Our AL-only auction had as many participants, as many roster spots to fill and as shallow of a player pool as our NL-only auction just a couple days earlier. But it had a different feel to it.
Granted, that's to be expected when the personnel changes. The cast for this one was as follows ...
1. Tim McLeod, RotoRob
2. Scott White, CBSSports.com
3. Jeff Boggis, FantasySportsEmpires.com
4. Greg Morgan, Mastersball.com
5. Grey Albright, Razzball
6. Al Melchior, CBSSports.com
7. Derek Carty, DerekCarty.com
8. Keith Cromer, Patton & Co
9. Nando Di Fino, CBSSports.com
10. Dean Peterson, Stats LLC
11. Mike Kuchera, FanDuel.com
12. Mike Gianella, Baseball Prospectus
Still, the differing approaches also say something about the two player pools.
The owners as a whole left more money on the table in this auction. A lot more. We're talking double-digit dollars for some. Obviously, that's not the goal. Any money unspent is money wasted. So why did it happen? The distribution of talent from start to finish caught some owners by surprise.
While the AL is heavy in elite talent, allowing players such as Jose Bautista, Evan Longoria, Adrian Beltre, Dustin Pedroia and Ian Kinsler to go for less than $30, it's light in the mid-level talent -- the Rickie Weeks, Andre Ethier and Adam LaRoche types -- that fill the bulk of NL-only rosters. Yeah, you'll find some decent players in the $15-20 range -- such as Nick Markakis, Michael Morse and Nelson Cruz -- but not enough for you to build a team on them. Stashing away money for the later stages will more likely stick you with a roster full of Matt Joyce and Trevor Plouffe types.
Of course, the AL-only pool is fairly deep in those lower-end types, allowing for such bargains as Mitch Moreland at $4, Ervin Santana at $4 and Josh Donaldson at $1. But at that point in the auction, enough people have already spent enough money that the prices go only so high for the ones who haven't.
Not everyone was as committed to getting a closer in this auction as the NL-only version even though the closer crop is equally thin in both leagues. While the NL-only owners placed a premium on closers, investing $14-19 in just about all of them, several AL closers fell short of that range. Having gotten shut out on the closer front in the NL-only auction, I felt pretty good getting Jim Johnson at $15 early in this one. In the end, though, I would have rather had the $3 I could have saved on Joel Hanrahan or Glen Perkins.
A few other observations ...
I'm not really sure what happened with Jose Reyes, who ended up tying Justin Verlander as the fourth-most expensive player at $34. The demand for some of the lower-end steals specialists wasn't at all that high, and shortstop, at least relative to second and third base, is fairly deep in the AL.
The R.A. Dickey skeptics are more likely to show themselves in deeper leagues, where whiffing on a pick could be catastrophic. While seemingly lesser pitchers like Yu Darvish, Max Scherzer and Chris Sale went for more than $20, Dickey went for $18 -- one less than Brett Anderson.
Alex Rodriguez went for $3. Yes, in an AL-only league. How the mighty have fallen.
The Ernesto Frieri bid came well after all the true closers had gone off the board and when one owner in particular still had an insane amount of money to spend. Safe to say he won't go for $2 more than Joe Nathan in most leagues.
Some of the more reliable non-strikeout pitchers got the cold shoulder in this auction, with Mark Buehrle going for $4 and Jason Vargas going for $3. Look, they'll still give you more strikeouts than a middle reliever would. They're worth purchasing at that price for the wins alone.
Editor's note: Utilize the sortable functionality to get a sense of the auction. View by team, dollar amount and position.
The 84 players that show up as $0 bids were selected in the seven-round reserve draft that immediately followed the auction.