I really love playing a lot of variations of roto baseball, and simulation games, because for one thing, I like to play games. And, for another, I think that no matter how different the format, from Scoresheet to Diamond Minds to NFBC format to Front Office to strict AL Only 4X4, playing any format will give clues that will help one be successful in all the other formats.
Well, a few weeks back, as part of Ron Shandler's First Pitch, Arizona, Ron solicited a bunch of us to try a mock draft of a new format he called "Roto 500."
The 500 comes from the total salary cap an owner is allowed over the course of a season, both to purchase a team, as well as free agents and FAAB selections.
And, the draft does indeed take the form of an auction, but, the prices are pre-set as an average of the the previous three season's value, so that there are some bargains, for sure. Like Josh Hamilton for $20, or Jose Reyes for $3.
But, like Roger Maris for so many years, those prices carry an asterisk, for when we went through three-plus rounds during first pitch, Ron also introduced one other wrinkle.
The draft/auction did go in a serpentine fashion, where owner #1 declared a player, and his pre set price (in this case it was Ryan Braun for $36).
But, the wrinkle Ron added allowed for bidding up the player, despite that pre-fixe price assigned.
So, Todd Zola opened the draft with a $36 nomination on Braun. However, once the nomination was made, any of the other eleven owners could make a bid on Braun, who wound up going for $37 to Stever Gardner.
The trick is though was we all could bid and up the player's preset price, but, we could only do this successfully twice while filling our 23-man roster. So, in obtaining Braun, Steve could raise the nomination price of other nominated players, but only until he obtained two such players who did not go for their set price.
Adding to the uncertaintly, had Lord Zola chosen to, he, as the nominating party, had final topper rights, meaning if he wanted Braun for $38, provided he had not landed the two allotted players with raised values, he could have trumped Gardner's bid.
Confused? Well, hopefully not, but the whole exercise made for some interesting stuff. Like Albert Pujols going for $118, Carlos Gonzalez for $98, and Miguel Cabrera for $80.
On the other hand, when extra bidding pretty much exhausted, Reyes did indeed go for $3 and Jorge Posada for $4. And, well, I used one of my toppers to grab Tim Lincecum for $27 after I knew all the other owners save Nick Minnix had exhausted their chances to raise the total.
It was, if nothing else, an interesting exercise in logic and bidding. Personally, I think of this as a game of profit, and no matter how good Mr. Pujols is, he will never earn $118, in any format. In fact, the team that landed him will have to drive serious profits from at least three or four other players simply to break even
If you have more interest in the idea, Ron has a long treatise in his forthcoming 2011 Forecaster, where all is revealed. So, there is just one more fun reason to invest in the terrific BBHQ annual (and, had you attended First Pitch, the price of admission would have landed you a complimentary copy!).