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Tuesday 21st Feb 2017

Last week, we focused on auction dynamics in a rather abstract sense, primarily as a means to generate some discussion.  This week, we will dissect a couple of recent auctions in an attempt to help demonstrate why values generated by conventional ranking systems should be a guide and that you should focus on the intrinsic value a player has to your team, a concept discussed earlier this spring.

The auctions I am going to analyze are the League of Alternative Baseball Reality auctions, better known as LABR.  It is important to note that I have done this study for the past several seasons, with the same results.  So think of this in the global sense.  The exact results are not going to necessarily emulate how your auction plays out.   But I promise you that there will be a couple of similarities, and as it happens, the 2011 American League and National League auctions turn out to be perfect examples to illustrate a couple of strategic points.

What I have done is take the names off of the bids, I do not care who went for what.  The prices of specific players is unique to each auction, to how the participants value each player, to when the player is nominated and to how each roster is constructed to that point.   What I care about is the numerical bids and the distribution of the bids, particularly in comparison to the distribution of bids generated by conventional pricing systems.

A pair of tables are about to follow, comparing the number actual prices in the designated ranges with the number of player Mastersball has projected to be in that range, customizing the specifications to the specific auctions, including adjusting the hitting to pitching spending split for each auction.  For those into this sort of thing, the AL LABR owners spent 70 percent of their budget on hitting while their NL counterparts spent 67 percent.  The two areas I want to focus upon for both hitting and pitching are the top end and bottom end prices.  While the names and exact prices change from year to year, the patterns remain the same.


HITTING



American League


National League


actual

projected


actual

projected

$40+

1

0

 

2

1

$30-$39

9

3

 

11

5

$25-$29

8

11

 

13

11

$20-$24

16

27

 

12

22

$15-$19

34

31

 

36

34

$10-$14

30

30

 

24

32

$8-$9

27

23

 

22

33

$4-$7

19

19

 

17

8

$3

3

6

 

9

6

$2

8

7

 

17

16

$1

13

11

 

19

14

 

Let us first concentrate on the stars, the players that sell for $30 or more.  In both auction, the top end prices were inflated.   In the AL, ten hitters were purchased for $30 or more while only three are projected to earn that much.  In the NL, there were thirteen hitters purchased for $30 or more but only six are projected in that range.  As suggested, this is true for almost all auctions.  The number and even the names of the hitters purchased may be different next weekend in Tout Wars, but I guarantee if I do this same analysis on those auctions, the number of batters bought for $30 or more will exceed those projected to do so.

Now let us shift our attention to the low end, those hitters purchased for $3 or less.  In the AL, the results are actually not as extreme as usual as there are 24 hitters in each set.  However, there are more $1 and $2 batters purchased than projected as the difference is made up with the $3 group.  In the NL, the results are more typical with 45 batters being bought for $1, $2 or $3 with 36 priced as such.

The above is the trend observed an all auctions: high end players go for more than projected while there are bargains to be found at the low end.  How you choose to incorporate this is completely up to you.  Some feel they can overspend at the top, secure in the comfort that they can make up for it at the low end.  Others see the profit at the low end, but do not want to give away value at the top, so they stick to the middle as well as getting low end value.  Something to realize is the differences at the low end are a result of both available money and the fact we all value players differently, most likely with respect to playing time.  We do not necessarily think a $1 player is better than another player in that range, we may just think he will get 50 more at bats.

Where it gets quite interesting is in the middle.  This is where the learned auction gamer really makes their profit.  As alluded to last week, there are no set in stone rules to be able to find the soft spot in your particular auction.  Experience is honestly the best teacher.  But as will be illustrated in a moment, each auction has a soft spot you can exploit to fill your roster with undervalued hitters.  It is imperative to understand what is about to be discussed is not going to hold fast for every auction, at least in terms of the range where there were bargains.  What will hold true is that there will be a range, and it is your job to find it and take advantage.

First, let us look at the AL.  There were 27 player projected to earn between $20 and $24, but only 16 bought in that range.  The same trend can be seen in the $25 to $29 range.  Some of these players were the ones bought for $30 or more, but not all.  The numbers suggest that some had to sell for lower than $20.  And looking at the data, this is indeed the case.  It was not many, but this was one of the buying areas, between $15 and $19.  You either got a player at value or a little under value.  Again, this is not to suggest that I am going to automatically find bargains in this range next week at AL Tout Wars.

Dropping down a tier, there were 30 players bought for $10 to $14 and the same priced that way.  But keep in mind, everyone values players differently.  My $15 guy is your $11 guy so I may only have to pay $12 so there is likely profit to be made in this tier.  The number of players purchased and players bought in the $4-$7 range and the $6-$9 range were about the same, again suggesting you could get players at value or a slight profit depending on how others value those players.

If I were in this auction, it would have been my job to recognize that the spot to buy a couple of hitters at a discount was in the $15-$19 range, then fill in with players I liked between $4 and $15, maybe picking up a few bucks profit here and there.

Looking at the NL, the trends come in different ranges, but there is indeed a soft spot to exploit.  The fact the ranges are different speak to the point that each auction will be different.   The range with the biggest discrepancy is $20 to $24, where twelve players were purchased but 22 projected.  If you do the math, it is apparent that many players in this range went for more than projected.  What this means is you were unlikely to get a bargain within that range.  You may get some hitters at value, but it is likely that several players in this range went for more if you look at the above table.

The soft spot in the NL auction for hitters was the $15 to $19 range.  If you had the patience, you could have gotten players at value, or at a small profit for the ones you liked a little more.  And it appears as though at least a couple of players projected for $20 sunk down to that lower range.

The real soft spot was in the $4-$7 range.  If you were extremely patient, you could have filled a few holes with hitters projected for double digit prices.  Look at the number of players projected to earn between $8 and $14 versus those actually bought, there are 20 players that went higher or lower, many of which had to go lower.

So looking at this auction in hindsight, buying a few hitters in the $25-$29 range, then hunting for $15-$19 hitters and rounding out with $7 and below might have been optimal.

Here is the breakdown for the pitching.


PITCHING



American League


National League


actual

projected


actual

projected

$40+

0

0

 

0

0

$30-$39

1

1

 

1

2

$25-$29

2

2

 

3

1

$20-$24

8

11

 

9

6

$15-$19

14

6

 

15

15

$10-$14

17

17

 

24

27

$8-$9

18

28

 

10

22

$4-$7

12

16

 

22

11

$3

11

5

 

7

17

$2

8

9

 

16

15

$1

17

13

 

23

14

 

One of the primary differences is ace pitchers tend to go for value while stud hitters were inflated.  This too is a theme carried year to year.   The other difference is there are significantly more $1 pitchers purchased than projected, especially when you consider more hitters are drafted than pitchers.  This is why I always have three or four pitching spots dedicated to a $1 pitcher, knowing I can likely put double digit value total on those three or four lines.

Half the fun is for you to look at the data and try to decipher for yourself what happened, so I will not bore you with more details of my view, but it does look to me like you could purchased some $20 arms in the $15-$19 range in the AL, while finding an NL arm at or under value in the $20-$24.  I suppose to really do this, one would want to separate starters from closers, but since the point is not to pinpoint the exact events, but rather to show each auction has soft spots to find value, I will leave that up to you.  Google LABR 2011 and you can find the complete rosters.

By means of a summary, what you will find in every auction is high end players going over conventional pricing with more $1-$3 being purchased than priced as such.  How you exploit that is up to you.  If you have the patience and discipline, it is not necessary to be one of the owners that overpays for a star at the top, since there will be a couple of different soft spots in the middle to pick up quality players on the cheap.  I cannot tell you what those ranges will be, I can only tell you that they will be there if you have the patience and discipline and them time your entry just right so you do not end up leaving money on the table.

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

Last week, we focused on auction dynamics in a rather abstract sense, primarily as a means to generate some discussion.  This week, we will dissect a couple of recent auctions in an attempt to help demonstrate why values generated by conventional ranking systems should be a guide and that you should focus on the intrinsic value a player has to your team, a concept discussed earlier this spring.

The auctions I am going to analyze are the League of Alternative Baseball Reality auctions, better known as LABR.  It is important to note that I have done this study for the past several seasons, with the same results.  So think of this in the global sense.  The exact results are not going to necessarily how your auction plays out.   But I promise you that there will be a couple of similarities, and as it happens, the 2011 American League and National League auctions turn out to be perfect examples to illustrate a couple of strategic points.

What I have done is take the names off of the bids, I do not care who went for what.  The prices of specific players is unique to each auction, to how the participants value each player, to when the player is nominated and to how each roster is constructed to that point.   What I care about is the numerical bids and the distribution of the bids, particularly in comparison to the distribution of bids generated by conventional pricing systems.

Several charts are about to follow, comparing the number actual prices in the designated ranges with the number of player Mastersball has projected to be in that range, customizing the specifications to the specific auctions, including adjusting the hitting to pitching spending split for each auction.  For those into this sort of thing, the AL LABR owners spent 70% of their budget on hitting while their NL counterparts spent 67%.  The two areas I want to focus upon for both hitting and pitching are the top end and bottom end prices.  While the names and exact prices change from year to year, the patterns remain the same.


                           HITTING



     American League


    National League


actual

projected


actual

projected

$40+

1

0

 

2

1

$30-$39

9

3

 

11

5

$25-$29

8

11

 

13

11

$20-$24

16

27

 

12

22

$15-$19

34

31

 

36

34

$10-$14

30

30

 

24

32

$8-$9

27

23

 

22

33

$4-$7

19

19

 

17

8

$3

3

6

 

9

6

$2

8

7

 

17

16

$1

13

11

 

19

14

 

Let us first concentrate on the stars, the players that sell for $30 or more.  In both auction, the top end prices were inflated.   In the AL, ten hitters were purchased for $30 or more while only three are projected to earn that much.  In the NL, there were thirteen hitters purchased for $30 or more but only six are projected in that range.  As suggested, this is true for almost all auctions.  The number and even the names of the hitters purchased may be different next weekend in Tout Wars, but I guarantee if I do this same analysis on those auctions, the number of batters bought for $30 or more will exceed those projected to do so.

Now let us shift our attention to the low end, those hitters purchased for $3 or less.  In the AL, the results are actually not as extreme as usual as there are 24 hitters in each set.  However, there are more $1 and $2 batters purchased than projected as the difference is made up with the $3 group.  In the NL, the results are more typical with 45 batters being bought for $1, $2 or $3 with 36 priced as such.

The above is the trend observed an all auctions: high end players go for more than projected while there are bargains to be found at the low end.  How you choose to incorporate this is completely up to you.  Some feel they can overspend at the top, secure in the comfort that they can make up for it at the low end.  Others see the profit at the low end, but do not want to give away value at the top, so they stick to the middle as well as getting low end value.  Something to realize is the differences at the low end are a result of both available money and the fact we all value players differently, most likely with respect to playing time.  We do not necessarily think a $1 player is better than another player in that range, we may just think he will get 50 more at bats.

Where it gets quite interesting is in the middle.  This is where the learned auction gamer really makes their profit.  As alluded to last week, there are no set in stone rules to be able to find the soft spot in your particular auction.  Experience is honestly the best teacher.  But as will be illustrated in a moment, each auction has a soft spot you can exploit to fill your roster with undervalued hitters.  It is imperative to understand what is about to be discussed is not going to hold fast for every auction, at least in terms of the range where there were bargains.  What will hold true is that there will be a range, and it is your job to find it and take advantage.

First, let us look at the AL.  There were 27 player projected to earn between $20 and $24, but only 16 bought in that range.  The same trend can be seen in the $25 to $29 range.  Some of these players were the ones bought for $30 or more, but not all.  The numbers suggest that some had to sell for lower than $20.  And looking at the data, this is indeed the case.  It was not many, but this was one of the buying areas, between $15 and $19.  You either got a player at value or a little under value.  Again, this is not to suggest that I am going to automatically find bargains in this range next week at AL Tout Wars.

Dropping down a tier, there were 30 players bought for $10 to $14 and the same priced that way.  But keep in mind, everyone values players differently.  My $15 guy is your $11 guy so I may only have to pay $12 so there is likely profit to be made in this tier.  The number of players purchased and players bought in the $4-$7 range and the $6-$9 range were about the same, again suggesting you could get players at value of a slight profit depending on how others value those players.

If I were in this auction, it would have been my job to recognize that the spot to buy a couple of hitters at a discount was in the $15-$19 range, then fill in with players I liked between $4 and $15, maybe picking up a few bucks profit here and there.

Looking at the NL, the trends come in different ranges, but there is indeed a soft spot to exploit.  The fact the ranges are different speak to the point that each auction will be different.   The range with the biggest discrepancy is $20 to $24, where twelve players were purchased but 22 projected.  If you do the math, it is apparent that many players in this range went for more than projected.  What this means is you were unlikely to get a bargain within that range.  You may get some hitters at value, but it is likely that several players in this range went for more if you look at the above table.

The soft spot in the NL auction for hitters was the $15 to $19 range.  If you had the patience, you could gotten players at value, or at a small profit for the ones you liked a little more.  And it appears as though at least a couple of players projected for $20 suck down to that lower range.

The real soft spot was in the $4-$7 range.  If you were extremely patient, you could have filled a few holes with hitters projected for double digit prices.  Look at the number of players projected to earn between $8 and $14 versus those actually bought, there are 20 players that went higher or lower, many of which had to go lower.

So looking at this auction in hindsight, buying a few hitters in the $25-$29 range, then hunting for $15-$19 hitters and rounding out with $7 and below might have been optimal.

Here is the breakdown for the pitching.


     American League


    National League


actual

projected


actual

projected

$40+

0

0

 

0

0

$30-$39

1

1

 

1

2

$25-$29

2

2

 

3

1

$20-$24

8

11

 

9

6

$15-$19

14

6

 

15

15

$10-$14

17

17

 

24

27

$6-$9

18

28

 

10

22

$4-$7

12

16

 

22

11

$3

11

5

 

7

17

$2

8

9

 

16

15

$1

17

13

 

23

14

 

One of the primary differences is ace pitchers tend to go for value while stud hitters were inflated.  This too is a theme carried year to year.   The other difference is there are significantly more $1 pitchers purchased than projected, especially when you consider more hitters are drafted than pitchers.  This is why I always have three of four pitching spots dedicated to a $1 pitcher, knowing I can likely put double digit value total on those three or four lines.

Half the fun is for you to look at the data and try to decipher for yours elf what happened, so I will not bore you with more details of my view, but it does look to me like you could purchased some $20 arms in the $15-$19 range in the AL, while finding an arm at or under value in the $20-$24.  I suppose to really do this, one would want to separate starters from closers, but since the point is not to pinpoint the exact events, but rather to show each auction has soft spots to find value, I will leave that up to you.  Google LABR 2011 and you can find the complete rosters.

By means of a summary, what you will find in every auction is high end players going over conventional pricing with more $1-$3 being purchased than priced as such.  How you exploit that is up to you.  If you have the patience and discipline, it is not necessary to be one of the owners that overpays for a star at the top, since there will be a couple of different soft spots in the middle to pick up quality players on the cheap.  I cannot tell you what those ranges will be, I can only tell you that they will be there if you have the patience and discipline and them time your entry just right so you do not end up leaving money on the table.

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