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2023 SABR Analytics Conference Research Awards: Voting Open Now!

Last week, I rolled out my AL-only, NL-only, and mixed league bid prices for 12-team formats. In that installment, I explained how I constructed the bids. I thought that this week I’d explain the usefulness of bid limits. Bid limits are designed to be guidelines to provide a valid stopping point on every single player in your auction. However, the goal of bid limits shouldn’t be to create a fixed price that you robotically aim to pay for every player. In fact, your goal should be to pay slightly less than the recommended bid limit for as many players as you possibly can. If you pay par price for every player at your auction, you will buy a middle-of-the-pack team and finish seventh.

This does not mean, however, that you should never pay the par price or even slightly more than that ceiling. Circumstances change at every auction. If you really need a closer, you might decide to be aggressive on Craig Kimbrel and let everyone else fight it out for J.J. Putz. During the auction, you might decide that Hanley Ramirez is going to turn back to clock to 2009 and, instead of stopping at $30, push him to $32.

The bid limits are meant to serve as checks and balances against playing these hunches too many times during your auction. I’m high on Alcides Escobar this year, but have moved my bid price down this week. My belief in Escobar hasn’t changed, but my bid should be grounded in reality. I might change my mind during the auction and go past my bid limit because I like Escobar, but the bid limit serves as a reminder that I should have a logical stopping point.

With most players, I’m agnostic when I hear a name announced. I’ll probably look at my bid limit, nod, and let the bidding in the room play out. If my sheet price for Ben Zobrist is $23 and he goes for $23, I’ll yawn. If he’s sitting at $22, I might say $23, but, then again, I might not. This is how this process should unfold for most of the players in your auction pool.

Please feel free to express your disagreements in the comments section below. Jered Weaver gets a big bump in AL-only this week because, last week, one of Baseball Prospectus’ wise readers pointed out that his price seemed way too low. Upon further review, I agreed—and moved him up accordingly. Another reader thought the gap between Starlin Castro and Ian Desmond/Jimmy Rollins was too large in mixed formats. Again, I reviewed and agreed with this reader’s rationale. I’m not going to move my bids every time someone comments on them, but I will review every comment and at least examine my own rationale.

The only other significant update this week involved Curtis Granderson, who suffered a broken forearm in yesterday’s spring training game that is expected to keep him out for at least a month of the regular season. I’ve knocked him down in the AL-only and mixed bid limits by a few dollars. I suspect that the Yankees will make a move, but for now, Juan Rivera gets a few bucks kicked his way in AL-only formats.

I’ll be participating in the CBS AL-only Analysts League on Thursday and the NL-only side of the CBS Analysts League tomorrow. These auctions are the first litmus test of my bids, and nothing is a better reality check than an actual auction. Next week, I’ll be examining the CBS results and moving some of my bids up or down based on the prices that come out of those leagues.

The updated prices for this week are below:

Thank you for reading

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Behemoth
2/25
I think this is potentially useful, but it's hard to argue with significantly without knowing what the underlying projections are. Two players that I think you are very low on are Aramis Ramirez (who I don't see being significantly different from Ryan Zimmerman in expected production) and Ben Zobrist. I still think you have a large gap between Castro/Ramirez and the next tier of shortstops.

One other thought would be whether a version of this could be done based on PECOTA or on the fantasy staff's rankings. Not sure if that would be too difficult/time-consuming to do, but it would be interesting.
hegglund
2/25
Surprised to see Napoli for $1 in mixed, given the somewhat positive prognosis on his hip (for the short term, at least). Even projecting ~130 or so games, I would think the bid would be in the $5 range, at least (My bid limit on him is $10 right now in an OPS league--maybe too high, and I doubt I'll draft him--but the potential is certainly there).
MikeGianella
2/25
Some of my negative bid is because of the hip, but you hit the nail on the head. Napoli's low AVG drags his value down a good deal in AVG leagues. He was the 14th best catcher in mixed AVG leagues last year...and while the prognosis might be positive, there is enough uncertainty for me that I'm nervous. And - in mixed formats in particular - batting average drags are far more toxic than in onlies.
grandslam28
2/25
And there are a million catchers to draft this year.
MikeGianella
2/25
I'll take another look. I pushed Ramirez down because of his age, but perhaps I pushed him down too far.

Regarding the SS, there might be too big of a gap. But in a 12-team mixed there definitely should be a gap. The replacement level player is closer to Rollins in a mixed than he is in an only. And, yes, some of this is because my projection for Castro is aggressive this year.

I can see some use in a staff list of bid limits, comparisons but I just joined and I think the goal was to roll this out in this form and see what kind of feedback we received. I think this is a good idea for 2014, and will talk with the rest of the team to see if it is feasible.

I'm not as enthusiastic about running bids against PECOTA or any projection system for that matter. Projections are useful for telling us what a player might do, but I'm a big believer in adding some intuition to the process as well.

But looking at PECOTA, here is how the top SS are ranked by $$$
Tulo $30
Reyes $28
Rollins $20
Desmond $15
Castro $11
Andrus $11
Asdrubal $10
Aybar $9
Hardy $8
E Cabrera $6

My distribution from Castro to Rollins/Desmond might be a little too big, but the mixed values support the idea at least that the premier SS should get paid while the guys in the middle should get cheated.
BarryR
2/25
A small suggestion: when you make changes to values, could you indicate them by using an up or down arrow, so they can easily be spotted. This could have the added bonus of encouraging discussion on the changes among the group.
wbaker
3/01
I was surprised to see A-Rod at $7 in the AL-only values. Do you really think he will return that value this year?
MikeGianella
3/01
He went for $3 in the CBS Expert AL-only auction yesterday. So the price could be slightly high, yes. Bids for injured players in February are often placeholders due to a lack of sound or concrete information. As the regular season gets closer, I'll be adjusting bids like these to reflect the reality of A-Rod's status. If he plays half a season he could be a $10-12 player, but that's the rub. His status is really up in the air right now.
acmcdowell
3/01
I love to see Straily so high, so I am curious about your thoughts. Is this ranking a combination of his home park and minor league dominance? How concerned are you about the indifferent scouting reports?
MikeGianella
3/01
Some of it is the park, but I'm a big fan of Straily's mechanics and delivery. Hudson Belinsky had a nice write-up here, http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=18758 and I generally agree with Belinsky's take on Straily's delivery and mechanics. I don't see a future ace here, but think that Straily can be a solid mid-tier guy. All that being said he "only" went for $6 in CBS and I'll be curious to see what his price is in LABR. I'm not going to leave a $10 bid on him if I only need to pay $4-6 to get him.