As a reminder: the league has 12 teams and uses American League players exclusively to accumulate statistics in various hitting and pitching categories. For 22 years, we tabulated results in the traditional 8 categories (HR, RBI, SBs, Batting Average, Wins, Saves, Earned Run Average and ratio/Walks-plus-Hits per Inning Pitched), but in the 2011 off-season we voted to dump BA in favor of On Base Average. Also, we added runs scored (R) for hitters and strikeouts (K) for pitchers.
My 2011 team finished 3rd, but was 10 points behind the championship squad. It featured terrific starting pitching as the squad won ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts and finished 2nd in wins. The team finished 7th in saves, so I hoped to do something about that this season. Offensively, the team had good power, lots of regulars (so plenty of RBI and runs scored), but was weak on speed and horrible at OBA.
Please note one roster quirk now in its fifth year: we added a 10th pitcher and subtracted an outfielder from the "normal" roto squad. We continue to believe that this better reflects roster management decisions that real baseball teams have made over the past 20 years. Again this year, we allowed the purchase of any player on an American League 40 man roster. After the auction, only players on 25 man active rosters or the major league Disabled List (DL) can be obtained. We did vote to allow teams to retain ownership of players sent packing to the National League.
The 2012 Bolts from the Blue (9 retained players in blue):
C Mike Napoli (TEX) $19
C Hank Conger (LAA) $1 (AAA)
1B Adam Dunn (CHX) $14
2B Chris Getz (KC) $1
3B Mike Moustakas (KC) $15
SS Elvis Andrus (TEX) $30MI Jean Segura (LAA) $1 (AAA)
CR Mike Carp (SEA) $3
OF Eric Thames (TOR) $8
OF Ben Revere (Min) $3OF Josh Willingham (MIN) $21
OF Michael Brantley (CLE) $11
DH Billy Butler (KC) $23
Hitting $150 (down $25 from last season, which is a lot)
P Jered Weaver (LAA) $24
P Jon Lester (BOS) $26
P Matt Moore (TB) $19
P Alex Cobb (TB) $1 (AAA)
P Francisco Cordero (TOR) $2
P Mark Melancon (BOS) $9
P Aaron Crow (KC) $4
P Glen Perkins (MIN) $5
P Greg Holland (KC) $3
P Matt Capps (MIN) $14 (acquired in pre-draft trade for C Jarrod Saltalamacchia TEX)
Pitching $107 ($24 more than last year)
Andrus cost about 10% more than his price in most guides or early expert drafts, but our league typically has an inflation rate of about that amount. I think he is the best shortstop in the AL and worth the gamble.
I kept Perkins because he seems to be the likely substitute for Capps if the latter should falter as the Twins closer. It meant spending $19 for a likely bad team's saves, but there are lots of potentially good innings there. I also took stabs at saves in the bullpens in Toronto, KC, and Boston.
I did not mean to buy Moore at the listed price, but because I spent the money there at that time of the auction, I barely lost out on the bidding for 2B Jason Kipnis (CLE) a short time later. Their salaries are identical and I was offered a straight-up 1:1 trade at the auction. My team would certainly look more as intended if I had taken that trade, but I didn't really like very many of the remaining starting pitchers. So far, Kipnis is far outperforming Moore.
Additionally, I rejected the deal because I thought one team was hoarding cash and I therefore feared that inflationary pressures were about to kick in big time. It turned out that a team left a great deal of cash unspent -- over $30, which is enough to purchase a star player!
I left $3 on the table, but I had reserved some extra cash to purchase a few AAA players at the end of the auction to fill in my roster. The guys I really wanted went for too much money (or only qualified at positions I had already filled), so I ended up with several dime AAA players instead of a couple that cost a bit more. Because of injuries and roster limits, I've already had to release Hank Conger, who was injured in the minors.
Moustakas was on my 2011 team and I bought him again for a much lower salary than he cost as a minor league free agent last year. Butler is a long-time favorite and former member of the Bolts. Lester was on my 2010 championship team.
To replace minor league players Conger, Segura, Revere (sent down early), and Cobb on my active roster, I bought C Anthony Recker (OAK) for $1, MI Jason Donald (CLE) for $2, OF Bobby Abreu (LAA/LAD) for $11, and P Casey Janssen (TOR) for $3. I also nabbed CI Eric Sogard (OAK) for $2 to replace the then-injured Carp. Donald and Sogard have already been waived. So has Cordero, once he lost his job to Janssen.
Obviously, I'm hoping for a big bounce back year from Adam Dunn -- and the decision looks good to-date as his HR total in mid-May 2012 already exceeds his 2011 output. Also, I bought a large number of KC Royals, the hometown-favorite team of my youth. I've got a lot of confidence in Moustakas and Butler as hitters. Eric Hosmer cost too much for my tastes. I avoided KC starting pitching.
As I noted above, my team's OBA was terrible last year, so I intentionally sought to avoid guys with poor on-base skills. It was a major reason for trading Saltalamacchia. He and Vernon Wells were a bad 1-2 combination of sub-.300 OBA in 900 plate appearances during 2011.
You can find posts about the 2005, 2007 , 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 auctions elsewhere on this blog.
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