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Sunday, March 13, 2011

BBA BLOGZKRIEG! Auction: Watch Out For Falling Prices

In the wake of the "Year of the Pitcher," the conventional wisdom avers that top-flight Aces are not worth what they once were.  This was exactly what played out during the first week of auctioning for BBA BLOGZKRIEG! 2011.  Even last year's NL Cy Young winner, who was the most expensive pitcher of the 2010 class, fell $4 in 2011.  Other high profile starters like Tim Lincecum ($28), Yovani Gallardo ($22), and Chris Carpenter ($17) also saw their prices drop considerably, despite excellent 2010 performances.  King Felix ($34) was the most expensive pitcher of this year's auction.  Doc Halladay was the only other pitcher to top $30.

However, the pitching market was the only thing suffering from deflation.  Last season, half a dozen hitters went for upwards of $40, with both Albert Pujols and Hanley Ramirez clearing the $50 mark.  This year, even Albert dropped modestly (to $49), and HanRam ($43) was the only player who came within $10 of the undisputed king of fantasy.  Other perennial studs, like Ryan Braun ($38), Matt Kemp ($33), and Mark Teixeira ($33) came down substantially from where they were a year ago, while BLOGZKRIEG! participants remained somewhat conservative towards 2010 MVPs Joey Votto ($35) and Josh Hamilton ($31), as well as breakout MVP candidates Carlos Gonzalez ($34) and Jose Bautista ($27).

With most of the premium players rostered, there is still quite a bit of money on the table, so the next week of bidding for mid-level and high-upside talents should be pretty furious.  Expect to see some popular "sleepers" become the object of bidding wars.

The most controversial strategy of the week came from Fantasy Baseball Dugout's Jonathan Bentz, who, like Phil Hellmuth, arrived late to the table, laying down no bids and offering no nominations during the first three days.  However, he got to work in a hurry, landing Ryan Howard ($33) as his cornerstone and then chasing a variety of mid-level pitchers and high-upside hitters over the next 48 hours, so that by the end of the week, he had rostered as many players as all but two league-members.  With $168 still in his pocket, he can be a force in the middle rounds.

Scott Swanay, the Fantasy Baseball Sherpa, and Ryan Lester of Lester's Legends were busy early, filling half their rosters.  Coming off an extreme version of "studs and scrubs" in 2010, which earned him a third-place finish, Ryan went for a much more even distribution of wealth in 2011.  Adrian Gonzalez ($36) is his highest-paid player, but he took five more guys at $20 or more.  Running contrary to the conventional wisdom, Ryan grabbed three top-notch Aces - Justin Verlander ($26), Ubaldo Jimenez ($23), and David Price ($19) - as well as the league's two most expensive closers, Brian Wilson ($20) and Heath Bell ($17).

Scott, meanwhile, nabbed Pujols ($49) and Halladay ($32), giving him arguably the best individual producers on each side of the ball, then surrounded these bastions of consistency with semi-risky bounceback candidates like Kendry Morales ($23), Ian Kinsler ($20), Derek Jeter ($17), and Bobby Abreu ($9).  It says a great deal about the popular opinion regarding Jayson Werth's move to the Nationals, that Scott landed him for only $18, $4 less than he cost in 2010, even though Werth is coming off the best season of his career.

On the other side of things, Adam Dunn, who is leaving Washington for what many believe will be friendlier confines, spiked all the way to $30, even though his stats have been utterly consistent for nearly a decade.  Daniel Aubain, the Colorado Springs Fantasy Baseball Addict, won the bidding war for the newest White Sock, who he hopes will benefit from the power-friendly park and his new role as a primary DH.  Aubain spent big in the early rounds, also nabbing CarGo, Troy Tulowitzki ($39), Paul Konerko ($20), and two of the league's three most expensive backstops, Joe Mauer ($24) and Buster Posey ($20), duplicating the strategy endorsed last season by Jon Gangi of Roto Rebel.

But probably the most aggressive bidding of the opening week came from the Fake Teams tandem of Ray Guilfoyle and Jeremy Miedzinski.  They spent 60% of their bankroll on six players - Miguel Cabrera ($38), David Wright ($36), Carl Crawford ($36), Matt Kemp ($33), Jose Bautista ($27), and Jon Lester ($26).  It's a pretty intimidating front line, but they will need to be creative in filling out their remaining 18 rosters spots in the next week, for which they have set aside $43.

Only a third of the league is filled, so there's still fireworks to look forward to.  You can follow the auction and learn more about the participants here.

Most Expensive By Position:

1. Joe Mauer, MIN $24 (COSFBA)
2. Brian McCann, ATL $21 (Fake Teams)
3t. Victor Martinez, DET $20 (Lester)
3t. Buster Posey, SFG $20 (COSFBA)

1. Albert Pujols, STL $49 (Sherpa)
2t. Miguel Cabrera, DET $38 (Fake Teams)
2t. Prince Fielder, MIL $38 (AFB)

1. Robinson Cano, NYY $34 (Squawkers)
2. Dan Uggla, ATL $26 (Nando)
3. Dustin Pedroia, BOS $25 (Sherpa)

1. David Wright, NYM $36 (Fake Teams)
2. Evan Longoria, TBR $35 (BleacherGM1)
3. Ryan Zimmerman, WAS $32 (RotoProfessor)

1. Hanley Ramirez, FLA $43 (BleacherGM2)
2. Troy Tulowitzki, COL $39 (COSFBA)
3. Jose Reyes, NYM $26 (FBHS)

1. Ryan Braun, MIL $37 (Hippeaux)
2. Carl Crawford, BOS $36 (Fake Teams)
3. Matt Holliday, STL $33 (BleacherGM2)

1. Matt Kemp, LAD $33 (Fake Teams)
2. Josh Hamilton, TEX $31 (AFB)
3. Andrew McCutchen, PIT $30 (BleacherGM2)

1. Carlos Gonzalez, COL $34 (COSFBA)
2. Nelson Cruz, TEX $28 (BleacherGM2)
3. Justin Upton, ARZ $26 (Hippeaux)

1. Felix Hernandez, SEA $34 (AFB)
2. Roy Halladay, PHI $32 (Sherpa)
3. Tim Lincecum, SFG $28 (RotoProf)
4t. Jon Lester, BOS $26 (Fake Teams)
4t. Justin Verlander, DET $26 (Lester)
6t. Clayton Kershaw, LAD $25 (Squawkers)
6t. C. C. Sabathia, NYY $25 (Hippeaux)
8. Cliff Lee, PHI $24 (RotoProf)
9. Ubaldo Jimenez, COL $23 (Lester)
10t. Yovani Gallardo, MIL $22 (BleacherGM2)
10t. Zack Greinke, MIL $22 (Nando)
10t. Cole Hamels, PHI $22 (BleacherGM)
10t. Josh Johnson, FLA $22 (Sherpa)

1. Brian Wilson, SFG $20 (Lester)
2. Heath Bell, SDP $17 (Lester)
3t. Carlos Marmol, CHC $16 (COSFBA)
3t. Mariano Rivera, NYY $16 (Nando)
3t. Joakim Soria, KCR $16 (RotoProf)

Biggest Risers From 2010:
Carlos Gonzalez, COL + $22 ($34)
Buster Posey, SFG + $19 ($20)
Paul Konerko, CWS + $18 ($20)
Andrew McCutchen, PIT +$17 ($30)
Jason Heyward, ATL + $17 ($24)
Colby Rasmus, STL + $16 ($18)
Robinson Cano, NYY + $15 ($34)
Dan Uggla, ATL + $15 ($26)
Martin Prado, ATL + $15 ($19)
Adam Dunn, CWS + $14 ($30)
Neftali Feliz, TEX + $14 ($16)

Biggest Fallers From 2010:
Alex Rodriguez, NYY - $17 ($26)
Chase Utley, PHI - $14 ($23)
Mark Reynolds, BAL - $13 ($8)
Bobby Abreu, LAA - $10 ($9)
Carlos Lee, HOU - $10 ($9)
Jose Reyes, NYM - $9 ($26)
Joe Mauer, MIN - $9 ($24)
Ian Kinsler, TEX - $9 ($20)
Pablo Sandoval, SFG - $9 ($19)
Derek Jeter, NYY - $9 ($17)
Nick Markakis, BAL - $9 ($11)
Jason Bay, NYM - $9 ($11)


Daniel Aubain said...

Thanks for the summary. I wish I had a little more restraint in my early bidding. Hate seeing all these great names flying off the board at bargain prices and I don't have the budget left to get involved.

Considering this is my first ever "online" auction, I think I'm holding my own with some veterans of the format. And I don't think the word SLOW can accurately be described with words.

Thanks for the invite and can't wait to put my site's reputation on the line!


Scott said...

Thanks, Matt! It's been a ton of fun so far, and I'm sure Week 2 will be even more interesting as some of those who lay back during Week 1 will have plenty of bargains to choose from during Week 2.

I haven't been tracking this in any organized fashion, but it seems every time I check, Nando has scooped up yet another bargain. I'm not sure that he's overspent on a player yet, but he's still putting together quite a formidable roster. Time will tell.

Scott (The Sherpa)
Fantasy Baseball Sherpa

Jonathan Bentz said...

Yeah, appreciate the summary Hippeaux. This draft has worked out really well for me considering the fact I am still living on "Nassau Time" even though I've been back from vacation for a week. Personally, I may have reached on a couple of the mid-level pitchers, but any of them that fail to pan out can be replaced by pitchers who get hott during the year.

Hippeaux said...

Yes, I think the pitching mark-ups in the second week could get really interesting. We've already seen Tommy Hanson, Mat Latos, and Max Scherzer climb to within a few dollars of the elite Aces. I have a feeling there aren't going to be too many bargain basement pitchers, which could make the acquisitions of Roy Oswalt, Josh Beckett, and Tim Hudson in that $9-$12 range look like real steals.

I agree, Scott, Nando has quietly been putting together a scary team. A-Rod at $26 may be the most interesting pick of the entire auction. Assuming that he'd play like a cornerstone allowed Nando to not invest upwards of $30 on anybody, so he's been able to fill his team with guys in that $15-$25 range which is usually synonymous with low-risk/high-reward.

There's good and bad in that aggressive early bidding, Daniel. You and the Fake Teams guys both have multiple players who would have gone in the first round if this were a straight draft, but you're right, when high upside guys like Daniel Hudson and Adam Jones start going for $10 and less, it can make you cringe a little.