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Auction drafts are an interesting animal. This especially comes through at the end of drafts. In a snake draft, that sleeper you really wanted may get picked just before your turn, but if he does get to your spot, he's yours. In an auction draft, someone you had tabbed as a $1 sleeper can be stolen from under your nose as a competitor comes in to nab that guy for $2 at the last second.

Additionally, league mates will have more variance in roster spots left to fill, as well as resources left with which to fill them. In an auction, you could be done while someone else has six picks left to make, or one person could have $2 left for two players while another has $15 left for seven. If you're down to a dollar per spot, you are of course more vulnerable to that $2 bid. All of these considerations make for a difficult balancing act. For your "dollar days" targets, you want players that are unlikely to make it to the free agent or waiver list, while also not making your move so early that someone feels comfortable making that second bid.

All that said, here are some players who could bring back that $1 value. Someone is going to take a shot on these guys, and it could be you.

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Ryan Zimmerman (1B, WAS)

Zimmerman's injuries always seem to put him under the radar. When someone gains a reputation for injury proneness, their value tends to go down, but if a guy can hit, he can hit. At 34 years old and limited to first base, Zimmerman is not a sexy option. However, he did hit .295/.374/.538 in 52 games after the 2018 All-Star Break.

Even including his rotten April, he was fifth in baseball in barrels/PA; Zimmerman's 9.9 in the stat was surpassed only by Joey Gallo, Khris Davis, J.D. Martinez, and Mookie Betts, and you're going to have to pay well over a dollar to acquire any of those guys.

The more DL spots your league has, the better, because Zimmerman is bound to be there for at least a few weeks throughout the season. But when he's on the field, you'll want him around.

 

Lewis Brinson (OF, MIA)

Post-hype prospects are another category of player who can be gotten for a buck. Scott Kingery would be another example. Unlike Kingery, however, Brinson's 2018 Statcast numbers weren't terrible. He averaged 93.7 mph on his fly balls and line drives, matching Freddie Freeman, Anthony Rendon, and Yasiel Puig, among others.

His 5.7 barrels/PA put him in the same neighborhood as Michael Conforto and Aaron Hicks. And while strong springs have inflated many a draft stock, Brinson's five homers in nine spring games so far in 2019 shouldn't be completely ignored.

Most people are still scouting Brinson's .199/.240/.338 line last year, when he struck out 120 times with just 17 walks, which is fair because that was terrible. But if you want to take a $1 shot on a younger guy who has yet to match his talent, Brinson may be the first one to try.

 

Freddy Peralta (SP, MIL)

Freddy Peralta is another promising young pitcher without a guaranteed rotation spot. This is where the fact that $1 players are worth $1 becomes useful; if these pitchers don't win the job, you can cut them at little cost, or potentially use an NA spot. If they do obtain the job, however, they have a chance to provide plenty of surplus value.

Peralta struck out 96 batters in 78.1 innings to fuel a 3.72 FIP last season (albeit with a 4.33 xFIP). His 17.5 K-BB% would have ranked 23rd among qualifiers, ahead of valuable pitchers like Mike Clevinger and Zack Wheeler.

 

Sandy Alcantara (SP, MIA)

As for Alcantara, while his 30-23 strikeout-to-walk differential last season was...not great, he is Baseball Prospectus' 73rd-ranked prospect this preseason and was top 70 at MLB.com and BP before 2018. Alcantara is someone who even if he gets the job is likely to be a $1 player, so if you have a later draft, he may be more accessible than Peralta, should the Brewer get that starting job.

 

Vince Velasquez (SP, PHI)

The other kind of pitcher to talk about for dollar days is the one whose hype train is long gone. Vince Velasquez only went 9-12 with a 4.85 ERA last season. However, he had a 3.75 FIP and was one of just six pitchers with 100+ innings whose FIP was more than a run below his ERA. Velasquez has also always been a strikeout guy, fanning 25.4% of the batters he has faced during his career along with a 10.8% swinging strike rate.

Pitchers who already have things figured out are always going to be more than $1. If you want a cheaper rotation, to try and get close to the oft-preferred 30% of your budget spent on pitchers, you may have to take chances like this one.

 

Conclusion

The majority of eligible players are worth a dollar or less in fantasy baseball, so it can be hard to narrow down that huge list into reasonable $1 auction picks. One way to do so is to categorize. Perhaps start with the type of player who goes cheaply but is likely to get nominated at some point, e.g. the post-hype prospect, and move on from there. Doing so can also keep you from locking in on specific names and spending an unwise $3 when someone outbids you on a dollar day target, or being disappointed when you can't afford to beat the $2 bid. Just move on to the next target.

Every roster needs $1 players. Hopefully, you have a somewhat better idea now on how to find the right one.

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