Draft Review: AL LABR Auction

Draft Review: AL LABR Auction

This article is part of our Baseball Draft Kit series.

For the fourth time, I sat among the world's elite rotisserie players for the AL-only League of Alternative Baseball Reality auction.

I say this every time I write one of these reviews, but I'll say it again: the league has its own Wikipedia page for heaven's sake.

It's a tremendous honor to sit at that table, and the league is tremendously challenging. After an eighth-place finish in my first year, I finished second and third in 2018 and 2019, respectively, both times falling to the tandem of Glenn Colton and Rick Wolf (Colton and the Wolfman).

Both times Glenn and Rick auctioned exceptionally well, and they separated themselves in the snaking reserve rounds – the reserve rounds of a 12-team AL-only league are not for the faint of heart by the way. Last year, they grabbed Bo Bichette in the reserves. Nobody knew when Bichette would be up, but we all thought he had a chance, and when Bichette did indeed get the call, he moved the needle for them. Glenn and Rick got an even bigger return on investment from Miguel Andujar the previous year.

I went into this year's AL LABR knowing that I could not let them get that kind of offensive windfall later in the auction or in the reserve rounds. Being well aware of James Anderson's prospect rankings – the best fantasy prospect rankings in the world – I was able to pinpoint two players that I felt could have a Bo Bichette-like impact if they were to get the call a bit earlier than expected: Jarred Kelenic and Wander Franco.

I figured I could get Kelenic and Franco for a combined $4-6 in the endgame, and then backfill in reserves with players that were pretty close in value to those I would spend $2-3 on to fill MI and the fifth OF spot in the auction. If I could not get them for the amount I budgeted, someone would really have to pony up for them. 

I told James about the plan last week before our Prospect Pod, and I admitted that the plan to roster Kelenic and Franco sounded stupid when I said it out loud, but the more I thought about it, the more logic it made. The auction is the only portion of this thing I have any control over, and I think I can make do at those two spots for a couple months. Glenn and Rick were not getting a player of that caliber in reserves again.

Aside from that plan, I was pretty open going in. I knew that I wanted to be more flexible than I'd been in prior years. The past couple seasons, I'd created a "dummy team" in our draft software, giving an extra dollar or two to players I liked and building a full roster, to get an idea of how I'd like the pieces to fit in an ideal world. While I did fairly well in the leagues doing that, I fell short of the ultimate goal. In retrospect, I feel like doing those mock-up teams locked me into certain players a bit too much, and left me out on the bidding on others with the thought that, "well he's just not really in the plans."

So, I wanted to play the auction as it fell to me and press the issue on good players. With that, I ended up with five players very early on in the auction (in order of purchase):

Josh Donaldson for $24 (eighth player nominated)

Justin Verlander for $37 (ninth player nominated)

Zack Greinke for $24 (13th player nominated)

Austin Meadows for $31 (24th player nominated)

Tyler Glasnow for $22 (29th player nominated)

"You got somewhere to be?" - Todd Zola after the Glasnow purchase.

In all five cases, I simply felt that the previous high bid was too low. So, great, I ended up with five "values" in my eyes, but that left me open to being reliant on a bunch of $1-3 players in the endgame. And with so much of that money put toward pitching, I also left myself open to being way light on the hitting side, once again. I say "once again," because last year I had 58 out of a possible 60 pitching points but only 26 hitting points total.

From that point on, I knew I'd have to be disciplined and not get caught price enforcing past $25 or so. I was still active in the bidding until that price point, and was rewarded with a below-market (in my opinion) Vladimir Guerrero. Hell, I paid $5 more for Vlad Jr. in last year's AL LABR auction! I knew that I would end up with some Rays on my team (besides Meadows and Franco) because I'm falling for Yoshi Tsutsugo, Jose Martinez is one of my favorite players and I knew some of their position players would be undervalued due to not projecting for everyday playing time.

At one point I was planning to punt speed, but I got a few steals from the likes of Shin-Soo Choo and Willy Adames, and when the bidding stopped at $5 on Dee Gordon, I decided to jump in. I do not like Gordon in a mixed league, as he's too much of a drag in the other categories in a mixed format and does not even have a starting job in Seattle, but I figured he should move around enough and play enough to steal 20 or so bases, and that would be huge for my team. It was a desperation make-up play in the category. We'll see if it works out.

Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN ultimately nominated Jarred Kelenic for $1 and I immediately jumped to $2. I was surprised nobody pushed me harder. I nominated Franco for $3 and there was no additional action.

So, things went according to plan, but I was not able to get a Tony Kemp or an Aledmys Diaz in reserves to plug in for Franco in the MI spot, so I had to settle for Joe Panik. I clicked on Panik in the RotoWire software and saw his player note saying he "appears" to be the favorite for the 26th roster spot, and that was good enough for me in the second round of the reserves.

For Kelenic, he's my UTIL so I can plug in Nate Lowe – my first pick in the reserve rounds – or Anthony Alford or anyone I pick up off waivers. Alford may not be on an AL team come Opening Day as he is out of minor-league options, but as long as he was on an AL team on Saturday, Feb. 29 (the day of the draft – and he was), he'll be eligible to accumulate statistics for my team.

I'm likely going to need contributions from Kelenic AND Franco to win this thing. But it's more of a Young Man's Game nowadays. Plus, the Rays have publicly acknowledged that Franco could debut this year. Tampa Bay is a legitimate World Series contender and a player like Franco could push them over the top. Meanwhile, the Mariners have already made it clear that they will not keep Kelenic down and under their thumb if his play warrants a promotion to the big leagues.

I wonder how much more Kelenic would have gone for if he'd done this earlier in the day Saturday:

See the full results of the auction below, in order of nomination/purchase.

11.1Mike TroutLAACF43Ian Kahn
21.2Gerrit ColeNYYSP43Ambrosius/Childs
31.3Alex BregmanHOU3B34Bret Sayre
41.4Jose AltuveHOU2B31Steve Gardner
51.5Francisco LindorCLESS36Tristan Cockcroft
61.6Adalberto MondesiKCSS33Bret Sayre
71.7Nick SolakTEXDH11Todd Zola
81.8Josh DonaldsonMIN3B24Clay Link
91.9Justin VerlanderHOUSP37Clay Link
101.1George SpringerHOURF27Jason Collette
111.11J.D. MartinezBOSRF35Todd Zola
121.12Chris SaleBOSSP25Bret Sayre
132.1Zack GreinkeHOUSP24Clay Link
142.2Gleyber TorresNYY2B30Wolf/Colton
152.3DJ LeMahieuNYY3B26Dave Adler
162.4Yordan AlvarezHOUDH29Ambrosius/Childs
172.5Jose RamirezCLE3B35Eno Sarris
182.6Lucas GiolitoCWSSP24Ian Kahn
192.7Khris DavisOAKDH19Jason Collette
202.8Shane BieberCLESP26Larry Schechter
212.9Blake SnellTBSP28Steve Gardner
222.1Carlos CorreaHOUSS23Ambrosius/Childs
232.11Whit MerrifieldKCRF28Larry Schechter
242.12Austin MeadowsTBLF31Clay Link
253.1Charlie MortonTBSP24Tristan Cockcroft
263.2Aaron JudgeNYYRF26Steve Gardner
273.3Edwin EncarnacionCWS1B20Dave Adler
283.4Giancarlo StantonNYYRF18Tristan Cockcroft
293.5Tyler GlasnowTBSP22Clay Link
303.6Mike ClevingerCLESP20Bret Sayre
313.7Kyle SeagerSEA3B13Wolf/Colton
323.8Liam HendriksOAKRP17Eno Sarris
333.9Bo BichetteTORSS32Ambrosius/Childs
343.1Anthony RendonLAA3B30Tristan Cockcroft
353.11Brad HandCLERP15Larry Schechter
363.12James KarinchakCLERP3Clay Link
374.1Byron BuxtonMINCF20Ian Kahn
384.2Xander BogaertsBOSSS27Bret Sayre
394.3Mitch GarverMINC14Ian Kahn
404.4Aroldis ChapmanNYYRP21Ian Kahn
414.5Eloy JimenezCWSRF27Wolf/Colton
424.6Roberto OsunaHOURP19Tristan Cockcroft
434.7Matt OlsonOAK1B30Wolf/Colton
444.8Luis RobertCWSCF24Ambrosius/Childs
454.9Jose AbreuCWS1B24Todd Zola
464.1Hyun-Jin RyuTORSP18Dave Adler
474.11Trey ManciniBALLF22Wolf/Colton
484.12Rafael DeversBOS3B30Tristan Cockcroft
495.1Mike MinorTEXSP15Todd Zola
505.2Cavan BiggioTOR2B21Todd Zola
515.3Oscar MercadoCLECF24Dave Adler
525.4Joe JimenezDETRP9Jason Collette
535.5Jose BerriosMINSP24Eno Sarris
545.6Tim AndersonCWSSS25Eno Sarris
555.7Gary SanchezNYYC25Wolf/Colton
565.8Vladimir GuerreroTOR3B23Clay Link
575.9Shohei OhtaniLAASP21Ian Kahn
585.1Nelson CruzMINDH26Steve Gardner
595.11Corey KluberTEXSP18Larry Schechter
605.12Ramon LaureanoOAKCF25Eno Sarris
616.1Willie CalhounTEXLF15Jason Collette
626.2Jorge SolerKCLF23Wolf/Colton
636.3Eduardo RodriguezBOSSP16Dave Adler
646.4Lance LynnTEXSP19Steve Gardner
656.5Frankie MontasOAKSP16Todd Zola
666.6Yoan MoncadaCWS3B24Todd Zola
676.7Kenta MaedaMINSP12Jason Collette
686.8Taylor RogersMINRP15Clay Link
696.9Carlos CarrascoCLESP16Tristan Cockcroft
706.1Matt ChapmanOAK3B25Dave Adler
716.11Justin UptonLAALF16Larry Schechter
726.12Miguel AndujarNYYDH9Ian Kahn
737.1Nick AndersonTBRP13Steve Gardner
747.2Jonathan SchoopDET2B16Dave Adler
757.3Ian KennedyKCRP12Wolf/Colton
767.4Danny JansenTORC7Jason Collette
777.5Elvis AndrusTEXSS17Tristan Cockcroft
787.6Mallex SmithSEACF15Larry Schechter
797.7Matthew BoydDETSP16Jason Collette
807.8Andrew BenintendiBOSLF22Ambrosius/Childs
817.9Joey GalloTEXLF23Jason Collette
827.1Franmil ReyesCLERF17Jason Collette
837.11Christian VazquezBOSC13Todd Zola
847.12Carlos SantanaCLE1B18Larry Schechter
858.1Brandon WorkmanBOSRP10Dave Adler
868.2Ken GilesTORRP15Wolf/Colton
878.3Marcus SemienOAKSS22Dave Adler
888.4Yuli GurrielHOU1B19Larry Schechter
898.5Salvador PerezKCC13Larry Schechter
908.6Gio UrshelaNYY3B9Steve Gardner
918.7Yasmani GrandalCWSC20Bret Sayre
928.8Michael BrantleyHOULF18Larry Schechter
938.9Eddie RosarioMINLF23Eno Sarris
948.1Miguel SanoMIN3B19Bret Sayre
958.11Jorge PolancoMINSS18Larry Schechter
968.12Dylan CeaseCWSSP6Wolf/Colton
979.1Hansel RoblesLAARP14Jason Collette
989.2Jesus LuzardoOAKSP16Eno Sarris
999.3Sean MurphyOAKC11Eno Sarris
1009.4Tom MurphySEAC9Larry Schechter
1019.5Lourdes GurrielTORLF15Eno Sarris
1029.6Robinson ChirinosTEXC10Dave Adler
1039.7Niko GoodrumDET2B15Jason Collette
1049.8Alex VerdugoBOSCF11Todd Zola
1059.9Danny SantanaTEXCF16Steve Gardner
1069.1Luke VoitNYY1B14Ian Kahn
1079.11Max KeplerMINCF18Ian Kahn
1089.12Jose MartinezTBRF6Clay Link
10910.1Manuel MargotTBCF10Wolf/Colton
11010.2Lance McCullersHOUSP10Eno Sarris
11110.3Jordan MontgomeryNYYSP8Dave Adler
11210.4Willy AdamesTBSS12Clay Link
11310.5C.J. CronDET1B15Jason Collette
11410.6Luis ArraezMIN2B13Steve Gardner
11510.7Andrew HeaneyLAASP8Jason Collette
11610.8Kyle TuckerHOUCF14Tristan Cockcroft
11710.9Masahiro TanakaNYYSP12Ian Kahn
11810.1Yandy DiazTB3B10Eno Sarris
11910.11Marco GonzalesSEASP5Larry Schechter
12010.12Jo AdellLAAOF8Steve Gardner
12111.1Austin RomineDETC6Clay Link
12211.2Brandon LoweTB2B12Steve Gardner
12311.3Alex ColomeCWSRP9Todd Zola
12411.4Josh JamesHOUSP8Jason Collette
12511.5Randal GrichukTORCF13Dave Adler
12611.6Mark CanhaOAKRF14Bret Sayre
12711.7David FletcherLAA3B11Steve Gardner
12811.8James PaxtonNYYSP10Ambrosius/Childs
12911.9Dallas KeuchelCWSSP7Wolf/Colton
13011.1Renato NunezBALDH11Jason Collette
13111.11Jose LeclercTEXRP11Todd Zola
13211.12Shin-Soo ChooTEXRF12Clay Link
13312.1Ji-Man ChoiTB1B5Larry Schechter
13412.2Nomar MazaraCWSRF15Tristan Cockcroft
13512.3Teoscar HernandezTORCF11Dave Adler
13612.4Austin HaysBALRF8Ian Kahn
13712.5Michael ChavisBOS1B10Ian Kahn
13812.6Todd FrazierTEX3B5Ian Kahn
13912.7Nick MadrigalCWS2B11Wolf/Colton
14012.8Jose UrquidyHOUSP7Bret Sayre
14112.9Julio TeheranLAASP4Bret Sayre
14212.1Domingo SantanaCLERF6Ambrosius/Childs
14312.11Jake OdorizziMINSP9Wolf/Colton
14412.12Sean ManaeaOAKSP15Todd Zola
14513.1Miguel CabreraDET1B11Ambrosius/Childs
14613.2Albert PujolsLAA1B4Steve Gardner
14713.3Ryan YarbroughTBSP10Dave Adler
14813.4Brett GardnerNYYLF9Bret Sayre
14913.5Cesar HernandezCLE2B11Todd Zola
15013.6Rougned OdorTEX2B12Ambrosius/Childs
15113.7A.J. PukOAKRP7Ian Kahn
15213.8Roberto PerezCLEC6Tristan Cockcroft
15313.9Hunter RenfroeTBRF10Dave Adler
15413.1Daniel VogelbachSEA1B9Ian Kahn
15513.11Mitch MorelandBOS1B6Larry Schechter
15613.12Yoshi TsutsugoTB3B10Clay Link
15714.1Hanser AlbertoBAL2B9Jason Collette
15814.2Chris BassittOAKSP8Jason Collette
15914.3Jonathan LoaisigaNYYSP4Wolf/Colton
16014.4Willians AstudilloMINC3Tristan Cockcroft
16114.5Hunter DozierKC3B15Eno Sarris
16214.6Michael PinedaMINSP6Ambrosius/Childs
16314.7Jose PerazaBOSSS8Todd Zola
16414.8Marwin GonzalezMINLF5Clay Link
16514.9Mitch HanigerSEALF3Ian Kahn
16614.1Travis ShawTOR3B8Bret Sayre
16714.11Yonny ChirinosTBSP9Steve Gardner
16814.12Jason CastroLAAC8Eno Sarris
16915.1Nathan EovaldiBOSSP6Ian Kahn
17015.2James McCannCWSC4Clay Link
17115.3Evan WhiteSEA1B7Tristan Cockcroft
17215.4Andrelton SimmonsLAASS9Ian Kahn
17315.5Tommy La StellaLAA2B8Tristan Cockcroft
17415.6Kyle GibsonTEXSP7Wolf/Colton
17515.7Michael KopechCWSSP7Ambrosius/Childs
17615.8Victor ReyesDETRF9Todd Zola
17715.9Rich HillMINSP4Steve Gardner
17815.1Greg BirdNYY1B1Wolf/Colton
17915.11Jose IglesiasBALSS3Larry Schechter
18015.12Dee GordonSEA2B6Clay Link
18116.1Tanner RoarkTORSP1Ian Kahn
18216.2Alex AvilaMINC3Steve Gardner
18316.3Diego CastilloTBRP5Steve Gardner
18416.4Clint FrazierNYYLF3Bret Sayre
18516.5Shed Long Jr.SEA2B10Jason Collette
18616.6Mike ZuninoTBC2Bret Sayre
18716.7Joey WendleTB2B4Bret Sayre
18816.8Stephen PiscottyOAKRF5Todd Zola
18916.9Dylan BundyLAASP6Tristan Cockcroft
19116.11Kevin KiermaierTBCF7Dave Adler
19216.12Brendan McKayTBSP7Ambrosius/Childs
19317.1Homer BaileyMINSP3Ian Kahn
19417.2Pedro SeverinoBALC2Steve Gardner
19517.3Nate PearsonTORSP2Ambrosius/Childs
19617.4Forrest WhitleyHOUSP3Steve Gardner
19717.5J.P. CrawfordSEASS3Eno Sarris
19817.6John MeansBALSP4Eno Sarris
19917.7Anthony SantanderBALCF9Bret Sayre
20017.8Austin AllenOAKC2Jason Collette
20117.9Aaron CivaleCLESP8Todd Zola
20217.1Mike TauchmanNYYCF9Steve Gardner
20317.11Matt ShoemakerTORSP1Wolf/Colton
20417.12Jackie Bradley Jr.BOSCF10Larry Schechter
20518.1Chase AndersonTORSP1Clay Link
20618.2Matt ManningDETSP2Dave Adler
20718.3Mychal GivensBALRP5Larry Schechter
20818.4Justus SheffieldSEASP3Dave Adler
20918.5Jarred KelenicSEACF2Clay Link
21018.6Tony KempOAKLF2Eno Sarris
21118.7Mike FiersOAKSP7Steve Gardner
21218.8Myles StrawHOUSS4Jason Collette
21318.9Maikel FrancoKC3B4Ambrosius/Childs
21418.1J.A. HappNYYSP5Clay Link
21518.11Kevin PillarBOSCF4Clay Link
21618.12Brad PeacockHOUSP3Larry Schechter
21719.1Yoshihisa HiranoSEARP4Clay Link
21819.2Chance SiscoBALC2Ambrosius/Childs
21919.3Reynaldo LopezCWSSP6Bret Sayre
22019.4Reese McGuireTORC1Dave Adler
22119.5Jake FraleySEACF3Ambrosius/Childs
22219.6Kyle LewisSEAOF1Eno Sarris
22319.7Zach PlesacCLESP3Ambrosius/Childs
22419.8Nicky LopezKC2B4Jason Collette
22519.9Josh ReddickHOURF1Todd Zola
22619.1Rafael MonteroTEXRP1Ambrosius/Childs
22719.11JaCoby JonesDETCF4Bret Sayre
22819.12Jakob JunisKCSP1Larry Schechter
22920.1Trevor MayMINRP2Tristan Cockcroft
23020.2Jorge MateoOAKSS2Wolf/Colton
23120.3Yasiel PuigCLERF6Ambrosius/Childs
23220.4Matt BarnesBOSRP4Dave Adler
23320.5Alex GordonKCLF2Larry Schechter
23420.6Spencer TurnbullDETSP4Eno Sarris
23520.7Jose AlvaradoTBRP3Bret Sayre
23620.8Yusei KikuchiSEASP2Jason Collette
23720.9Rowdy TellezTOR1B5Todd Zola
23820.1Garrett StubbsHOUC1Ambrosius/Childs
23920.11Aaron HicksNYYRF1Wolf/Colton
24020.12Ryan PresslyHOURP6Larry Schechter
24121.1Wander FrancoTBSS3Clay Link
24221.2Griffin CanningLAASP3Todd Zola
24321.3Jeimer CandelarioDET3B3Eno Sarris
24421.4Brian GoodwinLAACF1Tristan Cockcroft
24521.5Christin StewartDETLF1Eno Sarris
24621.6Adam OttavinoNYYRP3Bret Sayre
24721.7Aaron BummerCWSRP6Eno Sarris
24821.8Kevan SmithLAAC1Todd Zola
24921.9Ryan MountcastleBALSS1Ambrosius/Childs
25021.1Derek FisherTORLF1Wolf/Colton
25121.11Brad KellerKCSP5Jason Collette
25221.12Tyler DuffeyMINRP1Clay Link
25322.1Franklin BarretoOAK2B2Tristan Cockcroft
25422.2Delino DeShieldsCLECF1Steve Gardner
25522.3Cameron MaybinDETCF2Dave Adler
25622.4Leury GarciaCWSCF1Tristan Cockcroft
25722.5Trent ThorntonTORSP1Eno Sarris
25822.6Casey MizeDETSP3Bret Sayre
25922.7Chad GreenNYYSP3Todd Zola
26022.8Domingo GermanNYYSP5Ambrosius/Childs
26122.9Jordan LylesTEXSP2Wolf/Colton
26222.1Matt MagillSEARP1Tristan Cockcroft
26322.11Chad PinderOAKRF1Ian Kahn
26422.12Hunter HarveyBALRP1Steve Gardner
26523.1Randy DobnakMINSP1Dave Adler
26623.2Brent HoneywellTBSP1Tristan Cockcroft
26723.3Michael FulmerDETSP1Eno Sarris
26823.4Andrew VaughnCWS1B1Bret Sayre
26923.5Yusmeiro PetitOAKRP1Todd Zola
27023.6Ty ButtreyLAARP1Larry Schechter
27123.7Martin MaldonadoHOUC1Ian Kahn
27223.8Aledmys DiazHOU2B1Dave Adler
27323.9Zack BrittonNYYRP1Tristan Cockcroft
27423.1Danny DuffyKCSP2Bret Sayre
27523.11Daniel NorrisDETSP1Ian Kahn
27623.12Taijuan WalkerSEASP1Tristan Cockcroft

You can see the full board and all of the reserve picks here.

How did I do? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @claywlink.

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Clay Link
Clay Link is the MLB Editor at RotoWire. Clay won the overall championship in The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational and finished top 10 in the NFBC Online Championship in 2018. He can be heard on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio, MLB Network Radio and twice a week on the RotoWire Fantasy Baseball Podcast during baseball season.
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