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March 4, 2013

Fantasy Auction Values

Third Edition, March 4

by Mike Gianella

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This is the third installment of Baseball Prospectus’s 2013 5x5 bid limits for 12-team National League, American League, and mixed league Rotisserie-style formats. While the first two installments were based mostly, if not entirely, on my own opinions and predilections, this installment is influenced by a second opinion: expert auction prices.

The League of Alternate Baseball Reality (or LABR, as it’s more commonly known) expert auctions took place over the weekend in Phoenix, Arizona. (The CBS Analyst League auctions took place were held online last Tuesday and Thursday.) LABR is the more renowned league, but both auctions give me my first opportunity to see how “realistic” my prices are compared to the market.

Brett Anderson is a terrific example. In my AL-only bid limits, I had Anderson at $10, but he went for $19 in CBS and $17 in LABR. While I think both of those prices are too high, I’m willing to concede that my price may have been somewhat low. My concerns about Anderson pitching a full season remain, but there is no doubt that when he is on the field, his earnings-per-inning are terrific.

Below are some other significant changes from last week’s update to this one. I’ll note whether or not they were influenced by the expert auctions in the notes.

(Note: National League LABR started at 7 p.m. EST on Sunday night. There will be some bid updates stemming from that, but due to the timing of the auction, no written updates until next week.)

Mark Trumbo — $18 (previous: $15)

Trumbo went for $22 in CBS and $21 in LABR. I’m still not a fan and am worried about his second-half collapse last year, but I am willing to concede that my $15 bid wasn’t realistic. Trumbo earned $22 in 2012, has a better lineup around him, and could earn $20+ again. However, $18 is suitable enough as a thumbs down judging by the market.

Mike Napoli — $14 (previous: $9)

Napoli went for a pretty penny in CBS ($17) and LABR ($18). Perhaps I was overstating my worries about his health in the earlier versions of the limits. My mistrust of Napoli also ties into his earning potential. His bad batting average limits his ceiling, with 2011 being the only season in which he bucked the trend and earned over $20.

Aaron Hicks — $6 (previous: $2)

I’m not sure Hicks is going to win a starting job out of camp, but it looks more and more likely that he will be up at some point in 2013. If you can bid on players that start in the minors, $2 isn’t going to cut it for Hicks.

Brett Wallace — $6 (previous: $9)

Wallace should make the Astros out of spring training, but he might not be an everyday starter if Chris Carter doesn’t work out in the outfield.

Jason Castro — $6 (previous $3)

I’m not a big fan, but if Castro can stay healthy (a huge if), he could earn $8-10 as a catcher. I pushed some other catchers up a little bit less for those of you in leagues where the bidding on catchers is spirited.

Fernando Martinez — $5 (previous: $8)

Just as with Wallace, I’m not as certain about Martinez’s role as I was a couple of weeks ago. This bid could easily go back up if I get some assurances about Martinez as an everyday player, but I suspect that J.D. Martinez might steal more time from him than I initially anticipated.

Doug Fister — $16 (previous: $19)

I’m still a big fan of Fister’s, but he went for a tepid $14 in both CBS andLABR. Sixteen dollars seems like more than enough to get him, and keep in mind that the bid limits are guidelines and not set in stone. Fister is the kind of pitcher I would easily sail past $16 under certain circumstances.

Brett Anderson — $14 (previous: $10)

See above.

Casey Janssen — $10 (previous: $13)

My concerns about Janssen’s health status grow with each passing day. He is still the closer, but with Sergio Santos waiting in the wings, Janssen might be one of the weaker options in the American League pool. I also moved Santos up from $2 to $4

Chris Perez — $10 (previous: $14)
Vinnie Pestano — $5 (previous: $2)

Perez looks likely to start the regular season on the disabled list. I didn’t push Perez too far down since the injury doesn’t sound too serious, but if the Indians ease Perez back in, it could hamper his value. Five dollars seems like a lot for a fill-in closer, but Pestano offered strong earnings as a setup man in 2012 and can do so again this year.

Grant Balfour — $9 (previous: $5)
Ryan Cook — $5 (previous: $9)

Balfour also is likely to start the season on the disabled list, but it seems unlikely that Cook will simply take the job and run with it while Balfour is out. Hence, I flipped their prices.

There are a number of pitchers I moved down considerably simply due to the fact that the market for them was lukewarm and I needed to shave some money off of the pitchers in general. These pitchers were:

Dan Straily — $6 (previous: $10)
Chris Tillman — $5 (previous: $8)
Felix Doubront — $5 (previous: $9)
John Danks — $4 (previous: $7)
Justin Masterson — $4 (previous: $8)

Look for Jason Collette and Paul Singman’s side-by-side analysis of CBS and LABR’s prices for both expert leagues on Tuesday.

Mike Gianella is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Mike's other articles. You can contact Mike by clicking here

12 comments have been left for this article.

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