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.

Thank you for reading

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The Average column appears to be all over the place. Either that, or it's meaning something different from what I'd expect.
It represents the average price of each player from all 3 auctions.
Now I see what you're talking about. Something went wonky with the formula because I set it to round to the nearest whole number but 2, 9, and 7 certainly do not average out to 7. I'll make the correction now on the googledoc
Thanks for the catch. The positional piece toward the bottom now changes to (editor will update piece) First Base: 18 down to 17 Second Base: 10 stays Shortstop: 11 down to 10 Third Base: 12 down to 11 Outfield: 34 down to 33 Catcher: 10 stays Pitcher: 42 up to 43
I'd be interested to see an article (particularly for keeper leagues) that looks at the relative value for dollars spent at various points in a draft with the influence of inflation and position scarcity. For many years it has been a combination of "feel" and knowing who remains in the different tiers when deciding if it was smart to buy at/over/under the projected value or to wait. Just curious if there is any mathematical way to gauge those things to help get optimal results? Also any way to provide that information so that my leaguemates don't read it? :)
The variables really make that tough when you factor in categories, keepers, and even leagues that use toppers.
Dumb Question: Where's the National League?
Please see the final paragraph of the piece :)
Interesting article, but bot sure I follow this verbiage: "Here is the amount of players that went for an average of at least $10 by position:" Is that the average of $10 or did you mean the straight up quantity of players who went for greater than $10?
3/30 average of $10 or more rather than a total of players from all 3 drafts.
Duh, should have realized, thanks.
...And now Bard is starting after all. Can you please write an article about how that is a ridiculous and ego-driven decision, even if it makes those $13 bids slightly more defensible in retrospect? Sorry. My emotions got the best of me right there. Now where'd I put my paper bag hyperventilator kit?