2015 Roto Recap: Auction Look Back

Joey Votto

Fantasy baseball is a tricky thing.

On one hand, human civilization has progressed from rubbing sticks together for fire to the atom bomb and putting a man on the moon.  On the other hand, humanity has not found a way to make sure I start my probables on a week to week basis.  We’ve come so far, but have so far to go.

After finished a tight second place last year, only to have Cy Young/MVP/Guaranteed HOFer/Future Nobel Peace Prize Winner Clayton Kershaw edge out the pitching category for the opposing Roto-er during the Championship Week, 2015 looked to be a tipping point year.  To note, this is a very casual league set up by someone who is unlikely to even sign into ESPN.com after the auction every year.  Think of it as the Donald Trump of Roto League Commissioners, willing to splurge time and effort on building something, only to let it fester away like a seaside Jersey casino.  This year ended with a 5th place standing in a league that has 4 playoff spots.  Aka, I am this year’s 2015 loser of the TCU/Baylor game.  So where did things go wrong?  Probably in Jeff Samardzija’s head.  Or probably in the inability to control myself on the waiver wire/free agents pool.  But really, as with all things, let’s go back to the beginning.  Time for an auction recap 5 months too late.

The auction strategies, as always:

For Hitters

  • If you’re going to splurge, buy up players with a pedigree across multiple categories, but aren’t your $40-50 bonanzas like Abreau or Trout.  Guys that are superstars, just not public superstars.
  • If you can hit two categories really well with a player, but totally bomb in another one, that’s OK.  He’ll hit .295 with 35 SBs but 2 HR aka the Juan Pierre?  Do it.
  • Along the first two rules, look for 20-20s the most.  It’s an arbitrary milestone, but if they’re a hitter with that pedigree, then they’re A) probably younger and less an injury risk and B) will at least keep you aloft in multiple categories.
  • Speaking of young, pass on the young phenoms and definitely pass on the name veterans.  Like the superstar-lite strategy, look for guys who are in their mid 20s but haven’t had a breakout year.  Someone producing a 108/2 WAR season but is getting buzz.  If you buy enough of these guys at $8-12 a couple of them will breakout.  Or not.

For Pitchers

  • If we’re looking for where the wheels flew off, this might be it.  Get ONE superstar pitcher.  I don’t care who, just spend the $30.
  • #3 pitchers.  Sacrifice a little bit on ERA and get guys with lots of Ks.  Unlike in real baseball, you are under no obligation to start your SPs every week, so avoid those junkball, inning eaters because they are bound to have those 1.2 IP, 5 ER, 4 BB days all too often.  Instead, get a fireballer you can start against really bad teams to boost up stats.  Remember, there are good stats and bad stats.
  • Find the team(s) that are sporting a younger rotation and aren’t trying to go for a WS, but maybe sneak into the WC.  This year my strategy was to target Cleveland and Tampa Bay’s staffs.  Remember what I just staid about wheels flying?
  • Don’t Pay for Saves (TM).  Thank you Talented Mr. Roto.

So, with those rules in mind, here is a rundown of the team purchased way back on that probably shitty spring morning before the first pitch was thrown.  We’ll throw in their 2015 final stat lines and whether they stuck around on my team for S’s and G’s.

The 2015 Drone Strike Three Auction Recap

(in order of their “purchase”)

Adam Jones (Baltimore Orioles, OF)

Auction Price:

$34

2015 Fantasy Stats Line:

.269 AVG, 27 HR, 82 RBI, 74 R, 3 SB

2015 SABR Stats Line:

.782 OPS, 109 OPS+, 3.6 WAR

Worth It?

Probably, Yes (if he kept up his early torrential pace before getting injured).  AJ and the next player on this list were the Superstars-Lite targeted from the get go: players costing about $15-20 combined less than notable stars like Miggy or Trout but with 90% of the production with the potential for massive breakouts.  Well, they did the 90% part.  Still, there’s time for AJ to go from Andrew McCutchen-Lite to…Andrew McCutchen.

Still on Team at Season’s End?

Yes

Anthony Rizzo (Chicago Cubs, 1B)

Auction Price:

$34

2015 Fantasy Stats Line:

.278 AVG, 31 HR, 101 RBI, 94 R, 17 SB

2015 SABR Stats Line:

.899 OPS, 145 OPS+, 5.4 WAR

Worth It?

Dear god yes.  17 SBs!?!?!  And not to mention, the actual MVP if we’re talking the V part.  But maybe the $34 could have been spent elsewhere, as you’ll see with his fellow DST 1B below.

Still on Team at Season’s End?

Yes

Michael Brantley (Cleveland Indians, OF)

Auction Price:

$27

2015 Fantasy Stats Line:

.310 AVG, 15 HR, 84 RBI, 68 R, 15 SB

2015 SABR Stats Line:

.859 OPS, 130 OPS+, 3.9 WAR

Worth It?

Yes.  Well maybe at a $3-5 discount.  Lorenzo Cain (which, yes, well surpassed his even pre-season good expectations) threw out a .307/16/72/101/28 fantasy slash…for $3.  Rough injury spell to start the season.

Still on Team at Season’s End?

Yes

David Price (Detroit Tigers/Toronto Blue Jays, SP)

Auction Price:

$21

2015 Fantasy Stats Line:

18 W, 2.45 ERA, 225 K, 220.1 IP, 1.08 WHIP

2015 SABR Stats Line:

3.24 xFIP, 172 ERA+, 6.4 WAR

Worth It?

Yes.  He’s probably going to win the Cy Young and around the same price as fellow CY candidate Chris Sale ($25) and on par with other fellow hurlers like Zack Greinke ($21), Madison Bumgarner ($22), and Corey Kluber ($23).

Still on Team at Season’s End?

Yes…thankfully because his fellow pitchers became the Michael Dukakis of rotating doors.

Kyle Seager (Seattle Mariners, 3B)

Auction Price:

$19

2015 Fantasy Stats Line:

.266 AVG, 26 HR, 74 RBI, 85 R, 6 SB

2015 SABR Stats Line:

.779 OPS, 118 OPS+, 3.8 WAR

Worth It?

Yes-ish.  Seager the Elder fell under the “Buy Late 20s Players with High Potential for a BREAKOUT Year”.  Well here are are Seager’s 2012-2015 OPS marks: .738, .764, .788, .779.  Neither a breakdown or a breakout.  Although, other 3B in this same category, like Manny Machado ($13) and Nolan Arenado ($20) went around the same price.

Still on Team at Season’s End?

Yes

Jeff Samardzija (Chicago White Sox, SP)

Auction Price:

$17

2015 Fantasy Stats Line:

11 W, 4.96 ERA, 163 K, 214 IP, 1.29 WHIP

2015 SABR Stats Line:

4.31 xFIP, 79 ERA+, 2.7 WAR

Worth It?

Nope.  Samaaklfjdfwjza’s return to the Windy City was supposed to pair a high K & IP pitcher with a winning team for the first time in his career.  Instead, both he and the Southside Sox flopped.  Despite pitching 200+ innings for the 3rd straight season, his K/9 dropped to a 6.86.  When the auction strategy is to sport most of the big bucks on hitting and buy only 1-3 double digit figure SPs, you can’t miss on your #2.  Consider it missed.

Still on Team at Season’s End?

No, but only until the calendar turned September.

Alex Cobb (Tampa Bay Rays, SP)

Auction Price:

$12

2015 Fantasy Stats Line:

10 W, 2.87 ERA, 149 K, 166.1 IP, 1.14 WHIP

2015 SABR Stats Line:

3.33 xFIP, 130 ERA+, 2.8 WAR

Worth It?

Yes, one of the “BUY Tampa and Cleveland young starters” strategy……except see below.

Still on Team at Season’s End?

Nope!  Cobb was dropped on 12 May after starting the first month on the DL, but made a strong return for the rest of the season.  And yet Jeff Samkfmowarjwojza hung around.  As always, I’m horrible at fantasy baseball.

Jonathan Lucroy (Milwaukee Brewers, Catcher)

Auction Price:

$17

2015 Fantasy Stats Line:

.264 AVG, 7 HR, 43 RBI, 51 R, 1 SB

2015 SABR Stats Line:

.717 OPS, 95 OPS+, 1.1 WAR

Worth It?

No.  Another injury bugged player.  After having an MVP (but not really) voted season in 2014, Lucroy was probably the worst overpay of the auction, yes even worse than Jeff Samdaorowdiejszjza.  Fellow backstops Russell Martin ($4), Brian McCann ($5) were massive steals while other potential (and actually did) breakout Salvador Perez ($10) almost went for half of Lucroy.  Adding a new rule to next year’s auction:  Don’t pay double digits for a catcher not named Buster Posey.

Still on Team at Season’s End?

No, but the Old Yeller-ing only happened until it was too late in mid-September.

Joey Votto (Cincinnati Reds, 1B)

Auction Price:

$13

2015 Fantasy Stats Line:

.314 AVG, 29 HR, 80 RBI, 95 R, 11 SB

2015 SABR Stats Line:

1.000 OPS, 174 OPS+, 7.4 WAR

Worth It?

Besides being a personal favorite and regaining the Best Canadian Baseball Player belt, a resounding Yes.  I still don’t get why the world shrugged off Votto after one injury riddled year.  Yes, he’s over 30 but he isn’t in Prince Fielder’s condition (which apparently also means nothing) and proceeded to have one of the best offensive 2nd halfs in history.  Add that to his undressing of an umpire and all around class, at $13, Votto is undoubtedly my biggest Fantasy Baseball victory of 2015.

Still on Team at Season’s End?

Yes, and contract extension talks are currently underway.

Kolten Wong (St. Louis Cardinals, 2B)

Auction Price:

$12

2015 Fantasy Stats Line:

.262 AVG, 11 HR, 61 RBI, 71 R, 15 SB

2015 SABR Stats Line:

.707 OPS, 92 OPS+, 2.3 WAR

Worth It?

A personal unspoken rule is the “Never Draft Players From Teams You Hate”, which absolutely no sense from a Roto perspective, but hey, I have moral compass when it comes to sports (but nothing else).  Then again, Wong was a candidate for “young-ish breakout” and “multiple stat categories potential”.  Well he did ok in the latter, but not at a $12 tag.

Still on Team at Season’s End?

Yes, and contract extension talks have ceased.

Leonys Martin (Texas Rangers, OF)

Auction Price:

$10

2015 Fantasy Stats Line:

.219 AVG, 5 HR, 25 RBI, 26 R, 14 SB

2015 SABR Stats Line:

.576 OPS, 55 OPS+, 0.5WAR

Worth It?

Resounding no.  Martin was not on my pre-auction radar, but by the middle of the bidding, panic set in over the lack of OFs and SBs.  A quick Google scan brought up Martin’s name (never a good strategy).  Despite being 26, having stolen 30+ SBs the previous two seasons, and on a hitting club in a hitting park, Leonys decided to take my Alexander Hamilton and burn it on the way down to AAA in August.

Still on Team at Season’s End?

No, but thankfully dropped in May before any more damage was done.

Mat Latos (Miami Marlins/Los Angeles Dodgers/Anaheim Angels, SP)

Auction Price:

$10

2015 Fantasy Stats Line:

4 W, 4.95 ERA, 100 K, 116.1 IP, 1.31 WHIP

2015 SABR Stats Line:

3.69 xFIP, 78 ERA+, 1.5 WAR

Worth It?

No.  Poor Mat Latos.  Then again, he’ll be fine.

Still on Team at Season’s End?

No.  Although I gave up on him before Miami and LA did.

Joc Pederson (Los Angeles Dodgers, OF)

Joc Pederson emerges as baseball's new king of the Three True Outcomes

Auction Price:

$10

2015 Fantasy Stats Line:

.210 AVG, 26 HR, 54 RBI, 67 R, 4 SB

2015 SABR Stats Line:

.576 OPS, 112 OPS+, 2.8 WAR

Worth It?

Yes, then no.  Drafted because A) He’s a Dodger, B) he’s young and likeable with the potential to be The Face, and C) he’s not Yasiel Puig.  Joc blasted his way into the league during the first half with fantastic CF play, immense power, and the king of the Three True Outcomes.   Selected as an All Star as a Rookie, the Joc vs. Kris debate was full fledged in early July and tilted in Joc’s favor after his incredible showing at the HR Derby.  Then Pederson decided to take the 2nd half off.  These things happen.  Congrats to NL ROY Kris Bryant.

Still on Team at Season’s End?

Yes, out of pure love.

Jean Segura (Milwaukee Brewers, SS)

Auction Price:

$7

2015 Fantasy Stats Line:

.257 AVG, 6 HR, 50 RBI, 57 R, 25 SB

2015 SABR Stats Line:

.576 OPS, 68 OPS+, 0.3 WAR

Worth It?

No.  He racked up some SBs, but that was it.  He was supposed to be the Jean Segura to Kolten Wong’s Kolten Wong.  $19 on both (about 20% of the budget) seems a bit high given that Dee Gordon and Jhhhhhonny Peralta could have been had for $12 total.

Still on Team at Season’s End?

Yes, but only after being sent down Waiver Way in August, only to be picked back up.  Ugh.

Drew Smyly (Tampa Bay Rays, SP)

Auction Price:

$2

2015 Fantasy Stats Line:

5 W, 3.11 ERA, 77 K, 66.2 IP, 1.17 WHIP

2015 SABR Stats Line:

3.47 xFIP, 127 ERA+, 0.9 WAR

Worth It?

Yes.  He wound up pitching in only 12 games, but still had a better 2 months than a full season of 2015 Mat Latos (then again, who didn’t).  Still, guess who dropped him due to his lingering DL status in mid-May.

Still on Team at Season’s End?

No. I really should’ve had more patience with TB pitchers.

Adam Eaton (Chicago White Sox, SP)

Auction Price:

$3

2015 Fantasy Stats Line:

.287 AVG, 14 HR, 56 RBI, 98 R, 18 SB

2015 SABR Stats Line:

.792 OPS, 122 OPS+, 3.6 WAR

Worth It?

Yes.  Had an awful start to the season (.192 in April) but stabilized the rest of the way.  Potential breakout player with multiple stat contributions, especially for a leadoff hitter.  Good late round value.

Still on Team at Season’s End?

Yes.

Asdrubal Cabrera (Tampa Bay Rays, SS)

Auction Price:

$2

2015 Fantasy Stats Line:

.265 AVG, 15 HR, 58 RBI, 66 R, 6 SB

2015 SABR Stats Line:

.744 OPS, 105 OPS+, 2.2 WAR

Worth It?

For $2, yes.  Did I keep him?  Of course not (gone before April was over).  Btw, it feels like Cabrera has been around forever, but did you know he’s still only 29 years old?

Still on Team at Season’s End?

No.

Mike Fiers (Milwaukee Brewers/Houston Astros, SP)

Auction Price:

$3

2015 Fantasy Stats Line:

7 W, 3.69 ERA, 180 K, 180.1 IP, 1.25 WHIP

2015 SABR Stats Line:

4.04 xFIP, 109 ERA+, 2.6 WAR

Worth It?

Yes for $3, but really only in the fantasy sense for some nice Ks and IP padding.  Otherwise, Mike Fiers is alright IRL.

Still on Team at Season’s End?

Nope, dropped in June for the venerable Yovani Gallardo.

Hector Rondon (Chicago Cubs, RP)

Auction Price:

$2

2015 Fantasy Stats Line:

6 W, 1.67 ERA, 69 K, 70 IP, 1.00 WHIP, 30 SV

2015 SABR Stats Line:

3.03 xFIP, 233 ERA+, 2.6 WAR

Worth It?

Yes.  (Get ready for the Ughhhhhh though).

Still on Team at Season’s End?

No.  Dropped 7 July after putting up with the Cubs Closer by Committee headache for 3 months.  From 29 July until the end of the season, Rondon racked up 18 of his 30 saves as the full time closer.  F&*k you Joe Maddon.  UGHHHHHHHHHHHH.

Danny Salazar (Cleveland Indians, SP)

Auction Price:

$1

2015 Fantasy Stats Line:

14 W, 3.45 ERA, 195 K, 185 IP, 1.13 WHIP

2015 SABR Stats Line:

3.48 xFIP, 123 ERA+, 3.1 WAR

Worth It?

Yes.  Would I know anything about it?  No.  Dropped him before the season even started for…….Toronto reliever Brett Cecil.  In Cecil’s defense, he went on to have a solid year as Toronto’s set up man.  Still, wtf was I thinking?  So much for that “BUY ALL Cleveland/TB Starters!” strategy.

Still on Team at Season’s End?

No.  (Insert Ughs here).

Ken Giles (Philadelphia Phillies, RP)

Auction Price:

$1

2015 Fantasy Stats Line:

6 W, 1.80 ERA, 87 K, 70 IP, 1.20 WHIP

2015 SABR Stats Line:

2.13 xFIP, 221 ERA+, 2.0 WAR

Worth It?

Yes.  This was a flier on a top notch pitching talent waiting in the wings for the Nuclear Dump-ster Fire of a Phillies team to offload their current, expensive veteran closer Jonathan Papelbon (which might have been Amaro’s final Eff You to Washington).  Well, Papelbon did leave and Giles did wind up racking up some solid saves the final two months.

Still on Team at Season’s End?

No.  Again, my patience with pitchers was egregious.  To recap, that’s 33 saves worth of Rondon and Giles for $3 I never got to see.

Coco Crisp (Oakland Athletics, OF)

Auction Price:

$1

2015 Fantasy Stats Line:

.175 AVG, 0 HR, 6 RBI, 11 R, 2 SB

2015 SABR Stats Line:

.474 OPS, 33 OPS+, -0.4 WAR

Worth It?

No.  First off, still one of the top 5 names every to play baseball, and by all accounts known as a great guy to have in the clubhouse.  By the end is nigh for Coco 😦

Still on Team at Season’s End?

No (dropped on 2 April, so technically this dollar would have been better spent on M Street).

Matt Garza (Milwaukee Brewers, SP)

Auction Price:

$1

2015 Fantasy Stats Line:

6 W, 5.68 ERA, 104 K, 148.2 IP, 1.57 WHIP

2015 SABR Stats Line:

4.50 xFIP, 71 ERA+, 0.6 WAR

Worth It?

No.

Still on Team at Season’s End?

No.  Another victim of the mid-May pitchers purge.  This time, a valid one.

Andrelton Simmons (Atlanta Braves, SS)

Auction Price:

$1

2015 Fantasy Stats Line:

.265 AVG, 4 HR, 44 RBI, 60R, 5 SB

2015 SABR Stats Line:

.660 OPS, 86 OPS+, 3.2 WAR

Worth It?

No.  Will be in the league for 10 years probably, but not because of his bat…and hence, a Fantasy Stay-Away.  Still, look at these fielding highlights!

Still on Team at Season’s End?

No.

Chase Headley (New York Yankees, 3B)

Auction Price:

$1

2015 Fantasy Stats Line:

.259 AVG, 11 HR, 62 RBI, 74 R, 0 SB

2015 SABR Stats Line:

.693 OPS, 92 OPS+, 1.5 WAR

Worth It?

Maybe, although that San Diego season feels like a million years ago.

Still on Team at Season’s End?

No.  Dropped for Angel Pagan (mixed results) and wasn’t really needed with the lucky pickup of Matt Duffy in May.

So that’s it.  Some big flops in their and some other gems dug up at great value, only for in-season GM Mik to waive them away.  Still, on the offensive side, 9 of the 13 roster spots remained the same from beginning to end.  It was the clusterbang of a pitching staff that might have done this team in.  Ok yes, it was what did it in.  Still, always time during the winter to tinker with The Rules and until next Spring, as always, Go Dodgers!

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