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Fantasy baseball auction drafters will find themselves inevitably in a situation where the room is rocketing past their auction value estimates. This post provides some auction draft strategy when that occurs.

While most of our auction drafts avoid devolving into ‘Stars ‘n Scrubs mania’, we play in a 14-team Pro-Am league run by Scott Pianowski of Yahoo! that reliably blows past our $ estimates for star players.

Below is how we handle it (Full disclosure: The results have been mixed. We finished in 2nd two years ago and a really disappointing 9th last year due to a pitching collapse.):

1) Be patient and have faith in your auction values - Assuming you have auction values designed for your draft format, every wild overpay means greater purchasing power for your $260.  The tide will turn and suddenly you will getting players at fair value and, later in the draft, players at significant value.

2) Feed the overpay engine when it is your time to nominate - No need to get tricky and try to sneak in a non-star player.  If the mob is going crazy for OFs, send them another one.

3) If you are going to go the ‘Stars ‘n Scrubs’ approach, do not spend heavily on C/2B/SS - In  most mixed-league formats, there will be MLB starting players available in the $1 round at these positions.  In addition, there will be less competition on the waiver wire at these positions since most teams are committed to their selections.  You do not want to be starving for 1B/OF/SP/Closer help in the $1 round and waivers when EVERYONE in your league is on alert for players in these positions.

4) The more drafters who use the ‘Stars ‘n Scrubs’ approach, the less effective the strategy is for each team - Not only are you having to pay more for the stars but there is a ton of competition for the $1 players as well.

5) In mixed leagues, the biggest late draft bargains are going to be closers – We like to hoard relievers in that case, bypassing marginal SPs and offensive bench players.  We can then trade from this closer depth in the pre-season or stock up on Saves in the beginning of the year and trade closers during the season.

I could probably come up with more but it gets repetitive.  See below for our team and here is a Google Doc with the full draft as well as my $ figures per player and for each drafted team.  I have our team with 30% more value than the average team in the league.  Only two other teams are at more than 10% value.

(Note:  Seems like my $ estimates might have been a bit low as the average team is < $260.  Also, the Catcher values are purposefully low because I estimate as if there is 1 catcher per team instead of 2.  Just an easy way for Grey and I to avoid the temptation of paying top dollar for catchers)

Razzball – Yahoo Hero Sandwich Draft – Feb 25
$ Pos Player Team
13 C Yadier Molina STL
6 C Ryan Doumit (C,OF) MIN
26 1B Paul Goldschmidt ARI
5 2B Howie Kendrick LAA
6 SS Jean Segura MIL
16 3B Pablo Sandoval SF
6 MI Kyle Seager (2B,3B) SEA
4 CI Lance Berkman TEX
23 OF Matt Holliday STL
23 OF Jay Bruce CIN
9 OF Hunter Pence SF
4 OF Starling Marte PIT
5 OF Alexandro De Aza CHW
6 U Michael Cuddyer (1B,OF) COL
6 Bench Corey Hart (1B,OF) MIL
24 SP Cliff Lee PHI
6 SP Josh Beckett LAD
4 SP Jaime Garcia STL
6 SP Jonathon Niese NYM
8 SP Marco Estrada MIL
9 RP Tom Wilhelmsen SEA
8 RP JJ Putz ARI
9 RP Greg Holland KC
5 Bench Matt Garza MIL
6 Bench John Axford MIL
7 Bench Kenley Jansen LAD
1 Bench David Robertson NYY
  1. river-z says:
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    I took part in an auction draft this weekend for the league I run (6×6: OPS, Slg, hlds) and it went much like what Rudy described. There was some ridiculous overpay ($70 Trout!). But I was patient and got guys like Stanton ($37) for reasonable prices.

    Patience paid off:
    C Mauer
    1B Fielder
    2B Zobrist
    3B Longoria
    SS Desmond
    OF Stanton, Cespedes, Gordon
    Util Rizzo, Jackson
    SP Scherzer, Latos, Zimmermann, Shields, Lincecum, Niese
    RP Wilhelmsen, Street, Peralta, D Roberson

    • @river-z: That’s a solid team. I think some drafters feel they can easily patch up holes via Free Agency but it’s not always so easy. I feel like you’re starting the year with no weak spots and are less dependent on good FA luck. Well, until Longoria gets hurt (reverse jinx b/c I have him on a team too)

  2. B12 says:
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    Just finished a 13 team auction draft (2C, MI, CI, 5OF, 2 UTIL, 10 P) 4×4 league nor runs/no K’s
    Stars are generally overpaid for. I would be interested on what you thought of my team?? (520 dollars available at draft)

    C Rosario 21
    C Brantley 1
    1B Morales 23
    2b Seager 13
    SS Castro 43
    3B Zimmerman 48
    CI Berkman 1
    MI Ackley 4
    OF Mccutchen 62
    OF Choo 5`1
    OF Pence 24
    OF Ichiro 19
    OF Cuddyer 9
    UTIL Ortiz 14
    UTIL M Brantley 1
    SP Bumgarner 34
    SP Chapman 36
    SP Halladay 34
    SP Bailey 3
    SP Minor 4
    SP Detweiller 1
    RP Perkins 22
    RP Grilli 21
    RP Parnell 8
    RP Cook 1

    • The team looks okay if a bit Seattly on offense. I really like the Berkman and Pence value – not thrilled with Ichiro but I guess you needed SBs. Solid SP selections. The bullpen looks good based on projections (i.e., solid K-rates) but clearly has more uncertainty/risk than ideal.

      I’d consider trading Chapman since his biggest stat category isn’t counted in your league. See if maybe you can get another SP + maybe an MI upgrade over Ackley or a bat that can fill in for Ortiz when he goes on the DL.

  3. Carnac says:
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    [AUCTIONEER BANGS GAVEL]

    “After a tough bidding war, Troy Tulowitzki is sold to (anyone but Carnac) for $45!”

    [CARNAC CACKLES UNCONTROLLABLY LIKE GREY ALBRIGHT]

    • Yeah, Tulowitzki is high risk/high reward. I’d be more likely to gamble on him in a snake draft than an auction…

  4. Eddy says:
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    Rudy,

    I’ve primarily drafted in snake drafts so I’m accustomed to getting a “star” on all teams. Would you be OK paying, say, $45 for McCutchen or Fielder to have that one guy you can (hopefully) rely on?

    In other words, not just paying the extra dollar. More like the extra 10 because that’s how the room is starting off.

    I don’t mind getting a solid core group akin to the one you drafted, but it feels odd not having that one certified superstar.

    • @Eddy: Eh, that’s not my style. I wouldn’t pay a premium just to have a star. There just isn’t a player out there that can have such a huge impact on a team. My favorite thing about auctions isn’t that I can draft two top 12 players….it’s that I can draft 24 top 180 players. So as you can see on this team, we didn’t overpay to get a ‘star’ but we got really good depth (remembering it’s 14 team)

      • Eddy says:
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        @Rudy Gamble:

        Understood. I’ll print out my values then!

    • Wallpaper Paterson says:
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      @Eddy: The Lakers have stars this season, but not a team. You can win an auction league without having a superstar. In a typical 23-27 players, $260 auction I would not bid more than $35 on McCutchen. In other words, McCutchen will not be on my team.

    • ETMcgee says:
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      @Eddy: i think that if you are going to spend a few extra bucks on somebody, make sure they will give you top 5 value. I drafted Braun last year at $46 (other top players were going above $50) and was still able to get plenty of value later on (i won’t spend much more than about $25 on a batter or $20 on a pitcher as a general rule, unless there is real value there). I also abide by the policy of getting 3 RP for no more than $15 total (sagnof), which seems to stretch the budget a little farther. I have had good success spending a little extra for a top player, but wouldn’t draft more than 1 and I am pretty cheap at other positions (catcher, MI, SS, 2b, and pitchers)…

      • Eddy says:
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        @ETMcgee:

        Those are good rules to abide by, especially the RP one, never thought about it like that.

    • JVH4 says:
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      @Eddy:
      I’m a case study for this point unfortunately. 2 years ago I stuck to my values had the deepest team in the league. Was the 2 seed after the reg season (7×7 h2 h) but lost in the 1st round of the playoff. I was pissed and decided it was the lack of a star player that made me bad in the playoffs. Over payed for my star the next year didnt have enough cash to get the middle of the road guys on my target list. I was then way too dependent on my sleepers/flyers and when a few didnt pan out I was done. Finished 8 out of 12.

  5. Alcesto says:
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    Yo Rudy,

    So I just added up all the pluses and minuses on the draft doc you posted, and the league overall spent about $290 more dollars on all players than you had projected. How does that work where you already know the total dollars that will be spent at the auction? Does that imply that your projections are just low overall?

    I can see your dollar values favor (over other owners) older, fading players, and that makes sense to me, but I don’t understand your preference for closers. Are they really that valuable?

    • This was a custom league (yahoo eligibility + espn roster) and it seems in this case that my $ estimates seem a bit low. Admitted as much in the post. Probably should’ve been $1-$2 higher per player.

      Closers are definitely valuable when looking at end of season stats. I feel very confident on how I value them and that I’m factoring in their ERA/WHIP/K production. It’s a bit harder for pre-season because saves can be a fluky statistic even if a guy stays healthy and remains a closer. I try to estimate Saves conservatively in pre-season (no one above 30) but the ERA/WHIP/K value help boost them in the rankings.

      All that said, my draft strategy this year is to draft 2 middle of the pack closers (15-team) and 2 middle of the pack, 1 lower end in shallower leagues (10-12 team). I feel like I have the potential at getting more surplus value that way. Doesn’t change that I think Kimbrel is worthy of the 39th pick – it’s just my preference not to take him there.

  6. Dewy & Yaz says:
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    Love it, fun read.
    I agree with your drafting strat, especially the first three points.
    * I think I’d of rather spread the cost of Cliff Lee out over another starter though.
    *Are you punting on the Wins cat? Looks like you spent heavy on closers and even heavier on a closer that is contending for the roll in Jensen.
    *Steals might be a problem for you, but you could maybe trade a closer for an OF.
    *You did spend on your catchers vs. staying with the strat you stated.

    • @Dewy & Yaz: It’s a daily league so we plan on streaming for the rest of the starts. In daily leagues, middle relievers with high K-rates/strong ratios like Jansen and K-Rob have great value when you rotate them in for your SPs. So we should be able to do well in ratios and K’s and could always increase SPs through streaming and trade as the season goes on.

      I think Segura/Marte/De Aza with positional help from Goldschmidt should leave us solid in SB.

      Yeah, $19 was more than we expected to spend on catchers but we were so cash rich that we splurged. It’s a case where we probably could’ve afforded to splurge on a great player but hindsight is 20/20.

  7. Rags says:
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    In my fairly sophisticated NL-only 11 team league, everyone’s gotten real patient for those mid-tier guys while my stars and scrubs got me first last year. Obviously there has to be a balance, but I think some people undervalue roster spots as their own limited commodity. You can save $5 on every player and end up with a team of meh.

    But yeah, positional scarcity is waaay overrated. Punted C/SS/2B and only paid for one closer (NL-only, you have to pay for some saves). If you’re going to spend, spend on the *stats* guys will give you and fill in the positional holes later.

    • It’s a great point – we used stars ‘n scrubs for hitters in 2010 LABR NL because we found that the room generally underbid top players. We got Pujols, Braun, and Reyes. Worked out really well on offense but we missed badly on pitchers.

      With AL/NL-only, the challenge is making sure you can field a full team and pay for stars. It can be done but you need to sacrifice somewhere. Hate paying $10+ for a blech player like Brendan Ryan…

  8. birrrdy! says:
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    Great article, Rudy. Nice 1-2 punch with Grey’s auction strategy piece.

    Question for both of you and/or the gallery…. What’s the best way to factor in (1) inflation and (2) long-term keeper values for keeper-auction leagues?

    I seem to get burned in our NL-only keeper auction because I undervalue the top stars, and overvalue the mediocre ones. Loved your point #3 about not overpaying at 2B, because that is usually where I get burned.

    But I severely underestimate the value of 1Bs and quality OFs typically and have suffered at those positions historically. Always waiting for values, and then scratching my head when I don’t get a quality 1B when I refuse to pay $36 for 2012 Michael Cuddyer, etc.

    We have $300 to spend on the draft MINUS the money we spend on up to 8 keepers (from our prior rosters) selected pre-draft at a 10% discount off of the Sporting News magazine prices. Most teams end up spending about $120-$200 on their 8 keepers, and then go to the draft with the rest to get a total of 13 hitters and 10 pitchers.

    I get a pretty darn good auction cheat-sheet based on Razzball/Steamer projections and the Last Player Picked website, but it doesn’t adjust values that factor in everybody’s keeper selections and/or how the draft is going. Needless to say, there’s a premium on keeping the elite players, no matter what the mag price, because they are elite and the picking at that level are virtually non-existant at the draft unless someone came over from the AL in the offseason.

    Any thoughts or advice on my two questions would be most appreciated!

    • @birrrdy!: Oy. Okay, so $300 for drafting 15 players, right? That’s $20/player where typical 23 players/$260 is closer to $11-$12 for player. So just adjust everyone up by about 1.7.

      Make sense?

      • birrrdy! says:
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        @Rudy Gamble: Sorry I explained it so clumsily. It’s $300 total for all 23 players. Everyone keeps their 8 max, so we’re drafting for the other 15 players with whatever money we have left from our keeper (mag) prices.

        Let’s just say I have great auction prices assuming we went into the auction with no keepers. But my math fails when all the elites are off the board post-keepers, and then guys like Cuddyer and Corey Hart (or the incoming AL players like Upton and Choo this year) suddenly command elite prices as the best players off the board in the draft.

        Then I follow the trend and overpay for my stupid middle infielders, and run out of money for the late draft $1-3 picks where people get great value at SP and MI.

        • @birrrdy!: Rabbit pretty much nailed it below. If it’s 23 players/$300, you have a $ pool of $300 * # of teams. You then need to add the difference between all keeper player’s projected $ value (I recommend using my $ figures) and their keeper $ value. So if everyone is keeping about $100 worth of players at $20, you add $80 * # of teams to the league $ pool. You then divide that number by $300 * # of teams to get the inflation factor. If it was $800 in total difference and there are 10 teams, it would be $300*10 + $800 = 3800/3000 = 1.27 (or 27% inflation).

    • Rabbit says:
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      @birrrdy!: Here’s how I calculate keeper inflation in my 12-person auction league. Add up the total that all owners have to spend _before_ the keeper values get removed. So in my league that’s $260 x 12 = $3120. Yours would be $300 times the number of owners. Then, calculate and add up how much all the owners have “saved” with their keepers. E.g., if Sporting News said Ryan Braun was $40, and an owner kept him at $36, then that owner “saved” $4. If a team kept eight $20 players for $18 each (the 10% discount), their total saved would be 8 x $2 = $16. Add u all of the owners’ keeper savings, divide that by the sum total of the owners’ budgets, and you have your keeper inflation value.
      The key is to calculate keeper savings using your own values, not the Sporting News’ values. If you did the latter, I am pretty sure you would get a keeper inflation percentage of about 11%, though someone better at math than I may very well disoprove this. (It wouldn’t be 10%, because when you reduce a value by 10%, you then have to add about 11.1% of the new (reduced) value to get it back to its original value.)
      For example, let’s say you have ten owners, so your league’s total budget is $3000. Let’s also say that your owners each save an average of $3 per keeper, so each team saves $24 and the league as a whole saves $240. 240 divided by 3000 is .08, or 8%. this would be the keeper inflation for your league, so you would need to add 8% to each player’s price to reflect the keeper inflation (e.g. a $40 player becomes a $43.2 player).

      • Dan says:
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        @Rabbit: I totally agree with the math of this, but I’m wondering if you believe that the inflation will be more for either: the star players that aren’t kept or most players nominated earlier in the draft? I’m doing my first auction with keepers gone (second year of the league so the first year of keeping players), and as much as I want to believe in the math of consistent inflation, I’m just not sure if preparing like that will get me into big trouble. I’m afraid that higher priced players will be over-inflated. Anyone have some past history of this?

        • Star inflation happens in keeper and non-keeper leagues alike. If you calculate the $ values correctly, you should be able to sit tight and build a deeper team than the star/scrubs guys.

  9. Rabbit says:
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    Great and timely (for me) post, Rudy, as this weekend I have both of my auction drafts, with one of them being a league I just joined that is 15-team, Al/NL 5×5 roto with standard cats. I have been playing for years in my 12-team AL/NL 5×5 roto auction league, and I wondering what differences I can expect moving from a 12-team to a 15-team auction. Your article indicates that in your 14-player league star values are generally inflated–is that a consequence of bigger leagues, or do a lot of guys in that league play stars-and-scrubs? Any other things I shuld be on the lookout for as a difference between 12 and 15-team auctions?
    Thanks.

    • @Rabbit: The 14 team one I did on the fly because it was a custom format (Yahoo eligibility/ESPN roster). I don’t think the 15 team $ figures are affected.

      Stars and scrubs is tougher in 15-team because the replacement players are worse. In our 15 team expert leagues, I find SP aces go for a higher premium than in other formats.

      All my other wisdom is factored into the $ values…

  10. Larry says:
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    I’m in a 18 team mixed roto redraft league with 8 Pitchers, 12 Hitters (C, 3 CI, 2 MI 4 OF and 2 ut and 6 reserves. Budget is $250. Limited to only 20 moves per year and can’t pick up a free agent unless someone is on the DL. Would spread the wealth be the best option? Any where would you spend on players (OF and CI?). I typically go $170/$80.

    • @Larry: I’d go $175/$75 hitters/pitchers but make sure to stock up on arms for your reserves. I’d go 4 pitchers/2 hitters for reserves.

  11. Public Enemy#1 says:
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    Hey Rudy, had my 16 team auction draft yesterday. We use the typical ESPN style roster, but use QS instead of Wins and Saves/Holds instead of Saves. It is a keeper league where I started with Trout $1, Kipnis $9, Rizzo $1 and Medlen $1. Let me know what you think:

    C) Lucroy $8
    1b) Rizzo $1
    2b) Kipnis $9
    3b)Longoria $30
    SS) Peralta $1
    Ci) CDavis $16
    Mi) Beckham $1
    OF) Trout $1
    OF)Braun $45
    OF)Choo $27
    OF)Markakis $13
    OF)LMartin $19
    U) CRoss $1

    SP) Greinke $22
    SP) Latos $25
    SP) Medlen $1
    SP) Morros $17
    P) HBailey $5
    P) Maholm $2
    RP) Frieri $1
    RP) Cishek $1
    RP) Fujikawa $1

    Bench) Teheran $1, JValverde $1, DGee $1, BCrawford $1, PHughes $1, Luebke $1

    *Pretty clear that I waited really long to get my SS/Mi and I don’t feel great at all about Peralta filling my SS slot. My staff came out really strong IMO, as I never thought I could land someone like HBailey at $5. The upside of Morrow at $17 seemed decent to me as well at the time. I also think Maholm and Gee for a total of $3 is nice end of the draft value.

    • Public Enemy#1 says:
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      Looking at your rules. I think I nailed Rule #3 (Saving at Mi and C) and Rule #5 (considering it is a saves/holds league and my pen only cost my $3 total).

    • @Public Enemy#1: That team is ridiculous when you factor in your keepers. Yeah, great job with the bullpen given it is Saves+Holds and all three of those are solid relievers (who should get one or the other).

      If that’s not the best team in your league, I’d hate to see the best one…

      • PublicEnemy#1 says:
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        @Rudy Gamble: thanks!

  12. gary says:
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    Hey man, can you please lend your thoughts on this trade? I’m in a 12 team H2H most categories league with OPS added. We have really big rosters and we keep 16! I kind of need to do a 1 for 2 as my last keeper spot needs to be filled!

    It’s my Pence ($12) for Ethier ($12) and Lucroy ($1).

    I’m also not keeping a catcher currently. Just want to make sure it’s a good deal for me this year! Thanks for any possible help!

    • gary says:
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      I could also get Swisher ($9) and Chris Davis ($1) too, but have that last UTIL/OF spot reserved for Wil Myers or Tavares when they come up, what do you think???

      • gary says:
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        I hate to re comment but I’ve also been offered Revere ($1) and Anibal Sanchez ($4) too haha. You feeling any of these deals for Pence? Thanks again!

    • @gary: Pence for Ethier/Lucroy is a fair deal. I have Pence and Ethier about equal. It’s definitely a favorable trade if you can make daily lineup changes and swap another player in for Ethier when he faces LHPs. I’d take Swisher/Davis instead of it, though. It’s always good to have hitter depth. No on Revere and Anibal.

  13. Bill says:
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    In a 15 team keeper league, 5X5 (holds instead of whip) and have protection lists due this Friday for our draft in a couple of weeks. The wheels came off my team late last season and stocked up on prospects. This seemed great at the time, but now have more prospects than I can protect, especially on pitching, where I have 7 protection slots and about 10 possible protects, as follows (with protected 2013 salary):

    Definite protects:
    1. Dickey ($7)
    2. Matt Moore ($6)
    3. Fernando Rodney ($7)
    Likely protects:
    4. Trevor Bauer ($6)
    5. Gerritt Cole ($1)
    6. Zack Wheeler ($1)
    7. Bruce Rondon ($1)
    ???:
    8. Jose Fernandez ($1)
    9. Danny Hultzen ($7)
    10. Phil Coke ($4)

    Thoughts? There are a lot of what ifs – especially on who might make rotations coming out of spring or when they mught get called up. Would you move Fernandez or Hultzen up over Rondon, given the uncertainty with the Tigers’ closer? Am I crazy to protect so many prospects? We have average bench size (8), but I also have other offensive prospects I am trying to stash too (Taveras, Billy Hamilton).

    • @Bill: i’d forget hultzen but jose hernandez over bauer is intriguing.

  14. joey D says:
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    I’m joining a dynasty auction league as an expansion team. Ten team roto , 5×5 with ops as the ratio. There is no innings limit and its a weekly lineup. I’m accustomed to a 1600 innings max limit and daily lineups. I’ve looked at salaries from last yr and notice that this league does not pay much for closers. I’m not one to ever punt a category but without a limit to innings, no daily lineup changes and nobody wasting money on $12 salads, do u think it’s wise to go after a few cheap closers and waste some of the ten pitcher slots I’m allowed every week or get 2 top tier closers and fill my lineup with at least 8 SPs usually?

    • Weekly leagues typically put more weight on SPs since:
      1) You can’t rotate relievers into your lineup when SPs sit like in daily
      2) You can’t do daily streaming
      3) Efforts to get ’2-start pitchers’

      I’d estimate total IP per team at around 1500 with a general mix of 7 SPs and 3 relievers.

      There’s might be a guy who punts saves completely and aims to dominate Wins/K’s. Whatever.

      I recommend the following:
      - Pay for 2 solid relievers with great K-rates and at least good ratios. Don’t worry about a 3rd closer at the draft.
      - Get 1-2 really good middle relievers but don’t pay more than $1-$2 each. Good K-rates/ratios. Jansen, David Robertson, David Hernandez, Luke Gregerson, Fujikawa are some of the top ones.
      - Draft a deep reservoir of SPs – using up all of your bench except one hitter spot. I’d get 1-2 aces depending on whether the $ values are in line with mine for 10-team. For your lesser starters, focus on guys with young and/or injured guys with K-upside (Wily Peralta, Scott Baker, Chad Billingsley) and guys with favorable home matchups (Padres, Giants, etc.). You can always dump one of these starters for another guy but they’ll come in handy for avoiding bad SP matchups.

      Hope that helps…

  15. MessyF says:
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    For some reason in my 16team H2H auction league closers always go at a premium – around 16bucks regardless of quality. Would you recommend taking only 1 and then trying to find others on waivers later?

    • Yes, I’d stick w/ one closer and get 2 really good set-up guys. If you could get, say, Greg Holland + Kenley Jansen + David Robertson/Hernandez, that would be a more valuable haul than two closers.

  16. TheNewGuy says:
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    Estrada went for a lot in my auction too, seems hes everyones favourite sleeper this year.

    Got to my draft an hour late due to friggin DST on sunday, draft ruined. So pissed off. All it takes is to be an hour late, and missed out on all the stud players and even 20-25 buck guys. What do you guys do if you are late to a draft and are screwed, its a keeper so im proably gonna sell off early. Looking at a new auction league for this year now.

    • @TheNewGuy: never happened to me. sucks they couldn’t wait for you.

  17. Moe Bigs says:
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    I’m in a keeper auction league for the past 4 years and have been able to handle my own as far as keeper selections – but have hit a snag. In a H2H league keeper, which seems like the better choice – keeping Kinsler @ $25 or Brett Lawrie @ $6? Normally I would go for a top 2nd baseman for avg $ (260 budget)…but this might be the last year I keep Kinsler and if that’t the case, would it seem like a better idea to keep Lawrie and bid for Kinsler in the draft? Any help is greatly appreciated, thanks!

    • Lawrie at $6 is a much better deal. I imagine Kinsler will go for more than $25 in the draft but I’d rather bet on the upside of Lawrie.

      • Moe Bigs says:
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        @Rudy Gamble:

        Solid, thanks for the help!

  18. Jack Full of Hate says:
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    got an auction keeper question. Format: E$pn position format. $260 budget. Offensive cats R,HR,RBI,SB,K,OPS

    I need to keep 3

    Rizzo $4
    Altuve$4
    Machado $4
    Frazier $4

    Any help would be much appreciated

    • HebrewHammer says:
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      @Jack Full of Hate: Rizzo, Altuve and Machado in that order. Rizzo and Altuve are easy, however Machado and Frazier are similar. Main factors for taking Machado over Frazier is the fact that he has more upside and can possibly gain SS eligibility this season.

      • Agree. Frazier is much older than the others and has less upside

        • Jack Full of Donuts says:
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          @Rudy Gamble: I really thought Rizzo and Frazier are my no brainers. its only a three year keeper and will be looking to upgrade this season, so age was never a thought. I was leaning towards riz, fraz, and macho.

          • @Jack Full of Donuts: Altuve does lose some value since your league uses OPS instead of AVG. So Frazier instead of Altuve isn’t so far-fetched.

            • Jack Full of Donuts says:
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              @Rudy Gamble: I had a hard time with this one. I think we have a good idea of what Altuve’s ceiling might be in Houston. I’m gambling on upside, I took over this horrible team last year and decided to get the best young talent I could.

  19. HebrewHammer says:
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    Just finished a Y! pay league draft and curious to your thoughts on the squad. Had the 8th pick in a 12 team 5×5 mixed league.

    C – Matt Wieters 7th
    1B – Albert Pujols 1st
    2B – Chase Utley 12th
    3B – Ryan Zimmerman 4th
    SS – Erick Aybar 15th
    OF – Jose Bautista 2nd (debated on stanton here, but the possibility of him gaining 3b swayed me)
    OF – Giancarlo Stanton 3rd (didnt want the avg risk but too good to pass up here)
    OF – Desmond Jennings 8th
    Util - Freddie Freeman 6th
    Util - Adam Eaton 16th

    BN – Ike Davis 13th
    BN – Brandon Belt 20th
    BN – Jedd Gyorko 23rd

    SP – Adam Wainwright 5th
    SP – Josh Johnson 9th
    RP – Sergio Romo 10th
    RP – Greg Holland 11th
    P – Mike Minor 14th
    P – Josh Beckett 17th
    P – Bobby Parnell 18th
    P – Al Alburquerque 19th
    BN – Julio Teheran 21st
    BN – Shelby Miller 22nd

    Felt like I reached for a few players (Freeman, Weiters, Aybar, Eaton) but overall pretty happy with the reaches as the next best option either didnt have the upside were just players I didnt favor.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I want in a money league where I’m getting Stanton in the 3rd… Hitting looks excellent… The pitching looks okay, I don’t love Johnson, but that’s a small issue…

    • Stanton in the 3rd round?!?! I haven’t seen him fall past the 12th pick. Offense should be solid but pitching will probably require some work during the season (streaming, trades, free agents)

  20. RobertC says:
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    Rudy – I’m very interested in your comments today over on faketeams. I saw that you signed up on the site to discuss the topic, and I’m wondering if it is worth exploring the topic further. Is there a way we can discuss it further in more detail?

    • Hi RobertC – welcome to Razzball. I was reading Ray’s article (I read most/any articles about drafts we’re in) and thought it was worth noting that post-draft standings based on ANY projection system is worth somewhere between 1-2 grains of salt.

      Here’s my analysis from 2012 that tests pre-draft values for our 576 Razzball Commenter League teams based on various projection systems.

      http://razzball.com/fantasy-baseball-projections-review-2012/

      Even the best projection system only explained about 20% of the final standings. So it’s not irrelevant but it’s not particularly telling either.

      • RobertC says:
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        @Rudy Gamble:

        Love your analysis in that article. Very detailed.

        So the correlation is roughly 20%, but what is the alternative? Is it possible 20% is the best we can do? My point is, everyone has “projections” that they go by, at least in the general sense. And the goal of any draft or auction is to give you the best set of players that are most likely to give you the best stats across all the categories in the standings. Your tool that you use to determine if you are accomplishing that goal is comparing what you project your players to reach in each category (in sum) against the other teams who are doing the same thing, or against some theoretical end season total.

        Isn’t everyone doing that, at least subconsciously or in the abstract? And if so, why is it not useful to actually perform the math and look directly at the numbers? Why is it better to leave it in the general sense and ignore the sum of the projections that you are using on each player to make your valuations?

        I feel like I’m missing something. If you arent doing this, then what are you doing instead to make sure that you don’t just get the best player, you actually get the best player for your team relative to what other teams are doing in order to maximize your rank in each category?

        • @RobertC: Thanks. I don’t promote an alternative to using projections as part of valuing players. There is a positive correlation and I’m striving to increase that correlation percentage – starting from February (when the first drafts may start) through end of pre-season.

          Here were the key changes I made for 2013 based on this analysis:
          1) Created/maintained playing time estimates as I am not satisfied with any current source. Some of the more accurate sources aren’t available until early March. We will see at the end of the year how well/poorly my playing time estimate perform in the test.

          2) Collaborated closer with Steamer’s J. Cross. We worked on some improvements on R/RBI that factor in, among other variables, projected batting order position. He also was game for moving up the release of their projections to late January/early February.

          3) Switched out ZiPS for CAIRO as my second projection source for my $ figures (keeping in Steamer). CAIRO performs just as well in hitting and better in pitching. Plus, it’s available much earlier.

          4) Adjusted the hitter/pitcher weights to reflect the delta between hitter and pitcher projection accuracy. For instance, instead of a standard ESPN $ value being based on 154/106 (13 hitters/9 pitchers) to 160/100.

          So my goal is for my $ estimates to outperform any individual projection system.

          To gauge success in a draft, I just focus on how much positive $ value each team drafted. I figure any guy with less than $0 will likely be replaced if he performs at that rate. Generally, I assume we are first in pre-draft value based on my $ estimates and that’s just a minor confirmation we are drafting as planned.

          I think creating Roto ‘standings’ based on counting all the stats is pointless because you are talking about really small differences that are beyond the margin of error in the projections. It is perhaps helpful to identify specific weaknesses in a team but I’ve found it is seldom worth the work.

          One alternative is Baseball HQ’s ‘Mayberry’ method which agrees with my premise above re: the fallibility of projections and goes one step further – creating rankings/$ values based on a player’s underlying skills (Power, Speed) instead of projections. Of course, these underlying skills are produced by BHQ and are more abstract than just looking at HR and SB projections. I would love to test their $ estimates as part of the 2013 test to see how well/poorly this performs.

  21. dk says:
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    did an espn prize eligible league auction and came out with this team..

    C Salvador Perez 7
    1B Prince Fielder 39
    2B Dan Uggla 3
    3B Will Middlebrooks 3
    SS Starlin Castro 19
    2B/SS Erick Aybar 2
    1B/3B Paul Goldschmidt 12
    OF Ryan Braun 40
    OF Matt Kemp 37
    OF Jason Heyward 22
    OF Hunter Pence 2
    OF Michael Cuddyer 1
    UTIL Michael Young 2
    P Madison Bumgarner 17
    P Cliff Lee 23
    P Adam Wainwright 18
    P Matt Harvey 3
    P Matt Garza 1
    P Jason Grilli 2
    P A.J. Burnett 1
    P Hyun-Jin Ryu 1
    P Tom Wilhelmsen 1
    BE Glen Perkins 1
    BE Marco Estrada 1
    BE Tyler Skaggs 1
    Total: 259
    Remaining: 1

    • @dk: That is a fantastic draft, bravo!

  22. Eddy says:
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    Rudy,

    I know it’s a bit hard to answer, but figure it’s worth asking.

    Is there a point in the draft where you can identify that you have too much money left and can splurge a bit? As in, you stop and analyze how much money you have left after, say, 8 players and then decide that you have more than the usual amount and splurge?

    • Good question. I typically become aware of this once players start falling a couple dollars below my estimates. I imagine a war room can monitor this more closely but my general POV is that by the time you realize you could spend a couple more bucks, the players you wish you can use them towards are already gone.

  23. HebrewHammer says:
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    Please sell me on Stanton. I can’t see why everyone is valuing him as first round talent, heck even for that matter 2nd round value. The guy owns a horrible 28.8% K-rate over his career and a 28.5% K-rate last year. You would expect an average of around .240-.260 with that type of strikeout rate. Any protection he had last year is gone so he will be pitched around when RBI opportunities present themselves. I do agree that his power is probably tops for the majors however I don’t see him putting up enough of the supporting numbers to warrant a high pick. The potential is there but the risk is not worth it in my eyes for him to be picked in the top 2 rounds. Prediction: 86 43 96 5 .265.

    • @HebrewHammer: Well, we’d prefer to have you, Ryan Braun, but you were picked earlier in the 1st round.

      Here’s the thing on Stanton – he is far and away the best power source in MLB. Check out my 12-team $ values/Point Shares (http://razzball.com/playerrater-preseason-espnmlb12). Stanton’s has 3.3 Point Shares for power which is a whole Point Share above the second place guy (Jose Bautista). That’s even larger than Mike Trout’s lead in SBs (0.8 PS ahead of Everth Cabrera).

      He is above average in Runs/RBI – though not as high in Runs as other top hitters. His SB and AVG won’t kill you but aren’t going to help you either.

      ‘Buying’ into Stanton means you buy into the fact that he has a sizable power advantage vs. the rest of top hitters. For instance, Steamer (http://razzball.com/playerrater-preseason-espnmlb12) has him at 44 HRs and the next guys (Pujols and Miggy) are at 36 and 35. 8-9 HRs is huge!

      Here’s the #1 reason why he’s project so far ahead of everyone:
      http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=y&type=2&season=2012&month=0&season1=2011&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=9,d

      He’s had a 26.8% HR/FB ratio the past 2 years. Granderson is next with 22.2%. Miggy is at 20.8%. Fielder 19.9%. Bautista at 21.5%. Then add in the fact that Stanton is at the 75th percentile for FB% (as in, he hits a greater than average # of fly balls).

      Sold?

  24. GR says:
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    Please rate these 2 teams…Auction Draft with a Stars/Srubs (although Grey doesn’t think many of these guys are really ‘scrubs’) vs what I think might be a more ‘balanced’ team?? I am using a lot First time in a Auction so I may be way off…looking for advice.
    Team A
    C Jesus Montero
    1B Paul Goldschmidt
    2B Danny Espinosa
    SS Josh Rutledge
    3B Todd Frazier
    OF Giancarlo Stanton
    OF Justin Upton
    OF Adam Jones
    UTIL Choo
    SP Gio Gonzalez
    SP Max Scherzer
    RP Sergio Romo
    RP Rafael Betancourt
    P Jordan Zimmerman
    P James Shields
    P Neise
    BENCH John Axford
    BENCH Bailey
    BENCH Ackley
    BENCH Milone

    Team B Stars/Scrubs
    C Jesus Montero
    1B Prince Fielder
    2B Bonafacio
    SS Josh Rutledge
    3B Todd Frazier
    OF McCutchen
    OF Jason Heyward
    OF Albert Pujols
    UTIL Michael Cuddyer
    SP Steven Strasburg
    SP Gio Gonzalez
    RP Sergio Romo
    RP Betancourt
    P Neise
    P Parker
    P Bailey
    BENCH Axford
    BENCH Minor
    BENCH Aybar
    BENCH Milone

    • @GR: How many teams? What’s the format? Assuming 10-12 teams, Yahoo 5×5, they are fairly comparable. I probably like the 2nd team more because it’s better in AVG and SP – though I am not a fan of Bonifacio’s lack of power in such a shallow format (Espinosa seems unstartable as well when there’s no MI).

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