Monday, March 18, 2013

Triple Crown National League Auction Results

posted by Scootron

This is the time of year for expert leagues, and the Triple Crown NL Auction is in the books.  I was happy to represent Advanced Fantasy Baseball in this NL-only 5x5 rotisserie auction redraft league.

In order to make a good showing, I knew I had to deal with two difficult sets of circumstances:  1) the other owners are industry experts, and I expected them to be disciplined and make very few mistakes; and 2) this was going to be my first NL-only auction. 

To even the playing field, I decided upon two strategies I have used successfully in other leagues.  The first was to select a core group of players I wanted on my team, even if I had to pay a little extra for them.  My belief was that the other owners would be fairly conservative, and not go beyond a players value range, even by a couple of dollars.  The second was to search for inefficiencies in the market...players I believe will be worth more than generally expected.  I hoped that savings from the second strategy would offset the extra money spent buying my core players.  Having a firm idea who I wanted before the auction made up somewhat for my lesser knowledge of the player pool.

Here's how I wound up:


10    Bryce Harper, Wsh OF      $28
47    Norichika Aoki, Mil OF      $16
54    Angel Pagan, SF OF      $16
56    M. Bumgarner, SF SP      $20
59    Juan Pierre, Mia OF      $12
63    Yadier Molina, StL C      $20
70    Yovani Gallardo, Mil SP      $19
71    Yonder Alonso, SD 1B      $14
83    Neil Walker, Pit 2B      $17
87    Aaron Hill, Ari 2B          $21
89    Mat Latos, Cin SP          $18
97    Josh Rutledge, Col SS      $16
153    L. Morrison, Mia OF      $12
159    Kyuji Fujikawa, ChC RP      $11
161    Sean Marshall, Cin RP      $2
172    Jordan Pacheco, Col 3B      $6
198    Travis d'Arnaud, NYM C      $5
236    Chris Heisey, Cin OF      $2
239    Bronson Arroyo, Cin SP      $1
251    Placido Polanco, Mia 3B      $1
263    Fernando Salas, StL RP      $1
274    J.J. Hoover, Cin RP      $1
284    Eric O'Flaherty, Atl RP      $1
292    Edward Mujica, StL RP      $1
299    A. Bastardo, Phi RP      $1
306    John Baker, SD C          $1
310    Tim Stauffer, SD SP      $1

The number to the left shows where the player was nominated (for example, Bryce Harper was the 10th nomination).  To the right are my winning bids.

Bryce Harper is one of the core players I intended to buy all along.  I expect growth this year, and I was happy to pay $28.  It wasn't until the 47th player that I purchased again.  In the meantime, way too many guys had gone for more than my conservative budget would allow (no more than $30 for a hitter, no more than $20 for a pitcher).  Eventually, Aoki joined the fold.  I didn't have him targeted in advance, but I classified him as a bargain at $16. 

Other players on my "must buy" list:  Angel Pagan, Yonder Alonso, Yadier Molina, Yovani Gallardo, Mat Latos, Neil Walker, and Kyuji Fukiwawa.  Of these, I was able to get some at discounts, such as Pagan at $16, Alonso at $14 and Neil Walker at $17.  I later added Bumgarner to my staff, with Bronson Arroyo a nice pickup at only $1. 

I knew I wouldn't be able to make it through the year on four starting pitchers, but the ones I got are high K/9 guys, and I filled in with high K relievers.  Of those relievers, Fujikawa should wind up closing soon, and a couple of others could be in good shape for vulture wins and/or a few saves.  Keep in mind that a large portion of the pitching value in a given year is not on a roster after the auction, so choosing the right free agents will be essential.

The middle infield came about a little oddly.  I had grabbed Neil Walker with some confident, aggressive bidding, and thought he was a good buy.  I was happy, because 2B is thin, and I thought I had one of the best.  Then someone nominated Aaron Hill, my choice for best of the 2B heap. I was sure he would go for $28 or $30.  So, for the heck of it, I waited until the bidding went $1, $2, $3, and then I jumped the bid to $21.  Crickets. I don't know whether everyone else thought $21 was to much for Hill, or if they were shocked just long enough to take no action.  I was happy to have an excellent 2B and an MI.  Things got even better with the shortstop position, when I picked up Josh Rutledge for only $16. So, with Hill, Walker and Rutledge, I would stack my middle infield up against just about anyone.

My spree of buying 11 players between #47 and #97 drained my budget and put me behind the eight ball a bit.  I was forced to battle for Logan Morrison, the last decent CI out there, and Jordan Pacheco for my 3B.  He cost me $5 precious dollars at a time when I had very little money left.  The word now is that Arenado may start at third in Colorado, but I believe Pacheco will get enough ABs at third, first and even catcher to justify his price.  He could even qualify as a Catcher, which could make him decent trade bait.

After Harper, Aoki  and Pagan, I set out to finish my outfield.  The outfield is pretty thin in the NL this year, with a lot of glove men manning the posts.  We start with only 90 or so who qualify, then we take 60 of them for the outfield position, another handful as DHs, and a few in other positions.  That probably strips at least 70 to 75, leaving only a little more than a dozen left.  And with our four-man bench, those few stragglers were certain to get roped.

So, I went first with Juan Pierre.  Seldom have I seen a guy for whom the posted values vary so greatly.  Some value him at $26 in an "only" league, while others say $4 to $5.  Here's what I know...he can still fly, he will get a chance to run, and his average should help your team.  For $12, he's a gamble worth taking in my book.

The rest of the draft was spent struggling through dollar days, trying to find a pearl here and there.  It was frustrating to be down to a dollar a player, a harsh reminder to save some money for the end game, even if it means letting someone go that you would like to have.

The next night, our first free agent period, I purchased Yorvit Torrealba to replace John Baker as my emergency catcher, and said goodby to Fernando Salas in return for Alex Castellanos.  I look at that LAD outfield, and figure Castellanos should get some ABs on sick days.

So, what does the team look like?  The post-draft projection app at ESPN picked my squad to finish a strong third, only four points out of first.  Of course, my projections for many of my players are more optimistic than CBS...which is why I got those particular players.

Here's my roster again, by position:

Advanced FB Crumpler

C Yadier Molina 20
C Travis d'Arnaud 5

1B Yonder Alonso 14
2B Neil Walker 17
3B Jordan Pacheco 6
SS Josh Rutledge 16

MI Aaron Hill 21
CI Logan Morrison 12

OF Bryce Harper 28
OF Norichika Aoki 16
OF Angel Pagan 16
OF Juan Pierre 12
OF Chris Heisey 2

UTL Placido Polanco 1

P Madison Bumgarner 20
P Yovani Gallardo 19
P Mat Latos 18
P Kyuji Fujikawa 11
P Sean Marshall 2
P Bronson Arroyo 1
P  Antonio Bastardo 1
P J.J. Hoover 1
P Eric O'Flaherty 1

BE Edward Mujica 1
BE John Baker 1  (now Yorvit Torrealba)
BE Tim Stauffer 1
BE Fernando Salas 1  ( now Alex Constellanos)

Here's what I figure these guys can generate if my projections hold true:

Runs:     825
HR:    180
RBI:    750
SB:    180   
Avg:     .279

Ws:    75
Sv:    24
Ks:    1050
ERA:    3.35
Whip: 1.18

We should do very well in Runs, SBs and Average, and pretty well in HR and SBs.  I do see a need for some more pop, though, and that will be a priority in trading.  I'll also scour the free agents each week looking for a serviceable pitcher.  I would settle for a guy I could only start at home, when the match-up is right.  A guy may go 4.90 ERA on the road, but have a cozy little 3.45 in his home part.

Well, that's about it, at least for now.  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to make yourself heard. And again, thanks to Jon and Advanced Fantasy Baseball for giving me the chance to play in this challenging and exciting league.

Check in for more updates on the Triple Crown NL League, and be sure to check AFB regularly for tips and information which will help you in your league.

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