The beauty of an auction is that if you have the honor of calling out the first name, you will not be criticized if it’s not Mike Trout. Following ADP during a snake draft is fairly routine during the first few rounds; you’re not going to pick Asdrubal Cabrera in the 5th round. The auction format allows you to construct a team in many different ways and I hope to show that you may not have to worry about missing out on Mike Trout or Mookie Betts during an auction.
Using the NFBC average auction values as of March 9th and the BAT projections available via FanGraphs, I compared projections for 6 combinations of players whose auction prices added up to…..55. Why 55? It was random, but I wanted to pick a number that was high enough to include Trout who was going for an average of 51, plus it made for a good title thanks to Sammy Hagar.
Let’s start with Trout. His 51 AAV (average auction value) makes us pair him with someone worth $4. There were a few options, but I went with a favorite of mine, Jorge Polanco.
This combination gives you solid numbers across all 5 categories as Polanco is a contributor across the board even at his relatively low auction price. Their stolen base total will end up being the second highest of the combos you’ll see here.
Next up… Mookie Betts. Betts went #1 in some TGFBI leagues and has an AAV of 49 in the NFBC. Coming in at 6 units to pair with Betts is Brandon Nimmo.
When just comparing these first two combos, it appears that spending the extra 2 bucks on Trout is worth the price. If you’ve drafted Betts ahead of Trout in a snake draft this can be made up, but in an auction, it may be tough to recover from…. but let’s keep looking.
We now move to someone who, as a rookie, lit up the league and currently has a first round ADP. Ronald Acuna, Jr. has an AAV of 41. We pair him up with one of the few free agents to get an early multi-year contract – AJ Pollack and his AAV of 14.
My major concern with this combo is the injury risk of Pollack and the unknown of Acuna being able to reproduce what he did last year. It offers the highest SB total of the six combos and beats the Betts/Nimmo totals in 3 of the 5 categories.
One of the biggest trades of the off-season involved a prominent first baseman who has been a 5-category contributor in the past. His speed has slowed down a bit, but his AAV of 36 shows he is still in high regard. Paul Goldschmidt is one of the top first baseman and in this exercise is paired with a $19 OF. George Springer at $19 is a little higher than my valuation of $15, but he offers across the board stats and that’s what you’re paying for.
The first thing that strikes me here is the similarity in the projections. You are paying 17 more dollars for just 4 more HRs, Rs, RBIs, and SBs. These are the things you must look at when preparing for your auction. If you believe that Springer will produce these numbers, he is the type of player you want to target in an auction. This combination beats the Trout combo in HR and RBI and is only 4 short in runs scored. Their SB numbers are the lowest of the first 4, but offer the second highest batting average.
Another player who had a breakout season last year entered this spring with questions about his recovery from elbow surgery. Alex Bregman is already playing in spring games and appears to be on his way to being in the opening day lineup for the Astros. His AAV of 32 allow us to pair him with someone who many people are seemingly willing to pay up a little for despite his dismal sub Mendoza line batting average last year. Gary Sanchez at 23 units is a risk I’m probably not going to take a chance on in an auction, but his potential power numbers at the dismal catching position give people the urge to say “23” when bidding.
Bregman and Sanchez take the lead in HRs here, come in 2nd in RBI, but are last in the other three categories. The lead in HRs is miniscule, so this is a combo at 55 that I would be passing on. I believe Bregman can easily surpass his projections here, but I am not going to chance another sub .200 average from Sanchez.
Lastly we have a combo of similar pricing. These two first baseman are currently going in the first 4 or 5 rounds of most snake drafts. One even has OF eligibility, making him a little more valuable if you run into an injury later in the season. Anthony Rizzo at 28 and Rhys Hoskins at 27 round out our 55 combos.
This power combination has the highest HR and RBI totals, but it comes at the expense of the lowest SB and AVG totals. Compared to the Trouts/Polanco combo they have 22 fewer steals, but 22 more RBI. You’ve paid the same price, but which it worth more?
If I had to pick a combo I’d probably go with Goldschmidt/Springer. The projections for Trout are high, and the likelihood of him getting there are low if he misses any time during the year. This exercise shows that there are various ways to spend your money in an auction. Having dependable statistical projections and pricing will make for a successful auction. Different combinations can produce similar or varied results, and depending upon your needs during the auction, you can find many alternatives at varying price points to achieve your categorical goals.