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April 7, 2014

Fantasy Freestyle

Home Cooking

by Mike Gianella


As much as I enjoy the intensity of my expert league, I also enjoy the more relaxing pace of my home league auctions. They also offer a good opportunity for keeper league analysis that the non-keeper expert leagues do not. This past weekend, I participated in an AL-only home league auction. This league is as old school as you are going to get, with the old 4x4 rules still in effect (no runs or strikeouts).

I won this league last year, so as a result, I had a very limited number of freezes coming in on Saturday.

I decided that I was going to spend all of my money on offense unless a closer fell through at a cheap price. I would only buy one or two additional starting pitchers and try to fill in with injury fliers and quality relief arms. I was hoping to spend about $200 on my offense and try to leverage the moderate keeper value in Castro, Loney, and Plouffe with the additional budget for offense to my advantage.

I keep a round-by-round log in this league, so I can see the order the players were selected in and also who had the last bid on a player. Each “round” goes 12 players since there are 12 teams in the league. Dollar values for players I purchased are listed in bold. Players I had the last bid on are in italics (my bid is $1 lower than the listed bid).

Auction inflation was about 16 percent.

Round 1

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Related Content:  Fantasy,  Keeper League,  Auction

22 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

Matthew W

I have read so many articles of your(and value drafters, of which I consider myself a strong member) over the years, there always seems to be a trend with "value" drafted teams...(I did it 3 years in the NFBC NL-only, it got us top 5 only usually..)
namely: old, injured, young, pt concerns, no specialized talent (sb, saves), unknown, 1 hit wonders, etc.

ie: Navarro(unproven), Jeter(old,injured), Pujols(old, injured), Schoop(young, unproven), Cabrera(.700 ops 2013), Bautista(injured, aging), Hamilton(um ya), Soriano(Old), Markakis($15!), Victorino(injured, aging), Reddick(.686 ops, with pt concerns), Scherzer(career year), sanchez(injured), Holland(injured), Santiago(4-9 1.40 WHIP), Crain(injured), Harrison(injured), Hughes(just no.), Ogando(injured/terrible/PT concerns), Peacock(minors/pt concerns)
...
I know it's an only league, but usually with all this uncertainty you could get a bunch more upside maybe?

I imagine that your home league constantly squeezes you with every player you target, so it probably impossible to get good buys!

keep up the great work!


p.s.
(not that anyone cares but I spent less than $55 in my deep keeper NL-only league(25% pitching inflation) and was able to snag this pitching staff: Arroyo, Bastardo, E.Jackson, Kendrick, Romo(Frozen $6), Ross, Thornburg, Jordan, Gee, Niese, Turner, Wood.)
(also just traded for $22 Papelbon after my $2 Parnell had TJ...)

I think that spending the extra $1 can net you ALOT of value in the mid-lower levels of pitching, especially in Only leagues if you do your homework, as oppose to the big bats where that money will always be a -.





Apr 07, 2014 06:59 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

I think your point regarding buying players on the "wrong" side of the age curve when you are having a "value" auction is valid (and I think you could have included Jose Bautista in there as well). However, when the complaint stretches too far and includes everyone regardless of age group, skill set, talent level, etc, then it veers more into an area of "I don't like your players and I think they cost too much money."

This is a valid opinion, but that is all it is. It is also a question of where I see upside versus where you see upside and it's difficult to debate that and "prove" who is right and who is wrong.

It's also worth noting that non-keeper leagues and keeper leagues are different animals. With five freezes and limited values, I was kind of boxed into optimizing categories. I intended to veer away from saves; not buying (enough) stolen bases was an accident, which I'll probably be able to remedy via trade quickly. I get that the $1 pitchers I bought are more likely to fail than succeed, but that's why I spent $1. I disagree with your theory on the lower level of pitching bringing back value; I've studied these data for years and typically the best ROI on pitchers in only leagues is on the extreme ends of the data curve. The pitchers in the middle are dangerous, and commonly lose about $4-5 per pitcher on average.

Apr 07, 2014 07:17 AM
 
Matthew W

My point re: lower-level pitching.

The issue is when you are at $1 players, you are Drafting, and you are drafting last. Let's say every owner gets burned for 6 $1 players. But one owner has $12 left, (they saved $6 or whatever). Now the next best 72 players will need to be "drafted", the owner with $12 will get the BEST 6 players available. Keeping $12 is like going into the reserve rounds, with the first 6 overall picks.

Your own values support this. Using the NL LABR auction as an example, and removing catchers (i don't know why ALL of them went for $2...). The highest theoretical profit per player, is at the $2 range, the $1 players are actually lowest profit per player, until you get into the teens. (Note this is not ROI, its $ profit per player)

My point was, don't draft. We had 3 owners this year, that had to draft 10-12 players, and their teams are a wreck. If they had saved even $2 or $3 per slot, they would have gotten +20 or +30 in value.

Cheers,

Disclaimer: I did tweak the data somewhat, and remove some outliers of players that had been sent down/injured, etc. And I removed your ridiculous $8 value on Baez ;)

Apr 08, 2014 06:25 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

That would be true if I went to $1 per player early, but by the time I registered Schoop nearly every team was in dollar Derbyshire. The only pitcher I missed out on due to a lack of money is Webb.

And your theory would be correct if 12 robot auctioners used Mike Gianella bid prices. Then having nothing but $1 to spend at the end would be bad, bad, bad. But since 12 owners have 12 different opinions on player values, my $1 pitchers aren't $1 pitchers. They're $2-5 pitchers by my lights. Am I right? I don't know but that's the fun of playing out the season.

Apr 08, 2014 07:08 AM
 
Matthew W

You've actually got it backwards. The LATER you get to $1 buys (comparatively), the worse. Everyone else's $1 guys got taken BEFORE yours, which means those players are worse. (unless all the other owners made mistakes, which is not the purpose of this discussion).

That's like saying "I got to pick REALLY late in the draft, that's awesome Right?"

Two points:

Consider an auction to be a draft where you buy your draft slots. (which it is, btw). Let's call it 250 player pool. Using Pecota, the distribution, the LAST player taken is worth exactly $1. The #225 is $2, the #205 is $3. The SOONER you acquire your players, during this stage, the better. I could show it mathematically, but you get the idea.

I was using the aggregate of your projections, to show my point, regardless of which values you use, having $2 per player, allows you to choose 5 players between ranks 150-200. If you wait, and are stuck in dollar days with everyone else, every pick you make is at best 11 picks worse than the last one (because every other has had a chance to pick the bones as well). The players you get will be closer to #210,220,230,240,250.

Yes, other owners will make mistakes/valuation differences, but your goal should Always be to have a Maximum value strategy, and this is Enhanced by having $2 left for every slot.

The easiest way for me to prove this is this: List every player that was taken in your home league at $1 or $2. Put the 5 best on your team, and assign them $2 salaries. Is this more profitable than the 5 you ended up with? If so, QED.

Apr 08, 2014 08:41 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

The 6 $1-2 pitchers I purchased were worth $23 by my bid limits and cost $6. The 6 best $1-2 pitchers purchased by others cost $9 and were worth $13. Leaving extra money for bargains works better in reauction leagues. In keeper leagues it is sometimes a bad plan; and indeed would have in fact been a bad plan last Saturday.

Apr 08, 2014 09:16 AM
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

Sorry, 6 pitchers/$7, not 6/$6. My point stands though. In this auction, leaving extra cash for those slots would have cost me value.

Apr 08, 2014 09:19 AM
 
Matthew W

Well played, you obviously know your league pretty well. You saved yourself $6.

Although you prove my point, accidently. According to your numbers, you got $+17 in value. When the alternative best case was $+8. But since you had no buying power, if the Other owners had said $2 on your players, there was almost no other value left for you to take. There's no way you could have predicted (or enforced) that you nabbed the 5 most valuable players remaining, when you have to wait 11 players longer to pick again.

So, the "schooling"(poker term) present in your auction saved you. If I had been in the auction, and agreed with yor values, I would have taken all those players and earned $23 on $12 in salary. You would have taken then next 6 best, I'll say for $7, and earned $13 (according to your numbers). I win in this case too.

So, the only way in theory, where 6 x $1 is superior, is when you can COUNT on the other 11 owners, not ever picking your guys. Which means you didn't get bargains, you got 6 players no one else wanted.

Apr 08, 2014 09:41 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

Something else you've missing is that nearly everyone was in the $1-2 range at this point. No one had $12/6. Can't steal from me if you can't outbid me.

(This wasn't an accident either. I was tracking this carefully. I'm sure some owners did want my end game bargains but were out of money)

Apr 08, 2014 10:56 AM
 
Matthew W

What do you mean they can't steal from you, they can SAY THE NAME FIRST, that's my entire point.

Apr 09, 2014 09:05 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

Your exercise asked me to include $2 players.

Apr 09, 2014 10:32 AM
 
Matthew W

Huh?

I was referring to: "Can't steal from me if you can't outbid me."

Of course they can, you only get to name one player at a time, if someone else names your next best value before you name another player, he's stolen from you, and worse, for a great value!

Apr 09, 2014 12:32 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

If you read the article carefully, you would have noted that I had more than $1 to bid until player #150 (Hector Santiago). It wasn't a round-by-round, dollar situation until near the very end....with nine players left to go. By this time, the players that could have been "stolen" from me were $2 pitchers. I happened to get both but - again - the marginal value of saving money earlier to gain two dollars in end game value most certainly would not have been worth it even if I failed to get these pitchers.

Apr 09, 2014 13:21 PM
 
adrock

Hi Mike. Thanks for all of your work this year. The auction values and Fantasy Freestyle articles were incredibly helpful for my draft.

I like your pitching, in particular, for what you spent, and your team definitely has a lot of batting upside. That being said, I agree with Matthew W that it's littered with old, injured/injury-prone guys.

Other than Castro and Schoop, who's not cheap at 8, there's no young talent that's likely to break out. That's not a pre-requisite for winning, obviously, and if the creaky folks stay healthy, you could well repeat, but given 16% inflation, I'm guessing there are a number of rebuilders who have significantly stronger lineups coming out of the draft.

Good luck!

Apr 07, 2014 08:05 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

The young talent is mostly kept in leagues like this. I can't think of a young player I missed out on simply because they're almost always locked up in farm systems.

Apr 08, 2014 07:14 AM
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

So where does the extra money to outbid me on these six players come from? Do you get a magical $266 to spend?

No. Every dollar you keep in reserve for the end game is money you decide not to spend earlier. Prior to my end game, I spent $188 on $217 of (inflated) value. If I decide to opt out of earlier bargains so I can have more money for the end, it has to be in a situation where I'll get more bargains at the end by holding back.

I can't COUNT on the other 11 owners always not taking "my" guys. But I CAN count on getting some of my guys and generally speaking getting enough value at the end. I'm never going to buy 6 players I perceive to be worth $6 because there is always variability in the endgame.

To your point about players not being bargains because no one else wants them, this isn't relevant to whether or not I think they've bargains. They're still bargains by my valuation, which is all that matters.

(Incidentally, the other flaw in what you've positing is that in retrospective earnings the $1 buys frequently outperform the $2-3 buys. The variability at the bottom of the player pool is vast; the "control" that we are exhibiting at the auction to get "better" players is an illusion. The $1 player you think is worth $2 frequently outearns the $2 player you think is worth $5. The control in this segment of the auction - even when it does work - is more often than not the illusion of control.

I overpaid for $2 for Schoop. Saving money for endgame bargains can result in more over pays earlier and runs the risk of canceling out your $2 bargains

Apr 08, 2014 10:46 AM
 
Matthew W

You can't argue both sides. Either we are using your valuations, or we aren't.

You can't say "They're still bargains by my valuation"
AND: "Retrospective earnings the $1 buys frequently outperform the $2-3 buys."

Pick one method of evaluation, you can't talk out of both sides of your mouth.

If you choose point #1: then I've shown that saving $2 per player is a safer, more profitable strategy. Unless you can count on no other owner a) over bidding, b) DRAFTING your top 6 remaining players first, since you are stuck waiting 11 turns to try your luck again.

I understand you're dug in on this position now, but you're completely ignoring the logic and the math behind it, it's a very Liss-like approach, and something I thought you were above.

Apr 09, 2014 09:14 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

I responded to this point at multiple points in this thread.

Our points are not mutually exclusive. You are correct that in a universe where 12 owners are Mike Gianella clones that dollar derby is a losing game, and the owner with $2 to spend per player will swoop in and get the best bargains. The reality is that the probability that every owner IS using my prices is close to absolute zero. This also fails to take into account that due to positions getting filled it isn't always possible for an owner to outbid me on a better bargain even if he agrees it is a better bargain.

You also sidestepped my question about where the extra money comes from to have $2 per player in the endgame. The marginal value derived by having extra money in the endgame is at best nullified by ignoring bargain opportunities early but at worst a losing value proposition. Typically there is less variability at the front end of the auction. I might get a $4-5 player for $1 in the endgame

Apr 09, 2014 11:06 AM
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

Hit post by mistake

...but I'm very unlikely to get a $30 player for $27. If I dismiss an opportunity to get a +2 bargain to save money for the endgame, it is highly likely I am doing so to accrue profit that I will derive anyway simply due to standard variance that appears in every endgame environment.

Apr 09, 2014 11:09 AM
 
Matthew W

I agree that getting 5-6 players in the end game is critical in achieving value. In fact, it's the primary argument against 23 * $12 roster construction, that you miss out on $3-5 bargains at the bottom of the roster.

But this reinforces my point.

The ROI of players purchased >$10 is what, 0.75? Lower? Not spending $6, is closer to $4 in value "lost".

So moving that money the 5-6 bottom slots is advantageous, because it Ensures the you get the $4-6 players that fell through the cracks.

Your premise that all $1 are the same is erroneous. The First $1 player taken is more valuable than the Last $1. It's a Draft at this point, nothing else. And getting the firs 5 picks is worth $5.

Here's a comparison: imagine in TOUT, that your salary had to be spent on the first 18 roster spots. The last 5 Active roster spots are drafted. (ignore the reserve round for this exercise, doesn't exist). You (just you) have the choice, of saving $5, and picking all FIVE players of the reserve round, immediately. Which means your picks are 65 players earlier than someone elses last pick. Is That worth $5? To give you an idea, the MINIMUM these players could be worth is $4 per player. The answer should be a resounding Yes. You're spending $5, to earn $20 minimum. Otherwise your expected value from reserve round is around $8-11.

That is the direct comparison to saving $2 per slot, instead of $1.

Apr 09, 2014 12:28 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

My premise was never that all $1 players are the same.

Apr 10, 2014 06:32 AM
 
Matthew W

To specifically address your question:

"extra money comes from to have $2 per player in the endgame"

The money comes from the section of the auction, that has the worst expected ROI (the top). And moves it to the highest expected ROI (the end).

Your own work on rotothink confirms this. I haven't looked for the link, but I'm sure it's easy to provide.

Apr 09, 2014 12:30 PM
rating: 0
 
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