Imagine you’re a doctor, and a patient comes in and just lies down but doesn’t say anything. If you are interested in sending me questions, please send me actual questions—not just rosters plus, “What do you think?”
On the flip side, some folks sent in quite interesting questions but coupled it with rosters full of “A-Gonz” and “Jason.” Here is Scott’s question: I’ve not changed a thing from it—it has nice question and a well-formatted roster.
“My league does an auction draft and then each manager can lock up their players for up the 3 years at the price they paid at the auction. There are 10 teams and we draft players from both leagues, our lineups are: 2C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, MI, CI, RF, CF, LF, OF, Utility, Bench, 8SP, 3RP. $260 team budget for 25 players. The points system tries to mimic actual value on the field but probably rewards power from hitters and strikeouts and innings from pitchers more than in real life.
newly drafted players:
Albert Pujols $43
CC Sabathia $28
Dan Haren $17
Javier Vazquez $3
Aramis Ramirez $6
Paul Konerko $12
Kelly Johnson $9
Max Scherzer $20
Josh Beckett $10
Jose Lopez $1
Manny Ramirez $1
Rafael Soriano $1
Jake Peavy $1
Yunel Escobar $1
Jed Lowrie $1
I feel like I got Pujols pretty cheap and part of me wants to lock him up for 3 years, but at the same time its risky to commit so much of my payroll to only one player. Do you think there is enough value at $43 to make him worth the risk? Also what would you do with with Scherzer at $20? I feel like he has a pretty high ceiling but he pitched so bad in spring training that I’m a little nervous.”
I would not lock up Pujols. Scherzer is a close call, but I’m tempted to say that you shouldn’t lock him up either. Here’s why:
These auction values are a good indicator of how your league-mates value these players, so no one in your league thought Pujols was worth more than $43. Barring something Herculean on his part this season or a massive change of heart on the part of one of your competitors, I doubt Pujols will go for much more than $43 next year.
However, if something should happen to him injury-wise this year or beyond, you would lose a large chunk of your future budgets, putting you at a major disadvantage. Moreover, he’s getting to an age, 31, where performance starts to decline. Nothing much to worry about yet, but he’ll probably be worth $38 rather than $45 in three years’ time.
Scherzer has more growing to do, unlike Pujols. So by keeping him, you could leverage the difference in expectations that you and your competitors have over him—apparently you have higher ones since you were willing to pay more. Locking him in gives you a chance to put some more money where your beliefs are.
But I’m not sure how dearly you want to hold onto those beliefs. If Haren is going for $17 and Sabathia for $28 in your league, then what is the realistic upside for Scherzer in two years? $25? You’d be making a bit of profit, potentially, but at some risk. Scherzer hasn’t yet proven he can be the consistent horse that Haren and Sabathia are. Not that he’s going to be another Russell Martin, but Scherzer is a good example of the costs of locking in.
What would I do?
Your roster already has good examples of whom I’d target for lock-in. Upton, Bard and Feliz are great lock-ins. They are cheap and so pose little risk to your overall budget. (Note, I’m assuming that you can always cut a locked-in player so that he’ll just cost you dollars in the future and not roster spots. If you have to keep him on your roster for the next three years as well, then keeping low dollar players may not be as good a strategy.)
Of course, you have other great keepers as well in Mauer, Gonzalez and others, but I’m not sure why they went so cheaply initially.
So I’d lock in maybe Soriano and Peavy. Peavy is a cheap risk—I’m sceptical it will pay off—but I still think it is a good value. Soriano is borderline. In a ten-team league, he’s not that valuable. Actually, given that you need to play eight starting pitchers, Beckett at $10 is also interesting, but you’ll be able to find his ilk in the auction pool again next season.