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March 11, 2013

Fantasy Auction Values

Fourth Edition, March 11

by Mike Gianella

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Last Monday, I examined how the bidding in the AL-only LABR auction impacted some of my bids. This week, it’s the National League’s turn (although I do have a handful of notes about the American League based on injury news).

National League Hitters

Matt Kemp — $36 (previous: $34)

I still have some reservations about bidding into the mid-$30s for Kemp without seeing if his power is back, post-injury. However, the aggressive bidding in CBS ($39) and LABR ($36) made me feel my bid was a bit too conservative.

Aramis Ramirez — $24 (previous: $26)

I’m not overly concerned about Ramirez’s injury, but the combination of the injury and his age made me move down his bid slightly. His ceiling is around $30; take away the nine steals Ramirez had last year, and he loses $3 of value. With older hitters, I advise against banking on the best-case scenario.

Carlos Beltran — $23 (previous: $25)

I still like Beltran a lot this year, but the expert market (CBS $20, LABR $17) doesn’t share my enthusiasm. Like Ramirez, Beltran is getting up there in age, but given full health, $20 seems like a near lock for the Cardinals right fielder. Given his power, I’d bid a little higher than $20 and hope that Beltran has one last strong year in the tank.

Ben Revere — $20 (previous: $22)

Both LABR and CBS paid $17 for Revere. In NL-only, I think this is a misread of his potential value. He’s going to play every day unless he collapses, as the Phillies lack other palatable defensive options in center field. Revere’s a one-trick pony, but his speed gives him the potential to earn $25-$30 in a deep format. Twenty-two dollars is safe, but if the market’s going to let me pay $20, I’ll take Revere any day of the week.

Cameron Maybin — $17 (previous: $19)

Noticing a theme here? One mistake I’ve made in the past is ignoring the depth and breadth of positions and throwing too many dollars into the outfield. I’m enthusiastic about Maybin’s potential for a power spike in 2013, but it doesn’t make sense to push too much money toward Maybin when the market is lukewarm on him and so many quality outfielders are available.

Wilin Rosario — $17 (previous: $15)

Here’s the other side of the positional coin. Rosario’s low on-base percentage scares me, and the Miguel Olivo comp isn’t entirely off base. However, Coors Field is Coors Field, and if you’re not in an OBP league, a $20+ season isn’t entirely out of the realm of possibility.

Starling Marte — $17 (previous: $14)

Marte’s high whiff rate was the source of my pessimism, but he earned $7 in a mere 167 at-bats in 2012, and the power/speed combo is appealing. I’m still a little low on Marte compared to some other touts and suspect he’s going to go for close to $20 in Tout Wars.

Adam Eaton — $16 (previous: $14)

My opinion on Eaton hasn’t changed, but the market loves him (CBS $19, LABR $18). A best-case scenario for Eaton is Revere with a little more power, but the low amount of stolen-base attempts in the majors last year makes me wonder what Eaton will do on the base paths. Additionally, Gerardo Parra could eat into Eaton’s playing time. At $16, I suppose Eaton could be okay, but I smell a disappointment here. I might reconsider and move this bid back down again in the next update.

Jean Segura — $16 (previous: $13)

Some of my reservations about Segura remain, but the speed can’t be ignored at shortstop, and Segura has the potential to show a little more power than he did during his brief stint in the bigs last year.

Justin Ruggiano — $11 (previous: $14)

Jason Collette’s words of wisdom on the last fantasy podcast swayed me on Ruggiano. A .401 BABIP portends serious regression, and I agree with Jason that Ruggiano could be optioned or designated for assignment midyear, in the worst-case scenario.

Dan Uggla — $15 (previous: $17)

Spring training stats are nearly worthless, but Uggla’s struggles to make contact the last two years combined with his prior power/strikeout profile make me nervous. Players of Uggla’s ilk have a tendency to collapse quickly when they do fall apart. I don’t think this will happen (hence the $15 bid), but I do think you only want Uggla at a “no-lose” price.

Carl Crawford — $14 (previous: $22)

If Crawford were a different player, his latest setback might have simply pushed his value down $1-2. However, his injuries and setbacks the last two years have been numerous, and I don’t have a lot of faith in any timetable the Dodgers might provide. I have to leave this bid here because the upside is tremendous, but it could come down again before the season starts.

Will Venable — $13 (previous: $16)

Similar to Maybin, Venable fits the profile of a number of outfielders that might earn more, but that shouldn’t be paid more due to the depth at the position.

Zack Cozart — $12 (previous: $9)

I’m not a Cozart fan, but his defense will keep him on the field, and he’s not a near-zero like Brandon Crawford with the bat.

Chris Nelson — $11 (previous: $13)
Nolan Arenado — $6 (previous: $1)

I’m not convinced Arenado is going to break camp with the Rockies, but I am more convinced that he’ll be up with the Rockies sooner rather than later in 2013. Nelson would figure to lose the most time, but while many other analysts love Josh Rutledge this year, I have some serious questions about Rutledge’s skills and think he could be the one moved down to Triple-A when Arenado is ready. It’s not a good fantasy situation for non-keeper formats in general.

Matt Carpenter — $11 (previous: $6)
Rafael Furcal — $0 (previous: $6)

It is looking more and more likely that Carpenter is going to win the second-base job for the Cardinals. While it would seem like a higher bid would be appropriate here, I don’t see Carpenter as a strong power or speed asset, and he’s not eligible at second base in most formats to start the year. Meanwhile, Furcal disappears for non-keeper owners. I added modest $2 bids for Pete Kozma and Ronny Cedeno, but while both could earn significant time at shortstop, neither player offers much, even in the deep waters of NL-only leagues.

Jedd Gyorko — $10 (previous: $4)

As with Carpenter, it’s looking likely that Gyorko could break camp as an everyday player. I like Gyorko from a fantasy perspective more than Carpenter; the bid is a little lower for now, because I’m a bit less certain that Gyorko wins the job coming out of camp.

National League Pitchers

Jason Grilli — $13 (previous: $10)
John Axford — $12 (previous: $10)

Both closers’ bids were too low for pitchers that: a) have guaranteed jobs and b) are in good health. In Grilli’s case, his numbers last year indicate that he should be successful, and the $10 bid was too low. Axford worries me; his walk rate started approaching Carlos Marmol territory in 2012. If he stumbles again this year, I suspect he doesn’t have much wiggle room before the Brewers shuffle up their bullpen.

Dan Haren — $14 (previous: $12)

I may have been overstating the injury risk in the original bid. Haren has looked healthy in camp. The bid still reflects some uncertainty, but $12 was too low.

Mike Minor — $12 (previous: $10)

This bid still might be too low. Minor is a breakout candidate for 2013.

Wade Miley — $12 (previous: $15)
A.J. Burnett — $11 (previous: $13)
Brandon McCarthy — $11 (previous: $13)

All three bids are dropped because of the tepid markets in CBS/LABR; however, I still like all three pitchers (especially Miley) and think that the market is being too timid. All this being said, putting a $15 bid on Miley when the market is saying that he’s only worth $6-7 is excessive.

Matt Garza — $9 (previous: $12)

Garza’s injury obviously adds a degree of uncertainly to his 2013. He’s not going to pitch a full season, and he has never cracked $20 in 5x5 in his entire career. There is surprisingly little upside here.

Carlos Marmol — $6 (previous: $8)

Six dollars is very low for a closer, but the trade rumors combined with Marmol’s poor performance last year push this price down. In NL-only leagues where you can’t keep players traded to the American League, Marmol carries an awful lot of risk.

Johan Santana — $6 (previous: $10)

Santana’s health is looking like more and more of a question mark for 2013. I maintain that he’ll be solid when he’s on the hill, but how often will that happen this year?

American League Notes

  • Brett Lawrie drops from $24 to $21. Maybe he’ll be ready on Opening Day, but if I’m buying my team today, I don’t want to pay in the mid-$20s for a hitter who earned $17 last year and is already hurt.
     
  • Mark Teixeira takes a big hit this week, dropping from $22 to $14. He might only miss a month of the season, but the concerns that a wrist injury can sap your power are legitimate.
     
  • Nick Markakis drops from $22 to $20. His neck injury might not be serious, but uncertainty combined with his non-elite profile makes him worthy of dropping down slightly.
     
  • Stephen Drew drops from $14 to $12. His concussion symptoms might amount to nothing, but I want to be 100% sure before plunking down $14.
     
  • Aaron Hicks moves up from $6 to $10, while Darin Mastroianni moves from $6 to $3. It is starting to look like Hicks will win the job outright for the Twins
     
  • Eduardo Nunez jumps from $3 to $8. It seems likely that Kevin Youkilis will shift to first while Nunez mans third while Teixeira is out.

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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