The ottoneu auction season is in full swing, and just as I did last year I’d like to take a look at some interesting early auction results. I’ve gone through and manually pulled the auction data for first year FGPts leagues that have started/finished their auctions, and I like looking at these salaries because they better represent the ottoneu player market values (as opposed to the average salaries page, which includes underpaid keepers and overpaid studs in high inflation leagues).
AAV– Average auction value/price in first year auctions (as of 3/1)
RG– Consensus dollar value from our ottoneu rankings
1B Paul Goldschmidt ($50.4 AAV, $46.2 RG)
Goldy is being valued as the second best 1B in early auctions, which matches our rankings, but it seems owners in first year leagues are paying a few more dollars than they probably should for the Diamondbacks stud (and the rankings and early prices were all pre-humidor). I would expect his AAV to creep down over the rest of the month, but probably not below $46-$47).
1B Lucas Duda ($0.5 AAV, $6.0 RG)
There is going to be a theme with many of these players who are going at a discount in auctions, and that is uncertainty over injuries/role/etc. In this case Duda’s price had suffered because he was still unsigned when all these auctions occurred, it will be interesting to see what his price will be going forward.
2B Yoan Moncada ($16.6 AAV, $7.8 RG)
Look, Moncada has sky high upside, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if ’18 is his big breakout, but ottoneu owners are currently paying him as if he was the 9th best 2B in ottoneu. There comes a point where paying the premium for upside erodes most/all of the potential value, and I think that’s the case here.
2B Neil Walker ($1.8 AAV, $6.8 RG)
Like Duda, Walker was still a free agent during these early auctions. Unlike Duda, Walker is STILL a free agent. I don’t think Walker’s potential impact is high, but I’m more than willing to absorb the potential risk at $2 for a guy who was worth $7 in ’17 and $14 in ’16.
3B Manny Machado ($45.6 AAV, $35.2 RG)
This is a bit of a cheat here, as our rankings were based on Machado having 3B eligibility, and it has since been announced that Manny will be manning SS for the Orioles to start the year. I think $45-$46 is still a bit too high for a SS eligible Machado, but only by a couple of dollars.
3B Eugenio Suarez ($7.4 AAV, $11.0 RG)
Suarez isn’t a huge bargain, but it’s surprising to me that a 26 year old who was worth $13 last year is going this cheaply. I will gladly scoop up Suarez as an excellent backup 3B/Util option at this price.
C Francisco Mejia ($7.2 AAV, $2.4 RG)
I like Mejia quite a bit, and this gap in price isn’t as extreme as it was for Moncada, but this price represents the C7 in early auctions, and there are definitely more than six catchers I prefer over Mejia. This is another case where there are better short term options for the money, AND comparable long term options that are cheaper (Zunino, Alfaro, Sisco).
C Jonathan Lucroy ($6.0 AAV, $8.6 RG)
There are very few catchers that are bargains based on early auction prices, and Lucroy is yet another player without a team. There’s no questioning how much he struggled last year, but he did manage a .369 wOBA/112 wRC+ in his short time with the Rockies, and the projections still believe he can be an average starting catcher in ottoneu FGPts. Hopefully we get some clarity on his team situation soon.
OF Byron Buxton ($14.7 AAV, $7.0 RG)
What? This is an OF31 price, for a player we ranked at OF49 (and that ranking already accounted for some of Buxton’s breakout potential). Buxton is still only 24 years old, but he has 980 career PA in MLB with an 84 wRC+, and had a 90 wRC+ last year. I might look stupid for criticizing this price after this season, but I don’t want to invest $15 in a player that has yet to be even close to replacement level in FGPts.
OF Eric Thames ($9.5 AAV, $17.2 RG)
To be clear, our rankings were done before the Brewers traded for Christian Yelich and signed Lorenzo Cain, creating a roster crunch that may squeeze Thames out of even more PA. That being said, I think this is a clear case of recency bias, where owners are fixated on how much worse Thames was after his torrid April. Even if you pretend his April never happened, Thames had a .336 wOBA from May on, and that includes a .371 wOBA against RHP. At the very least Thames is an excellent platoon OF, and even if that’s all he is this year that’s worth $9 or $10, but that price completely ignores the chance that he’s worth $20 again this season.
SS Carlos Correa ($47.1 AAV, $42.8 RG)
This is another case (like Goldschmidt) of a stud going for a premium, even in a first year league. Correa is the best SS in ottoneu, but I think $47 is too rich a price to pay given how deep this position has become.
SS Marcus Semien ($5.3 AAV, $10.6 RG)
Semien is a bit boring, and that’s likely a factor in his “bargain” price, but I also think this is a case where there’s a disconnect between Semien’s recent performance (worth $5.5 in ’17, $1.7 in ’16) and his projections. I still obviously like Semien as a $10+ SS, but I wonder if he’s a player destined to never reach his forecasts
SP Shohei Ohtani ($31.7 AAV, $24.2 RG)
I admit to burying the lede here, as Ohtani is probably the player ottoneu owners are most interested in with regards to auction pricing. Given the hype in some corners, I’m a little surprised his average auction price is below $32, but he is still likely overpaid. There’s a wide range of outcomes here, and Ohtani could be George Springer at the plate (but not on the basepaths) and James Paxton on the mound, but he’s also not likely to have anything but Util eligibility (a much higher hurdle to jump in order to be worth playing as a hitter) and will have limited IP.
SP Jon Lester ($16.8 AAV, $20.4 RG)
Not many bargains to be had among SP this year it seems, as owners react (too strongly?) to the new offensive landscape. Lester had a rough ’17 ($9 value), but you only need to go back to ’16 ($29) to find his typical ace level production. Our rankings effectively split the difference between his last two seasons, and I’m comfortable with that baseline heading into 2018.
Justin is a life long Cubs fan who has been playing fantasy baseball for 20+ years, and an ottoneu addict since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @justinvibber.