Let’s talk about my recent high-stakes Fantasy Baseball auctions. The heavy lifting in baseball prep is over. Now the challenge for every Fantasy owner is staying healthy and making good lineup and pickup decisions each week during the season. Baseball is a such a grind and players will play well at different times of the year.
After spending ten days or so in Vegas competing in the high stakes events, where I had the chance to draft multiple teams plus complete in three different auctions, here are three big mistakes I made and some insight on players values in the high-stakes market:
My first mistake came in the $5,000 mixed auction where I tried to implement my plan of buying four stud bats plus four foundation starting pitchers. After buying Trea Turner ($44), Carlos Correa ($35), Kris Bryant ($37), and Cody Bellinger ($33), I wasn’t in a position to add any other expensive bats. When Billy Hamilton was called out, I knew a friend of mine tends to end up with him, and his team structure required him to own him. He bid $17 with another owner placing an $18 overbid. I tried to get in the way at $19 as I felt 50+ steals were being undervalued by this league. Well, no other owner went higher leaving me with a nice player and a crimped budget.
I don’t mind owning Hamilton due to his impact in stolen bases. It just left me short money to build my pitching staff and finish my offense. I knew I would be ok with two $1 catchers (Alex Avila and Manny Pina) plus a $1 second baseman (Neil Walker). My biggest concern was my outfield and my pitching staff.
I invested in four second-tier arms – James Paxton ($22), Luke Weaver ($17), Jose Berrios ($16), and Jon Lester ($15), which left me $22 to fill my last 14 roster spots (includes the three $1 players I mentioned earlier).
Here’s the rest of my offensive players:
- Todd Frazier ($4)
- Albert Pujols ($1)
- Jorge Soler ($4)
- Hunter Renfroe ($1)
- Willie Calhoun ($1)
- Leonys Martin ($1)
This group may not look like much on paper, but four of these options may bat fourth or fifth in the lineup for a good portion of the year. Martin is expected to bat leadoff and chip in with more speed. I covered Willie Calhoun with Hunter Pence in the reserve round. With questions about the early playing time of Hunter Renfroe, I took a flier on Jason Heyward. I stashed Francisco Mejia as well.
I filled out the pitching staff with Archie Bradley ($3), Josh Hader ($1), Tyson Ross ($1), Daniel Mengden ($1), and Keone Kela ($1) while adding Chad Kuhl, C.J. Edwards, and Joe Jimenez in the reserve round.
My goal was to fade saves, but I took some fliers on upside arms while understanding I’ll need to add more depth in starting pitching via the free agent market. I made the mistake of calling out Tyler Glasnow for $1. I’m sure he flew under the radar in this event, but his name being called out helped another owner find him deep on his cheat sheet. If I waited for three more rounds, I’m sure I would have owned him.
The problem with the end game was my short budget plus multiple owners held money late.
Two days later, I had a $10,000 auction with six to seven owners that were in the first auction. I went with the same plan except I didn’t take the bait with Billy Hamilton ($16).
In this auction, I purchased the same for big bats – Trea Turner ($43), Carlos Correa ($36), Kris Bryant ($35), and Cody Bellinger ($32).
Someone in this auction tried to sneak Todd Frazier through for $2. I picked him up for $4 based on me believing a would be broke again late in the auction.
In this auction, I knew the mid-tier starters would go for a premium. I wanted four solid arms, and I was willing to pay $80 based on my position in money. I fought for Luke Weaver ($20, David Price ($20), Alex Wood ($18), and Jon Lester ($17). This group went for a combined $60 in the first auction, so I paid $15 over par.
I proceeded to sit for three hours without buying another bat. Once I moved into a better position in money, I added these arms – Julio Teheran ($5), Cole Hamels ($3), Joe Musgrove ($2), Tyler Mahle ($1), and Tyler Glasnow ($1). I picked just two pitchers in the reserve round (Tyson Ross and C.J. Edwards).
I like the backend of this pitching staff better than the first auction, but I have no chance of earning points in saves. The plan going into the auction was to punt saves.
In this auction, I invested four combined dollars in Matt Wieters, Alex Avila, and Starlin Castro. The backend of my roster finished with these players – Maikel Franco ($6), Matt Kemp ($4), Jorge Soler $3), Leonys Martin ($2), Eric Thames ($1), and David Dahl ($1). Jason Heyward was my bench cover for Dahl while adding Hunter Renfroe, Alex Gordon, Adalberto Mondesi, and Francisco Mejia in the reserve round.
Both auction teams would be in the hunt if my core players delivered their expected value. I like the second team more due to the better execution in the end game.
My second mistake came in a 15-team draft in the main event last Saturday.
After five rounds, I drafted Trea Turner, Anthony Rizzo, Luis Severino, Edwin Encarnacion, and James Paxton. I knew I wanted to get a closer on the 6/7 turn and my target other position was second base. When Buster Posey slipped to me in the sixth round, I couldn’t pass him up. I quickly snapped up Edwin Diaz in the seventh.
My target to play at 2B was Roughed Odor, but I gave him up for Posey. In the eighth round, I saw each owner pass on him setting up a high-value pick for me especially when I wanted him on the previous turn.
I looked at Team 1 who didn’t have a first baseman. This owner drafted Ozzie Albies earlier than expected to play at second base and he filled the shortstop position with Alex Bregman. I thought Ian Desmond was a better fit for him, so I tried to finesse Odor on the turn. It ended up being a mistake. With my SCOUTscore rating, Odor was a much better impact player. Team 1 selected Greg Bird for his first baseman, which ended up being his mistake.
In the end, the mistake shouldn’t kill me. I picked Daniel Murphy well below his ADP in the 11th round. He’ll add more stability to my batting average, and I should be able to cover him until he returns. In hindsight, I need to take the most valuable player that fits my team first.
In my last draft in the high-stakes market, I started from draft position nine. I intentionally moved there as I wanted to start a team with Carlos Correa. I knew the second-round options wouldn’t be great for me in starting pitching.
For some reason, Paul Goldschmidt has become unfashionable in 2018. As I sat there, I watched five owners pass on him in the second round. If Team 10 passes on him, I get a great gift in the second round. Well, somehow Dee Gordon became more valuable than Goldschmidt in this draft. I caught a huge break with a Correa/Goldschmidt start plus my target pitcher made it to me in the third round (Yu Darvish).
Anyways, back to my mistake. After rostering Carlos Correa, Paul Goldschmidt, Yu Darvish, Starlin Marte, Buster Posey, Luke Weaver, Roughed Odor, Trevor Bauer, and Kyle Schwarber after nine rounds, I knew I needed to add a closer. I should have taken Jeurys Familia in the 10th, which was a value pick at the time. Instead, I bought my fourth starter (Kenta Maeda). This mistake left me chasing saves, which I was unwilling to do at a premium.
In the end, the last draft has a nice core of bats, and the front of the rotation has a chance to compete behind some of the elite staffs. I just need to get out in saves, which will be a fierce battle in a non-trading league. The draft broke great for me, but one wrong decision may end up costing a chance to the overall title.
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