The Tout Wars NL-only experts league draft took place on Sunday morning in New York City, and I have some thoughts on the draft results, including the best and worst auction values.
A couple experts used some unconventional strategies in this draft, including Lenny Melnick, from Fantasypros911, who spent $131 on his four outfielders, while Baseball Prospectus' Mike Gianella spent $226 of his $260 budget on hitting. While Mike spent the most on hitting, Yahoo's Scott Pianowski spent $109 of his $260 budget on pitching, including $27 on Cole Hamels, $24 on Adam Wainwright, $17 on Rafael Soriano and $14 on Matt Harvey. ESPN's Tristan Cockroft utilized a punt batting average strategy where he drafted the following low batting average power hitters: Ryan Howard, Dan Uggla, Jay Bruce, B.J. Upton, Carlos Gomez and Jason Kubel.
1. Not surprisingly, Ryan Braun garnered the highest bid in the auction, going for $41 to Derek Carty. Carty was aggressive early, winning the bids on Braun, Clayton Kershaw at $32 and Buster Posey at $28.
2. As stated, Clayton Kershaw was the most expensive starting pitcher, going for $32. Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg was a close second to Kershaw going for $29 to Rotowire's Chris Liss.
3. Only seven catchers went for more than $10 in the auction, led by MVP catcher Buster Posey at $28 to the aforementioned Derek Carty. One bid of interest was the $10 bid on Wilson Ramos by Brian Walton, as that bid was $8 more than teammate Kurt Suzuki, so the experts money is on Wilson Ramos to win the catcher job in Washington eventually. Other catchers of interest: Yadier Molina ($20), Wilin Rosario ($18), Miguel Montero ($17), and Brian McCann ($11). I hope I can grab McCann at $11 in one of my NL only auctions in two weeks.
4. A total of nine first baseman went for $20 or more in the NL only draft, led by Joey Votto at $37 to Peter Kreutzer. Other first baseman of interest: Adrian Gonzalez ($26), Freddie Freeman ($26). Paul Goldschmidt ($26), Ike Davis ($25), Allen Craig ($25), Anthony Rizzo ($22), Brandon Belt ($21), Ryan Howard ($20) and Adam Laroche ($17). I have to say that Craig, Howard and Laroche are bargains at those prices.
5. Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips garnered the highest bid amongst NL only second baseman, going for $24 to Mike Gianella. I was surprised at a few of the winning bids, including the $17 Scott Pianowski spent on Michael Young, and the $15 that Todd Zola spent on Daniel Murphy. Other second baseman of interest: Chase Utley ($19), Rickie Weeks ($19), Danny Espinosa ($18), and Dan Uggla ($15).
6. There was no surprise as to which shortstop was awarded the highest bid on Sunday. Rotowire's Chris Liss won the bidding on Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki with his $32 bid. A total of nine shortstops received bids in the double digits, including Starlin Castro at $27, Ian Desmond at $25, Jimmy Rollins at $22, Josh Rutledge and Everth Cabrera at $17 and Andrelton Simmons, of all people, at $15.
7. A total of ten third baseman went for double digit prices headed by the David Wright at $29, followed by my 2013 mancrush Ryan Zimmerman at $27, Aramis Ramirez at $24, Pablo Sandoval at $20, Chase Headley at $21, Todd Frazier at $20, and Hanley Ramirez and Pedro Alvarez at $17. Hanley could prove to be a solid value at that price should he continue to hit for power when he returns.
8. Unlike the AL-only draft, the NL-only auction draft featured nine outfielders who went for $30 or more, led by Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun at $41 to Derek Carty. Other outfielders of interest included: Giancarlo Stanton ($37), Matt Kemp ($36),. Carlos Gonzalez ($36), Justin Upton and Andrew McCutchen at $35, Bryce Harper at $33, Jason Heyward at $32, Jay Bruce at $30, Matt Holliday ($27), B.J. Upton ($27), Carlos Gomez ($25), Cameron Maybin ($25), Shin-Soo Choo ($24), and Martin Prado ($24). Why Melnick bid up Maybin to $25 is anybody's guess. Domonic Brown's hot spring earned him a $15 bid from Phil Hertz from Baseball HQ.
9. I will say one thing regarding the bidding on the starting pitchers: I would not have spent $15 on Roy Halladay or $14 on Tim Lincecum like Brian Walton and Derek Carty did on Sunday. I may be focusing too much on Halladay's spring, but he hasn't been the old Halladay since early last season. ESPN's Buster Olney penned a piece on Monday asking whether this is the end of the line for Halladay. Lincecum has not been the same for well over a year now.
10. Clayton Kershaw received the highest bid ($32) amongst starting pitchers, followed by Stephen Strasburg at $29, Cole Hamels ($27), Cliff Lee ($26), Matt Cain ($25), Adam Wainwright ($24), Gio Gonzalez ($22), and Madison Bumgarner ($22).
11. I did like the following prices for starting pitchers: Zack Greinke ($19), Johnny Cueto ($17), Kris Medlen ($17), Jeff Samardzija ($14) and Matt Harvey ($12).
Best Auction Values
Allen Craig, STL
Todd Zola will be real happy with his $25 bid on Cardinals first baseman Allen Craig, as Craig has the potential to put up a 30-100-.290 season, assuming good health.
Ryan Howard, PHI
I think you know by now that I see Howard returning to the old Howard from a few years ago. He may not hit 45 home runs again, but should get back to the 35 home run level this season. Tristan Cockroft's $20 bid on Howard will prove to be profitable.
Adam Laroche, WAS
Why did the bidding stop at $17 on Laroche? He is good for a 25 HR, 85-90 RBI season in that Nationals lineup. Brian Walton has to be happy having to spend so little on such a consistent performer.
Brian McCann, ATL
I have to say that I am very surprised that no one bid more than $11 on McCann here. He may miss the first month of the season, but should be good for double digit home runs this season.
Adam Eaton, ARI
He will miss the first month and a half of the season, but the bidding stopped at $8 on Eaton, and I am not sure why. USA Today's Stephen Gardner got a steal on Eaton.
Eric Young Jr., COL
Derek Carty had to spend just $5 on EYJr and he could prove to be very profitable at that price should he get the playing time manager Walt Weiss has hinted at this spring. Weiss has talked about using Young as a super utility player, playing him all over the field this season. Young could steal 40+ bases with 400 at bats this season.
Worst Auction Values
Cameron Maybin, SD
I would love to know who bid $24 on Maybin, and why Lenny Melnick bid a dollar more on Maybin. If I remember correctly, Maybin was not a late round call up, so both experts must be pretty high on him this season. Maybe I am missing something, but I think he should be more in the $15-18 range.
Tim Lincecum, SFG and Roy Halladay, PHI
See #9 above.
Gerardo Parra, ARI
Adam Eaton's injury means more playing time for Parra, and I like him, but $16 is too much to spend on Parra. I imagine Derek Carty will be asking himself why he spent so much on Parra by June.
Ian Desmond, WAS
I think Desmond had a career year last season, but Gardner bid him up to $25, so I am willing to keep an open mind on him.