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Welcome to the first installment of Baseball Prospectus’ 2015 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 AL and NL-only, the presumed settings are 12 teams, $260 budgets per team, 14 hitters, and nine pitchers. For mixed leagues, we have switched from 12 teams to 15 teams this year for our bid lists; otherwise, the parameters are the same as they are for the mono leagues. Additionally, Baseball Prospectus will also be rolling out draft rankings in straight list form in the near future for mixed leaguers. 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 infielders.
  • Proven stars — Adding a dollar or two for reliability. Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen 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 crash-and-burn 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 $21 for Jason Kipnis 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 in mono leagues or $3,900 in mixed.

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 high on Lucas Duda this year, but if I see enough evidence that his going price is sitting in the mid teens, I’ll move my down up modestly. I’ll probably get him in most of my leagues anyway, but I want my bids to have some semblance of reality. It is okay 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 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 Billy Hamilton and Dee Gordon will earn $32.19 and $28.08, putting together a fantasy team with a pair of one-category speed demons at a combined $60 is a difficult path to victory. The same phenomenon is present with saves; the PFM has Craig Kimbrel ranked second among all NL-only pitchers with $26.97 in projected earnings. I agree that Kimbrel could earn this amount, but in most “typical” auction-style leagues he won’t cost this much.

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. The good news is that since Baseball Prospectus will be providing draft rankings, you won’t need to rely on this bid list for your drafts if you elect not to do so.

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 15-team mixed league are interchangeable with the best free agents, and many will do significantly better than the weakest fourth of the players purchased. On the other hand, there is no Mike Trout or Andrew McCutchen waiting in the wings. As a result, the best players in mixed leagues are given higher bid limits.

Many pricing systems significantly reward the superstars. I did this in 2013, 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 McCutchen, 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 Brian Dozier in AL-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 prefer to use these lists exclusively—I am 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 or $3,900 for a 15-team league.

I play in a 6×6 league that uses holds and OPS in addition to the standard 5×5 categories. Will you be providing bids for other formats?

While I would love to provide bid limits for every format imaginable, 5×5 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 6×6 is the norm, I will start providing bids for 6×6 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.

Thank you for reading

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timjrohr
2/23
For some reason, I can't see the embedded spreadsheet. This happened last year, and I have a new computer this year, so I can't figure out what the problem is. Any ideas?
timjrohr
2/23
Oh, and FWIW, I can't see it in Firefox or Chrome. So, as a last-ditch effort, I checked IE. It shows there! Weird....
MikeGianella
2/23
customerservice@baseballprospectus.com is probably your best bet, although i can see it in my Chrome fwiw.
digiderek
2/23
I'm experiencing the exact same thing as you for all three browsers.
modofacid
2/23
I'm viewing it just fine in chrome
bubba3m
2/23
I'm a little surprised the values for Hahn and Duffy are so high- their projections are tepid, to say the least, and you have them valued higher than more established pitchers. What do you see that the projections are missing?
MikeGianella
2/23
I like Hahn in that park seeing a new set of hitters; he gets a sneaky first time around bump that he would not have received had a stayed in San Diego. In Duffy's case, I'm betting on the fact that a cracked rib that he pitched with in the second half caused a lot of his problems and he should be better.
woodruff11
2/23
Collin McHugh is listed twice
MikeGianella
2/23
It is correct on the form I use to enter this, so I'm going to have to reach out to someone on the technical side to see why this is happening.
MikeGianella
2/23
Fixed.
BurrRutledge
2/23
These are fantastic, and we're a fantastic resource last year. Thanks, BP, for continuing to offer the best fantasy content.

Would love to see BP put together a contest similar to Hacking Mass where subscribers can fill out a 5x5 fantasy roster using these (or some future iteration) values, and then see how many $ that team earns over the course of the season...
mblthd
2/23
Hellickson? I know, woof, but still, is he a lot woofier than those $1 guys?
MikeGianella
2/23
Some of it has more to do with the pitching quality and quantity in NL versus AL than with any specific knock on Hellickson.
tommauro1
2/23
Hey Mike,

Great stuff like always. This may be a simplistic question- my league uses 9 starting offensive positions (standard 8 positions plus UTIL). But rosters are set at 24 and the rules allow for daily lineup changes; so bench players are less valuable than in standard roto leagues but still somewhat valuable. Replacement level is also higher than it would be in standard roto but somewhat comparable.

Speaking in generalities, would your recommendation be to detract $ from the lower parts of the list and add it to the top tiers?
MikeGianella
2/23
Yes. Just don't do it as radically as PECOTA suggests; otherwise you're going to cash out early and wind up with 2-3 stars and a lot of scrubs.
tommauro1
2/23
Awesome- thanks! PFM had Trout valued at something insanely high like $98. I figured the ideal landing spot was probably somewhere slightly above your values but still below the PFMs recommendation.
MikeGianella
2/23
Yes, that's what I would do.
adrock
2/23
A great resource that serves as the starting point for my auction values each year.

A quick note: It may just be me, but Kole Calhoun appears 3 times when I look at the AL-only values. He only appears once in mixed.

Also, with the shift of major FA starters from the AL to the NL this year, it seems like the split of dollars spent on pitching this year is coming in even lower than 70/30. Is that an accurate assessment or do my eyes deceive me?
MikeGianella
2/23
Someone had this problem with Collin McHugh. I'll let our technical folks know.

I averaged the CBS/LABR/Tout bids from last year to come up with the splits. So they are lower than 70% for hitters (I talked about this last year in my LABR/Tout recaps) but I did take all of the money left on the table and shifted it to hitting. So I think it's 68/32 for the NL and 69/31 for the AL.
mcquown
2/23
Technical folks have fixed the McHugh and Calhoun issues. I'll query to see if anyone else has dupes now.
digiderek
2/23
Where would you rank Steven Vogt as a catcher in AL-only leagues? He qualifies as a catcher in my league.
MikeGianella
2/23
Think I'd bump him up $3
Worthing
2/23
Sorry if I missed it someplace, but I can't find it. Where (can we?) download the spreadsheet that contains all of this?
ravenight
2/23
Or, can it be added as a column in the PFM?
matthewpb
2/24
If this were integrated into the PFM, so we could see this up against the what numbers it generates and next to the Tiers, that would be fantastic.
MikeGianella
2/23
We were planning to add spreadsheet capability this year, but it obviously didn't come out with this edition. Let me check regarding the timing of this feature.
kvamlnk
2/23
You can see the URLs for the different choices in the browser status bar. Below is the URL for all positions; mixed league.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/fantasy/mikegvalues.php?pos=&lg=M&yr=2014

Use the URL in to capture the HTML as a file. Then open the file with your spreadsheet program. I'm using OpenOffice, but most modern spreadsheet programs should be able to read the HTML table into a spreadsheet.
lvhawk
2/23
I agree 5x5 is the most common format which I assume means using AVG as a category. I was curious where the percentages currently are in the industry between AVG and OBP leagues? Our league switch to OBP a few years back when it appeared the industry was moving toward OBP as the standard as most agree it's a more accurate measure than just AVG. This movement seems to have lost traction for some reason. Would like to hear your thoughts on the subject. Thanks...
MikeGianella
2/23
I went through the Bat Signal questions we receive (which I admit is not scientific) and 15% of the questions came from people who play in OBP leagues. I agree that it is a superior category to OBP, but it is difficult to justify building bids for a format that 15% of people use. I have said in the past that if LABR switches to OBP that I will start using OBP as well (since Tout Wars already uses it), but I asked Steve Gardner of USA Today if LABR will switch and he said there are no plans to do so in the near future.
LynchMob
2/24
My league is switching to OBP this season ... finally!

I think what finally convinced other owners in my league was when Tout Wars switched last season.

Seems like Steve Gardner needs some lobbying to make the same change happen for LABR ... any recommendations on how to best do that?

Any other ideas for how to get "the standard" changed from BA to OBP?
MikeGianella
2/25
Write Steve. It would probably help if you subscribed to Sports Weekly.
ravenight
2/23
Does the $17 for Kenley include the injury, or should we assume an update is coming?
MikeGianella
2/23
This includes the injury. I had him at $20 before the injury happened.
Robotey
2/24
wow - that's a lot of respect for Rendon.
dbertelli
2/25
Suggested rhetorical flourish after you outbid the other BP-reader in your group to land Kolten Wong for $18, to the fascination of the other managers:

"Hey - he could be the next Steve Lombardozzi!"

(So says PECOTA)
MikeGianella
2/25
The same thing would have happen to you last year with Corey Kluber. And Kluber's buyer would have been right, and the other managers would have been wrong.
grandslam28
2/25
You seem very high on Blackmon in mixed leagues.
johnklein
2/25
A little aggressive for Rosario at $17. Unless he gets traded from COL, I can't see him reaching that value.
pigbird
2/28
Great resource. Thanks so much for posting. Any suggestions for how to adjust for a 10-team AL only (instead of the 12-team to which the suggested prices apply)?
MikeGianella
2/28
Here are two articles on the subject. One from BP http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22997

And one from my pre-BP, blogging days: http://rotothinktank.blogspot.com/2009/03/adjusting-for-smaller-leagues.html

If you don't want to go through all of that, as a general rule players at the top should stay the same, players in the middle take moderate pay cuts and guys at the bottom get ripped off.
pigbird
2/28
Thanks Mike. I noticed that there are a lot of mediocre, somewhat comparable offerings at SS, once you get past the top guys. I'm thinking I might as well go cheap at SS since I'm not sure the guy I get for $8 is much different than the one I'll get for $1 or $2. Any reaction?
MikeGianella
2/28
I could see doing that, more so with the $11-12 guys I have like Gregorius (who I think I might have too high in the first go 'round) and Lowrie.
pigbird
2/28
Thanks. Yes, I was thinking I have a good shot at Lowrie for not much. Thanks again.
mmcma007
3/04
Hi Mike,

Could you link the article that explains how to convert these values into leagues with more teams like you did last year?
MikeGianella
3/04
Here it is http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22997
mmcma007
3/05
Thanks Mike!
chrislakey
3/16
Does anybody have a spreadsheet of this? Or a html file? Thanks, and Thanks to Mike!
MikeGianella
3/16
We're hoping to release a downloadable version of this in the next week or so; however, I cannot confirm that this is definitely something that we will do.
AlCush99
3/18
When are you updating the sheet,or are you making the updates on this page.
MikeGianella
3/18
There will be a second article tomorrow but the embedded form will change as well.