Thursday, April 05, 2012

Might I Interest You In Being Bored to Tears While I Discuss My Home League? (N.L. Edition)

On Monday I wrote at length about my A.L. home league. Today I'll take a look at what I did in my N.L. home league.

Unlike in my A.L., I had a weaker freeze list entering the offseason and didn't have a strong concentration in any particular category or area. This league is more conservative than my A.L. and it is far more difficult to trade for saves or steals once the season starts. So I decided to lock up a big base stealer and two closers prior to the freeze date. After a few trades, this is what I walked into my auction with:

C Jason Castro $1
C Ramon Hernandez $7
1B Todd Helton $8
2B Dan Uggla $19
SS Ian Desmond $12
3B Chase Headley $15
OF Michael Bourn $26
OF Bryan LaHair $10
CL Carlos Marmol $21
CL Huston Street $12
MR David Hernandez $1
MR Sergio Romo $1

You might find it more than a little odd that I didn't freeze a single starting pitcher. I was toying with the idea of going with two closers and seven $1 pitchers, regardless of their roles. Once I calculated the inflation rate, though, I knew this would be impossible. Inflation was in the high 40% range for both hitters and pitchers and most of the top players were frozen. The top six players' bid limits with inflation was a combined $223...and I could only buy four of the six due to positional limitations. Rather than overspend across the board and suck the value out of my offense, I decided instead to play a simple valuation game and hope that I'd still buy a strong offense. The best three starting pitchers in the auction were Gio Gonzalez, Tommy Hanson and Shaun Marcum, so I figured that the pitching prices would be absurd and the hitting bargains would come. If, on the other hand, people avoided pitchers, I figured I'd luck into a balanced staff.

Here's how it worked out.

C Castro $1
C R Hernandez $7
1B Helton $8
2B Uggla $19
SS Marco Scutaro $21
3B Headley $15
CO Placido Polanco $13
MI Jason Bartlett $17
OF Jason Bay $21
OF Bourn
OF David DeJesus $14
OF LaHair $10
OF J.D. Martinez $19
UT Desmond $12
SP Erik Bedard $10
SP Dillon Gee $5
SP Josh Collmenter $4
CL Marmol $21
CL Street $12
RP Henry Rodriguez $2
RP Hernandez $1
RP Ryan Madson $1
RP Sergio Romo $1

The hitter prices look ugly, but every hitter I purchased was $1 under my inflation bid or lower. To offer some context, Hanley Ramirez went for $54, while Michael Cuddyer, Jimmy Rollins and David Wright went for $37 apiece. Cuddyer and Wright were at my inflation price or $1 over, so it's not like the room overpaid...the inflation was just that bad.

Would I have been better off with Cuddyer or Wright and a cheaper hitter? It's possible. As Toz noted in his write-up, there were a few guys that went well below price. Rafael Furcal ($11), Jed Lowrie ($10) and Stephen Drew ($8) are the three that jump out, and I'd rather have any of them at those prices than Jason Bartlett at $17. But this is always easier to see in the rearview mirror as opposed to when the auction is playing out. The imperative for me was to spend my money and get a starter at every position in a 13-team N.L.-only and I succeeded. The Baseball HQ model that On Roto runs projects my team to get 59 out of 65 points on offense.

The pitching is about as below average as you would expect given what I came in with and given the inflation. While people were not paying too far past inflation par for most hitters, the best starting pitchers on the board were being chased well past even their inflation prices. Rather than push Marcum to $25, Gio to $36, or Hanson to $31 and sacrifice a lot of offensive value in the process, I decided to play value. The result is three starters that are risky but have upside coupled with the fear that I'm going to wind up in a strikeouts/wins hole in a hurry if I don't find some quality arms fast. I should do well in saves, but overall I don't have enough on pitching to make much noise. The idea is to try and build up leads in some offensive categories and trade. Or the idea is to FAAB my way into a middle of the pack pitching staff. Or it won't work and I'll finish sixth.

But I did what I wanted to do, stuck with my strategy and executed it. Now we'll see if it works.


Howard Lynch said...

What is Marmol worth today? ie. what is unflated-par in a keeper league right now (after a terrible start to the season)?

Toz said...

Good morning Howard!

Coming into the season in a 5x5, Mike G. had Marmol at $17. I already ticked him down to $16 on preference.

The difficult start to the season is exactly that - a difficult start. Wood, however, is off to an equally horrible start (injury?). I do not imagine that Dale Sveum is going to blow up the bullpen one weekend into the season, so Marmol will be given every opportunity to fail consistently.

At most, I would tick him down another dollar, but you also do not want someone walking away with a bargain. If I recall, some no-name reliever named John Axford blew a very ugly save on Opening Day. He went on to save just about every other one all season.

Thanks for reading!