This Saturday, I was privileged to be invited by Peter Kreutzer to run the online spreadsheet for this year’s Mixed Tout Auction. I had expressed a desire to work at some point over the weekend at the Sirius XM studios and was excited about the prospect of being in the room as the Touts built their rosters for the upcoming season. Of course I was there to work, and typing over 400 names and prices into a laptop over the course of 5 hours can become almost mind-numbing, so I decided prior to the auction that I would try my hand at shadow-drafting as we went along.
For those of you not familiar with the term or practice, shadow-drafting is when you sit in a fantasy auction as an observer and build your own roster of players as the auction unfolds. You “purchase” your players by deciding which ones to bid an extra dollar over the final price. For example, in this draft Mike Trout was the first player sold and went for $43 to Scott Swanay. If I had been willing to go $44, then I would add him to my roster at that price.
All I had was a piece of paper with the roster spots to fill and a column to keep track of my shadow-draft budget as I went along. I would “buy” my players as the draft went along, and as much as possible would engage in bidding in my mind, rather than decide to buy a player after the fact. If I “won” a bid, I wrote the player down on my sheet and subtracted the price from my running budget. Running the spreadsheet meant that I would have a good grasp at which players were off the board, since I would not be scratching names off a list like normal. I tried to mentally prepare to target at least a few players going in, like I would if I was actually participating, and actually ended up with many of them on this mythical roster.
It was a fun exercise that definitely kept me mentally involved in the proceedings throughout. It was fun to decide which players I would be in on before auctioneer Jeff Erickson announced “sold” and I felt like I easily gained more from the experience than I would have otherwise. One caveat to shadow-drafting any auction is the fact that when you buy your player for that extra dollar, it assumes that the owner who actually bought them wouldn’t continue to bid them up. In many cases they would do exactly that. Also, multiple owners end up with the players you “buy”, so your shadow-draft results need to be observed in the proper context.
So here is the “team” I ended up with followed by the owner who actually bought them at the auction:
C – John Jaso - $7 (Ray Flowers)
C – A.J. Ellis - $8 (Scott Swanay)
1B - Paul Goldschmidt - $27 (Cory Schwartz)
3B – Mike Moustakas $10 (Paul Singman)
CI – Allen Craig $22 (Scott Swanay)
2B – Brandon Phillips $20 (Patrick Davitt)
SS – Josh Rutledge $11 (Patrick Davitt)
MI –Erick Aybar $8 (Tim Heaney)
OF – Melky Cabrera $16 (Cory Schwartz)
OF – Austin Jackson $18 (Patrick Davitt)
OF – Hunter Pence $10 (Seth Tracthman)
OF – CoCo Crisp $7 (Fred Zinkie)
OF – David Murphy $3 (Cory Schwartz)
UT - Michael Brantley $2 (Nick Minnix)
P - Matt Moore $17 (Tim Heaney)
P - Brandon Morrow $14 (Ray Flowers)
P - Alex Cobb $8 (Nick Minnix)
P - Trevor Cahill $9 (Patrick Davitt)
P - Jarrod Parker $8 (Cory Schwartz)
P - Alexi Ogando $7 (Al Melchior)
P - Wade Davis $3 (Derek Van Riper)
P - Joe Nathan $15 (Zach Steinhorn)
P - Casey Janssen $7 (Fred Zinkie)
Overall, I finished with $3 left over. My players came from the rosters of 12 of the participants with Cory Schwartz and Patrick Davitt accounting for 4 players each. As a tip of the hat to the three owners not represented above, we’ll cherry-pick a favorite reserve off each roster and then my favorite undrafted player.
RES – Justin Masterson (David Gonos)
RES – Al Alburquerque (Eric Mack)
RES – Stephen Drew (Nando DiFino)
RES - Drew Smyly
There were obviously some players I wished I had either bid on early or had money to get later. Yu Darvish ($24), Jordan Zimmerman ($14), C.J. Wilson ($6) and Ryan Vogelsong ($6) were some pitchers whose names I jotted down as guys I liked but either had no room or money for. B.J. Upton ($23), Adrian Beltre ($27), Aaron Hill ($20), Yoenis Cespedes ($24), Lorenzo Cain ($6) and Dexter Fowler ($10) were names of hitters I added next to the names of guys I actually bought as some I would have also liked to have found room for. Want to try and come up with your own alternate roster? Go to the Tout Wars site, click on the link to the live spreadsheet and construct your own team. Feel free to post your own in the comments below.
Follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanpcarey