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March 30, 2012

Fantasy Beat

Comparing CBS, LABR, and Tout AL Prices

by Jason Collette

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One of the fascinating things to follow during the weeks leading up to the season is how highly players are valued in different auctions. Luckily for writers, there are three different points in which players are auctioned in a public format: the CBS Auctions, the LABR Auctions, and Tout Wars. CBS does their auctions in late February, LABR the first weekend of March, and Tout happens the weekend before opening day. That type of schedule allows us to see how factors such as injuries, spring breakouts, and spring slumps are affecting auction values.

There is some name overlap as far as the participants in each format, but the sites that are represented have much more overlap, so the methodologies influencing the projections in play exist in all three leagues.

Below is a Google Doc that shows the auction values for all three leagues as well as each player’s highest value, lowest value, and the difference between those two figures. In all, 305 players were drafted, meaning just 29 players did not appear in all three league results.

No player saw his value fluctuate more than Daniel Bard, and that is due mostly to Bobby Valentine’s non-committal statements about his role. Bard went for $11 and $13 in the two early auctions but saw his value drop to just $2 in Tout Wars this past weekend, as it appears Bard is destined for late inning work along with Mark Melancon while Felix Doubrount and Alfred Aceves get the final rotation spots. If Valentine changes his mind (or Ben Cherington changes it for him), that $2 price will be quite a bargain.

Vernon Wells saw his value double from the first auction to the second auction, while the Tout Wars drafters fell in the middle of that range. Luke Scott was a concern for the first auction as he went for just $3 (to our own Derek Carty), but he has shown his shoulder looks good so far this spring and his value has gone up accordingly in each auction since. David Murphy was drafted as a fourth outfielder in the first and last auction but was a great example of auction dynamics in LABR, going for $11 very late in the auction. Nolan Reimold is in a similar situation; I paid $13 for him as one of the last remaining starting outfielders in LABR, but he was drafted as a reserve in the other leagues. The talk of Reimold now leading off as well as having won the left field job is promising.

Salvador Perez’s value was obviously hit with injury, but Paul Konerko and Curtis Granderson were the biggest names with the most fluctuation in their values. Granderson had a MRI on his elbow the other day, but that came after all three auctions had been completed; still, his values were a bit of a roller coaster. Konerko, one of the steadiest players in fantasy baseball in recent years, saw his value climb in each auction, making the $21 he went for in the CBS auction look like quite the bargain.

The average dollar value difference by dollar range:

  • Players $30 and greater: $3.16
  • Players $20-$29: $2.80
  • Players $10-$19: $3.33
  • Players less than $10: $2.42

Just nine players went for the exact same amount in each auction: Alex Rodriguez ($24), Carl Crawford ($23), Kurt Suzuki ($9), and Justin Morneau ($7), while Scott Downs, Travis Hafner, Tsuyoshi Wada, John Jaso, and Matt LaPorta each went for $1.

Here is the amount of players that went for an average of at least $10 by position:

First Base: 17
Second Base: 10
Shortstop: 10
Third Base: 11
Outfield: 33
Catcher: 10
Pitcher: 43

Travel and professional commitments prohibited me from completing the NL portion of this in time for publication today, so I will be running that on Monday. If you would like to see that data before Monday, please email me and I will send you a copy; I will have that completed tonight on my travels back home to the sunshine state.

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

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Premium Article Prospects Will Break Y... (03/29)
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Fantasy Beat: Tout War... (03/27)
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