Seven days left in the season, but that has not slowed your appetite for adding talent. For the final time in 2013, we’ll take a gander at the most auctioned players across all leagues, and offer up some advice on how to proceed.
This week, we can divide the auction players into two camps – Streamers and Keepers.
The streamers are guys you are adding now in the hopes that they can help put you over the top before the season comes to an end, while the Keepers, clearly, are guys you intend to keep. The Keepers tend to be a subset of the Streamers, and whether a player falls into one camp or the other often has more to do with why YOU want them than what THEY are capable of. For example, Will Venable, who really should be owned already, may be in a number of active auctions because owners are looking to add some pop or speed for the final week, or he may be a 2014 target.
The Streamers are the easier case. The number two most auctioned player – Pedro Strop – is likely on most team’s radar because of the potential to poach a save or two (if the Cubs can manage a win or two) before the end of the season. Yes, there is a chance that Strop will be a closer next year, but adding him for 2014 saves would be highly speculative at this point.
Other highly-auctioned Streamers include Bruce Chen and BJ Upton (although I understand some teams may be thinking of keeping one or more of these three, their primary value seems to be providing some numbers now). If you are going after one of these guys (or anyone else you need to fill out a potential championship roster, all valuations go out the window. How much is Strop worth if you have $15 in cap space, are in a fight for points in saves, and could win (or place, or show) with a strong finish? Probably $15.
Sure, there is no way you keep him at $17 next year, but who cares? That is not the point. And you could hedge. Say you would like to keep Upton at no more than $5 next year (so $3 now) you could bid that $3 and hope it works. But if you were trying to nab a steal or home run out of him this final week, and someone else bids $4, that lost steal or home run could hurt a lot. If you get that extra stat for $15 and have to cut him loose after the season, that’s a-ok.
The Keepers are far more complicated. First, you need to basically ignore their value this year. Tanner Roark has been near unhittable the last few weeks, and there are likely owners valuing him primarily for what he can bring in one last start, but if you are bidding on him for 2014, that last 2013 start (or two) isn’t valuable – you have to think about what his price would likely be at auction next year, and bid at least $2 less than that, so your keeper price for him is not too high.
The guys most commonly auctioned at the moment are Tyson Ross, Strop, Kevin Siegrist, Andrew Lambo, Venable, Charlie Blackmon, Chen, and Kole Calhoun. I can see a 2013-based reason to go crazy bidding for any of these guys, helping you fill out games played or innings pitched. I could see bidding on Ross, Lambo, Venable, or Calhoun with an eye towards filling out your 2014 roster. For the Streamers, again, I would bid at whatever I have available to bid. To keep any of those guys, I am bidding between $1 and $3, but no more (and probably more towards the low end).
Chad Young is a product manager at Amazon by day and a baseball writer (RotoGraphs, Let's Go Tribe), sports fan and digital enthusiast at all times. Follow him on Twitter @chadyoung.