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Tuesday 28th Mar 2017

The CBS Analysts NL-only Auction league draft was held late last week. I represent Mastersball and play against CBS Fantasy Baseball Senior Writers Scott White and Al Melchior, among other experts. The league follows the standard roto rules and has 23 active roster spots plus seven reserves.

Here is a rundown of the draft and the bidding with a few notes about my team.

CATCHER

The bidding followed the path of the projected values. There were no surprises other than one team picking up both Buster Posey and Kyle Schwarber.

CORNER INFIELD

The very opposite was true for 1B and 3B. Bidding went far above the value ceiling. Just as an example, Maikel Franco went for $25 and Justin Bour for $17. The original plan for my team was to bypass the elite first basemen and go for either Brandon Belt or Lucas Duda. When bidding for Belt and Duda exceeded my budgeted max, I picked up Ben Paulsen for $13 and Matt Duffy for $17. At Corner Infield, I have Atlanta's Adonis Garcia ($5), who as of today appears to be the starting third baseman.

MIDDLE INFIELD

This is the only position where you could find a bargain for a buck or two at the end of the draft. But these bargains were not necessarily full-timers. For example, I picked up Jedd Gyorko ($2), who will spell Kolten Wong when the Cardinals face a lefty. Should you be interested, Trea Turner went for $8. I have Ben Zobrist ($18), Alexei Ramirez ($13) and Jonathan Villar ($8). I love Zobrist. He is going to score a ton of runs and has multi-positional eligibility.

OUTFIELD

Unlike mixed leagues, this position is thin. If you wait, you will be scraping the bottom of the barrel. I waited and ended up with Alex Guerrero ($1) as my fifth outfielder. If you do not wait, you will find expensive options. The top-21 outfielders all went for more than $20. One way to resolve the outfield dilemma is to pick up players who qualify at more than one position, like Zobrist and Paulsen. Being able to slot either at OF gives me a wide choice of free agents for in-season additions.

UTILITY

No AL or NL-only team can be without a weakness or two immediately after the draft. There just aren’t enough players with regular jobs to fill all rosters. Considering that Utility is the easiest position to fill during the season, you may want to wait and pick up a $1 player for this spot. Sean Rodriguez, who will have an almost full-time role while Jung Ho Kang is out, is my team’s Utility. That gives me the month of April to find a substitute.

STARTING PITCHER

They say that NL pitching is much more talented than AL pitching. Let me tell you that’s not good news. Elite pitchers and the ones from bottom tiers went for their value. On the other hand, the bidding for the hurlers from the middle tiers rarely stopped at less than $15. It probably has to do with the appreciation for NL pitching. On my team, I have Jake Arrieta ($30), Michael Wacha ($20, overpaid), Jason Hammel ($14, grossly overpaid), John Lackey ($15), Rubby De La Rosa ($6) and Robbie Ray ($4). Note that three are Cubs and two play for the Diamondbacks, the two most improved teams in the NL. I am counting on getting wins from them. If you are debating between equally valued hurlers, take the one from a team that is expected to do well.

RELIEF PITCHER

As of now, there are very few solid choices for getting saves. Hence, the top closers will cost you. I picked up A.J. Ramos ($13) in spite of the threat from Carter Capps. In addition, my team has two $1 players, Kevin Siegrist, whom I hope will repeat his 2015 performance, and Tony Watson. Rumors are that the Pirates could ship out Mark Melancon by mid-year and promote Watson to close games. Something for you to keep in the back of your mind.

Some of the prospects who went during the last rounds or in the reserve draft: Brandon Drury, J.P. Crawford, Socrates Brito, Sean Newcomb, Justin Nicolino, Robert Stephenson and Jesse Winker.

You can find the full results of the auction in this CBS article here.

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