The following auction took place on February 24. The format was a mixed league, 12 teams, 23 rounds and 5x5 scoring with a $260 budget for each team.
The roster of participants (by nomination order):
Lawr Michaels – Mastersball
Perry Van Hook – Mastersball
Matt Selz – Fantasy Alarm
Matthew Pouliot – Rotoworld
Ryan Boyer – Rotoworld
Eric Ferguson – Sporting News
D.J. Short – Rotoworld
Peter Kreutzer – AskRotoman.com
David Shovein – Rotoworld
Patrick Daugherty – Rotoworld
Seth Trachtman – Rotoworld
Dalton Del Don – Yahoo!
Lawr Michaels’ Team
Best Buy: Among aces, Chris Sale looks like the biggest bargain at $29. He’s arguably the second-best pitcher on the board, but he went cheaper than Zack Greinke, Jake Arrieta, Madison Bumgarner and Max Scherzer.
Worst Buy: It’s a tie between Robert Osuna ($5) and A.J. Ramos ($5). While both pitchers have proven effective, neither is guaranteed a closer job going into spring training. Given all the cheap saves acquired at the end of the auction, these dollars could have been spent better elsewhere.
Most Interesting Buys: Brandon Phillips ($3) put up a double-digit value season in 2015, but it seems few have confidence in him repeating the performance. Brett Lawrie brings huge upside for $1 while eligible at second base, but it seems like we’ve said that yearly at this time. Michaels’ outfield has some fine upside buys, including Randal Grichuk ($9), Stephen Piscotty ($8) and Domingo Santana ($2).
Perry Van Hook’s Team
|MI||Jung Ho Kang||$6|
Best Buy: I love some of the hitter buys Van Hook was able to get, particularly Welington Castillo ($4), Mark Teixeira ($1) and Gregory Polanco ($9). All three have the ability to produce serious profit.
Worst Buy: How much upside does Wei-Yin Chen ($10) have? Moving to the NL and a pitcher-friendly ballpark, he seems like a shoo-in to improve vs. pitching in Baltimore, but several pitchers of his ilk went significantly cheaper.
Most Interesting Buys: Depending on where he bats in the lineup, Ketel Marte ($3) could easily exceed his price tag. He’s shown the batting average and speed in the minors to be an Elvis Andrus-like contributor. Francisco Liriano ($8) has turned into a consistent second-tier strikeout pitcher, so it was surprising to see him go that cheaply. Maybe Dellin Betances ($2) won’t get more than a few saves, but if he matches the other numbers he produced the last two seasons, he will easily earn his price and then some.
Matt Selz’s Team
Best Buy: Shin-Soo Choo ($5) was one of many outfield bargains in this draft. He seems like a safe bet for 20 home runs again. If he’s healthy, he should provide a nice profit.
Worst Buy: With the lack of strikeouts and mile-long arm injury history, I simply have a tough time seeing Jaime Garcia ($5) earning his price in a mixed league. I hope he proves me wrong.
Most Interesting Buys: Nick Hundley hasn’t received much respect, but he far exceeded his $2 price tag last season. He’s still at Coors Field. Logan Forsythe ($1) has a history of injuries, but he should be a fine buy if he hits in the middle of Tampa Bay’s batting order again. Kevin Pillar ($4) is a candidate to hit leadoff for Toronto, and that possibility alone is worth an extra dollar or two. It’s hard not to like Luis Severino’s upside, as he was arguably New York’s best pitcher down the stretch last season and brings big strikeout potential.
Matthew Pouliot’s Team
Best Buy: Devin Mesoraco ($7) was nearly an elite catcher in 2014, and he should be a bargain if his hip is healthy. He went significantly cheaper than other catchers in the same tier.
Worst Buy: It should be noted that this auction took place just before Chicago signed Dexter Fowler, but that move likely pushes Jorge Soler ($7) to the bench. He also has a long injury history, though the Cuban certainly has the ability to earn his price.
Most Interesting Buys: There was a fight over Rougned Odor ($11), with owners picturing his upside. Evan Gattis ($3) is only eligible at the utility position and is questionable for Opening Day, but it’s tough not to like potentially 30 home runs and 100 RBI for that price. Pouliot’s pitching staff has several high upside, single-digit starting pitchers who could be feast or famine at their prices.
Ryan Boyer’s Team
Best Buy: Jonathan Lucroy ($14) is in a relatively unsure situation with Milwaukee potentially trading him soon, but he’s still the third-best catcher on most boards. The fact he went for only $1 more than Brian McCann and $2 more than Russell Martin looks like a bargain.
Worst Buy: Tyler Glasnow ($4) has huge upside, but this isn’t a keeper league. He’s unlikely to see the majors during the first couple months, and might have been better as a free agent pickup or $1 end-game play.
Most Interesting Buys: I was somewhat surprised David Wright ($4) didn’t go for even cheaper given the injury risk. Oh, how the mighty fall. Wil Myers ($1) is eligible at multiple positions, and still has big upside if his wrist is healthy. Jose Reyes ($5) is a wild card given his off-field issues, but it’s hard to fault Boyer for taking him at that price.
Eric Ferguson’s Team
|CI||Byung Ho Park||$6|
Best Buy: Byron Buxton ($7) could be a game-changer. He was overmatched last season, but he would have to be a disaster this spring not to have a starting job on Opening Day. His speed upside alone makes Buxton worth the price.
Worst Buy: Cody Allen ($14) is a fine closer, but he’s simply not worth his price. He was tied for the fourth-most expensive closer in the entire draft, and you won’t find many people who consider him among the top three best closers.
Most Interesting Buys: I’m still a big Marcus Semien fan, especially if he can get out of the No. 8 hole in Oakland. His 15/15 ability is well worth $3. Yordano Ventura ($5) has ace ability, so his price tag was actually somewhat surprising. Byung Ho Park ($6) is a major unknown, but that price looks about right for his supposed power upside.
D.J. Short’s Team
Worst Buy: It’s almost impossible for a closer in a shallow mixed league to earn $20, but that’s what Kenley Jansen went for in this auction. The second-most expensive closer was $16.
Most Interesting Buys: Lucas Duda ($4) just gets no respect, for a hitter who has launched 27-plus homers in consecutive seasons. I consider Billy Burns ($7) a bargain at that price, but even that price isn’t as big a bargain as Ender Inciarte ($3). If you want Carlos Correa ($42), be prepared to pay for a full season of last year’s abbreviated production.
Peter Kreutzer’s Team
Best Buy: Ender Inciarte ($3) was an incredible late-game value who could easily earn five times his price as Atlanta’s leadoff man. These types of values come at the end of almost every auction, typically in the outfield.
Worst Buy: Clayton Kershaw ($52) was crowned the most expensive player in the auction, $3 more expensive than Mike Trout. There’s no question he’s the best fantasy pitcher, but is he really $21 better than any other pitcher?
Most Interesting Buys: Salvador Perez ($9) looks like a nice buy relative Brian McCann, Russell Martin and Matt Wieters. David Hernandez ($5) is certainly the favorite for saves in Philadelphia, but probably has enough questions surrounding his job not to be worth his price. However, he was named relatively early in the draft, so that’s what happens.
David Shovein’s Team
Best Buy: Maybe $4 is the expected price for Gerardo Parra this year, but that still seems like a huge bargain for a regular at Coors Field. He exceeded that value in a career year last season, and should easily exceed it again with the Rockies if he stays healthy.
Worst Buy: It’s difficult to find issues with many of the prices on Shovein’s squad, though Miguel Cabrera’s price does stick out given his recent injury issues. He’s still been highly productive over the last two seasons, but he’s far riskier at $36 than he seemed two years ago.
Most Interesting Buys: Does no one believe in Albert Pujols’ ($7) power rebound, or are they just nervous about his foot injury? Either way, that’s a fine price. Dexter Fowler ($5) is sitting pretty again as Chicago’s leadoff hitter. Mark Melancon’s ($8) drop in strikeouts last season really hurts his value, but he’s still among the safest closers in the game.
Patrick Daugherty’s Team
Best Buy: I loved the Alex Gordon ($5) buy at the time and would have challenged Daugherty on it more if I had the funds. He missed significant time with a groin injury last season, but kept up his usual production while healthy. Gordon can produce three times that price if he stays on the field.
Worst Buy: With Gordon’s situation in mind, Hunter Pence ($14) looks like an overpay. Their situations really aren’t much different, but Pence went for nearly three times the price. That’s just the nature of paying for outfielders early in mixed leagues.
Most Interesting Buys: Yadier Molina’s ($3) price has fallen quickly with recent injuries, but he brings upside for his price in a two-catcher league. Matt Holliday ($3) is just one year removed from being a second tier fantasy outfielder. He seems easily profitable. Kenta Maeda ($5) is a relative unknown, but brings some upside at the relatively cheap cost.
Seth Trachtman’s Team
Best Buy: The end game can bring plenty of values in mixed leagues, as was the case with Will Smith, Carter Capps and Jason Hammel. That’s potentially two very good closers and a strong starting pitcher for $5 combined.
Worst Buy: I regretted the Brian McCann ($13) buy as soon as it happened. The price isn’t terrible, but there were some really nice bargains like Salvador Perez ($9), Matt Wieters ($10) and Devin Mesoraco ($8) if I would have waited.
Most Interesting Buys: Elvis Andrus ($7) seems to have fallen out of favor, but he’s still one of the most consistent shortstops available. Marcell Ozuna ($1) lasted until the end, when owners ran out of money. This is also the second time I’ve seen Kendrys Morales go for $1, and he’s certainly worth more.
Dalton Del Don’s Team
Best Buy: Some really nice buys on this squad, but I consider veteran Adrian Beltre ($10) to be the best. Despite his age, he remains extremely productive and in a fine situation with Texas.
Worst Buy: I really, really like Corey Seager ($24), but he has to be awfully good in his rookie season to reach his price.
Most Interesting Buys: Aroldis Chapman is probably baseball’s best closer, but a possible suspension could make him into a bargain. Noah Syndergaard ($15) was cheaper than some of the pitchers in his tier, and shows the potential to outproduce most of them if the Mets don’t cap his innings. Steve Cishek ($1) is another bargain end-game closer.