On Saturday morning we had the fourth annual auction draft with my friends from around the country, many of whom don't know each other. It always trips me out to have my friends from various stages of my past conversing with one another and playing fantasy baseball together. I highly recommend it.
Anyway, it is a $260 budget auction with 12 teams and four keepers. Standard 5x5 mixed-league fare. Our keepers get a $5 raise each year and can only be kept twice.
So, this is my last year with Robinson Cano. Good thing he's winning the MVP this year. I've got him as a keeper at $32 and Clayton Kershaw at $23. Matt Wieters at $14 (no real value there) and Cameron Maybin at $6 are my other two. Expensive keepers this year... It's the opposite situation from my semi-dynasty league. Instead of having the second-most money I had the second-least.
So, I let the guys bid away early on. I monitored the values that dudes were going for, but I didn't feel like I needed to go too far into the water. I did grab Dan Haren for $24, so I like how my pitching staff was starting out.
My next buy was Joe Nathan for $8. I am not in love with this pick... I felt like he would go for $10-ish so I was price-enforcing at $8. I got stuck. It's not so much the price as the roster slot... I'd rather have a lot of other closers that went for less than $8. Javy Guerra, Sean Marshall, etc. Oh well. Maybe the old guy has something left in the tank. I'm debating whether to stash Mike Adams, but roster spots are at a premium.
I noticed that a fair amount of third basemen had been taken or kept and there were a diminishing supply of really good ones, so I took the tactic of nominating the ones I didn't want. Kevin Youkilis, Alex Rodriguez... then, when Brett Lawrie came up I was able to get him for $20. I believe that is a steal.
What wasn't a steal was $18 for Howard Kendrick, but I had to have him. I ended up with a bunch of Angels, actually... Erick Aybar for $18, Jordan Walden for $9, Haren, Kendrick.
I added a couple other closers later, working my Rhombus theory (see: "The Rhombus" post on this blog). I got four guys of roughly equal value, adding Huston Street for $11 and being able to grab Javy Guerra for $7. SoCal in the house.
On the hitting side, I had a crazy period of time where I totally believed in Michael Cuddyer and bid him all the way up to $16. Kind of crazy. I felt better, though, when I scooped Billy Butler for $14, Shin-Soo Choo for $17, and Lucas Duda for $3. Who knows, maybe Cuddyer gets back his power stroke with a new organizational philosophy and the thin air a mile up in the mountains.
At the end of the draft I had kept back a few bucks and grabbed Jesus Montero for $2 when the guy who nominated him looked away for a minute. My last pick was Edwin Encarnacion for $3. Not a bad gamble as a backup at 1B and 3B... good lineup, good park.
Late in the draft I looked at the starters left and realized that I probably needed two more. The way the money was going I thought I could probably get the two I wanted for about $14-$18 total. I wanted Jaime Garcia and Brandon Morrow. Unfortunately when Garcia came up for bid the software (or more likely my laptop or the WiFi at Caribou) stopped recognizing my clicks. In a fit of panic I clicked the "bid" button at least 20 times in a row, but it didn't register and I lost Garcia. Then, Wandy Rodriguez came up for bid. My clicks then started to register... I'm sitting at Caribou Coffee saying, "no no no no no...." I decided to try to hit the "pass" button. Didn't work. I got Wandy for $6. Next up: Ervin Santana. My bids are still coming through. I bid him all the way up to $9 but fortunately my buddy Kelly went to $10. Next up: Morrow. Yes! My guy... at least I'll get one. Nope. It was at this time that my click of "pass" processed. Argh!!
However, there is a bright side. I took a look at Wandy's stats and I gotta tell you, he's been pretty good the past few years. K/9 of 8.2 over the past three years, reliable ERA around 3.50. That said, he has been slowly declining, had a terrible Spring, his WHIP should be at least 1.30, and he is past his prime at the age of 33. Plus, he's not going to win any games in Houston. 12, maybe? So, is a 12-win, 170 K, 3.50 ERA, 1.30 WHIP guy worth $6? Yeah, I guess so.
But get this, my replacement for losing out on Brandon Morrow? Another Brandon - Brandon McCarthy for only $1. Not bad! I really like McCarthy this year, almost as much as Morrow. So, maybe I can work a deal with the guy who lost out on Montero, but I don't mind my team.
I think I'll finish around 4th place. I like the team, but I don't love it... Here it is in a snapshot:
C - Wieters
1B - Cuddyer
2B - Cano
SS - Aybar
3B - Lawrie
OF - Choo
OF - Kendrick
OF - Maybin
Util - Butler
Bench - Montero
Bench - Duda
Bench - Encarnacion
SP - Kershaw
SP - Haren
SP - McCarthy
SP - Stauffer
SP - Wandy
RP - Guerra
RP - Nathan
RP - Walden
RP - Street
Let me know what you think... Is this a better team than I am giving it credit for?