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April 21, 2014 7:07 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Why 70/30?

31

Mike Gianella

Mike examines the reasoning behind the popular auction spending split.

This winter, there was a great discussion on Twitter with Peter Kreutzer (a.k.a Rotoman) and Chris Liss of Rotowire about why fantasy baseball teams in auction formats spend about 70 percent of their money on hitting and 30 percent on pitching (more or less). We are beyond auction season now, but this is such a terrific debate (and such an important concept to auction owners) that it is worth revisiting now.

Kreutzer is correct that we spend more for hitters in the aggregate than we do for pitchers because there is always more value to be had in the free agent pitching pool than there is in the free agent hitting pool. A simpler way of putting this is that in a 12-team format you’re far more likely to buy a pitcher who will not be as good as one of the actual top 108 pitchers as you are to buy a hitter who will not be as good as one of the actual top 168 hitters. I don’t agree with Kreutzer’s assumptions on the valuations, but that’s not especially germane to this particular discussion. He’s right where it counts, and this is why most experts use something along the lines of 65/35, 70/30, or something in between for dollar allocation.

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April 14, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Auction Leagues and Salary/Contract Dynamics

2

Mike Gianella

Building for next year based on your league's rules.

If you play in a keeper league, one of the most frustrating things about the start of the regular season is that there isn’t a lot of advice out there for you. Nearly all of the fantasy content generated during the regular season is geared toward the here and now. Some advice might look ahead to later in the current season, but little if any advice looks beyond this season.

In a keeper league, you should have a strong foundation not only of this year’s values but of future valuation. This applies not only if you have packed it in and are playing for 2015 but if you are playing for this year as well. Owners playing for this year probably have an even more difficult job than owners who have packed it in, as they have to figure out the best way to sell their next year assets to non-contenders in an effort to win this year.

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April 2, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Strategic Agility on Auction Day

14

Jeff Quinton

With drafts and auctions in the rearview mirror, Jeff looks back on his and underscores the importance of making adjustments.

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.

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March 25, 2014 9:25 am

Tout Wars Recap

17

Mike Gianella

Mike discusses his expectations going into the expert auction and how things played out.

There are a lot of different ways that fantasy players determine who is or isn’t an “expert,” but looking at who does or doesn’t win an expert league is our collective shorthand. On this count in Tout Wars, I have fallen short. I have now had four tries at winning a title (in the NL-only part of the league), and all four times I have fallen short.

Oh sure, I’ve had a couple of very good seasons. I finished tied for third in my rookie year in 2010 and came in second last year. But as any fantasy player—expert or not—will tell you, winning is the only goal that matters. I’m not exactly disappointed in my lack of a title thus far (how disappointed can you get when you’re losing to Nate Ravitz, Steve Gardner, and Tristan Cockcroft?), but like everyone else who plays competitive fantasy sports, I want to win.

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Notes on the updated price tags as Mike prepares for Tout Wars.

It’s auction season, and tomorrow morning I’ll be competing against the some of the best and brightest in NL Tout Wars. Here are this week’s significant movers and shakers; next week I will make adjustments based on news, but also on auctions trends and spending in all three Tout Wars formats.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

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March 18, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: The PFM, My Bid Limits, and You

23

Mike Gianella

Mike explains how to account for differences between the PFM's values and his bid limits during your auctions.

Throughout the positional tier series and continuing throughout my bid limit articles, some of our readers have been asking questions and raising objections along the following lines:

I don’t understand why your bid limit on Paul Goldschmidt is $36 in NL-only when the PFM only has him at $29.20. I know everyone is really excited about Goldschmidt this year, but I’m relying on the PFM for my auction and I don’t understand why there is a $7 difference between your suggested bid and the PFM’s. What gives?

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March 14, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Auction Values: Third Edition

9

Mike Gianella

In advance of his foray into Tout Wars, Mike explains how he'd adjust his values for OBP leagues and unveils this week's update.

In eight days, I’ll be participating in my fifth Tout Wars expert league auction (on the National League side of the fence). However, this will be the first year we will be using on-base percentage—instead of batting average—as a category.

The attached spreadsheet offers my adjusted bid values for on base percentage leagues. More than the changes, what will probably jump out to readers is how few players’ values changed in both leagues. Forty-five NL hitters saw a change in value, while 38 AL hitters were moved up or down. Given that 125 AL hitters and 118 NL hitters saw a value change of $1 or more in 2013, shouldn’t there be more fluctuation in my bid limits for OBP?

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Examining how a theory of behavioral economics can help you exploit your league-mates in drafts and auctions.

Prospect theory, a theory of behavioral economics, is actually unrelated to both our beloved and non-beloved prospects. Rather, prospect theory describes how we choose between probabilistic alternatives when risk (uncertainty) is involved. Hang with me here because this has a huge impact on the decisions we make during fantasy drafts. More specifically, prospect theory explains how we choose to take on uncertainty with each draft pick. In understanding how our league-mates and we make decisions during the draft, we will be able to find some arbitrage opportunities throughout the draft. Sometimes we take more static players and sometimes we take more dynamic players. It is easy to chalk this all up to an owner’s individual risk appetite, but that would be oversimplifying the situation. A fantasy owner’s expectation for each draft slot and the players available for selection will also be major factors in determining how much risk each owner chooses to take on with each selection.

For every pick in a draft we expect to obtain a certain amount of value. The issue is that with pick 1.6, we cannot simply draft $38 of value; we cannot draft a .303 batting average, 27 home runs, 20 stolen bases, 102 runs, and 108 runs batted in with “x” amount of positional scarcity. We have to draft actual players. So with pick 1.6, we will either be drafting Robinson Cano, Clayton Kershaw, Hanley Ramirez, or Chris Davis. Maybe we get lucky and one of Paul Goldschmidt, Andrew McCutchen, or Carlos Gonzalez falls to us. When it is time for our pick, there are three possible scenarios that we can encounter:

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February 26, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Auction Values: First Edition

45

Mike Gianella

This year's initial values for mixed and league-specific 5x5 formats, plus answers to some frequently asked questions.

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:

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February 20, 2014 6:00 am

Mock Auction Analysis

13

Mike Gianella

A rundown of the results from two expert auctions held earlier this week.

Mock drafts are a staple of pre-season fantasy baseball coverage, and no magazine or website would be complete without them. It is more rare to see a mock fantasy auction, but there is still a healthy portion of fantasy players who play using the auction format. In response to this, Baseball Prospectus decided to hold mock auctions for our readers who play in auction leagues.

Since auction leagues often dig deeper, Baseball Prospectus held two auctions: an AL-only and an NL-only. Both leagues used the “standard” $260, 23 player roster (14 hitters and nine pitchers) and familiar 5x5 format. The auctions were hosted online using CBS Sports’ auction room feature.

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December 10, 2013 6:07 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Mixed-League Hitter Valuation

14

Mike Gianella

An in-depth look at how dollar values are assigned to hitters, and the ways in which these values are useful for individual leagues' auctions.

In his upcoming book, Winning Fantasy Baseball, Larry Schechter has a chapter subheading called Why Mixed League Value Formulas Are Mostly Worthless. While this statement contains some degree of hyperbole, in my experience it is mostly accurate.

However, it is certainly a worthy endeavor to try to measure what a mixed league hitter is worth. Below are the steps I went through to derive what I consider valid mixed league values, a cursory examination of some truisms surrounding mixed league values and whether they are correct or not, and how you can apply these values to your mixed league and—perhaps more importantly—how you can’t.

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June 17, 2013 5:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Auction Data: Where the Bargains Fall

3

Mike Gianella

It may not be auction season, but there's no such thing as a bad time to review data and improve your strategy.

Nothing annoys me more than when a reader asks a good question and I don’t get around to answering it. One of my favorite things as a fantasy baseball writer is answering readers’ questions directly. So while this question isn’t a particularly relevant one midseason, hopefully it will still provide some value for my readers, and is something that they will remember and take with them into 2014 and beyond.

Have you ever tried charting auctions to watch where the money gets spent?

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