We're exactly one week into the auction process in the Baseball Bloggers Alliance's inaugural "experts" league and just under 50% of the players have been rostered. That said, more that 75% of funds have been spent and only two teams have more left in their coffers than they've laid on the table. It'll be up to them in coming weeks to wield the jesus-stick against imprudent owners who think they can sneak Alex Rios through the draft for nothing more than a crisp two-dollar bill.
The most shocking development from the first week was Ryan Lester's extravagant version of the infamous "studs & scrubs" strategy. In just over 48 hours, Mr. Lester brought home both the consensus #1 and #2 players in fantasy baseball for a single Benjamin. Ryan proceeded to compliment King Albert ($50) and Han-Ram ($50) by paying essentially market value for Felix Hernandez ($28), Dustin Pedroia ($24), Jayson Werth ($22), Jonathan Papelbon ($17), and Joe Nathan ($18), so that going into week two he'll looking to fill half his roster with 10% of his money.
Mr. Lester wasn't the only one employing a "go bold or go home" strategy in the early rounds. Mike Kuchera, the Fantasy Man, dropped $258 on a dozen players in week one, only one of whom was a pitcher (Jon Lester). Monday afternoon he got a good start on building an inexpensive rotation by stealing A. J. Burnett for a measly $8.
Nando Di Fino lies patiently waiting with $145 still in his pocket, but the spending he did do early was on players coming off lost seasons. He took a modest injury-risk discount on Josh Hamilton ($21) and former Cy Youngs, Johan Santana ($26) and Jake Peavy ($20). If all three revisit their elite potential, they'll be worth well more than that.
A few very interesting general trends have developed. The price difference between elite players and the middle tier is even more drastic than usual. Five outfielders went for $30 or more, with Ryan Braun and Matt Kemp going for $40+, but then Jacoby Ellsbury ($25) was the only player between Matt Holliday ($31) and Jayson Werth ($22), who was followed by eleven players selected between $19-$21. So essentially you could have two Grady Sizemores for the price of one Matt Kemp.
For pitchers it was equally dramatic, as Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum both went for $36, but no other pitcher went for more than $30 (Zack Greinke) and a couple perennial Cy Young candidates were available for $20 (Cliff Lee & Chris Carpenter).
It shouldn't surprise anybody that a bunch of experienced fantasy pundits are steadfastly against "paying for saves," but in BLOGZKRIEG! closers have been absolutely dirt cheap. Mariano Rivera and Joe Nathan paced the field (so far) at $18 followed by a dozen closers for $10-$17.
You can follow the auction here, see daily updates from Roto Rebel, or belated entries in The Sporting Hippeaux's "admittedly solipsistic" BLOGZKRIEG! diary.