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February 26, 2014

Fantasy Auction Values

First Edition

by Mike Gianella

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Welcome to the first installment of Baseball Prospectus’ 2014 bid prices for “standard” Rotisserie-style formats.

In the tables below, you will find my recommended bid limits for AL-only, NL-only, and mixed leagues. For all three formats, the presumed settings are 12 teams, $260 budgets, 14 hitters, and nine pitchers. The bids are not predictions of what these players will do, but rather suggested prices. While most of what I expect these players to do is based on projected statistics and values, other factors play a role in the bid prices. These factors include:

  • Positional scarcity — Adding a dollar or two for some catchers and middle infielder.
  • Proven stars — Adding a dollar or two for reliability. Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera are bumped up slightly, because they provide an elite level of performance.
  • Category bias — Cheating closers and speed guys who do nothing but add to one category.
  • Rookies — Hedging your bets with rookies. Too many owners have been caught spending $20+ on a rookie because "that's what the projection said.”
  • Part-timer bias — Not paying full price for someone whose real-life role is limited. A part-timer could very well earn $10-15 in an only format, but even a small slump for a player with 150-200 plate appearances can have a severe impact on his value.

These bids should serve as a starting point for your own auction preferences. If you think $27 for Prince Fielder is too timid, then by all means push his price up to your preferred ceiling. Just make sure to take money off of another player or group of players so that your aggregate bids add up to $3,120.

I’ll be tweaking these bids every Friday in this space as we get closer to Opening Day. For the majority of players on these lists, the prices you see are the prices I’m sticking with until Auction Day.

The idea behind bid limits is to set a price that is reasonable without being unrealistic in either direction. I’m down on Yasiel Puig this year, but if I see enough evidence that his going price is sitting in the low $30s, I’ll move my bid up modestly. I probably won’t get him in any of my leagues anyway, but I want my bids to have some semblance of reality. It is OK to use bids to show your affinity or dislike for a player, but you don’t want to be in a room of your own, and fool yourself into thinking that you’re buying a juggernaut, when in reality you’re overestimating everyone on your squad.

Below are some commonly asked questions from last year about these bid prices.

Why are these bids different from PECOTA and Baseball Prospectus’ PFM?
The simplest answer to this question is that a projection is different from a bid, for the reasons outlined in the bulleted points above. While the PFM might theoretically be correct that Koji Uehara and David Robertson will earn $29.33 and $27.07, putting together a fantasy team with two closers for a combined $56 is a difficult path to victory. The same phenomenon is present with stolen bases; the PFM has Billy Hamilton ranked third in NL-only with $33.71 in projected earnings. I agree that Hamilton could earn this amount, but in a “typical” auction-style league he won’t go anywhere near this price.

I do a fantasy draft, not an auction. Can I use these bids for my draft?
Yes and no. The hierarchy of the bid limits works fairly well for hitters and pitchers separately, but based on the differences between drafts and auctions if you combine pitcher bids with hitter bids you will find yourself missing out on most of the pitchers on your list. When drafting, I use the bid limits as a guideline for my draft rankings but make adjustments that include ranking hitters and pitchers separately. I tend to use straight rankings during the first 10 rounds of a draft and then begin to rely more on positional rankings and needs from that point forward.

Why is Mike Trout’ s bid higher in a mixed league than in AL-only?
In an only league, the available free agents are bench players with very limited value. In a mixed league, though, the best free agents are often everyday players who will produce solid statistics for your team. The lowest ranked players for bid in a 12-team mixed league are interchangeable with the best free agents, and many will do significantly better than the weakest third of the players purchased. On the other hand, there is no Mike Trout or Miguel Cabrera waiting in the wings. As a result, the best players in mixed leagues are given higher bid limits.

Many systems significantly reward the superstars. I did this last year, but have decided to scale back to try and more accurately reflect real world auction conditions. It might be a good idea to spend $50 or more on Trout or Cabrera, but if your league is more conservative than that, it isn’t useful to have a bid limit on these players that doesn’t accurately reflect your league’s market.

I think your price on Will Venable in NL-only is ridiculous. Can I change his bid?
Definitely… and I encourage you to do so.

If you are a beginner to auction formats—or if you simply don’t have the time to prepare for your auction and use these lists as a crutch—I’m confident that you can simply bring these lists to your auction and dominate. However, it will serve you better if you take the time to adjust the bids specifically for your league’s conditions. Your league might insist on paying $20-plus for every closer on the board. If this is the case, adjust your bids accordingly. Just make sure to take money off of some other pitchers or hitters so that the dollar values add up to $3,120 for a 12-team league.

I play in a 6x6 league that uses holds and OPS in addition to the standard 5x5 categories. Will you be providing bids for other formats?
While I would love to provide bid limits for every format imaginable, 5x5 is still the most commonly used format for auction-style leagues so for the moment this is what I am sticking with for our readers. If the game evolves to the point where 6x6 is the norm, I will start providing bids for 6x6 instead. Keep in mind that the Baseball Prospectus’ staff is extremely accommodating to questions and if you do have specific questions about how to apply bid limits to your format, we are always happy to do our best to help.

NOTE: While players like Kendrys Morales are included in the mixed bid file, they are not included in the NL or AL-only files. Morales, Drew, and Santana will be added to the appropriate league pool once if/when they sign a contract.

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

Related Content:  Fantasy,  Auctions,  Rotisserie,  5x5

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

BP Comment Quick Links

Ben Hemmens
(639)

Thanks, Mike. You say these values are for "standard" rotisserie formats. I assume based on your number that means 5x5 (AVG, HR, R, RBI, SB; W, SV, ERA, K, WHIP), correct?

Feb 26, 2014 03:27 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

Yes, correct.

Feb 26, 2014 04:13 AM
 
LynchMob

How long before you think OBP replaces BA as "standard 5x5"?

Good to see Tout Wars make this switch ... why don't we all?

Feb 26, 2014 08:59 AM
rating: -1
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

We're planning on having Steve Gardner on as a guest on the Flags Fly Forever podcast on Monday. I'll ask him then.

If LABR and Tout both switch to OBP, I'm switching as well.

Feb 26, 2014 09:04 AM
 
kolbotn

If it isnt too much work, would you be able to post bid limits with OBP replacing BA as the fifth hitting category?

I think you will see a ton of happy(er) BP subscribers then. Just a small, humble request...

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

I have to adjust my bids for Tout Wars for OBP but haven't done so yet. It won't be part of the update, but I can post something in the 3/21 "article" section of the piece. I can't see updating every single player's bid. Moving a bid because of a $1-2 OBP valuation difference (which is where most of the differences sit) is not intuitive.

If you are interested in seeing the valuation differences between BA and OBP for 2013 values, I have provided tabs in the linked spreadsheet https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AhtUhMJ1b4IOdHVNLUM5NW5xWUdIUV9jejhON3ZaZFE&usp=drive_web#gid=6

Mar 07, 2014 10:07 AM
 
Matthew W

Notable players missing, that have value in pecota:

Bourjos, Peter
Guerrero, Alexander
Dickerson, Corey
Harrison, Josh

These guys are all $5 or higher in Pecota NL-Only, so I figured it might be an oversight

Feb 26, 2014 03:55 AM
rating: 0
 
Matthew W

Sorry, Harrison is there.

Feb 26, 2014 03:58 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

Yes, they all should be there and have been added. Wilmer Flores was added to the NL-only file as well.

Feb 26, 2014 04:23 AM
 
kstern1

In an auction draft or abundantly getting value is important. Would you define value than as getting below the listed price here or getting a Lower price than pfm has listed?

Feb 26, 2014 04:33 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

In a perfect world, you want to get players $2 or more below your bid price. In a competitive auction, you run the risk of leaving money on the table if you simply sit back and wait for bargains. I would advise getting one or two players at par or $1 under in this type of auction before bargain hunting.

Feb 26, 2014 05:50 AM
 
SJLedet

Any suggestions on how to use/adapt this for a 16 team mixed league?

Feb 26, 2014 06:04 AM
rating: 0
 
mblthd

Or for a 10-team NL only with $280 to spend?

Feb 26, 2014 06:05 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

For shifts like this, this is what I have done in the past.

http://rotothinktank.blogspot.com/2009/03/adjusting-for-smaller-leagues.html

I take hitters and pitchers and group them into 14 tiers of hitters, 9 tiers of pitchers, and adjust the prices using this method. The top hitters/pitchers stay at about the same value, the next group gets dinged slightly, while the guys in the middle get robbed. You also lose a lot of value at the bottom, as $3-4 players become $1 players and $1 players disappear entirely.

Feb 26, 2014 06:18 AM
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

I would advise using the Tout Wars mixed auction prices from the last few years as a template.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsAa9oCjuqbwdEZSZnVVRTZ5U05lUlVLQ1dHYnBNZmc&usp=sharing#gid=3

This is a 15-team mixed league auction, so you will still have to do some tweaking, but it's a good framework to begin with. The values at the top should still be higher but because your 16-team league is deeper they shouldn't be quite so high. Same thing in the middle and at the bottom. Your $1 players are still going to be better than in a mono league, but not as good as in a 12-team mixed league. So you should flatten this out a little bit.

Feb 26, 2014 06:21 AM
 
tmangell

Mike, much appreciated! For those of us who play in a league with fewer owners, how much should we adjust the values? For example, I play in a eight-team NL-only league, so I'm guessing I'd adjust player values higher, but by how much? 10%? 20%? I know that PECOTA can adjust the values based upon input, but, as you wrote, some of the values seem really high, such as for Sliding Billy Hamilton or even H-Ram. Thanks for the hard work!

Feb 26, 2014 06:05 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

I don't think you want to push the values that high at the top, just because you're losing so much money in the league on the whole. I have a crude curve where I add $3-4 to the top 5-10 players, $1-2 to the next 5-10 and then that's it. As you point out, you begin skewing values too much if you strictly follow PECOTA and you won't get enough players. Enough people in smaller leagues simply lean on published values, so pushing your prices on the elites up $3-4 is often enough to make a difference.

Feb 26, 2014 06:25 AM
 
tmangell

Thanks, Mike! Will check out the article.

Feb 26, 2014 08:17 AM
rating: 0
 
mblthd

I can't wait to to see the looks on the other owners' faces when I bid $1 on Earl Oakes.

Feb 26, 2014 06:08 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

You should buy a microphone to drop when you call his name out at your auction.

Feb 26, 2014 06:14 AM
 
acmcdowell

If I were in an 8 team league (AL only, but I doubt whether it is AL, NL, or mixed), how would I adjust these values? Would we need to look at replacement value (salary wise), knock everyone's salary down by that amount, then rescale in order to get the dollar pool to add up correctly?

Also, what is the positional breakdown for starters? 5 OF? Any infield spots?

Feb 26, 2014 06:14 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

I'd try to add only a little to top players and then gradually start deducting as you go down the pay scale.

Once again, I'd start with this article as a jumping off point

http://rotothinktank.blogspot.com/2009/03/adjusting-for-smaller-leagues.html

Then - since it is a shallower league - I'd add a little bit of money to the top players while shaving a little bit off of the bottom.

I use 2 C, 1 1B, 1 2B, 1 SS, 1 3B, 1 CO, 1 MI, 5 OF, and 1 UT. Is that what you're asking?

Feb 26, 2014 06:30 AM
 
acmcdowell

Yup, that is it exactly. Thanks.

Feb 26, 2014 07:02 AM
rating: 0
 
KPod
(987)

What general guidelines/recommendations do you have for translating these values to a points league? Or is it too much of an apples/oranges comparison?

Feb 26, 2014 07:27 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

For points leagues, I find PECOTA/the PFM far more useful, since you're simply taking the projected stats and assigning points for each category. You could try to take my bid limit and apply it to the PFM $$$ value and cross multiply, but I agree that this is an apples to oranges comparison and is risky to do (I've never tried it myself).

Feb 26, 2014 07:35 AM
 
CountryHardBall

Mike,

In each case, do the total players add up to 276 and do the salaries add up to $3120?

Thanks.

Great job.

Feb 26, 2014 07:40 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

They should. If they don't, it's my mistake. I did do some last minute tweaking, so I will probably go in and triple check later tonight after I've had a few hours to decompress.

Feb 26, 2014 07:43 AM
 
LynchMob

With the caveat that you have many, interchangable, options at the $1 level. ie. all the players listed from the 277th position to the 490th position are at $1 ... take your pick ... good luck :-)

Feb 26, 2014 09:44 AM
rating: 0
 
CountryHardBall

No problem. This is assuming a 65/35 split or 70/30 split or something in between?

Again, thanks so much. I realize it's a guideline, but it's a very good one.

All the best,

John

Feb 26, 2014 07:55 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

It's close to but not quite 70/30. I might tweak slightly downward if LABR follows the CBS trend and goes 68/32 but generally speaking I like to be in this ballpark. 65/35 isn't representative anymore of how leagues spend.

Feb 26, 2014 08:55 AM
 
bobbygrace

I'm the guy who's new to auction drafts. I'd love to print out the tables, but I can't figure out how to get more than about fourteen players' worth of rankings to show up on the page. That's true even in printer-friendly mode.

Any way to make the tables printer-friendly? I don't know if what I'm asking for is easy or totally unreasonable, so thanks either way for the very useful information!

Feb 26, 2014 08:43 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

You can grab the table from the top of the page and copy into Excel quite easily.

Feb 26, 2014 08:56 AM
 
bobbygrace

You're right--that was easy! Thank you.

Feb 26, 2014 09:00 AM
rating: 0
 
bhalpern

Select all, copy. Go to app of choice, right click, paste or paste special.

Feb 26, 2014 09:27 AM
rating: 0
 
Matt Commins

Is it possible to get decimals with the auction values?

Feb 26, 2014 14:03 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

I can ask. It's less likely I'd actually use decimals and more likely I'd put some nuance into the sorts (i.e.: I like Utley at $19 better than Venable at $19).

Feb 26, 2014 14:20 PM
 
Keith Cromer

Great stuff, Mike. This is why BP has now made themselves one of the best fantasy baseball sites. Thanks so much for the information you provide.

Feb 26, 2014 15:14 PM
rating: 0
 
Cronfordox

I have a version of the PFM question you mentioned above: I've been using the PFM values to do mock snake drafts in ESPN standard leagues (10 team mixed). Players such as C. Davis and B. Harper are rated so low in the PFM that I would never ever roster them by strictly following their assigned parameters, yet here in your rankings you have these players among the top ten for auction values. Since I am looking to do things the "Baseball Prospectus" way, I'm in a bit of a quandary about how to go forward. Any suggestions would be enormously helpful, thanks for all the hard work!!

Feb 26, 2014 17:44 PM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

I would recommend using the link I posted above and shifting values across player tiers the way I did for only leagues:

http://rotothinktank.blogspot.com/2009/03/adjusting-for-smaller-leagues.html

MG

Feb 27, 2014 05:00 AM
 
bluester

Mike, great article.

Rather than a smaller league than you wrote about, I play in a deeper league, 13 team NL only. How would I adjust your values, disproportionally to the top players?

In addition, how would I account for a little league inflation, let's say 5 to 10%, same answer, disproportionally to the top?

Thanks.

Steve

Feb 27, 2014 04:19 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

This is the methodology I have used in the past. http://rotothinktank.blogspot.com/2009/04/non-linear-inflation.html

It is kind of crude, but it works and the manual intervention allows you to make decisions as opposed to trying to just fit a formula.

Feb 27, 2014 07:10 AM
 
bluester

Mike,

Can you respond to the first point in my comment about your valuations for a deeper league, 13 team NL only as opposed to 12 team? Thanks.

Steve

Feb 27, 2014 07:57 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

I did this exercise for the hitters in the linked spreadsheet but it's easy enough to do for the pitchers as well.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AhtUhMJ1b4IOdFpfMVFiOExkOC11Y3Zsb0U4VThFQ3c#gid=0

1) Take the hitter values in a 12-team (column a)
2) Calculate the value of all hitters in groups of 12 for 14 groups (12 teams/14 players). Column E.
3) Adjust the total value for a 13-team league to match the same percentage. So 2132/3120 = 68.3%. Multiply by 3380 to get $2310 for the hitters.
4) Multiply each number in Column E by 2310 divided by 2132. This is your adjusted value for each hitter tier (column P)
5) Figure out how each group of 13 hitters is valued using my current bids (column Q)
6) Add money to each new tier of 13 hitters until Column Q equals Column P (Column R)

I added money to the top hitters in each tier, but you can redistribute as you see fit. Since the league is deeper, the opposite principle of adding money to shallow league hitters at the top applies. You don't want less money to the top hitters than at the middle and bottom because you don't want to get caught in a Stars and Scrubs trap when the scrubs are so bad.

Feb 27, 2014 08:53 AM
 
Robotey

13 team NL auction? dang. how long does the draft take? keeper league?

Feb 28, 2014 18:39 PM
rating: 0
 
TexasLeaguer

Just wanted to say thanks. I used to subscribe to HQ as well but you guys have stepped up the fantasy content so much lately. Kudos.

Feb 27, 2014 18:44 PM
rating: 0
 
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