The other day I went over my fantasy baseball strategy for snake drafts.  Lots of the strategy there also applies here.  If you ask me — and you kinda did ask me by reading this shizz — auction drafts are where it’s at, yo!  You get in a room with your best fantasy baseball buddies.  The guys you haven’t seen since last year’s draft.  The guys you don’t want to see until next year’s draft.  A few guys you actively despise.  One guy, and there’s always one, has his phone on vibrate just in case the missus calls about Petey, their sick Schnauzer.  Then you have the guy who will go the extra dollar for (fill-in favorite player from his favorite team).  You know he’s his favorite player because he’s wearing his jersey.  You have the guy who brings only Cheetos and turns everything he touches orange, and, if he touches something that was already orange, he makes it oranger.  Finally, you have the guy who made plans at 5PM and begins to yell at everyone at 4PM that they’re taking too long.  And, it always turns out, this day is the best day of the year.  Auction draft day is better than your wedding day.  As for online auction drafts, they’re just a’ight.  Anyway, here’s some tried and true tips to help you through your auction fantasy baseball draft:

1. Early in the draft, throw out guys that you know you have no interest in that will cost others a lot.

Say Joe Mauer snuck into a 21 and under club with Joe Jonas’s ID and took your baby’s mama home.  Now you refuse to draft him.  So the first name you should nominate is Mauer and let others overspend on him.  You don’t want high-priced pitching?  Nominate Lincecum.  You think Kinsler’s overrated?  Nominate him.  You get the idea.  Moving on…

2. Go the extra dollar if you really want someone.

When you get to the end of the auction, no one has any flippin’ idea what they spent to get a guy.  If you want Matt Capps and every auction value article you’ve read says he’s worth $2 and the bidding’s just gone to $3, go to $4 if you need a closer.  It’s your team; you need certain guys whether they’re overpriced or not.

3. You want to be “rich” with auction money.

You won’t always have the most money at the draft, but, whenever possible, you want to.  The more money you have A) The better leverage you have attaining any guy you might want. B) You can get great buys late in the draft when no one else has any money.  Invariably, someone will throw out, say, Dexter Fowler for a dollar (or some player that they think they can sneak through).  Then you get Fowler for $2 and everyone in the draft room groans, wishing they still had some money.  At your draft, you want to be like the little tuxedoed guy from Monopoly.  In fact, dress like him for your draft.

4. Decent catchers and closers are even easier to acquire in auctions.

In a snake draft, you never know when the Doumit, Iannetta, Dotel, Capps or whoever is going to be drafted.  The beauty of the auction is you can have anyone.  In my experience, you should wait until most of the teams have filled up their closers or catcher(s) slot then you nominate some one dollar beauts.

5. Keep track of who other people want.

The beauty of the auction is you know exactly what everyone else is thinking.  If Joe Schmohawk goes to $12 on Furcal and you get him for $13, keep JS in mind when you’re looking to trade Furcal after his hot April.  If someone groans when you get McLouth, keep it in mind.  Unless it’s the same guy who’s been eating nothing but Cheetos for ten hours.  Then it might just be gas.

  1. Josh says:

    What happens if you are in an auction league where everyone (1) is disciplined enough to not overspend on their auction money (2) has read enough to know who the sleepers are; and (3) all have perused both the CHONE and ZIPS projections enough to not get fooled about most players?

    What then? The usual information asymmetries are missing, is the next step to try and develop specific strategies beyond “get the most value”?

  2. Bring Back Pluto says:


    In my experience, you should always draft a couple of roster scenarios before the auction. One roster scenario should include the possibility that you can out-maneuver your opponents and get a bunch of undervalued players, etc.

    You should always have another roster scenario, though; one which assumes everyone thinks roughly the same as you when it comes to player values. If this situation plays out, then your strategy is actually relatively easy: just pay fair market value for the players you want the most, so long as they fit your budget strategy.

    For example, in my league I assumed I would be able to get A-Rod for market value ($30+ in the case of my league). That meant, of course, that I wouldn’t be able to get a Cabrera-type for 1B, but I would probably be able to pick up Billy Butler for (what I considered fair market price, namely) about $11.

    Of course, even in the most straight-forward auctions, your plans will have to change a bit on the fly. So, actually, instead of targeting just Billy Butler, I targeted “Butler+”, meaning I went after every other 1B that I had valued at $11+ as well, but I only bid $11 on each of them, and waved good-bye as the Teixeiras, Howards, and A-Gons floated up to their rightful tiers. Does that make sense? But that way, when–due to other teams’ mid-auction budget constraints–I was actually able to get Votto for just a dollar more than I planned to spend on Butler, which was a pretty good steal.

    Cliff-notes: prepare for several different scenarios, and pay attention.

  3. brett says:

    @Bring Back Pluto: Sounds like you’re screwing yourself if everybody goes for fair value and somebody pays $13 for Butler. Also sounds like you know what you’re doing better than i do though. Carry on…

    @Grey: You guys are on fire this week. Thanks.

  4. Ben C says:

    Here’s an odd tip for auction drafting, but one that I feel will save a few dollars overall. I’ll call it “bidding pace”. You know how sometimes two bidders will go at it, rattling numbers at each other like their bids are fists to the others face? It becomes a pissing match and neither one want to back down. This always drives the price of the player above the actual value. Don’t do that. Get to a price that’s a fair amount lower than what you want to pay. Then slow it down. Give a little pause before you bid your next dollar. Him and haw like you’re not sure you can go any higher. Then say the next amount like you don’t want to, but “eff it, I can go one more dollar”. This will usually slow the other bidder down. Then when they bid again repeat the process. There’s an art to how you go about this. And it’s obviously not going to work every time or on everyone, but overall it should add some dollars to your budget.

  5. GopherDay says:

    Grey, what do you think about Carlos Ruiz?

    Last year he had 10 home runs in merely 115 AB for a stat line of 25/10/17/.313/1

    If he translates that into 500 ABs, thats a hefty load of homeruns…I don’t know, is he worthy of a late round flyer?

  6. GopherDay says:

    My bad….that would be Randy Ruiz from TOR.

  7. incognithole says:

    Grey, apologies for the self-indulgence, but would you mind a quick clarification from yday. 10th pick overall: pujols, hanley, utley, arod, braun, 41B’s are gone…..youd take longoria or an OF and then “have the option for a solid 1B in 2nd rd” (meaning youd take adgonz/votto @ 15?)

    And the same applies even if one of teix, howard, cabrera, prince should fall?

    Thanks again….

  8. Bobby Nice says:

    I’m the guy with the Cheetos… BOOM… Let me borrow your pen.

  9. hideousmutants says:

    I inherited a (pretty bad) team in an auction/keeper league with a total payroll of $160. There are a lot of guys that have pretty good value if you can get them and put a keeper tag on. I just traded Jeter at $13 for Nelson Cruz ($1) and Scott Baker ($1). The rest of my keepers are all similarly undervalued (as almost all keepers should be). My thought is I can’t predict whether there will be good value at the end of the auction nor can I predict whether the good-value guys will fill my needs but I can be fairly confident that the big guns will go for market price or above. So, if I can lock up as much good value as I can among my keepers, I’ll be able to compete on the studs even if they’re going to for too much.

    I’d be interested in hearing feedback on that specific trade and on this strategy in general.

  10. Cheese

    Cheese says:

    @Grey: You stress to get a top tier 1B. What if I am not in position to draft a good 1B? Drafting 16/17 in the first 2 rounds, I don’t expect to land Tex/Cabrera/Fielder/Howard. And I don’t really feel like wasting a pick on Gonzo at 17 (especially with a projection of 90/38/100/.280). My next picks aren’t until 48/49, then 80/81 and so on. So should I just not even worry about 1B unless I can get a top tier guy in the first 2 rounds? What do you recommend?

  11. Eddy says:

    Sorry for the unrelated topic, but do you still reccomend your pitcher pairings post when dealing with H2H?

    Logic tells me it’s better to have 3 pitchers from the Hamels tier as opposed to two, because those guys will usually have better outings than Cueto/Ervin Santana will, and have a smaller chance of blowing up my WHIP and ERA.

  12. Tony says:

    @Eddy: my main league is H2H, i am set on taking hitting first as most of us are, but i do see the value in pitching and you can’t be throwing a jonathon sanchez or whoever out there…. high K guys in H2H dont mean as much as roto, at least not with my league settings…. i think taking 3 sp’s before the 10th round is crucial, all just depends on your league and how they draft….

  13. Awesomus Maximus

    Awesomus Maximus says:

    I participate in auction drafts exclusively. More strategy, a shot at every player, less downtime… all around more fun, IMHO. I’ve done so many (mock and real), especially in the past few weeks, that I’ve been writing an “Auction Draft Strategy” article in my head. Based on my last two rosters (Grey, you’ve seen them in the “Rosters…” forum), I think I’ve got a pretty good ‘feel’ for them and may have some fairly good advice to add to Grey’s nuggets of wisdom. Keep in mind, this is all based on my experience at ESPN’s setup, and of course it’s all my opinion (just mentioning that now so I don’t have to after every bit of advice).

    1. Nominate “mid-to-low-range” players who you’re not interested in early (this sort of conflicts with your first rule, Grey). If you aren’t going to spend on [insert top tier name here], don’t worry about nominating them early… someone else will. And no matter when they’re up, they will draw the big bids. If someone is planning on going to $49 for Pujols at the beginning of the draft, they’ll still go to $49 20 minutes into it. You may be pulling out big dollars by nominating him early, but you’re not pulling out dollars that wouldn’t have been spent anyway. On the flip-side, nominating a guy like Chipper Jones late may only pull $5 out of a wallet, but when everyone still has $200+ to spend, you may see him go for $10 or more. This is the single best CONSISTENT way to induce overspending from your competition. It also fills roster spots and can remove managers from competing with you over the guys you really DO want later.

    2. Know who’s present. Try to be first in the draft room so you can see who enters, and make note of it when someone leaves. It can be tough to ascertain whether a manager is just biding his time or if he’s not even at the draft until very late. It’s better to know who’s got a bot controlling their bids and who’s got a human behind the spending. Why? Read on…

    3. Close out bots ASAC (as soon as convenient). Don’t aim for the autodrafters right out of the gate… that’s dumb for many reasons. Keep an eye on their rosters, however. Near the halfway point, if they’re getting close to filling their rosters, see what they need and start nominating crap at that position… but make sure it’s at LEAST $3 valued crap. A bot won’t go over value for a player, so you can’t get one to bid $2 on Nick Green to fill its 2B/SS slot. You can count on it to go to $2 on Ryan Theriot (valued at $4 on ESPN), however, even if it has $130 remaining and only 3 slots to fill. If you can close out a bot manager early with this strategy, you may be able take as much as $100 (sometimes more) off the table, as well as any nomination it would have made. Yes, this helps everyone left at the table… but you’re part of that everyone, right?

    4. When dealing with bots, be ruthless. Hey, this guy didn’t show up for the draft, he deserves to be stuck with Joe Nathan and Russell Martin. Have a list of guys who will be out for a while but are still valued at $3 or more, nominate them, and then watch the bot spend money for nothing (but get no chicks for free). If a human bids, shame on THEM, not you. Either way, it’s money off the board.

    5. When bots are still in place, know where the “steal cap” is at. I can’t quite pin down ESPN’s autodrafting rules, but I’m 99% sure it won’t bot bid over a human bid if it’s within $3 of a player’s value (this doesn’t include $1 nomination bids, only non-nomination bids). So let’s say Gordon Beckham comes up and you want him… set your manual bid at $10 (he’s valued at $13) and be ready to click “BID” the moment he gets up to $9. So long as no other humans make a bid, you should be able to scoop him up. If the bidding stalls at $8, don’t bid $9, because the bot will go to $10 and then you’ll have to spend $11 to get him. Just put in the $10 bid (every dollar counts).

    6. Know when you can “auto-buy” a player and for how much. What I mean by “auto-buy” is, by nominating someone at (or bidding up to) a certain dollar amount, no one can outbid you, so the player automatically goes to your roster. This goes along with Grey’s “be ‘rich'” rule. So let’s say there are 8 mangers (other than you) who still have slots to fill. 6 of them are down to $1/slot and the other two only need position players, while you are only after pitchers. This means that any pitcher you nominate at $1 will be yours, since the $1/slot guys can’t bid $2 and the other two guys don’t have a slot for a pitcher. It’s so incredibly important to know when this happens and what the dollar amount is, because, if you’re in the driver’s seat, you need to ONLY nominate players you want at this point. This is when the real steals occur.

    7. Stay away from nominating catchers (in one catcher leagues) and closers, unless you plan on TRULY punting catcher/saves. Catchers first… I’ve tried the opposite, nominating ONLY catchers once, in an attempt to get all but one out of the way early. I had every manager’s C slot filled and Matt Wieters still left on the board. Perfect, he’s mine for $1, right? Wrong. Wieters comes up and a guy with frickin’ V-Mart pushes him up to $15! The later you let catchers go, the more likely they’ll go at a 1:1 ratio (catchers to managers), meaning you’ll get someone decent enough at $1, maybe $2. As for closers, I have consistently seen that the later they go, the better the deals are. Yes, this means better deals all around, but if know where the values are at, this benefits you more than others especially if you’ve closed out a bot or two and/or you’re in a position to “auto-buy” any player you want.

    That’s everything I can remember right now. Hope it helps.

  14. ThePoonTycoon says:

    @incognithole: seems high for gonzo or votto to me. i’d probably cross my fingers that one of them made it back to me in the 3rd round. though if you took one that early, i’d go for gonzo.

  15. ThePoonTycoon says:

    @Cheese: if you don’t go gonzo with your 16/17 picks, then you almost have to draft (and hope there isn’t a big run on less than 1st tier 1B before then) kendry morales with your 48/49. just my opinion, but i doubt you wanna end up with todd helton as your 1B.

  16. Rabbit says:

    @Awesomus Maximus: Nice mini-post within a post, AM–sort of a homuncupost (postmunculus?). On your Point No. 1: that makes perfect sense to me–the received wisdom is to throw out high-valued guys you don’t want early, but I think your strategy of throwing out low-to-mid priced unwanted players actually makes more sense, for the reasons you state.

    @Grey: Another great post–I’ve got my annual keeper league auction in a little over a week and your intro totally got me fired up. I hate that Cheetos guy.

  17. Bill Lumbergh says:

    Just pulled off a trade of Oswalt and Cueto for Nolasco (plus picked up Chris R. Young off waivers).
    My starting 5 are now
    1) Hamels
    2) Nolasco
    3) Wandy
    4) Burnett
    5) J. Sanchez
    Bench = Hughes, Young, & E. Santana + Bedard on the DL

    Thoughts on this trade? Did I use the pairings correctly?

    Mainly I was looking for another top-line SP and I was concerned about having 2 Astros SP (drafted Oswalt & traded for Wandy)? This is a 12 team H2H dynasty points league.

    Thanks everyone!

  18. Eddy says:

    In the beginning of the offseason I used rds 6,7,and 8 for SP which usually netted me Hamels, JJ, and perhaps Nolasco. The problem is that now I use Rd.8 for Andrus. I’ve only played with my group of friends for one season (2009) and they seemed to value pitching. I know I’ll have at least two big boppers in the OF and big corner guys by the 6th round. I think what I’ll do is mock in yahoo today and see what SP I can get in the 9th rd after Andrus, and hopefully those top 3 guys can support the risky picks later on. We added QS this season so I have to ensure I have guys who are consistent enough to stay in the game

  19. anon says:

    Did anyone read Berry’s Love/Hate article? I’d pay tens of dollars for video of Berry getting bombarded with beer and food at the stadium, even if it was just happening in the background of a Scott Brosius AB. Is there any way we can find this? Hahaha

    All we have to work with is that it was a Yanks/Jays game around 2001 (deduced from the age of his stepfather) and the Yanks went down 1-2-3 in the fourth with a grounder to 1st (Delgado).

    Out of all of the people that I would expect that to happen to, Berry has to be near the top of the list

  20. PJtres says:

    in a keeper system, how would you rank the following..

    choo, abreu, heyward, carlos lee


  21. Tony says:

    @Eddy: i think you’re reaching on andrus…. there’s too many SS’s similar to take him there. I think rounds 6-8 or 7-9 are great rounds to take SP’s. It all just depends, if somethings sitting there I want in round 5 I’ll take an SP there, and then another bat in 6 then go back to my SP’ing….

    @anon: berry is a turd

  22. Bill Lumbergh says:

    @Eddy: Thanks to Grey and the Razzball community, I was able to pick up Andrus in the 18th round! Goes to show how this site can really help your game!

  23. Tony says:

    @Bill Lumbergh: lol maybe you should thank your league of nitwits for letting that happen… the 18th is a bit wild? what site? he’s in the 100’s everywhere i’ve seen….

  24. incognithole says:

    @Grey: thanks for the help…needed a little clarification….wouldnt want a misunderstanding to cause me to mistakenly reach for a player and ruin my draft…..sometimes you cant plan things and just gotta see what the draft offers….thanks again

  25. Tony says:

    @Grey: remember grey i play in a pretty wild 10×10 H2H league, so maybe in 5×5 roto a sanchez is still solid, but in my league that counts wins, losses, BB’s, etc you gotta have a couple solid SP’s, or in general you have to have a solid staff. We have a 32 inning minimum too. So you need a solid staff that gets you quality innings, then you potentially can bench and steal the majority of cats, but i’ve found i can assemble a “solid staff” by taking guys in rounds 6-9……

    if thats the comment you were answering too?

  26. Bill Lumbergh says:

    @Tony: CBS – The kicker is this is a dynasty league. Most of the 12 owners went heavy on the pitching right from the start. I ended up with Braun, Cabrera, & Wright in the first 3 rounds. Votto and Sizemore slipped to rounds 4 & 7, where I snatched them up and packed them in a trade for Pujols and J. Sanchez. Big payout the the winner, so I’m pretty happy.

  27. Mickey says:

    Please more auction posts.

    I know I’m sounding old in saying this, but the internet has ruined fantasy baseball with all of these snake drafts.

    Why anybody would chose a snake draft over an auction is beyond me.

  28. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Tony: Yeah, that changes the game when you have that many categories.

  29. Bill Lumbergh says:

    @Tony: It i$! :-)

  30. Tony says:

    @Grey: Ya in my league you just can’t throw everyone like Roto. You really really have to play the matchups and throwing guys like Sanchez aren’t exactly beneficial UNLESS he proves to be elite… or the other guy totally gets BOMBED early in the week and you can throw a few guys and not worry about it.

  31. Tony says:

    @Bill Lumbergh: haha nice… cbs rankings must be out of whack…. i did a league there last year with some guys, andrus that late, votto and sizemore that late? thats wild…. who the heck were people taking early then if they’re letting votto and sizemore slide that far?

  32. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Mickey: Internet should be coming around now that every site has an auction draft setup.

    @Tony: Sanchez will be elite. (God willing.)

  33. Beau says:

    Keeper question here: Standard 10 team, 5×5 mixed league, 6 keepers kept in the round drafted last year minus 2 rounds. Ive been offered Ellsbury (8th rd keeper) for my 10th round pick. Obviously a good value but it eliminates one of my other keepers which would be either utley (1), miggy (1), holliday (1), fielder (1), sizemore (1), votto (6), nelson cruz (10), lester (18), ethier (22), mccutchen (25), haren (3), price (23). FYI if youve got 2 players in the same round one gets bumped to the next, so if i kept utley, miggy, holliday, and fielder, id get them in rounds 1, 2, 3, and 4. As of now Im planning on keeping utley, lester, mccutchen, votto, and then 2 of the rest. Any and all thoughts/adive would be greatly appreciated!

  34. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Beau: Slightly confused… So you don’t even have 6 keepers yet? Keep Utley, Lester, McCutchen, Votto, Ellsbury and someone.

  35. zorob says:

    Keeper help! For simplicity, lets say its a 5X5 roto league. I can keep 9.

    Dexter Fowler
    Adam Jones
    Nelson R. Cruz


    I know who I’m leaning towards, but would like your opinions.

  36. Tony says:

    @Grey: Lets hope. But if he’s just “good” he’s a guy i dont know if i can afford to run out there each week in my league….

  37. swpayton says:

    Right-on Grey…that’s my league exactly! I think you forgot the guy who gets so sloppy drunk he cannot properly pronounce Iannetta or remember what position Pat Burrell plays.

    A few years ago one guy in our league adopted a new, and winning I should say, auction-draft day strategy by bringing 2 strippers for our entertainment…so many guys spent so long in the “private dance” room that they forgot thier draft strategy entirely. Last year the girls must have thought we were all homos ’cause we wern’t gonna fall for that again. Good times…

    Clearly in an auction draft, which is the most pure style btw, one should nominate players one doesn’t want (whether top-tier or otherwise) for the reasons eloquently elaborated above. However at some point in every draft a strange phenomenon occurs…everyone stops spending money. In my experience when most team’s rosters are about 1/2 full is when the best deals are found. This is the point when owners realize “holy crap I’m almost out of money…I’d better slow down.” As a result the wise owner can pick up 4 or 5 mid-to-upper level players for far under market value while everyone else is feeling buyer’s remorse. If you wait too long to nominate the guys you really want then they get snatched up by the owners with the “I’m only gonna be able to get one more good player so it’s goona be this guy” mentality…resulting in another strange phenomenon…about 4/5’s of the way into a draft players go for more than their worth as owners try to obtain just one more quality player before the bargin basement hunting begins.

    Think of it like a wave…everyone is excited and flush at the beginning (peak), then reality hits “I spent $125 on 3 guys!?!” (trough), then the second wind hits (peak), and finally the $1 specials…Try to get the guys you want during the trough period of the auction.

    While the well-prepared owner can get some $1 – $3 guys he/she wants at the end of a draft, waiting too long can backfire. Knowing your room and working it to your advantage is what works for me.

  38. Bill Lumbergh says:

    @Tony: Each round had it’s share of “DOH!” moments. There are too many to list, but here are some of the lowlights (as well as who I took in each round – Pos #3 of 12 teams):

    Rnd 1: Verlander & Wainwright (Braun)
    Rnd 2: J. Vazquez, Beckett, V. Martinez, Pedroia (Cabrera)
    Rnd 3: Reyes, Ellsbury, J. Johnson, Carpenter (Wright)
    Rnd 4: Hanson, Jeter, Broxton, Peavy, Gallardo, Morneau, Kershaw, & Sandoval (Sizemore – Kemp went 2 slots before my pick – damn!)
    Rnd 5: Cano, Youk, Hill, Papelbon, Kazmir, Bay, Roberts, & Zobrist (Hamels – last of the pitchers available)
    Rnd 6: McCann, Rivera, Price, Weaver, Eithier, & Shields (Phillips)
    Rnd 7: Dempster, Jurrjens, Uggla, Manny, E. Jackson, Y. Escobar, Figgins, & B. Wilson (Votto)

    Also, snagged Stewart in the 17th & Andrus in the 18th (but Nathan in the 10th hurts!)

    Should be a fun year!

  39. Tony says:

    @zorob: longo, tulo, CC, Kershaw, Gallardo, Eithier, Adam Jones, Mccutchen, Cruz… you could flip flop BRUCE for gallardo in my eyes, but i’d almost stick with 6 hitters and 3 SP’s….

  40. Tony says:

    @Bill Lumbergh: wow thats unbelieveable…. wainy and Jverl in the 1st? WHY? Kemp in the 4th? kaz in the 5th? weaver in the 6th? votto in the 7th?

    how many teams? how much money? lol they might as well mail it to you…

  41. ThePoonTycoon says:

    i’ve been watching mike stanton’s spring training numbers a bit, and noticed he’s been killing it. now the marlins supposedly opening up to the idea of him making the team (i assume if he isn’t sent down he’ll be a starting OF, otherwise, what’s the point in breaking camp with a 20 year old if he’s gonna spot start and pinch hit?). what kinda output should we expect if he breaks camp? .250-20-70? with a good obp and the possibility to exceed the power categories? long term are wee looking at an adam dunn clone?

  42. grandysdandy says:

    grey…i know its difficult to even make a guess b/c hes not in MLB…but what would you say heyward will become?

    like a 20/20?

  43. grandysdandy says:

    thanks grey…it kind of answers…in that you think he may be a potential 1st rounder as soon as 2012…but i just mean in his skill set – not this year, but upon maturation…

    do you think hes more of a ryan howard guaranteed 40 HR threat? with like 10 steals thrown in…

    or do you see him more as a 25/25 guy…like hell never win the HR crown, but hes solid across the board?

  44. Grey

    Grey says:

    @grandysdandy: What part of mitts like a Yeti don’t you understand?! Joking. He’s a 35/20 guy. Think Braun.

  45. Beau says:

    @Grey: Sorry for the confusion. All those players are mine from last year and I can keep this year. Ellsbury has been offered to me in a trade for my 9th rnd pick so im weighing the option of his value as a keeper in the 8th and my 9th pick vs one of my other keepers, like holliday in the 1st (or 2nd since i have utley in the 1st). See what Im saying?

  46. Eddy says:

    They’ve compared him to Dave Winfield. Google “Dave Winfield stats” and click the baseball reference link and that’s what the general consensus seems to be of his future career.
    And thanks, I’ll definitely be lookin forward to tomorrow morning then!
    There’s a 95% chance of him starting in the minor leagues. He’s never had 200-something ABs over AA, and he struggled initially after making the jump last season to that level. He’s gonna start in the minors, but a call-up mid season can never be ruled out like we did with Miggy and Dontrelle in 2003. Not to mention we have Ross and Coghlan set to open in the OF. Maybin too, but idk what the situation there will be now with his injury and all.

  47. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Beau: I’d take Ellsbury in the 8th round if it’ll only cost you a draft pick and one of your other guys.

  48. grandysdandy says:

    thank you sir. i now know what mitts like a yeti means…hah.

  49. Beau says:

    @Grey: What about the though that it costs me from being able to keep someone else, like fielder,miggy, or holliday? In essence im trading fielder,miggy, or hollliday in the 2nd round plus my 9th rnd pick for ellsbury in the 6th…

  50. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Beau: Ellsbury’s in the 6th now? I thought you just said the 8th? Fielder, Miggy or Holliday are no great values at that draft spot. Ellsbury in the 6th (?) is good value.

  51. Awesomus Maximus

    Awesomus Maximus says:

    @swpayton: You’re spot on with the wave analogy, though I find that it happens in MOST auctions, but not ALL auctions. This is why, if you absolutely NEED to get deals, I say try to hold onto a bit of cash and look to the end when the final lull ALWAYS occurs.

    If/When that first lull does occur, I think it’s due to the rampant initial spending (as you mentioned), but also a need for managers to step away from the table and see who they’re willing to spend on down the stretch. This is a great time to pick up pitchers. At this point the top 10 SP are usually gone along with a handful of others that were nominated “early”, but I find I can get names like Hamels, Nolasco, Billingsley, Baker and so on for $8-10. Three of those guys at $8-10 is better than one F-Her or Halladay at $25-29 in my book.

  52. Mikey boy324 says:

    Grey it’s official Reyes is gonna be out 2-8 weeks and minaya said that his status for opening day is in serious doubt with news like this do you still draft him and if so what round?

  53. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Mikey boy324: Damn… Was hoping for better news. Yeah, I’d draft him, but it’ll happen later, think 3rd to 4th rounds.

  54. Mikey boy324 says:

    YA me too especially that I’m a met fan on top of it I thought he was gonna have a career year I still like him I just hope it doesn’t take the full 8 weeks for his levels to stabilize I think this news might make him slip into the 5-6 rounds…

  55. I wonder how many fantasy teams will be named “Jose’s Thyroid” or “Thyroid Rage” or some variation…

    …actually, I might go with “Thyroid Rage”. That’s not bad.

  56. It’s worth pointing out, however, that Reyes could be a steal in keeper leagues this year….if you can grab in the 4th or 5th round, and survive his absence for a few weeks, he’ll be a nice cheap keeper the next year.

  57. Bill Lumbergh says:

    @Tony: Points league – here are the scoring rules:

    Scoring for Batting Categories
    1B – Singles 1 point
    2B – Doubles 2 points
    3B – Triples 3 points
    BB – Walks (Batters) 1 point
    CS – Caught Stealing -1 point
    CYC – Hitting for the Cycle 8 points
    GSHR – Grand Slam Home Runs 6 points
    HR – Home Runs 4 points
    KO – Strikeouts (Batter) -1 point
    R – Runs 1 point
    RBI – Runs Batted In 1 point
    SB – Stolen Bases 3 points

    Scoring for Pitching Categories
    BBI – Walks Issued (Pitchers) -1 point
    BS – Blown Saves -3 points
    CG – Complete Games 5 points
    ER – Earned Runs -2 points
    HA – Hits Allowed -.25 points
    INN – Innings 2 points
    K – Strikeouts (Pitcher) 1.25 points
    L – Losses -5 points
    S – Saves 7 points
    SO – Shutouts 5 points
    W – Wins 10 points

  58. Lava says:

    Not to mention, even if he misses the first few weeks, he’ll still give good value for the rest of the year. I think this news makes him a bit more desirable for me for my auction league’s draft in two weeks.

  59. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Lava: I agree with you. It’s not a leg issue.

  60. Tony says:

    i dont think reyes’s problem will deter any smart fantasy baseballers too much…

  61. Awesomus Maximus

    Awesomus Maximus says:

    @Ben C: Pacing your bid is definitely an art form. If you see two guys going hot and heavy, as you described, and it’s over a player you’d like to get, there’s no way to intervene and slow things down, unfortunately. If you’re one of two managers in the stand off, however, the pace of your bids can say different things, as well as have varying effects throughout the draft.

    For illustrative purposes, let’s just say that you’ve decided you will spend $34 on Chase Utley. You and one other guy go back and forth at a medium pace (side note: search “adam sandler medium pace” and listen to the audio for a good laugh), you at $28, him at $29, etc. When you hit $32 and he goes $33, let’s say you quickly up to your cap of $34. Now he bids $35, and you respond again with a quick and firm response of $36. This is a viable strategy. The other manager will probably take this as “this guy isn’t even close to backing down” which should result in either a.) he decides to step away or b.) he tries to push you up again. If it’s “a”, you get Utley for $2 more than you planned, big whoop. If it’s “b”, you can back away and feel good that you would have had to spend at LEAST $4 more than you wanted to get Utley… he’s easier to let go that way. If you had just stayed at a medium pace, chances are the rhythm continues without thought from the other manager, since you didn’t send any sort of message.

    Consider a different strategy to the same scenario. Once you get to the $28 bid, you slow play it, letting the clock run down to 5 seconds. At $30 you let it run down to 3 seconds. At $32 you let it run down to 2 seconds. The only reason I see to play it this way is if you think the other guy is trying to milk extra cash out of you. If he actually wants Utley, he’s going to keep bidding no matter how quickly you bid. If he’s just trying to jack up your eventual cost, then you’re sending a message that “I want this guy, but I don’t think I’ll bid any higher”.

    To me, you need to consider the player when you employ the second strategy. The further you get from top tier players, the smaller the likelihood of someone trying to milk your cash cow. Think of it this way… if you call their bluff at $37 on Utley ($8 over ESPN value), that’s not a huge loss. If you call their bluff at $15 on Dan Uggla ($6 over ESPN value), that’s a bigger hit to the wallet despite the fact that it’s two fewer dollars “lost”. The only “yeah, but” to consider here is if you haven’t filled a position and the pickings are getting slim. If you’ve got nobody at 2B or 2B/SS and Uggla is the biggest name left on the board, assume everyone else in the draft is aware of this. Now you might get someone trying to take advantage of your situation.

    As for the reverberations of your bidding pace, keep in mind that most people find last second bids annoying. It may give you a cheap thrill to think that you’re annoying the manager you’re competing with, bidding JUST when he thought he finally had the guy. But to everyone else, you just wasted their time on a player they no longer care about. Since most people in auctions are there because they don’t like downtime, doing this repeatedly will most likely draw their collective ire. This is actually good if you’re employing a “hey, look at me! I’m an annoying guy with no real strategy” strategy (which works well, if played correctly), but it’s terrible if you want to steal players here and there. Having 80% of the room pissed at you means that you’re much more likely to get a “pushup bid” whenever you’re about to get a good deal.

  62. Beau says:

    @Grey: Sorry, Ellsbury in the 8th. I totally agree with you on that, I guess its also a matter of who else is going to be available at those spots if I dont keep miggy etc early on, since a lot of current 1st rounders are being kept way later. Either way i think i have to assume that someone worth taking there will be available, at least to the point of making it worth taking advantage of the value of ellsbury in the 8th.

    Thanks by the way for all you guys do, its remarkable.

  63. Asdrubal Bastardo says:

    “At your draft, you want to be like the little tuxedoed guy from Monopoly. In fact, dress like him for your draft.”

    Hahaha best advice given

  64. cubbies299 says:

    Cain/Fowler/Buchholz/Liriano or BJ Upton/Aardsma?

  65. Grey

    Grey says:

    @cubbies299: Depends if you need depth. I’d probably just go for Upton’s side.

  66. Beau says:

    Lets hope Reyes problem is like utley last year. Well, assuming I draft him that is.

  67. Awesomus Maximus

    Awesomus Maximus says:

    @Grey: Heh… nah, you just happened to post an article on a subject I am both passionate about and have spent the last month ruminating over. I’m sure I will have nothing of value to add to any other articles for the remainder of the month. I love me a good auction draft; it’s like a poker tournament to kick off your fantasy baseball season… except you don’t end up a few grand in the hole, hungover and married to a washed up Vegas hooker at the end of it!

  68. Jon says:


    Is there a reason Adam LaRoche is not ranked? Am I just missing him in there somewhere?

  69. Rabbit says:

    ESPN/AP reporting Reyes out 2 to 8 weeks. “It doesn’t look good right now.” Mets general manager Omar Minaya said Thursday. “We will have to prepare for that.”

    Hm. Anyone know how controllable hyperthyroidism is in a young, (kind of) healthy person?

  70. Lava says:

    The only thing I know about thyroid issues is from a family member. Once they get you on the right concentrations of medication, things improve pretty rapidly, but finding those concentrations can be the tricky part.

    And we don’t know if it has negatively affected his conditioning, and how long it might take him to get up to speed.

    Enough questions marks to drop him down, but like I said above, I’m seeing him as even better value now.

  71. Rabbit says:

    Oops–I guess I should read the preceding 20-30 posts before I post up on something everyone’s already discussed.

  72. AJ says:

    How about a H2H strategy post?

  73. swpayton says:

    @Awesomus Maximus:
    Totally agree…give 3 upper-middle classs pitchers over a top guy and 2 bottom guys.

  74. Lava says:

    @AJ: Grey said it’s coming tomorrow.

  75. sean says:

    May want to consider avoiding Berkman:

    RotoWorld reports Lance Berkman will have his left knee examined by team medical director Dr. David Lintner on Friday. Astros general manager Ed Wade said Berkman has had the knee drained twice thus far because of a fluid build-up. Berkman sprained the knee about 10 days ago.

  76. sean says:

    @Awesomus Maximus:
    I know that most drafts are conducted online these days, but there is just something to be said about an auction losing its lustre when it’s conducted in the nameless faceless arena of an ESPN draft window.

    Most of the fun of playing the bidding game is taken out of the equation. It’s like playing online poker: there’s way more aggression and much more a tendency to play fast and out of control because it’s faceless button clicking.

  77. Shmorgie S. Board says:

    Keeper question! Jeter or Ethier?

    We have 14 teams, we can keep 5. The first 5 rounds of our draft are reserved for keepers (you can keep less than 5 if you want). We use OBP instead of BA. There’s no penalty or time limit for keeping guys.

    My no-doubters are Utley, Miggy, Braun, and Adrian Gonzalez.

    I have an offer on the table for a 7th Round pick for Jeter. I probably could get him to up it to a 6th or maybe a 5th rounder (he’d do well to keep less than 5, even if he got Jeter).

    I think I’d be trading Jeter at his high value. He’s 35 and it took him 700 PAs to put up his 2009 numbers. And Ethier is trending upwards. But still, after Jeter, there’s a big drop-off at SS.

    Which one would you keep: Jeter or Ethier?

  78. Pat says:

    I don’t even do auction drafts and that was one of the most entertaining fantasy posts I’ve ever read.

    Grey deserves a drink!

  79. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Tony: Just doing my pre-draft rankings for Fantasy Razzball. That Indians staff is something else. They make you want to stab your eyes out.

  80. Seth says:

    NL only 5×5 10 team keeper league $260 – shallow- start 10/7 weekly

    inflation for hitters is ~25%, SP 45%

    last keeper? montero $10 or alcides escobar $10

    current keepers: kemp 16, panda 15, heyward 10, ian stewart 6, cueto 6, and fowler 1.

  81. sean says:

    @Grey: CBS draft in two hours. Draft position is already released (7/10). Good spot for a Cabrera/Fielder and Longoria/Wright type combination.

    Having said that, how much is too much of a good thing when exploiting CBS default rankings:
    95 Carlos Lee
    96 Brandon Phillips
    100 Carlos Quentin
    101 Nelson Cruz
    102 Denard Span
    108 Gordon Beckham
    115 Adam Jones
    137 Andrew McCutchen
    147 Alex Rios
    183 Carlos Gonzalez
    186 Jay Bruce
    215 Nolan Reimold
    221 Colby Rasmus

    Perhaps a down and dirty lesson on outfielder pairings is necessary.

  82. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Seth: Alcides

    @sean: Miggy, Longoria, then all of those guys.

  83. sean says:

    @Grey: Not too risky to get a #1 OF and then work off of that list of bargains?

  84. sean says:

    @sean: Talking about that in an outfield vacuum of course. I would handle the corners and what not first.

  85. Grey

    Grey says:

    @sean: You thinking Miggy and Holliday? Eh, not over Longoria or Wright. Be nice to seal up 3rd.

  86. sean says:

    @Grey: No. I meant that I was going to lock up 1B/3B in the first two rounds. Target a #1 outfielder in rounds 3-5 and then fill my OF out of that list of values above. Just wanted to know if having an OF of potentially four of those guys is too many question marks.

  87. Bermuda Triangles says:

    I’m the guy who’ll have the least amount of money at my 12 team HTH 5×5 auction.

    $300 cap and I’m spending half to keep Howard, A-Rod, Rollins, Reynolds, Phillips, Gallardo and Alexei Ramirez

    This is going to leave me somewhere in the neighbourhood of $75 for 10 pitchers and $45 for 5 outfielders.

    How would you spend those amounts?

    For pitching, would you ty to find 2 starters (1 upper end, 1 mid) and then fill with $1 guys, or spread the money more evenly?

    For OF, I figure I’m going to need steals and so same question – spread the mony evenly o try to get 1 or 2 $15-$20 guys and go super cheap on the others?

    Any advice would be helpful! I loves me the Razzball!

  88. Grey

    Grey says:

    @sean: Depends what four. I don’t think they’re all question marks. Yeah, take a #1, then a few of them… Whoa, Charley! Brandon Phillips is ranked 96th over at CBS? Wow.

    @Bermuda Triangles: I’d spread the money more evenly on starters and outfielders.

  89. sean says:

    @Bermuda Triangles: With that amount of money committed to keepers, you may be locked into a stars and scrubs approach…

  90. poop says:

    I’m doing a 12 team H2H yahoo draft on Saturday.
    I’m keeping A-Rod (1ST round), Tulo (4TH round), Josh Hamilton, Tiny Tim (5th round), Josh Johnson, and Tommy Hanson.

    I have the 12th pick, and I’m targeting someone like Choo or Markakis with my 3rd round pick (however wrong it is, I love Markakis, and he wouldn’t fall to the 6th round)

    That leaves me with my 2nd round pick. I’m going to take Fielder/Tex/Miggy Cabrera if one of them falls to me, but if they don’t, here are the players I would take:
    Holliday (There are 2 UTIL spots, and he’s as safe as they come)
    Votto (I like him, but guys like Berkman would be available later)
    Doc Halladay (Wins and Losses are categories, and this would allow me to put off starters until the cheap upside part of the draft.

    I’m leaning toward the Doc right now, but who would you take?

  91. Grey

    Grey says:

    @poop: I’d take them Holliday, Votto then Doc, in that order.

  92. poop says:

    Thanks for the input.

  93. jamesllegade says:

    How about the old “If you DO run out of money don’t nominate the $1 player you ACTUALLY want because some rich jerk will pump it up to $2… just buy people you don’t want and hope your sleepers make it to the FA Pool.”

  94. Eddy says:

    Boy, the Rangers’ offense sure looked pretty today. Borbon, Andrus, Hamilton, and Cruz all putting up big numbers.

  95. Steve says:

    @Grey: What sort of an auction price would you put on Reyes now in a 10-teamer? A fellow known to us both took him for something like $60 last year so he’s unlikely to be kept…

  96. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Eddy: They’re gonna be good this year. Crazy ass prediction, Andrus becomes a third rounder next year.

    @Steve: Around $15.

  97. sean says:

    some douche went with 4 catchers, ps.

  98. Eddy says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised. Unfortunately the rest of the fantasy world will find out this season that Reyes isn’t the only speed burner at SS after Alcides, Andrus, and EverCab are through with 2010 :(

    Btw, taking a quick (gloomy) look at 2011- Ian Stewart will only be eligible at 3B correct?

  99. Awesomus Maximus

    Awesomus Maximus says:

    @sean: I agree, Sean. My “main league” is full of people I’ve known for a long time, some since grade school. The shizz talking that goes on when we’re together is ungodly, and it’s usually over heated games of NHL ’94 on the SEGA Genesis. So I would love nothing more than to get all of us in the same room for our auction draft.

    But we’re all in our 30’s now, most married, some with kids… and scattered around the country. Even the guys closest to me (about an hour and a half away) probably won’t be able to make the trip to my place for a partial face-to-face draft. So the online draft will have to suffice.

    It’s probably for the best. Last time we were all together (around Christmas) I seem to remember shots of 160 proof Stroh rum being the penalty for getting a goal scored on you… and then I woke up next to the fire pit with half a pant leg charred while the sun was coming up… my wife asking my why I had been trying to sneak out the second story bathroom window… I dunno’, it’s all a blur. That can’t be a good way to draft a team.

  100. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Eddy: Probably, but let’s get through 2010 first.

  101. Awesomus Maximus

    Awesomus Maximus says:

    @jamesllegade: That is a good rule, for sure. It’s also a good reminder of why it’s important to NOT run out of money. I can’t think of a single draft where I was down to $1/slot with more than 5 slots to fill and didn’t look back and regret at least ONE purchase, especially when I was forced to watch helplessly as RPs and SPs I wanted sold for $1 each.

    Discipline is key. When Wieters is about to sell for $10, don’t ask yourself, “Should I let this manager get Wieters for $10?” Don’t ask yourself, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have Wieters as my catcher, even though I already decided to punt the C slot?” Don’t ask yourself, “Isn’t Wieters at $11 a decent price?” Instead, ask youself, “Wouldn’t I rather hold off now, buy Bengie for $1 later, and have some leverage when everyone else is down to $1/slot?”

  102. Bermuda Triangles says:

    @sean: Thanks Sean – I agree that may be my best option… I guess I hear what Grey’s saying regarding spreading the money out, but also need to follow his strategy (as laid out in his draft strategy guide) to not pay for bench strength.

    For me one of the biggest questions is – with that $75 for pitchers, could you spend say $40 on a F-Her (Lincecum, Halladay already kept) and then fill in 4 other starters and 4 bench guys with $35?

    Bermuda Triangles

  103. Cuban Rafters says:

    @Grey: So tomorrow is draft day (14 team) and I pretty much have most of my picks planned out but I had a few questions.

    My first two picks I am taking Poo-Holes and Zimm. I could take a 2B for my 3rd, but I think ill get more bang for my buck taking Werth/Granderson/Bay- Who do you like more considering my OF will most likely include one of those 3 plus Lind, Pence, Gonzalez/ Quentin (who do you like here)

    I figured by getting an OF my 3rd round I can pick up beckham later in the draft and slot him at 2b once he gets eligibility. Thanks for your help!

  104. Awesomus Maximus

    Awesomus Maximus says:

    I just found this in ESPN’s “Auction Draft Overview” for 2009 (couldn’t find one for 2010):

    “The Autobid system will bid up to a randomly determined % of the player’s pre-set value. The bidding range for this is 60% to 110% of the set/default value. This means if Hanley Ramirez’s preset draft value is $40 the autopilot system could bid up to $44, or only just to $24. This feature was built into to allow for bargains to still be obtained in a draft with absent owners, yet still field each one a competitive team.”

    I’m calling bullshit on this… or perhaps it’s been changed for 2010… or perhaps their bid algorithm leans more heavily towards the lower end of that “60% to 110%” range… or perhaps it uses factors such as how much money a manager has left per slot and/or talent remaining at positions needed… or perhaps it’s just bullshit. I have personally NEVER seen an autobid of 110%. I do see autobids of 100% extremely late in the draft, which is another reason why it’s important to close out bots (no need to be competing with them to get Filthy Sanchez at $4 instead of stealing him for $1).

  105. Awesomus Maximus

    Awesomus Maximus says:

    Dunno’ if anyone is looking at these comments anymore, but I thought I’d mention that ESPN has fixed their value for Joe Nathan… he’s down to $1. So don’t expect to be able to get a bot to autobid on him. An uninformed manager, however…

    Russel Martin is still at $4, though… and he’s a great nomination if you’re trying to close out a bot with an empty C slot (assuming you haven’t filled your C slot yet and you don’t want the bot nominating one of your choices). I don’t think I’ve seen a human bid on Martin in any of my drafts, before OR after his injury.

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