And I’m Now Slightly Obsessed with Auction Fantasy Drafts

I had a colleague at work who was nice enough to get me involved in a fantasy league over at FanGraphs. I’ve been in dozens of fantasy leagues through the year of all shapes and sizes, but this time one thing was different. It was an auction draft format. Each owner in this 12-team league has $400 of spending cap money to fill 40 roster spots. On the roster, 24 of those spots are MLB players and 16 of them are prospects or minor leaguers.

I didn’t know what to expect when I checked into the auction draft last week. I would like to mandate anyone that’s never done an auction style format to please get involved in a league that does this soon. If you’re a die-hard fantasy baseball geek like I am, you haven’t been treated to the full service fantasy yet.

I thought I was going to be conservative. While this was my first auction draft–I wanted to treat it as a learning experience for when real coin was on the line. A few players in, someone nominated Albert Pujols. Everyone had the chance to bid, and suddenly I had spent $62 of my available $400 for Pujols. I felt like Arte Moreno. Only more used. And I was the one at the controls who could not flip the switch and control my inhibitions.

Next order of business: snag Joey Bats at a decent price.

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I had two players for the small price for $106 flat. Over 25% of my cap, gone on two guys. Best imaginary $106 a man had ever spent. This is going to be fun.

A thought entered my mind, albeit only for a moment: get some arms. But wait–someone had nominated Jay Bruce. I hit the ‘oh shit’ button. I had to do something. The action was fast and furious. It was like sitting at a poker table in one of the nice rooms in Vegas. People were just throwing chips and shit everywhere. Sometimes you panic and throw some of your own in and call just because it’s all happening so fast. I threw some chips in.

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I spent the same on Bruce as another owner did for Josh Hamilton. And two dollars less than I got Jered Weaver for. I overpaid mightily. But I had to own Jay Bruce in this league. He’s like a good luck charm. Plus I resisted the urge to overspend for Mike Stanton and Jason Heyward like I wanted. I owed this to myself, didn’t I?

Next, Brandon Phillips and Ben Zobrist came off the board to me for $28 a piece. What the Hell am I going to do with two second basemen? Compulsive buys for two players I have an emotional attachment to, but not necessarily any given need for in this league. But wait! There’s a UTIL spot, and Zoby plays outfield. All was well again for 25 seconds.

My buy of the night came when I landed Zach Greinke for $22. My colleague texted me ‘nice buy on Zach’. It made it all worth it. I was hooked right then, but as you might imagine with me it wasn’t all roses.

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I had heisted Mauer for just $14. Some owners were going nuts. And some were laughing at me. I had bid $14 on “Jake” Mauer. A glitch in the Ottoneu software had him as the only Mauer listed when one of the owners when to nominate. A few of the guys too it to $12, and I bit hard at the ‘+$2’ button. I was the proud owner of Jake Mauer. A visit to that very Wikipedia page and I suddenly had realized the nightmare I had found myself involved in. I owned a piece of garbage who was retired and shouldn’t even be available. Jake Mauer seemed to snicker at me in his Wiki photo. He was like Joe after a week’s supply of meth.

I was pissed.

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It was gluttony at it’s finest.  How could I be so stupid? I wanted to sulk but there was no time for that. I needed to get my sea legs back and cut my losses. I needed cheap WHIP and K’s.

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From there I landed Pedro Alvarez for a paltry two dollars and I found my catcher.

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Arencibia was coming home with me. A few more players were nominated, and still not sure what my strategy was I was down to around $110 in money and still needing to find about 30 players. My work was cut out for me. And then we had to decide to end the draft at midnight because it’s a free fantasy league, we were a fourth of the way done and we all had to return to our cubes at work in the morning.

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I wondered if the unresponsive Rickey Romero had seen my tweet. It felt good. I wondered if Robert Andino had twitter, but I didn’t look. I was tired. There was more work to be done at a later unspecified date that I had lived to fight.

I’m going to get stomped in this league. But I had learned that I need to be in a big time auction draft every year following to feel complete.