The other day I did what will probably be my last ESPN public league for the season (unless I get bored...very likely). To be honest, it was the strangest auction I've ever been in. We had the most ridiculous rendition of Stars and Scrubs I've ever seen, as well as an 11 year old kid who wouldn't shut up and was completely in love with Starting Pitchers and Stolen Bases. That wasn't all. We had an unbelievable Reds Homer to go along with what seemed to be a dummy team for someone else (though, he claims his computer froze). Don't forget that one guy that did nothing the whole auction but ensure you NEVER got a player under the ESPN $$ values. Ugh. I'll start with the strange, then get on to my own team. It's a standard 5x5, 10-team auction league with $260 to spend.
Stars N' Scrubs
This guy was certainly not worried about filling out a full roster. His excuse "in a 10 team league, it doesn't matter. $1 players are still good." The result? He may actually be right, and his team is awfully scary:
Albert Pujols $44
Hanley Ramirez $41
Alex Rodriguez $39
Tim Lincecum $36
Chase Utley $31
Ryan Howard $31
Then he left. For those of you who don't feel like doing addition, that's $222 on the first 6 players. $38 left for the rest of his team. It didn't work out too badly. Here are the highlights of his autodraft:
Johnny Damon $9
Brad Hawpe $3
Franklin Gutierrez $2
David Ortiz $1
Mike Napoli $1
And a reasonable staff to go with Lincey:
Ricky Nolasco $9
Gavin Floyd $1
Wade Davis $1
Aaron Harang $1
Hiroki Kuroda $1
Brad Lidge $1
David Aardsma $1
Kerry Wood $1
The others are nothing special...but I think the moral of the story is it's possible to splurge hardcore on guys in a league like this and fill in with everyday players. I'm curious to see if he pays attention all year (this is again a Champions League) and if this strategy really works.
I'll just go over the Reds (and a couple other, shall I say, stupid picks), as his team sucks in general. Not sure how I swiped Votto in this league with his obvious love of all things Dusty Baker.
Marco Scutaro $4
This was the 2nd player put up for auction. And he went for more than $1. Why?
Steven Strasburg $10
With Ricky Nolasco going for $9, I'm not sure this was a very good investment. I wouldn't even make this investment if this were a keeper league.
Aroldis Chapman $1
He won't see the Majors this year. What's the point?
Micah Owings $1
Arthuer Rhodes $1
Given Rhodes' season last year, fine. But still, don't expect a repeat. I think he's 70.
Johnny Cueto $10
In a 10 team league, Cueto shouldn't go for more than $2. If that. He's an unbelievable talent, but who knows what his role will be.
Team 11 Year Old Jabbermouth
I want to work out a trade with this kid, as I'm lower on pitching than I'd like. But I'm not into trading Pablo Sandoval and Matt Holliday for Tommy Hanson. Sorry bud. His team's not terrible, but will need some help in the HR/R/RBI department. Here's the hilarious staff:
And his love for steals:
Michael Bourn $13
Juan Pierre $10
Ichiro Suzuki $19
Rajai Davis $2
Erick Aybar $1
Oh, and I guess I'll get into my team. I wasn't too happy with the end of the draft, as it was just me and suspected Dummy Team jumping on any player anyone nominated that wasn't terrible. He sucked up a lot of the closer options here. I'm not a huge fan of my team, but I think it will be solid if my staff lives up to its young potential. Here we go:
OF - Ryan Braun - $39
Not much to say. It's Ryan Braun...right about at where I have him valued for a league like this. He's good.
1B/3B - Pablo Sandoval - $25
I got caught here trying to bid him up. He went for an absolutely ridiuclous sum in my keeper league ($70 in a 20-team $300 cap with only 3 OF and no CI/MI slots). I figured he was overvalued in most places, and got stuck with a $25 price tag. It kept me from some deals I was hoping for later on in the draft, but he should help my Average at least.
1B - Prince Fielder - $35
Look for Fielder to have a big year. In 2008 he had a rough time, but don't count this guy out for a 50 HR season. He's better than Ryan Howard, and doesn't look quite as stupid on curveballs.
1B - Joey Votto - $22
Surprised I got him at $22. Votto is poised to have a monster season, as I've mentioned in previous posts. Looks like I've got my 1B/CI/UT filled up already.
OF - Matt Holliday - $26
What's not to like having Holliday and Pujols in the same lineup? Holliday is ready for a huge year hitting with Prince Albert for a full season. At $26, I'd argue he's a bargain. I can't imagine anyone is going to come close to my batting average here, especially with my next two picks.
SS - Troy Tulowitzki - $28
I think I spent a little much on Tulo, but I love the guy. Perhaps some speed decrease from last season, but should give me 25+ HR and plenty of RBIs and R.
2B - Robinson Cano - $18
If Cano repeats last year in that Yankees lineup, $18 is a great value here. I like Cano to continue to mature with a bunch of monsters around him in New York.
SP - Ubaldo Jimenez - $10
Ubaldo seems to go overlooked in a lot of drafts. He's a 200K beast, and for $10, he could be my ace. Colorado doesn't even matter for this guy. While he's not my favorite young 200K potential pitcher, I love him at $10.
OF - Jason Kubel - $8
At the time, $8 seemed like a nice deal for Kubel. Then I remembered his terrible splits and watched guys like Derrek Lee go for $9. Kubel will play full time and has a better lineup than before around him. He's about at value with an $8 buy. I'll take it.
SP - Yovanni Gallardo - $14
My man crush on Yovanni continues. This is the most I've paid for him, I think. Considering many fantasy aces go for over $20, I like the price tag. It seems that the older, known options go for quite a premium in these leagues, when there's PLENTY of guys around the Ubaldo/Gallardo/Kershaw/Johnson area going for under $15. So I decided to buy them all.
SP - Josh Johnson - $12
While I love Gallardo, Johnson should never go for less. This guy is a true ace, and for less than half the price of Grienke. I didn't get Hanson (SP lover got him), but he went for $13. All these guys are so similar (I'd group Nolasco, Wainwright, and possibly Scherzer in this group as well).
SP - Clayton Kershaw - $8
$8 for an ace in the NL West, on a team with a great lineup? Look for Kershaw to get more Wins this year, with a bit of regression in ERA. Guy competed for the ERA title last year as a 9 year old (or something like that). 200+ K's shouldn't be a problem, and putting him with the other 3 guys makes for a very nice staff.
2B - Orlando Hudson - $2
Hudson's nothing special, but he's steady. In a very solid Twins lineup, I could see him having a very good year. I needed to get SOMEONE in my MI slot before resorting to JJ Hardy, so Hudson it is. However, because ESPN has Miguel Tejada ranked so low, he went undrafted. I quickly exchanged him for Hudson on waivers after the draft.
OF - Nolan Reimold - $2
Two bucks is well worth it for Reimold. I've been following him since he was drafted out of Bowling Green and he's done nothing but hit. Expect 20+ home runs this year and plenty of RBI chances in a developing lineup.
SP - Daisuke Matsuzaka - $1
I nominated Dice K when the team I suspected of being a dummy came back. I was hoping he'd grab him at $2. I was wrong, and got stuck with him. However, Dice K has plenty of ability to bounce back in a big way. At least, I hope so. There's plenty on the waiver wire if he doesn't work out.
RP - Octavio Dotel - $1
Thankfully, he let me get a closer. Unfortunately, it was this WHIP killer. Hopefully he gets 30 saves in 30 IP so it doesn't really matter for my team. Dotel will get plenty of strikeouts, and he can be a very underrated pickup if he has a good year and some BABIP luck.
OF - Juan Rivera - $1
People still don't seem to like Juan Rivera. He went for $7 in my 20 team league that we saw Kung Fu Panda get a whopping $70! Here, he's $1. For a guy that, if healthy, can hit .285-25-90, that's cheap.
C - Kurt Suzuki - $1
Look for Suzuki to build on last season with steady ABs in Seattle. He's nothing to call home about, but he'll give you production steadily in a place that seems to go haywire sometimes.
RP - Brandon Lyon - $1
I've gone over Lyon before. He'll get some saves, but see a regression in ERA. Hopefully, the regression will be mitigated by heading over to the National League. If not, I guess I get some cheap saves.
SP - Francisco Liriano - $1
I have no problem taking a chance on him for $1. He could go well with my other SP options, and is again easily replaceable. He had a great winter and hopefully can build on that this year in a subtely stacked Minnesota rotation.
SP - Phil Hughes - $1
I've professed my love for Hughes before, so I won't reiterate. He could be this year's Kershaw.
OF - Magglio Ordonez - $1
Magglio doens't hit for power anymore, and everyone has his first half 2009 fresh in their minds. What they don't seem to take into account is his fantastic late season hitting. No, he didn't crush lots of home runs. But he hit for a nice average and still has the likes of Miguel Cabrera around him in the lineup. As a bench outfielder, I'll happily take him at $1
RP - Matt Capps - $1
More cheap saves. Have I mentioned that you shouldn't pay for them? Especially in a 10-team auction league when everyone is loading up top heavy. Capps should return to decent form.
RP - Jason Frasor - $1
Frasor is more than a closer. He should get a lot of innings, and is the favorite. Why not grab up some more cheap saves.
SP/RP - Neftali Feliz - $1
More Feliz. See Hughes, Phil for a comparison. They'll both strike guys out, and are currently jockeying for a rotation spot on good hitting teams. Upside galore with another flamethrower.
Update: I dropped Dice K for Matt Thornton. Thornton has a chance to be a top reliever this year, and puts up Broxton-like numbers without the saves. He'll be good for my rate stats with young pitchers that may walk too many guys. I already mentioned getting Tejada on waivers for Orlando Hudson. Not too bad either, with multiple eligibility coming soon.