy valuable sometime (though not necessarily this year).

Brian Walton (CreativeSports2, @B_Walton): As I specialize in the St. Louis Cardinals, I will comment on them here. Left-handers Zack Thompson and Matthew Liberatore jumped over Double-A and are in a race to be first to be called up later this summer, though likely in a relief role before competing for the 2022 rotation. At Double-A, watch catcher Ivan Herrera and power threat Nolan Gorman, who is learning 2B to go with 3B. Both are potential 2022 contributors but will move up as quickly as they show they are ready.

Rob Leibowitz (Rotoheaven, @rob_leibowitz): I’m going to keep an eye on Kyle Isbel. He won the starting job out of spring training only to play sporadically and get sent back down after an out of character high strikeout rate. He only has the platoon of Dyson/Taylor in front of him. Potential 20/20 talent with on-base skills. They pushed him to the Majors aggressively, but am interested to see if he can stabilize and get some reps in AAA to get him comfortable again.

Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola): I’ll let those better versed in the minors share their names (of which I am very much interested). As a guy who tries to keep updated rest-of-season projections (where the playing time is far more important than the numbers), I really missed knowing how each team’s organizational depth was playing. You know, either Quad-A guys or journeyman signed to minor league deals. As an example, Josh Reddick was signed by Arizona and with all their outfield injuries, he could get a shot, but I have no idea how he’s performing at the alternate training site.

James Anderson (Rotowire, @RealJRAnderson): Jarred Kelenic, Logan Gilbert, Jo Adell, Bobby Bradley, Wander Franco are some obvious ones. Obviously pitching prospects are volatile for health and performance, but Matt Manning, Jackson Kowar and Alek Manoah are some great pitching prospects who are at Triple-A and could be up in a month or two. Josh Lowe and Travis Swaggerty are some under-the-radar power/speed guys on the hitting side.

Doug Dennis (BaseballHQ, @dougdennis41): I don’t typically care for re-draft leagues, but for dynasty (XFL) I care a great deal and try to monitor everything I can get my hands on. I really look at shortstops (who often end up playing other positions anyway) and look for bat to ball skills and at least some pop. I’ll be interested in where this year’s July draft class goes. The youngest player I am tracking right now is Jadyn Fielder who is a 16 yo HS junior (son of Prince, grandson of Cecil).

Ryan Bloomfield (BaseballHQ, @RyanBHQ): To be brutally honest, the prospect game is my “know your limitations” blind spot for fantasy. I don’t pretend to know and track prospects, so I lean on the great work of three sites: BaseballHQ (all scouting reports geared towards fantasy), RotoWire (for lists and evals; James Anderson does a great job), and Prospects Live (for in-person video/reports). Putting the time in to read these three outlets is a much better use of my time than trying to couch/stat-scout on my own.

Ray Flowers (Fantasy Guru, @BaseballGuys): I’m really not a big prospecting guy. With the need for production acute with all the injuries and in and out of the lineup stuff we gotta face, I infrequently invest in minor leaguers in re-draft leagues. That said, Vidal Brujan for his speed piece could be very interesting, but it might be Logan Gilbert who I’m most attracted to. Everyone talks about M. Gore, but what about Gilbert in 2021?

Brent Hershey (Baseball HQ, @BrentHQ): Jarren Duran (OF, BOS) was a slap-hitting speedster who looked like he hit his ceiling at Double-A in 2019 (28 SB, but hit .250/.300/.325 in 320 AB). But he spent 2020 at the alternate site reworking his swing to add some loft and power, and if you were a spring training highlights watcher, you saw some of the results, where 10 of his 16 hits went for extra bases (including 3 HR), and the Sox played him a lot (47 spring ABs). He’s now a power + speed guy who could play his way onto the Boston squad sometime this year, and given his SB ability, could make a difference in fantasy leagues.

Anthony Perri (Fantistics, @Anthony_Perri): Like most others I follow the top prospects, in redraft leagues, specifically those that can come in and have an immediate impact. I tend to focus on high k/9 pitchers or guys that steal bases. One under the radar guy that is starting to get a lot of buzz is CUBS OF prospect Brennen Davis. He’s going to be a 20-20 guy out of the gate, but you’ll probably have to wait until 2022 for that.

Jason Collette (Rotowire, @jasoncollette): Joe Ryan — could have the same type of impact in-season that Colin Poche had when he came up with TB. Ryan led the minor leagues with a 34% K-BB in 2019 across three levels. 183 strikeouts in 127.2 IP!

Matt Williams (NBC Sports Edge, @MattWi77iams): Josh Lowe (OF, Rays) is someone I am very interested in tracking. In 2019 the first baseman hit .252 with 18 home runs and 30 stolen bases in Double-A. There are strikeout issues, but Lowe has shown strong on-base skills that should alleviate some concern. Very athletic outfielder than has an exciting ceiling for fantasy.

Eric Karabell (ESPN, @karabelleric): Certainly the top of the Worcester lineup could find its way in Boston soon because the big league lineup has holes. Jarren Duran is stronger now and hitting for power and Jeter Downs is clearly going to hit and get on base enough. Watch Triston Casas, too I don’t know if he can make enough contact, but it’s not like Bobby Dalbec is, either

Grey Albright (RazzBall, @razzball): I just ask Itch from our site or Geoff from Prospects Live. That’s my advice. Find prospects guys you trust vs. trying to learn everyone. With that said, can Jarren Duran and Jarred Kelenic come up already? Just want to walk around like Chingy singing, “Right Jarr…Right Jarr…”

Alex Chamberlain (Rotographs, @DolphHauldhagen): Not even sure they count as prospects but I’m eager to continue monitoring Denyi Reyes (BOS) and Eli Morgan (CLE), both fringy command-first guys who seem like they could make an impact if they develop/refine legit secondaries. Morgan appears to come from a long line of pitchers in Cleveland (whether drafted or by trade) who did exactly that (Kluber, Bieber, Plesac, Civale), but he lacks velocity, which means he could end up more like the failure among this group (Tomlin). We’ll see!

Mike Gianella (Baseball Prospectus, @MikeGianella): Mostly prospects on my various teams so Triston Casas, Bobby Witt Jr., and C.J. Abrhams. There really isn’t anyone specific “under the radar” I’m looking at, but I tend to focus on AA and AAA rosters of bad teams in redraft leagues to see if someone like the 2019 iteration of Josh Rojas is lurking.

Mike Podhorzer (Fangraphs, @MikePodhorzer): I rarely follow prospects, as it’s easier to check the minor league leaderboards and dive deeper into who’s actually performing well and deserving of a call-up, rather than follow specific top prospects to see if they are performing well.

Anthony Aniano (Rotoballer, @AAnianoFantasy): Bobby Witt is the prospect I am monitoring. What position is he playing? Has he cut down on his strikeouts? With KC overachieving he can have impact if recalled. An under the radar prospect is Ronny Mauricio of the Mets. He’s now blocked at SS by Lindor but can be a nice trade chip and walk into playing time if the Mets move him during the year.

Perry Van Hook (Mastersball, @): Most of you know how extensive my prospect lists are on Mastersball. BUT in redraft leagues we are only concerned with those who will definitely help this year. Gore, Padres pitcher is the highest rated of the ml pitchers and should have some time this year (especially if Lamet goes back on the IL). One ranked lower but who almost started for Oakland in April is Daulton Jefferies but he starts the minor league season on the IL with bicep tendonitis but should be pitching by late this month or early June. The key with many prospects is how their ML teams handle them so as good as Wander Franco is, will Tampa Bay call him up before September? If there is an injury at SS or 2B, maybe. Those far more likely to see time by next month would be Kelenic in Seattle or Witt in KC – and Witt is playing both 2B and OF in the minors to increase his chances IF the Royals can stay in contention in the AL Central.

Scott Swanay (FantasyBaseballSherpa, @fantasy_sherpa): Jarren Duran is probably the minor leaguer I’m most interested in following this year (well, it’s actually Jasson Dominguez, but he’s not going to help anyone’s fantasy teams this season). Also rooting for a local kid, Chris McMahon who had the misfortune of being drafted as a pitcher by the Colorado Rockies last year – his best hope for a fruitful major league career is to be traded to another organization as part of a bigger deal.

Shelly Verougstraete (Dynasty Guru, @ShellyV_643): Outside of the names already mentioned, I’d add Edward Olivares, Jesus Sanchez, Lewin Diaz, and JJ Bleday. As for pitchers, Jackson Kowar, Matt Manning, and Corbin Martin.

Glenn Colton (Fantasy Alarm, @GlennColton1): Logan Gilbert on the pitching side and Jarren Duran on the hitting side. After all, even before Paxton got hurt, the Mariners needed Gilbert and do we really think Franchy is going to not only get out of this horrific slump but also stay healthy too? Nah

Greg Jewett (Fantasy Alarm, @gjewett9): Tracking closely resembles many on this list: Bobby Witt Jr., Logan Gilbert, Jarren Duran (speed) and Wander Franco. An under the radar player of interest, Josiah Gray. Los Angeles refutes they will promote him for the fifth spot in the rotation, right now. However, this organization plugs holes well with a next man up modus operandi. Gray could join the team early June in a Dustin May like role from last season as a spot starter, long reliever. A chance at vulture wins with strikeouts makes him someone worth tracking early on in his Triple-A outings.

Jeff Boggis (Fantasy Football Empire, @JeffBoggis): The domino effect of the release of Albert Pujols may make room for top under the radar prospects Jo Adell or Brandon Marsh to get an earlier call up. With Pujols no longer with the Angels, Jared Walsh will move to first base. This opens up right field for either Adell or Marsh. Brandon Marsh is coming off a shoulder issue, so let’s hope this is not a lingering injury.

Bret Sayre (Baseball Prospectus, @BretSayreBP): At the outset of the season, I’m going to be watching closely a bunch of players who don’t have a pro ball track record to see how quickly they acclimate to the climate. On the hitting side, I’ve got a close eye on Austin Martin and Nick Gonzales as potentially fast movers who are looking to make good on big-time amateur promise. On the pitching side, well, as many names as I can. So much can change with pitchers in 20 months and that’s exactly how long it’s been since we’ve seen any of them in games. As for an under-the-radar prospect, I still absolutely love the skill set Keoni Cavaco brings to the table and the potential five-category contributor is getting his first taste of full-season ball this year.

Mike Sheets (ESPN, @MikeASheets): Some of the guys I’m most excited about are players on my dynasty team (go figure), so I have a vested interest in guys like Noelvi Marte, Triston Casas, Jarren Duran, and Michael Harris. Harris might be the name that’s most intriguing right now. There’s so much hype in the Braves organization that he’s starting to quickly ascend prospect lists. I’m excited to see whether he can live up to that hype.

Zach Steinhorn (CreativeSports2, @zachsteinhorn): I drafted Logan Gilbert in the reserve rounds in Tout Wars, so for selfish reasons, I’ll be closely monitoring his progress. Heading into the season, Gilbert was viewed as arguably the most big-league ready starting pitching prospect, but it sounds like the Mariners will be taking a cautious approach, preferring to call him up later in the season and have him close out the year in the bigs as opposed to shutting him down early due to innings restrictions. Gilbert will be making his Triple-A debut on Friday night, so hopefully he will pitch so well in the coming weeks that the Mariners will have little choice but to promote him sooner rather than later.

Vlad Sedler (Fantasy Guru, @rotogut): Many of the usual suspects but specifically tracking four guys I’ve invested in who I’m hoping can help some of my fantasy squads this season: Kelenic, Witt Jr., Duran and Gilbert.

Tout Wars FAAB Report: May 9

Here are the winning bids for the six Tout Wars leagues using a free agent budget for weekly pickups. Click on the heading for each league to see the standings, roster and all the moves.

American League

PlayerTeamBid
TLarnach, MinDoug Dennis 337
TWard, LAAHoward Bender 181
SEspinal, TorHoward Bender 44
KGarlick, MinJason Collette 25
HRamirez, CleRyan Bloomfield 15
HYang, TexDoug Dennis 10
JSprings, TBRob Leibowitz 7
JKing, TexHoward Bender 4
VBrujan, TBRyan Bloomfield 3
GGreiner, DetMike Gianella 2
AManoah, TorJeff Erickson 2
NGordon, MinPatrick Davitt 2
BGoodwin, CWSMike Podhorzer 2
GGallegos, StLPaul Sporer 2
WDavis, KCChris Liss 1
JRodriguez, SeaChris Liss 1
AAllen, OakRick Wolf/Glenn Colton 1
JHeim, TexRick Wolf/Glenn Colton 1
PGosselin, LAAJeff Erickson 1
JStallings, PitAriel Cohen 1
KEmanuel, HouPatrick Davitt 0
JDavis, TorRob Leibowitz 0
KPlawecki, BosDoug Dennis 0
SRomo, OakLarry Schechter 0

National League

PlayerTeamBid
SDuggar, SFScott Wilderman 47
TFrazier, PitDerek Carty 42
HKim, SDPhil Hertz 33
TCahill, PitPeter Kreutzer 23
RSmith, AriPeter Kreutzer 22
MAdams, ColTodd Zola 17
CJoe, ColPhil Hertz 12
TStokes, PitCraig Mish 12
AVoth, WasSteve Gardner 8
LBrinson, MiaScott Wilderman 7
JPeraza, NYMPeter Kreutzer 3
PReyes, MilGrey Albright 3
IVargas, ChCCraig Mish 2
WHarris, WasPhil Hertz 2
RBrothers, ChCScott Wilderman 2
JMercer, WasDerek Carty 0
DFloro, MiaFred Zinkie 0
HOwen, PitPeter Kreutzer 0
MagSierra, MiaTristan H. Cockcroft 0
AAlmora, NYMTristan H. Cockcroft 0

Mixed Salary Cap

PlayerTeamBid
JDiekman, OakJustin Mason 69
TLarnach, MinDerek VanRiper 57
TTaylor, MilScott Engel 56
GCanning, LAAEric Karabell 55
PFairbanks, TBScott Swanay 48
YGomes, WasZach Steinhorn 48
HRamirez, CleScott Engel 44
TRogers, SFScott Swanay 38
LGarcia, HouAlex Chamberlain 34
HRenfroe, BosIan Kahn 32
BTreinen, LADDerek VanRiper 22
DVogelbach, MilIan Kahn 18
KPillar, NYMIan Kahn 18
BCrawford, SFJeff Zimmerman 13
JHeim, TexIan Kahn 13
MDuffy, ChCMichael Rathburn 9
MAndujar, NYYJustin Mason 5
VCaratini, SDAlex Chamberlain 2
ZCollins, CWSJeff Zimmerman 1

Mixed Draft

PlayerTeamBid
TAnderson, PitSeth Trachtman 35
WContreras, AtlD.J. Short 35
AManoah, TorTim McLeod 22
SCoonrod, PhiTim McLeod 16
TLarnach, MinScott White 13
DJansen, TorRay Murphy 8
BCrawford, SFAdam Ronis 8
HCastro, DetPerry Van Hook 4
SDuggar, SFPerry Van Hook 4
DKeuchel, CWSPerry Van Hook 4
ASlater, SFScott White 2
VBrujan, TBScott White 1
SBrown, OakShelly Verougstraete 0
TTaylor, MilScott White 0
TMay, NYMScott White 0
CGreen, NYYScott White 0

Head to Head

PlayerTeamBid
JRoss, WasRyan Hallam 54
JRojas, AriAndrea LaMont 53
RRodriguez, PitAndrea LaMont 37
NPearson, TorFrank Stampfl 28
KPillar, NYMDan Strafford 25
HRenfroe, BosAndrea LaMont 25
MMaldonado, HouRyan Hallam 22
MFoltynewicz, TexChris Welsh 21
JNaylor, CleGreg Jewett 18
ELongoria, SFAndrea LaMont 15
YGomes, WasAndrea LaMont 11
MRojas, MiaNick Pollack 11
RGrossman, DetNick Pollack 11
SBrown, OakChris Welsh 6
EFedde, WasAriel Cohen 6
JHoffman, CinAriel Cohen 6
MPerez, BosAndrea LaMont 5
WContreras, AtlClay Link 4
LPatino, TBFrank Stampfl 4

Mixed with IP & Saves+Holds

PlayerTeamBid
BBelt, SFRon Shandler 47
WContreras, AtlJake Ciely 45
AHays, BalAlex Fast 35
BCrawford, SFJake Ciely 30
WMiley, CinAlex Fast 30
JHarrison, WasRay Flowers 29
BSinger, KCChris Towers 16
RHill, TBJake Ciely 15
WAstudillo, MinAndy Behrens 13
JCandelario, DetDoug Anderson 13
HBader, StLJake Ciely 10
JTrevino, TexAndy Behrens 7
JFeyereisen, MilDoug Anderson 6
WCastro, DetAndy Behrens 5
NMazara, DetJim Bowden 3
BAnderson, MiaChris Towers 2
ABarnes, LADChris Towers 1

Tout Daily: Clean Slate

The first three Golden Tickets have been awarded. Congratulations to Andy Behrens, Derek Carty and Brian Entrekin for booking a trip to the Tout Daily Championships. Here are some of the picks the participants hope get them on their way in Period 2.

Jeff Boggis (Fantasy Football Empire, @JeffBoggis)

Pitcher: Nick Pivetta – I planned on paying up for deGrom at $11,000, but he was a late scratch tonight. Holding my breath and going with Nick Pivetta against the lowly Detroit Tigers. What could possibly go wrong? Exhale.

Hitter: J.D. Martinez – Salary = $5,800. Martinez has been the 3rd best fantasy producer over the past 30 days and the 2nd best fantasy producer over the 2021 season. To date, he has a better batting average and more RBI than Ronald Acuna Jr.

Brian Entrekin (Benched with Bubba, @bdentrek)

Pitcher: Jacob deGrom/Johan Oviedo – Yeah, pretty simple here. Play the best pitcher on the planet and see where the other chips fall. I do not care how chalky he is, he’s the best play, period. If looking for a punt look in the same game at Johan Oviedo who has been stretched out to 86 pitches in his last start, is getting swings and misses, and faces one of the worst run producing offense in baseball.

Hitter: Xander Bogaerts – The Red Sox should be a major stack tonight going up against Fulmer and the Detroit pen, and Xander should be your main piece. He is hitting near .350 this season with power and speed. Xander is producing double-digit fantasy points on the regular of late and should be in for another tonight. I would not be shocked if he puts at least one over the Green Monster tonight.

Howard Bender (Fantasy Alarm, @RotobuzzGuy)

Pitcher: Nick Pivetta – He’s usually the last guy I would ever endorse, given the years of suffering from his blow-ups, but this is a pretty easy call for the price tag. The Tigers have the second-highest strikeout rate vs RHP (29%), a dismal .275 wOBA and have a 31st-ranked 77 wRC+ to boot. Even I couldn’t get Pivetta’d tonight, could I?

Hitter: Austin Meadows – Stats are always waiting to correct themselves and this seems like the perfect place to hang out while they do. Meadows is far too good a hitter to post numbers this atrocious for much longer and once he rights the ship, the price tag is going to skyrocket. I’ll take him against a tomato can like Alex Cobb any day of the week at this price.

Shelly Verougstraete (Dynasty Guru, @ShellyV_643)

Pitcher: Jacob deGrom – deGrom has been lights out this year and while I don’t expect the Mets to give him any run support he is ‘set it and forget it’

Hitter: Michael Conforto – After a slow start, Conforto has been hitting .324/.405/.595 during his last ten games and a $3,600 price is oh so nice.

Zach Steinhorn (CreativeSports2, @zachsteinhorn)

Pitcher: Trevor Bauer – He’s picked up right where he left off last year, allowing 2 ER or fewer in five of his first six starts to go along with a plethora of punchouts. Also, Draftkings awards a bonus for complete games, and Bauer could easily go the distance in this seven-inning game.

Hitter: Alex Kirilloff – At $3,200, his price hasn’t caught up to his production. Take advantage while you can.

Ryan Bloomfield (BaseballHQ, @RyanBHQ)

Pitcher: Aaron Nola – No Yelich, no Cain, no problem.

Hitter: Kyle Tucker – Only hitting .188 this year, but that’s hiding some pretty decent underlying skills. The strikeout rate is fine, he’s making hard contact, and runs a little whenever he does get on. Lefty bat in Yankee Stadium can’t hurt, either.

Phil Hertz (BaseballHQ, @prhz50)

Pitcher: Jacob deGrom – best pitcher in baseball. WARNING: the last time I picked him, he got bombed and wound up on the IL.

Hitter: Dan Vogelbach – He’s batting third and the price is down right cheap.

Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola)

Pitcher: Trevor Bauer – I hope my colleagues get the news deGrom is scratched. I was going there, but I’ll go Bauer instead and hope for a cheap 7 inning CG as the nightcap of a twinbill

Hitter: Nick Solak – I’ll take the platoon edge from the two-hole

Tout Wars FAAB Results: May 2

Each Sunday, Tout Wars posts the results for the six leagues using a free agent budget to add players. Starting pitchers, outfielder and catchers were popular this week.

Here, see for yourself!

American League

PlayerTeamBid
SMcClanahan, TBRick Wolf/Glenn Colton 177
DanJohnson, CleChris Liss 67
DLynch, KCJeff Erickson 53
BPhillips, TBRob Leibowitz 18
DKremer, BalMike Gianella 14
MMaldonado, HouMike Gianella 7
JRojas, LAAJeff Erickson 5
PValaika, BalPatrick Davitt 4
CThielbar, MinMike Podhorzer 2
TChatwood, TorJason Collette 2
AHedges, ClePatrick Davitt 0
JAlcala, MinMike Gianella 0
RThompson, TBDoug Dennis 0
LCessa, NYYDoug Dennis 0
TMayza, TorDoug Dennis 0
MPerez, BosPatrick Davitt 0
RUrias, BalMike Gianella 0

National League

PlayerTeamBid
MTauchman, SFGrey Albright 123
ELauer, MilPeter Kreutzer 104
YHernandez, WasBrian Walton 85
WContreras, AtlPeter Kreutzer 82
MBeaty, LADSteve Gardner 78
KTom, PitTodd Zola 63
IDiaz, MiaScott Wilderman 24
JNottingham, MilTodd Zola 17
MDiaz, SDTodd Zola 13
DMaples, ChCBrian Walton 5
SLeon, MiaBrian Walton 2
AYoung, AriCraig Mish 2
ATrejo, ColCraig Mish 1
SCoonrod, PhiPhil Hertz 0
THill, SDFred Zinkie 0
AKnapp, PhiFred Zinkie 0
MCastro, NYMFred Zinkie 0
MJoyce, PhiScott Wilderman 0

Mixed Salary Cap

PlayerTeamBid
DLynch, KCCJ Kaltenbach 114
GRichards, BosMichael Rathburn 79
SMcClanahan, TBScott Engel 71
MDubon, SFScott Engel 49
JNaylor, CleCJ Kaltenbach 47
NGoodrum, DetBret Sayre 45
RMontero, SeaEric Karabell 44
LPatino, TBBrent Hershey 43
CIrvin, OakMichael Rathburn 39
MTauchman, SFMichael Rathburn 37
WAstudillo, MinScott Swanay 28
BMiller, PhiBret Sayre 21
AHouser, MilJeff Zimmerman 18
EFedde, WasIan Kahn 15
AKnizner, StLIan Kahn 13
JTrevino, TexBrent Hershey 13
YHernandez, WasIan Kahn 13
WContreras, AtlMichael Rathburn 6
MStassi, LAAJeff Zimmerman 3
ABarnes, LADJustin Mason 2
MMoreland, OakDerek VanRiper 2
MZunino, TBCJ Kaltenbach 1

Mixed Draft

PlayerTeamBid
MTauchman, SFCharlie Wiegert 66
AHouser, MilCharlie Wiegert 55
LGarcia, HouMichael Beller 37
CPache, AtlTim McLeod 35
JOviedo, StLTim McLeod 27
SMcClanahan, TBScott White 27
YHernandez, WasPerry Van Hook 23
JHapp, MinPerry Van Hook 23
JGray, LADTim McLeod 17
MGivens, ColScott White 17
RStephenson, ColScott White 14
MPerez, BosTom Kessenich 11
LWeaver, AriRay Murphy 6
JSheffield, SeaRudy Gamble 6
NMaton, PhiPerry Van Hook 4
HRenfroe, BosSeth Trachtman 1
JCastro, HouD.J. Short 1
SHaggerty, SeaShelly Verougstraete 1
RZimmerman, WasTom Kessenich 1
CRodriguez, LAAShelly Verougstraete 1
MZunino, TBCJ Kaltenbach 1
RHill, TBAdam Ronis 0

Head to Head

PlayerTeamBid
SMcClanahan, TBGreg Jewett 109
JAguilar, MiaClay Link 73
KHigashioka, NYYGreg Jewett 63
GRichards, BosLou Blasi 57
CMartinez, StLLou Blasi 51
TONeill, StLLou Blasi 48
JJunis, KCAriel Cohen 48
DLynch, KCClay Link 42
JStaumont, KCRalph Lifshitz 37
DVarsho, AriGreg Jewett 36
AAlzolay, ChCFrank Stampfl 34
KGraveman, SeaRyan Hallam 27
LWebb, SFAndrea LaMont 25
AFrazier, PitFrank Stampfl 21
BBelt, SFNick Pollack 15
AWainwright, StLNick Pollack 15
DNunez, ColAndrea LaMont 15
EFedde, WasAndrea LaMont 12
PSmith, AriPaul Sporer 11
JHarrison, WasNick Pollack 9
LWeaver, AriAriel Cohen 8
JRojas, LAAAriel Cohen 5
GGallegos, StLPaul Sporer 2
JStallings, PitAriel Cohen 1

Mixed with IP & Saves+Holds

PlayerTeamBid
ADeSclafani, SFChris Towers 87
JStaumont, KCChris Towers 67
CIrvin, OakBrian Entrekin 47
DNunez, ColRon Shandler 43
LUrias, MilAndy Behrens 41
TONeill, StLBrian Entrekin 37
JProfar, SDAl Melchior 29
NPivetta, BosBrian Entrekin 22
KHigashioka, NYYAl Melchior 22
WCalhoun, TexAl Melchior 22
MZunino, TBJennifer Piacenti 18
MStraw, HouRay Flowers 16
MWacha, TBJeff Boggis 6
TAnderson, PitJeff Boggis 6
JJunis, KCRon Shandler 5

Tout Table: In Season Rules Changes

With COVID-19 still affecting MLB, along with other non-pandemic issues, we asked the Touts:

Are there any circumstances to trigger a rules change after the draft? If yes, what is the best process by which to enact the change?

Patrick Davitt (BaseballHQ, @patrickdavitt): I think there must be, but they’d have to be circumstances so dire that the potential outcomes of the season would be affected in a way that reasonable people recognize as unfair. I can’t think of an example. Maybe if some kind of disaster wiped out several MLB teams all at once. Even at that, if a workaround could be figured out by the combined effort of the team managers, that would be preferable. As for approving any change, my inclination would be to exclude the team managers, especially if the disaster gave some teams an unearned advantage. In an ideal world, all the owners would vote the best interests of the league. But experience suggests that team managers will vote often team interests first.

Matt Williams (NBC Sports Edge, @MattWi77iams): Only if there was a tangible change in which the game or schedule is played. Covid related IL last season was a good example. This season it seemed like a leagues innings minimum may have been something that could have required a rule change due to the pitching landscape. But overall it’s hard to imagine a rule change taking place. Either way I would say unanimous league vote would be required to change any setting.

Chris Liss (Rotowire, @Chris_Liss): There is one: Unanimous consent of the owners. Otherwise, I wouldn’t change mid-stream.

Derek Carty (RotoGrinders, @DerekCarty): The circumstances would have to be extreme, or else (and probably regardless) you would need to have unanimous consent of all owners. Ideally, you would have mechanisms in place in the league constitution for how to handle situations like this so that everybody goes into the league aware of the possibility. But there is so much strategy that goes into drafting and managing a fantasy baseball team that changing the rules mid-way through the year without everyone being on board can unfairly alter the playing field and is not an approach I’d generally advise.

Ariel Cohen (CBS Sports, @ATCNY): The first item to note, as Chris Liss did – is that any change after the league has started (after the draft) … has to be approved by anyone. Not just a simple majority, or super majority – it should be unanimous. But as far as circumstances … this is the COVID era … a rule change can result from literally anything. To give two real life examples that happened to me: 1) Last year, I was involved in a league with weekly transactions and no lineup changes. With COVID cancelling weeks worth of games at a time, the request was to amend the rules to allow midweek IL replacements. All teams agreed. Unfortunately, the stats provider was not able to alter the format for us after the season began – but we would have accepted it. 2) In one league, after the normal trade deadline expired, a few teams asked the commish to allow an extra week of trading. The commish put it to a majority vote, and not a unanimous one. I voted against it, being in first place by a wide margin. Long story short … the commish opened up the trading. The 2nd place team made a large trade with the last place team, meanwhile I attempted a similar trade, which was vetoed. I ended losing the league on the last day of the season. In my opinion, the league acted unfairly. If everyone would have agreed to extend the deadline – then I would have no problem with it.

Perry Van Hook (Mastersball, @): After the draft? In general a hard NO… but if your league does not have unlimited IR slots, this is the year to adjust to current conditions and expand or introduce IR slots. There are many players in all these types of leagues who reserve lists are filled with injured players and it detracts from the operation of the league as well as the enjoyment of individual owners to have to cut a player they drafted to add a replacement.

Grey Albright (RazzBall, @razzball): Agree with Chris Liss — need unanimous consent. Otherwise it’s Mickey Mouse rules, and the Mickey Mouse season was last year.

Michael Florio (NFL Network, @MichaelFFlorio): Typically, I do not believe that there should be any rule changes made in season. But I am okay changing it if somethings unprecedented happens like Covid-19, which is why in both baseball and football home leagues we allowed a one time “replacement option” where you could tell the commissioner a player you would substitute in your lineup if someone missed time due to covid. This was a little easier to implement in football though. However, for any change, there should 100% be a league vote. There should have to be at the least a majority, if not a unanimous vote to change any rules in season.

Greg Ambrosius (NFBC, @GregAmbrosius): As a pay-to-play fantasy games operator, it’s absolutely a NO. Legally you can’t change the rules after the contest has begun. And trust me, with hundreds or thousands of people competing for prize money, you’d never get a consensus on a rules change. Definitely a NO after drafts begin.

Ryan Bloomfield (BaseballHQ, @RyanBHQ): I’m a “never say never” type, so yes, I’d leave open the possibilities to an in-season change if something is drastically wrong. Two caveats: 1) to Greg’s point, he’s contractually obligated to maintain the same rules given the stakes/money involved, so that makes sense, and 2) to Chris’ point, it must be a unanimous vote by ALL league members in order to enact the change.

Brian Walton (CreativeSports2, @B_Walton): To echo the others, “almost never” should be the answer. And even then, only if every league participant agrees. This will be very, very difficult to achieve once the season is underway since every owner has a vested position. And if you are in the minority and feel pressured to vote for a change you don’t agree with, it may be time to change leagues.

Toby Guevin (BatFlipCrazy Podcast, @batflipcrazy): Generally, no, since people drafted and have made moves with particular settings or rules in mind. That said, if the entire league agrees and the rule change is approved unanimously then sure.

Jim Bowden (Fantasy Alarm, @JimBowdenGM): No in my opinion once the draft is completed rules should not be subjected to change unless the owners vote unanimously

Brad Johnson (Patreon/BaseballATeam, @BaseballATeam): The old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” seemingly applies. It’s important to have a high standard when determining if something is broken. A lopsided trade, for example, might highlight an issue that needs to be addressed after the season. Most issues you encounter will fall in this basket. An obvious example of a potential post-draft change from 2020-2021 might be to institute an auxiliary COVID-IL or simply increase IL slots by some number. Even that strikes me as an optional adjustment. I can imagine a few scenarios with leagues using custom rules where unintended consequences wreck the game and require immediate remedy. Going against the grain, I don’t believe unanimous consent should be required. A super majority will do.

Tim McCullough (Baseball Prospectus, @TimsTenz): I agree with the general consensus here that it would be no. However, if by some miracle MLB and the Player’s association were to a agree on a change to the rules of the game that would drastically influence the fairness of the fantasy baseball game, then it might be necessary to make a change. In that extreme circumstance, the entire league would have to agree to such a change, especially if there was money on the line.

Lou Blasi (Fantistics, @LouBlasi): In my eyes, it depends. Leagues involving money and payouts to me are contracts and present a set conditions under which the leagues were conducted during the draft and the early season. No one should involuntarily be subjected to a change that sets them at a disadvantage because they planned for the original rules. Now, if a rule change is necessary that everyone agrees upon, then have at it. If everyone agrees that the change makes the experience better and doesn’t negatively affect them, there’s no reason not to make the changes … In leagues where money isn’t a factor, the standard for an in-season rule change is lower. Unless the considered change completely dismantles a team’s draft strategy (or multiple teams) because it fundamentally changes the game, it should be considered if it makes the league better. In general, dealing with COVID and the increase in injuries means commissioners have to walk a fine line between deep enough rosters to deal with these issues and deep enough waiver pools to deal with these issues. I feel it means expanded injury rosters, but strict reactivation of players once they are no longer injured. The real problem to avoid is the stockpiling of players on rosters while other teams need warm bodies.

Dr. Roto (FullTime Fantasy, @DrRoto): This is a very slippery slope. There are many times when a rule change midseason makes total sense. However, players agreed to play by a certain set of rules and to change them midseason seems incredibly unfair. I would agree with all here who said that unanimous is the only way to change them–and even then I am not sure I feel great about it.

Ray Flowers (Fantasy Guru, @BaseballGuys): If a change is to be made after the draft, I agree with others, has to be unanimous. Other than an obvious – we forget to note what time the lineups need to be set each week kinda thing, I’m honestly not up for changing the rules once games start. Everyone could agree that we should add IL spots now with everyone being hurt, but it is too late for that. Even though I would vote “yes” in theory that we should have had more IL spots, wiser heads would need to just say no. Everyone could read the rules before the season started. Most folks don’t, and then they are surprised when things get missed. Too bad. Changes… they gotta wait til next year.

Jeff Zimmerman (Fangraphs, The Process, @jeffwzimmerman): The only time in my opinion should be if MLB changes the game like a longer or shorter schedule. Sometimes innings and at limits are in place based on a certain season length. Now, if MLB changes course, and only then, a 75% vote is needed to put in the changes. I’m not for 100% because there is likely an owner or two who could benefit from the unforeseen change, be an ass, and not vote for the change.

Phil Hertz (BaseballHQ, @prhz50): Only in the rarest of circumstances like a pandemic and even then only minor changes and only if there’s close to unanimity. For example, very early in the season, my “home” league added one IL slot after it became apparent that there would be extra players headed there due to COVID. Even then, the league is going to review the modification around June 1 to see if it’s still needed. Generally rule changes should be for succeeding seasons.

Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola): Here is my issue with unanimous. I’ll admit this is a personal thing, your mileage may vary, but I feel league votes should be for the good of the league and not for the benefit of my team. Sure, it can happen, but the chances of 100% in favor, without someone feeling the change hurts their team is remote. Well, maybe not remote, but it lessens the chance. That said, I’m adamant any rule which would have caused something different in the draft or even choice of keepers should not even be considered.

Doug Dennis (BaseballHQ, @dougdennis41): I cannot see all scenarios, so I would want to judge each situation on its own merits. I am not one to believe that you need unanimous for a rule change. Obviously there are some formats where a rules change is impossible, like NFBC. But there are other formats.

Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola): As for the question itself, once again I am selfishly calling upon the collective wisdom of the Touts to help steer me in the right direction as there is a real-life impetus for the query, and it isn’t related to a COVID-19 influenced scenario. Rather, something came up in a private league which was an unintended repercussion of a rule changed installed to begin the season. The suggested change would not have influenced the draft or keepers, but it is obviously anti to the rules as written. Those in favor of the change are using rules interpretation as the basis (and the league is largely lawyers, yay) but they’re wrong about that. Still, I have no problem with the change, but I do have an issue opening Pandora’s Box, for if we take a vote on this and it is changed, we’re essentially paving the way for future changes after the season begins which may have influenced the draft, but if you ever tried using logic when debating with lawyers, you know it isn’t a very successful tact. My reply to the league was I have no issue with the proposal, just think about what could ensue if we set precedent.

Frank Stampfl (Fantasy Pros, @Roto_Frank): Normally I’m big on “rules are rules” but unprecedented times call for flexibility, as long as it is UNANIMOUS within the league. I can completely understand why just one Fantasy manager might have issue with changing or setting new rules once the draft is over and if that happens, then I wouldn’t try to change anything.

Charlie Wiegert (CDM Sports, @GFFantasySports): Generally I’m against rule changes after the season starts because the basis for drafting your team was made using the rules. But a situation has occurred this year with the Covid-19 DL that needs clarification. It seems a team will place a player on the Covid-19 DL if he has come into contact with someone who has come into contact with someone who tested positive for Covid. The team makes him quarantine and get tested. After 72 hours if his tests are negative, he is removed from the DL and back on the yeam roster. In a cae of a pitcher, he might not even miss a start. What some of my leagues have done is adopted a rule that you can pick up a player for the covid -19 player put on the dl,, but if the players stay on the Covid -19 dl is less than 4 games, you do not get the stats from the replacement player, and the replacement player is automatically reinstated in your lineup.

Jeff Boggis (Fantasy Football Empire, @JeffBoggis): I am against any rule changes once the season starts because everyone’s draft strategy may involve specific league settings. In leagues that I play in where I am the Commish, anyone throughout the season or off season is permitted to submit a rule change. Any rule changes are voted upon each weekend, but must be unanimously accepted. One rule that was recently passed in my league was that we had 2 DL slots and we updated the slots for 2 DL slots and 2 Covid-specific slots. All things being equal, unless there is a pandemic going on, keep the rule changes for the off season.

Greg Jewett (Fantasy Alarm, @gjewett9): With the current landscape of players landing on the COVID-IL due to testing positive or side effects from vaccinations, it’s another headache for fantasy players. However, daily moves may need to become the norm in situations like this. For instance, in our H2H league, lost a close match-up due to a player locking on Friday then his games being cancelled on Saturday and Sunday due to COVID protocols. A replacement pitcher could have replaced him on Sunday changing my contest outcome. While it’s understandable league formats align with past practice, active and willing participants would adjust rosters daily. Just be sure pickups remain once a week to avoid streaming. With limited bench space, being able to replace a player lost to COVID without an injury list designation makes sense. In-season rules changes come with apprehension, but in these challenging environments, it’s applicable. In a home league, it can be put to a vote or enacted by a commissioner but take a pulse of the league participants to ensure equitable circumstances.

Glenn Colton (Fantasy Alarm, @GlennColton1): Rules changes AFTER the draft? Only in two circumstances: Unanimous agreement of the league without any pressure or a totally unforeseeable major change in the world or the sport (like when the leagues shut down after many fantasy baseball drafts last year)

Dan Strafford (FNTSY Radio, @DanStrafford): There is a very clear scenario where your league should adjust. It’s when Major League Baseball changes something leading into a season. Over the past two years, we’ve been subjected to a revolving down of potential changes to the CBA, season, and more. If MLB changes something after your draft, then by all means you should look to adjust. Beyond that, everyone drafted with the same set of variables in front of the, so nothing should change until next year’s constitution/rules are drawn up.

Shelly Verougstraete (Dynasty Guru, @ShellyV_643): Changing the rules after the draft has a begun is a big NO for me unless there is a unanimous opinion within the league. Sure, you might think that it is not a big deal to change this or that but it could be a big change in how another manager would approach the draft and player analysis.

Michael A. Stein (Fantasy Judgment, @FantasyJudgment): This is a common question I have received at Fantasy Judgment and the answer is really quite simple. The only circumstance where I would endorse changing a league’s rules after the draft is completed is if there is some material change in Major League Baseball (i.e., rules, schedule, statistics, etc.) or the world that has a significant, comprehensive effect on the entire league. If that happened, then a league could amend its rules with 100% participation and 100% agreement in a league-wide vote. A perfect example is last year’s truncated season where many leagues did add IL slots to accommodate players testing positive for COVID-19. Absent some monumental or catastrophic circumstance where the entire landscape of the league is affected, there should not be any changes to a league’s rules once the draft is complete.

Michael Beller (The Athletic, @MBeller): It’s already been said a few times, but I can add another voice to the chorus. If there’s a major change in MLB during the season, and/or if the managers in the league unanimously agree to a rule change. If that’s the case, no problem with a rules change. If it isn’t, you have to save the change for the following season.

Jock Thompson (Baseball HQ, @JOCKatHQ): There can absolutely be in-season rule changes, as long as the changes don’t impact roster structures or fantasy managers’ ability to play in the current season. The most obvious of these occurs when an owner finds a loophole and/or uses certain conditions to game the system. Consent isn’t difficult, usually done with input from all owners at the site or via e-mail; formal vote not necessary.

Ron Shandler (RonShandler.com, @RonShandler): Generally no, but it depends upon the league and the people in it. I have yet to find a league constitution that is an air-tight document and can account for every possible eventuality. So there may be circumstances when an in-season change could be even necessary. Take the unfortunate situation where a player dies in-season and a constitution that stipulates that players can only be replaced if placed on the IL or demoted. You can make an exception in that case, but it might be better to broaden the verbiage in the rule. Obviously, that an extreme case, but I can’t say that there aren’t other loopholes that might need to be addressed in-season. And yes, unanimous vote is a must.

Chris Welsh (Sportsgrid, @IsItTheWelsh): Before 2020, I would have answered this as a big, fat no. 2020 presented so many out-of-our-hand situations that I think it opened up eyes to the possibility of in-season rule changes. Now, I don’t believe just because of 2020, we should present changes left and right, but I think we have to ride the waves of alt-sites or expanded rosters or COVID like additions for IL usage. This CANNOT though be done solely by a manager. This has to be put to league vote. unanimous passing is probably the only way to do it. If you allow wiggle room for a 51/49 passage, it will lead to hurt feelings and people threatening to leave. Fantasy is supposed to be fun, so we should be open to expanding on our enjoyment, even at the cost of a change in-season.

Andy Behrens (Yahoo! Fantasy Sports, @andybehrens): If a commissioner is considering a change that might reasonably have impacted draft strategies, then of course they shouldn’t do it. Not only does it make for a terrible game experience, it’s also an awful precedent. But if a league unanimously agrees to, say, bump back the trade deadline by a week or add an IL slot in a COVID season, I think that’s perfectly fine. I’ve also heard of private leagues that mistakenly renewed with last season’s games and innings limits; in a situation like that, the commish obviously has to make adjustments.

Adam Ronis (Fantasy Alarm, @AdamRonis): Usually, the answer is an emphatic no. With COVID-19 I can see a change being made due to circumstances we haven’t seen in fantasy before. The change has to be agreed upon by the entire league. I did this before the year by adding IL spots. I haven’t come across anything so far to provide an example, but we need to at least be open to a potential change if we all agree it’s rational and makes sense to keep the game fun.

Scott Wilderman (OnRoto, @): We do see some league tweak rules during the season, but the changes are usually minor — transaction deadlines, or perhaps change the day for free agent pick ups. Beyond that, I think it does depend upon the league. No way in a big money league. I play in a pretty loose and laid back league, and injuries (non-covid) have been so pervasive this year that I’m going to propose we adopt some facility for mid-week replacements. I’ll see if I can get it passed for this year — that will be a data point.

Tout Daily Picks: Louchalk Giolito Night

The first three Golden Tickets will be awarded tonight as the first of five Tout Daily periods comes to a close. There are several Touts vying for entry into the Tout Daily Championships, here are some of the players the participants are count on.

Charlie Wiegert (CDM Sports, @GFFantasySports)

Pitcher: Buehler Scherzer – The two best pitchers on the slate and the best chance to get good pitching points, both good for 15-20. But you’ll pay the price with hitters!

Hitter: Eduardo Escobar – The priciest hitter in my lineup at $4500, he’s been good lately and could go deep vs Paddack at home! Everyone else under $4000, 5 below $3500!

Jeff Boggis (Fantasy Football Empire, @JeffBoggis)

Pitcher: Walker Buehler – Buehler? Buehler? Buehler? Look for the Reds hitters striking out at least nine times tonight. The league average for hitters striking out is 25% which the Reds average 29%. He struck out 12 hitters over his first three outings, but in his last start, he struck out nine San Diego Padres over seven innings. He leads all Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitchers with a team low 2.16 ERA.

Hitter: David Peralta – David Peralta feasts on opposing pitchers that throw a significant amount of changeups. Peralta faces changeup artist Chris Paddack tonight.

Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola)

Pitcher: Christian Javier – After the lowest points total in the history of this contest from someone actually putting in a lineup, I need to get back on track, so it’s back when I used to be good and used two top pitchers and figured out the rest.

Hitter: Tyrone Taylor – Paying top bucks for two arms means I need a couple punt plays. A leadoff hitter with the platoon edge against a weak arm in Miller Park American Family Field? Yes, please.

Zach Steinhorn (CreativeSports2, @zachsteinhorn)

Pitcher: Lucas Giolito – Fresh off a Fenway implosion, expect Giolito to bounce back in a big way versus a Tigers offense that ranks last in the majors in OPS and 4th in strikeouts.

Hitter: Avisail Garcia – Career .294/.357/.454 slash line versus left-handed pitching and Dan Castano shouldn’t scare you.

Phil Hertz (BaseballHQ, @prhz50)

Pitcher: Christian Javier – He’s less expensive than some of the bigger name pitchers and I like the Mariner match-up

Hitter: Jose Altuve – Aside from COVID, he’s been hitting well.

Steve Gardner (USAToday Fantasy Sports, @SteveAGardner)

Pitcher: Lucas Giolito – I’m with Zach here. Giolito will be out for blood tonight. Tiger blood. (Figuratively, of course.)

Hitter: Nico Hoerner – Hoerner’s a cheat code at $2500 leading off again for the Cubs and hitting a cool .429 in five games. Maybe his zero runs scored will scare off some people.

Shelly Verougstraete (Dynasty Guru, @ShellyV_643)

Pitcher: Lucas Giolito – Sure, GioDude’s last outing against the Red Sox was one of his worst starts in years but the Tigers offense is an excellent ‘soft’ landing spot.

Hitter: Justin Upton – Justin Upton looks like the Justin Upton of old and is going up against Folty. How can you say no?

Brad Johnson (Patreon/BaseballATeam, @BaseballATeam)

Pitcher: Lucas Giolito – I guess we’re all going to live or die by this ultra chalky rebound play. Easily the best pitcher projection in a top-heavy slate.

Hitter: Andrew Knizner – Kind of a poor man’s Yermin Mercedes. Has plus feel to hit (lacks Mercedes’ power) and also can’t catch worth a lick.

Anthony Aniano (Rotoballer, @AAnianoFantasy)

Pitcher: Lucas Giolito – 26 Ks in 18.2 IP and facing the Tigers who are 30th in runs per game this season. I’m in

Hitter: Alex Bregman – Bregman is hitting .370 with 2 of his 3 HRs versus lefties this season and he faces a LHP in Gonzales tonight in Houston.

Tout Wars FAAB Report: Sunday April 25

The final FAAB run of April featured fewer closer battles than usual but it was still an active period.

Please remember you can access the rosters, standings and transactions of all six Tout Wars FAAB Leagues by clicking on the section title

American League

PlayerTeamBid
ROHearn, KCMike Podhorzer 37
BHamilton, CWSRyan Bloomfield 23
JLyles, TexRick Wolf/Glenn Colton 13
HCastro, DetJason Collette 5
MFord, NYYMike Gianella 4
JUrena, DetJason Collette 3
AKittredge, TBDoug Dennis 3
BRooker, MinJeff Erickson 3
NGordon, MinPatrick Davitt 1
KPlawecki, BosMike Gianella 0

National League

PlayerTeamBid
NMaton, PhiLenny Melnick  75
JDevers, MiaScott Wilderman 38
GHeredia, AtlPeter Kreutzer 37
JMarisnick, ChCPeter Kreutzer 33
MDuffy, ChCPhil Hertz 24
ChGonzalez, ColPeter Kreutzer 23
LBrinson, MiaScott Wilderman 13
TFrazier, PitTodd Zola 13
ABlandino, CinBrian Walton 12
RHelsley, StLPhil Hertz 9
CRay, MilCraig Mish 8
KFarmer, CinPeter Kreutzer 6
AAdams, SDDerek Carty 1
TTaylor, MilTodd Zola 0
ACimber, MiaTodd Zola 0
CWallach, MiaTristan H. Cockcroft 0
JFeyereisen, MilTristan H. Cockcroft 0
MPerez, PitScott Wilderman 0
DPeters, LADSteve Gardner 0
JVosler, SFFred Zinkie 0

Mixed Salary Cap

PlayerTeamBid
RWeathers, SDDerek VanRiper 127
ARiley, AtlScott Swanay 112
ASlater, SFIan Kahn 93
DGerman, NYYScott Swanay 87
MBumgarner, AriIan Kahn 73
JRojas, AriJustin Mason 57
KKiermaier, TBScott Engel 49
ROdor, NYYBrent Hershey 46
JLyles, TexAlex Chamberlain 43
EAndrus, OakZach Steinhorn 28
WMiley, CinJeff Zimmerman 24
APujols, LAAIan Kahn 12
AGomber, ColDerek VanRiper 11
JStaumont, KCScott Pianowski 7
EGonzalez, PitMichael Rathburn 6
TWilliams, ChCEric Karabell 5
BMcKinney, MilScott Engel 5
GHeredia, AtlJeff Zimmerman 3
YDaza, ColMichael Rathburn 3
KHigashioka, NYYMichael Rathburn 3
NAhmed, AriAlex Chamberlain 3
KNewman, PitAlex Chamberlain 3
NLopez, KCAlex Chamberlain 3
DWilliams, MilJustin Mason 1
SHaggerty, SeaScott Pianowski 1
DHudson, WasZach Steinhorn 1

Mixed Draft

PlayerTeamBid
RWeathers, SDMichael Beller 121
RMontero, SeaScott White 117
AGarcia, TexTim McCullough 91
JStaumont, KCD.J. Short 75
NHoerner, ChCScott White 67
MMinor, KCTim McCullough 52
PEvans, PitTim McCullough 51
CFlexen, SeaTim McCullough 48
AHays, BalAdam Ronis 38
CFrazier, NYYScott White 37
ROdor, NYYRay Murphy 35
CIrvin, OakTim McCullough 32
CMartinez, StLAnthony Perri 23
PSmith, AriShelly Verougstraete 22
DGerman, NYYAdam Ronis 17
KKiermaier, TBAnthony Perri 16
AWainwright, StLCharlie Wiegert 14
EAndrus, OakTim McLeod 12
GHeredia, AtlPerry Van Hook 11
AGomber, ColPerry Van Hook 7
JRodriguez, TexTim McLeod 7
JLuplow, CleCharlie Wiegert 5
KHigashioka, NYYPerry Van Hook 4
WAstudillo, MinTom Kessenich 4
JDunn, SeaTom Kessenich 1
KSuzuki, LAARudy Gamble 0

Head to Head

PlayerTeamBid
MKopech, CWSRalph Lifshitz 145
DGerman, NYYPaul Sporer 88
AKirilloff, MinFrank Stampfl 88
AGarcia, TexAndrea LaMont 65
JDDavis, NYMRyan Hallam 46
KSeager, SeaPaul Sporer 44
AGomber, ColAriel Cohen 44
AHays, BalClay Link 32
ASanchez, SFGreg Jewett 27
RWeathers, SDClay Link 24
JGant, StLAndrea LaMont 22
RTapia, ColAriel Cohen 16
WAstudillo, MinFrank Stampfl 13
KArihara, TexRyan Hallam 13
CValdez, BalGreg Jewett 9
MZunino, TBAndrea LaMont 8
TAnderson, PitFrank Stampfl 8
DBote, ChCAriel Cohen 2

Mixed with IP & Saves+Holds

PlayerTeamBid
TPham, SDRay Flowers 114
SCrichton, AriChris Towers 87
AGarcia, TexAl Melchior 83
RWeathers, SDJake Ciely 65
CValdez, BalChris Towers 65
LPatino, TBJeff Boggis 51
YDiaz, TBRay Flowers 41
PSmith, AriBrian Entrekin 37
AGomber, ColBrian Entrekin 37
ACabrera, AriJeff Boggis 26
AFrazier, PitMiami Beach Swag – Jim Bowden 23
AAlzolay, ChCAl Melchior 23
ASlater, SFBrian Entrekin 21
CGreen, NYYRon Shandler 18
CFlexen, SeaRon Shandler 18
JDiekman, OakDoug Anderson 12
KGibson, TexJeff Boggis 12
HRobles, MinAl Melchior 7
NHoerner, ChCBrian Entrekin 6
RoPerez, CleAndy Behrens 5
JLuplow, CleAlex Fast 5
PEvans, PitDoug Anderson 4
JFeyereisen, MilBrian Entrekin 1

Tout Table: Early Surprises

This week, the Touts were asked, “What is the biggest surprise so far (big picture, not individual players)?

Here is what we had to say.

Justin Mason (Friends with Fantasy Benefits, Fangraphs, Fantasy Alarm, @JustinMasonFWFB): The amount of hitter injuries. I think many of us thought going from a 60 game to 162 game season would increase pitching injuries, but the amount of early hitter injuries has been higher than expected.

Jim Bowden (Fantasy Alarm, @JimBowdenGM): The amount of star players hitting under .200 to start the year: ie Stanton, Torres, Hiura, Chapman Semien, Tucker, J Polanco, DeJong Blackmon, Yaz, Baez, Swawnson, Moncada, Robles, Laureano etc.

Brad Johnson (Patreon/BaseballATeam, @BaseballATeam): Honestly, maybe I’m just jaded, but I’m having a really hard time finding a general surprise. The injuries, increased strikeouts, decreased homers, closer committees, and piggyback starters were all predictable. Probably the one thing that’s shocked me is teams postponing games for 40-degree weather. I figure even that’s because they can sell more tickets to games later in the season. It shouldn’t be surprising, I simply didn’t anticipate it.

Matt Williams (NBC Sports Edge, @MattWi77iams): The incredibly poor start on offense. The league wide batting average was hovering near .230 with a vast amount of all-stars batting below the .200 mark. It’s early in the season, there is a new ball, and the weather has not been perfect, but it’s still a bit of a surprise. The talk of lowering the mound and moving it back may startle some, but the year over year decline on offense is hard to ignore at this point.

Michael Rathburn (Rotowire, @FantasyRath): Injuries, slow starts by big name hitters and the increased defragmenting of saves.

Jason Collette (Rotowire, @jasoncollette): The drag on NL offense by the loss of the Universal DH. Start of play Wednesday, NL ERA was 4.04 vs 4.48 in AL and strikeout rate was 25.4% to 24.8%. NL teams are hitting .225 vs the .243 their AL counterparts have hit so far. Pitchers hitting is a pox on this game.

Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola): Call this pleasantly surprised, but with all the talk about more teams deploying bullpen games, there have been very few true opener/primary pitcher contests. Granted, they’ll pick up with more injuries, but the party line was there would be more in general. I like what the Rangers are doing with their tandem pitchers, letting the opener serve as a true starter, simply announcing in advance who the first reliever will be.

Nando Di Fino (The Athletic, @nandodifino): This might be a little granular, but I’m impressed with how people are quoting their TGFBI teams and leagues a lot (on podcasts, radio, twitter, etc) as reference points, and how many people on twitter are showing NFBC bids. It’s cool to see some of these competitions go mainstream and help other players out.

Perry Van Hook (Mastersball, @): I think the biggest surprise so far is the team performances. Especially those teams that were not expected to compete. Look at the league leaders in the AL West and Central. Also Detroit, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh, who were all projected to be very bad teams, are winning several early games. Is it the management and deployment of those teams or has the parity level risen more than we would have expected?

Jeff Zimmerman (Fangraphs, The Process, @jeffwzimmerman): That several MLB won’t be making the 85% threshold so some teams will be working with one set of isolationg protocals (e.g. contact tracing) and others with different ones.

Ray Flowers (Fantasy Guru, @BaseballGuys): Coming into the season I was worried about all the pitchers and what their likely workloads will be (hint, they would be low). Perhaps I was remiss in not worrying more about players missing time too. The age of guys playing daily is just over. Guys rest cause it’s a day game, cause of the matchup, cause they didn’t sleep great last night, but most frequently cause they tweaked something physically. The era of playing in fantasy leagues where we set the lineup once on Monday should be over. Taking zeros every day cause players are out of the lineup just stinks.

Howard Bender (Fantasy Alarm, @RotobuzzGuy): Have you noticed just how thin the outfield is right now? Doesn’t matter if it’s a 12 or a 15-teamer, the help for your outfield on waivers is atrocious. If you look at composite ADP across the industry, 43 of the top 200 picks were outifleders and there are roughly 18-20 of them either on the IL or have already spent time on the IL, so obviously injuries come into play. But you also have a number of players like Dylan Moore and Tommy Edman, for example, who qualify in the outfield and are taking outfield at-bats right now, but fantasy owners are using them in the infield where they qualify as well. If your league requires you to start five outfielders, make sure you’ve got proper depth at the position or you’ll be seeing a lot of zeroes day in and day out.

Mike Podhorzer (Fangraphs, @MikePodhorzer): League average exit velocity, Barrel%, and HardHit% are all at their highest marks during the Statcast era (since 2015), yet HR/FB rate is well down from the last two seasons and only ranks fourth out of seven seasons. That’s a really strange outcome given the underlying drivers, and most certainly says something about the ball we heard so much about during the preseason.

Craig MIsh (FNTSY Radio, @CraigMish): Surprising that getting a strikeout per inning from your starter seems about league average. in a 5×5 that uses straight strikeouts, you simply can’t even start guys who don’t get swings and misses. Used to be find a couple of guys at the top of your fantasy rotation that get massive K’s and just fill out the rest. In some cases having TWO guys like that in your starting 5/6 doesn’t even add up if they aren’t generating whiffs. Strikeouts have become what Home Runs are on the offensive side. Get a ton of em or finish at the bottom.

Alex Fast (Pitcher List, @AlexFast8): That offense is THAT down. It’s normal to expect some regression in the winter months for certain but this is still a bit shocking to me. We knew that the ball would introduce some form of regression but, even still, I didn’t feel it would be this bad. Also, INJURIES (which could also be a factor in suppressed offense). There are always a slew of various ailments that occur to begin the season but ’21 is featuring more injuries than we’re typically used to seeing to start a season and I think I can speak for everyone when I say it’s causing a lot of headaches.

Patrick Davitt (BaseballHQ, @patrickdavitt): How genuinely terrible the TOR offense has been, and how surprisingly good their pitching. The regular hitters have combined for a .678 OPS, and that’s with Vladdy raking to a 1.125. Starting catcher Danny Jansen has a .244 BA… wait, my bad, that’s his OPS. Five of the nine regulars have BAs under .200, and three have Slgs under .300 (including my pre-season pick to click, Rowdy Tellez, at .178/.213/.244). Meanwhile, the rotation has two guys with ERAs under 2.00 (Matz and Ray), the five main relievers have given up 6 ER in 25.2 IP … what a team.

Eric Karabell (ESPN, @karabelleric): I think the biggest surprise is that there are so many new hitters emerging as reliable options so far, players that seemed so far from relevance but are anything but that. Yermin Mercedes, Akil Baddoo and Zach McKinstry, among others, are becoming household fantasy names, but there was little indication of true relevance six weeks ago. And it’s not just bad teams giving opportunity. It’s fun to see new players shine.

Tim McLeod (Prospect361.com, @RunTMc59006473): The Dodgers have actually lost four games. What’s up with that? If they keep this up, they won’t clinch a playoff spot until sometime in mid-August.

James Anderson (Rotowire, @RealJRAnderson): It’s not necessarily a shocking development, but I did think there’d be a chance that COVID would be closer to a non-factor. We all knew injuries would be prevalent, but the COVID-related absences have certainly introduced more luck into the equation than anyone wants. Hopefully we’ve seen the worst of it.

Ryan Bloomfield (BaseballHQ, @RyanBHQ): Having to recalibrate (yet again!) to our changing game. MLB-wide exit velocity from 2017-21: 87.3, 88.4, 88.7, 88.4, and now 89.0. Even bigger jump for Barrel rate: 5.7%, 6.2%, 6.8%, 7.6%, and now 8.4%. Keep that in mind when seeing “Player X has an increase in barrel rate this year but HR rate is down” and square that with the league-wide trends first.

Fred Zinkie (Yahoo! Fantasy Sports, @FredZinkieMLB): Maybe this shouldn’t shock me, but I’m surprised that so many “good” hitters are doing so poorly so far. I assume they will all come around as the weather warms up and teams have to plunge even deeper into their pitching depth chart. But at this point I’m shocked at the poor returns (performance and injury) among many of the top hitter picks.

Greg Jewett (Fantasy Alarm, @gjewett9): Since everyone’s speaking about the league wide hitting issues, how about closers or just saves in general? We knew it would be volatile this year targeting closers or trying to find them on the waiver wire, but it’s been even more tumultuous than originally thought. Match-up based bullpens, workload management and in the case of the White Sox, just flummoxing usage patterns. It’s much too early to panic about saves but trying to stay ahead of the game remains tantamount to making up ground in the standings. In trade leagues, it’s easier to find teams who may be able to trade them off to hot starts in the category, but in formats without trades, be sure to focus on evolving roles. Which seems like a daily news cycle.

Scott Engel (Rotoballer, @scotteTheKing): I have been pleasantly surprised by how some players on teams that were lowly regarded are performing. Adam Frazier and J.T. Brubaker have been quality fantasy assets from the Pirates roster. The Tigers have given us Akil Baddoo, no matter how long that lasts, and Jeimer Candelario has continued to play well. Jake McGee has looked like a top closer so far.

Lou Blasi (Fantistics, @LouBlasi): This might be anecdotal, but the amount of dominace by starting pitching so far has been surprising. ERA is down among SPs, xFIP is way down, Ks are up, SwStr% is up, CSW is up, Sliders are up, HR/FB is down. Lot’s of small sample, weather, and early season noise of course, but the number of dominant starts has been an eye-opener. Still, Barrel% is up, 95+ (HardHit%) is up, and EV is up too, so I’m thinking you should enjoy it while you can, pile up the IP for the ratios and buckle up for a rebound by the hitters.

Jeff Erickson (Rotowire, @Jeff_Erickson): I expected pitcher injuries to be a prevalent storyline, and while there have been a few, it’s the hitter injuries that have been the prevailing story. On Tuesday, the top-four hitters in BA leagues were out of the lineup and all had missed at least a couple of games due to injury. Twelve of the top 80 hitters have missed time with injuries, with three more Astros missing at leasat one series with a COVID issue. Were teams more prepared to deal with the fallout of last year’s abbreviated season for pitchers but didn’t pay enough attention to the hitters, or is this a statistical anamoly?

Charlie Wiegert (CDM Sports, @GFFantasySports): The Yankees at 5-10 are the worst team in baseball. While it does my heart good to see it, it’s hard to believe the team with one of the highest payrolls are at the bottom. I’m sure they’ll get going soon and capture a playoff spot, but the performance of their millionaires leaves a lot to be desired right now!

Larry Schechter (Winning Fantasy Baseball, @LarrySchechter): The Covid situation…on the one hand many players have been held out of games and even a few games postponed, but on the other hand the outbreaks haven’t been as massive and long lasting as last year. Couldn’t MLB have figured out a way to get all players vaccinated earlier?

Ariel Cohen (CBS Sports, @ATCNY): Of the first round players … all of the pitchers look fantastic. Every single one of them. So many of the first round hitters are injured.

D.J. Short (NBC Sports Edge, @djshort): I was going to mention all of the notable hitter injuries, as well. But otherwise, I’d also note that there seems to be more reaction (or overreaction) to early-season production. I’m not sure how much of this is struggling to adjust to the way we managed fantasy rosters during the 60-game season last year where you would be more inclined to just run with a hot hitter or pitcher. I think it could also be the increased information we have — Baseball Savant is a gift and you can pick up on things sooner — but in general, it feels more like the wild west these days.

Tristan H. Cockcroft (ESPN, @SultanofStat): Not that I was a big fan of their introduction in the first place, but I’m surprised at how much I genuinely loathe the runner-on-second-in-extras and seven-inning-doubleheader rules now that we’ve got a 162- rather than 60-game schedule. Both are gimmicky, they’re altering teams’ pitching strategies in an exaggerated way and they’re creating unnatural statistics, which just doesn’t feel like baseball. I don’t think there should ever be a way that a team should ever win a game on a pair of outs, and that rule about the man starting on second being the batter before the pitcher if the pitcher’s spot was the last one up — ugh, that exposes flaws in the rules. For all of these other things baseball has introduced over the years — six divisions, wild cards, the wild card playoff game, etc. — I’ve been patient and come to enjoy each. These? My feelings are going in the other direction.

Scott Swanay (FantasyBaseballSherpa, @fantasy_sherpa): To me it’s how many hitters are off to miserable starts. The MLB batting average has hovered close to .250 in recent seasons, so the fact that it’s currently around .235 suggests it’s due to more than early season cold weather in many parts of the country.

Chris Towers (CBS Fantasy Sports, @CTowersCBS): The number of apparent pitcher outbreaks, which is of course tied very closely to the dramatic increase in strikeout rates across baseball. We’re up to 24.7%, the highest in MLB history, and it’s coincided with an MLB record-low batting average. We’re seeing apparent early-season star turns from the likes of Joe Musgrove, Trevor Rogers, and Carlos Rodon, plus returns to relevance for guys like Sean Manaea and Danny Duffy. How sustainable are these hot starts? And how much do we need to recalibrate our expectations for what a good start is in this new landscape? We’ll need a few more weeks for the numbers to stabilize on both counts, but this looks like it could be The Year of the Pitcher Part Two.

Tim McCullough (Baseball Prospectus, @TimsTenz): I’m surprised that there has been so little complaining about what I call the “training wheels rule.” You know, the one that puts a runner on second base in extra innings. I haven’t seen any research or statistics that indicate whether this dumb rule actually helps to keep extra innings games shorter, but I suspect that it does not. Considering the drop in BABIP so far, can we expect the next dumb rule to just put a runner on base to start every inning? It would be great if the fans would really express their disdain for this so MLB dumps this rule. I’m not opposed to anything that truly improves the game. This rule doesn’t even come close and we need to protest its continued existence. That aint baseball!

Shelly Verougstraete (Dynasty Guru, @ShellyV_643): Maybe I was a bit naive but I am surprised we are seeing as many COVID situations as we have. Sure, we are still in a pandemic but I thought players would get vaccinated. Hopefully, we will not see many more COVID scares this season.

Doug Dennis (BaseballHQ, @dougdennis41): I don’t know if this is really a surprise, but teams are more sophisticated in deploying pitchers generally with starters going shorter and bullpens as weapons aimed at neutralizing difficult batters–and it is really working early. I expect warmer weather will bring more home runs, but I am not sure that is going to help with OBA and BA issues as balls in play are dropping and dropping. I am starting to advocate a major shift in rosters–from 14 batters and 9 pitchers to something closer to 2021 reality–perhaps 11 batters and 12 pitchers for the future. Because as MLB evolves, fantasy baseball is lagging behind and like it or not, our games get further and further away from roster construction for real life GMs.

Anthony Aniano (Rotoballer, @AAnianoFantasy): My biggest surprise this season is how teams are struggling offensively. Currently threre are 17 teams with a team batting average under .240 and 9 teams with a team batting average under .220. Although slow starts are to be expected to see this many teams struggling to make contact is a surprise and will most likely lead to changes in the game which will increase offensive production.

Derek VanRiper (The Athletic, @DerekVanRiper): I’m with Tristan…I think I was pretty open-minded about some of the rules tweaks for 2020 in part because I was just grateful that anything resembling a baseball season was happening. I hope this is the last time we see a runner on second base to start each inning in extra-innings situations, but if we’re stuck with some modification in an effort to move the game along, I would love to see the runner start at first base instead. Giving the team on the field a chance to turn a double play and flip the inning would be huge, and it might actually speed up finding a winner. Some teams might elect to use a pinch-runner and steal second anyway, but that’s at least puts a little more of the onus on the team hitting to do something in order to get a decisive run.

Michael A. Stein (Fantasy Judgment, @FantasyJudgment): Injuries are always a big part of the game, but it just seems that there is an overabundance of injuries to star players very early in the season. I can’t point to any specific reason why, but offensive players like Acuna, Soto, Betts, Yelich, Tatis and Bellinger have all missed time already. I am also surprised at how impossible it has become to predict saves. Bullpens by committee are nothing new, but generally teams had an established closer that we could reasonably expect to get most of the closing opportunities. That does not seem to be the case anymore. Finally, adding onto some of the previous comments, I hate the extra inning rule of starting with a runner on 2nd base. I really hope it goes away next year with a new CBA and when COVID issues are in the rearview mirror.

Mike Gianella (Baseball Prospectus, @MikeGianella): The vocal resistance or at least reticence by multiple parties to getting vaccinated. This is really something I thought would be a general relief to the vast majority of players, and something they’d recognize as a benefit to their union and the game on the whole. I certainly didn’t expect every single player to be enthusiastic about it, but I am really taken aback that for at least a few players this has become a political issue.

Greg Ambrosius (NFBC, @GregAmbrosius): I’m shocked 1) How bad hitting is (.233 league average); 2) How bad the Yankees’ offense is; and 3) That MLB really made pitchers hit this year. Really? That will grow interest in the game after not hitting last year? Stupid.

Lenny Melnick (LennyMelnickFantasySports, @LennyMelnick): As Of Wednesday….Eduardo Escobar has as many home runs as Mike Trout Tyler Naquin has the same # of RBI as Ronald Acuña. Chris Owings has only played in 7 games but leads all players in triples with 3. May be players, but… wow

Ray Murphy (BaseballHQ, @RayHQ): A lot of great answers here, but the overriding theme for me is how normal this all feels. Sure, we’ve had some COVID cases pop up, but those should get even less frequent as the players and traveling parties get vaccinated. For most of the winter, I was pessimistic that we were going to get 162 games in, now it seems certain that we will. Looking forward to another 22 weeks of taking deep dives into the issues above.

Andrea LaMont (LennyMelnickFantasySports, @RotoLady): I am real surprised to see the Red Sox leading the AL East and the Yankees with the worst record in the American League. Surprised to see the lack of hustle coming from Yankees players. I highly doubt these standings look like this in August.

Vlad Sedler (Fantasy Guru, @rotogut): Mostly surprised by how so many of the first round hitters have been hit with early injuries, curious how they’ll fare and if this is finally the year we have a NFBC Main Event winner who started their drafts off with a starting pitcher (deGrom, Cole, Bieber, Bauer, Darvish).

Phil Hertz (BaseballHQ, @prhz50): Surprised by the lack of hitting overall. Also hating the extra inning rules more and more as the season progresses. I guess within the craziness of 2020, the rule didn’t bother me, but now, oh boy.

Rudy Gamble (Razzball, @RudyGamble): I am always surprised this time of year how much the emotional part of me reacts to small samples. I don’t act on these emotions aside from grumble about things like Luis Castillo’s poor starts. I’m also shocked that Corbin Burnes suddenly has prime Cliff Lee’s BB rate.

Scott White (CBS Fantasy Sports, @CBSScottWhite): Probably that the league-wide batting average is only .233. Maybe it’s just early-season rust, but with strikeouts making another leap amid talk of changes to the baseball seam height, is it possible pitchers have gained a competitive advantage? It’s worth noting that hard-hit and barrel rates are both up (also possible effects of a ball), and yet it’s not translating to more hits.

Mike Sheets (ESPN, @MikeASheets): I’ve been surprised, or perhaps saddened, at the number of top-tier hitters suffering injuries in the early going. We sometimes expect at least a few big-name pitchers to go down, but hitters are supposed to be safe — at least that’s what we like to tell ourselves. Injuries are obviously going to happen, but within a couple of weeks, Fernando Tatis, Christian Yelich, Juan Soto, and Ronald Acuna have all missed time. And as I type this, Mike Trout just left the game after getting hit by a pitch on the elbow. God help us all.

Chris Liss (Rotowire, @Chris_Liss): Hitting production has been more or less random so far, while pitching production has been severely concentrated in the early rounds.

Zach Steinhorn (CreativeSports2, @zachsteinhorn): I expected that the saves category would be a headache to address this year, but not to this degree. Just three weeks into the season, 23 of the 30 teams have multiple relievers with at least one save. Emmanuel Clase, Yimi Garcia, Ian Kennedy and Cesar Valdez weren’t even drafted in most leagues yet they all rank among the top-9 in saves, and your co-leaders are none other than Jake McGee and Mark Melancon. I think I’m ready to start playing in saves+holds leagues.