The League of Alternative Reality (LABR) held their AL only experts auction league draft last night in Phoenix, Arizona, and here are some quick thoughts on the results of the draft.
Before I get started, you can find the auction results in the link below:
|Steve Gardner||USA TODAY Sports|
|Rick Wolf/Glenn Colton||Fantasy Alarm|
|Greg Ambrosius/Shawn Childs||NFBC|
|Tim Heaney||USA TODAY Fantasy Sports|
|Larry Schechter||Winning Fantasy Baseball|
|Dave Adler||Baseball HQ|
- I thought two of the best values coming off the board early in the draft was Red Sox DH David Ortiz at $18 and Blue Jays SS Troy Tulowitzki who was auctioned at $22. Considering the fact that Indians SS Francisco Lindor went for $23 in this auction, Tulo presents a ton of value, assuming he can return to being the hitter he was in 2014 and prior. He has added a new leg kick to get to his power more in 2016.
- Among catchers, Orioles catcher Matt Wieters was auctioned at $17 by Eno Sarris from FanGraphs, a dollar more than Royals catcher Salvador Perez, two dollars more than Yankees catcher Brian McCann and three dollars more than Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin. I prefer all three of those catchers than Wieters right now, as all three have proved to be more consistent at the plate.
- Players slow to return from injury can sometimes offer the most value on draft day, and that appears to be the case with Angels first baseman Albert Pujols. Pujols came off the board at just $19 to SiriusXM's Ray Flowers. Flowers seems to focus on value on draft day and he received a lot with Pujols at that price. Though his triple slash line is in decline, Pujols still managed to hit 40 home runs last season.
- The market is telling us that they are not convinced that Twins new 1B/DH Byung-ho Park will perform well in the big leagues. Park was auctioned at just $15 to Eno Sarris. Park is either going to be a huge value at that price or he could be a bit of a bust. That said, I am with Eno here, I like Park to hit for power in the big leagues.
- When you can draft a legitimate 40 home run hitter for "just" $31, you have a huge bargain, in my opinion, and that is exactly what Rotowire's Chris Liss has in Orioles 1B Chris Davis. Davis has hit more home runs than anyone in the game over the last three seasons. To get him for $31 is a bargain.
- The value plays at second base in the AL appear to be Tigers 2B Ian Kinsler who went off at $19 to defending champ Steve Gardner at USA Today, and Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia, who was auctioned at $17 to Greg Ambrosius and Chris Child from NFBC and STATS, Inc. Both are capable of hitting .280 with double digit home runs and stolen bases, while scoring 90+ runs and driving in 70+ runs.
- The top three shortstops, Carlos Correa ($35), Xander Bogaerts ($25) and Francisco Lindor ($23) went off the board at higher bids than I anticipated. I think Correa and Bogaerts have a better chance at meeting those price expectations that Lindor does. That said, I would have dropped out of the bidding on all three as they exceeded my auction bid prices.
- The value play at shortstop, for me, is Athletics SS Marcus Semien. I wrote him up as my target at the shortstop position a few weeks ago, and I think he can exceed expectations/projections set for him. Semien went off the board at $15 to Eno Sarris, and that is cheap for a hitter who can put up a 15 home run, 15 stolen base season in 2016.
- Josh Donaldson ($34), Manny Machado ($33) and Todd Frazier ($27) were the top two third baseman auctioned last night, and for good reason. They are both legitimate first round picks and one has to pay for that kind of production at the draft table.
- The value plays at third base were Red Sox 3B Pablo Sandoval who went for $11 to Ambrosias/Childs, Tigers 3B Nick Castellanos who was auctioned for $13 to Ambrosius/Childs as well, and Rays 3B Evan Longoria who went for $21 to Ray Flowers. I think 2016 will be a breakout season for Castellanos.
- The top outfielders auctioned were: Mike Trout ($42), Mookie Betts ($35), Jose Bautista ($30), George Springer ($30), Justin Upton ($29), J.D. Martinez ($28), Carlos Gomez ($26), Lorenzo Cain ($25), Nelson Cruz ($24) and Adam Jones ($24). Of the top outfielders off the board, I like the prices on Springer, Cruz and Martinez the most. I think Betts and Cain are at least $5 over valued. Gomez is coming off a down year, but could easily make the $26 bid look cheap.
- The value plays in the outfield are plentiful, including the three names I mentioned above, I like Shin-Soo Choo who went for $18 to Yahoo Sports Brandon Funston, Michael Brantley (assuming shoulder is 100%) at $20 to Rotowire's Chris Liss, Adam Jones at $24 to Eno Sarris once again (!), and Jacoby Ellsbury who went for $18 to Dave Adler at Baseball HQ.
- The overpriced guys in the outfield, for me, are Betts at $35, Cain at $25, Byron Buxton at $17, and Hanley Ramirez at $21.
- Among starting pitchers, the top guys off the board were Chris Sale ($33), David Price ($29), Corey Kluber ($28), Dallas Keuchel ($26), Felix Hernandez ($25), Carlos Carrasco ($24), and Danny Salazar, Sonny Gray and Garrett Richards all going for $22. I like the three Indians starters and Keuchel among the higher priced starters here.
- The value plays at starting pitcher: White Sox SP Jose Quintana at $14 Tristan Cockroft at ESPN, Yankees SP Masahiro Tanaka at $15 to Eno Sarris (again!!), and Rays SP Jake Odorizzi at $12 to Larry Schecter.
- Some of the upside starters went for full value, including Astros SP Lance McCullers who went off at $17 to Lawr Michaels at Mastersball, Rays SP Drew Smyly who went for $15 to Eno Sarris, Yankees SP Luis Severino for $13 to Ambrosias/Childs, and Mariners SP Taijuan Walker at $15 and Carlos Rodon at $14 to Brandan Funston. Of these pitchers, I would have dropped out of the bidding on Walker, Severino and McCullers, thought their upsides are enticing.
- Closers came off pretty cheap and Colton and the Wolfman may have left the table with the biggest steal of the draft, having won the bidding on Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman for just $15. He will mis the first 30 games of the season, but could still save 40 games this season. A steal.