My Thoughts on the AuctionApril 1st, 2012 by Eric Kesselman in Team Analysis
We had our 10 team AL only auction on March 27th. In many auctions I find lots of opportunities through either gross player misvaluation or poor money management. I also find people are generally too quick to write players off, and conversely too eager to pay up for the newest hyped possible stud to be. With this group however, I definitely see fewer plays I find fishy, and while I think there is still some propensity for the hyped guy here, the expert crowd seems far more reluctant to write players off as finished.
I'm going to go team by team again, noting what I thought was good and what I thought was weak. This is not meant to make anyone look bad, but I think a critical analysis is valuable, and can only make us better fantasy managers.
When reviewing the auction note the only requirement was that owners spent at least 1$ on their first 23 players. If you have money left you can also buy reserves. There is no requirement that you field a legal team at auction, so some of the rosters may look a little screwy and will be forced to make trades to fill holes.
I was mildly pleased with my auction. I thought I got good value in a number of spots (Weaver $25, Teixera $27, Sanchez $3, Beckett $17, Romero $13, Trumbo $8) and good cheap fliers as well (Parmelee, Plouffe, Sogard, B Roberts for 1 each). I wasn't happy with several things: the number of holes I might have to plug, the lack of any sbs whatsoever, and my money management. The later rounds of the draft had some pretty cheap stuff going on, and I had spent my way down to $28 before I knew it. In a ten team league I think a stars and scrubs approach is likely to be best, as it should be easier to fill those remaining holes with passable guys. In a twelve team league the ab crunch is just too big, and there I tend to draft more balanced squads. So overall, reasonably happy, but my happiness was tinged by the desire to vomit when I saw stuff like a $6 Danks going to Derek.
I thought Bill had a really solid draft. I like most of his buys, especially the $5 Brantley, the reserve pick Doubront, $8 Alcides Escobar, and the $15 Swisher. I wasn't a fan of his $15 Franceour or his $20 Asdrubal Cabrera. I think they both had top 10% of their distribution range last season, and he's paying too much for a repeat. I think he also has a great example of an 'good' ugly pitching staff. Two real pitchers $22 Price and a $15 Bailey, backed up with a sketchy but cheap with upside supporting cast of Capps $8, Pavano $2, Kuroda $9, Bucholz for $6, Doubront for $0, M Harrison $3, and $2 Pestano. Those guys are a scoop for $30.
Clark won the league last year, and it was a well deserved win. In my end of year article, I wrote Clark had a pitch perfect season. As I noted in last year's article on the 2011 auction, Clark's team terrifed me out of the gates. So I'm very relieved to report this year I don't think his 2012 team is anywhere near as good as his 2011 team was. I think Clark has some solid buys, and a well balanced roster overall, however my main complaint is I feel his risk/reward ratio is off. This team strikes me as high risk with only medium reward. I'm not sure that any of $6 Chris Davis, $5 Ryan Raburn, or $9 Mike Carp can hit. This trio walked 51 times against 258 strikeouts last year, and they all can easily face job competition. I would bet against this trio having much success. $6 B Morel and $13 Alex Rios have some upside, but could easily be duds as well. I've been bashing Austin Jackson for a while now, and he could easily wind up batting 9th. Torii Hunter and Ichiro both have more worry than upside to them at this point. $13 Farnsworth has some risk. I hate $4 for Sean Rodriguez. Thats a lot of guys to worry about. Even if only a few of them go to zero, I don't think theres enough upside in the others to pick up their slack. I think if Clark is going to repeat last year's success, he his going to have make some big trades. Since he's a self described 'reluctant trader' I'm very curious to see if this team can prove me wrong.
I like this auction a lot. He has a number of good buys, and an effective stars and scrubs lineup. My only purchase complaint is the $11 Morneau. I think his upside is 20% to be in the $18 range, and his downside is 30% to be $0. My one complaint with a lineup like this is that he may find trading difficult. He may need to break up a big guy to fill some holes if the scrubs don't pan out, and its hard to find buyers with the depth to pay for Fielder, Ellsbury, or Verlander types. This draft actually reminds me a bit of Larry's team last year, which was strong all year, and I think its a better look for 10 team too.
I think Trevor had one of the best auctions in the league. This team is solid, balanced, with lots of room for upside in both its big buys and its fliers ($3 matusz, $3 Alvarez, $1 Duffy, $4 Broxton, $2 Borbon, $2 Chisenhall.) I thought Trevor was a bit prone to hyped players last year, and if I had to find a fault here those are the guys I'd question- $25 Hosmer and $18 Matt Moore. Yes, these guys will be great. Yes, they're good now. But are they $43 good already? I don't see it. A year ago Hosmer largely went undrafted, Mike Moustakas was the guy everyone was grabbing. Sure Hosmer has upticked since then, but is he really $2 behind Teixera at this stage in his career? $7 over Youkilis? Tied with Josh Hamilton? C'mon. Let's let the guy get a full season in before we fire out $25 on him. This goes doubly for me in regards to young pitchers. Matt Moore is going to be really good. However, he still pitches in the AL east and how many innings is he going to throw? 180 tops? I'll take my $17 Beckett over an $18 Matt Moore all day long. That being said, I don't think this is going to hurt Trevor much, and this is definitely a team to watch.
I am lukewarm on this team despite feeling he had some of the best buys in the auction. I love his $7 Casilla, $14 JJ Hardy, and $6 Danks. What I don't like is where he spent the money he saved from those buys. $9 Pierzinksi seems high for a 10 team league. Ditto $6 Vargas. I don't hate Matt Joyce as much as I used to, but still not excited by a $12 purhcase of him. Very curious to hear him justify a $15 Boesch. Would you rather have Justin Verlander or two Boesches? Encarncion, Moreland, Viciedo, Doumit……just a lot of guys who create a visceral 'meh' feeling. Maybe hes just found value in guys I find unsexy, but I'm curious to see where this team goes too.
I generally like Scott's team. But there's little here I love. I'm higher on Beltre than most, so I like him at $25. I like Revere at $8, that can easily be a big win. Aviles at $5 has a lot of potential. My complaints are: I think he overspent on middle tier pitchers. In a world where Feliz is $7, Porcello $3, Hochevar $6, Humber $1, etc I don't see spending $11 on Gavin Floyd, or $4 on Hector Noesi. I like Ervin Santana better at $11, but there were better buys out there in SP. Also, can someone explain Alejandro De Aza to me? Scott got him for $14, and this is pretty much in line with every expert league I've seen. The guy has all of 344 MLB at bats. Yes he had a nice third of a season and all, but if he were really good he probably wouldn't be sitting in the minors at 27 years old. He got called up only because Rios spent the year doing a Walking Dead impersonation. I am a seller.
ANDREW WIGGINS/BRIAN HASTINGS:
Once again I find myself really liking these guys' auction, and largely for the same reasons as last year. Unsurprisingly these guys know how to gamble and get great risk/reward spots. Rajai Davis for $3, Giavotella $3, Feliz $7, Bard $8, Dunn $13, Crawford $20, $3 porcello. Thats a lot of upside at really good prices. Combined with some Napoli, Miggy Cabrera, Felix, and Arod types and they should have a solid foundation in place to let them get lucky on the other spots. I wouldnt be at all surprised to see them near the top of the standings for the third straight year.
I think Chris drafted a nice overall team, with some nice upside buys in $2 Gutierrez, $1 Humber, $3 Getz, $3 Perkins, $4 Snider, $3 J Parker, and a couple of others. I don't like a couple of his purchases, namely the $13 Pineda, $8 Brandon Allen, and $14 Rasmus. Pineda was having velocity trouble, showed up to camp overweight, and even if all went well was likely to be rationed some in innings. $8 Brandon Allen just seems flat out insane to me. With only ten teams CI is not all that scarce, and Allen owns a career .210 .297 .373 line and job competition. By comparison, I spent $8 on Trumbo and Paul spent $7 on Smoak. I can't see $14 for Rasmus. He owns a .251 .322 .432 career line over 1400 at bats. He's stolen 20 bases in his career. I'm not saying the guy doesn't have potential, but these prices Chris paid only are justifiable if these guys didnt have the massive performance uncertainty they do. I'm also skeptical of a $12 Jeremy Hellickson. His peripherals were pretty scary last year, and SPs were going cheap in this auction. I wasn't wild about Scott's $11 E Santana, but I definitely like it better than a $12 Hellickson. All this being said, Chris could easily hit on one of these guys, and there's a lot of upside in his other purchases that I can see his team doing just fine. But I can more easily see his team doing just fine and wishing he had bought someone other than Brandon Allen and Colby Rasmus.
GREY ALBRIGHT/RUDY GAMBLE:
The Razzball.com guys had a really solid auction. I like how they managed their money, the guys they purchased, and the fliers they took. My only critique of their auction is that I felt during the auction they were poised to clean up, and didn't quite get there. I'd be curious to go back to the last 20% of the auction and see what else they could've done. I remember I kept looking over at their budget with dread, but having the sense they were filling roster spots too freely with $1 Bobby Abreu, $2 Millwood, or $2 Lillbridge when they could've had their pick of the last part of the pool. Instead of winding up with a good team, with some top minor leaguers, they might've had some spare parts to deal and capitilize on people needing to fill holes on the trade market. As is, they've got some future equity tied up in Danny Hultzen, Mike Trout, and Sal Perez. Those are all great things to own, but if they had grabbed a few more $4 Seth Smiths instead I think they would've been better off. Particularly if an injury strikes, I could see them wishing they had a bit more depth instead of possible mid season studs.
If anyone has any thoughts on the auction, I would love to hear them!