ASK ROTOMAN: Puzzled About Prices!

Dear Rotoman:

As a long time reader of the Guide I find this year’s dollar valuations puzzling. Case in point: Arrieta at $19 and Kennedy at $2. Will the update on March 15 contain new dollar amounts for pitchers or just playing time adjustments which pertain primarily to position players?

“Puzzled About Prices”

Dear PAP:

As a long time reader of the Guide, I’m surprised you haven’t long been puzzled about those prices. But let me explain a bit about the process, and Arrieta and Kennedy especially, after I answer your direct question:

The mid-March free update to the projections and prices in the Guide will reflect my latest thinking about all the players in the Guide, plus those added and subtracted from the pool due to injury or other circumstances. The link will show up here, at, and will be password protected, so it is only available to those who have purchased the Guide.

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Now, back to our regularly scheduled program.

To create the Big Prices in the Guide, which are my suggested bid prices for players, I try to combine two bits of information.

The first is what I expect a player to earn this year. I look at what he’s earned in the past (in Arrieta’s case, $23 last year, in Kennedy’s, $6, -$15, $4 the last three years) and make an estimate.

The second part is to read what the market will be for the player come March, and whether I want to be ahead of it or behind it.

DSCN0048_Jake_ArrietaIn Arrieta’s case, he had a break out second half last year following an adjustment to his delivery. He has great stuff, and I feel pretty confident that he’ll be able to repeat as a $23 earner. Or somewhere close. I’m sure other people will be more skeptical, so I knocked his price down to a $19 bid price, because I want to own him.

In Kennedy’s case, he can be an effective pitcher at times, but he’s not developed as the dominant arm he showed back with the Yankees when he came up, mostly because he allows a lot of baserunners. I think a repeat of last year’s numbers is the likely outcome for him, in a range, and only want Kennedy if I get him at the very end of the auction. In the Guide Mike Fenger says drop out before he reaches $10, but I think that’s counting too much on improvement. I would prefer to hedge against failure. Hence, the $2 bid price.

Now, I’ve heard from plenty of people who think Arrieta’s unlikely to earn $19 next year, because he allowed so few homers on fly balls, and because they’ve gotten used to him not being very good. I think they’re wrong about Arrieta’s probable success, but what I’m hearing is that the market for Arrieta may be even weaker than I expected. In which case I may drop his price some more going forward. My goal is to estimate what it’s going to take to buy him, and if I want him enough, add enough to get him in most auctions. Unless I bump into someone thinking like me.

As for Kennedy, his team has improved offensively in the offseason, something not included in that $2 bid price. As I work to balance the books, as we get closer to the season, he’s a guy who might bounce up a dollar or two. He’s not a bad buy at $4, but I think he is at $9, though it wouldn’t surprise me if he earned that. It is certainly possible.

You can see updated bid prices at, by the way, and that’s a good place (once you’re registered) to ask why I’m thinking this way or that.

The final point about the prices is that they are a work in progress. I use them in my auctions, so they seriously reflect my thinking, but I seriously expect you, the reader, to make your own evaluations and shape your auction by second guessing me. You may think I’m crazy about Arrieta, and you might drop his bid price to $12, but you do so knowing that there is at least one person like me out there who would pay $17 for him. If you let me have him at $13, you’re giving me $4 more dollars than I expected to have elsewhere.