Tuesday, August 17, 2010

One Final (?) Look at FAAB

Last week I cursorily examined different ways of playing with FAAB. I then asked my readers to provide other alternatives. They were extremely helpful.

Andrew said:
...any player FAAB'd for $0-$5 gets his salary assigned at $5 for protection, any player FAAB'd above $5, that's his salary. Players coming over from the AL aren't eligible for protection for next year, so it's only the hot youngster that's contributing that gets a high salary. Example: it's $32 to protect Travis Wood next year.

We disregard the salary cap after the draft (otherwise it would hinder trades), and there's no forcing to protect any FAAB'd players
My home leagues also play with a salary escalator, though we bump players up to $10 and not $5. I'm not a huge fan of $5 keepers. I've played with both rules and it has been my experience that $5-7 FAAB keeps lead to screwy inflation (though Andrew's league might have a mechanism for this, of course.

I like disallowing keeps from the "other" league, though generally speaking a $55-60 Dan Haren isn't going to get protected. The fewer keeps there are, the more players that are going to be available in the auction.

Noah's league goes a step further with players coming in from the other league.
our FAAB is $100 but FAAB-acquired players may neither be traded nor kept for next year. All, I am told, as a sop to avoid ugly machinations.
To each his own when it comes to rules has always been my motto, but I've never been a fan of any mechanism that curtails trading before the trade is even made. I've also found that a salary cap generally takes care of either limiting FAAB bids on other-league-imports or keeping them wedded to the teams that take the plunge.

Finally, Ross reminded us of our old friend The Vickrey Rule.
The Vickrey system comes to mind....Vickrey works like standard FAAB expect the winning bid is shrunk to be 1 unit greater than the runner-up bid. I recently noticed that Ron Shandler has been heavily crusading against FAAB w/o Vickrey. I've read a couple of his pieces on the issue but just can't seem to get too worked up about it. I prefer FAAB with Vickrey but playing in a league with FAAB w/o it does not strongly alter my strategy. 
I've written about Vickrey a few times, initially all the way back in 2007. Back then, I knew very little about it. Now I'm in Tout Wars and we use Vickrey in that league.

I asked a good friend of mine who was trained as an economist if Vickrey is truly a good method for determining the "true" value of a player. My friend was skeptical, to say the least. He told me that Vickrey is a highly theoretical, pie-in-the-sky economic theory that is seldom if ever used in practice. Even the Wikipedia examples that I cited in the linked article above aren't necessarily "true" Vickrey examples (another tiny lesson against using Wikipedia as a valid resource).

Maybe FAAB with Vickrey is better than without, but to hear my economist friend tell it, there's not enough real world evidence to either back this claim up or disprove it.

(I, of course, have not seen the Ron Shandler piece on Vickrey so for all I know he has the proof I am seeking behind his pay wall at Baseball HQ).

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