Friday, March 23, 2012

Early Auction Call Outs - National League

I received a good question earlier this month on Twitter about who you should call out early to suck money out of an N.L.-only auction.

As a general rule, it's always worthwhile to call guys out in the first round of an auction that you don't need. If you have a stacked pitching staff, call out an ace pitcher. Own Michael Bourn already? Call out Cameron Maybin to suck money out of the room. There are rare cases where you probably should call out a player you want (you have a strategy in mind and need one of Player A, B, or C to make that strategy work) but in general it's a good idea to get people spending money on commodities you don't want when the room is flush with cash.

Below is a short list of players I think will go for too much money based on what I've seen from the expert auctions so far.

Joey Votto. CBS N.L.-only auction $44. LABR N.L.-only auction $40
Toz and I have already both written about the misnomer that the exodus of Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols will lead to some weird kind of hyper-scarcity at first base that simply won't exist. I'm a big Joey Votto fan, but $40 is a lot to pay for any player that doesn't generate a lot of value with his legs. My stopping point is somewhere in the mid-$30s and that won't get him this year. That's fine. There are plenty of first basemen, and I'd rather pay the right price for someone unsexy like James Loney than lose by overpaying here.

Giancarlo Stanton. CBS $34. LABR $33
Here's another guy I absolutely love in real life. In Roto, though, a .262 batting average and a lack of foot speed probably puts the ceiling at $30. Any kind of batting average swoon and suddenly Stanton is a $20-25 player. Don't overreach even though Stanton is looking like a legit 35-40 HR perennial hitter.

Tim Lincecum CBS $28 LABR $24
I can't say to avoid Lincecum, but the price points here make me nervous for a guy whose K/9 has dropped the last three years while his BB/9 has increased. I still have Lincecum in my N.L. top 10, but just no longer in the top 5. I think you have to drop out before he gets to that LABR price. The Ks aren't going to make the impact they once did.

Dan Uggla CBS $28, LABR $27
Don't get me wrong, I love me some 30/80/80 from my second baseman. But I think everyone is overreacting to Uggla's bad batting average/BABIP combination last year and assuming that he's going to bounce back to 2010 levels in batting average. Uggla's BAs the last five years have been .245, .260. ,243, .287, and .233. While he might not hit .233 again, his profile makes a .250 season more likely than a .280. Uggla's earnings since 2009 have been $18, $29 and $20. Paying him in the low $20s and taking a slight value hit for the massive power makes some sense. Chasing Uggla to $25 doesn't.

Michael Cuddyer CBS $24 LABR $27
I like Cuddyer in Coors, and think his price should go up a couple of bucks, but $27 in LABR is way too much. Cuddy is a better hitter against left-handed pitching, isn't a big-time fly ball hitter, and wasn't necessarily hindered at Target Field. This price feels like Cuddyer's ceiling, and I hate paying for someone's ceiling.

No comments: