CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Now... (04/02)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Now... (04/02)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Hom... (04/07)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Deep Impact: Introduct... (04/02)

April 2, 2014

Fantasy Freestyle

Strategic Agility on Auction Day

by Jeff Quinton

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

By the time this article is up, there will be very few drafts and auctions remaining for the 2014 season. With the successes and failures of this draft and auction season still fresh in our minds, right now is the best time to analyze what went right and what went wrong. It is definitely better than doing so 11 months from now, when we are more likely to be misled by results (positive and negative) as opposed to focusing on process. So let’s dig in.

I have typed a lot of words about draft and auction preparation and strategy this offseason. I am far from being alone on the internet as someone who has done so. Preparation and strategy are great, but they can be made irrelevant if the strategy is not executed on draft or auction day. “Executing strategy” is a nice thing to talk about, but it is something that is not easily done. More importantly, executing your strategy is not always the best way to maximize your auction yield. Wait what? I have been preaching strategy and process all off season and now I say it is not to follow them? What kind on monster am I? I am not saying that strategy is unimportant, but I am saying that depending on the situation, a tweak or change to your strategy mid-auction or mid-draft can maximize your yield.

Your strategy will be based on your analysis and assumptions. Your leaguemates’ strategies will be based on their analysis and assumptions. When you throw all of that into a room or virtual room on auction day, some of those assumptions will be wrong (note that this does not mean that these are bad assumptions; this could be good process and bad results). Regardless of good, bad, right, or wrong, when your assumptions do not hold, it is important to adjust. This is not something that I thought of while pondering auctions late one night; rather, this happened to me in an auction last Saturday. I had a strategy going in, I adjusted early to my team’s advantage, and I failed to adjust toward the end of the auction to my team’s disadvantage. If you partake in auctions, you can certainly learn from my experience.

League background: 11 team, NL-only, 5x5, 15-keeper-max league with high inflation.

Early Auction (The Good): In being able to adjust my strategy, I was able to grab value that my initial strategy would not have captured.

The top players in this auction were the top bats: Andrew McCutchen, Carlos Gonzalez, Ryan Braun, Joey Votto, Troy Tulowitzki, and Justin Upton. I think most would have Upton on the bottom of that tier or in a separate tier, but he was definitely ahead of the next tier of available players, headlined by Mark Trumbo, Matt Kemp, and Aramis Ramirez. Given the high inflation, my calculation had the top tier of hitters going at $45, $43, $40, $38, $38, and $36, as listed above. So what happened? Let us look at the first two players thrown out:

Order

Player

Winning Bid

1

Andrew McCutchen

$41

2

Carlos Gonzalez

$40

Right off the bat, we see $7 of inflation-adjusted value captured based on my valuations. Neither of these players went to me. My plan was actually to avoid this tier altogether, as I was already going into the auction with a lot of bats and was very light on pitching. As soon as this happened, it became apparent that a lot of the other owners had the same assumption and plan as me: The top guys are going to be going for ridiculous prices, so I will sit back and grab the mid-tier guys because that is where the value will be. The result of us all having the same strategy was that the top guys were going to be the bargains and the mid-tier guys were going to be expensive. By being flexible with my strategy, I was able to detour and optimize this part of my auction. Next name up:

Order

Player

Winning Bid

3

Troy Tulowitzki

$32

This one went to me. Following suit were Ryan Braun at $37, Joey Votto at $35, and Justin Upton at $35. Consequently, Mark Trumbo went for $32, Matt Kemp went for $28, and Aramis Ramirez went for $24. As you can see, the values came early, and then it got expensive quickly. Troy Tulowitzki could easily play 25 games for me all season, but the risk is certainly worth the potential reward at that price. Given my $6 savings, I was able to throw a little extra money at my next three selections and grab Cole Hamels ($21), Homer Bailey ($24), and Chris Owings ($11).

Late Auction (The Bad): By not adjusting my auction strategy, I left $7 auction dollars and their value on the table.

Part of this was me being overly happy with my first four selections, and part was me being too tied to my valuations, but more than anything, this was me being too position focused. I was looking for the perfect $7-$8 pitcher that never came. As a result, I missed improving my team elsewhere. Instead of going to $8 on Cody Asche or $9 on Cameron Maybin, I kept waiting to grab a pitcher. To make matters worse, I refused to overpay on that pitcher; thus, I ended up with some speculative bottom-barrel pitching, a $2 Eric Chavez, and $7 of unused money. By refusing to deviate from my plan, I cost my team production.

To make sure I do not make the same mistake again, I am going be following the below process in my auctions next year, especially step four.

1. Know your strategy and your assumptions

2. Always be evaluating your assumptions as the auction progresses

3. Adjust your strategy as needed if your assumptions do not hold

4. Just because you made one adjustment does not mean you will not need to make another

As either my physical therapist or a recent fortune cookie advised me: Stay on your toes.

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

Related Content:  Fantasy,  Drafts,  Auctions

14 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Now... (04/02)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Now... (04/02)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Hom... (04/07)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Deep Impact: Introduct... (04/02)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article Weekly Wrap: July 3, 2015
Fantasy Rounders: The Eve of Fireworks
Premium Article Rubbing Mud: The Variation of All Things
Premium Article What You Need to Know: July 3, 2015
Premium Article Pitching Backward: Manny Happy Returns
Everything You Could Have Learned This Week:...
Premium Article Daisy Cutter: Grandal's Ambitions

MORE FROM APRIL 2, 2014
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Archer de Triomphe
Premium Article What You Need to Know: Revere Does Not Go De...
Testing TrackMan
Prospectus Hit List: Wednesday, April 2
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: Bonds vs. Pedro, and More Fu...
Fantasy Article Deep Impact: Introduction
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Now is the Season of My D...

MORE BY JEFF QUINTON
2014-04-14 - Fantasy Article Interleague Report: Week Three
2014-04-09 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Buying Low, Letting Go, a...
2014-04-07 - Fantasy Article Interleague Report: Week Two
2014-04-02 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Strategic Agility on Auct...
2014-03-31 - Premium Article The Miguel Cabrera Extension
2014-03-31 - Fantasy Article Interleague Report: Week One
2014-03-27 - Fantasy Article My Model Portfolio: Hopefully, No Scrubs
More...

MORE FANTASY FREESTYLE
2014-04-09 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Small-Sample Numbers That...
2014-04-09 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Buying Low, Letting Go, a...
2014-04-07 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Home Cooking
2014-04-02 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Strategic Agility on Auct...
2014-04-02 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Now is the Season of My D...
2014-03-27 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Three Murky Closer Situat...
2014-03-26 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: My Favorite Endgame Targe...
More...

INCOMING ARTICLE LINKS
2015-01-05 - Fantasy Article The Quinton: Zagging: Catchers and an Opport...