Image credit: © Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Welcome back to the FAAB Review, the column that reviews the goings on in multiple analyst leagues in the hopes we can help you with your own FAAB bidding process and habits. This column will mostly focus on The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational (TGFBI), a contest that contains 31 leagues of 15 teams each and crowns an overall champion. We’ll look at the 10 most popular FAAB buys in those leagues every week. We’ll also focus on some highlights in Tout Wars AL and LABR NL, two deeper industry leagues.
TGBFI and Tout Wars use a $1,000 FAAB budget, while LABR uses $100. Tout Wars also allows teams to place $0 bids. All three leagues run their FAAB weekly on Sundays.
TGFBIEury Perez $310 (Max Winning Bid $501, Min Winning Bid: $187)Another week, another bidding war over a rookie pitcher.
$200+ FAAB Bids, TGFBI, 2023Week 3: Taj Bradley $231Week 4: Mason Miller $205Week 5: Tanner Bibee $256Week 6: Bryce Miller $299
Perez might have the highest ceiling of all these prospects, but his age (20) and limited professional experience means that his ceiling might not be realized in 2023. He could be dominant and slot right in as a fantasy SP2, but he could also put up a 4+ ERA with lots of strikeouts and get shut down after 100-125 innings. If you want him, you’ll need to bid aggressively, but if you need volume, it might be best to let him go unless you can get him for under $200, which means you won’t get him. There’s no doubting how great the raw stuff is.
Christopher Morel $143 ($277, $12)Morel has talent, has that fantasy juice (he hits for power and steals bases), and with Nico Hoerner on the IL has a clear and immediate opportunity. Morel was destroying Triple-A and if he can make enough contact, he will be a bargain, even at this price. However, that’s the rub as even during Morel’s hot start in the minors he struck out 31 percent of the time. He had a .283/.354/.496 line in his first 58 major league games in 2022 followed by a .163/.238/.340 line in his final 55. He’s a boom or bust player, and while I understand the aggressive bids how soon we forget how rough his 2022 finish was.
James Paxton $53 ($115, $8)Hello darkness my old friend. My arm is hurting me again. There’s a lesson here about staring too close into sun, biting off more than you can chew, or some other parable of your liking. Paxton is amazing when he is healthy but hasn’t remotely resembled a healthy pitcher since 2019. He was throwing gas in his 2023 major league debut against the Cardinals but his once vaunted slider wasn’t generating swings and misses. This is a great ceiling gamble, but you’re probably going to just wind up being sad and singing Phoebe Bridgers songs by yourself in the darkest corner of your house, not that I’ve ever done that.
Casey Schmitt $52 ($143, $11)You wouldn’t know it because of his hot major league start, but the scouting report on Schmitt says he’s a defensive-first player who despite this has enough power to be a viable major league and fantasy bat. He was playing short in Brandon Crawford’s absence but with Crawford’s return yesterday Schmitt is more likely to slot in at third and supplant J.D. Davis. You could be looking at a 15-20 home run hitter with a decent enough batting average. That’s solid, but don’t look at Schmitt’s hot start and think he has turned a corner.
Dominic Fletcher $40 ($88, $1)Fletcher is a contact-oriented outfielder who could survive for years as a second division regular or a fourth outfielder, although his hot major league start has fooled some into thinking he could be more than that. Fletcher is an adequate fifth outfielder in deep formats but is more likely to be one of those players who is a deep league contributor rather than someone with a high ceiling who is going to exceed expectations and push your squad to a title.
Nick Pratto $40 ($181, $1)Nathan Grimm adroitly covered Pratto in this deep league landscape piece and nothing has changed in less than a week. Pratto has power potential and while he hasn’t lived up to it this season it’s early enough for him to turn that around and hit 20-25 home runs. The AVG won’t maintain and the high strikeout rate makes it far more likely Pratto crashes and burns than it does that he keeps hitting for a high AVG. On a thin Royals offense, Pratto should get a long look to see if he can produce enough to stick.
Jake Burger $32 ($78, $15)Burger came off the IL yesterday and didn’t miss a beat, socking his seventh home run of the season. He only has 77 PA, which makes Burger’s power outburst even more impressive. The raw sock was never in doubt for Burger, it’s just a question of if he can keep major league pitchers from exposing the holes in his swing and eventually pushing him back to the bench or the minors. His career line of 16 home runs and a .245 AVG in 302 PA shows that he certainly could be a strong option if he gets the playing time and isn’t exposed as a result.
Luis Ortiz $21 ($55, $1)Ortiz is a two-pitch arm who was OK in his first major league start of 2023 but far from dominant. I saw some concern expressed that he lost 2 MPH of velocity from his offerings but when you’re throwing a 96 MPH fastball and an 87 MPH slider that still plays. I’m more concerned about his command as Ortiz has had issues with this in the past. He’s also not a big strikeout arm, so while this could be a solid pickup it certainly isn’t a slam dunk.
Dane Dunning $20 ($51, $4)Dunning is getting results despite not throwing hard, thanks to a kitchen sink approach and some batted ball luck. How much that luck holds up will be the difference between average and pedestrian, and it’s not a ride I recommend unless your team can afford an ERA/WHIP hit if it goes south. Dunning’s appeal this week comes because of a two-start slate against Atlanta and the Rockies that is probably best left to AL-only teams, even with the Rockies as one of the opponents.
Gregory Soto $19 ($67, $3)With Jose Alvarado on the shelf, Craig Kimbrel, Soto and maybe Seranthony Dominguez will split closer duties. Kimbrel got the save on Friday, Soto got one Saturday and the Phillies were shut out on Sunday. Soto’s control makes him a poor bet for long-term success as a big league closer, but he might capitalize and pick up most of the saves for the Phillies if Kimbrel can’t get it done.
Tout ALJordan Diaz $55 (Other Bids: $52, $38, $16, $6)Nick Allen $53 ($4)Trevor Larnach $42 ($33, $22, $5)Mickey Moniak $35 ($31, $23)Yonny Chirinos $22 ($17)Colton Cowser $4Nate Eaton $4 ($1)Pablo Reyes $3Carlos Perez $2 ($0)Jamie Barria $0Xzavion Curry $0Tyler Freeman $0
Diaz and Allen both fit the mold of your typical AL-only acquisitions insofar as they play frequently for a bad team. Of the duo, Diaz is the far better bet. He was a popular mono league acquisition three weeks ago, didn’t hit, disappeared into a bench role, and then hit three home runs last week. He doesn’t have that much power, but he isn’t a weak hitting middle infielder either.
Max Kepler’s latest injury puts Larnach back into the mix for outfield reps in Minnesota. He homered over the weekend and the power breakout might finally be imminent. Moniak got a couple of starts over the weekend for the Angels but unless there is an injury he’s stuck behind Taylor Ward, Mike Trout, and Hunter Renfroe, and Shohei Ohtani at DH reduces Moniak’s opportunity even further.
LABR NLJake Irvin $23 (Other Bids: $1)Stuart Fairchild $11 ($1, $1)Peyton Burdick $4 ($1)Colin Holderman $3 ($1)Garrett Stubbs $3Caleb Ferguson $2 ($2, $2, $1)Brett Sullivan $2Dauri Moreta $2 ($1)Huascar Brazoban $2Kirby Yates $1Jesse Chavez $1Michael Tonkin $1Luke Voit $1
I bid $1 on Irvin and didn’t come close, losing out to a $23 bid by Geoff Pontes of Baseball America. Irvin has exceeded the modest expectations prospect watchers had for him in the minors but remains a significant risk, and it doesn’t help his cause that the Nationals aren’t expected to generate many wins. He gets a good matchup this week against Detroit and is playable in NL-only.
Pontes was busy, also nabbing Fairchild. With TJ Friedl nursing an oblique injury, Fairchild is poised to be the beneficiary if Friedl needs to go on the IL. Fairchild displayed a surprising amount of pop in a limited opportunity last season.
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