Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Why Inflation Isn't Linear - Part II

Yesterday, I touched upon various topics brought up in a comment by Mike Fenger. Today, I'll conclude by looking at his final thought.

Because the goal of your exercise is less to predict the price every player goes at, and more to get yourself a team you like. (Here's hoping you like good players!) The auction dynamics are impossible to predict 100% (though knowing your league-mates can help), but giving the "extra" money to players you have a feeling will exceed others' expectations can get you where you want to go.

I hope I didn't give the impression that the goal of setting your bids is to predict the price of every player. I agree with Mike that, if you do this, you'll wind up with a team you don't like and you won't be drafting based on your hunches or intuition. Generally, you don't win this way and, worse yet, you won't have fun rooting for someone you consider a stiff.

However, you do want to have an idea of what each player will go for. If you have Jermaine Dye down on your sheet for $45 pre-inflation this year because a) you believe he'll exceed last year's numbers b) you're a huge White Sox fan and c) you believe that 33 is a magic year for hitters, you will be sorely disappointed.

This goes back to my earnings/predictions/bids discussion. You want to know that Dye earned $36 last year. You'll also want to know that he earned $25 in 2005 and $16 in 2004. While it's possible that Dye might duplicate his 2006 career year, you shouldn't predict that he will. Your bid probably should shave a couple more bucks off of whatever his prediction is, given Dye's age, injury history, deep level of talent in A.L. outfield, and the fact that Dye is pretty much a two category guy.

Another reason that you don't have to worry too much about figuring out what each player will be purchased for is that we've finally reached the point where almost every expert under the sun has almost the same exact opinion about each and every player. And this is reflected in the fact that the bids are getting closer and closer to par, across the board, every year I've played.

This is what Alex Patton calls Stage 3; I'll leave the long description to him. The short description, which I'll provide, is that we all are within $1 or $2 of each other on what every damn player in the universe is worth. Or what he'll go for. This isn't to say that valuation isn't important. It's extremely important. It's just that there isn't much wiggle room left on how much a player is worth.

So, in a way, you almost are predicting what you think your league thinks a player is worth, because your league has the same opinion that you do. In a manner of speaking. And you can tweak your bid $1-3 up or down to express preferences and draft a team you like. But that's usually about as far as you can go one way or the other. Too many $45 Jermaine Dyes and you'll lose every year.


mike fenger said...


Thanks for the nice compliments [blush]. The blog is shaping up great, I completely agree with you about how cool it is to have a space to talk about these "masochist" issues, that in fact are great ways to get an edge in any rotisserie league. Congratulations on a great site.

One point that comes to mind was raised by Peter "Rotoman" at his discussion board when he talked about the difference between draft and auction -- in an auction, having Dye at $45 is only a huge issue if someone else has him at $44. The fact that in Stage 3, everybody knows to use all the available money among the available players and probably has players in pretty much the same order, leaves only the differing assessments of risk. I think that's why there won't be a stage 4, because assessments of risk are so difficult and personal. Even if you think that the most likely result is that J.D. Drew will earn $27 (or whatever), the question is, what's your bid limit? It's a game of chicken in a sense, how close to $27 do you want/need to get? The differences among owners (both generally, and in the context of the auction when he comes up for bid) will always exist here, even if all the owners in the league have similar lists.

I really don't think we're disagreeing here -- you need to know your league, just so that, for the players you really want, your list doesn't put them more than a dollar above everyone else's. Because going $5 over everyone else will skew the rest of your list, especially if you do it more than once. I do find more frequent examples of guys I have at $5 going for a dollar (or not getting bought), just because I do tend to have a list of pitchers that I'm willing to bid up in the endgame, and lots of times those pitchers are selected for their futures, more than their potential value this year.

Which of course, is another issue I hope we can address. On Alex's site, I mentioned that some of my bids are geared towards both this year and next year. I'm very interested to hear your thoughts on this point . . .

Mike Gianella said...

Hey Mike:

That's definitely a good point about having an outlier bid for a player...since we're not blind bidding, if your max bid is $45, and someone else's is $30, you'll get Dye for $31. However, the point you get to in the next paragraph is the point I was trying to make. Every dollar you give to Dye in your league budget is a dollar you're taking away from someone else. And I do believe that part of the exercise of setting the bids is having a sense of what a player is worth, and then going from there.

I agree that we're not necessarily in disagreement.

I plan to address the issue of bids on young players, disabled players, and others in a future post.

Thanks for your continued support...