Here's where we actually try to make money at this site. Patton $ Online 2012, featuring Peter Kreutzer's stat projections, can be downloaded at AskRotoman.com.
There are three different components:
The Evaluator gives you all facts you need to study the previous season. You get the complete stats, including secondary stats, of all major league hitters and pitchers in the previous season. You can set the values for standard leagues or either of the two basic kinds of 5x5 leagues, and you can even alter the denominators yourself, emphasizing pitching or de-emphasizing stolen bases, and so forth. You can sort and double-sort to come up with all kinds of odd lists, which you can then print. When you've entered the prices that were paid last year for players, you get an instant "ledger sheet" for each team in the league. You can see the hypothetical final standings: how teams would have finished if there were no changes after the draft.
The Projector contains Rotoman's projections for 2012, my assessments of what the projections are worth in 4x4 and 5x5 leagues, and three different sets of bids: PK5 (Peter's for standard AL and NL 5x5 leagues), MF5 (Mike Fenger's for 5x5 leagues), and AP4 (mine for 4x4 leagues). The bids often differ significantly from the $ values of Peter's projections, because (A) opinions differ and (B) the bids are bets, not predictions.
Projections are predictions, and if you predict a very different season than the one Peter envisions, you can easily alter the predicted stats by changing the $ values, as well as by changing the AB and IP and pro-rating, and you can of course change the stats individually, tweaking home runs or saves or anything else in each player's data box up or down. You do this in the Working File; you can default back to the data in the Original File with a keystroke. As with the Evaluator, the denominators in the pricing formula itself can be tinkered with — useful for various strategies, such as punting speed — while the default denominators can always be restored.
The most important bid column is the one that's left blank. This is where you enter your own bids. The quickest way to do this is to copy AP4, MF5 or PKm over into this column (with a keystroke), enter your league's freezes in the same column, and check the total at the bottom to see how much money you have to play with. Case by case, you distribute it to the available players.
There is no better way than this to deal with inflation. Any product that claims it will adjust the bid prices for you in one fell swoop is not something you want to buy.
Nevertheless, once you've entered your league's freezes, the Projector does calculate the overall inflation factor, based on the predicted stats. Or based on the bids; it's up to you.
Peter, Mike and I keep revising our bids throughout spring training, and we post numerous updates that can be easily merged into your working files (AL or NL or mixed). By the end, our bids will add up exactly to standard league budgets ($260 per team).
The Quick Memo field allows you to write short notes about players. The Memo field allows you to write much longer notes. You'll find that useful information (such as “injured, due back in July”) has already been entered for many players in the Memo field. Every now and then, thinking the AP4 bid doesn't quite get the point across, I can't resist entering "AP sleeper."
Sometimes you'll see a note from me to Peter, such as, "Are you sure you don't want to project this guy?" Mistakes like this occur as we send files back and forth to each other; shop talk that sometimes is illuminating.
Many people use Memo and Quick Memo to write notes to themselves that they refer to during the heat of the auction. As the gavel is about to sound on Dontrelle Willis, some people prefer to see Peter's dire predicted stats on their print-out. For others that isn't enough; they want to see, "DO NOT NOMINATE!"
The Auction Manager is the third component. It's for tracking the auction on your laptop, and it works, it really does. I've tracked other auctions, as an observer, with this thing and it's easy. Fun. Informative. At the press of a button you can see which players are left, who's got openings, what the money situation is, who’s loading up on power, who’s punting saves... As soon as the draft is over, you can see who the winner is, based on the projected stats. That's not always fun.
In leagues I actually play in, I'm a pencil and paper guy. However, in the American Dreams League, a rival owner uses the Auction Manager, and each year, as soon as we have finished the reserve draft, he calls out the final standings, starting with the last-place team. As I say, it's not always fun.
But hey, they are Peter's projections.
Some people just want the projections and bids. Skip all the bells and whistles, thank you very much. For these people, each time we update the Projector, we post the latest projections and bids as Excel and text files that can be downloaded separately.
All of this for a mere $30. If you play in an auction league, and play for real money, it’s an investment that pays.