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Wednesday 21st Feb 2018

I am often asked what I do to prepare for an auction.

I don't really think I do anything other than write about ballplayers somewhere between five and seven times a week, depending upon the time of year. That is pretty good prep work in my universe.

But, at least for auctions, there is one other exercise I put myself through, and for this year's NL LABR draft, I split from my hotel around 3:15 and went to a little restaurant in Phoenix--Giuseppe's on 28th, which has fantastic Ragu Bolognase with fresh pasta--and carbo loaded while I went through my routine.

What I do is pull out a yellow legal pad, and list the positions for the league:  in the case of LABR NL 14 hitters and 10 pitchers. Then I plot out reasonable statistics for the spot, such as catcher #2 should have a line of .257-8-53-0 with 47 runs, and should cost around $3. Meaning Humberto Quintero might be a logical fit.

I do this for the entire roster, but, the trick is I do this completely out of memory. No magazines. No computers. No cheat sheets. Just me and my yellow leagal pad.

I have actually performed this exercise in front of other humans before, and what is scary about it is that it is scary how close to prices and baselines I can come. (Odd, the gifts we are blessed with in this life, no?)

Now, before I go into the difference between the exercise and reality, I should also mention that I am a newbie to LABR NL. I had always played in the American League before, but issues with my mate Perry Van Hook's schedule, couple with I do like to mix things up suggested changing leagues was a good idea. That said, I have not played in an NL only format for over ten years, and in this environment I was a little antsy just to see how it would go.

So, the following table represents the names I wrote down on the tablet, and the names I actually got on my roster (note, I realize the numbers work out $1 over, but again, I used no calculator or tools, and simply filled out the potential roster, adding up the totals after the fact).


Exercise Player (Suggested $)

Purchased Player (Actual $)


Nick Hundley ($9)

Nick Hundley ($11)


Carlos Ruiz ($9)

Carlos Ruiz ($9)


Aubrey Huff ($14)

Aubrey Huff ($12)


Brandon Phillips ($25)

Brandon Phillips ($27)


Martin Prado ($15)

Mark DeRosa ($1)


Brandon Crawford ($3)

Emilio Bonifacio ($17)


Taylor Green ($6)

Taylor Green ($6)


Allen Craig ($7)

Brandon Crawford ($2)


Michael Cuddyer ($17)

Chris Heisey ($15)


Jason Heyward ($19)

Martin Prado ($24)


John Mayberry ($11)

Skip Schumaker ($3)


Jose Tabata ($17)

Jose Tabata ($17)


Nate Schierholtz ($7)

Nate Schierholtz ($5)


Kyle Blanks ($1)

Kyle Blanks ($1)


Matt Cain ($20)

Matt Cain ($21)


Cory Luebke ($17)

Cory Luebke ($15)


Mark Buehrle ($8)

Ryan Vogelsong ($7)


Matt Garza ($13)

Shaun Marcum ($13)


Josh Collmenter ($6)

Josh Collmenter ($6)


Tim Stauffer ($8)

Tim Stauffer ($9)


John Axford ($19)

John Axford ($19)


Sergio Romo ($5)

Brian Wilson ($16)


Javier Lopez ($4)

Wilton Lopez ($1)


Ernesto Frieri ($1)

Jake Westbrook ($1)




Interesting how close I was able to come to the actual prices paid for players I thought would work, and though my team is a little light on power, it is heavy in speed, whiffs, saves and pitching in general. And that means I will have some commodities to swap as the season progresses.

A couple of other notes.

Heyward went for $25, and Cuddyer $27, and that was pushing it too far relative to the time the players were nominated. But by the time Prado came up, it was clear I needed to spend the money and take advantage of the situation.

As for Brian Wilson, I had no intention of getting two closers, but a handful of stoppers, including Axford, went before, all around $19. And, well, it seemed a mistake to let a bargain in a potentially scarce category get by, knowing I could probably trade one of my stoppers during the season. I had not planned on Bonifacio at all, but his speed, position flexibility, and the fact that I did not land either Cuddy or Heyward pushed to this alternative route.

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