Top 10 A.L. Free Agent Pitchers 2008
In terms of earnings, the average American League free agent pitcher (not bought in any of the three expert auctions - CBS Sporstline, LABR, Tout Wars - that I use to compile these prices) was a little better.
But that pitcher was slightly less predictable than the already-unpredictable A.L. hitter. Patton only slapped a $1 bid on Downs, while Sports Weekly gave Francisco its $1. Everyone else was dissed.
But this wasn't even a good group of pitchers in 2007. Only Downs earned double digits in '07. Everyone else really came from out of nowhere.
Even the FAAB bidders - who usually have had at least one major league outing to look at - are cautious. Galarraga and Arredondo inspire the only relatively confident bids; everyone else gets a mere $1 or $2 bid.
The action was a little hotter in the N.L....
Top 10 N.L. FA Pitchers 2008
...but that's almost entirely a product of imports Sabathia and Harden. Hanrahan's a fun case: an instant closer due to the trade of Jon Rauch, so he picked up four $30+ bids in the regular N.L. league I track.
That league, though, took a pass on Wade and Adams entirely, not even adding them via FAAB at some point. That'd be more understandable if these were LOOGY drip guys, but they definitely put up quality innings for 4x4 leagues, and should have been grabbed at some point.
At least four starters cracked this list in the N.L., with Wellemeyer and Campillo joining CC and Harden. Only Galarraga made it in the A.L.
The list of top A.L. free agent starters is not a pretty one.
Top 10 A.L. Free Agent Starters 2008
These are 4x4 $ values, but 5x5 isn't going to make things all that better.
As it was, I cheated a little bit by allowing Rowland-Smith and Miner (primarily relievers) to stand in due to their 10+ starts.
The bids here aren't much more aggressive than they were for the A.L. relievers. However, given the weak pool of pitchers here, they shouldn't be.
I include this list to inform, not to torment. If you played in an A.L. last year, and didn't buy your pitching in the auction, there's a good chance you didn't finish in the money in your league.
(I wrote a longer piece on this over the summer. It's nice to see the data at the end of the season supports my earlier analysis).
It's an important point.
The FAAB logs I write are by far the most popular article I write in-season. Yet how much impact does FAAB truly have? Grabbing Aceves and Reyes is fine as a play for 2009. But it most likely didn't win you your league.
On the other hand, the guy who FAABed Downs and Thornton in the early going in my A.L. did wind up winning by a sliver of a hair.