If you are like me -- which I sort of assume is like most fantasy owners -- you probably spend a lot of time once the season begins thinking, "Why didn't I take Domonic Brown instead of Matt Holliday?"
Don't like Ike's price now
Not that Holliday is a dog, but in the deep NL LABR, the NFBC team, manned by Greg Ambrosius and Shawn Childs, shelled out $26 for the St. Louis Cardinals outfielder, while ESPN's Eric Karabell paid a relatively cheap $8 for the red-hot Brown.
And though Greg and Shawn might have the last laugh, for they are at present sitting atop the standings, Holliday is hitting .244-8-30 at present, while Brown homered Monday to bring his season line to .291-17-42.
Still, in scouring the final auction prices in those deep formats, generally 47 points in average, nine homers and 12 RBI can make a difference.
However, the difference in the standings is not really the main point, for we all stumble into bargains and busts each year as we draft. And though the standings are the bottom line, the lessons in looking at auction values to me is more a factor of "How could I have used my salary cap more efficiently?" than "Damn, I wish I had gotten Brown instead of Holliday."
Irrespective, let's take a look at some of the cost spreads between the hits and misses so far this season.
Ike Davis ($25) | Paul Goldschmidt ($28) | Adam LaRoche ($18): I will confess that after Davis had his hot second half last year (.255-20-41), I thought that Davis had left his injuries and struggles behind and was ready to break out, so I dropped the $25 on the New York Mets first sacker and his .168-5-16 line. For $3 more, Goldschmidt (.337-13-46) would be worth enough to push me into first place in LABR. In fact, LaRoche and his .243-10-27 would put me close.
Rickie Weeks ($18) | Marco Scutaro ($12): Not that much of a price discrepancy, at $6, and on the surface it seems no question, with Scutaro hitting .329-1-13, and Weeks at .191-5-12. I would still be in second; however, if I were playing Hacking Mass, where the objective is to pick a bad team, with my Weeks and Davis, I would have to be in first.
Mitch Moreland ($13) | James Loney ($7) | Albert Pujols ($35): The $28 spread from Loney (.326-7-30), to Moreland (.283-11-27) to Pujols (.248-8-32). Albert is certainly there with the RBI, but the average is certainly of concern. And in this case, it is not so much the difference in standings positioning that is of interest, but rather, in this auction, what could you have gotten for that $28?
Jason Castro ($7) | Matt Wieters ($19): Like those of us who thought Davis had arrived, so did many of us think Wieters, coming off a .249-23-83 season in his third full year as a starter, was ready to show just how good he is at age 26. Well, his .237-7-32 totals are pretty much in line with those 2012 totals, but for $12 fewer in AL Tout Wars, you could have Castro with .282-7-17. Numbers probably make it a wash with Wieters' low average off-setting Castro's low RBI total.
Matt Cain ($23) | Matt Harvey ($14): Two Matts: one coming off a Cy Young competitive year costing $9 more than the Mets' next big thing. Unfortunately Cain has been victimized by the bad innings, two of which were by the Cardinals, in separate games, where they scored 17 runs and picked up 27 hits, believe it or not. Meanwhile, Harvey might just be the best pitcher in the National League not named Clayton Kershaw or Jordan Zimmermann at present. Cain has a 4-3 record and a 5.45 ERA with 71 whiffs, while Harvey is 5-0, 2.17, with 89 whiffs and a 0.92 WHIP over 89 innings (Cain's is still a more than respectable 1.21, suggesting the profit margin should be there over the long haul).
Clay Buchholz ($8) | Justin Verlander ($32): I have to say I bit it on Verlander as the mainstay of my AL Tout rotation, and truth is his numbers are not awful. But a 3.70 ERA and 1.36 WHIP were not what I bargained for. But Buchholz's 8-0, 1.62, with 77 whiffs and a killer 1.02 WHIP, might not push me up to first, but boy it would get me a lot closer.
Casey Janssen ($9) | Fernando Rodney ($19): Rodney does have 11 saves and 29 punch-outs over his 22 2/3 innings, but he also has an awful 1.48 WHIP and 4.94 ERA. And while the ERA and ratio numbers won't destroy a team, thanks to the limited number of innings a closer gets, Janssen's 10 saves, 2.00 ERA, 19 strikeouts (18 IP) and 0.611 WHIP have got to fit better in the pitching totals of any team. I think the lesson here is there are those primo closers, and it is good to have them. And as Janssen and Jason Grilli remind us, the cheap-gamble closers can work pretty well, too. I am always big on getting a pair of them in deep leagues like Tout and LABR, but not always on getting the best. Just two potential save contributors, and adjust accordingly as the season progresses.
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Lawr Michaels has been a player in the fantasy baseball industry since he began writing for John Benson in 1993. He has written for STATS, Inc, was the first fantasy columnist for CBS Sportsline, and has appeared in numerous journals and on websites. In 1996, he founded CREATiVESPORTS, a staple for serious fantasy players, which he merged into Mastersball in 2010.
Over the years, Lawr has participated in a wide variety of playing formats and won numerous titles, including AL Tout Wars crowns in 2001 and 2009. Along with his Mastersball duties, Lawr works for MLB.com as a statistician.