2016 Auction Review – Long Ball to LF

Long Ball to LF

lblf

Where have all the first basemen gone… Alright step back take a second look. Perhaps Hanley Ramirez does take over at first base for Boston, qualifies, and now you have Michael Brantley in left, Jacoby Ellsbury in center. Eh. I mean, the best news for Hustle Loyalty Respect and Long Ball to LF, is that between them, the shortstop market is all but cornered. And except when they play each other, they should handily win that position battle each week. This was one of the hardest teams to project. I see the logic behind the roster, but I don’t love forcing the issue of transactions to get better roster utilization.

Hitters – Alright

This¬†group is so close to good you can almost taste it. There is just pieces missing at key positions. First base is a concern even with Hanley presumably taking over. Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista are awesome in Toronto, but was last year the ceiling? Brantley appears to be ready to go to be ready close to opening day, but he’s had issues staying healthy. I don’t think any of us wanted a short stop to be a primary utility guy, and there’s almost no way around it here. Matt Kemp and Ellsbury sure, but they’ll be mixed into the outfield often enough. Just seems like a first basemen short. LBLF has that same rotating door utility problem. It’s not a glaring issue, but it can turn into one with an injury or two. It is not a huge problem that LBLF is also relying on Devon Travis, but three Blue Jays means on Toronto off-days this roster may have open slots.

Pitchers – Uh-oh

Dallas Keuchel is amazing. Now that he is out of the¬†way. He’s capable of being dominate in 2-start weeks. That’s fine. The other 12 weeks when he’s not starting twice, you’re depending on Wheeler being healthy, Leake being above average, and a bunch of maybes and hopefuls. Sure, pitching is a finicky bitch and perhaps 6 good starters come out of this group of 12. It just seems like a ballsy risk in order to own three shortstops. The bullpen isn’t great either. Best case scenario is that six or seven guys from this group flesh themselves out to be good enough fast, and two or three make themselves easy to chop and replace with other depth.

Depth – Good

So while things on the pitching side don’t look amazing, the depth here is actually good. I just dogged the group of guys in the back of his rotation as guys you want to depend on, but I like Tyler Skaggs, Aaron Nola, Josh Tomlin, Taylor Jungmann, and Daniel Norris, they could be quite dependable. It’s not unrealistic. And while I assume one of the short stops is getting traded for something, even if they don’t. The hitting depth in the outfield is great, catcher is good, and if you find some 1B to move Logan Forsythe to a backup roll, even better. Those pitchers should¬†be able to fetch something on the market and you can count on that happening most likely. Even with the Toronto issue¬†on offense, I like the depth here.

Why 2016 would be bad…¬†

Both Xander Bogaerts and Francisco Lindor trend downward and become possible candidates for release next off-season. Keuchel loses his touch. The team never finds a first baseman. Take your pick. This team will take some real grinding to push to the top, especially if the market for shortstops does not bring something equivalent to what was spent.

Why 2016 would be¬†good…¬†

I could just be wrong. Lindor and Bogaerts are amazing, they are good enough even if they have to server the utility role. Devon Travis stays healthy and ends up a top 5 2b. Hanley Ramirez ends up being a steal and hits like a top 15 first baseman. Michael Brantley returns to 2014 form. Jose Bautista and Josh Donaldson nail their encore. Of the twelve starters just six have to be good. There’s trade bait all around this team.

2016 Auction Review – Team Canada

Team Canada

tc

So what happens when you skip the $80 player and sprinkle those dollars amongst 3-4 guys? Well you see here with what Team Canada was able to do with just that strategy. Stephen Strasburg and Cole Hamels were the only two to top the $50 threshold. Both aces look like good buys for this squad. Is there enough in the middle tier to push this team over the top though?

Hitting – Good

The 1-10 hitters on this team starting at each position are good. Robinson Cano, Anthony Rendon, Yeonis Cesdpedes, Starling Marte, and Yasiel Puig are all legit candidates to be top 5 relative to their primary position. Gregory Polanco and Joey Gallo are young and formidable. Victor Martinez has no reason to be done hitting and isn’t tied to just utility. Everything about Trea Turner seems to be unreasonably positive, so time will tell if Dusty Baker lets him play. Lucas Duda is not a slouch at first base, but he is going to disappear a couple weeks this year as he does every year. The group as a whole seems able to withstand that, the floor here is high.

Pitching –¬†Good

Strasburg and Hamels are great on their own. Weeks that you get 3 starts from the two of these guys you will be sitting quite pretty. Weeks that you only get two or God forbid less for whatever reason, there’s trouble. Can Jeff Samardzija reclaim his stellar record after returning back to¬†the National League? Samardzija was an interesting case on the auction block. Last year he seemed poised to take a step forward, but the story is the American League and poor defense could be partially to blame. Drew Smyly at $27 seems like a costly gamble. Behind those guys is a slew of back end rotation fodder. Is there a surprise lurking in that back end? The bullpen is alright, nothing flashy.

Depth – Not Quite

Assuming the primary utility guys will be filled by Victor Martinez and Jayson Werth, with a little sprinkle¬†of Pablo Sandoval and Joey Gallo, there is just not a lot of depth. Yangervis Solarte covers three positions, but not terribly well. No backup catcher. Eugenio Suarez is a fine stop gap for Turner until he gets eligibility assuming he plays in Cincinnati. And there is that mess of “could be’s” the back end of that rotation. There just is not a lot to play around with. If a few of those guys don’t break in their respective big league rotations, how long do you stash before you just your losses for useful roster spots?

Why 2016 would be bad…¬†

Team Canada’s hitters¬†will carry this team to a high floor week to week. That will keep them in most games. But, if Strasburg or Hamels refuse to be legit tier 1 starting pitchers, pitching¬†will be a headache all season long. What if Rendon can’t stay healthy? Cano could be¬†already too old? Perhaps Yasiel Puig will never mature. The possible domino affect of bad news sinks this team in a hurry.

Why 2016 would be¬†good…¬†

It starts with nobody gets hurt. Sure you could say that about any team, but the top half of this roster is rock solid full of stars. Perhaps a couple of those starters have a few hot weeks, maybe they’re even good. Either way this team could be a move or two away from being great, or simply standing pat and enjoying good luck. If some of that stuff doesn’t break that way but Joey Gallo and Henry Owens (or any of those SP) break into a star like role, they could carry this roster.

2016 Auction Review – Hustle Loyalty Respect

Hustle Loyalty Respect

hlr

Our West-coast heartthrob and sleeping beauty duo built a team a generation apart. You have the younger with Matt Harvey and the elder with Adam Wainwright. Carlos Correa & Maikel Franco are up and coming and there is Melky Cabrera & Hunter Pence, good yet declining. Seems like a good balance of young and old. Also a good balance of hitters and pitchers.

Hitting – Alright

I was never likely going to like the Carlos Correa winner. He’s awesome. He’s a stud. But a lot of that value is relative to the position he plays. That counts, stretching last season to a full¬†MLB season, Correa probably finds himself as a top 30, maybe top 20 hitter. If Correa is the best short stop, finds himself a standard deviation or two above the rest of the short stops, that $81 price tag is worth it. But to be a value at that price, he really needs to sneak into the top 15 or better of hitters. Blake Swihart & Yadier Molina are a great catcher platoon. Jose Abreu is great. Melky, Lorenzo Cain and Pence in the OF is pretty good. This team’s¬†3B situation is¬†solid. In my opinion HLR¬†doesn’t have “set and forget” utility hitters and that’s where his hitters goes from good to alright. Cycling just one of those spots is ideal.

Pitching – Good

Matt Harvey is really good. Adam Wainwright is awesome according to my wife. Garrett Richards and Yordano Ventura look like aces on their MLB teams which is a plus¬†in head-to-head. The top half of the rotation is really good. The bottom half is a few wishes and a prayer or two. Kevin Gausman is an enigma of sorts. What is Baltimore doing with him? If he gets to 160 innings as a SP, a solid value find. If he is in the bullpen or worse, just not pitching…yikes. The others¬†could be good or great, or useless. Kris Medlin is drawing excitement in Kansas City, but I need to see 100 innings first. The bullpen here is okay, HLR seemed to find some decent relievers at a good price.

Depth РNot Quite

The depth is¬†not¬†scary bad, in some areas it is quite good. I mentioned the catching platoon. Moustakas as your backup at 3B/UT is good. Lots to hope for from Marcell Ozuna and Scott Van Slyke who may not start for their MLB teams. The pitching depth as mentioned already is unreliable. The good thing about the depth is that it didn’t cost them too much. Shouldn’t be heart wrenching to replace a few of these back of the auction grabs if necessary.

Why 2016 would be bad…¬†

Hustle Loyalty and Respect¬†could probably lose one or two¬†of their big four starting pitchers¬†and still be good. This team will ride and die with Carlos Correa. They paid for that¬†spread from the short stop position. If Correa is as good as last year, probably need not worry. But, if he’s out for two weeks, how do you hold the fort down? Who’s stepping up? I don’t see it.

Why 2016 would be good…¬†

Some fantasy pundits are calling Carlos Correa a top 5 hitter. If so he provides these guys with a devastatingly large 30-40 point advantage weekly over any other short stop. If Harvey, Wainwright and just one of Richards/Ventura all reach 1,000 fantasy points, you have a shot in each of the twenty week regular season. With the rest of the roster, either they stay healthy and/or HLR nails some transactions and this team would be on fire.

2016 Auction Review – Beach Bum

Beach bum

BB

Future President Beachler’s team here is well rounded out as you can see. He found value as he always does in those, who by most in fantasy baseball, are considered old. He mixes together hitting and pitching really well and has a very flexible roster. I particularly love the value found in Yu Darvish at $29 and Albert Pujols at $21.

Hitting – Good

Matt Carpenter and Ryan Braun stand out as guys who you can figure to be leaders at their respective position. Nobody would be surprised by Brian Dozier or Pujols having an up-year and sneaking into that same tier. Dan’s team does not have that superstar on offense, but his offense is solid. He did¬†not punt at any of the nine positions and has several guys he can stick at the two utility spots with ease. The missing piece here taking his rating from Very Good down to Good¬†is the lack of a star hitter that should carry week to week. Balance is great, but the entire line up could finish ranking in the 6-10 slots at their positions and that might not be enough.

Pitching – Very Good

Gerrit Cole is¬†the highest paid player on the roster is a worthy choice as he should be a great number one starter. Francisco Liriano is one of my favorites. Yu Darvish was a bargain if he comes back healthy in 2016, and Tanaka is good when he is pitching. His top four is enviable by most teams in this league I¬†would¬†bet. Andrew Cashner seems like a quality bounce back candidate. Dan’s staff is held from a rating of greatness over the bullpen. If Dan punted anywhere it is here. He spent five dollars on three guys. While they could all be serviceable, he is likely banking on streaming relievers in hopes of finding something good.

Depth – Great

All of Dan’s¬†hitters have a backup that is above replacement value. Perhaps if Vogt gets injured his catching situation gets a tad hairy.¬†Overall having Evan Longoria, Matt Holliday, Mark Teixeira, and Dexter Fowler on the bench is a lot of fire power. Adam Lind and Joe Mauer are good in utility spots if they are called upon. Dan’s flexibility with guys like Carpenter qualifying at two spots¬†and¬†his outfielders overlapping well, makes the Beach Bum squad¬†potentially scary as a competitor.

Why 2016 would be bad…

It is not unthinkable that both of Darvish and Tanaka do not pitch well in 2016. While Tommy John surgery has not been as scary as it was in the past. It is still a concern. Toss in ideas like perhaps Cashner has pitched his best already, or punting bullpen is a poor idea, and things could get middling or even sour quickly. Maybe baseball is a young mans game and Dan’s older roster just doesn’t hold up.

Why 2016 would be good…¬†

In short, Dan’s team is a candidate for being¬†a contender in 2016. His roster allows him to suffer some unforeseen blows, plus has upside in previously injured player returning to stardom. He just has so many choices to make that make a lot of sense. Depth might be the best feature, and it just fits into this team so beautifully that even if nobody gets hurt, the potential route to maximize the entire roster is clear here.

 

Team by team auction draft review and rankings!

Predictive analysis is a fun exercise. The Major League Baseball regular season does not start for a few weeks. So we have some time to fill between our auction draft this past weekend and the start of countable events. The next few posts will qualitatively analyze the auction draft of each team on a team-by-team basis.

Each team will be reviewed by me, and purely on conjecture. I’m using various projection systems to rate these teams and surmise my opinions. But, the ratings are based on how I feel about the core of each team. I’m using my experience with the league setup, so comments both positive and negative should be taken with a grain of salt.

Each team will be rated on their offense, pitching and their depth. Here’s the scale from best to worst: Outstanding, Great, Very Good, Good, Alright, Not quite, Uh-oh, Whoops.

  • Outstanding¬†– Outstanding was reserved for a few special cases where almost anyone in the league would prefer this group over their own group. There’s room for failure and the group should still be great.
  • Great –¬†Great squads have good balance or at least a good strategy poured into their group, most teams would trade their group for these groups, but it is not perfect.
  • Very Good – Everything about this group is good, I just prefer it to the other good groups.
  • Good –¬†Better than average as a whole, if things go well things will be great, but there’s enough reason to see the downsides.
  • Alright – Everything about this group is good, I just prefer the other good groups.
  • Not quite – There¬†are¬†some holes here that are for concern. ¬†I could be surprised, but those holes…
  • Uh-oh –¬†Well, all is not lost! I am sure most can agree with the lack of¬†excitement about this group. Where’s the bang?
  • Whoops – I mean punting a whole group is a God damn bold strategy and I respect the hell out of you for trying it. I for one cannot wait to¬†see how it works out.

I gave ratings to each team’s Hitting, Pitching and Depth. The first two groups being more important than the third.

For each hitting group I focused on the ten hitters most likely being the everyday starter while peaking at the bench behind them all.

For each pitching group I focused on your first four starters, gave bonuses for good bullpens, and then peaked at the remaining starters available.

For the depth group I rated your team for positional flexibility and basically imagined a couple of bad injuries to your starters and how would your team flesh out. Good depth is great if you have to use it, but you probably would prefer to not break the glass.

Finally I break down in a few short sentences what has to go right for the team to be viable for the final four. Then a few short sentences of what goes wrong and you’re looking at the basement four (anyone have¬†a better name¬†for these brackets? please?).

I plan on releasing three or four teams each day as I edit them. While, things may change between now and then; the reviews will stay focused as if the draft had just occurred. For a teaser here’s how my ratings broke down:

Hitting:
(1) Outstanding
(2) Great
(2) Very Good
(4) Good
(4) Alright
(1) Not Quite
(1) Uh-oh
(1) Whoops

Pitching
(2) Outstanding
(3) Great
(2) Very Good
(2) Good
(2) Alright
(3) Not Quite
(1) Uh-oh
(1) Whoops

Depth
(0) Outstanding
(2) Great
(2) Very Good
(5) Good
(3) Alright
(3) Not Quite
(1) Uh-oh
(0) Whoops

Where was the value at?

Immediately within the first hour of the auction¬†draft it was clear that value was not easy to find.¬†Prices of players were not¬†excruciatingly high or overspent. But, these prices were high enough to ensure that there was not large values at the top either. Shrewd drafting made Saturday’s event an interesting battle of attrition as the player pool continued to shrink. As the pool shrank there was a¬†seemingly never ending pile of teams with money looming over each auction.

Immediately, it looks like the teams that left money on the table are the most hurt. 50% of the league, 8-teams spent 100% of their budget. Leaving zero dollars left on the table. Of the remaining teams:

The Foundation – $1
Beach Bum – $5
Senior Squids – $6
TBD – $10
Preseason Favorite – $10
We Talk Fantasy Sports – $14
Capital City Ironmen – $21
The Wilfred Brimley Fighting Diabeetuses – $28

In some cases that unspent auction money being left on the table is not terribly frightening. But, at the bottom of that list, I can only imagine the day after regret. Good fantasy baseball talent auctioned off in that $10-$20 range. Even if you did not need a particular player, at least that drafted player has value. These extra auction dollars left unspent, are lost. They have no value.

Moving on to the auction money that got spent. More importantly how that money got spent. We can see how efficient teams were compared to this setting of the FanGraphs Auction Calculator. Keep in mind this calculator does not factor in our dynasty format (the hidden and unknown value of opportunity cost for keeping guys), nor does it fully understand our relievers scoring. But, for this exercise, and based on the results of the draft, it was quite accurate.

value

 

What you see above is the chart of how each of the teams did. Teams with positive values, overspent according to the FanGraphs calculator and the teams with negative values found bargains. The rank is from 1 “most efficient” to 16 “least efficient”.

Now before you go and say well done and patting yourself on the back, this is removing a lot of context away from the story. I believe you are sitting in a great place if you were most efficient with value, and you spent all of your auction budget. My team The Foundation finds itself there, so take that bias for what it is worth.

If you did not spend all of your auction money and you were not efficient in how you spent the money either, well you may have some extra work to do. Maybe your projections and targets are valued differently than how FanGraphs did and if so you’re probably okay! FanGraphs and projections are¬†wrong more often than not.

Going a step further, let us take a look at everyone’s “best value”. What you should see below is a table¬†that has the FanGraphs calculator value, how much they were paid for in the auction, and then the difference.

 

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The best value of the day was projections wonder-boy Wei-Yin Chen who was bought for $17, and had been projected to be worth $48. Chen’s¬†transition to the National¬†League, to the Marlins ballpark and being away from the American League East is likely positive.

It does seems like pitchers stole the value show:¬†Alex Wood, CJ Wilson, James Shields, Jeff Samardzija and Jimmy Nelson were their representative team’s best value and created over $20 in value per player. Outfielders might be the next undervalued commodity in the draft as you see Alex Gordon, Nick Markakis, Melky Cabrera, Josh Reddick and Khris Davis on the list above.

Finally, we also have a look at each team’s “worst” value. Now, I must warn you. If you’re the kind of guy who’s into the hot young star and cannot stand to see them in any negative light, please look away.

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Corey Seager, Addison Russell, Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton. Phew these¬†boys cost a pretty penny to claim. Trea Turner, Noah Syndergaard, Randal Grichuk¬†and¬†Jurickson Profar were all also coveted prospects¬†on draft day. None of those guys are terribly far off in lost value, they’re all capable of being worth what they’re paid. Plus we have discussed before about the opportunity cost of getting said players. There is value in these overspends. But, how much?

The Auction Draft is Over!

It is the morning after and I am finally collected enough to reflect on the draft yesterday. I have already started to pour over the data to see what kind of interesting nuggets available to¬†uncover. However, before sharing those with you I wanted to take a second to talk about yesterday’s draft and the entire Dynasty Grinders experience as a whole.

This league was born out of a few ideas with some added inspiration in November. We started recruiting for teams after Christmas. We were filled before the second week of January. Each team in the league voted in the first ever rules voting before the polling deadline. Each team paid their first two years of league dues, up front, well prior to the deadline.

It may not seem like much, but everything in that paragraph is a huge relief for any commissioner. But, it gets better.

The minor league snake draft, which started at the beginning of February, was done within two weeks. 240 minor league baseball players were selected and nobody missed their eight hour time window. Incredible participation. There was never a reason to speed up the time clock or pressure people into making picks. In fact, I stopped sending email notification updates after the 3rd or 4th round, because everyone was paying attention on their own.

Thirteen trades of one kind or another have occurred already. Our Slack chat has had over 27,000 messages posted between our slack channels or direct messages. That kind of participation exceeds my wildest and highest expectations.

Finally yesterday happened. We geared up for a 480 pick auction draft. We set out to do it in one day, broken into 2-hour sessions with 20-minute breaks squeezed in to make sure nobody died. The picks went fast and furious. And all said and done we were done in 8 hours and 12 minutes.

The draft came and went without a hitch.

Every owner was available and ready 10 minutes prior to the draft, many of us chatting in the Google Hangout as early as an hour prior to the draft.

Everyone seemed to be very prepared and were very aware of what was going on and for the first time as a commissioner in any sense of the form, I was truly able to participate and focus more as an owner and leave my commissioner hat hanging on the hook for a day.

It does not get better than that. Hours, days and weeks of preparation by myself and everyone in the league is what allowed yesterday to breeze through. Now, I cannot say how everyone feels about their teams today, but I got so many positive notes and interactions post draft, that I believe everyone had fun and is even more excited going forward.

Baseball is still a few weeks away, but I cannot wait to fill the time with trade speculation, predictions, fluff, and other non-sense. Thank you everyone, I truly appreciate your participation!

Dynasty Grinders Podcast – Episode 10

Jordan and Andrew lament on how the draft hasn’t even happened yet. So we drive into the subject of the draft, Byron Buxton and all that is wonderful about Kyle Zimmer. Things get real, things get discussed, and…. ¬†Well the draft is soon. Get ready for the post draft podcast a week or so from now. If we’re talking to each other at that point.