Expert Mock Auction Reflections

Stephen Dunn

I took part in a Fangraphs "expert" mock auction over the past week. Here are the results and some early reflections.

I realize it’s early January, but it’s about time to start thinking about your fantasy drafts for the 2013 season.

I did just that, as friend of the podcast Eno Sarris invited me to join a Fangraphs/Rotographs Expert Fantasy Mock Auction over the past two weekends as a Beyond the Boxscore Representative.

Hopefully, I made the team and the site proud, but you can let me know what you think of my team and strategy. The roster is below, as well as some reflections. I should note that we drafted on consecutive Sundays and some information may have come out between the draft sessions that had a small impact.

You can find the entire auction results here.

Blake’s Team

C $10 Wilin Rosario C-CO

C $9 Brian McCann C-ATL

1B $10 Todd Frazier 3B/1B-CIN

2B $11 Rickie Weeks 2B-MIL

3B $11 Manny Machado 3B-BAL

SS $33 Jose Reyes SS-TOR

OF $36 Matt Kemp OF-LAD

OF $31 Jose Bautista OF-TOR

OF $27 Jay Bruce OF-CIN

OF $6 Ben Revere OF-PHI

OF $3 Chris Young OF-OAK

MI $2 Billy Hamilton SS-CIN

CI $10 Adam Dunn DH/1B-CHW

Util $1 Colby Rasmus OF-TOR

P $18 Matt Moore SP-TB

P $13 Brandon Morrow SP-TOR

P $9 Josh Johnson SP-TOR

P $9 Anibal Sanchez SP-DET

P $5 Jon Niese SP-NYM

P $3 Ryan Dempster SP-BOS

P $1 James McDonald SP-PIT

P $1 Francisco Liriano SP/RP-PIT

P $1 A.J. Griffin SP-OAK

Notes

*14-team, 23 roster spots, $260

*We were told to assume a snake-style draft for a few bench spots (this explains some of the risk-seeking behavior with respect to injuries as well as the Billy Hamilton pick).

Strategy

Off the top, it’s clear I "punted" saves. This is nothing new or groundbreaking – I, like many others, simply find the position too volatile to invest in heavily. I rarely spend much on closers, even though they came at a discount here. I’d simply elect to try and flex my FAAB budget to address saves. Since nobody invested heavily in saves, I’m anticipating more of a 4-5 score in saves rather than a 1-2.

Two catchers and five outfielders also changed the positional scarcity dynamics a bit, which explains the prices for some of the higher end outfielders. I’m pleased with the catching duo for $19. I absolutely love my outfield for balance and value.

I definitely overpaid for Todd Frazier early in the draft, having not felt out the market on corner infielders yet. I probably paid too expectant a price for Machado, too, but Weeks is a discount and gets me back some of the value in the infield.

Adam Dunn and Colby Rasmus are potential average killers but…someone had to take Dunn, right? $10 and some average pain doesn’t seem too bad for 40 taters.

Because I passed on closers, my rotation is deeper than others. It also happens to be very risky, but I’m of the mind that all pitchers are risky, so why not take injury-deflated values where they present themselves? I don’t think I overpaid for a single one of those arms, and if I could take 160 IP from each of them I’d be happy with the result.

Thoughts

It’s obviously too early to gauge much from a single mock auction, "expert" or otherwise. Eno and I discussed this on the podcast last week, but it’s important not to over-value mock values or average draft positions. Not only do people act sub-optimally in a mock intentionally (e.g. "I won’t take Player X where I want him because I want to see where he’ll slide to"), but the mock-ing population may not be representative of the general public, so you introduce some bias.

Make sure when you’re doing mocks, auction or snake, to focus more on strategy and gamesmanship than the actual players and where they’re going. There’s too much we don’t know right now, but you can always improve your skills and strategy.

How’d I do? Any early fantasy questions? Is it a complete joke that I get to call myself an expert now?

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