This year brings my second foray into a CBS Analysts League. Last year I represented Mastersball in the AL version. This year I switched over to the National League to match up with the context of my weekly missive. Even though my writing has covered the senior circuit recently, this would be the first NL-only league I have done in many years so I was very interested to see how things would fare. As this league’s auction was held a few days prior to NL LABR, I didn’t have those results to benchmark from as I would have liked. As a matter of background, this league is the same as the AL-only in that there are 12 teams with the standard 5x5 roto categories and 23 man rosters with a $260 budget.
Trading is allowed in this league and that would turn out to factor into my auction strategy as it developed on the fly. My initial strategy was to try to stick to a 65/35 hitter/pitcher split but wound up slightly more to the pitching side – 62/38.
This auction opened as many do with a good number of the big boys being thrown out right away and a lot of money was going off the table quickly. I made my first purchase not too far into the proceedings as I rostered Roy Halladay for $33, which I felt was fair value with Clayton Kershaw going for $34 and Cliff Lee $31.
The most expensive player off the board was Joey Votto at $44. Falling in line behind Votto was Carlos Gonzalez and Ryan Braun ($43), Matt Kemp ($42), Troy Tulowitzki ($39), Justin Upton and Hanley Ramirez ($36), Giancarlo Stanton ($34). It was then I decided to add my first offensive player in Andrew McCutchen for $32 which was a few dollars over value but someone I wanted at this point. Rounding out the $30 players were Brandon Phillips, Matt Holliday, Hunter Pence, Jose Reyes – all at $30 even. David Wright was the most expensive third baseman, selling for $29.
Brian McCann was the top selling catcher at $21 with Buster Posey ($20) and Miguel Montero ($20 to yours truly) close behind. The first closer auctioned off was Craig Kimbrel at $23. Jonathan Papelbon was the second and I joined in and jumped the bid from $16 to $19 and had my first closer. Joel Hanrahan came up and I secured his services with a $17 bid. I had these closers valued at $21 and $20 respectively. Not too long after, Jason Motte was tossed out. Bidding really started to slow after about $10 - $12 and I decided to jump in with the initial thought of price enforcing but hoping I could get him at a good price under value. The bidding crawled to $14 and I went to $15 and had a third closer for $4 less than my projected value.
Bidding for Motte was the point where I deviated from my pre-auction plan of acquiring two closers as I recognized I could get three at good value, build up a nice cushion in saves, ERA and WHIP, then use one of the three as trade bait for something later on. The auction continued and I filled out my roster. Buying my third closer contributed to me missing out later on players like Michael Morse ($26), Michael Cuddyer ($24), and Freddie Freeman ($20) – one of whom I was hoping to get for first base. But since this is a trading league, I felt I could deal for a first baseman later in the season. Motte was the point where I zigged while everyone else was zagging.
Below is my entire roster, including seven man bench.
C - Miguel Montero (20), Chris Snyder (3)
U – Roger Bernadina (1)
In the end game of the auction I was down to two pitching slots. Surkamp was one of my targets going into the auction and I was able to get him for a one dollar bid. When it was my turn to nominate my last pitcher at $1 my choices were Wells, Westbrook, and Moscoso. However, I looked and quickly saw the last five owners still needing to fill positions all had a max bid of $1. Realizing that I didn’t pick until ninth in the reserve draft I bypassed the three aforementioned pitchers and won Shelby Miller with my last one dollar spot. I decided to make this speculative play at this point because many of the top minor league players (including Bryce Harper, Nolan Arenado, Wilin Rosario) were taken in the auction and Miller probably wouldn’t make it to me at pick nine. I was rewarded by still being able to get the top three pitchers I wanted in the reserve draft.All in all, I’m strong in runs, RBI, and SB on the hitting side and saves, ERA, and WHIP on the pitching side. With good in-season management of FAAB and the trade market, I can leverage these strengths into helping me in BA, HR, K, and W.