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.
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.
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