While Grey was off gallivanting in Jackson’s Hole sipping hot toddies and drafting his AL-Only team from heated chair lifts, I spent my day at a shady Illinois car dealership drafting my AL-Only team in that same league while getting fleeced on a used car. After I spent $35 on The Messiah, Adalberto Mondesi, Grey cracked, “I hope you get a better deal on that car than you got on Mondesi!” Oh real funny, Grey! That’s rich coming from the guy who spent $10 on Bryce Harper in an AL-Only league!
Nevertheless, my AL team took a turn for the worse when the car dealer tried to tack a $399 “Dealer Inventory Fee” onto the negotiated sale price. And that’s the story of how I spent $3 on Daniel Mengden and $1 on Chad Pinder in the all-important late stages of an AL-Only auction with the titans of the industry. Fortunately, our friend Scott White of CBS gave ya boy Donkey Teeth one more shot at the glory-hole in the NL-Only version of the same league. And this time, I wouldn’t be preoccupied disputing undisclosed dealer inventory fees while being stuck with auto-nominated Chad Pinders. Anyway, here’s my 12-team NL-Only team and the tale of how I left Grey lusting after my Wong, again:
C: Yan Gomes $5
C: Tyler Flowers $2
1B: Eric Thames $8
2B: Kolten Wong $2
3B: Eugenio Suarez $28
SS: Orlando Arcia $4
MI: Neil Walker $2
CI: Todd Frazier $1
OF: Christian Yelich $38
OF: Ronald Acuña $36
OF: Rhys Hoskins $30
OF: Franchy Cordero $4
OF: Curtis Granderson $1
DH: Yairo Munoz $1
P: Jack Flaherty $25
P: Edwin Diaz $25
P: German Marquez $21
P: Kenley Jansen $20
P: Tanner Roark $2
P: Jordan Lyles $2
P: Freddy Peralta $1
P: Tyler Anderson $1
P: Mark Melancon $1
The following is a real text message exchange during the auction
Grey: You killed my team
Grey: I had a gaping hole for a wong
Donkey Teeth: I did too
Donkey Teeth: I needed wong in my mouth
We’ve reached the dollar days of the auction and I have one $2 bid remaining, Grey has only $1 bids left. We both have empty MI slots to fill. Grey nominates Kolten Wong for $1. The clock ticks down…9,8,7…Do I seize the Wong or save my lone $2 bid for my man Trevor Williams?…6,5,4…I wonder what German Marquez looks like without a shirt on…3,2,1…::clicks bid $2::. Welcome to Team Donkey Teeth, Mr. Wong! Inserting Wong into my lineup on a daily basis will feel even more pleasurable knowing that Grey was left wanting.
A stars and scrubs approach in such a deep format?
I had the benefit of coming into this auction having seen the end game of our AL-Only auction the previous week. Because these leagues require us to fill our entire starting lineup during the auction, and then our reserve/bench players are drafted in a separate snake draft after the auction is complete, there’s plenty of decent $1 options available in the auction end game, well, decent options in NL-Only terms. Knowing this, I resolved to spend the majority of my budget on a couple top bats, a couple top arms, and then the safest saves I could afford. As you can see above, my plan was a great success. There’s no substitute for knowing your league.
Hey Donkey, did you just blindly buy the first two players nominated?
Coming into the draft I was targeting two of my top three NL-Only hitters: Acuña, Turner, and Yelich. I want some steals from my big ticket bats this year. Yelich was the first player nominated, and #4 overall in my NL-Only rankings, I was shocked when the clock ticked down to zero on my winning bid of $38. I was then fortunate enough to have the second nomination of the draft, and I immediately threw my top NL-Only player out there in Acuña hoping that there might be some mental anchoring to that $38 Yelich price.
The plan worked out like a wet dream as I won two of my top 4 ranked NL-Only players for a total of $74 while the rest of the league snoozed (our fearless leader Grey immediately bought Story for $35 as the 3rd player off the board). The very next purchase was Arenado for $49, followed shortly thereafter by Scherzer $46, Turner $43, deGrom $42, Goldschmidt $41, Harper $41, Freeman $40, and Machado $40. I think Grey and I both did well buying the first three players off the board at a discount before the rest of the room woke up. This isn’t uncommon in auctions, make sure you’re ready to buy from the get go.
$45 on two closers?! What happened to that SAGNOF thing??
I know, it’s not the Razzball way to spend 17% of an auction budget on two closers. But times are quickly changing boys and 19 girl readers. See, there’s 19 girl readers now, I rest my case!
A lot of major league teams no longer see the need to tie themselves down to just one closer. I like to think of it as Mormon-style bullpen management. Many managers prefer the flexibility of using their top arm in the biggest moments of a game, whether it be bases loaded with no outs in the 6th inning or a clean slate 9th inning. This can create a headache for us as fantasy baseball managers trying to find those cheap saves throughout the season, especially in deep leagues like this NL-Only. The value of a reliever without competition for his teams saves grows each year.
Rather than spending $9 on Drew Steckenrider, or $8 on Greg Holland (real prices), I preferred to lock up the consensus top two NL closers and not worry about overpaying for a disastrous future middle reliever who torpedoes my ratios. I should also be able to avoid the FAAB wasteland of chasing saves in a very competitive league. All of this said, I still think SAGNOF is a valid strategy in shallower leagues, let’s say 12 team mixed leagues or less.
Alright, I have to run. Wong is calling me to take him out of my lineup just so I can reinsert and ride him to victory. Best of luck trying to find another Wong, Grey!
Find Donkey Teeth on Twitter @DonkeyTeeth87. Subscribe to his podcast with @DiktaSausagePod: Ditka, Sausage, and Fantasy Sports on Itunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.