Top 10 A.L. FA Hitters 2008
These were the 10 best American League hitters that three expert auctions (CBS Sportsline, LABR, and Tout Wars) all took a pass on. Obviously, in the case of N.L. imports they couldn't even pick these guys on reserve, but most of these hitters were players that they could have bid $1 on, had they chosen to do so.
I've added a couple of columns of data here from my A.L. 4x4. The BABG column indicates whether or not a player was bought or frozen ("F") in my league; the ML stands for "minor league" and means that this player was on a farm roster. This provides some degree of cover to the touts. Even in my veteran 4x4 league, most of these hitters weren't bought or frozen.
With the obvious exceptions of Bay and Teixeira - and the somewhat less obvious exception of Chris Davis - these players are truly the unwanted. Sports Weekly only recommended bidding on Francisco, while Alex Patton had a fairly aggressive bid on Hinske, $1 set aside for Choo and Murphy, and nothing else. Nobody possibly could have seen Joe Inglett coming, and Patton didn't even recommend him for a reserve pick (the "R" designations that he used to have in his books that live on in his software).
The FAAB bids are fairly tepid for these players as well. Francisco is the only non-N.L. import who warranted a double-digit bid. Mike Aviles - who I grabbed for $3 and quickly traded away as a throw-in - hardly seemed like he'd top this list back in June.
Top 10 N.L. FA Hitters 2008
|2||Jerry Hairston Jr.||$17||$17||$0|
The N.L. picture is even less pretty. DeWitt's the only rookie on this list; everyone else besides Manny is a cast-off; the kind of garbage that you hope in early April never graces your roster. The owner who threw $1 FAAB bid down on Tatis was probably hoping for better than zilch but not much more.
Standing in for my A.L. is the N.L. I track during the season for my FAAB logs. Oddly enough, more of these players were available in their N.L. auction, but not one of them was bought at auction; only DeWitt was kept as a farm player. Gabe Kapler wasn't even picked up by a single owner via FAAB, despite earning double digits.
Unlike last year, there aren't many rookies on the N.L. list, and DeWitt was hardly a projected superstar entering the season.
We always know that the FAAB landscape is going to be bleak, but the low bids here as well as the quality of players make me wonder if saving your money for a Manny Ramirez or Mark Teixeira in early August isn't the right play. Grabbing Hairston for $17 looks like a stroke of genius for some lucky owner, but you could have also picked up Gerut, Tatis, or Harris quite cheaply and picked up a good amount of stats, with money left over for Manny.