Ten Most Expensive A.L. Third Basemen 2010
|1||Alex Rodriguez ||$25||$40||-15||$37||$28||$25|
The 10 third basemen in the chart above received a $7 raise per player! At the risk of sounding like an inane adolescent, that's insane! No group of 10 players has ever received more than a $4 raise per player since I began tracking these data; $7 per player blows that out of the water.
It could be argued that some of this is the perfect storm of players coming off of injuries and off years, combined with young players bound to get better. But the 10 most expensive of any group of players always have cases like this. It's as if the market is optimistically hoping for a return to 2008 and will pay whatever it takes to make sure this happens.
What is actually happening is that there is a great deal of scarcity at the position on Opening Day. Miguel Tejada isn't eligible here yet in most leagues on Auction Day. The Twins are trotting some combination of Brendan Harris (who was Opening Day eligible) and Nick Punto (who wasn't) out to the hot corner.
The result is that owners are chasing so they don't wind up with a dead spot on their roster. Kouzmanoff at $16 might be a reach, but he's better than tossing Josh Fields on your roster and hoping for the best.
Rotoman advises caution on all of these hitters except Young. ZIPS is very conservative for not having a salary cap. Its call on Beltre looks great. Saying he'll be only $8 worse than A-Rod and $7 worse than Longoria is an awesome call to make in March. Its call on Kouzmanoff seems aggressive, and its more than aggressive stance on Wood is simply terrible (though everyone was fooled twice by Wood to some degree. Sports Weekly gets a lot of credit for their $5 bid limit here).
The bad news for owners avoiding spending money here is that there wasn't much variability from the best hitters and the most expensive ones.
Top 10 A.L. Third Basemen 2010
|1||Adrian Beltre ||$30||$19||+11||$17||$20||$11|
The order is jumbled, but only Beckham is missing from the top six hitters in the first chart. Hall, Inge and Valencia show up, while Beckham, Gordon and Wood go bye-bye. Rotoman makes a relatively aggressive play on Hall (even in my 25% inflation keeper A.L. Hall only went for $1) while missing on Inge. Valencia was a non-factor in late March for all of the experts.
The market is still way too excited here about a group of hitters that was only going to get so much better. Yes, some of that is A-Rod, and one of the more interesting questions entering 2011 is whether A-Rod can have one of those bounce back seasons in his mid-30s that elite players sometimes have or if he has settled in at a new level of performance. However, I see a lot of robust bids in an effort to get stats in favor of pricing sensibility.
I'm definitely a proponent of Rotoman's approach here, particularly in a one-league format. Cross your fingers and hope you get Bill Hall. If you get stuck with Josh Fields, cross your fingers again and hope you wind up with Valencia. At worst, pay extra for Longoria. Don't get stuck overpaying for mediocrities like Kouz and Encarnacion because there's nothing better. You want value for your auction dollars, not an everyday player at every position and a double digit $$$ loss.