NL LABR – Upon Further Review

When we first completed the NL LABR auction Sunday night, I was pleased with my team. Though I didn’t quite meet my target of spending $190 of my $260 budget on hitting (instead my split was $179/81), I thought that I pieced together a strong offense, hitting most of my intended slots with players that fit in well for each. By intended slots, as an example, I mean that I roughly had a $30 slot that I filled with a $29 Cody Bellinger, who was worth $33 according to my projections and valuation in the RotoWire software. Throughout the top end of my roster, I found other similar perceived bargains. I was even pretty happy with my purchases made in the mid-game. However, I think that not sticking to the original budget plan is going to ultimately hurt me, as my endgame players are fairly weak.

Before I go into detail about the players I purchased, and the circumstances under which we drafted, here’s a link to the results.

If you were following the draft live, there were a lot of unfamiliar names listed – that’s because there were so many players that were still free agents (and in many cases, still are), that the software didn’t have entries for them. Those appear to all have been corrected now by RT Sports, our host site.

I’m not very good at expressing my emotions, at least publicly, whether it’s love or grief. It’s the Swede in me, and I get it from my dad. My friend and colleague Steve Moyer passed away last week, we believe on Thursday night in his hotel room in Phoenix (initially we were told it was in LA, but now that’s been corrected). I’ve known him for 20 years, ever since Peter Schoenke and I participated in the 1998 LABR drafts in Orlando. He was among the first to welcome us into the fold of the greater fantasy community. I won’t write too big of a tribute here, but make sure to read the above link from Lawr Michaels, or this from Peter Kreutzer. But here’s a few things about Steve:

  • Steve didn’t mince words. He said what was on his mind, even if it wouldn’t always be in his best interest. You always knew exactly where you stood with him. He also didn’t waste time wondering “what if.” If something was within his means to do, he did it. Both of those traits are admirable and should be emulated more often.
  • Steve was a stickler for getting player names spelled and pronounced correctly, something I thought about when Yoshihisa Hirano’s name came up in the auction, and auctioneer Tristan Cockcroft (who was awesome in that capacity) discussed how to pronounce it.
  • Steve used to write for RotoWire, and for RotoNews (well, actually RotoNews Direct, but we’re trying to forget that name ever existed) before that. His Baseball Outsider column was amazing. Unfortunately, after Broadband Sports broke up in 2001 and we forged back on our own as RotoWire, times were really tight, and we couldn’t afford to give him full-time work. As a result, he went on to start up Baseball Info Solutions. I wish he could have kept writing for us all these years.
  • I wish I would have said all these things to him more often, when he was alive. It’s cliche’ but true – don’t ever wait.

Thanks for indulging me. Here’s more about the players I bought.

(C): Yadier Molina (13), Jorge Alfaro (7): This was mostly an agnostic draft. Of course I like certain players more than others and more than the pack, but I really was just trying to seek value everywhere I could. With catchers, it was important to me to get playing time everywhere – I didn’t want to end up with two $1 catchers in an only league. Molina has the added bonus of helping with batting average – though Alfaro could easily undo Molina’s contributions there. I’m wondering, however, if I might have been better off with two cheaper catchers to afford better outfielders. I just think that there’s a better chance I could replace dead weight in the outfield more readily.

(1B/3B/CR/UT): Eric Hosmer (23), Justin Turner (23), Ryan Zimmerman (17), Martin Prado (3): I’m overloaded at the corner spots, including Cody Bellinger in the outfield. But that’s where I thought good value existed. Turner and Zimmerman were more purposeful targets than Hosmer – I happened to like the price and was there when the wheel of fortune stopped. My bidding philosophy in auctions is to be in on nearly every player. It gets the auction moving quicker, keeps me engaged, and allows me to land the occasional bargain when bidding stops earlier than it should. I think that’s what happened with Zimmerman, but it’s also possible I’m buying in more than the industry is.

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(2B/SS/MI): Starlin Castro (11), Freddy Galvis (7), Cesar Hernandez (13): All three of these were purchased after the break, and I wanted to make sure in the case of Galvis and Hernandez that I found some players with a semblance of speed. In retrospect, I wished would have bought Trevor Story for $22 (if Dalton would have stopped) rather than Hosmer at 23.

(OF): Cody Bellinger (29), Tommy Pham (27), Keon Broxton (4), Brandon Nimmo (1), Franchy Cordero (1): Instead of spending on another starter, I wish I would have one more $10 outfielder. I might be a little light in counting stats unless one of Broxton, Nimmo or Cordero pops early.

(SP): Robbie Ray (23), Rich Hill (17), Kenta Maeda (11), Trevor Williams (2), A.J. Cole (1), Amir Garrett (1): I really wanted two $15 starters and one $10 starter, but the starting pitcher market was really inflated, and yet I liked the prices on Ray, Hill and Maeda so I jumped. Once I had Ray & Hill, I should have let Maeda go for $10 so I could get that other bat. Garrett and Cole are gambles, but I’m encouraged by their respective starts this spring.

(RP): Archie Bradley (12), Hector Neris (13), Steve Cishek (1): I listed them here in order I got them, because I jumped Neris in the bidding from $5 to $13 – it seems as if I could have gotten him for less after talking to others in the room.

(Reserves): Luis Urias, Brandon Finnegan, Sandy Alcantara, Brett Phillips, Kolby Allard, Brett Phillips.