Went to Arizona this weekend for the League of Alternative Baseball Reality auctions. I handled RotoWire's AL entry, while Erickson did the NL. Here's my team:
- I don't have a particular strategy going into these auctions, and I absolutely don't have dollar values next to each player. I simply do about five hours of research (using the RotoWire depth charts and clicking through on any player I'm not sure about), then build a by-position cheatsheet that I fit onto one page, and use as a cross-off list and to see what players are left at which positions as the auction progresses. That's it. I price enforce, sometimes get caught and make the best of it. I also like to shake things up and not merely nominate the best remaining player on the board - not sure why everyone seems to do that. It's not a draft - you can throw out whoever you like.
- I tossed out Reggie Sanders at $6 hoping to get some action, but heard crickets... He's probably worth about that, but I didn't mean to get him.
- Didn't mean to get four third basemen, but wanted to get power after spending $27 on Figgins, and that's where the value was: $15 for Blalock, Chavez and Iwamura. (Particularly like the first two who are healthy this year, and should hit close to 60 homers between them, no problem.
- I bought Bobby Jenks on impulse (while I was refilling my plate with shredded barbeque beef and pork from Honey's BBQ) for $18. Our latest note on him said his shoulder was feeling better (so I considered him healthy) and I had noticed his GB/FB ratio was almost 2.5 to go along with the Ks. Erickson, who was sitting behind me, said he was worried about the shoulder, and got me paranoid, so I resolved to get Mike MacDougal for $4 (something I probably would have done anyway). As a result, I had to let Nate Ravitz of ESPN outbid me for Brandon Wood at MI because I knew I had to have some extra $ to protect my Jenks investment. Which I did, and probably wisely. Settled for Hector Luna, who's not bad, instead. Luna will likely get only 250-300 at-bats or so, though.
- I took a $6 flier on Joel Pineiro because you win your league when you make massive profits on a couple players, and if Pineiro gets the closer job for half the season, he will be one of those players. (Saw the RotoWire note that the Sox saw him throw in mid-90s for short stretches, and decided he could close).
- Was thrilled to get Nate Robertson for $6. Decent Ks, ground balls, great park.
- Didn't mean to get Clemens, but couldn't let defending champ Jonah Keri (ESPN, NY Times) get him for $6. He later told me that he didn't want him either, but couldn't let me get him for $5. If Clemens pitches half a season, he'll be worth $10. If there's a 70 percent chance he goes to the AL, that makes him worth $7. Which is what I paid.
- I thought Johjima at $13 and Lopez at $10 were excellent bargains. Lopez has 1000 career at-bats and is just 23. At around 800-1000 at-bats, players often "get it" and have a breakout season. I was also lucky to get Shannon Stewart, who is slated to start in right field for Oakland, for $1.
- Morneau was a bargain at $28. Players like Lyle Overbay went for $24 once people realized how thin first base was in the AL.
- For the first time in my life in an auction, I didn't buy any $30 players. Once I had Hernandez $24, Figgins $27, Mauer $26 and Morneau $28 early, I realized I was not doing stars and scrubs, but instead trying to get as many at-bats as possible.
- In the reserve draft, I got a bunch of pitching prospects but needed to get more innings: (Clemens and five relievers means just three starters: Hernandez, Robertson and Pavano). I nabbed Sidney Ponson in Round 4 of the reserve draft (round 27 in an AL-only league if we had been drafting), hoping he'll recapture his 2002-03 form. Sometimes, miracles do happen, but I'll likely have to trade for/pick up some starters along the way. (Shawn Marcum could make the Blue Jays rotation, I think, as well).
- Overall, I'm happy with my team. If Clemens joins the AL by June, Pineiro closes, and I don't get significantly more than my fair share of injuries, I think I can win it.
- FInally, don't use these values as a barometer of anything except a 12-team AL only league. They are worthless for mixed leagues.