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Thread: Anatomy of a Roto Auction: 2015 Edition (Warning: Very Long)

  1. #1

    Anatomy of a Roto Auction: 2015 Edition (Warning: Very Long)

    Well, well, well…it has been far too long since I perused the pages of this site, and it’s good to see familiar “faces”. I hope you’ll indulge my return to the Auction Anatomy ranks, started many years ago by Judge Jude, and continued by numerous members of the site. Due to the timing of the Easter holiday, a number of students’ spring break weeks, and a celebratory cruise planned by our league commissioner, we wound up having to draft on March 6th…which led to some interesting decisions at the auction table. But let me start at the beginning.

    After a second consecutive fifth place finish, my team is fairly well-positioned with valuable keepers. Due to previous hitting inflation that exceeded 40%, many pre-freeze moves are to acquire offense. I only made two moves, picking up Jimmy Nelson from the winter waiver list (salary of $8), and trading LaTroy Hawkins ($9) and Dan Haren ($10) for Hunter Pence ($33), to add even more stability to my offense. But Pence was injured two days before our auction, so I’ll be without his services for the first month, which is ironic since his consistency was how I justified trading for him at that keeper price. My goal is to accumulate steady counting stats, considering I project to have a fairly strong team.

    Our league is $280 NL-only, 5x5 (OBP), with 14 hitters, 10 pitchers and 1 Super-Utility that is either a hitter or pitcher. We play Ultra rules with 15 reserves, three of which may be Minor League players exempt from the $280 auction budget (MLE).

    My pre-auction roster is as follows:

    C: Michael McKenry, $2 – 2nd year
    CI: Josh Harrison, $4 – 2nd year
    MI: Wilmer Flores, $5 – 2nd year
    OF: Giancarlos Stanton, $20 – Final year
    OF: Carlos Gomez, $16 – Extended to 2017
    OF: Christian Yelich, $11 – Extended to 2017
    OF: Hunter Pence, $33 – Final year
    OF: Josh Bell, $2 – 2nd year (this was an accident…I thought I released him on the site, but did not complete the transaction and woke up with him on my post-freeze roster)

    P: Joaquin Benoit, $9 – 2nd year
    P: Jenrry Mejia, $6 – 2nd year
    P: Bobby Parnell, $8 – 2nd year
    P: Charlie Morton, $4 – Final Year
    P: Kyle Hendricks, $2 – 2nd year
    P: Jimmy Nelson, $8 – 1st year (players claimed off winter waivers count as current year draftees)

    MLE: Lucas Giolito ($2 when called up)
    MLE: Hunter Renfroe ($5 when called up)
    MLE: Raimel Tapia ($5 when called up)

    So I have 14 players for $130, and have $150 to buy 11 players ($13.64/player), which projects fairly well, compared to the rest of the league. One team is about as strong as mine, however, he has Kris Bryant and Joc Peterson as MLEs, so he’s in a slightly better position. Umjewman’s team is also very strong going into the draft, but has only $60 to buy ten players. Phineasandferb’s team won the league last season, and sold off nearly everything in the process. Thus, he is going into the auction with the intention of dumping.

    My plan fluctuates daily as we approach the draft. Do I focus on big stars early, then look for value in the middle? Do I buy steady but boring stat accumulators? Do I shift more budget to pitching, as I like my closer situation for $23 combined…but desperately need quality SPs? I’d like to secure Tulo at a discount and Scherzer at around $35, then take what the draft gives me…but who knows if Tulo will be cheap enough? During the week of pre-draft e-mail dialogue…and our annual dinner, there is this big debate about how expensive (or not) the pitching will be, started by the commissioner who has solid pitching keepers. There are also debates about the impact of relatively low inflation this year, and the cost of rookies/minor leaguers. The early draft date leads to a lot of unknowns regarding starting jobs and playing time, so I want to pay for (relative) certainty and not for upside.

    Bring on the Auction

    Going in, I’m still not sure which hitters I’ll target, as Tulo’s injury history may not cause him to be as discounted as I need him to be. However, I do decide that I won’t go ultra-cheap on pitching, like I normally do (in this league, I never spend more than $20 on a SP, and only once have I spent that much on an RP). But I’m committed to buying a few SPs at what I hope are reasonable prices (except Scherzer), and look for value in hitting.

    The first throw (from the commish) is Addison Russell, and I’m bidding against Phineasandferb (P&F) for him. I know several rebuilding teams covet him, and I feel if I can get him at a reasonable price, I can trade him for a more expensive player that can help me win now. However, P&F goes to $17, and I drop out (I wanted him around $14). Ah well, there won’t be any shortcuts to getting what I want. LOL

    The second throw (from umjewboy) is McCutchen, and the bidding is fast and furious (as you might expect). In our league, once you are out on a player (done by flipping your bid cup), you can’t get back in…which allows us to gauge who is left and square off, mano-a-mano. The latest BBHQ projections I ran valued McCutchen at $50 in our format, and with 32% hitting inflation (9% pitching…24% overall), that projects him as a $66 value. So even when the bidding hits the mid-$50s, I am still in, with only two other owners. I go to $57 (which I feel is my limit), and amazingly, both flip their cups. I now have a very powerful outfield, even with Pence missing the first month. Some of my more successful seasons have been built around strong OFs, two closers, and opportunistic pitching, so that’s what I am shooting for this season (but with more stable SPs). We’ll see how it goes. I have $93 remaining to buy ten players.

    The rest of round one proceeds as one might expect. Posey at $40, Kimbrel at $35, Upton at $46 and Tulo at $46 all go to rebuilding teams. Tim Hudson goes for $7 to the commish. Ryan Zimmerman goes for $39 to the Bryant/Peterson (BP) owner. Votto goes for $50, and then Scherzer comes up. I bid on him all the way up to $35, but back out after that and he sells for $39 to the rebuilding team that bought Kimbrel (I start envisioning trading for the combination). The round ends with Braun going for $45 and Yasmani Tomas going for $26 to the commish, who is supposed to be competing (that’s a pricey speculation for a team with title aspirations). In round one, 12 players sold for $447, an average of $37 per player.

    The prices moderate a bit in round two, with Mesorasco at $28, MadBum at $33, Trumbo at $30 and Will Myers at $25. Then, Strasburg’s name is thrown, and I decide to get the closest Scherzer comp, bidding all the way to $35 to secure him. I feel I have a true 4-category ace pitcher, and can be opportunistic from here on out. Cueto goes for $32, and I feel that’s a comparable pitcher, but on a worse team in a stronger offensive division and in a worse home ballpark. However, when John Lester sells for $29 and James Shields sells for $24 (to BP), I feel like I probably could have waited…even though I like the strength of my squad. Another of my favorite players, CarGo sells for $40, to the owner who bought Votto at $50 and Trumbo at $30, and I’m stunned at how risky a roster he is building. Round two sees $358 spent on 12 players, or $30 per player….and I have $58 for my remaining nine players.

    At the start of round three, the rebuilding teams continue paying big for players, with Heyward at $35 and Holliday at $34 (Y.Molina goes to a rebuilder for a more reasonable $20). Another potential contender pays big for players coming off of disappointing years, buying David Wright for $29 and Jay Bruce for $35. I bid up to $20 for Gio Gonzalez, but could not pull the trigger at $22, so BP got him. I have a need for MI, and after Utley went for $16, the commish buys Howie Kendrick for $19. Almost immediately, I regret not going to $20…but there are still decent players remaining. Round three totals $271, or $23 per player.

    Round four starts with two more players I like exceeding my values, Neil Walker at $26 and Brandon Belt at $27. P&F buys Grandal for $15, and then it’s my throw. I decide to nominate a pitcher I want, to see how the pricing looks, and wind up getting Brandon McCarthy for what I feel is a very reasonable $10. I like him as a third starter, but I still need a number two, to compliment Stras. And here I make my biggest mistake. The next throw is Latos, and the McCarthy bidding makes me think I can get him for $15 or so. But BP is targeting the same pitchers I am, and I can’t let him get another one of these guys, can I? We exchange a few bids and when I say $19, he finally drops out. I hate that I bought Latos to keep him away from the competition, because I don’t know how he’ll perform coming off the injuries. If the velocity does not come back, he’s not really a #2 starter for me, so now I’ve spent money on a player with greater than normal risk, which is something I wanted to avoid doing. I’d much rather have gone the extra buck on Lester or Gio, which at worse would have made BP spend an extra $2 on each of them…and may have landed me one. Instead, I’ve spent the extra $4, and will need to value shop, as I’m down to $29 for my final seven players.

    In round five (at least three-to-four hours in), unjewman makes his first purchase, Curtis Granderson (who he notes is the best hitter on the board, but also happens to be one of his personal favorites) at $25, and follows that up by spending $22 on Starlin Castro. He now needs eight players for $13. I buy Brandon Crawford for $11 (I just want as many everyday hitters as possible, now), so I need six players for $18. My team is leading the Rotolab projected standings, so I feel I’m doing a decent job. But I need two CI, one MI, one C, one UT and one pitcher…and the decent hitters are dwindling.

    In round six I grab Zack Cosart for $4, and another owner jokes that I just lost two points in OBP…the first buy that negatively impacted my team, per his Rotolab projections. In round seven I grab Mike Olt at $4 (remember, this is early March…BEFORE Kris Bryant does his Barry Bonds imitation) and Nick Hundley at $3 (I like Hundley/McKenry at $5 combined since the Rox seem tired of Rosario’s defense/passed balls, if he’s not hitting 20+ HRs). I now need three players…one CI, one UT and one pitcher for $7.

    I close out my draft with a few lottery tickets: Adam Ottavino at $2 (he should get some of those Rox saves), Ethier at $2 (either the Dodgers or some other team have to give him 350+ Abs…and he can’t have declined that much, that fast, at a relatively young age), and Duvall at $1 (if Belt is not fully recovered from those concussion symptoms, or shift to the OF to cover injuries, he could wander into reasonable PT at 1B). Additionally, this gives me room to upgrade positions via trades.

    In the reserve draft, I wind up with Bryan Morris, Jeff Baker, Jose Tabata, Tyler Colvin, Carlos Villanueva, Erik Bedard, Luis Jimenez, & Matt Clark…plus four minor league rookies in Rossell Herrera, Ben Paulsen, Erick Fedde & Phillip Ervin. At day's end, my post-auction roster looked like this:


    C: McKenry, $2; Hundley, $3
    CI: Harrison, $4; Duvall, $1; Olt, $4
    MI: Flores, $5; Crawford, $11; Cozart, $4
    OF: Stanton, $20; Gomez, $16; Yelich, $11; Pence, $33; McCutchen $57
    UT: Ethier, $2; Josh Bell, $2 (Bell will be replaced by a reserve hitter or pitcher)

    SP: Morton, $4; Hendricks, $2; Nelson, $8; Strasburg, $35; Latos, $19; McCarthy, $10
    RP: Benoit, $9; Mejia, $6; Parnell, $8; Ottavino, $2

    Reserve Hitters: Baker, Tabata, Duvall, Colvin & Luis Jimenez
    Reserve Pitchers: Morris, Villanueva & Bedard
    Minors: Giolito, Renfroe, Tapia, Herrera, Paulsen, Fedde, Ervin

    I felt decent about the team’s chances (projected second to BP’s team per Rotolab), when, as expected, P&F reached out to the three contenders that had players he most wanted for 2016. Despite my opposition to early season dumping, the league does not really care about it anymore…so I decided to wade in with a counteroffer. When the smoke cleared, the following deals were made:

    I received Ian Desmond, $42; Justin Upton, $46; Wilin Rosario, $14, and Jason Hammel, $6 (one of my pitching targets) from P&F in exchange for C.Gomez, $16; Cozart, $4; Villanueva, $2 & Ervin, $5.

    The commish received Holiday, $34; Posey, $40; Grandal, $15; AJ Burnett, $7; and Peavy, $11, from P&F in exchange for Bryce Harper, $22; Andrew Susac, $4; Manny Banuelos, $5; and Jared Hughes, $7

    BP received Jason Heyward, $35; Max Scherzer, $39 & Addison Reed, $24, in exchange for Starling Marte, $13; Brandon Nimmo, $7 & Marco Gonzalez, $2

    P&F received Trevor Story, $2 in exchange for Zack Cosart, $4, from the guy who made fun of my OBP decline from drafting him.

    Umjewman received Daniel Murphy, $21 & Bartolo Colon, $3 from the commish in exchange for Jhonny Peralta, $14

    Thus, entering the season, my team is as follows:

    C: McKenry, $2; Hundley, $3
    CI: Harrison, $4; Duvall, $1; Olt, $4
    MI: Flores, $5; Crawford, $11; Desmond, $42
    OF: Stanton, $20 ; J.Upton, $46; Yelich, $11; McCutchen $57; Ethier, $2
    UT: Rosario $14 (will replace Duvall at CI when he plays one game at 1B)

    SP: Morton, $4; Hendricks, $2; Nelson, $8; Strasburg, $35; Latos, $19; McCarthy, $10; Jason Hammel, $6
    RP: Benoit, $9; Mejia, $6; Parnell, $8; Ottavino, $2

    Reserve Hitters: Pence, Baker, Tabata, Colvin, Luis Jimenez & Duvall
    Reserve Pitchers: Bryan Morris, & E.Bedard
    Minors: Giolito, Renfroe, Tapia, Herrera, Paulsen, Fedde, Bell

    Note that our league uses an in-season cap of $290 + $10 per week of the season, so in week one, the cap is $300, in week two, it's $310, etc… Unfortunately, I’ll have to finagle how to squeeze under the cap for the first month or so. And eventually, I’d like to upgrade at least one SP, get an upgrade for the Parnell/Mejia closing duo, and upgrade from Olt at CI (though I hope Bryant winds up in the OF instead of 3B).

    So, that’s where I am to start the 2015 season. It’s going to be a long, interesting race, but I feel I’ve given myself a reasonable shot to compete. Thanks for indulging my need to share, and for keeping this great community running…enabling some of us to continue to stop by from time-to-time.
    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
    ― Upton Sinclair

    "Society produces rogues, and education makes one rogue cleverer than another."
    ― Oscar Wilde

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  2. #2
    Welcome to the Big Leagues, Kid Sharky's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting! Always enjoy these write ups.

    I think your post-auction trade was huge. I love Gomez, but you got the best return.

    Good luck!!!

  3. #3
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    I was looking for you about a week or two ago. Glad you dropped in.

    As always I enjoyed the read. Nice team. You should have a fun year with it.

  4. #4
    MVP Erik's Avatar
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    Great stuff. I haven't played NL-only in forever and I've never played in a league as deep as that, so I can't say much about your chances, but I love the narrative.

  5. #5
    The 3-Rockie catcher thing is fun, and you are in position to move another bargain at midseason for a nice upgrade if you need it - anywhere.

    I was thinking how mind-blowing all the post-auction deals are - til I remembered that we can make deals MID-AUCTION (as I did last year).

    The cup thing is interesting, too. We tend not to have rule that makes anything easier for anybody at any time.



    #bloodbath
    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

  6. #6
    Sharky's right - the post-auction deal was huge for you. That has to be a contending team now in a league that deep.

    I agree that I'd have been very Latos intolerant at $19.
    I'm just here for the baseball.

  7. #7
    Welcome to the Big Leagues, Kid Sharky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chancellor View Post
    Sharky's right - the post-auction deal was huge for you. That has to be a contending team now in a league that deep.

    I agree that I'd have been very Latos intolerant at $19.
    That was well done, chancellor! Latos Intolerant would be a great team name.

  8. #8
    yeah, No. 2 for the year so far behind "he finished last" and its lethal closer

    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

  9. #9
    Welcome to the Big Leagues, Kid
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    Granderson totally was the best hitter on the board!!!! I swear!

  10. #10
    Thanks to all for the positive feedback. And I still can't believe our league is doing dump deals this early. I always thought the game was better when most teams tried to compete. So many times (in previous seasons), things didn't work out as they were projected...and a team that looked second tier on paper, wound up with a shot to win it all. In the current environment, that is far less likely to happen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Judge Jude View Post
    The 3-Rockie catcher thing is fun, and you are in position to move another bargain at midseason for a nice upgrade if you need it - anywhere.

    I was thinking how mind-blowing all the post-auction deals are - til I remembered that we can make deals MID-AUCTION (as I did last year).

    The cup thing is interesting, too. We tend not to have rule that makes anything easier for anybody at any time.



    #bloodbath
    There is a small faction that wants to get rid of the cups to speed up the auction. But most of us enjoy the flow we have now, and I don't foresee a change happening.

    Regarding mid-auction deals, I imagine the uproar, hilarity, and ridiculing that would take place if we allowed them to happen.

    Quote Originally Posted by chancellor View Post
    Sharky's right - the post-auction deal was huge for you. That has to be a contending team now in a league that deep.

    I agree that I'd have been very Latos intolerant at $19.
    LOL! That's the funniest baseball/roto comment I've heard in a long time. It would be an awesome team name, if we weren't so tied to tradition in our league.
    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
    ― Upton Sinclair

    "Society produces rogues, and education makes one rogue cleverer than another."
    ― Oscar Wilde

    2020 Auction Anatomy
    2020 Pre-Auction
    2015 Auction Anatomy
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    RotoJunkie Posts: 4,314
    RotoJunkie Join Date: Jun 2001
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