When I’m going into an auction, balance is the biggest thing I’m looking for. I like to target players who are pretty good at everything, but not necessarily great in any one area. While Billy Hamilton’s huge steal numbers are going to go for $30-plus in some leagues, I’ll stick with the Matt Hollidays of the world who are a safe bet to contribute in four categories for a mid-teens price. Offensively, I’ll typically let the biggest-name players slide and anchor my lineup with a handful of players in the $15-$25 range. I’ll use my last few roster spots to shore up any areas I may be lacking in. On the pitching side, I like to build around one big name to anchor my staff, and then fill in with cheaper options. Those cheap options should be a mix of boring veterans and high-upside young arms. I’m looking for cheap saves, too, and the best way to find them is to target some players who may not be viewed as full-time closers right now but should get a decent save total by the end of the year.






Yan Gomes



Adrian Gonzalez



Howie Kendrick



Nolan Arenado



Xander Bogaerts



Mike Napoli



Jimmy Rollins



Bryce Harper



Christian Yelich



Matt Holliday



Melky Cabrera



A.J. Pollock



Joc Pederson



Logan Morrison




There were a few players right off the bat who jumped out to me immediately at bargain prices. Nolan Arenado is a high average player who showed nice power last year with the added benefit of playing in Colorado. He could be a steal at $20. I’ve already written about why I like Christian Yelich so much this year. I mentioned Matt Holliday above, too, and while he doesn’t have a huge breakout potential, his baseline performance should make that $14 a good value.

After those three, I wanted to get two big bats to anchor my lineup, and opted for one safe veteran and one young veteran with breakout potential. Adrian Gonzalez is going to give me good AVG, with 20-plus homers and 100-plus RBI. The $27 on Bryce Harper was a little more than I wanted to spend on my highest paid player, but I believe this is the year he finally breaks out into an MVP-caliber player (I’ll be saying this every year until it actually happens). After those two, I went with my favorite catcher on the board this year in Yan Gomes. Like Gonzalez, he’s going to give me a strong average with home runs and RBI to go with it.

To finish off my offense I went looking for guys who can help me in specific categories. Howie Kendrick and Melky Cabrera should give me strong averages with high run totals. Jimmy Rollins and A.J. Pollock will give me good run totals too, with the added bonus of stolen bases. Mike Napoli and Logan Morrison are my cheap power sources. I’m happy with my across-the-board balance, as well as my balance of steady veterans like Gonzalez and Holliday with high-upside youngsters like Bogaerts and Pederson.



Chris Sale



Hisashi Iwakuma



Mat Latos



Brett Cecil



Michael Wacha



Francisco Liriano



A.J. Burnett



Andrew Miller



Edward Mujica




Of the top tier of starting pitchers, Chris Sale jumps out to me as the best value listed by a long shot. He’s hurt right now, but all indications are he should miss one or two starts at most. When he’s on the mound, there’s a very good case for him being a top-three pitcher in the game. He’s got an improved lineup to work with and a competent bullpen, meaning a career-high win total is well within reach.

I wanted to go cheaper with my second pitcher, but the value of a $16 Hisashi Iwakuma was too good to pass up. He’s not going to blow anyone away, but he’s an elite WHIP pitcher in a great park on a good team. In that same mold, Mat Latos is on a sneaky good team in a big park with good career WHIP numbers. I’m expecting both of these guys to safely outproduce their prices this year. Michael Wacha has yet to pitch more than 107 innings in the majors, but he’s been healthy this spring and his career numbers have been outstanding.

At this point it became clear that I was lacking good strikeout pitchers after Sale. My mid-tier starters were all going to help in wins, WHIP and ERA, but I they’re not going to rack up huge K numbers. To solve this, I nabbed Francisco Liriano and A.J. Burnett, both of whom carry tremendous upside. There is injury risk here with both of them, but the upside at their respective prices made it clearly worth it to me.

Left with just my bullpen to fill out, I inadvertently turned to the American League East. Brett Cecil was just recently named Toronto’s closer, but I think he’s a safe bet to hold it all year. I foresee some early season struggles from Dellin Betances that lead to Miller taking the job full-time by mid-June. Even if that doesn’t happen, he’s probably good for double digit saves and still helps me a ton in strikeouts. Edward Mujica is starting the year as Boston’s closer, but will lose the job when Koji Uehara comes back. I don’t see this as Uehara’s last trip to the disabled list, though, making Mujica an intriguing bet for 20-plus saves this year.

Thank you for reading

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