The following auction took place over two nights during the week of February 2. The format was a mixed league, 12 teams, 23 rounds, 5x5 scoring with a $260 budget for each team.
The roster of participants (by nomination order):
Seth Trachtman – Rotoworld
Perry Van Hook – Mastersball
Patrick Daugherty – Rotoworld
Nathan Grimm – Rotoworld
Clay Link – Rotowire
Ryan Boyer – Rotoworld
Pasko Varnica – Mastersball
Drew Silva – Rotoworld
Lawr Michaels – Mastersball
Rick Wolf – Fantasy Alarm
Matthew Pouliot – Rotoworld
Eric Ferguson – Sporting News
Seth Trachtman’s Team
Best Buy: Clayton Kershaw is the consensus best pitcher on the board, if not the best player period. Getting him for $37 is a value that won’t be duplicated very often in other leagues, and one that I was thrilled to purchase. He’s clearly head and shoulders above every other pitcher, and has the ability to contribute $50 of value.
Worst Buy: Yadier Molina at $16 isn’t a bad value on the surface, but relative to some of the other catcher purchases, in particular Matt Wieters $12, Salvador Perez $11 and Yan Gomes $9, he was extremely overpriced.
Most Interesting Buys: J.J. Hardy is falling until late in mixed leagues, but has shown the power to produce at least $10 of profit … Pedro Alvarez is also a nice, cheap power option at $3 with the ability to match Chris Davis ($15) … Among the late closers, Jonathan Papelbon is a major value at $3 if he can find his way out of Philadelphia … Fantasy owners continue to be unconvinced about Jason Hammel, but he’s back with the Cubs and the peripherals show a strong pitcher.
Perry Van Hook’s Team
Best Buy: If you told someone Evan Longoria would be purchased for $13 at this time last year, you would have been called crazy. But that was the case after a terrible season. Longoria still shows big potential hitting in the middle of Tampa Bay’s batting order, he’s been very durable over the last two seasons, and is still only 29.
Worst Buy: Wilin Rosario’s playing time is on shaky ground after the Rockies signed Nick Hundley this offseason. He’s expected to get a look at first base and the corner outfield spots, but it remains to be seen how Rosario will maintain his at-bats as the Rockies try to get him away from catcher. For $12, he’s a risky pick up.
Most Interesting Buys: Daniel Murphy has been a strong buy for fantasy owners in three consecutive seasons, and brings further upside with the Mets bringing the Citi Field fences in … Fantasy owners haven’t bought into Steve Souza in most of the drafts I’ve participated in to this point, but that’s not the case in this league … Gio Gonzalez has the ability to be a huge profit at $9, albeit as Washington’s fifth starter … Masahiro Tanaka is one of the biggest risks on draft day as he rehabbed his elbow ligament tear without surgery, so he will be feast or famine at $9.
Patrick Daugherty’s Team
Best Buy: Jayson Werth could miss the beginning of the season following shoulder surgery, but is unlikely to miss much time. That discounted his price, but he’s been a terrific value for fantasy owners and will probably reach for a $4 price tag by the All-Star break.
Worst Buy: Steve Cishek and Zach Britton are solid, safe closers, but they are expensive compared to other closers in their same tier. Waiting until the end of the draft and getting cheap second-tier closers is usually the way to go in mixed-league auctions.
Most Interesting Buys: Marcus Semien isn’t generating much buzz, but he’s very likely to play every day for Oakland and brings 15/15 upside along with multi-position eligibility … Jean Segura’s price has declined sharply after a bad season, but his speed still brings huge upside … Ryan Zimmerman’s injury issues have frustrated his fantasy owners, but his shift to first base could make him a strong value this season … Jesse Hahn has apparently gained in hype following last year, while these owners aren’t buying into Phil Hughes.
Nathan Grimm’s Team
Worst Buy: Garrett Richards certainly isn’t a bad purchase at $11, but he’s likely to miss April and it seems tough to believe he will repeat last season after a torn patellar tendon. There are safer buys for that price.
Most Interesting Buys: Prince Fielder is a real crapshoot after missing most of last season to injury. His upside could be huge for $18 … Likewise, Jay Bruce apparently played through knee trouble last season and blamed his struggles on the injury … David Ortiz has been consistently undervalued over the last few years because of age and lack of versatility, but can still profit easily at $9 … Sean Doolittle’s shoulder has some fantasy owners worried, but he managed to become an elite closer last season and could be a huge bargain at $4.
Clay Link’s Team
Best Buy: Most of the catchers in Yan Gomes’ tier went for $12-$16, so Gomes is a huge bargain at $9. There are some skeptics following his first full season as a regular, but he’s been very productive for the Indians over the last two seasons.
Worst Buy: Yasiel Puig has plenty of potential, but he was drafted like an elite outfielder at $31. After last season’s second half struggles, some fantasy owners are more nervous about Puig than this group.
Most Interesting Buys: Once again, Kris Bryant is going like an experienced regular. He has premium power, so $8 actually seems reasonable … Alcides Escobar should be a great buy at $6 if he comes anywhere close to last season’s numbers … Dexter Fowler could be a great profit at $1 given that he’s nearly assured the leadoff spot for the Cubs … It’s brutal to think that Mat Latos was considered a second tier pitcher heading into last season, and now he’s only going for $3 following elbow issues and a drop in strikeouts. Still, Miami presents a far more favorable home environment than Cincinnati.
Ryan Boyer’s Team
Best Buy: There are several candidates, but Desmond Jennings brings the best upside for $1. Still in his prime at age 28, Jennings still features rare 20/20 upside in the leadoff spot if he can actually stay healthy.
Worst Buy: Avisail Garcia is a popular sleeper heading into 2015, and there is reason to believe after what he showed late in 2014. However, Garcia also missed most of the year to a shoulder injury and has hit just .272-14-63 with seven steals in 463 career at-bats. That’s mixed league value but more in the low single digits. His price $12 will be tough to profit from.
Most Interesting Buys: John Jaso is quiet player with concussion issues, but he shows upside if the Rays use him as their primary DH … Chris Davis shows big upside at $15 if his batting average can bounce back at all … It’s rare to get a player at $18 (Billy Hamilton) capable of leading the league in stolen bases … Jenrry Mejia will be quite a value at $1 if he can maintain the closer role for the Mets.
Pasko Varnica’s Team
Best Buy: Hyun-Jin Ryu doesn’t get much respect because of his mediocre fastball and limited innings last season, but his performance in the States deserves respect. He’s 28-15 with a 3.17 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in his first 56 starts, with ERA indicators that show an even better pitcher. Spending only $6 is quite a buy for those stats.
Worst Buy: Buster Posey isn’t the worst value at $30, but he’s a full $10 over the next closest catcher. The injury risk at catcher is generally greater than any other position, and most owners in this league showed that same hesitancy.
Most Interesting Buys: Nelson Cruz fell for good reason after moving to pitcher-friendly Seattle, but it’s probably unlikely he will be so cheap in most drafts after hitting 40-plus homers last season … George Springer is being paid like a star after hitting 20 homers in 78 games … Jacob deGrom has a chance to be a major bargain if he comes anywhere close to last season’s performance, and Carlos Carrasco also brings big profit potential at his price.
Drew Silva’s Team
Best Buy: Chase Utley, anyone? He’s got a poor supporting cast in Philadelphia, but has managed two very strong seasons in a row. At $2, he almost assures profitability if he plays 130 games.
Worst Buy: I know Bryce Harper has all the talent in the world, but he’s yet to reach anywhere near his price in redraft leagues and I don’t see it happening this year at $25. He’s been quite injury prone to this point and has shown no statistical growth through three seasons.
Most Interesting Buys: Devin Mesoraco clocks in as the third most expensive catcher. His 2014 season was a breakout but also a tale of two halves, so it will be interesting to see how he delivers this season … Owners aren’t buying the Yasmany Tomas hype with a reasonable price of $5 … Charlie Blackmon didn’t have a good second half, but should still have profit potential if he remains Colorado’s leadoff hitter … There are plenty of young arms at low prices to like on this squad, most notably Kevin Gausman, Zack Wheeler and Yordano Ventura.
Lawr Michaels’ Team
Best Buy: Billy Butler is looking very cheap in mixed leagues this season between his struggles in 2014 and move to pitcher-friendly Oakland. However, Butler will likely hit in the middle of Oakland’s batting order and is still just 29. He won’t need to do much in this situation to profit.
Worst Buy: Tanner Roark more than earned the $4 price with last season’s performance, but he has no spot in Washington’s rotation. He will need some luck to earn his bid.
Most Interesting Buys: Derek Norris shows great potential for his $1 purchase price, even at PETCO … Josh Donaldson’s price shows an elite player, and this isn’t far off how much I’ve seen him go for in other leagues. He could see big RBI opportunities hitting behind Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista … Alex Wood was the last starting pitcher with true top 20 potential off the board, and his price reflects the fight for his services … Marcus Stroman has as much upside as any single-digit priced starter, and it’s somewhat surprising he didn’t go for more with owners fighting for upside in shallower mixed leagues.
Rick Wolf’s Team
Best Buy: Pablo Sandoval has to learn new pitchers in the AL, but he also goes from AT&T to Fenway. That’s a significant improvement, and Boston’s loaded lineup won’t hurt, either. Plenty of upside for $11.
Worst Buy: B.J. Upton is a $1 purchase, at best, these days in mixed leagues. He went for $3.
Most Interesting Buys: David Wright has fallen on hard times due to shoulder issues, but shows potential at $11 … Brian Dozier is a major value at $8 after going 20/20 last season … David Robertson is a solid value at $10 considering his strikeout potential … As of now, Aaron Sanchez is a name to follow as Toronto’s closer, and he was priced appropriately at $3.
Matthew Pouliot’s Team
Best Buy: Sometimes good players slip through the cracks late in auctions. That’s the case with Aramis Ramirez, who showed signs of age last season but should still be far more expensive than $1.
Worst Buy: Yoenis Cespedes is a popular name in Rotoworld circles this season, and his price reflected that popularity. Still, he’s unlikely to be so highly touted in most leagues, so a $26 price will seem like an overpay.
Most Interesting Buys: There’s some debate over that $17 price for Evan Gattis, but I really like it with Gattis unlikely to serve much time behind the plate … Mike Trout is the most expensive player in the draft at $50. That’s right where I had his value and likely about what we will see him cost in most auctions … I like the potential of the Arizona outfielders on this squad, Mark Trumbo and A.J. Pollock, for their prices. … Jose Fernandez is a very worthy stash at $1. It sounds like he will return at midseason, giving him $20 profit in the best case … Mark Melancon isn’t being drafted like an elite closer yet, but a full season in the role could change that.
Eric Ferguson’s Team
Best Buy: Timing is everything. The draft started before James Shields’ signing with San Diego. Following that signing, he appears to be a great buy at $15 with the move to the NL and PETCO Park.
Worst Buy: Alex Rodriguez. $8. Draft room glitches happen.
Most Interesting Buys: Jason Castro has fallen out of favor, but should still be Houston’s regular catcher and had solid numbers for a two-catcher league last season … Torii Hunter is often being overlooked due to age, but continues to produce. He will be a great buy if he comes anywhere near last season’s numbers … Any closer for $1 is a great buy, even 42-year-old LaTroy Hawkins.