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Thread: 2011 - Anatomy of an Auction Draft (WARNING Ridiculously Long)

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    2011 - Anatomy of an Auction Draft (WARNING Ridiculously Long)

    In the wee hours of the morning of April 2nd, 2011, the silence of the darkened skies is broken by the chirping of the birds. These songs usher in more than the the morning sky. They usher in the most anticipated day of the year for the members of the WCRL. They usher in the time when plans become actions...when both boldness and patience are rewarded...when, for ten hours, twelve men control their collective destinies and begin anew their chase for fame and glory.

    (Forgive me for posting this a bit late, guys. Our draft was Saturday, but I've been a little busy since then and have just had the chance to fully organize my thoughts and recollections.)

    Going in, I am determined that this year will be my year. This marks my twelfth draft and, in recent seasons, my fortunes have taken a turn for the worst. My first six finishes (during which time I was very active on RotoJunkie) were 1st, 3rd, 2nd, 1st, 2nd, and 4th. My last five finishes (during which time I have been far less active on RJ) have been 5th, 3rd, 3rd, 10th and 8th. While my wife is happier that I have struck a more reasonable work/life/roto balance (and admittedly, I am too), my competitive nature cannot stomach these results.

    The plan all started to take shape last season. In the midst of considering potential deals could enable me to make a run, I had an offer to trade away Kemp ($46), R. Zimmerman ($39), Ad. LaRoche ($29) and Marmol ($13 - final), and receive two injured players, Tulo ($11) and CarGo ($10), plus Jonny Gomes ($2). Though it pained me to give up fairly early (June), I felt it gave me a much better opportunity to win in 2011, so I made the deal and watched the rest of the season on the sidelines. The person with whom I made the trade went on to win the league.

    With that as background, and per this thread, I went in with the following keepers (12 team, NL-only, 5x5, OBP, $280, Ultra):

    C: Hundley $2
    SS: Tulo $11 - Final
    2B: Weeks $16 - Playing out option
    OF: CarGo $20 - Extended through 2013
    OF: C.B. Young $14 - Final
    OF: J.Gomes $2

    P: Nolasco $15 - Final
    P: Gallardo $12 - Final
    P: Latos $10 - Extended through 2012
    P: Stauffer $5
    P: Narveson $3
    P: Gorzelanny $3

    (Minor League Exemptions - Dom. Brown, Y. Alonso and C. Nelson)

    That's twelve keepers for $113, leaving me $167 to acquire thirteen players. Two RJ members, umjewboy and the unnamed member, affectionately referred to as the hitman are also part of the league, and they too have good keeper lists. We have two new owners this year, one taking over a team coming off 1st and 2nd place finishes, so somewhat devoid of top keepers...and a second expansion owner keeping five players for $33. Additionally, we are drafting after the season has begun for the first time since I joined. Thus, inflation is expected to be higher than normal…but little do we know what is in store for us.

    The Opening Round – Houston, We Have a Problem!

    The commish opens by throwing Zach Lee. No one is ready to slot an unhyped prospect, so, for the first time in history, we open with crickets. Coming in, he protected Carpenter, Oswalt, Myers, D.Hudson, Kershaw and Chacin for a combined $78, so he really does not need starting pitching and can easily slot in a young potential trade chip here (following the auction, he posted Lee and Jameson Taillon, whom he purchased later for $3, on the trade block).

    umjewboy follows by throwing Jay Bruce. Since January, he and I have been discussing available players and possible prices, and both of us have played down our extreme interest in Bruce. We've talked about Bruce being a $25 player that might go into the low $30s during the bidding. Unfortunately for us, the entire league is extremely interested in Bruce, and bidding climbs and climbs until it reaches $40 (to the expansion team, known hereafter as The Enforcer), and we both back out. Seeing as how we both had Bruce in every draft scenario we prepared (without knowing each other had done this), this should have been a wake up call that nothing in this draft would proceed as planned.

    The next three throws all go to the owner who tossed them: Broxton for $25, Harang for $10, as his past two seasons and lackluster spring overrides the Petco factor, and Aramis Ramirez for $30, which is a relative bargain as we'll come to find out. Brandon Belt is thrown by The Enforcer and goes for $21, at which half the room is shocked and the other half is pleasantly giddy.

    Next toss, by the owner that normally controls the middle and end-game, is the one we've all been waiting for...Pujols! umjewboy and I have been discussing his value in an OBP league and how he singlehandedly changes the types of players you can draft. In recent seasons, few players have reached the $50 mark and none have reached $60 since 1995 (Bonds for $69, the highest paid player in league history). I assume that Pujols will go mid-$60s and have him budgeted for $55 in my "draft plan". Well, End-Game throws Pujols at $50 and, by the time the bidding gets to me (we go around the table as opposed to true auction style), I have to say $60 or drop out on him. Surprisingly $60 rolls off my tongue with relative ease…but even that is not enough. Finally, End-Game bids $66 and no one else is convinced to go any higher. Two of the next three throws, Kemp at $54, Hanley at $61 go about $10 higher than I projected and all of a sudden, everyone realizes we have crossed a new threshold in our league. These are prices that some other leagues experience regularly, but it has us unsure about how to adjust. It is so bad that I bid $49 on Matt Holiday, getting him at a slight appendectomy discount compared to the other hitting stars. Hitting inflation has reached 58% instead of the planned 45% and the studs are going at inflated prices in the 75% - 80% range. Bruce and Ar. Ramirez are looking like absolute bargains.

    Another interesting tidbit is that End-Game got caught price enforcing on Cliff Lee ($37) and has $16 remaining at 10:33 am with 11 players left to buy...a $5 max bid. That gives the entire league a good laugh, though he has acquired the best hitter and best pitcher available and will probably use them in dump deals as he rebuilds (he’s currently trying to trade Stanton, to acquire enough to compete this year).

    The Early & Middle Rounds – Shock and Awe!

    So the league is reeling and I am trying to think of a possible advantage. My original draft strategy was to grab either Pujols and Bruce, or Fielder and Kemp, for a combined $90, and build out from there. Well, that is no longer possible, so I need to figure out what to do next. I’m also being mindful of Judge Jude, ElD and Gravy Boy’s past advice about letting the draft come to me, going off plan as long as the values were significant enough, and not chasing players just because they fit my initial plan. Now that I have Holliday, I’d like to grab Allen Craig in the end-game, so I’d like to save an OF or UT slot. I’d also like to see if Carlos Pena will be undervalued, as a .340 OBP with 30+ HRs would fit nicely if I can get him at the right price.

    The commish throws another youngster, going with Anthony Rendan who goes for $2. This is followed by McCann ($39) and Ethier ($52), who go for 175% and 150% of their expected values, respectively…and owners are shaking their heads trying to figure out what is happening. It’s like being a boxer taking body blow after body blow while trying to protect your head…and you can’t seem to maneuver enough to avoid the shots. The bidding gets a bit more reasonable with pitchers coming out, as Grienke ($32), Marmol ($29), and Jimenez ($29) go closer to their expected prices. But G.Soto ($31), R. Howard ($49) and Prince ($63)?! keep the wildness going. I pass on another of my pre-draft targets, as Ty Wigginton, whom I value at $12 using 58% inflation, goes for $18. I also pass on a $33 Brandon Phillips whom I think should be $25 at the expected inflated value. I threw Melvin Mora in round 1 and he only went for $4, so I tried to sneak through Chris Heisey cheaply, but one other owner bid me up to $9 and I passed when he said $10. I wanted the Heisey/Gomes combination…but I’m trying to remain rational here.

    Now prices begin to come down, but there aren’t any bargains yet. The hitman buys Billy Hamilton at $7, even though he is playing for this year. That’s a head scratcher, but good for me considering his keeper roster. Carlos Lee goes for $33 to the enforcer, Utley goes for $22 to the commish, and umjewboy goes on a spending spree, buying Cain ($34), Berkman ($18) and Rollins ($38). I ride the Carlos Pena wave, and considering he’s the biggest power source left, I wind up paying $37, which is 69% above my projected value (YIKES!). I go off my board to buy a Jose Contreras lottery ticket at $8…then pay for steals (which I never do) to grab Carlos Gomez at $15 (slightly below his projected inflated value, but my biggest regret). Had I known Pena and Gomez would cost a combined $52, I probably would have bid higher to get Kemp…but I have to stay focused and not cry over spilled milk.

    Pitching is coming off the board too, which is good for me. My leaguemates know that I refuse to pay for pitching. I’ll bid into the $20s for the true aces, but prefer trying to swipe an undervalued pitcher or two in the $15 - $20 range. This season, I am targeting Marcum and J.J. Putz, but they go for $28 each. Hamels ($38), Bell ($33), Billingsley ($30), Wandy ($31), Sanchez ($26), Kuroda ($27) and Vazquez ($19) are also out of my range…and I pass on the injury returns of Cueto ($14) and Johan ($11) as I’m playing for this year and can’t take the risk. I kind of regret passing on aging sluggers Ibanez ($20) and Helton ($15) as they represent reasonable buys…and instead spend on Sean Burnett at $9 and Russell Branyan ($18). I like having two guys who are slated to get saves for a combined $17 (after the draft, both were somewhat formally given the closer roles to start the season). And, although there is risk, Branyan & C. Gomez (combined $33) project to have better stats than Ad. LaRoche ($31, and I don’t see a $2 player that could make up those steals). I now have $31 left to buy one MI, one CI, one C, two UT and 2 P…which leaves me a max bid of $25. Soriano is thrown and unfortunately the bidding goes to $22, as I would have liked him at $16…and am not willing to reduce my max bid that significantly, this early (6th round of bids, 2:20 pm). Cubbies starter Ryan Dempster goes for $19 as does his rotation mate Matt Garza, both of which look like nice values. Near the end of the round I buy Bill Hall ($14) to fill my MI slot, and hope that full time PT in Houston will result in solid stats. The final double digit buys…O-Dawg at $10, Brett Wallace at $17, Bartlett at $14, A.Gonz at $10 and Hawpe at $13 go soon thereafter, and I hope I made the right purchase here…especially since Polanco only goes for $7.

    The End Game & Reserve Round – Steals and Deals!

    This is where some cheap pitching bargains reside. Betancourt ($5), Westbrook ($3), Wolf ($2) and Pelfrey ($2) are all decent grabs. I bring back two players I threw back into the draft pool, Capuano at $5 and Clay Hensley at $4…but pass on Chris Young, whom umjewboy gets for $5. Two D-backs I targeted go outside my price range, Miranda at $8 and Brandon Allen at $6…but I snatch up Gerardo Parra at $2 based on this article that Judge Jude posted. I also take a shot on Kottaras at $1, which gives me three (eventually four) players noted in this blog post, and bring back a guy who always finds his way onto my team, Jeff Baker, for a buck. Unfortunately, my max bid is now $3 and I miss out on Allen Craig, whom I’d really like to have as my replacement for Holliday. I’m trying to decide what to buy at UT with my final $3 when umjewboy calls Ronny Cedeno whom I tossed back. It’s nice to add another everyday player to the lineup, so I say $2 and close out my auction. Of course, Jonathan Herrera goes with the next pick, and I wonder if I should have waited for his upside potential instead. *LOL*

    Here is how I spent $166 on thirteen players:

    OF: Matt Holliday $49
    1B: Carlos Pena $37
    P: Jose Contreras $8
    OF: Carlos Gomez $15
    P: Sean Burnett $9
    CI: Russell Branyan $19
    MI: Bill Hall $14
    C: George Kottaras $2
    P: Chris Capuano $5
    P: Clay Hensley $3
    UT: Gerardo Parra $2
    UT: Ronnie Cedeno $2
    3B: Jeff Baker $1


    In the reserve round, I immediately bring back Wade LeBlanc and Jose Flores, and also pick up Brooks Conrad, Cedric Hunter and Aaron Cunningham. I then select a few high upside minor leaguers, Matt Harvey, Tyler Skaggs, A.J. Cole, Kentrail Davis and Yorman Rodriguez. Finally, I go with Collin Balester, who should make his way back to the Nats soon, and Willie Harris, who is backing up the injury prone Mets OF. I’m thrilled that my very last reserve pick is already paying dividends and earning more PT.

    So there you have it. This was the absolute wildest auction in our league’s history. We left the room still a little stunned at the pricing and flow of the draft. We now wonder how we got here, as many of us believe this type of bidding/pricing is the new norm.

    I present to you, the 2011 Brooklyn BumStuds:

    C: Nick Hundley $2
    C: George Kottaras $2

    1B: Carlos Pena $37
    3B: Jeff Baker $1
    CI: Russell Branyan $19

    2B: Rickie Weeks $16
    SS: Troy Tulowiski $11
    MI: Bill Hall $14

    OF: Carlos Gonzalez $20
    OF: Chris B. Young $14
    OF: Jonny Gomes $2
    OF: Matt Holliday $49 – will be replaced by Willie Harris while recovering
    OF: Carlos Gomez $15

    UT: Gerardo Parra $2
    UT: Ronnie Cedeno $2

    P: Ricky Nolasco $15
    P: Yovani Gallardo $12
    P: Mat Latos $10
    P: Tim Stauffer $5
    P: Chris Narveson $3
    P: Tom Gorzelanny $3
    P: Jose Contreras $8
    P: Sean Burnett $9
    P: Chris Capuano $5
    P: Clay Hensley $3

    RES: Domonic Brown $5
    RES: Yonder Alonso $3
    RES: Chris Nelson $6
    RES: Wade LeBlanc $15
    RES: Brooks Conrad $10
    RES: Jesus Flores $10
    RES: Cedric Hunter $10
    RES: Aaron Cunningham $10
    RES: Matt Harvey $5
    RES: Tyler Skaggs $5
    RES: A.J. Cole $5
    RES: Kentrail Davis $5
    RES: Collin Balester $5
    RES: Yorman Rodriguez $2
    RES: Willie Harris $2

    I feel better about this team than I have following the past few years’ auctions. I don’t love it, and I have a lot of players I would not normally target (Branyan, Gomez, Hall), but the base is solid and some of the gambles (Holliday, Contreras, Burnett & Harris) are at least in position to pay off. Coming out of the auction, my offense projected first with 55 out of 60 points (7 in OBP and 12 in each of the other categories), and my pitching projects to 26 points, with upside potential in wins, saves and strikeouts. That’s enough to position me third in the preseason rankings (first projects to 85.5 points and second projects to 83.5 points)…and I have guys like Latos and D.Brown as valuable trade chips. I'll also scour the free agent wire to see if some MRs are deserving of FAAB bids, because there are always pitchers who emerge during the season.

    Thanks for letting me relive the draft experience on the board. I look forward to your comments about the errors I made, and what I might have considered doing, instead.

    Here is the 2010 Anatomy if anyone is interested.
    Last edited by ThatRogue; 04-06-2011 at 08:42 AM.
    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
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  2. #2
    All Star joncarlos's Avatar
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    This seems to be the trend that everyone is encountering in their auctions this year. More focus on stars and scrubs than ever before. Did you find that there were eventually some veterans who went significantly cheaper than you expected? Or did it never came down.

    In PONY, the inflation from closers never materialized and migrated over to hitting, so instead of something like 40/35/20 (offense/SP/Closer) it was more like 70/5/-5.

    In 12to, I expected something like 60/20/10 and we ended up more like 70/5/20.

  3. #3
    One thing I note is that with such a strong freeze list, I probably would have focused more on getting "boring" guys like Polanco, who went for $7. As in my auction, that was the one hitting group you could get within reason.

    I didn't like buying them - Polanco 12, McLouth 15, Fukudome 5, Hall 10, Loney 20 - because I need surprise breakthroughs, but they were way underpriced compared to everyone else so I couldn't resist....
    entering 37th yr in 12-team NL 5x5 - in 2021, after a year off
    won in 2017 15 07 05 04 02 93 90 84

    feeble 2021 37th-year Rotisserie keeper candidates
    SP - Scherzer 44-S1, Marquez 10-S1, CSmith 1-O, Cueto 1-S1, Samardzija 1-S1
    RP -
    INF - C Realmuto 13-O, 1O Belt 10-S1, 1O Cooper 10-S1, SS Crawford 9-S1
    OF - CDickerson 17-S1
    FARM - HRamos, Baty, Niedert, JOrtiz
    have first pick in mid-April farm draft

  4. #4
    All Star bryanbutler's Avatar
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    this extreme inflation for stars is exactly what happened in JWRL as well, though not so much for the pitching. and i adjusted extremely poorly. it'll be a rebuilding year for me, soon enough i suppose.
    "Instead of all of this energy and effort directed at the war to end drugs, how about a little attention to drugs which will end war?" Albert Hofmann

  5. #5
    Journeyman DJBeasties's Avatar
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    I don't know what is was about 2010 (year of the pitcher?) but every single auction I did was bonkers and out of control in certain places. Pitching was really devalued in one of my drafts, but every hitter for the most part saw his price hit astronomical values even in the face of a down year or slipping peripherals.

    I don't know that it will be the new norm until we see how this strategy plays out. By November, we'll be able to make pretty good guesses though.
    Find that level above your head and help you reach it.

  6. #6
    Journeyman Hammer's Avatar
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    I know in my keeper leagues I will be focusing more than ever to get some keepers snuck through in deals as the stud prices are through the roof.

    In my NL team I ended up grabbing a very unexciting bunch of Chris Couglin types because the numbers were just insane.
    After former Broncos quarterback Brian Griese sprained his ankle and said he was tripped on the stairs of his home by his golden retriever, Bella: “The dog stood up on his hind legs and gave him a push? You might want to get rid of that dog, or put him in the circus, one of the two.”

  7. #7
    Journeyman Hammer's Avatar
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    great writeup btw Darren. I am not crazy about the guys you bought as a whole but I certainly understand why you did and you had great keepers coming in so you should be fine.
    After former Broncos quarterback Brian Griese sprained his ankle and said he was tripped on the stairs of his home by his golden retriever, Bella: “The dog stood up on his hind legs and gave him a push? You might want to get rid of that dog, or put him in the circus, one of the two.”

  8. #8
    Thanks Pete, and trust me, I'm not crazy about them either. LOL

    Quote Originally Posted by joncarlos View Post
    This seems to be the trend that everyone is encountering in their auctions this year. More focus on stars and scrubs than ever before. Did you find that there were eventually some veterans who went significantly cheaper than you expected? Or did it never came down.

    In PONY, the inflation from closers never materialized and migrated over to hitting, so instead of something like 40/35/20 (offense/SP/Closer) it was more like 70/5/-5.

    In 12to, I expected something like 60/20/10 and we ended up more like 70/5/20.
    It was hard to identify the bargains. I think having two new owners with a lot of available budget ate into any profits that may have normally materialized in the middle rounds.

    Here is the link to a google doc with the league rosters. If you scroll down you can see the draft throws and bids by round (through round 15 when I stopped tracking dollar days). The second tab has the reserve round picks.
    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
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    "Society produces rogues, and education makes one rogue cleverer than another."
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  9. #9
    Welcome to the Big Leagues, Kid
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatRogue View Post
    Thanks Pete, and trust me, I'm not crazy about them either. LOL

    It was hard to identify the bargains. I think having two new owners with a lot of available budget ate into any profits that may have normally materialized in the middle rounds.

    Here is the link to a google doc with the league rosters. If you scroll down you can see the draft throws and bids by round (through round 15 when I stopped tracking dollar days). The second tab has the reserve round picks.
    Blargh, reading it again doesn't make me feel any better about not saying $41 on Jay Bruce. Now I will just have to trade for him

  10. #10
    ChiSoxFan
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    Great read as always -- thanks for posting.

    I thought that my main league's inflation on the top-end hitters had gone off the deep end, but your draft sounded insane. As has been pointed out in this thread, that seems to be going around these days.

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