LABR FAAB report: Experts are believers in Bieber

Welcome to this week’s LABR FAAB report.

The American League only and National League only formats are 12-team contests using standard 5×5 scoring rules. There’s an old-school flavor as players purchased in the auction cannot be freely bounced from the active to reserve roster. A player purchased in the auction can be placed on the disabled list if he’s on the MLB DL. However, he can’t be reserved then replaced by a player won with FAAB; he must be released. A auction-purchased player may also moved to reserves if subsequently sent down to the minors.

The 15-team Mixed LABR league allows free movement between active and six-man reserve.

In all three leagues, a player acquired via FAAB must be immediately inserted into the team’s active lineup. Each LABR squad starts with 100 FAAB units, with a minimum bid of $1. Owners can ask for a FAAB rebate upon releasing a player on the DL.

Each week’s report will display the winning bids along with listing all contingency and failed bids so you get a feel for the level of interest in each player. After the tables showing the successful and unsuccessful bids, Lawr Michaels, Brian Walton and yours truly will offer commentary for our respective leagues. I’ll share additional thoughts for each league. The heading for each league doubles as a publicly accessible link so you can check the standings, roster and complete list of transactions.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

SUCCESSFUL BIDS

PLAYER WINNING BID
Shane Bieber, CLE ESPN.com 11 Winning Fantasy Baseball 4 Baseball Prospectus 3 Colton & The Wolfman 2
Fangraphs 1
Jonathan Loaisiga, NYY Baseball Prospectus 9 ESPN.com 3
Chris Young, LAA NFBC 4 Rotowire 4 USA TODAY Sports 1 ESPN.com 1
Alcides Escobar, KC Winning Fantasy Baseball 4 Rotowire 1
Sergio Romo, TB SiriusXM 3 Colton & The Wolfman 2 Roto Lady 1 ESPN.com 1
Erik Gonzalez, CLE Creative Sports 2 NFBC 2
Chris Bassitt, OAK Fangraphs 2 Colton & The Wolfman 2 ESPN.com 1
Diego Castillo, TB Colton & The Wolfman 1 ESPN.com 1
Xavier Cedeno, CWS Colton & The Wolfman 1
David Fletcher, LAA ESPN.com 1
Rosell Herrera, KC ESPN.com 1
Austin Pruitt, TB ESPN.com 1
Jabari Blash, LAA Rotowire 1

UNAWARDED BIDS

PLAYER
Austin Wynns, BAL Rotowire 1 ESPN.com 1
Heath Hembree, BOS SiriusXM 1 ESPN.com 1
Ryne Stanek, TB Colton & The Wolfman 1 ESPN.com 1
Jesse Chavez, TEX SiriusXM 1 Colton & The Wolfman 1
Lou Trivino, OAK Colton & The Wolfman 1
Tony Sipp, HOU Colton & The Wolfman 1
Abraham Almonte, KC ESPN.com 1
Brandon Workman, BOS ESPN.com 1
Cam Bedrosian, LAA ESPN.com 1
Gio Urshela, TOR ESPN.com 1
Jose Leclerc, TEX ESPN.com 1
Will Harris, HOU ESPN.com 1
John Lamb, LAA SiriusXM 1
Noe Ramirez, LAA SiriusXM 1

Lawr Michaels Commentary

Once again the DL bit my squad, dropping Matt Chapman on the injury list, forming an attrition since I was just able to activate Kevin Kiermaier. But, that put me a player short again, and I was surprised that Cleveland’s Erik Gonzalez was still hanging on the waiver wire, so the infielder was a good grab for a couple of bucks, besting one like bid by virtue of being in last place.

The big buy of the day, though was Cleveland’s Shane Bieber went to Tristan Cockcroft for $11, outbidding six fellow owners for rights to the hurler’s stats.

However, next up on the pricey list was the Royals Alcides Escobar, who I dropped last week. Larry Schechter, in his never ending quest for at-bats, grabbed the Royals shortstop for $4 (I got him in the auction for $1) but what should be interesting to watch is last week Larry grabbed Paulo Orlando, who has a similar offensive profile to Escobar.  And, Larry is a shrewd player so, we shall see where that goes.

Greg Ambrosius and Shawn Childs went in search of some pop nabbing Chris Young for $4 while Ray Flowers went for the chance to grab some Sergio Romo saves copping the sometimes opener, sometimes closer for three bucks and beating out four fellow owners.

Lastly, following his good start Chris Bassitt was the target of Eno Sarris for a couple of bucks, and two would-be owners who missed the bid boat.

Todd’s Take

Considering LABR starts with a 100 budget, the 11 and 9 bids on Bieber and Loaisga are pretty hefty.  Most of this is the paucity of pitching, especially in the AL and the chance both are rest-of-season contributors to upper-division teams. Bieber is in the rotation in place of Carlos Carrasco and is essentially battling Adam Plutko to stay there once Carrasco returns. Loaisiga is in for Masahiro Tanaka, maybe in competition with Domingo German when Tanaka is back. Though, the Yankees may also deal for a starter by the July 31 deadline, now less that six weeks away.

As hinted here last week, the Royals finally called up Adelberto Mondesi to initially share time with Alcides Escobar. It shouldn’t be long before Mondesi’s three or four times a week extends into full-time play.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

SUCCESSFUL BIDS

PLAYER WINNING BID
Erick Fedde, WSH NFBC 3 Colton & The Wolfman 2
Matt Strahm, SD NFBC 2 Colton & The Wolfman 1
Caleb Ferguson, LAD Colton & The Wolfman 2
Justin Wilson, CHC Baseball HQ 1
Alex Avila, ARI USA TODAY Sports 1

UNAWARDED BIDS

PLAYER
John Brebbia, STL NFBC 1
Adam Conley, MIA NFBC 1
Ty Blach, SF NFBC 1

Brian Walton’s Commentary

In a quiet week in National League LABR, just five free agents were added, four of whom are pitchers, all going for between $1 and $3.

The top-dollar acquisition was Washington’s Erick Fedde, acquired by the NFBC pair of Greg Ambrosius and Shawn Childs. After a spot start in late May, the 25-year old right-hander went back to Triple-A until yielding four runs in five innings at Yankee Stadium last Wednesday. His 4.76 ERA in the minors is not exciting, but there appears to be opportunity as long as Stephen Strasburg is out.

A $2 acquisition is San Diego’s Matt Strahm, also picked up by the NFBC duo. The veteran lefty has been an “opener” three times this season, starting the game, but not stretched out enough to go five innings. In his 11 outings overall, totaling 17 2/3 innings, Strahm has a nifty 2.55 ERA.

Another two-buck buy is the next Spinal Tap drummer, or in actuality, new Dodgers starter Caleb Ferguson. The 21-year old is an interesting prospect, but looks a bit risky due to limited seasoning. In his Sunday loss to the Giants, Ferguson yielded four runs in five innings and may face the Mets next weekend. Colton and the Wolfman are his new owners.

I remained on the bidding sidelines, but my injury-plagued squad welcomed Eric Thames off the disabled list, a nice boost.

Todd’s Take

It was a similarly slow week in NL Tout Wars. It wasn’t just a poor quality of available batters, but there was no quantity either. That got me thinking so I counted up the number of hitters and pitchers on the Senior circuit’s 25-man rosters as well as Junior Circuit. Before I reveal the numbers, take a guess. To frame your answer, if all teams had 12 pitchers, there would be 180 pitchers and 195 hitters in each league.

As it turns out, as of midnight ET Sunday night, there were 189 pitchers and 186 hitters on the 25-man roster in both leagues. So much for my theory there were a few more hitters active in the AL. Perhaps it was just one of those weeks,

MIXED

SUCCESSFUL BIDS

PLAYER WINNING BID
Dylan Covey, CWS ESPN.com 7 Prospect 361 3 @TheFantasyFix 3 Baseball Prospectus 2
USA TODAY Sports 1
Trevor Williams, PIT ESPN.com 4
Willy Adames, TB Baseball HQ 2 @TheFantasyFix 1
Marco Estrada, TOR Fangraphs – Sleeper & Bust 2 USA TODAY Sports 1
Blaine Hardy, DET USA TODAY Sports 2
Yolmer Sanchez, CWS Fangraphs – Sleeper & Bust 1
Shane Bieber, CLE Prospect 361 1
Kirby Yates, SD Yahoo Sports 1 Prospect 361 1
Dereck Rodriguez, SF Razzball (Rudy Gamble) 1

UNAWARDED BIDS

PLAYER
Ivan Nova, PIT USA TODAY Sports 1 Razzball (Rudy Gamble) 1
Tyler Glasnow, PIT USA TODAY Sports 1 Razzball (Rudy Gamble) 1
Jason Hammel, KC USA TODAY Sports 1
Derek Holland, SF Razzball (Rudy Gamble) 1
Diego Castillo, TB Prospect 361 1
Cory Spangenberg, SD Fangraphs – Sleeper & Bust 1
Tyler Chatwood, CHC ESPN.com 1
Freddy Galvis, SD Baseball HQ 1
Hernan Perez, MIL Baseball HQ 1
Kike Hernandez, LAD Baseball HQ 1

Todd’s Commentary

Stephania Bell was a busy lady, reinforcing her rotation with a couple of two-start options, lead by Dylan Covey. Covey is an enigma as he’s working with a little more velocity and generating an extreme number of grounders, but his swinging strike and first pitch strike rates are poor and don’t support his strikeout rate. He also hasn’t allowed a homer yet. Sure keeping the ball on the ground helps, but he’s still been fortunate in that department. Regression is coming, though I don’t feel it will be total collapse. The landing point should still be a decent hurler.

Three strong starts in a row has Marco Estrada back on the mixed league radar. As an extreme fly ball pitcher, Estrada has a  proclivity for allowing the long ball, but those same fly balls that don’t clear the fence are usually caught, resulting in a low WHIP. This works assuming walks are limited and there’s a reasonable number of strikeouts.  When he was in his rut, Estrada was giving more hits than normal. His hit rate has stabilized so things are back to normal.

Willy Adames and Yolmer Sanchez are both middle infielders, though Sanchez also qualifies at corner. I always find it interesting when the bidders don’t list the other player as a contingency. It comes down to wanting the floor of Sanchez or unknown ceiling of Adames. There’s a case to be made for both, depending on team context.

Todd’s Take

It was a quiet week for Team Mastersball. I don’t have any egregious holes to fill so I sat this one out. I’ve been shuffling between 4th and 6th, but a pretty decent gap from the top. I’m withing striking distance, but I’ll need to have a couple of prolific weeks to get there. There’s still plenty of time, the key is to make sure the lineup grabs as many AB as possible, so I’m still in a position to take advantage of the hot run every team seems to go on at least once a season.

Please follow me on Twitter @ToddZola and visit me at Mastersball.

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