Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tout Wars and the Road(s) Not Traveled

Almost immediately after the Tout Wars N.L.-only auction, I wrote up my auction recap. I found myself in the same position I did in 2010: lots of spots to fill and not a lot of money.

This year, after splurging on Tim Lincecum, Josh Johnson and Ubaldo Jimenez with the 75th, 86th and 88th purchases of the auction, I dropped rapidly from $108 left and 16 players to buy to $36 left and 13 players to buy. Immediately, I decided to buy nothing but $1 pitchers so that I'd have a competitive offense.

But what if? What if instead of doing this I had simply continued to follow my sheet prices to their logical conclusion, insisting on +2 bargains for the rest of the day?

In my opinion, the Jimenez price was completely justified based on what happened next. The next 35 players purchased went for a combined $50 over my sheet prices. Chris Liss scored the only +1 bargains on my sheet with his purchases of Brandon Belt and Scott Rolen; everyone else either went for par or was overpaid. I always say to take the bargains where you can get them, and in this case I was glad I was aggressive rather than getting stuck in this rough portion of the day.

However, I eventually was going to have to spend my money. You've all already seen the way I did it. Here are two other ways it could have played out.

1) In Venable we trust
The first scenario would have still seen purchase Will Venable 52 players after U-Ball for $16. I still would have bought Chris Coghlan for $9 and had $11 left for 11 players.

Assuming I bought the same six $1 pitchers and three $1 hitters, this means I would have swapped out Cody Ross ($12), Chris Snyder ($4) and Jeff Baker ($2) for Venable and whatever two $1 hitters I got to replace Snyder and Baker. Good trade?

Hard to say. The early injuries to Ross and Snyder would have made it look better for me now, even with Venable's poor start. However, I'm not sure swapping in a generic $1 catcher for Snyder would have been a good idea given that I'm already not running a full offense out there.

Another way of looking at this is that assuming I would have purchased the equivalent of Baker, it would have been like trading Ross and Snyder for Venable. While I would have picked up much more speed (and possibly been in a better position in the speed game), I think I would have sacrificed too many HR/runs/RBI for this to make sense.

Pitching Instead of Hitting
One of the reasons I bought all $1 pitchers after my three aces was because my pitching staff was so bad behind Matt Cain, Carlos Marmol, and Matt Capps in 2010. But again, what if? What if I had decided to go the pitching route instead of the hitting route and hoped for some $1-2 hitting bargains in the endgame?

Pitchers who went for $3 or more under my bid limit included Jair Jurrjens (went for $5), Mike Pelfrey ($4), Johan Santana ($1), Anibal Sanchez ($5), Mike Minor ($3), Travis Wood ($7), James McDonald ($4), R.A. Dickey ($4), and Jorge de la Rosa ($5).

Hmmm. Maybe my problem is that I overestimate some of these arms toward the bottom of the heap. With the exceptions of Wood and possibly de la Rosa, a number of these pitchers are either off to poor starts or injured. Plugging two or three of these guys on to my squad at the expense of Ross or Coghlan probably wouldn't help. Kevin Correia, Barry Zito and even (heaven help me) Chris Volstad are not much worse than the bargain pitchers above...and my three bottom starters cost me a combined $3.

So I think I did all right for myself in Tout Wars. Even upon further reflection and about a month removed from my auction.

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