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Early thoughts on LABR NL only draft: Carlos Gonzalez most expensive at $36

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Ray offers some early thoughts on the LABR NL only auction draft.

Rob Tringali

The oldest experts league drafts are taking place this weekend in Arizona, with the NL only League of Alternative Reality (LABR) auction draft taking place right now. The AL only league auction took place last night, and you can view the results here.

You can follow the NL only auction as it happens here.

Here are my initial thoughts on some of the early buys in the auction:

Bargains

Ryan Braun went off at $33 to Derek Van Riper. I think Braun is a solid buy for $33 and think he will be the Ryan Braun of old in 2014. ZiPS agrees with me projecting him to hit 33 home runs and steal 22 bases this season.

Jose Fernandez was auctioned at $27 by Van Riper, and I think he could be a top 3 starter in 2014, with a chance to be the #1 starter.

Greg Ambrosius from NFBC purchased Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez at $31 and he could prove to be a steal at that price if he can stay healthy and hit like he did last season. Later in the draft, he won the bidding on Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki for $28. Love the price for both shortstops.

Ambrosius bought the first player nominated, Bryce Harper, for $32 and I think he got a steal there. Harper has some injury concerns but is capable of a 30 home run, 90 RBI season in 2014.

Lawr Michaels from Mastersball purchased Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp for $21. This buy could be the steal of the draft if Kemp can come back 100% from his offseason ankle surgery. He was given the go ahead to start running and doing more baseball activities, and his shoulder is 100%, so he could return to being the Kemp of old.

Steve Gardner from USA Today won the bidding on Braves closer Craig Kimbrel at $22. That price is pretty cheap for the best closer in the game, but in these experts leagues, the participants regularly don't pay up for closers.

Lenny Melnick from Rotoexperts won the bidding on Adam Wainwright ($24) and Zack Greinke ($18), and I think they are a few dollars undervalued here. Nice buys for Lenny.

Colton and the Wolfman from SiriusXMFantasy radio won the bidding on Giants ace Madison Bumgarner ($23) and Phillies ace Cliff Lee ($23). I like the prices on these two aces over paying $27 on Stephen Strasburg and $16 on Michael Wacha by Ambrosius.

Expensive

Speaking of steals, Dalton Del Don from Yahoo Sports won the bidding for Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton for $28. I think that is a bit too rich for my blood, but if he can get on base enough, he could steal 60+ bases this season.

Derek Carty purchased Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw for $35. His price is a few dollar more than I would want to pay for him, and makes it difficult to roster a balanced pitching staff.

Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez went off at $32 to Colton and the Wolfman, which could prove to be too expensive if his batting average regresses this season. Still, the potential for a 20 home run, 30 stolen base season still exists for little Cargo.

As of this writing, there have been nine players auctioned for $30 or more:

Carlos Gonzalez: $36

Clayton Kershaw: $35

Andrew McCutchen: $35

Ryan Braun: $33

Paul Goldschmidt: $33

Carlos Gomez: $32

Bryce Harper: $32

Joey Votto: $32

Hanley Ramirez: $31