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Welcome to the first installment of Baseball Prospectus’ 2016 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 bid limits are designed for 12 teams, $260 budgets per team, 14 hitters, and nine pitchers. For mixed leagues, the bid limits are for 15 teams, $260 budgets per team, 14 hitters, and nine pitchers. 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 Paul Goldschmidt 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 fantasy novices 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 $22 for Kyle Schwarber 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.

In March, 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 Lorenzo Cain this year, but if I see enough evidence that his going price is sitting in the low-$20s, I’ll move my bid down 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 OK 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 $31.11 and $27.99 in NL-only, putting together a fantasy team with a pair of one-category speed demons at a combined $59 is a difficult path to victory. The same phenomenon is present with saves; the PFM has Wade Davis ranked sixth among all AL-only pitchers with $22.74 in projected earnings. I agree that Davis could earn this amount, but in expert 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.

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 mixed leagues, 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 Bryce Harper 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 when I started putting these bid limits together 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 Goldschmidt, 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 Matt Carpenter in NL-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.

AN IMPORTANT NOTE FOR 2016: Due to some of the late free agent signings as well as a number of National League teams with many job situations in flux, this edition of the bid limits is far more fluid than it has been in past seasons. The bid limits still add up for NL and AL-only, but the mixed bid limits are slightly off at the moment. Additionally, many of the players at the bottom of the only-league piles have two or three-dollar bids that will be cut down to one dollar as we get closer to the end of the spring. The second update in March will be more precise.

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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braves95
2/24
Aaron Hicks has C eligibility this year?
MikeGianella
2/24
Should be fixed now
ROTOMIGS
2/24
Great article, Mike. Thanks for all your work. How would you suggest altering the values for an NL Only that excludes Padres and Rockies players? Eight team keeper, keep between six and ten per team. How would I reallocate the values of these excluded NL players? Plus I think at eight teams I only have $2080 not $3120 to work with. And do I factor in each keeper's current salary or is that irrelevant for overall valuation?
MikeGianella
2/25
You want to start by pushing the values down to $2080 (as you said), but make sure to leave many of the $$$ at the top the same or even push them up slightly higher. The replacement player in a league like this will play a little bit like a mixed league, so the last guy on your roster will have more variability than in a "standard" NL-only. Figure out your adjusted bids first and THEN calculate inflation.
batts40
2/24
Terrific as usual, Mike.
kvamlnk
2/24
Errata: Francisco Lindor is not listed in Mixed SS list.
MikeGianella
2/24
Thanks. He should be there now
davidrcoffin
2/24
Very excited about this. Just did a quick run through on the NL-Only side, and Khris Davis and Dexter Fowler are listed over there.

Not only does that need to be fixed, but it's a good reminder of all that the NL lost this year.
MikeGianella
2/24
This is going to be fixed in the next update.
MikeGianella
2/24
Actually, I should be able to get to this by Friday at the latest
MikeGianella
2/25
The AL-only will be fixed today; planning on doing the NL-only tomorrow.
Deadheadbrewer
2/24
TWO Patrick Corbins of identical value? I had heard rumors of the D-Backs messing around with cloning, but didn't know they had perfected it. Cloning players may not be explicitly forbidden in the current rules, but I would bet that Manfred will have something to say about this.
MikeGianella
2/24
Hmmmm, this is correct in the frame I use to load these values. I'll have to bring this to tech support and see what's happening here.
Deadheadbrewer
2/24
I am seeing two Buxtons as well . . .
MikeGianella
2/25
OK, I'll add this to the tech support ticket. Thanks
SJLedet
2/24
I see Eduardo Rodriguez for $8 in AL only, but, not at all in mixed. Oversight?
MikeGianella
2/24
Not in this pass. A lot of the $1 and reserve mixed pitchers are interchangeable. However, based on some of the staff's strong pro-Rodriguez feedback, I'm considering bumping him up to $2 or $3
MikeGianella
2/25
I stuck a $2 bid on him.
adrock
2/24
This is always fantastic--thanks again for your hard work.
ukbsktbll
2/24
What is the best strategy when the players your targeting go over these numbers? I usually steer away from the top players in each category bc people always overvalue them. Like for example Kershaw would prob go 50+ in my league.
MikeGianella
2/25
I try to buy one or two players at a par bid price (so I don't have money on the table at the end) and then go bargain hunting the rest of the way.
jmilman77
2/24
Wondering if you could provide a change in bid amount for Chris Davis and Deshields Jr in a league where OBP replaces average. Thanks!
MikeGianella
2/25
I'd bump Davis up a buck and leave DeShields where he is.

As noted above, I don't do custom format bids. However, my valuation spreadsheets for the last three years have NL and AL-only values for OBP.

2015: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1BUnDbTaA_TebOe1HFkfHQMlxg9cu_izLdm85pFnLEIw/edit#gid=915702183

2014: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1itMG8H4WSyoT415C-66eB9ea6Txy1Bef-KWSGu0bVc4/edit#gid=1084931599

2013: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1wJ5fb-sWK9mBjMTO3SDDflKuxVPYSwkcUpYw7GDi-eY/edit#gid=6
jacquehamed
2/24
Have you listed unsigned FA players like Victorino or Austin Jackson? I know Ian Desmond was listed but did not notice the others. Thanks for this, it is incredibly helpful.
MikeGianella
2/24
Jackson and Victorino aren't. I tried to list the "major" ones
jacquehamed
2/24
Thank you, this article is greatly appreciated
ares1800jr
2/24
Do we extra points if we point out clerical errors? cause I want to play... Fernando Rodney
MikeGianella
2/24
It's actually helpful
greenday8885
2/25
Any rules of thumb for adjusting prices for different league formats, or is it too complicated to throw a simple factor on? Curious on prices for a 16 team mixed.
molszowka
2/25
Adam Duvall CIN is not listed. Does this mean you value him at 0
MikeGianella
2/25
The $1 and the "0" players are interchangeable. Right now he's at $1, but I could easily see bidding $2-3 in an NL-only auction.
TannerBell
2/25
I really like the idea that "what you should bid" is not the same as "what the projected value for a player is".

I particularly agree with your "Proven Stars" adjustment.

Would you be willing to share how you do that? Is it science? Feel? Part science, part feel? I'd love to hear more about that piece.
MikeGianella
2/25
It's mostly feel, but some of it has to do with how your specific league plays out and looking back at past trends.

The CBS expert auctions I do every year are a good example of this. For the most part, the bids are significantly higher on the top players and there are a lot of bargains at the end. In theory, this sounds like it should be easy if you have any kind of price discipline at all. This is true for the most part, but if you're too doctrinaire in this case you can wind up with $5-10 in your pocket because EVERYONE is a bargain at the end. So what I try to do in CBS is adjust my prices up a little bit at the top so that I can make sure I buy a $260 team.

I've had the opposite happen as well. In my first year in Tout Wars NL, I spent $40 apiece on Hanley and Pujols. This was back in 2010, when they were superstars, but it still left me in a bad spot late. I have learned since then to tinker a little bit with prices based on how that league plays out.
Osimring
2/25
Thanks for the list. I play in several auction Yahoo leagues with a C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, OF, OF, OF, U, U roster.

I find that the much smaller roster pushes up the value of the top 40ish hitters, doesn't do much to the next 40ish, and then pushes the value down of the next 40ish. (Pitcher values are about the same)

So in looking at your auction values I"m pretty much adding ~10% to the bids of your top guys and subtracting ~$4 to the bottom guys.

Not accounting for my methodology, would you agree with the general principle? That in leagues with smaller rosters you boost the top guys' value and subtract from the bottom guys'? And if you've ever played Yahoo auction leagues what do you think of the 10% boost?
Osimring
2/25
12 team leagues btw
MikeGianella
2/26
Yes, I would do something similar. I haven't played in any Yahoo! auction leagues, but I have played in smaller roster leagues and the principle applies.
WassonWR
2/26
I love and appreciate these values, Mike. Working on my own adjustments, do these rankings follow a 180-80 split? (2700 for mixed hitters?)
WassonWR
2/26
Also, I'm seeing 3 Brandon Finnegans, since you said it's helpful.
MikeGianella
2/26
Our technical area is working on this and I'm hoping it is resolved before the second update.
MikeGianella
2/26
Yes
youppi
3/01
Is there a place I can download this information as a spreadsheet?
t0mmyo
3/04
I just copy and paste. they are all easily transferable to excel.
MikeGianella
3/06
Yes, this is what I recommend.
lemurine
3/02
Hi Mike, what are your thoughts in a 5x5 mixed draft where OBP replaces BA re values? If they have an OBP upwards of say, .360, 380, 400 how many points might you add to their value? Any ideas are appreciated, am drafting tomorrow! Thanks a lot.
MikeGianella
3/06
I'm sorry I missed this. I usually turn the email/comments off after about a week.

But I tend to add $3-5 to the top OBP hitters and then a $1-2 here or there for the players with more incremental differences.
lemurine
3/07
Thanks for the reply, Mike, I will use your thoughts next year.

Also, am curious why the bid limit is what I feel is low for Mike Leake.
winkleyp
3/05
At least two tyler glasnows...
lemurine
3/06
Hector Olivera is missing from NL only.
MikeGianella
3/06
He was erroneously in the OF. This should be fixed now.
playertbnl
3/09
Hey Mike, what sort of general adjustments would you recommend for a points league? Or are the valuations so different that this last wouldn't help much?
MikeGianella
3/09
For points leagues, the PFM is probably best. Valuation is fairly apples to apples with projections versus bidding
Dirk99Pitt
3/18
I have a strategy question. The list is great - love it. I'm going to use it as a baseline and adjust for my preferences.

I'm in a 12 team keeper league where you can protect six players. There is a lot of inflation - I read your article on that. For example I have as my keepers:
Josh Donaldson 3B 3.50
Maikel Franco 3B 2.50
Carlos Carrasco SP 2.50
Gerrit Cole SP 3.50
Noah Synder SP 2.00
Wade Davis RP 3.50

There are going to be bargains and guys that age out of contracts (ie: Trout, Goldie, etc) as going to go for ALL of money.

Last year was my first year in an auction and I left money on the table. I have a lot of money to spend and I'm tempted to bump the top guys up 25% and look for bargains later. I know thats not a lot of detail but what do you think?


MikeGianella
3/18
In a standard mixed format, you definitely want to bump up the top guys. The shallower the league, the more the replacement level guys are interchangeable.
tnolting
3/14
I think you are missing Gary Sanchez under C