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Secret Avatar wrote:I've never done a baseball auction draft but I've done some football auctions. The key is to get players at no more than their top-side value. Don't overpay. Stick to facts and not emotion.
The auction usually starts off with a bang because everyone is pumped up, heavy on the bank, and dreaming of their name in neon lights. If a huge name like Pujols comes up for draft early, they'll be a feeding frenzy and he'll almost certainly go for a ridiculous price. RESIST THE TEMPTATION. Let someone else overpay for the big names like Pujols and Beltran (and they WILL overpay). Hold onto your money and wait for a more reasonably priced 1B to come along. It'll allow you more money to spend on another player. Once the high rollers are thin on cash, you can feast on solid players for much cheaper prices.
On the other hand, if some lesser names come up early, you might be able to get them cheaply so jump on them. To continue the 1B example, if a solid 1B like Huff (who is a solid player coming off a slightly down year) comes up early, you might be able to get him on the cheap because the high rollers will be waiting to throw down monster wood for Pujols and Helton. If you can get guys like Huff cheap, PULL THE TRIGGER even if you were planning on getting a better 1B. Use the cash you saved on Huff and upgrade somewhere else, preferrably at one of the thinner positions (2B, SS, C).
You will need some top players to win the league, though, so at some point you'll have to throw down. Just choose those big players carefully and you should be okay. Just like in buying computers, the best bets are usually the 2nd or 3rd model down from the best. Let someone else pay $4000 for the 3.5 ghz model when you can get the 3.3 ghz for $3400. A guy like Delgado at $25 to $30 is a much better deal than Pujols at $45 to $50.
A good starting point is to divide the total cap by the number of positions on your roster. That'll give you the average price you can afford for each slot. Obviously, you'll need to pay more than the average for the better players. But keep that average price in mind. If the bid for even a top player gets to more than a few times the average price, that's a wake-up call to put down the bong. When in doubt, STAY AWAY. If you overpay for a guy you are stuck with him. If you miss out on a potential opportunity, so what -- they'll be plenty more to come. Just get the next one.
Between hitting and pitching, I'm leery about spending big on SPs because pitching in general can be so volatile and young arms in particular. Guys like Sheets, Prior, Peavey, and Perez are gonna go for big money, and I'll bet you dollars-to-donuts that at least one of them takes a crap in 2005. That's just the nature of pitching. How many people got burned by spending big on Prior or Halladay for 2004? Or Zito a year or so earlier?
If you are gonna spend big, I would lock in a few big bats instead. Much more predictable IMO.
Another tip for pitching is to pay close attention to middle- or back-of-the-rotation guys pitching for good teams (and preferrably in the NL). Even a marginal pitcher is gonna get end up with 12+ wins on St. Louis, the Yanks, or Boston. These guys usually are so far under the radar you can pick them up for next to nothing (even $1). Obviously, you don't want to build your rotation around guys like this, but you can usually find a few that will put up numbers that are not THAT far off from the more well-known names at a fraction of the price, leaving you free to spend the $ elsewhere.
Ditto for back-of-the-lineup hitters on good teams. Again, even a minor league hitter will end up with a good number of runs and RBIs playing in a line-up like St. Louis, Texas, or the Yanks.
In any draft, you want to target players on the rise, but in an auction keeper draft it becomes more important because you'll get to keep them next year at the same price. On the other hand, if you overpay for some star, you'll be stuck with him next year at that inflated price or else drop him back into the draft.
As always, there's an exception to this rule. You don't want to throw tons of money at unproven players even if they are expected to be the "next big thing." Cases in point: Wright and Morneau. They have less than half a season in MLB and people are ready to throw down serious stash on the hope they turn out. Resist that temptation too. If you can pick either of them up for a good price, fire away. But if the bid starts getting up near the price of more established players, just keep your powder dry. For every "next big thing" in baseball there's 10 who flop. Drew Henson anyone?
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