The Tout Wars AL-only experts league draft took place on Saturday morning in New York City, and I have some thoughts on the draft results, including the best and worst auction values.
1. Tiger third baseman Miguel Cabrera was the most expensive player auctioned, as he went for $43 to ESPN's Matthew Berry. I am surprised he didn't go for a few dollars more, but it is rare to see a player auctioned for more than $40-45 in these experts leagues.
2. Mike Trout was the second most expensive hitter drafted as he was auctioned at $40 by defending champion Larry Schecter. Schecter spend $110 of his $260 budget on his five outfielders: Trout, Alejandro De Aza ($18), Torii Hunter ($16), and Ichiro Suzuki ($16) and Curtis Granderson ($20).
3. Twelve catchers went for more than $10 in the auction, lead by Indians catcher Carlos Santana ($22) who went for one dollar more than Joe Mauer. Other catchers of interest: Victor Martinez ($20), Salvador Perez ($19), Matt Wieters ($19), Mike Napoli ($18) and Jesus Montero ($18).
4. Injured first baseman Mark Teixeira went for just $6, showing that the industry experts don't want to risk any money on the chance Teixeira may miss the whole season due to his wrist injury. On the flip side, the industry continues to show faith in investing in Angels first baseman Albert Pujols, who went for $35 to Baseball Prospectus' Jason Collette. Joe Sheehan purchased Prince Fielder for $35 as well. Other first baseman of interest: Edwin Encarnacion ($29), Billy Butler ($29), Eric Hosmer ($25), Paul Konerko ($24) and Mark Trumbo ($21). Astros first baseman Chris Carter went for just $12 to Collette as well....could be the buy of the draft.
5. Not surprisingly, Robinson Cano was the most expensive second baseman drafted, as he went for $35 to the Wolf/Colton team from Full Moon Sports. Other second baseman of interest: Dustin Pedroia ($29), Ian Kinsler ($28), Jason Kipnis ($28), Ben Zobrist ($25), Jose Altuve ($20). Gordon Beckham went for $9 to Larry Schecter, whose roster is littered with injured stars (Teixeira, Granderson) and a guy named Trout.
6. I realize auction prices represent not only how the fantasy experts value a player, but also when the player's name is called out for bidding, but Angels shortstop Erick Aybar continues to get valued similar to Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus. Andrus was auctioned off at $22 by the Wolf/Colton team, while Aybar was auctioned for $19 by Lawr Michaels from Mastersball. Other shortstops of interest: Jose Reyes ($31), Asdrubal Cabrera ($20), Alcides Escobar ($19), and Alexei Ramirez ($17).
7. A total of 11 third baseman went for double digit prices headed by the aforementioned Miguel Cabrera at $43, followed by Adrian Beltre at $30. Third base in the AL has a few stars, then several younger guys who could begin to make their mark in 2013, including Bret Lawrie ($22), Kyle Seager ($21), Will Middlebrooks ($19), Mike Moustakas ($18), Manny Machado ($14) and Lonnie Chisenahll ($8). Chisenhall may prove to be a bargain at $8 for ESPN's Matthew Berry.
8. Only two outfielders broke the $30 barrier: Trout at $40 and Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista at $32. It seems that the experts felt that $30 was too much to spend on Yoenis Cespedes ($29), Jacoby Ellsbury ($29), Alex Gordon($26), Austin Jackson ($25), Desmond Jennings ($25), Michael Bourn, and Josh Hamilton ($25). But there were some bargains to be had in the outfield in my opinion, including Nick Markakis at $16, and Brett Gardner at $19. Gardner could easily be worth more than $19 if he proves to be healthy this season.
9. Not surprisingly, Justin Verlander was the top starting pitcher auctioned at $31, followed by David Price at $28, Yu Darvish, Jered Weaver and Felix Hernandez all at $24. What's notable is that Chris Sale ($21) and Max Scherzer ($21) were bid a dollar higher than Yankees ace CC Sabathia ($20, while R.A. Dickey's auction value was equivalent to Sabathia's. Steve Moyer won the rights to Sabathia at $20, and could prove to be a big bargain at that price.
10. The fantasy experts bidding on closers showed their unwillingness to spend on such a volatile position as no closer went for more than $20, headed by Mariano Rivera, Fernando Rodney and Joe Nathan at $19, Greg Holland at $18, Tom Wilhelmsen at $17, Jim Johnson and Glen Perkinsa at $16.
Best Auction Values
Chris Carter, HOU - Jason Colette won the bidding on Carter at $12 and I think he could be a huge bargain at that price. He has 25-30 home run potential and should get plenty of playing time on the rebuilding Astros.
Lonnie Chisenhall, CLE - ESPN's Matthew Berry won the bidding on Chis at $8, and while his glove still needs some work, his bat seems to be coming around this spring. Cleveland's lineup is solid and the pressure will be off this kid, and he could put up a breakout season in 2013.
Eduardo Nunez, NYY - with Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira out for at least the first two months of the season, Nunez should see plenty of time at third base for the Yankees, and could put up a 30 stolen base season in a Yankee lineup that may have trouble scoring runs this season. Baseball HQ's Ron Shandler won the bidding for Nunex at $8 and I am not sure why the bidding stopped at $8.
J.J. Hardy, BAL - defending champ Larry Schecter won the bidding on Hardy at $11, and I am surprised he went so cheaply. Hardy has 52 home runs over the last two seasons, and hits in the hitter-friendly Camden Yards.
Curtis Granderson, NYY - If the Grandyman can come back and hit 25+ home runs this season and steal 15-20 bases, he will be worth the $20 Larry Schecter spent on him.
Worst Auction Values
Albert Pujols, LAA - I may be on my own little island with this pick, but I would not be surprised to see that this is the last year we see Pujols go for more than $30 in auction leagues and is selected in the first round. BP's Jason Collette won the bidding on Pujols.
Shane Victorino, BOS - timing is everything in auction drafts, but something is wrong when Victorino goes for $1 less than Hamilton, Jackson, Jennings and Bourn.
Brandon Morrow, TOR - MLB.com's Mike Siano won the bidding on Morrow at $19, and i just want to see more from Morrow before going that high on him. I prefer guys like Hiroki Kuroda ($15), James Shields ($18) and Brett Anderson ($14).