Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Endless Endgame

As part of Frank's numerous observations about the CBS Sportsline expert league auction, he also noticed that the endgame went on forever and ever.
Dan Wheeler was the final player to sell for more than $1. Fifty four players were subsequently acquired for a minimum bid because, I presume, no one was in a position to spend more than a buck per player. I've never been in an auction that, for all intents and purposes, turned into a draft so soon. I'm surprised that none of the owners decided to save money for the end game.
To be exact, there were 74 $1 players who were worth (by my calculations) $196, or $2.65 per player. Frank's point makes me wonder: should you save money for the endgame in a situation like this?

Finding the bargains is the easy part. The challenge is making sure that you spend enough money. I went back, looked at the biggest bargains in the auction based on my bid limits, and came up with a team that cost $26...but was only worth $149. Profit or not, you need to fill out your roster with $260 worth of players.

I went back and used optimal bidding, and came up with this squad:

Catchers: Jorge Posada $8, A.J. Pierzynski $9
Infielders: Mike Jacobs $13, Placido Polanco $12, Orlando Cabrera $9, Mike Lowell $11, Lyle Overbay $10, Howie Kendrick $14, Aaron Hill $10.
Outfielders: Carlos Gomez $18, Delmon Young $15, Luke Scott $8, Adam Jones $15, Hideki Matsui $10.
Pitchers: Erik Bedard $13, Jeremy Bonderman $5, Jeremy Guthrie $5, John Lackey $24, Cliff Lee $19, Jesse Litsch $3, Chris Ray $8, John Smoltz $4, Justin Verlander $16.

Using the bid calculations, this team was "worth" $336. But you'll notice that there isn't a player under $3 on the team.

I went back a second time and looked to see if I could build a better stars-and-scrubs team filling in with a few stars and mostly $1-3 players.

Catchers: Kenji Johjima $1, Miguel Olivo $1.
Infielders: Daric Barton $1, Alexi Casilla $1, Jason Bartlett $3, Alex Rodriguez $50, Eric Chavez $1, Mark Ellis $2, Russ Branyan $1.
Outfielders: Carl Crawford $41, Matt Holliday $37, Ichiro Suzuki $32, David Murphy $3, Ryan Sweeney $1.
Pitchers: Roy Halladay $28, Josh Beckett $24, Mariano Rivera $24, Nick Blackburn $2, Kelvim Escobar $2, Dan Wheeler $2, Roy Corcoran $1, Mark Lowe $1, Glen Perkins $1.

My combined pre-auction bid limits for this team add up to $349.

Hmmm. Should I have saved a little money for the endgame?

No. The best thing to do in an auction like this is look for the bargains where you can find them. You might want to stop spending at some point and leave a few bucks to clean up at the end. But you can't overanalyze at the beginning, overspend to get stars, and expect the scrubs to fall in. The 2008 CBS auction saw a similar long endgame play out at the end, but the bargains didn't nearly run as deep. As someone who got stuck with Luis Hernandez at the end, I remember it all too well.

Besides, Patton & Company's entrant did all right this year.

Total Bid Value, CBS Sportsline A.L. 2009 Auction
Patton & Company $333
Fanball $270
Baseball HQ $267
CBS Sports - White $263
Crucial Sports $258
Baseball Info Solutions $251
Krause Publications $251
Stats, LLC $251
CBS Sports - Madden $250
CBS Sports - Mack $241
Creative Sports $233
Roto Experts $226

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