It's good to get out of your comfort zone.
I had another chance to do just that in the Tout Wars Head-to-Head points salary cap draft Sunday, March 21.
While primarily a 5x5 roto player, I know it's important to expand my horizons in order to become a more well-rounded fantasy analyst. Head-to-head points leagues have their own distinct wrinkles and nuances, and I'm learning. I haven't been able to get over the hump in this league to this point. This year, I will attempt to chase down defending champion Ariel Cohen.
Since Ariel won last season, he got to choose this year's scoring system. He chose the default CBS points system, no surprise given his affiliation with the site. Let's take a look:
Single - 1 point
Double - 2 points
Triple - 3 points
Home Run - 4 points
RBI - 1 point
Run - 1 point
Stolen Base - 2 points
Strikeouts - (-.5)
Caught Stealing - (-1)
Hit by Pitch - 1
Win - 7 points
Save - 7 points
Quality Start - 3 points
Strikeout - .5 points
Base on Balls - (-1)
Inning Pitched - 3 points
Hits Allowed - (-1)
Earned Runs (-1)
Hit Batsman (-1)
Moving from a roto league to a points league requires a huge shift in thinking. It's fairly obvious, but since I don't need standings points and instead just need points, I can throw balance out the window. Categorical balance is important in a roto league -- you can punt a category like steals or saves in a roto league, but it puts a lot of pressure on your team to do well in the other categories and gives you little wiggle room. Categorical balance is not important at all in a points league.
I decided to throw budget balance out the window as well and go Extreme Stars and Scrubs (sounds like a 90s TV show) in this 12-team mixed league. At this point in draft season, I feel like I know the player pool well. Hell, I should, right? Having done so many 15-team mixed league drafts and both AL-only and NL-only drafts, I knew I'd have little trouble finding players I like here while picking through the $1 options after everyone else filled their rosters.
In the end, I ended up with a whopping 10 $1 players. While I did not expect to end up with 10 $1 players, I did see myself having seven or eight, so everything went pretty much according to plan.
There is not a ton separating the players outside the top 170-180 or so, and everyone has their preferences in that range. So, while you'll have to watch as some of your targets get bid up to $2 or $3 in the endgame, you'll still find plenty of players you like in a 12-team mixed league if you've done the research. Even in the reserve rounds, I found myself struggling to decide between two or three players. In every round of the reserves, there were multiple players I like that I had to choose between.
Here's the end result (by position):
1B: Vladimir Guerrero ($23)
2B: Chris Taylor ($2)
3B: Gio Urshela ($2)
SS: Xander Bogaerts ($24)
CI: Luke Voit ($14)
MI: Ha-seong Kim ($1)
UT: Christian Walker ($1)
Juan Soto, OF, WAS ($48) - I plugged the scoring system into the RotoWire Draft Software to get an idea of how the scoring affected the player pool, and the software had Soto as a $44.88 player in this format. Committed to Extreme Stars and Scrubs, I kept pushing and was happy I didn't have to go all the way to $50.
Shane Bieber, P, CLE ($43) - The software had Bieber at $45.96 in this format, so maybe a bargain? Who knows, but he fit into the game plan.
Yu Darvish, P, SD ($33) - Darvish has been absolutely dominant and extremely stingy with the walks dating back to the midway point of 2019 and now gets a boost in terms of park and supporting cast.
Xander Bogaerts, SS, BOS ($24) - I've heard Bogaerts painted as an "injury risk" this draft season. He has battled a shoulder injury this spring, but if you look strictly at the track record, "injury risk" is the last phrase you'd use to describe him. Bogaerts has been an absolute rock throughout his time in the majors and is back on the field now. I'm buying whatever dip there may be over the remainder of draft season.
Kenta Maeda, P, MIN ($24) - A lot of people seem to be in the "he's not THAT good" camp, and while some regression should be expected, I believe Maeda is a legitimate ace from a performance standpoint. We'll see if he can hold up to an ace-level workload over a full season.
Zach Plesac, P, CLE ($17) - Somewhat boneheaded, and he just got rocked in a spring game, but I blame those long balls on the wind. He's a very good pitcher.
Luke Voit, 1B, NYY ($14) - Nobody seems to like Voit besides myself and Mike Gianella of Baseball Prospectus. That's an overgeneralization, of course, but I like Voit quite a bit and was surprised he didn't command a higher salary here.
Jarred Kelenic, OF, SEA ($8) - It's kind of cool nowadays to crap on/fade the young rookie, but he's good. Do as you like!
Ian Happ, OF, CHC ($6) - Love this price for a leadoff hitter who (in theory) provides a ton of volume in this points league.
Tejay Antone, P, CIN ($6) - This league requires two RP eligible players active at all times (five relief appearances the previous season), so I just couldn't help but keep bidding on Antone. I love the idea of maxing out that spot RP1 spot with innings and volume. Even if Antone starts the season in the bullpen, he should surpass 100 innings and I'm confident those innings will be good as his stuff is off the charts.
If you're not already, you should be reading Jeff Zimmerman's Mining the News over at FanGraphs. Jeff's a great guy and I'm lucky to consider him a friend. I'm thinking of you, Jeff.
Chris Taylor, 2B/SS/OF, LAD ($2) - Someone threw Taylor out for a buck and I quickly jumped to $2 since my budget was dwindling and I saw Taylor as a good fit with his multi-position eligibility. He's been tearing it up this spring and could end up being the primary guy at second base.
Gio Urshela, 3B, NYY ($2) - While Taylor was an up-bid, Urshela I threw out for $2 and the clock ticked down to :00. I was pretty pumped. Urshela has very little track record, but I like the volume he can provide in this league and if it does not work out, I should be able to find a decent replacement in this 12-teamer.
DOLLAR DAYS (in order of nomination):
Michael Pineda, P, MIN ($1) - A few days prior, I got Pineda for a buck in Derek VanRiper's MAKI league (formerly Staff Keeper League 2.0). Ian Kahn dropped a "Wow" text at the time and I knew I'd try to sneak Pineda through here too. It worked out. We'll see if it also works out on the field.
Christian Walker, 1B, AZ ($1) - He's old and the team is bad, so perhaps he fizzles out and the Diamondbacks move on. If so, no real harm done here since he's my UT in a 12-team mixer.
Mark Canha, OF, OAK ($1) - Canha had been on my watch since before Dollar Days commenced, so I was happy to get him here.
Emilio Pagan, P, SD ($1) - Perhaps the Padres' new closer. There were plenty of relievers I was looking at here, including Anthony Bass and Jake McGee, both of whom I got in the reserves anyway. I was also considering Jose Alvarado in reserves, but I kept talking myself into other players. Alvarado went undrafted in the reserves.
Jackie Bradley, OF, MIL ($1) - Bradley has never been a real target for me in roto, but he's going to play every day in Milwaukee, and that volume will be valuable in the OF5 spot.
Elias Diaz, C, COL ($1) - I like Diaz as a low-cost catcher, one who gets to play in Coors. He will have to face quite a few tough starting pitchers.
Trevor Rogers, P, MIA ($1) - Sleepers don't really exist nowadays, but Rogers is a sleeper if there are any left. He should provide volume starting every fifth day in the Marlins' rotation and I believe his performance will be solid. After all, he's a lefty who pumps 97 mph pitching in a good park.
Jorge Alfaro, C, MIA ($1) - I'm not an Alfaro guy at all in roto, but here, he can't hurt me. Alfaro is a risk to single-handedly tank your batting average in a roto league, but since I don't need standings points in batting average and just need volume, I'm fine with it. He will cost me half a point for every strikeout, but that's not going to cripple my team.
Ha-seong Kim, SS, SD ($1) - Wish I could have this one back. At the time, I didn't realize quite the extent of his struggles this spring, but I'd be happy to plug in Jurickson Profar or Josh Rojas, both of whom I got in reserves.
In the reserves, I was particularly happy with Randy Dobnak. He's not RP eligible, but I can plug him in during the half-weeks when my starters are off (there are biweekly lineup periods in this league). He's been generating a lot of buzz with his new slider, and in fact Aaron Gleeman of The Athletic just shined a spotlight on Dobnak, so you may need to jump him a bit if you want him in drafts to come.