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The latter part of an auction draft is arguably the most fun part. All of the obvious players to own are long gone, and now owners must go searching through the coal to find the one diamond that will make the difference for their team.

Owners were patting themselves on the back after finding $1 steals like Eric Thames, Yuli Gurriel, Domingo Santana and Drew Pomeranz last season, and now it's time to search for the next batch of draft day steals.

None of these players should go for more than a dollar or two in auction drafts. If someone is bidding them up, it's best to let them go and look for value elsewhere. But if you can get any of them for a dollar, they should become solid contributors to a championship fantasy team.

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I'll Buy That For a Dollar!

Scott Schebler (OF, CIN) — $1

Taking over as a full time starter in 2017, Schebler had a breakout year with 30 home runs — third-most for Cincinnati — and a .791 on-base plus slugging percentage — fourth-highest on the team. His batted ball tendencies show that he was hitting more fly balls and fewer ground balls, while also hitting the ball harder than he ever had in his career.

The two biggest concerns for Schebler right now are his low batting average and his lack of a consistent track record. After hitting .265 in 2016, Schebler's average dropped to .233 last season — the lowest of his professional career — although his .248 BABIP does suggest his average will trend upwards this year. At this point there is no guarantee that he will repeat his breakout performance in 2018. But if Schebler can put up similar numbers he could end up being a solid contributor at $1.

German Marquez (SP, COL) — $1

Coors Field and pitchers — two things that to most fantasy owners do not mix. However, Rockies starter German Marquez is worth taking a look at late in auction drafts after he finished fifth in the NL Rookie of the Year race in 2017. Bringing with him a career 7.9 K/9 in the minors, Marquez went 11-7 last year, with a 4.39 ERA and 8.2 K/9 over 162 innings pitched. With a 21 percent strikeout rate and 14 percent strikeout to walk rate, Marquez was ranked among the top 40 qualifying starting pitchers in 2017.

Obviously his 4.39 ERA as well as pitching half the time at Coors Field drops Marquez's value quite a bit. Looking at his 4.40 FIP and 4.18 xFIP doesn't provide much comfort to fantasy owners either. But for those who are looking for strikeout upside and are willing to take a hit on their ERA, Marquez will be a perfect fit for any team at a dollar.

Yonder Alonso (1B, CLE) — $1

Alonso will be a perfect fit at a corner infield spot or as a first baseman for owners who want to wait to draft one. Alonso finished 2017 setting career-highs in several categories with 28 HR, 67 RBI and 72 runs scored to go along with a .266 average and an .866 OPS. While he did post a career-high 22.6 percent strikeout rate, he also posted a career-high 13.1 percent walk rate — his second time in the past three seasons with at least a 10 percent walk rate.

Alonso will prove himself to be most valuable in OBP leagues, as he is a lock for at least a .300 OBP — hitting that mark in six of the past seven years. The big question will be if he can repeat the power display that he showed in 2017. His 28 HR last year matched his home run total from the previous four and a half seasons, and his 19.4 percent HR/FB rate is more than double his career rate of 9.2 percent. But while he will likely see a regression in his home run output, joining the potent Indians lineup that averaged 5.05 runs per game last year — sixth most in MLB — will likely see his runs scored and RBI totals hit career-highs in 2018.  Of the first basemen ranked around Alonso, he probably has the best chance at giving owners the most bang for their buck (maybe two).

Mike Clevinger (SP/RP, CLE) — $3

Yes, he's not technically a "dollar" player, but he's close enough and he has a shot at providing a lot of value to fantasy owners this year. First things first: Indians manager Terry Francona has said that Clevinger will start the season in the rotation. So now that Clevinger has a lock on playing time at least for the start of the season, what does he bring to the table? Last season over 27 appearances and 21 starts for Cleveland, Clevinger compiled a 12-6 record with a 3.11 ERA and 10.1 K/9. Those numbers closely resemble his career line in the minors, where he has a 3.35 ERA and 8.8 K/9 over seven seasons.

All those numbers look good on paper, so what's the catch? Walks. Over 17 games in 2016, Clevinger averaged 4.9 BB/9 and he followed that up by averaging 4.4 BB/9 in 2017. Among pitchers with at least 120 innings pitched last season, Clevinger's walks per nine innings rate was fifth-worst while his 12 percent walk rate was tied for third-worst. At this point though Clevinger has had less than 200 major league innings under his belt. It's not hard to believe that with a full season in Cleveland, Clevinger could improve his command, cut down on the walks and become an absolute steal in auction drafts.

These are just four of the many bargain players out there in auction drafts that can benefit any team. Most dollar players will likely not contribute anything worthwhile in 2018, but those that do can end up being crucial to a team taking home a league championship, and these four guys have a good shot at being those kind of players.

 

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