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Real Auction: 12-Team NL-Only

Wednesday night I participated in a 12-team NL-only auction in a challenge run by Dave Gawron of RotoCommunity.com. This was part of a three-team competition among various fantasy sites, which included a mixed league as well as an AL-only squad.

The competition was tough and I have no illusions about winning this league. My main hope is not to sink the hopes of the other two teams for the site I was representing.

I went in with the plan of not paying more than $30 for any player. I was going to punt AVG and put a little more money towards pitching. My goal was to have a strong OF and end up with two closers. I ended up with the following team:

Ryan Doumit – $13
Jason Castro – $1
Adam Dunn – $25
Clint Barmes – $10
Troy Glaus – $14
Stephen Drew – $17
Rafael Furcal – $9
Mark DeRosa – $11
Jason Bay – $26
Michael Bourn – $19
Nate McLouth – $16
Chris Young – $8
Scott Hairston – $1
Justin Maxwell – $4
Luke Gregerson – $1
Jason Marquis – $2
Tim Hudson – $6
Jorge de la Rosa – $9
Ubaldo Jimenez – $21
Brandon Webb – $10
Heath Bell – $16
Felipe Paulino – $2
Chad Qualls – $18

Best buys – McLouth, Hudson, Bell
Worst buys – Glaus, Glaus, Qualls
Cautiously optimistic – Young, Webb
Fingers crossed – Barmes, Bourn

I was surprised both at how quickly the big boys were nominated and how much money was spent early in this auction. My first five buys – Bay, Dunn, Bourn, Jimenez and Bell – were ones I had valued differently than others, as I had them going for more, while seemingly everyone else purchased early went above where I thought they would.

It seemed like everything was going as planned. I was waiting for prices to drop in the middle and then I was going to scoop up the bargains. But for me those bargains never materialized. All of the guys I was targeting went for more money than I was prepared to bid. Then I found myself in a bad place – plenty of money and no one at key positions to spend it on.

Two days later I still can’t believe the money I spent on Glaus. I was hoping for Mark Reynolds but he was too expensive. I thought Casey Blake was too pricey at $11 but that was a bargain compared to what I was left holding. Even Chipper Jones would have been a better buy. Let’s just move on.

The other thing I wish I had done differently was spend on relievers early. Seemingly there was no premium on high-end closers but near the end, everyone started bidding up the third and fourth-tier guys. The owner who snagged Francisco Rodriguez at $15 did a lot better than the rest of us. While I paid too much for Qualls, I don’t think it was a crippling blow.

The middle infielders I ended up with were very surprising. I was targeting Phillips, Uggla or Weeks but each went for more money than I was expecting. Uggla went for $18 and I wish I had tried $19. But if Barmes holds on to the position, he could be a nice addition. I can live with the AVG if he puts up another 20 HR season.

Drew was a guy I thought was going to have a big year in 2009, so hopefully he comes through here one year later. I did not expect to pay $9 for my MI, but I thought that was a nice value for Furcal. Ryan Theriot went for $15 and Alcides Escobar for $17.

Generally, I am not a McLouth fan, but he is much more appealing when AVG is a lesser concern. The one thing I did right in the auction was to nominate Corey Hart immediately after I won McLouth. Hart ended up going for the same $16, which seems crazy to me. Nor am I a big Young fan. But he is only 26 and I am hoping that his production after he was recalled from the minors last year is indicative of what he will give in 2010.

Times have changed when a fantasy owner is happy about having two SP for the Rockies but I like both of these guys. The key for me is how soon Webb can return to the mound. If he only misses a month and comes back at 90 percent of what he was, then I will be happy.

I would prefer to have less risk (Doumit, Barmes, Glaus, Webb) and more upside but at the same time a little risk is a good thing. Now that it is over, my goal is to pull at least 75 points with this team. Do you think that is realistic?