CBS AL Experts League Roster

When readers new to auctioning ask me for advice, one of the first words out of my mouth is “patience.”  As in, when overanxious owners are bidding up players early, don’t feel compelled to dive into that cesspool with them.  As exciting as it would be to own Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout and Justin Verlander, exercise excruciating patience.  If people are spending heavily early, there will be bargains late.  Of course, the addendum to this is that you do have to spend some money early, even if you’re only getting even value or “overpaying” by a couple dollars, because if you don’t, you wind up with more money than you can spend later on.  Better to get even value than no value at all.  The other addendum to this is that if people aren’t spending enough early, sack up and spend yourself.

While proper auctioning protocol is completely understood by my brain, it seems as though I haven’t quite internalized it to the point I thought I had.  Auctioning is, in many ways, an art form, and it requires practice to get right.  The more experience you have with it, the better you get.  After four years of playing in auction drafts against the highest level of competition, and after experiencing a great deal of success, I took my auctioning skills for granted today.  In this CBS AL draft, I was a little too laid back, a little too much on auto-pilot, and my brain seemed to pick and choose which pieces of my advice it followed.

Out of the gate, spending was a little lighter than I believed warranted, which was a major shock.  Previous years’ CBS leagues saw heavy inflation early and a plethora of bargains late.  Still, flexibility is key, so I adapted.  I picked up Miguel Cabrera for $39 — what I believed to be a $5 bargain.  Without any big bargains (though without any major overpays either) for the next couple of rounds, I decided to sit back and pick and choose where I’d spend my money next.  After the first couple of rounds, however, the spending really started — at least on hitting.  I thought, okay, great, here’s the inflation I expected, let’s find a guy or two in the $20 range for even value and fill the rest of my roster with bargains as they came.

Then pitchers started getting thrown out.  Low.  I’m still not exactly sure what my reasoning was, but I’m pretty sure I just didn’t want to lock in so much money early and miss on big bargains later.  I was scared to spend big on an elite pitcher after having already bough Miggy and that, if the elite hurlers were underrated, maybe the market just undervalued pitchers in general and I could pick up the same bargains later at multiple lineup spots. So, I passed up a $34 Justin Verlander (a $6 bargain) and a $27 Felix Hernandez (a $9 bargain).  As soon as I let the bidding end on Felix I knew I had made a mistake.  But the damage was done.

I tried to rectify my mistake by getting in on the bidding for Jered Weaver, Yu Darvish, Max Scherzer, and Chris Sale, but the profit margin on each was small, so I passed.  Then inflation smacked pitching over the head with a banjo, as guys routinely started going for $5+ more than I had them down for.  I guess everyone else started to realize that there are very few sure things in the AL pitching pool this year, and after refusing to hold my nose and bid, I wound up with Alexi Ogando and Jeremy Hellickson heading up my staff.  Both are good, but neither is great, and I regret not picking up Felix more than I regret that night with the Taiwanese hooker last year.  Okay, both nights.  Fine, it was an opium-hazed week, get off my back!

Worse still, though, was that I completely forgot to actually buy my “guy or two in the $20 range.”  I got Ichiro and Napoli for $17, but since they cost less than I expected, I really needed another guy or two to make sure I spent my money. I was the cash leader almost the entire way, and while in the end I wound up with quite a few bargains — a few of them huge bargains — I left $14 on the table.  And when you factor in my overpays for Michael Brantley and Ernesto Frieri (and to a smaller extent Matt Joyce and Andy Dirks — not really overpays but not the kind of bargains I’d normally take that late in the draft), I may have effectively left closer to $30 or $40 on the table.  Think how Robinson Cano would look on my team. In the end, my projections have me down for $312 of value (a 20% profit margin), but it should have been much higher.

The moral of this sad tale is to never get complacent.  No matter how many auctions you do, you always have to be on your toes.  Patience is good, but only to a certain extent.  Buckle in right from the get-go and don’t be scared to spend heavy early if the conditions warrant.  And never accept opium from a Taiwanese lady of the night.

Here’s my roster.  Let me know what you think.

Position Player Price
C Mike Napoli $17
C A.J. Pierzynski $11
1B Lance Berkman $10
2B Tyler Greene $10
3B Miguel Cabrera $39
SS Yunel Escobar $5
CI Alberto Callaspo $11
MI Maicer Izturis $3
OF Ichiro Suzuki $17
OF Torii Hunter $13
OF Michael Brantley $15
OF Matt Joyce $11
OF Nolan Reimold $2
UT Andy Dirks $8
BN (C) David Cooper R7
BN (C) Ryan Kalish R6
BN (C) Nick Franklin R4
BN (C) Rick Ankiel R5


Position Pitcher Price
SP Alexi Ogando $11
SP Jeremy Hellickson $12
SP Jason Vargas $3
SP Ivan Nova $3
SP Gavin Floyd $4
CL Joe Nathan $13
CL Casey Janssen $12
RP Ernesto Frieri $15
RP Joaquin Benoit $1
BN (SP) Garrett Richards R1
BN (SP) J.A. Happ R2
BN (RP) Sean Doolittle R3

What do you guys think?


Comment from schraderschray
Time March 1, 2013 at 7:44 AM

I wish my league would devalue players the way that the cbs al only does. Vargas, Floyd, Nova all would never be around long enough to get for those prices.

Comment from robo
Time March 1, 2013 at 9:06 AM

hey Derek….there’s that Tyler Greene again. I tend to remember having a conversation about him last year with you. It’s been so long since i did an AL or NL only league, it’s hard for me to recognize a good roster when I see one. I always fear for my pitching, since I don’t like to pay for the high end guys….when there’s a run on middle value guys, it messes with everything

I know exactly what you are saying about being patient, but when I do, I over do it and leave way too much money on the table. My recent strategy involves setting a budget for each roster slot and a tier of players that will fit that slot that I would be comfortable with at that price. Then I try to pay that price or less to fill the slot. I pay less attention to the value i have for that particular guy and more for whether he fits the slot and the position, since i predetermined i’d be comfortable paying a certain price for a certain tier of production. I end up getting some higher priced guys early…without much discount (in some cases slightly overpaying) and get some good values late…with the middle being hit or miss. I’ve found this helps me get a more balanced team.

Of course, i don’t play with the experts and i can get lucky by not using ESPN, CBS or Yahoo ranks for my players which means i usually have lots of guys rated much differently than the others in the league.

Comment from Derek Carty
Time March 1, 2013 at 1:32 PM

It’s not so much a case of devaluing as it’s no one having enough money left once it’s time to throw them out because everyone spent heavy early. Glad you like the prices though :)

Comment from Derek Carty
Time March 1, 2013 at 1:57 PM

Yeah, I often seem to be one year late on players, and I was intent not to be on Greene this year. I wanted him a little cheaper, but he got thrown out early, like a lot of sleepers were in this draft, but I still like him at that price. Marwin Gonzalez is his only competition this year, and if he beats him out, he should get 1) everyday at-bats 2) while batting leadoff 3) in a good park for power 4) for a manager who intends to run wild. There’s a lot of upside with him.

I think you can wind up with a better team with less rigidity in your strategy, but you also run the risk of doing what I did and winding up with too much money.

Comment from Tramps
Time March 1, 2013 at 5:06 PM

I like the Escobar pick. He has a great chance to get his career back on the right tracks.

How would your strategy change for a dynasty? Are you still drafting Berkman/Ichiro ? How much are you concentrating on 2013 and how much are you planning for future seasons ?

Comment from Derek Carty
Time March 1, 2013 at 5:58 PM

My strategy would probably change quite a bit in a dynasty league. I would be fine drafting Berkman and Ichiro still, but I’d expect them to be a little cheaper. For this draft it was 100% focus on 2013, naturally, since it’s a redraft league. If it were the first year of a dynasty league, it would of course depend on the specific keeper rules, but I’d still put a pretty heavy emphasis on 2013. I wouldn’t want a team of Berkman’s and Ichiro’s, but I’m not going to go into the first year of a dynasty playing to win in 2016. I’m going to try to put myself in a position to win this year while being willing to pay a little extra for guys who will help beyond this season. The other thing to remember with dynasty leagues is that there’s no guarantee that the league will even exist five years from now. Owners with bad teams could give up, etc, so for that reason alone you shouldn’t put all your eggs in the future basket. Additionally, predicting players is hard, and predicting players five years from now is even harder. So much can happen between now and then, so putting a heavier emphasis on the first couple years of the league is generally a sound strategy, as far as I’m concerned. I actually may be doing a dynasty league this year if I can get the draft date to work, so I’ll be sure to post my roster and thoughts if I do.