Yesterday, I took a look at some of the best end game values in the LABR NL-only experts auction draft last Sunday night. Today, I take a look at the best end game values in the LABR AL-only experts auction that took place last Saturday night.
As a refesher, in auction leagues, the late round picks are the "end game" picks. These are the guys you draft when you are "dollared out". The end game picks are the guys coming off injury, or a sub-par year, or a busted prospect, a backup infielder or outfielder, or a 4th or 5th starter, so they come cheap.
With that all laid out, let's take a look at the top end game values from the LABR AL-only experts auction:
Greg Ambrosius/Shawn Childs, NFBC
Carter Capps ($1) - with the continued volatility in the closer role, it pays to grab the set up man behind a young closer, and that is what Ambrosius and Childs did here with the Capps pick. Carter is a strikeout artist pitching from the left side, and he could fill in should Tom Wilhelmsen struggle handling the closer duties in Seattle.
Mike Zunino ($2) - Zunino absolutely tore up minor league pitching last season, his first in the minors, and is on the fast track to Seattle. I could see a mid-season call up for Zunino, and see him offering close to double digit HR totals with a .260ish batting average.
Tristan Cockroft, ESPN
Aaron Hicks ($4) - Cockroft went to $4 on Hicks, so he wasn't quite the end game dollar value pick, but he still represents value. Hicks has a decent chance of heading north with the big league squad out of spring training and opening the season as the Twins starting center fielder. Hicks owns solid plate discipline and has some pop and speed, as he stole 32 bases in AA last season.
Nick Minnix, KFFL
Lucas Harrell ($1) - Harrell probably won't be drafted in many mixed leagues this season, but could prove to be a solid waiver wire pickup, as he should benefit from pitching in three pitchers parks in the AL West in 2013. He doesn't strike out many batters (6.51 K/9), and could stand to walk less batters (3.62 BB/9), but he owns an elite level ground ball rate 57.2%, so if he could take a step forward in 2013 in his peripheral stats, he could prove to be a nice end game pick here for Nick.
Steve Gardner, USA Today
Andy Pettitte ($5) - Pettitte put up his best strikeout rate since 2004 (8.24 K/9) and his best ground ball rate ever (56%) in his 12 starts last season at the age of 40, but the question will be how many starts will he make and how many innings will be be able to throw?
Nolan Reimold ($5) - Reimold is getting lots of sleeper love this offseason here at Fake Teams, as many are wondering what he can do in a full time role. But, like Pettitte, the question is whether he can stay healthy. He is already dealing with a bad back, but did homer yesterday.
Ray Flowers, Baseball Guys
Chris Archer ($4) - Ray took Archer to the $4 mark with his winning bid, and I think it is a fair price for Archer who could regained his prospect status with a solid 2012 season. He made a few starts for Tampa late in the season, highlighted by a 7 inning gem vs Texas on September 8th, where he gave up 2 runs, 6 base runners and struck out 11. He is still a bit of a work in progress as he owns two plus pitches and is working on the third, but he could jump into the 5th starter role early in 2013.
Dave Adler, Baseball HQ
Eduardo Nunez ($2) - has this draft been held this coming weekend, rather than last weekend, it is a virtual certainty that Nunez would have gone for double digits in the auction with the Mark Teixeira injury news. Nunez possesses a solid eye at the plate, as he doesn't strike out or walk much, but is good for a solid batting average and 30 steal potential.
Eno Sarris, FanGraphs
Colby Lewis ($2) - Lewis had elbow surgery last July, and probably won't help Eno's team till June, but is a solid value at $2, as he can help in the wins, strikeout, WHIP and ERA categories in 2013.
Larry Schecter, Winning Fantasy Baseball
Justin Masterson ($2) - Schecter is counting on Masterson returning to the pitcher he was in 2011, where he won 12 games with a 3.21 ERA. Last year, Masterson struggled with a 4.93 ERA, yet his FIP was in the low 4's, mainly due to his elite 56% ground ball rate. With an improved defense behind him in 2013, Masterson could put up an ERA in the high 3's and double digit win totals. Pretty solid for $2.
Chris Liss, Rotowire
Phil Hughes ($4) - in any other home park, Hughes would probably put up a better ERA, as Hughes is prone to the fly ball. He gave up 35 home runs last season, and if he can reduce that total by 1 or 2 per month, we could see Hughes ERA drop into the low 4.00 range. In his last two healthy seasons, Hughes has won 18 and 16 games, so if you are looking for wins, Hughes is your guy.
Perry Van Hook, Mastersball
Mike Olt ($3) - Olt possesses good power and an excellent glove at third base, but is currently blocked by Adrian Beltre. Olt could play some outfield, first base, third base and DH and see 15-20 at bats per week in a super utility role. But working against him is the fact that the Rangers have a better prospect in Jurickson Profar who they are also trying to give at bats to. Olt could pay off for Van Hook if he is traded to a team where he could play every day.