The Saber's Edge: Tout Wars Recap
The Saber's Edge: Tout Wars Recap

This article is part of our The Saber's Edge series.

A couple weeks ago I participated in the Tout Wars Mixed auction with fellow RotoWire experts Derek Van Riper and Tim Heaney. The only item I knew for sure, the auction pace was going to be fast with Jeff Erickson running it. Otherwise, I was ready to go and see how the auction would play out. I was elated with the results.

I examined the league's previous tendencies and found three items I needed to address. The first was that the top players went on average 10 percent higher, except for Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw. They both went at cost. I came in with a plan to get both and then build the rest of my team around late values. If it didn't work, I'd move to my normal value picking approach.

I go into auctions with one rule: find as many values throughout the auction and don't overpay, if possible. I find this strategy works because it takes advantage of owners using the two most common auction approaches: stars-and-scrubs and spread-the-risk. While I can justify spreading the risk in extremely deep auctions like 12-team only leagues, value picking allows a patient owner to take advantage of the two approaches.

The value approach stays away from the early inflation, which brings down the surplus value of S&S, but still gets end-game values. Additionally, it picks at-cost or underpriced players available in the mid-game, which is the advantage of spread-the-risk. Value picking has two drawbacks an owner needs to

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeff Zimmerman
Zimmerman writes analytics-focused baseball and football articles for RotoWire. He is a three-time FSWA award winner, including the Football Writer of the Year and Best Football Print Article awards in 2016. The 2017 Tout Wars Mixed Auction champion and 2016 Tout Wars Head-to-Head champ, Zimmerman also contributes to FanGraphs.com, BaseballHQ and Baseball America.
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