keyboard_arrow_uptop
Baseball Prospectus is looking for a Public Data Services Director. Read the description here.

We have auctions and we have drafts. Some of you all might only do drafts and some of you all might only do auctions, while some do both. Of those of us who do both, most have a preference for a certain format. When I write here about fantasy baseball (which is almost always), I will sometimes write about a particular format and I will sometimes write about an idea that can or may be applied to drafts, auctions, keeper leagues, dynasty leagues, redrafts, etc.

Partaking in multiple formats can be a lot of work, but there are also benefits. Today we will discuss some of the benefits of preparing for both auctions and drafts. Mostly, it allows for a very nice sanity check.

We have discussed the merits of relying on the wisdom of experts—those who have seen the many ways players and player types have performed year over year. We have discussed the “wisdom of the crowd”—how being the highest or lowest on a player usually speaks to the accuracy (or lack thereof) of our valuation. We have discussed how defensive decision-making and our preference for mental shortcuts often make us overly reliant on lists or precedent (our past decisions).

All this discussion, all these different things to think about, can get overwhelming. This is where our draft lists and auction valuations can help each other. Let’s say for example we use a certain website’s rankings for our redrafts, tweaking them to fit our own preferences and analysis. Then, let’s say, we use Mike Gianella’s Fantasy Auction Values™ for our auctions, tweaking the values to fit our own league structure and our personal preferences. While this might only take two sentences in an internet article, this takes a lot of effort to actually execute. We do ourselves a disservice if we stop there, though.

This dual preparation allows us to find biases in our process by observing the discrepancies in our two lists. AFTER ADJUSTING FOR ANY DIFFERENCE IN LEAGUE STRUCTURE (such as category type, keeper versus non keeper, league size, etc.), we can begin to find logical inconsistencies. Why do I have Jose Abreu at $30 and Jose Bautista at $29, but have Bautista ahead of Abreu in my redraft rankings? Why do I have the top closer valued as the 40th-most-valuable player, but have that same player ranked 55th overall for my draft?

The point of this is not to simply adjust one or the other to match, which would be replacing an inconsistency with arbitrary consistency. Rather, the point is to understand why those differences exist. Is it because of a personal bias that showed up in one preparation, but not the other? If so, then we should be searching for where that bias might be showing up for elsewhere. Is a particular discrepancy born out of a particular league norm (such as paying a premium for top players or waiting to take second catchers)? If it is, the we should confirm that we are correctly analyzing the way we are taking the league norm into account when doing our strategizing, rankings, and/or valuations. If it is neither of the previously hypothesized reasons, then we will benefit from doing a little extra analysis and determining which valuation we should change if any.

The last advantage (that I can think of at the moment) of partaking in both drafts and auctions is not to just compare individual player valuations, but to also compare strategies. Obviously each structure has its limitations in what we can do, but our draft rankings can work as a quick check to see if we really should be looking to get two $1 catchers or if, relative to their rankings, some of the mid-priced catchers are actually the bargains we should keep our eyes peeled for. Conversely, knowing the auction values of the nos. 20-30 middle infielders can inform us if we need to reach a little bit to grab a shortstop or not.

Ultimately, in preparing for both auctions and drafts, we provide ourselves with a great opportunity to audit both of our processes (both in single player valuation and general strategy planning). It is a little extra work, but (i) it is worth it and (ii) the bulk of the work has already been done, so let’s take advantage of it.

Thank you for reading

This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. Subscriptions support ongoing public baseball research and analysis in an increasingly proprietary environment.

Subscribe now
You need to be logged in to comment. Login or Subscribe
Robotey
3/02
Jeff - With all due respect--and I do respect your work and the work of BP's other Fantasy Writers--I think drafts are for amateurs. I won't stand on principle on many things--Shakespeare wrote his own plays, every person deserves the right to vote and I like no DH in the NL--and auction vs. draft is one of them. SImply put, in an auction, if you absolutely, positively must have one particular player--be he Trout, Bonds, Pujols, Kershaw--he can be yours, you must simply be willing to find a way to fill out your roster with some clever bargain-hunting later on. But, in a draft, it's a lottery. That's entirely bogus. It's like an auction but with built-in excuses --"Oh, I was picking 7th so the best I could do was Machado". Bleah. The best part of the fantasy season is the draft and the best part of the draft is watching the bidding climb, whether for great players or for bargains late in the draft, especially when 2 penny pinching owners realize that their stash of salary cap $ is useless so Ryan Church goes for $22--I've seen it happen. I am old school going back to the original Rotisserie book by Okrent and friends, and I could consider that gospel. Like any committed fantasy player, I'm starved for info in the winter and will listen to any podcast remotely related to fantasy baseball, but in the end I only want to hear how much a player went for in an NL-only league with at least 10 teams.