MLB Real Talk: Auction/Draft Recaps

Did not think this dude would be sitting on all my rosters
Photo Credit: Ozmafan

You’ve pored over my “Tiers, Not Fears” series, fawned over my cheat sheet, and masturbated to episodes of Starbonell Station. At some point, you may have wondered, “does this handsome hooligan actually follow his own advice on draft/auction day?” It’s a fair question. To help answer it, I’ve gone over my rosters from the three mixed leagues I did this year. The three leagues are as follows:

Blog Wars: A 14-team auction league of writers that includes the likes of Scott Pianowski (Yahoo!), Grey Albright (Razzball), Rob Steingall (Minor Developments), Eno Sarris (Fangraphs), and Scott Swanay (Fantasy Sherpa). This league uses two catchers, five OFs, a CI, and an MI. It uses the classic 5×5 scoring format for roto. Oh, and it’s run by Sons of Roto. That’s right, we’ve got friends in high places.

Sons of Roto Reader League: A 16-team auction league that actually features a mix of dudes I’ve been drafting with for several years and readers of our site. Starting lineups have just one catcher, three OFs, and no MI or CI spots. Like Blog Wars, it follows a classic 5×5 format.

FSWA League: A 12-team snake draft league set up by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. It is one of four leagues the FSWA is running for writers this year and includes Keith Hernandez (KFFL), Michael Pichan (RotoExperts and Fantasy Nomad), and John Rakowski (Sports Grumblings). Lineup settings are identical to Blog Wars, but instead of a standard 5×5 format, this league counts OBP and SLG instead of BA and HRs.

So I went across these three leagues looking for trends and, naturally, the common theme was “I’m Going To Run Shit This Year.” The results after the jump:

Players I Own In All Three Mixed Leagues
Carlos Santana: Highest Bid ($31 in SoR League); Third Round Pick in FSWA League
Not a big surprise here. Not after I called Santana a worthy first round pick in December. Two of these leagues are two-catcher formats, which makes him even more valuable. I basically went into each draft knowing that I would not be outbid for Santana. The only reason he ended up being a third round pick of mine in the FSWA league was because I missed the first twenty minutes of the draft. Fortunately, I pre-ranked all my players and because I had Santana 14th overall and Dustin Pedroia (who I had ninth) was still available, Santana ended up falling to me in the third. The bottom line is: I’m expecting 30 HRs and 100 RBIs, which coming from a catcher, is pretty damn prolific.

Robinson Cano: Highest Bid ($43 in Blog Wars); First Round Pick in FSWA League
I auto-drafted Cano eighth overall in the FSWA league, which worked out because I would’ve taken him there anyway (thank you very much manually set pre-ranks). I really didn’t go into these leagues with my sights set solely on Cano at second base, but the price was right each time. He is the best hitter on arguably the best offense in baseball. Sure he won’t steal many bases, but we still haven’t seen the best of Robinson Cano. That’s a scary thought.

Chone Figgins: Highest Bid ($1 in SoR League); 24th Round Pick in FSWA League
I didn’t even need to spend a dollar in Blog Wars. I was able to pick that mu’fucka up for free as he went undrafted. I can’t say Figgins was a specific target of mine in any of these drafts, but the need for 3B or CI depth (coupled with the incredibly cheap price) was enough to force my hand. Worst-case scenario: I cut bait if he sucks and it didn’t really cost me anything. Best-case scenario? Figgins recaptures some of his former glory now that he’s back hitting leadoff and ends up being a pretty solid source of runs and steals.

Jordan Walden: Highest Bid ($19 in SoR League); 10th Round Pick in FSWA League
The high price tag in the SoR league came from the fact that closers were crazy expensive in that auction. He only cost me $12 in Blog Wars, which I thought was a steal. I’m obviously high on Walden, but for good reason. Dude throws gas and he really doesn’t have any threats to his job in LA. He’s been very undervalued thanks to some blown saves in 2011, but the ability is there for him to be a top three closer in fantasy.

Dustin McGowan: Highest Bid ($2 in Blog Wars); 26th Round Pick in FSWA League
I snagged him for a buck in the SoR league, just so you know. Of course, he may be out over a month with plantar fasciitis now, so he may very well end up being cut across the board. In fact, I know for sure that once some interesting player gets off to a hot start, the first guy getting the axe will be McGowan. I was encouraged by the extension Toronto threw his way and still think he can rack up Ks and post very good ratios when healthy, but this is a “what have you done for me lately” game and if you ain’t playing, you ain’t staying… on my roster (for those who needed clarification).

Players I Own in Two-Thirds of Mixed Leagues
Sergio Santos: Highest Bid ($16 in SoR League); Ninth Round Pick in FSWA League
He was purchased for $11 in Blog Wars, and had I not blown my wad on big-name stars early (I ended up with Jose Bautista, Matt Kemp, Robinson Cano, and Carlos Santana), I would’ve ponied up to get Santos. I really don’t understand why Santos doesn’t have more believers. He was getting swings and misses at an incredible rate last year and was one of the best closers in baseball. I don’t see that changing in 2012.

Ian Stewart: Highest Bid ($1 in SoR League)
I went all the way up to two bucks in Blog Wars to secure Stewart’s services in order to have some CI depth. In the FSWA League, I didn’t bother going after Stewart since I already had Alex Rodriguez at 3B and loaded up on 1Bs. Stewart isn’t someone I was jonesing for heading into any of these drafts, but the price was right. Look, the guy takes a lot of walks and Theo Epstein thought enough of him to bring him over to Chicago. Now under the tutelage of renowned hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, Stewart will have every opportunity to finally stick in the big leagues. Again, when someone with this upside comes so cheap, the benefit is that you don’t have to remain loyal on such a low investment. If he sucks, he’s gone. If he kills it, it’s just another feather in the pimped out championship cap of your boy Daddy Starbucks.

Jason Bay: Highest Bid ($4 in Blog Wars); 20th Round Pick in FSWA League
Bay ended up costing six dollars in the SoR league, which was too much for a three OF format. Shit, $4 may end up being too much in a five-OF league considering how awful a spring he had. There were even rumblings that he might end up being platooned at some point this season if he gets off to an abysmal start. I have no problem cutting Bay if he’s atrocious early in the FSWA league, but I may be forced to remain a bit more loyal in Blog Wars only because starting OFs are hard to come by in that bitch. I still think Bay has to have some baseball left in his body and the moved-in fences at Citi Field should help. Yet after two horrific years in New York, his leash is shorter than Midget Mac.

Eric Thames: Highest Bid ($2 in Blog Wars); 25th Round Pick in FSWA League
When the SoR auction was held, Thames was not a starter and ended up going unrostered, which isn’t that surprising for a league that only starts three OFs. However, now that he’s (rightly) bested Travis Snider for the LF gig, Thames is looking pretty damn good considering the cost. This is a player who’s boasted some diesel power numbers in the minors over the last couple of years. He could end up being a steal.

Matt Moore: Highest Bid ($17 in Blog Wars); Seventh Round Pick in FSWA League
He went for a cool $29 in the SoR league, which may seem like an overpay at first glance, but I think it’ll end up being a pretty fair price for Moore and all those Ks. Perhaps it’s the abdomen injury he suffered early in the camp or the fact that he’s a rookie. Whatever the reason, people just weren’t buying the hype on Matt Moore the way I expected them to. Me? Call me Adrian Peterson, because I’m buying stock “All Day.” The lowest K/9 he’s posted at any level is an 11.52 mark in AA last year. He’s not walking a lot of dudes either and is not expected to be on a serious innings limit (think: 200 IP). Inexperience at the major league level is the only criticism people can throw at Moore, but that isn’t enough to sway me. Dude is an SP1 in my opinion and someone who can challenge for the strikeout title right away.

Brandon League: Highest Bid ($17 in SoR League)
I also landed him for $10 in Blog Wars, but didn’t make a move for him in the FSWA league as I had already cemented my fleet of closers. “The League” may not have the flashy strikeouts people demand from their closers, but he’s reliable as fuck and has no serious threats to his job in Seattle. It’s amusing that some people steer away from him because he might get traded. No one can predict the future. The same rumors were swirling last year when he actually held more value as a player entering his final arbitration year. Now that he’s in a walk year, he becomes a less attractive commodity to big league clubs since whatever team gets him may only be getting a couple months of service. Plus, even if he were to get traded, there’s no guarantees that he’d be put in a set-up role. Perhaps a high-profile team in need of a closer for a playoff push (cough, Boston Red Sox, cough) trades for him and actually boosts his value. The bottom line is, no one knows if League will get traded or what the ramifications of a trade would be. I don’t know about you, but in the words of Omar Little, “Starbonell Don’t Scare.”

Players I Wished I Had More Stock In (I Only Own Them in One League)
Lucas Duda: $1 in SoR League
The one buck I paid for Duda in the SoR league was a steal and I actually thought the $6 he cost in Blog Wars was very, very reasonable. I truly believe a 25 HR/90 RBI campaign is happening, and it could be even better than that if he gets on a roll. The power is serious son. Duda Math: the numbers won’t lie.

Mark Trumbo: 19th Round Pick in FSWA League
He was nominated in Blog Wars and the SoR league when I either had no money or no need at first, but I like the value a lot. Look, there’s no way in hell the Angels will sit his big bat even if Kendrys Morales stays healthy. Whether it’s at 3B with the Angels or 1B/DH/OF with another team, Trumbo will play and play often this year. Believe that.

Dee Gordon: Eighth Round Pick in FSWA League
The poster boy of the SS edition of “Tiers, Not Fears” surprisingly didn’t land on either of my auction teams. Granted, I landed Troy Tulowitzki in the SoR league and simply didn’t have the money to compete for him in Blog Wars by the time Gordon hit the auction block. Still, I’m a big believer in Gordon’s ability to carry your team in steals. Judging by the plethora of pro-Gordon articles that have come out since “Tiers, Not Fears,” it seems like everyone is riding your boy’s coattails on this one. Smart choice fantasy writers, smart choice.

Brandon Beachy: $16 in SoR League
It’s not often that a player coming off a season in which he posted a double-digit K/9 is so undervalued, but for whatever reason, people just aren’t impressed with Beachy. I wasn’t in need of pitching in the FSWA league by the time Beachy came around and had holes in other areas I wanted to shore up; otherwise I would’ve been all over that shit. In Blog Wars, my money situation was tighter than a virgin’s cooch, so no luck there either. Sigh, guess I’ll just have to settle for his SP1 stats in just one league.

Francisco Liriano: $2 in SoR League
I’m an admitted Liriano loyalist (it’s a problem), but I have good reasons for not chasing him in Blog Wars and the FSWA league. He cost $6 in Blog Wars, which was a bit rich considering the risk and the fact that I had meager funds by the time he came around. In the FSWA league, I already drafted Zack Greinke, Matt Moore, and Gio Gonzalez, so as far as I was concerned, the only SPs I was targeting were end-game options. Still, a part of me wishes that I set aside a few more ducats in Blog Wars or took the plunge in the FSWA league.



About Starbonell

Starbonell is the co-founder of Sons of Roto and one of the most insightful and colorful fantasy analysts in the game. Mixing intelligent and well-researched advice with an entertaining style of writing that is easy to digest, Starbonell is the king of info-tainment.