I understand the risk attached to Jim Johnson, the newly anointed Braves closer. As of Saturday morning, the Braves trail the Nationals by 6 1/2 games in the NL East and sit five games back of the second wild card spot. One more prolonged losing streak could officially signal the end of their postseason hopes and quite possibly the end of Johnson's tenure in Atlanta. Coming off a disastrous 2014 campaign, the veteran righty is enjoying a fine bounce back season, and contending teams are always looking to acquire an additional bullpen arm at the trade deadline. While Johnson does have plenty of closing experience, chances are he would slide back into a setup role for his new club, squashing his new-found fantasy value. Still, this whole trade scenario remains merely conjecture. Nothing has happened yet, and who knows, maybe nothing will happen. Right now, Johnson will be getting all of the save chances for the Braves, and that's all that matters to fantasy owners. And this is why I was so surprised when I checked the Mixed Auction Tout Wars website shortly after midnight on Thursday.
As it turned out, my $19 bid for Johnson's services was way more than enough to land him, as the next highest bid was $6. So thanks to the Vickrey system, the cost of my Johnson investment was a very reasonable $7. Something didn't seem right about this. Maybe my league mates were aware of vital information that slipped me by? Maybe Johnson sustained some sort of injury while sitting on his couch during the All-Star break? Nope. Checking the FAAB results from the Tout Wars Mixed Draft league further reassured me, as Johnson went for $37. Look, it's entirely possible that he gets traded tomorrow, but $7? And a $30 difference in price between the two 15-team mixed leagues?
This got me thinking about the FAAB process. More specifically, it got me thinking about the Vickrey system, where the highest bid gets reduced to one dollar more than the second-highest bid. All it takes is one additional aggressive bid to force the high bidder to pay a much steeper price. In the case of the Mixed Draft league, there was a $44 bid for Johnson followed by $36 and $27. In Mixed Auction Tout Wars, my $19 bid, which was more of a price-enforcing bid than an expectation of winning him, topped a $6 bid and a $1 bid. In other words, in the Mixed Draft bidding, there was clearly a higher level of interest in the player. My thoughts then wandered to the idea of looking at both leagues and comparing the most expensive FAAB purchases of the 2015 season. And that's exactly what I did. Note that N/A means that the player was not acquired via the FAAB system.
As I thought, the Johnson price difference of 30 bucks is the largest to date, followed by Jason Grilli ($24), Jeurys Familia ($23), Miguel Castro ($22) and Ervin Santana ($21). But since timing is so important when it comes to FAAB prices, Johnson and Grilli stand out among this group being that they were each purchased in the same week in Mixed Auction Tout Wars as in Mixed Draft Tout Wars. Must be something about those Braves closers.
For his $41, Cory Schwartz ended up getting 17 saves from Grilli. If only I can get a bit more than half as much from Johnson.
One down, eight to go.