Mendoza Auction FAQ

So how does this auction thingy work?

On the date indicated above, bidding opens on all players. After a day or two, bidding closes on a randomly selected group of players and those players are assigned to the highest bidder. The next day, the bidding closes on the second group of players. And so on. The date and time the bidding closes is clearly indicated for each player, so you always know how much time you have left to place your bid. After the third round, all players are made available at the league minimum salary of 25.

Can I bid on any player I want to at any time?

Yes. Bidding opens on all players at the same time, so you could submit all your bids the first day if you wanted.

Can I submit multiple bids on a player?

Yes. If you submit more than one bid, the computer will recognize only the most recent bid, as long as changing your bid does not change either ownership or price for that player.

What are the bid parameters?

Your bid must be at least 25, and must be a multiple of 25. Multi-year bids are stated in dollars per year, and must be at least $5.00 for two years and $4.50 for three years.

Are the bids in the auction binding?

Yes. The team that wins the bidding on a player assumes a contractual obligation to pay that player a salary equal to the auction price.

What is proxy bidding?

Proxy bidding attempts to replicate the conditions of an English-style auction that you might attend in person. In an English auction, the auctioneer solicits increasing bids until the second highest bidder drops out. The auction price ends up being the second highest bid plus a small increment. English proxy bidding works on the same principle. You tell the computer the maximum you're willing to pay for a player, and the computer sets up a proxy which bids against the proxies of other owners. The auction price is the second highest bid plus an increment of 25.

I submitted a bid and won, but the price shown was lower that what I bid.

Your bid represents the maximum you are willing to pay, but your proxy will bid only what is necessary to beat your nearest competitor. The actual price is the second highest bid plus a minimum increment of 25. So if Team X bids 50 for Sammy Slugger and Team Y bids $10.00, Sammy's salary is 75.

I submitted a bid that was higher than the auction price, but it wasn't successful.

Another owner has submitted a bid that is higher than your maximum bid. Your bid is now the second highest bid, the auction price is now equal to your bid plus 25. If Team Z now bids $2.25 for Sammy, his salary becomes $2.50.

What happens if my bid is exactly equal to the highest bid of the current winning owner?

The tiebreaker is first-in-time, so the other owner still wins the bidding.

What if I can't be at my computer when a round closes?

It is not strictly necessary to be online for the close of every round. If you have to miss a round, you can place bids ahead of time and rely on proxy bidding. However, it is very difficult to know how much to bid without seeing the prices that are being paid toward the end of the auction. Not being online to defend your bids gives others the opportunity to poach your players by outbidding you by a small amount right before the auction closes. It also precludes you from bidding on players that may be underpriced. Beginning owners are strongly encouraged to make plans to attend at least two of the three auction closes.

What happens after the auction?

All unsigned players will be made available in an "instant auction" at the league minimum salary of 25. Final rosters are due at 11 AM on Opening Day.

When can I start trading my players?

As soon as you own them. Use the "propose a trade" link under "my team page".

What if I end up with more players than I need?

If you end up with more players than you need, you will need to release, trade or sell some players before submitting your opening day roster. You will have a few days to do this between the end of the auction and the time when opening day rosters are due. Keep in mind that all trades must receive approval from the Commissioner. Also keep in mind that you are still responsible to pay the salary of any player you release.

Am I allowed to exceed the salary cap during the auction?

Yes. Because you don't know which of your bids will be successful, and at what price, the sum of all your bids is allowed to exceed the salary cap. If you end up with a total payroll that is higher than the salary cap, you will need to reduce payroll before Opening Day through a trade with another team.

What happens if I can't get my payroll down below the salary cap before Opening Day?

If you take on too much payroll during the auction and are unable to get below the salary cap before Opening Day, the Commissioner will declare your highest-paid player a free agent, and subtract his salary from your payroll. If your payroll is still above the salary cap, the Commissioner will declare your next highest-paid player a free agent, and so on until your team payroll is below the salary cap. The Commissioner will also impose a penalty equal to the salaries of the players you lose. The players you lose become available for bidding during subsequent free agent auctions.

What are XR and XR/27?

XR stands for Extrapolated Runs, which is the metric used to compile offensive performance for the league standings. XR is a system of linear weights which produces an estimate of the number of runs produced by a given set of singles, doubles, home runs, stolen bases, etc. The auction pages list each player's XR for the 1999 season. For more information about XR, see Jim Furtado's article "Introducing XR" at http://www.baseballstuff.com/btf/scholars/furtado/articles/IntroducingXR.htm.

XR/27 is a measure of the rate at which a player produces runs. XR is divided by the number of outs made by the player (AB - H + CS + GDP + SF + SAC), and the result is multiplied by 27. A player's XR/27 can be thought of as the number of runs that a hypothetical team would score per game if its lineup were composed of entirely of that player.

What is RAP?

RAP stands for "runs saved above penalty". Each Mendoza League team must accrue 9 * 162 = 1,458 innings pitched for the season, or else face a penalty of one run for each inning short of the required total. If your team is currently in the penalty, each inning in which a pitcher does not allow a run will save your team a run. This allows us to build a crude metric for the value of a pitcher. RAP, or "runs saved above penalty", is simply innings pitched minus runs allowed.

Can I compare the value of hitters and pitchers directly?

Not really. It is conceptually more difficult to determine an absolute "value" of a pitcher's pitcher's performance than it is for a hitter, because his job is to prevent runs rather than produce them. There is no natural baseline of zero, like there is for hitters, since a really bad pitcher could theoretically allow an infinite number of runs. RAP_S and RAP_R will be good indicators of the value of a particular pitcher as long as your team is in the penalty. If you already have more innings pitched than required, each pitcher will be displacing innings at your team RunAvg, rather than at the penalty rate.

Why doesn't my favorite player look as good as he ought to?

His XR or RAP may have suffered because of an injury. XR/27 and RunAvg should give you an indication of whether he was producing at a high level when he was in the lineup.

Or, he might look better according to the traditional fantasy league metrics (HR, RBI, SB, Wins, Saves) than he does according to the criteria used in the Mendoza League. Hitters with low walk totals and a lower than average success rate at stealing bases will look worse using the Mendoza League criteria, as will starting pitchers who play for good-hitting teams and relievers who have been given the "closer" job.

Is there anything else I should look out for when evaluating players?

The statistics provided on the auction pages are there for your benefit, to give you a rough idea of a player's ability. They can't substitute for individual research on the part of league owners. There are numerous pre-season publications which have player ratings, discussion and projections for the coming year. You are strongly urged to consult at least one prior to the auction.

Also keep in mind that one year's numbers may not be enough to get a good idea of a player's ability, especially if the player is young or if his playing time was limited last year. Clicking on the "More" link will take you to the STATS report on that player on ESPN.com. Select the "Statistics" link on that page for the player's entire MLB playing history. Many of the pre-season publications will also have minor league playing history.

Finally, you should also try to be aware of the role a player is likely to have for his team in the coming year. How much you can expect the player to play is perhaps a more important consideration than how good he is. Players that switched teams during the off-season are especially prone to having their roles change.