Imagine you are given a perfect list of auction values. Like you walk to the top of Mt. Sinai and instead of the Ten Commandments, God hands you a sheet of perfect dollar values for your upcoming auction. (Relative to burning bushes and other ways God has made his “presence known”, I’d say this would rank about middle of the pack in terms of directness). What would you do with these values?

### Part 1: God’s Values

#### Interlude No. 1: The three questions pertaining to a set of auction values

1. Would you ever bid a player above his listed value?
2. Would you stop bidding on a player below his listed value? (Assuming roster constraints are not an issue)
3. In the event of bidding behavior radically different than your values, do you deviate from them?

Why I chose these three questions amongst the multitude of possible ones I could have asked might not be clear now, but should become clearer by the end of the article.

So, let’s answer them for this divine set.

Q: Would you ever bid a player above his listed value?

A: Given perfect values, I think the answer is clearly a “No”. For lack of a better way to put it, unless you somehow f*#k up in the beginning of the auction, you shouldn’t have to overspend on players later.

Q: Would you stop bidding on a player below his listed value?

A: This is a tricky question, since there’s so much uncertainty during an auction that becomes certain only in hindsight. Winning a 40 dollar player for \$39 might not seem as good as winning a 20 dollar player for \$15… but remember you’re goal is to maximize total value in the auction (\$40 vs \$20 in this example), not surplus value (\$1 vs \$5). Surplus value is only good if it means getting more total value later, which is only possible if there are valuable players left to bid on.

While not a strict rule, my advice is to always bid a player up to his listed value as this will usually lead you to maximizing your total value at the end of an auction. While this is unprovable theoretically, I plan to create some simplified auction scenarios and run them thousands of times to see if this holds true in simulation.

So overall, no, don’t stop bidding on a player until the bidding goes over the listed value.

Q: In the event of bidding behavior radically different than your values, do you deviate from them?

To give an example of what I mean, say you have your top three hitters listed as worth \$38, \$35, and \$34. Those three hitters are nominated first and they go for \$46, \$45, and \$41. Do you adjust the rest of the hitters up, or do you stick to your guns? Just a reminder that since we still are using these hypothetical “perfect values”, the answer should be stick to your guns. No pun intended, you have to have faith that the overzealous spending of your league mates early will lead to greater bargains later.

However, practically speaking you probably don’t have perfect auction values. Even if you think everyone is crazy for spending 20 dollars on closers, maybe it’s you that misjudged the closers market and it is in your best interest to simply overspend on one than come away from the auction closerless. This will be expanded upon in a future article.

### Part 2: What are these “Perfect Values” you speak of anyway?

My overall point here is going to be perfect values are hard to generate whether you get them from your own brain, the top of Mt. Sinai, or pay some undersexed fantasy expert \$14.99 online for them. First off, as Rudy’s post from a couple weeks ago shows, converting projected stat lines into auction values isn’t an exact science. Furthermore, how to value players requires making league-specific assumptions, like the replacement level in your league, that are usually crude at best (unless you’re league is highly stable year-to-year).

What you bring to your auction are probably far from perfect values, but as I’ll discuss more in the future, you have to walk into the room like your dick is touching the floor and God himself handed you your dollar values. In a fast-paced auction with split-second decision making, there’s no way to walk away from the table without feeling like you made more than a few huge blunders (as my backgammon app would say) if you are constantly doubting you values and adjusting them on the fly.

### Part 3: My Tout Wars Mixed Auction Recap

With that said, all of these thoughts on auctions were fueled by my participation in the Tout Wars Mixed League Auction this past weekend at City Crab in NYC. Since my interests these days are more on the technical side of the game as opposed to analyzing specific players, I come in at a slight disadvantage relative to my peers. With a little luck though, I believe this team can be competitive and even contend for the title with some old-fashioned, quality in-season management.

Here’s my team with the price I bought each player at in parenthesis. It’s a 15 team OBP league with \$260 budgets and for a little context, Mike Trout went for the highest price at 48 dollars. I promise if he’s the consensus No. 1 player again next year, I’ll bid him up to at least \$56. Full draft results can be found here.

C – Yan Gomes (15)

C – Mike Zunino (4)

1B – Victor Martinez (18)

2B – Jason Kipnis (22)

3B – Xander Bogaerts (14)

SS – Danny Santana (14)

MI – Arismendy Alcantara (4)

CI – Steve Pearce (3)

OF – Bryce Harper (33)

OF – Jorge Soler (15)

OF – Marcell Ozuna (14)

OF – Travis Snider (7)

OF – Juan Lagares (1)

Util – Billy Butler (2)

P – Alex Cobb (12)

P – Andrew Cashner (9)

P – Drew Smyly (8)

P – Jose Fernandez (6)

P – Nathan Eovaldi (4)

P – James Paxton (3)

P – Craig Kimbrel (22)

P – Cody Allen (16)

P – Fernando Rodney (12)

Res – J.A. Happ

Res – Tony Cingrani

Res – Brett Anderson

Res – Chase Anderson

Res – Kevin Kiermaier

Res – Rubby De La Rosa

Quick recap: My team’s fortunes will to a large extent depend on Harper finally staying healthy and delivering the monster season he’s capable of and will one of these years. Hopefully it’s this year. I was too timid on the high priced guys, which led to me spending more cheddar on some mid-tier guys like Kipnis, D. Santana, and Bogaerts than I would have otherwise just to not leave extra cash on the table. Woe is me.

My favorite buys are probably that four dollar Eovaldi and three dollar Paxton. I’ve never spent on pitching in this league and always had an above average staff, somehow. I’m set at closer (Rodney for 12 was partially just a money burning move later in the auction) so at least I won’t have to spend FAAB (free agent acquisition budget) money on closers and can use that to improve the rest of my roster in-season.

Stay tuned for some auction simulations or an update on the fantasy bot next time.

## 56 Responses (Jump straight to the comment form)

1. Fastpitch says:

Timely post for me since I will be doing my first auction this W/E. It’s NL only and 7 teams with \$260. 2 position players and 5 outfielders and 10 pitchers. I’m using Rudy’s 10 team auction values. They seemed high once I started to try different scenarios. I’m thinking I would only use 70% of his values since there is only 7 teams and not 10. There would be less overall money to spend. Is this correct? I have not done an auction before and don;t feel real confident with any strategy going in. If I had the perfect value as you said then I would go from there. Any pointers you have please expound.

• paul says:

@Fastpitch: Taking 70% is a decent starting point to scale the values down to match to total auction money available to spend. Generally speaking, asmall league means a higher replacement level (i.e. better players available as FAs), which compliments a “stars and scrubs” strategy. So after that consider bumping the top guys at each position up a few dollars and take \$1 guys in Rudys values and make them 0 to offset the extra dollars.

If you’re not confident in your values I suggest doing two things that aren’t the ideal ways to do an auction, but might help you:

1) See what the first few guys go for and let them set the market. It’s not perfect, but if you have Kershaw listed at \$30 and he goes for \$35, expect the next tier of pitchers to go for \$3-5 more than you have listed

2) If there’s a particular person(or a couple people) in your league you particularly respect, don’t be afraid to “up-bid” them on certain guys. If they are about to get Goldy for \$40, it can’t be so bad to bid \$41. Just later in the auction, keep in mind their positional needs.

Good luck!

• Fastpitch says:

@paul: Ok, Thanks that helps. I was thinking I would probably take the wait and see approach but me ready for value.

2. J-FOH says:

Hey we missed you at the writers draft, its OK, Im sure ESPN drafted you an outstanding team. I know I’m open for trades

• paul says:

@J-FOH: Sorry bout that. If you can make it with ESPN autodraft, you can make it anywhere.

3. Biff says:

What have people seen on auction prices for Bogaerts? He seems mostly forgotten, undersold in favor of the over-hyped Betts, Tomas, Rusney, etc, etc… is \$15 the ceiling most have seen?

• Bye Felicia says:

@Biff: You think Betts is overhyped? I think betts batting leadoff in Beantown makes him one of the most valuable leadoff hitters in all of baseball. I’m buying into the hype in as many leagues as possible.

• GhostTownSteve says:

I’m with you

• Biff says:

I appreciate the focus on Betts here as opposed to the actual question.

• Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:

@Biff: probably since bett’s at bats aren’t for sure, like rusney.

4. GhostTownSteve says:

Great prices for you on Soler (in my opinion…we debated this on the site yesterday) and on Pearce. Honest assessment, kind of a shaky team. Pitching staff will need a lot to go right. Don’t really care for the \$12 Rodney with two other closers rostered. Time will tell a true tale though.

Thoughts on auction values etc.

You need to distinguish between auction prices and production values.

Auction values refers to the number of dollars you believe you should spend to acquire a player in your auction. This number needs to be adjusted for positions (we recognize that for a C and an OF with identical stat projections, we value the C more highly at auction), and the value needs to recalibrate with each pick because it must reflect the dollars vs the remaining player pool.

Production values is an effort to create an exact model to assign a dollar value to the value of each statistical category (dollar value of each HR, RBI, SB etc summed to a total value assigned to the player). This model is not adjusted for positions (we recognize that a home run hit by a catcher and an OF have identical value once the season has begun). The production value tells you nothing in and of itself about how much to pay at auction for a player, though in theory your auction objective is to end up with the highest total dollar value possible at the end of the auction. In this case you would never adjust the value based on any variable during the auction.

The answer to all your questions above, from a human perspective is yes you should bid above, below and you should also adjust your bidding to fit the room. The reason for this is that you need more than a dollar assigned to a player in order to have a “perfect value”.

In the case of an auction value model you would need a very sophisticated, game theory driven model that adjusts with each pick and uses a kind of machine intelligence to maximize auction efficiency accounting for human behavior, etc.

In the case of a production value model you could basically use brute force computing to model out the most likely outcomes to maximize your ending total value from any pick in the draft.

In your original post on this, I brought up the Deep Blue IBM chess computer in addressing just this thing. IBM actually combined these two concepts to build the computer to beat Kasparov. They used a human chess expert to create the artificial intelligence and they used massive computing power to run a vast number of scenarios.

The take away lesson from the human end is summed up in the old Zen proverb: In the mind of the beginner, there are many possibilities; in the mind of the expert there are very few.

An auction is a very complicated set of probabilities. There are 350 players who will be allocated to 15 teams from a pool of 500 or so possible players. It’s like 15*(23!) or some absurdly large number of possibilities. Maybe a mathier person can give us the right math on that. As such, you need to rely on the vast neurological computing power of the brain to parse the many outcomes into a few number of best choices. To the degree possible we should use data to create values, but until we build that fantasy super computer of yours we need to rely on experience and expertise to apply those values correctly.

• Steve Stevenson says:

@GhostTownSteve: This is some good commenting. I was thinking something along these lines, but less smart, and also I would’ve given up to have another drink before going into that much depth.

• GhostTownSteve says:

Thanks other other Steve. I have a nutso thing for this line of inquiry.

• Fastpitch says:

@GhostTownSteve: GTS, I respect your comments on all the fantasy posts. I’ve learned a lot from your comments. I think I understand what you said but I’m not a math wizz to pull that off. I’m thinking the way the nominations go has a lot to do with it. I plan on nominating people that I want, but not over paying always looking for my perceived value, and if I don’t get them I’ll have to go to plan B at that position. I love strategy and an auction draft seems to have plenty. Thanks

• GhostTownSteve says:

I like the way you’re thinking, fastpitch. This kind of game theory, and I mean something very specific by game theory, is the toughest thing for a machine to simulate. Math can lead the horse to water but can’t make it drink.

• paul says:

@GhostTownSteve: That’s an interesting distinction you make, I agree it is one worth making. In your terms, I’m making a “production value” simulator and I believe there will be plenty of insights to be learned from running it with different player universes, types of owners, and also the amount of correlation amongst the owner’s dollar values.

Eventually, I would like to create a more dynamic system that would react to other owner’s behavior, but we’ll start simple.

As always, I appreciate the insightful thoughts and feedback.

• GhostTownSteve says:

@paul:

Hey Paul. You seem really really smart so there’s every chance that you’re already a head of the game, but I started thinking about this problem on and off in 1987 and still haven’t entirely cracked it and so I’ll give you another thought that may save you some time as you work through this.

There are really only two basic production value models I believe and then there are variations and blends on the two themes. Each comes with it’s own set of pitfalls and, as we talked about in auctions values, a great deal of complexity.

The first production valuation model is to compare players against players. This generally involves a standard deviation or a replacement value methodology. Again both of these have strengths and weaknesses. But more to the point, the objective of the game, accumulating the most roto points, can be correlated to player performance but cannot be shown to be the ultimate cause. The reason they cannot be causal is that there are other variables involved. The best example is that a team that had all of the elite closers and base stealers would have a very high production \$ value but would finish last in the standings. This is an extreme example just for the sake of understanding the concept but you get the jist. Having the best player performances is not the objective of the game you are playing.

The other valuation methodology speaks more directly to the prime objective but comes with a similar set of issues. Standings gain points attempts to assign a value to each stat widget relative to a statistical target based on league standings. Instead of comparing player against player, you are comparing player against goal. Again, any generalized value lacks the context needed for real accuracy. The value of a 20 save closer on a team with no other closer in terms of standings points could be the same as the value of a zero save pitcher if 20 saves would mean last in the league. So while an SGP valuation method would assign a dollar value to the player, in the context of the team that player was on, the true value would have been zero.

There are lots and lots more contextual variables that apply to both methods, but you get the drift. My general sense is that standings gain points is probably the best method, but there is a great deal of intelligence required in bot in order to successfully and meaningfully apply values of either sort.

• paul says:

@GhostTownSteve: I’ll admit, my thoughts hadn’t traveled that far down the road yet, so i appreciate the foresight.

I suppose my focus at the moment is more purely on auction dynamics with the context of fantasy baseball mostly stripped away. I’m not worrying (again, at the moment) on translating dollar values to stat lines to points in the standings, which is dependent on all the relative factors you mentioned and make things messy.

What I started coding tonight is an auction with three different actors, A, B, & C. A has a fast reaction time (if the current bid price is less than A’s value for a player, he will bid in, say, .5 seconds on average), B will take 1 second, and C will wait 2 seconds. I think these characteristics reflect how different people actually behave in an auction.

I’m not worrying about anything except maximizing value, and the value of each player is simply a given (as if by “God”). Who will end up with the most value at the end of the auction?

Given those three actors I think it’s clear A’s aggressiveness will be an advantage in terms of getting a player before the bidding goes above each player’s value of a given player (another parameter I’ll play around with). So, to balance it out, maybe I’ll penalize A to bid over-value 50% of the time. What happens then?

Other things I’ll look at are jump-bidding and picking high opening bids to “freeze” the room. Later I’ll start to add the restrictions like requiring players to fill certain positions and weighing each stat category relativistically.

My feeling is people come into an auction with their values, they never really see anyone else’s, and they leave the auction with a team of players and not much of an understanding of why things played out the way they did with respect to the larger picture. With me setting everyone’s valuation of a player and giving different actors characteristics that reflect actual auction behavior and being able to simulate things multiple times, I’m hoping I can look under the hood so to speak, and learn more about what’s actually going on during an auction.

• GhostTownSteve says:

@paul:

That’s interesting stuff. Didn’t realize that was the direction you were headed. There’s a fair amount on this kind of thing from poker and you’re now squarely in game theory world. Chris “Jesus” Ferguson was one of the first people to take a “God value” for Hold ‘Em. I’m pretty sure he was the first guy to really calculate the specific odds of winning a hand of Hold Em from any two card combination in hand, which was basically his God value. I believe the most important thing he learned in the application of value was the importance of variation. At certain points he needed to play non-optimally against his own odds, sometimes arbitrarily and sometimes as a pointed tactic (the bluff) in order to maximize the advantage he had over other players who did not know the true odds.

I think in an auction room we all try to do many such things. Have a fast bid cadence on a player we don’t want and then suddenly drop out. Take a long time to think about a bid on a player who is currently going a few dollars below our value for him as if this will be our last bid. Lawr Michaels talked about the 40 Kershaw freeze bid.

Anyway, cool stuff. Look forward to hearing more.

• Rabbit says:

@GhostTownSteve: GTS, I think your conceptual structure–starting with production values and then adding the complicating factors–is a great way to start thinking about auction values. In order to get a clear picture of all of the factors involved, I would start with an even more simplified base and work up from there. First off, “God’s Auction Values” would clearly be based upon what a player’s production will be at the end of the year–God is omniscient, so obviously he knows how many HRs, RBIs, Saves, etc. a player will have at the end of the 2015 season. But even given that, God needs to determine what the relative worth is of each of those stat categories in order to get His values. Plus there are other complications, of course.

So, let’s start with the easier construct of fantasy football, e.g., where a player’s raw production in different categories (passing yards, rushing yards, TDs, 50+ yard FGs) is converted into points that are directly comparable: a rushing TD (6 pts) is equal to 60 receiving yards (6 pts) which is equal to a 50 yard FG plus an extra point(6–you get the idea). If God could stock a team without regard to your need to fill certain positions–i.e. if He could start 10 players no matter their position–picking a fantasy football team would be easy. But God does have to fill positions, so He needs to modify His production values according to position in order to get auction values–He needs to examine the difference between the best QB’s production values and the 12th-best QB’s production values (in a 12 team league) and weigh that verses the similar difference between RBs and WRs and TEs (recognizing that you need 2-4 RBs, 2-4 WRs, etc.) to determine the relative values of those players in a perfectly rational auction.

So say God does that so that He comes up with a list that weighs a QB’s production value comparably to an RB’s production value, etc. In a snake draft league, His work would be more or less done, because He just needs to pick the highest value available player at His draft spot, keeping in mind His current positional needs and what’s left in those positions. But in an auction league He has a more difficult task, because everyone else is bidding on a player, creating a market in which each buyer has different information and the goods are both unique and limited, so price can get, shall we say, wacky. So let’s say that God is in a league where, for whatever reason, the other owners all heavily value QBs. And let’s also say that in this year, the dropoff from the 10th best QB to the 11th best QB is quite marked. God doesn’t want to be the owner with the 11th or 12th best QB. He has to account for that in his values, and bump up his QB values accordingly so that he spends what the market requires for a top ten QB. Similarly, if this market de-values TEs and TEs 1-8 are of similar quality, God needs to play the market right and spend the lowest he can on one of the top 8 TEs (even though the values for all 8 are well below His calculated values) so that He can afford one of the top 10 QBs

Once you move to baseball, God’s task is even more complicated. In a standard roto league, instead of straight-up comparable points you have stats in 10 different categories–doubling everybody’s production in saves does not give you the same benefit as doubling everybody’s production in receiving TDs. And relatedly, the market is even more complex: while in fantasy football owners can over- or under-value positions, in baseball owners can over or under value both positions (and more of them) and categories (e.g., saves, SBs, wins, vs. HRs, RBIs, etc.).

So let’s say I’m God and I have the production values for all players for 2015 as I head into my auction. I don’t necessarily win my league unless I (1) understand how my league is valuing positions vs. positions, and (2) I understand how my league is valuing stat category vs. stat category. Only when I understand those two things can I correctly set My auction values. Of course, I can’t understand those two things until I am actually at the auction and seeing how things play out. So my point is, auction values are relative to how the auction actually plays out. Yes, pre-auction you can know that Adam Jones will almost certainly provide your team with more value than Matt Wieters. But how that translates into actual monetary difference in the auction (e.g., what Jones’ “true auction value” is vs. Wieters’ value) depends essentially upon your leaguemates’ behavior.

So (1) You better be ready to both go above and stay below your auction values. Your league’s behavior ultimately determines the right price for a player (within a range, of course) and (2) You better be ready to re-set your values as the auction goes along. Thomas Aquinas thought that there was a “True Price” for commodities based upon God’s valuations; but if God were in an auction where He didn’t take into account the league’s auction behavior, He might very well lose.

Yea, verily.

• GhostTownSteve says:

@Rabbit:

Yea verily. Great thought process and a good summary of different types of complexity.

I want to talk about the snake draft a little because I think we can shed some light on the “position scarcity debate.” I think the snake draft is much more complex than you are crediting above. What position scarcity really means needs to be very clearly defined. It means, how much additional weight do we give a player based on his position at a particular point in a draft or auction based on the statistical projections relative to other players at different positions. We know that we must give catcher some weight vs OF but how much?

As it turns out, this is a massively complicated mathematical question. All of the auction valuation systems that weight for positions and claim that they have the math are just bogus. What lets them slide is that they cook their way into an algorithm that more or less conforms to real world success. The back into the weightings based on experience. But they are not mathematically sound. This is because of what I said above. In order to know the value of an OF surplus stat production versus a catcher in a certain point in the draft you would need to have a level of knowledge about the player selections/price that will follow. Given the vast number of permutations we discussed above, you have very little knowledge of what will follow.

Chess is again illustrative here. In chess we talk about the opening, the middle game and the end game. Let’s say that there are two fantasy baseballers in an auction and they are the only two bidders left. Each needs only a catcher and each has only \$2 to spend. The value of the catcher with the best projection available is \$2. Period. No discussion. But when you begin to back away from the end game, back to the middle game and ultimately to the opening, you see that the basic premise remains the same (inputs: position, projection, supply, demand) but the vastness of the permutations render a meaningful math based valuation system for either draft or auction impossible.

• Rabbit says:

@GhostTownSteve: Great stuff. On in-auction strategy, I guess the best you can do is pay close attention to player price/selections as the draft moves on to try to extrapolate what that behavior will look like towards the end of the draft. Difficult to do but might be possible to have some luck with it if you truly keep your mind open to things developing differently than you expect. A real world example: at my latest mixed league, 10 team auction (standard cats), closers were devalued by the league far below any league I had participated in over the past 12 years. Early on I grabbed a couple Donkeycorns for high single-digit prices but at the end of the auction I regretted that, because I could have gotten comparable closer value at about half that price. While the early evidence indicated to me that the league was not bidding up closers anywhere near to the level I had predicted, instead of extrapolating from this evidence I hypothesized that the market for closers would spike once people realized that the most of the decent ones were off the market and there were one two or three donkeycorns left before it became Brain Freeze City. Because of my misreading of the situation I bought a third high single digit closer that I really didn’t need, and as a result I’m not entirely satisfied with my SPs. I’d call that human error: I know that I need to be responsive to auction behaviors on the fly, but my prejudices got in the way (specifically, my experience in my main league last year where I went with low-end closers at the draft and worked the waiver wire during the season, only to get screwed on saves. Like so many generals, I end up fighting the current war with the tools and strategies of the last war.)

• Clyde Prompto says:

@GhostTownSteve: @paul: @Rabbit: This is all fantastic stuff. My longtime auction draft is always in person and in a bar. So even after weighing all the factors mentioned by you gentleman, I then have to factor in things like alcohol tolerance, homerism, varying levels of preperation, and how distractingly cute the waitress/bartender is.

• paul says:

@Clyde Prompto: Nothing wreaks havoc on an auction like a cute waitress.

5. Jeff P says:

You definitely should overbid your values if you see that top players are going way above your values. Otherwise you will be spending your leftover dollars on mediocre ones later in the draft.
Identify a tier, and when the last player in the tier comes up for auction, be aggressive.

• Fastpitch says:

@Jeff P: Good idea. I’ll remember that. Thanks

6. Grey says:

Great prices on Pearce and Soler, feels like a lot on Snider and Kipnis… Hitting looks good overall, though… Love Paxton and Eovaldi, hopefully you have a few more pitchers go right for you…

• paul says:

@Grey: Yea, I agree.

7. Diego says:

I am in a new league this year, AL only roto, standard categories.
My question is on pitching strategy based on 125 games started minimum with 1250 innings cap.
There is a 5 player bench. These restrictions are new to me.
Any insight is appreciated.

• Diego says:

@Diego: Its an auction redraft league. Gracias.

• paul says:

@Diego: Interesting. Assuming 6.5IP per start, that’s 812 innings taken up by starters and leaves 438 innings left to what should be allocated to closers and high K relievers.

A strategy i’d strongly consider is to draft a couple of top pitchers and take fliers on a couple of upside arms (like a Danny Salazar, Yordano Ventura, & Tanaka). Don’t be afraid to be behind the pace in reaching the 125 gs min in the first half of the year. Hopefully you’ll have elite ratios and K/9. In the last month and a half of the season, a couple teams might have already hit the 1250 IP cap, and they’ll drop their pitchers. In the last few weeks of the season, a bunch of teams will probably hit the cap and SP’s will be super cheap to add at this point. Stream the last few weeks of the year to hit the 125 GS min as you surge from 3rd to 1st in the standings on one of the last days of the season.

• Diego says:

@paul: Thanks for your thoughts Paul. I appreciate it.

8. Malon says:

Does anyone else yell out STEVE PIERCE with double raised fists, in a “STEVE HOLT” way, whenever you see his name?
…no, just me. O.K.

• paul says:

@Malon: Haha, I’m gonna start doing that

9. Bill says:

Ahoy matey!

Draft is tonight @ 9pm eastern time.

Which would you do in an ESPN h2h points league.

Go with 9 Pitcher slots (& with GAmes started for that matchup I have it at 9 that breaks down to 1.0 games per slot

Or go with 5 pitcher slots (& with games started for the matchup is at 10 which breaks down to 2.0 games per slot)

with it being 1.0 game per slot does that mean if that mean if any of those pitchers have another start (two start paloza) that I wouldnt get the stats for that game?

Where as 5 pitching slots (2.0 per slot if he has a two start week he could get me the stats?)

Or take away Games started limit for pitchers?

• paul says:

@Bill: Never been in a league so restrictive, but I do agree with rules that prevent unorthodox techniques from being wildly successful. Assuming guys roster at least 1 or 2 RPs, then 9 starts for 9 slots wouldn’t be too restrictive. Why not make it 12 or even 15 per week and not have to worry about it as much?

10. Birrrdy! says:

If only I could have some God-given “perfect” values. In my keeper league, that would be God’s way of telling me Kris Bryant or some Cuban rafter will have a long and productive career when I see \$50 values attached to them and they haven’t even played MLB yet. If only that crystal ball could exist…

• Bye Felicia says:

@Birrrdy!: Dont feel bad.. feel bad for the schlub that paid \$25,000 for a Oscar Tavares refractory card on Ebay. Kris Bryant’s card is going for around \$40K as we speak. Only a fool would pay that kind of bread for a baseball card. You’d be better off withdrawing the \$40K and spending it on hookers & blow. At least you’d be getting a solid ROI out of the deal :)

• Fastpitch says:

@Bye Felicia: I always said grown men collecting pictures of other men.

11. Matty says:

I have an upcoming auction, and have fully bought into the punt catching theory. This essentially leaves me with a DL slot to bid on, as I’ll fill catcher from the waiver wire after the draft.
After having been in some auctions, does anyone jump out at you as a huge value due to an injury discount?
Thanks.

• GhostTownSteve says:

@Matty:

Jose Fernandez

• Matty says:

@GhostTownSteve:
Thanks.
I guess I didn’t clarify enough, I meant guys who will start the year on the DL.

• Matty says:

@Matty:

12. Bye Felicia says:

\$3 Pearce is an absolute steal imo

13. mvcoachsean says:

It will depend on your league rules and how active you plan to be on managing your team, but the ability to get free agents and stream them on and off your team should play a significant role in auction strategy. There will always be undrafted players who will out perform players who are drafted. I take flyers at the end of the draft, especially on pitchers, and get 5 or 6 \$1 guys that I will dump at a moments notice to pick up someone better. If they do well they stay if not I pickup free agents. The money I save on these guys I can pay an extra buck or two for a stud I want and/or use it to buy an extra outfielder or corner.

14. jake says:

Hi Paul,

Have you seen the slow auctions on couch managers? I participated in two this year, one allowed 36 and the other allowed up to 60 players for bid eBay style at one time. Winning bids had to stand for 12 hours. As a person who makes better decisions with time to deliberate, I thought it was great.

It seems like a great way to test, your questions above.

My strategy was to only but players under Rudy’s values (which I considered God’s values). But all the top players went for 10% or more over rudy-God’s values. So I revised to buy a few top players at value or slightly above then did the values in the middle. I modeled the league with steamer proj and seem to be at the top. So I think the method worked at low stakes anyway.

• paul says:

@jake: Interesting, I’ll check it out.

15. Hieronymous Lohse says:

I tried a new strategy in a 12 year old keeper league I’m in. I noticed at the end of last year that I only had 11 of the original 25 guys I auction drafted. We keep six so that basically means I finished the year with only five of the remaining 19 guys I spent money on. This told me a few things – I suck at drafting but I’m pretty solid with my keepers and playing the waiver wire (we don’t FAAB).

Why bore any of you with this? Because that is the strategy I’m recommending – basically going all in this year on five or six can’t miss players and screw the rest. It’s stars and scrubs on keeper steroids. Identify the five or six guys that didn’t get kept, target them and overpay as much as you have to. Who cares? Again, your drafting for five or six guys. And every keeper league sees some impressive talent that gets thrown back.

My keepers going in:
Springer, Hamilton, Harper, E5, Kris Bryant, and Jose Fernandez. (\$60 total due to league rules and historical ownership)

Guys I targeted and overpaid for:
Strasburg (\$33), Bumgarner (\$40), Harvey (\$29), Desmond (\$31), Votto (\$21) Pineda (\$9)

I lost Arenado, (who I threw back for the cheaper Bryant (\$2)), Betts and Castillo (I collect prospects like Dolemite collects bitches) and reacquired Strasburg (who wasn’t one of my six keepers).

My point that none of you care about or have read to this point – just go and get the guys you want – values be damned. I’ve spent too many years missing on guys I coveted by a dollar or two because their value limit was reached or close. Why? So I could get that sneaky \$1 Adam Eaton at the end of the draft? And pay \$5 for him because someone else wanted him too and you have money to burn at the end anyway? Bollocks to that. :)

• GhostTownSteve says:

Solid take. Read to the end. The one thing I would add is that you have to be careful with how you play your cards. If one of your leaguemates recognizes that you’re going to push all in on a handful of guys they’ll potentially price enforce you and push you into extreme overpays. You kind of have to have a limit for each guy beyond which you’re unwilling to go.

• paul says:

@Hieronymous Lohse: I think more people than not would do better in auctions if they acted more bold and confident. With that said, I think if you’re gonna come away from an auction with the best team, you have to strike the correct middle ground between aggression and patience.

16. Mike says:

This is some ambitious scheisse. I love it.

• paul says: