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In the “My Model Portfolio” series, the fantasy staff will create their own team within a $260 auction budget using Mike Gianella’s latest Fantasy Auction Values. The scoring is 5×5 standard roto. The roster being constructed includes: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, 5 OF, 2 UTIL, and 9 P.

The Process

In most auction drafts, I employ a pretty standard 70/30 split with my available funds. I’ll also go in having some idea of price slots I’m looking to fill on the roster. For example, I’ll look for one hitter around $30, two hitters around $25, etc. This approach helps me spread out risk across several players as opposed to going all in on one or two big ticket acquisitions.

I’ve also developed an affection for players over 30 in recent drafts. Many of them seem to be undervalued compared to younger players at their positions. If you’re in a re-draft league, you don’t need multiple good seasons out of these picks. Can they provide solid value this season? If the answer is yes, there’s no reason not to acquire them.

The Roster

Hitters

Position

Player

Price

C

Travis d’Arnaud

$5

1B

Anthony Rizzo

$33

2B

Dustin Pedroia

$12

3B

Josh Donaldson

$28

CI

Eugenio Suarez

$6

MI

Logan Forsythe

$4

OF

Nelson Cruz

$21

OF

Adam Eaton

$15

OF

Carlos Gomez

$10

OF

Rajai Davis

$7

OF

Carlos Beltran

$4

UT

Jose Bautista

$16

UT

Kyle Seager

$21

Total Price: $182

Travis d’Arnaud – Every season I try and talk myself out of drafting d’Arnaud, and every season he ends up on several of my rosters. His health will always be a concern, but it’s hard to find a better player at the position with more upside for the price. The potential for double-digit home runs is there, and as Mike Gianella noted in his tiered rankings “d’Arnaud is only one year removed from having the second best TAv among catchers in 2015.”

Anthony Rizzo – Because I like to spread my auction dollars around it takes me out of the running for the highest priced players. That usually leaves me looking to pick up a hitter who would normally go at the end of the first round in a snake draft. Rizzo’s counting stats were right in line with other first basemen going for more money. His batting average doesn’t quite measure up to Joey Votto or Miguel Cabrera, but I’m willing to boost that category elsewhere.

Dustin Pedroia – Speaking of boosting my batting average, Dustin Pedroia is a solid bet to do just that. He earned over $17 in mixed leagues last season, and he still finds himself hitting in a potent lineup. Owners have become so familiar with Pedroia that he lacks much buzz, but fantasy championships are built on solid, dependable production.

Josh Donaldson – Donaldson offers the opportunity to acquire five-star talent at a cheaper price than his peers. He’s currently going for $12 less than Arenado and Bryant. While his counting stats might not have measured up to his 2015 totals, Donaldson has displayed consistent performances over the past few seasons.

Eugenio Suarez – You’re going to have to accept a low batting average with Suarez, but he offers the potential of 20+ home runs and double-digit steals. Suarez and Hernan Perez were the standouts from the two-star tier a season ago.

Logan Forsythe – Forsythe seems to be a pretty safe option here given his price. He hit 20 home runs in just 127 games last season. The average won’t be great, but there are worse problems to have at this cost.

Nelson Cruz – Cruz joins the club of players who tend to be overlooked because of their age. Many owners are waiting for Cruz’s decline to begin, and I’ll likely own him in multiple leagues when it finally happens. He finished just outside the top 25 in mixed leagues last season, and he’s currently ranked as the 17th best outfielder by bid limit. Until I see him finish with under 40 home runs in a season, I’m going to assume he’ll hit at least that many.

Adam Eaton – In 2016 Eaton finished with double-digit home runs and steals, and he scored 90+ runs. There is some room for the batting average to improve. The change of lineup and manager has the potential to boost production in a couple of categories.

Carlos Gomez – Gomez was the hitter I was most unsure about during this process. If owners get something closer to the production he displayed at the end of 2016, then this will be a solid pick. He’s currently going for $10, and the lingering promise of a 20-20 season is still out there.

Rajai Davis – Davis is only $7, and he’s swiped at least 30 bases in seven of the past eight seasons. You’ve heard repeatedly about the value of stolen bases in your offseason preparation. Owners were pleasantly surprised with his home run spike last season, but a repeat performance is unlikely given his new home park.

Carlos Beltran – No one should expect a repeat performance of Beltran’s 2016. However, he finds himself in a productive lineup, and 20+ home runs aren’t out of the question. He should see a drop in just about every category, but he could still return a lot of value at this price.

Jose Bautista – Injuries and age have suppressed Bautista’s value in drafts this season. There are reasons to be concerned, but the potential for 30+ home runs, 100+ RBI, and 100+ runs is too enticing to pass up for $16. The average is going to be a drain, but the risk is worth it.

Kyle Seager – This Seager might not have the buzz of the other Seager, but Kyle is as dependable as they come. He’s played in at least 155 games for five straight seasons. You can just about put 25 home runs, 80-90 RBI, and 80 runs in the bank with this pick. The batting average doesn’t stand out, but it did climb slightly in 2016. You’re not going to get a ton of surplus value here, but you’re likely to get what you paid for.

Pitchers

Position

Player

Price

P

Chris Archer

$20

P

Marcus Stroman

$11

P

Aaron Nola

$9

P

Julio Urias

$7

P

Dellin Betances

$8

P

Edwin Diaz

$15

P

Koda Glover

$5

P

Ivan Nova

$2

P

Ervin Santana

$1

Total Price: $78

Chris Archer – Archer isn’t the safest bet to build your rotation on, but there are reasons to be optimistic given his performance last season. His K/9 was still above 10, and his stats got better as the season went on. Archer has thrown 190 innings in three straight seasons. He could provide ace level production at a reduced-price point which is a necessary risk given the shape of this portfolio.

Marcus Stroman – It was hard not to like Stroman’s recent performance in the World Baseball Classic. His ERA should come down, and he’s a safe bet to be a solid source of innings. His K% did climb in the second half which should give owners optimism regarding his 2017.

Aaron Nola – I’ve already extolled the virtues of Nola elsewhere on this site. He had a string of poor performances in 2016 which significantly impacted his final numbers. Still, there were several bright spots in his production, and his strikeout rate is enticing at this price.

Julio Urias – It’s fair to be concerned about the number of innings Urias will pitch in 2017. However, it’s hard to imagine he won’t find a regular spot in the Dodgers rotation if he continues to dominate in the minors. In 77 innings in the majors, Urias struck out just over nine batters per nine innings, and there is the potential for a solid win total given his team. You’re not going to find more potential talent for this amount of money.

Dellin Betances – What Betances doesn’t provide in saves, he should make up for in strikeouts, ERA, and WHIP. Don’t let his poor final month of the season scare you off. Betances should easily bolster several categories as my lone non-saves reliever.

Edwin Diaz – There is a lot to like about Diaz’s performance from 2016. His K% was an obscene 40.6 percent, and he kept his ERA under three. Diaz offers the potential of elite closer production at below elite closer prices.

Koda Glover – Glover is potentially a cheap source of saves. That about sums it up.

Ivan Nova – If Nova keeps performing like he did upon his arrival in Pittsburgh, then this is a great buy at $2. He should benefit from a full season in the National League. Every fantasy roster can use a little Ray Searage magic.

Ervin Santana – When you pick a $1 starter you’re looking for someone who won’t be a major drain on any of your categories. Santana is a solid bet in this regard, and he has the potential to return some nice value. Over his final 88 innings, Santana held down a 2.65 ERA, and his K% jumped from 17.6 percent to 22.4 percent in the second half.

Thank you for reading

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MaineSkin
3/30
I really want to buy-in on Eaton, but switching leagues as an AL lifer is creating pause. Then I'm not sure if Eaton is in the top 5 of the lineup w/Dusty's obsession with the most speed in the lead off spot. Roster Resource has Eaton batting 7th which is another concern since the top 5 are pretty solid conceptually, so working his way up top playing the skills game is also not as probable as others in similar situations.
This is a valid article and agree with the value, just more asking to be pushed in Eaton's direction with the quelling of the concerns above.
Great list of names!