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Auction Draft Strategy: How to Manage Your Budget

We previous looked at Part 1 (How to Prepare for Auction Drafts) and Part 2 (Five  Key Mistakes to Avoid Making) of our Auction Draft Strategy series. Today we look at how to budget your team's salary.

The most important strategy for auction drafts is how to budget your allowance. Keeping track of how your dollars are allotted will prevent chaos from overtaking your draft. It will also help you recognize discounts when they arise, prevent you from overpaying, and adapt easier to changes in your strategy. This article will cover three different ways to prepare your budget. All of these can, and should, be used in conjunction on draft day.

For simplicity, this article will be written assuming that each league has 25 roster spots and a budget of $260.


Pitchers versus Hitters

There are a few different ways of ironing out a good budget. All of them will require you to designate how much you are willing to spend on hitting versus pitching. While each owner will have a different strategy, it is common to see most spending 64-66% on hitting. This is based on league settings that utilize only nine pitchers out of the 25 roster spots. That leaves the other 16 spots for both hitters and bench spots (which can be used on both hitters and pitchers). Not quite two-thirds of the spots can be used for hitters. Therefore, they get the majority of the allowance.


By Rounds

Once you have split your allowance, you can now split a list of players into rounds. To do so, you will need a healthy list of players that are sorted by projected monetary value. Now, break that list into rounds using the number of teams in your league (i.e. in a 12 team league, the top 12 players in terms of dollar value would be "round 1", 13-24 would be "round 2", and so on). This will look similar to a snake draft. Number each round so you can keep track of which players needs to be focused on while drafting.

You can now use this list as a guide for what you can afford for the entirety of the draft. Start by picking one player from each section that you would like to draft if it were a snake draft. Be sure to keep each position in mind as you highlight players. Choosing 15 outfielders will not help you in this exercise. Once all 25 players are highlighted, add up the projected value.

You now have a better idea of how tight your budget will get in the draft. However, this method will assure your team is well rounded. Now that you have seen the results, go through it again round by round and keep your budget in mind this time. You will begin to see patterns and recognize where certain value lies per round.


By Position

Dividing your budget between positions can be accomplished by a simple formula. Divide the budget you have allocated to hitters, $172, by the number of positional spots for hitters (16). Your result is 10.75, which is a suggestion of how much to spend for each hitting position. However, it doesn’t make sense to spend the same amount per position if each position’s average cost is different. Also, your bench spots should be cheap players in the $1-$3 range.

To solve this, you'll want to consider the average cost of each position. If you average the cost of the top 25 combined shortstops and second basemen and it results in $8, then you can reduce your $10.75 allotment for 2B and SS down to $8. That will save you money to spend on OF, 1B and 3B.

Another example: you want three first basemen on your team. Three players out of 16 is 19% rounded, or .1875. If you then multiply .1875 with the $172 allotment, it equals roughly $32. That $32 is the cost for three first basemen, which isn't that much. So let us guess that the average cost per first basemen is higher than other positions (we can use $15). That $15 multiplied by the three players you want will equal $45. Therefore, $45 is roughly the amount of money you will have to spend on three first basemen. This is only an example and is subject to the number of owners in a league and roster spots available.

You now have the amount you want to spend on the first baseman position. Since your $45 is higher than the $32 we originally allotted, we will have to remove the extra $13 from a combination of the other positions. That will be at your discretion. You can also choose to add monies to each position at your leisure. After, you will need to adjust every other position the same way. Continuously adding and removing monies from each position until you are done.