This article is part of our The Z Files series.
The cardinal sin in auctions is leaving money on the table, followed closely by overpaying for mediocre talent, lest you leave money on the table. Today, I'll detail a process designed to facilitate optimal spending followed by some general thoughts about budgeting.
A few weeks back, the notion of using tiers in auctions was briefly discussed. As described, tiers are less strategy and more bookkeeping. The principle is all players within a tier are close enough that order doesn't matter. The problem is even though tiers have boundaries, they're fluid. That is, the players at the bottom of one tier are exchangeable with the top of the next. This is more a bug than fault. If you understand this, the ability to visualize the player pool in terms of tiers is far more helpful and being too rigid within each tier is less of a pitfall.
The key is entering the auction with a spending plan, or even multiple plans. Using the standard 14 hitters, 9 pitchers with a $260 budget as the model, I usually start with the following pathways: