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March 18, 2013

Fantasy Auction Values

Fifth Edition, March 18

by Mike Gianella

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Next weekend, Jason Collette, Paul Singman, and I will be representing Baseball Prospectus in Tout Wars. Jason will be in the AL-only pool, Paul will handle the mixed format, and I will tackle the NL-only side. Just like with LABR, there will be plenty of updates based on how the experts profess their opinions with their bid prices.

For now, let’s get right into this week’s updates...

American League Hitters

David Ortiz — $16 (previous: $19)
The likelihood is increasing that Big Papi won’t be available for Opening Day, with some pessimistic reports suggesting he might miss all of April. For an aging DH-only type, Ortiz’s bid was probably too high anyway. I may move it down again in the next update.

Michael Brantley —  $12 (previous: $10)
I initially moved Brantley and Drew Stubbs’ bid prices down after the Indians signed Michael Bourn, thinking that both outfielders might both lose playing time. But Nick Swisher is moving to first, and both Brantley and Stubbs should start. Brantley isn’t a world-beater but in AL-only formats, he has some sneaky value.

Mark Teixeira — $12 (previous: $14)
The likelihood that Teixeira will need season-ending surgery has increased, according to a report by Stephania Bell of ESPN, but the Yankees say that he has a 70 percent chance of avoiding the knife. As with Ortiz, this bid may need to be revisited in the near future.

Brennan Boesch — $3 (previous: $1)
The Yankees signed Boesch last week. When Curtis Granderson returns, it’s likely that Boesch will wind on the bench, but he should get a good 40-60 games of play, and Yankee Stadium suits his left-handed power swing.

American League Pitchers

Casey Janssen — $12 (previous: $10)
The health reports on the Blue Jays’ closer look better than they did at this time last week, improving the odds that Janssen will be able to answer the bell on Opening Day.

Ernesto Frieri — $6 (previous: $8)
I haven’t heard anything particularly optimistic about Ryan Madson, but unless Frieri blows the doors off, the ninth-inning job is Madson’s when he returns. With Mike Scioscia talking about handing save opportunities to Scott Downs, Sean Burnett, the Rally Monkey, and that peanut vendor with a good arm, this is one of those fantasy situations that offers too much uncertainty for my tastes.

Erasmo Ramirez — $3 (previous: $8)
This was a tough one. Like every other numbers-oriented fantasy analyst, I’ve got good feelings about the Eraser. But both Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times and Jason Churchill of Prospect Insider believe that Jon Garland has a strong chance of cracking the rotation, leaving the Mariners to decide between Ramirez and Blake Beavan for the fifth spot. Baker believes there are open questions about whether or not Ramirez is ready for a full season of major-league innings. Nothing is official yet, but everything I’m reading makes me believe that Ramirez is going to Triple-A. This price cut might be too severe, but I’m not paying $8 for a pitcher who is likely to start the year in the minors.

National League Hitters

David Wright — $30 (previous: $32)
Wright suffered a strained intercostal muscle during the World Baseball Classic, putting his status for Opening Day is in doubt. The bid could go down more if the news gets worse this coming week.

Carl Crawford — $18 (previous: $14)
Last week, I moved Crawford down significantly; this week, I changed direction, moving up back up somewhat. He has played well in a handful of minor-league spring training games, and while he still won’t be ready for Opening Day, he might be back sooner than initially believed. The upside is still here, and the contract means that Crawford will play.

Carlos Quentin — $12 (previous: $14)
Quentin suffered a mild knee injury, but his previous injury history, combined with the fact that he’s had significant knee issues in the past, gives me pause. Like with Crawford, there’s some profit built into this price, but unlike with Crawford, the ceiling isn’t nearly as high.

Danny Espinosa — $12 (previous: $15)
Steve Lombardozzi — $4 (previous: $2)
Espinosa keeps moving down. There haven’t been any particularly negative reports; this is solely based on my suspicion that Espinosa will need surgery at some point during the season. Lombardozzi moves up as a direct result.

Domonic Brown — $11 (previous: $9)
The reports on Brown are glowing. Yes, it’s spring training, but a number of Phillies watchers have been impressed by Brown’s new-and =-improved swing. This is still a modest bid if Brown is starting all year long; of course, that’s why the bid is relatively conservative. Brown has to prove that he can maintain his performance in April and beyond.

Logan Morrison — $9 (previous: $11)
It has been confirmed that Morrison won’t be ready for Opening Day. He could be a bargain at this price, but Morrison wasn’t a top-shelf player in the first place.

Chris Johnson — $3 (previous: $5)
Logan Forsythe — $2 (previous: $4)
These adjustments probably should have been made last week. I believe Juan Francisco and Jedd Gyorko will start at their respective positions in Atlanta and San Diego, and there isn’t enough upside with their understudies to bid more than $2-3.

National League Pitchers

Roy Halladay — $15 (previous: $19)
Zack Greinke — $15 (previous: $23)
More than a few analysts on Twitter loudly proclaimed that if they were drafting today, they wouldn’t touch Halladay or Greinke in any format. That’s well and good if you’re in a shallow league, but deep-league players have to make a call. While these cuts might seem fairly draconian, there are good reasons to go this far down in both cases.

Greinke’s earnings since 2010: $14, $18, and $23. Setting a bid limit somewhere in the middle of his prior earnings if his injury turns out to be significant isn’t as conservative as it looks. Halladay might bounce back, but at age 36, he might not be the same pitcher he once was. If I’m wrong and Halladay returns to elite form, then I lose out, but this bid addresses the possibility that the future won’t be so rosy.

Gio Gonzalez — $22 (previous: $20)
Gonzalez had been a bit too low. He’s not quite in the elite tier of starters, but he should have been closer to these pitchers than I had him previously.

Bobby Parnell — $11 (previous: $8)
Frank Francisco — $4 (previous: $2)
The Mets have all but announced that Parnell is the closer, and even Francisco admitted as much this past week. Francisco’s large contract doesn’t seem to matter; the Mets appear committed to giving Parnell a legitimate opportunity to take over the ninth inning.

Jonathan Broxton — $11 (previous: $13)
The noises coming out of Reds camp about Aroldis Chapman closing again have intensified. If you’re drafting in the next couple of days, this is a tough decision: Chapman will have value in any role, but Broxton is nearly worthless in fantasy if he’s not closing. If Chapman is officially named the closer, I’ll slash Broxton’s bid immediately.

Shelby Miller — $9 (previous: $7)
Health reports on Miller are more promising than they were two weeks ago, so the price bounces back up.

Kyuji Fujikawa — $7 (previous: $6)
I doubt Carlos Marmol gets traded before Opening Day, but the Cubs would love to move him. When that happens, Fujikawa will get the first chance to close. My guess is that Fujikawa finishes with more saves than Marmol, at least in a Cubs uniform.

Edinson Volquez — $5 (previous: $3)
This is a pure valuation reassessment. Volquez strikes out too many hitters to be as low as he was in the bid limits.

Wily Peralta — $4 (previous: $2)
Peralta looks like he could break camp with the Brewers as their fifth starter, so the bid moves up. His minor-league profile is fairly strong, but the expert bid prices make it appear that Peralta is flying under the radar.

Patrick Corbin — $3 (previous: $1)
Tyler Skaggs — $3 (previous: $5)
Corbin seems to be the favorite to join the Diamondbacks as their fifth starter, which would send Skaggs back to Triple-A.

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

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