The first big experts league auction draft took place last night in Arizona, the LABR AL-Only Experts league, and here are some thoughts on the draft results:
1. I was following along as the draft results were being posted to the www.rtsports.com site, and as the top players were coming off the board, I thought the bids were a few dollars too light. Maybe it is due to the fact that the inflation is much higher in two of the auction leagues I participate in.
2. Mike Trout was the most expensive player drafted, as he was the first player nominated, at $42 to Greg Ambrosius and Shawn Childs at NFBC. He would go fo $50+ in my AL-only league auction.
3.Miguel Cabrera was the second most expensive player drafted, as he went for $40 to Rick Wolf an Glenn Colton at Full Moon Sports.
4. Starting pitchers went cheaper than I thought they would. The top starting pitcher drafted was Tigers ace Justin Verlander at $31 to Larry Schecter at Winning Fantasy Baseball.
5. The auction prices of other pitchers of interest: David Price ($27), Felix Hernandez ($25), Yu Darvish ($25), Max Scherzer ($25), Jered Weaver ($24), CC Sabathia ($22), Matt Moore ($21), James Shields ($20), Chris Sale ($20) and R.A. Dickey ($18).
6. I think the lower auction prices for the starting pitchers indicate that pitching is deeper this year.
7. The auction prices of other hitters of interest: Albert Pujols ($34), Prince Fielder ($34), Jose Bautista ($33), Robinson Cano ($35), Evan Longoria ($31), Adrian Beltre ($30), Yoenis Cespedes ($29), Dustin Pedroia ($29), Josh Hamilton ($29), Edwin Encarnacion ($29), Jose Reyes ($29), Billy Butler ($27), Austin Jackson ($27), Desmond Jennings ($26).
8. Curtis Granderson's auction price was impacted by his broken forearm as he went for just $20 to Nick Minnix at KFFL.com. He could prove to be a solid value at that price if he can return in May.
9. Once the best player in fantasy baseball, Alex Rodriguez was taken off the board early at the deep discount price of $3 to Steve Gardner at the USA Today.
Best Auction Values
Curtis Granderson ($20) - like I wrote above, he could prove to be a solid value if he can return in May and hit 30+ home runs and steal 20 bases.
Mark Teixeira ($23) - I was shocked to see him go for just $23 to Greg Ambrosius and Shawn Childs from NFBC. He should return more than $23 of value if he can stay healthy and hit 30+ home runs and drive in 100+ runs. His auction price was negatively impacted for his low batting average and the fact that he played in just 123 games last year.
Jacoby Ellsbury ($24) - If he can stay healthy, he could put up a 12-15 home run, 90-100 runs scored, 60-70 RBI and 30+ stolen bases with a high batting average. Ray Flowers from Baseball Guys seemed to wait forever to start bidding, but he got great value here..
Adam Jones ($25) - I am not sure why Jones went so cheap in this draft. He was one of the first 10 players nominated. It appears owners forgot he went 32-103-82-16-.287 last season. Eno Sarris from FanGraphs won the bidding on Jones, and he had to walk away smiling once the draft ended. Nice buy for Eno here.
Hiroki Kuroda ($11) - Maybe it is me, but Kuroda seems to be undervalued every year, yet he continues to provide fantasy owners with near ace-like production. Nick Minnix from KFFL.com won the bidding on Kuroda, and I think he might be the best value in this draft.
Mark Trumbo ($21) - how does a guy who went 32-95 last year go for just $21? Brandon Funston from Yahoo won the bidding on Trumbo, and i have to think the bidding should have been in the $25-28 range. Trumbo has hit 61 home runs and driven in 182 runs in his two seasons in the big leagues.
Ben Zobrist ($25) - owners can count on Zobrist to put up a 20-20 season almost every year, and he can play almost anywhere on the diamond, including shortstop, so Ray Flowers got solid value here at $25.
Chris Carter ($10) - maybe I am the only one who thinks Carter can reach the 30 home run level in 2013 now that he is slated to play every day in Houston. Steve Gardner got a potential steal here at $10.
David Murphy ($14) - Murphy will have be the Rangers starting left field job to open the season, and is a candidate for a breakout season in 2013. Dave Adler from Baseball HQ won the bidding on Murphy.
Worst Auction Values
Kyle Seager ($20) - Seager's breakout year in 2012 pushed the bidding to the $20 range where Perry Van Hook from Mastersball won the bidding. The question is can we expect Seager to repeat his 2012 breakout, or was it a one year fluke?
Jason Kipnis ($26) - the prospects of a 20-20 season from Kipnis pushed the bidding on Kipnis to near Dustin Pedroia range. As a comparison, Pedroia went for $29, and he will more than likely hit for a better average, score more runs, drive in more runs and hit more home runs than Kipnis in 2013.
Erik Aybar ($20) - the comparisons to Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus this offseason may have been the reason that Aybar's price jumped into the $20 range. Andrus went off the board at $21.
Dustin Ackley ($16) - maybe 2013 will be the season where we see the real Dustin Ackley, but coming off a season where he hit just .226, I was a bit surprised with the final auction price on Ackley.
Evan Longoria ($31) - Longoris has missed 29 and 88 games in the last two years, respectively, yet he still went for full value here. Longoria comes with injury risk, but when healthy he is one of the more productive fantasy third baseman in the game.
Ichiro Suzuki ($20) - Suzuki is half the player he was in his prime, and I don't see paying $20 for an outfielder who provides two categories of production.
Current and Former Prospects
The auction prices for current and former prospects is always something I look forward to in the LABR/Tout Wars auction drafts, so without further ado, let's take a look at winning bid prices:
Manny Machado ($17) - I think Machado, who went to Nick Minnix from KFFL.com, went for right around his value, but Derek Carty from DerekCarty.com disagreed with me on Twitter last evening, and Bret Sayre from Baseball Prospectus/Dynasty Guru felt the price was too steep for him . Derek felt that Nick way overpaid for Machado, but I beg to differ. Maybe I am more optimistic on Machado than they are, but then again, maybe I am biased as I own him in my AL-only league. I see a 15 HR, 15 SB, 75 RBI season out of Machado this season. Too optimistic?
Jesus Montero ($16) - Montero has the potential to hit 20 home runs and drive in 75-80 runs with a solid batting average, but struggled in his rookie season in 2012. With a year of experience under his belt, and a change in the dimensions of Safeco Park, we could see him reach that projection this season.
Wil Myers ($8) - Myers is expected to start the season in AAA, but many, including me, feel he will be up by the end of May at the latest. Myers has excellent power potential, but does tend to strike out a bit, as many power hitters are wont to do.
Jurickson Profar ($9) - on any other team, Profar would have a starting job out of spring training, but on the Rangers, he is blocked by Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler. He is ready for a starting role, and could be up as soon as there is an injury in the Rangers starting lineup.
Others of note: Mike Zunino ($2), Dylan Bundy ($5), Mike Olt ($3)