On Friday, I took a look at three prominent AL-only expert league auctions to see how player values have changed over the course of five weeks. Overall, the results were rather stable, but the same cannot be said for the National League expert auctions. The injuries to Ryan Madson and Chase Utley certainly added to the volatility, but 39 other players saw at least a six dollar difference between their minimum and maximum auction price.

One thing to note is that there is a difference in format between these leagues; the CBS league is only 12 teams while LABR and Tout Wars held onto the 13-team format for one more season until the Houston Astros switch leagues and force a reduction in ownership.

It has been said all off-season that the National League has suffered huge talent losses with a combination of trades, free agent signings, and injuries during the off-season. Twelve- and 13-team leagues for the NL were already tight, but the talent loss has, in many drafts, made talent pools for many positions to evaporate quicker than an ice cube on a pitcher’s mound in June.

The embedded worksheet below shows how each player’s value changed from auctions held on 2/25, 3/5, and 3/25.

54 players have an average auction value of at least $20, which is five greater than the American League list (remember, though, that the AL-only leagues all used 12 teams).  Where things differ greatly is the difference between the maximum and minimum bid. In the American League, Daniel Bard was the only player who had a double-digit difference between his highest and lowest value, and that was due to the uncertainty of his role on the Red Sox staff. Meanwhile, the National League auction values saw seven different players with double-digit differences:

  • Ryan Madson: $0-$19, thanks to TJ surgery announcement
  • Chase Utley: $10-$22, due to uncertainty of his return
  • Allen Craig: $6-$17, questions about how quickly he can bounce back from off-season knee issue
  • Sean Marshall: $2-$13, thanks to Ryan Madson
  • Ted Lilly: $6-$16, underrated in one auction while overrated in another
  • Placido Polanco: $2-$12, he really went for $2??
  • Scott Rolen: $2-$12, he could easily earn either dollar figure

In all, 72 players in the National League saw their auction values change by $5 or more across the three drafts.  Some players dropped, but others built momentum throughout the auction season much like Hall of Fame candidates gain votes well after their playing careers have ended.

Cameron Maybin went for $19 in the CBS auction, saw his value spike to $22 in LABR, and then spike again to $28 in Tout Wars. Maybin had an excellent close to the 2011 season, and his value comes from the fact that he is one of just 26 players in the league that our Player Forecast Manager projects to steal 20 or more bases. Then again, another one of those 26, Emilio Bonifacio, saw his value slide from $26 in the CBS auctions to $17 in both LABR and Tout.  Even the biggest stars were not immune to some wild variance. Clayton Kershaw went for $34 in the CBS league, and then somehow went for just $26 quite early in LABR before rebounding to $32 in Tout. Jay Bruce went $27, $26, and then saw his value spike to $34 in Tout.

Here is how the average dollar value difference breaks down by dollar range with how this compares to the AL-only leagues we examined on Friday in parentheses:

  • Players $30 and greater: $4 (AL $3)
  • Players $20-$29: $4 (AL $2)
  • Players $10-$19: $4 (AL $3)
  • Players less than $10: $3 (AL $2)

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

First Base: 12 (AL 17)
Second Base: 8 (AL 10)
Shortstop: 14 (AL 10)
Third Base: 8 (AL 11)
Outfield: 44 (AL 33)
Catcher: 8 (AL 10)
Pitcher: 45 (AL 43)

The players that went for the same dollar amount in all three auctions were Jonathan Papelbon ($19), Carlos Ruiz ($9), Vance Worley ($8), Tyler Greene ($5), David Ross ($2), Aaron Harang ($2), Roy Oswalt ($2), and a smattering of $1 players.

On a separate note, today is International Autism Awareness Day. Maury Brown spearheads this initiative in the sportswriting community as a father of a son with autism, and this is my third year on board with the project since meeting Maury; I too am a father of a son on the Autism Spectral Disorder. Being aware of the signs is a huge first step in identifying and helping children with autism, especially with young boys. In 2010, one out of every 110 children was identified with autism, 70 of which were boys. Just two years later, the rate has jumped to one out of every 88 children, 54 of which are boys. In other words, autism is nearly five times more common among boys than girls; just one in 252 girls is diagnosed with it.

If you have not already left the house, consider wearing something blue today. If you are already at the office, see if you can find a blue light bulb for your front porch light to help shine a light on autism tonight.

Thank you for reading

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Autism awareness deserves a shout-out here. It is becoming so prevalent in our children, if it doesn't affect you directly you probably know somebody whom it does.

It seems even the experts understand very little, except that it is becoming very common.