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Finally, after months of arguing about awards, arguing about Hall of Famers, watching the football playoffs out of sheer boredom, watching the NCAA men’s basketball tournament out of sheer boredom, and arguing about Kris Bryant’s service time, we’re almost there. Three days from now, the Cardinals and Cubs will kick off the regular season in Sunday night primetime, and once again all will be right with the world.

We are close enough to the start of the season that most of the adjustments in this update are on the bottom end guys. For home leagues that are more traditional and auction this weekend (or next weekend), this is the list I want to be able to use with confidence. I’m not looking to make significant changes, so there are only going to be a few players listed below who are above the $10 bid threshold who I will actually write a little blurb about below.

This is as good a time as any to remind everyone that while I’m confident you can simply use this list in your auction and do well, tweaking these bids for your own league’s proclivities is definitely the way to go. If closers go for $25-30 in your 5×5 and trading for a closer in-season is difficult, by all means adjust my closer bids up. As always, just make sure to move your bids down elsewhere in order to make sure that your bids fit your league budget.

Another frequent question that comes up this time of year is “how do I manage inflation?” This question would require its own article, but the most important thing to remember is that inflation skews my bid values in more ways than one. There is the linear calculation, of course, but beyond that different leagues apply inflation differently. In a league with high inflation, it is important not to pay the full, inflated rate for Mike Trout lest you wind up with Trout, Jose Abreu and a team of scrubs who cannot compete (this is particularly important in AL-only or very deep mixed). If you have a strong freeze list, while you cannot ignore inflation entirely, you can feel free to target players somewhat over the inflation price in order to ensure that you get the categories you need coming out of the auction. As I alluded to above, I could go on and on but if you’re in a keeper league, my bids are just a starting point, not a place to finish.

If you have any questions about your own specific auctions, the best way to reach me is the Bat Signal or the contact information within the article. It may sound trite, but I’m here to help. I want everyone reading this to have a successful auction or draft experience. I can’t teach the art, but I can help you with the science.

On to the bid adjustments…

AMERICAN LEAGUE

HITTERS

Anthony Gose ($9, previous $7)
Rajai Davis ($7, previous $10)

I’m sure I’ll regret this when the season ends and Davis earns his usual $20-plus in AL-only, but Gose seems to be on the right side of the platoon and should get a good chunk of at bats, at least at the start. A $7 bid on Davis is still somewhat aggressive, even in an -only.

Alex Rodriguez ($10, previous $6)
Garrett Jones ($6, previous $10)

I’m starting to believe, to a point. Don’t get carried away: A-Rod is a 40-plus-year-old player who is unlikely to play a full season’s worth of games, but he will get an opportunity to DH and play some first base. A 20-homer season isn’t the craziest outcome for one of the best players ever to play the game.

PITCHERS

Dellin Betances ($18, previous $21)
Finally, at long last, my cynicism has seeped in, at least a little. This bid still says Betances is closing, but he might not be the dominant force he was in 2014, at least not at first.

Koji Uehara ($13, previous $15)
If I had another week to make this call, maybe I would leave Uehara at $15. I don’t like the age profile, the fact that he was ineffective to close 2014, and the injury (obviously).

Justin Verlander ($10, previous $12)

Kevin Gausman ($10, previous $12)
Some reports have Gausman starting 2015 in the bullpen. Even if this is so, I don’t think it significantly dampens his value, but the bid has to go down a little bit.

Danny Salazar ($9, previous $11)
As with Gausman, I believe Salazar will eventually be back in a starting role sooner rather than later. However, I do have more cynicism with Salazar. He could be in the minors for more than just a month, and if this happens his value takes a very big hit.

Luke Gregerson ($11, previous $9)
I’m still a Pat Neshek believer, but Gregerson has been tabbed as the closer in Houston and certainly has the skills to hold the job all year long.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

HITTERS

Anthony Rendon ($20, previous $24)
The latest news is that Rendon is only supposed to be out for three weeks, but I’m skeptical. Injuries that are under this type of cloud cover typically don’t end on the optimistic side of the projections. If I had to guess, I would say that Rendon misses six weeks and/or isn’t the same for a little while when he comes back. At the very least, the stolen bases that came out of nowhere last year disappear and he suddenly isn’t worth the premier cost.

Daniel Murphy ($16, previous $18)
I’m not as nervous about Murphy as I am about Rendon, but some of Murph’s value comes from his legs and even if he doesn’t miss any time, my guess is he won’t run as much, at least not at first.

Nick Markakis ($12, previous $10)
It looks like Markakis is going to make the team on Opening Day.

PITCHERS

No significant updates.

Thank you for reading

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lipitorkid
4/02
Thank you. This is super helpful.
mlbbug
4/02
Luke Gregerson has for his career 19 saves/26 blown saves! He has never successfully held a closer role for an entire year. I would be looking for someone to back him up in that "pen. Don't forget that Qualls led that 'pen with 19 saves last year; that matches Gregerson's career saves total!
jonathanaustin
4/02
Looking at saves / blown saves for a non-closer is pointless. You can blow a save in the eight inning, but you're not going to get a save if you protect the lead.

And while Gregerson has never held the closer role for a full year, he's never had the opportunity to be a full time closer before (his saves are when he filled in for the injured/tired closer).

Gregerson is a good reliever and while he might be on a shorter leash due to lack of closer history, there is no reason to think he can't do the job. There really isn't anything magical about the ability to be a closer that some have and some don't.
BStephen
4/02
dayan viciendo was in Toronto Camp....Was Cut...

Any thoughts on Billy Burns with the Crisp injury?
MikeGianella
4/02
I noticed that this morning after I put the update in. I'll take him out.

Should probably get a $2-3 bid at a minimum.
iorg34
4/04
No Eddie Escobar at SS?