Fantasy Baseball Auction Salary Cap Draft Tips

Last Updated: Mar 25, 2023

Fantasy baseball salary cap leagues, in which you bid in an auction-style format to acquire players, are one of the most challenging and fun ways to play the game. There is more than one preferred way to build a team, though.

Some participants in these drafts will employ a “Stars and Scrubs” approach, where they bid heavily on the top players and let a good portion of the remainder of the roster fall into place thereafter. Others choose to balance the roster throughout the draft, and some elect to remain very patient and take advantage of later values.

Tout Wars is the most prestigious fantasy baseball experts league in the industry. Reviewing the results of the recent mixed league salary cap/auction draft should be an essential step in your draft planning process.

I’ve included some select insights on my own and other teams’ draft strategies for this type of league below.

Auction Salary Cap Fantasy Baseball League Rules

The Tout Wars Mixed Salary Cap draft consisted of 15 teams, with 23 active starters. The starting lineup includes two catchers and nine pitchers, and there was also a six-round reserve draft.

The league uses a 5×5 rotisserie scoring system with a unique offensive twist.

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On-base percentage replaces batting average, while runs, home runs, runs batted in, and stolen bases comprise the other offensive categories.

The traditional rotisserie statistical categories of wins, saves, strikeouts, ERA, and WHIP fill out the pitching side of the scoring system. All participants operate under a $260 “budget” of dollar units.

Tout Wars Mixed Auction Results

CWilliam ContrerasMIL13
CGabriel Moreno ARI6
1BPaul GoldschmidtSTL30
3BManny Machado SD38
CIAlex KirilloffMIN1
2BJazz ChisholmMIA24
SSOswald PerazaNYY1
MIAndrés GiménezCLE 16
OFChris TaylorLAD1
OFLars NootbaarSTL14
OFJesse WinkerMIL9
OFBryan De La CruzMIA1
OFGarrett Mitchell MIL1
UTMarcell OzunaATL3
PGerrit ColeNYY32
PTriston McKenzieCLE17
PGeorge KirbySEA19
PKodai SengaNYM7
PMerrill KellyARI2
PJameson TaillonCHC3
PMartĂ­n PĂ©rezTEX1
PCamilo Doval SF14
PDaniel BardCOL4
BNRoansy ContrerasPIT
BNScott McGoughARI
BNJuan YepezSTL
BNLuis RengifoLAA
BNMichael WachaSD
BNDylan DoddATL

My infield is the strength of my offense. I often went for the best players available earlier on over positional concerns early on.

The exception was at third base, where I wanted Machado as an anchor at a thinner position.

The outfield is not ideal as a result, but I will be able to move Chisholm there at some point, and I ended up with some good cheaper values, including Garrett Mitchell and Bryan De La Cruz.

I may need to make a trade for one more power bat at some point unless Marcell Ozuna recaptures his past form. My pitching staff is solid, and I took shots on some deep fliers in the reserve rounds, such as Juan Yepez and Dodd.

Fantasy Baseball Auction Salary Cap Tips

I’ll share some general fantasy baseball auction tips you can use for any draft.

Know your scoring system

It’s an old fantasy adage, but a true one in a league like Tout Wars, where on-base percentage replaces batting average as a category. I made sure to get Paul Goldschmidt at $30, as one OBP pillar without overspending.

Jesse Winker also becomes more of a good lower-priced target, as I nabbed him for eight bucks.

In an OBP league, I wanted no part of Adolis GarcĂ­a when compared to other hitters in his price range. I nominated GarcĂ­a since I did not want him and let someone else spend $20 on a significant OBP drainer.

Don’t overspend to contend

For many years, I subscribed to the “Stars and Scrubs” category in the Tout Wars auctions, and it never worked well enough against 14 other top industry experts. Last year, I scaled back on the big superstar spending and was in contention for a good finish until injuries ruined my team down the stretch.

This season, I did not venture into $40 territory for any player, with Manny Machado being my most expensive player at $38. Because I stayed competitive from a remaining dollar perspective in the middle and later portions of the draft, I was able to hit on some value picks that I was quite satisfied with.

Among them was Dylan Cease at $19, Kodai Senga at $7, Gabriel Moreno at $6, and Daniel Bard at $4. I did not overpay for Jazz Chisholm at $24 and Andrés Giménez at $16.

You can save on starting pitching

The big bids were obviously on the top hitters, yet I found quality starting pitching targets from top to bottom. I frontloaded my starting staff with Gerritt Cole, the highest-priced starter off the board at $32, yet aligning him with Cease, Triston McKenzie at $17, and Senga gave me a good feeling about the top of my staff.

I wanted to focus on good possible strikeout returns with my top four starters, and after that, it was about landing some respectable value plays. I spent a total of $6 on Jameson Taillon, Merrill Kelly, and MartĂ­n PĂ©rez.

I also took shots on Roansy Contreras, Michael Wacha, and Dylan Dodd in the reserve rounds, as I was able to pick off viable depth targets with upside fliers mixed in.

Closers and catchers

Very often in the past, I would essentially punt on catchers and not spend more than a few dollars on two of them. Yet, I grew tired of struggling to start catchers who either logged enough at-bats or did not significantly puncture my OBP outlook.

So while not getting into bidding wars for the likes of J.T. Realmuto, I made sure to get one respectable option and a second catcher with some promise.

Getting William Contreras for $13 and Moreno at $6 did the job well enough.

I took a similar approach at closer, where I did not want to get into the mix for Emmanuel Clase or Josh Hader, yet landing Camilo Doval at $14 was more than good enough. Bard was a quality value, and I can always chase some additional saves on the waiver wire during the season.

Fantasy Baseball Auction Salary Cap Strategies

Big spender analysis

Looking at some approaches other than mine, Kev Mahserejian spent $48 each on Aaron Judge and Juan Soto, $37 on Kyle Schwarber, and he dropped $29 on Spencer Strider.

Bret Sayre spent $45 on Ronald Acuña Jr., $44 on José Ramírez, $37 on Mike Trout, $32 on Shohei Ohtani, and $30 on Fernando Tatís Jr.

If you are going to attempt the Stars and Scrubs approach, I like the way Sayre balanced out his standout offensive core. Mahserejian went for his guys very early in the draft, yet also hung in for some quality picks later on, such as George Kirby at $17 and Ty France at $7.

Insights on the patient types

Justin Mason sat back and was consistently the participant with the most auction money left throughout the draft. That approach yielded some good values such as Bryan Reynolds for $19, Joe Musgrove for $15, Alejandro Kirk for $15, Nico Hoerner for $11, and Steven Kwan for $10.

Scott Chu was also one of the managers to have the most money left late in the draft. He was able to pick off nifty lower-priced targets such as Pablo López for $7, Travis d’ Arnaud for $6, Jose Miranda for $5, and Mitch Haniger for $4.


Scott Engel

Scott Engel is a Senior Sports Writer at The Game Day. Previously he was at and The Athletic. His work is also featured at RotoBaller and on Scott is a host on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. He is an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association's Hall of Fame. Scott is a four-time FSWA award winner and a 13-time finalist. He was an Associate Editor and featured writer at and his career began at CBS SportsLine, where he was a Senior Writer and Managing Editor. Scott was the Managing Director at RotoExperts.

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