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Draft prep thoughts

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Postby Erboes » Mon Nov 10, 2003 2:15 pm

My motivation for this is not to prove I'm right, just to find a more useful method of drafting. Here are my two findings:

1) A player who has shown substantial improvement one season over his previous is unlikely to better those numbers the next season or even to repeat them.

2) A player who has a substantial drop in numbers one season compared to his previous season is likely to improve on his numbers the next season over the one previous.

How can you dispute this? In fact, in common fantasy venacular players in group one are said to have had "career years" and in group two are primed for "bounce back years." Everyone here knows this and uses these terms all the time, but how many people draft and trade based on the concept as much as they probably should? Based on these mock drafts, not too many.

I'm just trying to show that maybe we shouldn't be so quick in burying players after bad years or rewarding them after great ones because it's all part of the natural swings of a player's career.

Here's a quick prediction based solely on what I posted earlier: Berkman will have a better season than Sheffield.

Sheffield's values for his last three seasons:

$32
$28
$43

Berkman's:

$37
$35
$25

Sheffied is a first round pick in the mock drafts and Berkman's a fourth all because Sheffield had a career year and Berkman had a sub-par one. Ridiculous.
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Postby ramble2 » Mon Nov 10, 2003 3:00 pm

Erboes wrote:My motivation for this is not to prove I'm right, just to find a more useful method of drafting. Here are my two findings:

1) A player who has shown substantial improvement one season over his previous is unlikely to better those numbers the next season or even to repeat them.

2) A player who has a substantial drop in numbers one season compared to his previous season is likely to improve on his numbers the next season over the one previous.

How can you dispute this?


I'm not sure anyone is disputing these broad generalizations, only cautioning that they are simply generalizations. Yes, you are right. I agree. But I'm not going to start drafting guys who had drop-offs over those who improved the previous season. There are far too many other factors to consider than to use this as a drafting strategy.

Consider a player in category 1: Hank Blalock. I'm very excited about him for next season. He posted a substantial improvement in 2003. Should I expect a step backwards now? Probably not - because he's so young and seems to be in a developmental upswing.

Or consider a player in category 2: Ray Durham. Big dropoff in production. Should we expect him to post better numbers? Let's say probably. Does this make him a valuable 2nd basemen, or worth taking in the first 5 rounds? No.

Again, I'm not disagreeing with the generalizations. I think it is a very wise strategy to look at players who had drop-offs and to consider WHY they had drop-offs. This is a great way to find gems in the draft. Burrell and F. Garcia are two players that have a shot at performing better in 2004 than in 2003.

Would I take Berkman over Sheffield? I might. I wouldn't take either in the 1st round, and wouldn't let either slip to the 4th.

But look, you've retreated from relying on your statistical data to relying on fantasy baseball vernacular. I wish I had the time to run the numbers, because then I'd try and do it. I think it would be very interesting to do a more rigorous test of these generalizations. Then we could look for trends by age, by position, by injury history, etc. I'm not trying to criticize what you were doing, I was only pointing out that to do it right would require a more rigorous test.
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Postby Erboes » Mon Nov 10, 2003 3:19 pm

I agree that there are many different facts that should go into evaluating players, but from what I see this is one that is under utilitzed. Like I said, I'm just trying to bring some numbers to substantiate my generalizations. Agree or not, it's interesting to talk about.

I think Durham's an excellent bounce back candidate. His season fell apart after he sprang his ankle and should return to his prior levels if he's healthy. I agree though, I'm not taking him highly based on that. He should slide and I hope to be there when it does.

I got to question your Blalock logic. Conventional wisdom says that a young player should only improve once he "breaks out," but is that true? Maybe I'm clouded by Drew, Burrell, and Dunn, but it sure seems like that is a bunch of garbage too. It seems to me that the road to stardom is filled with stops and starts, and with the exception of the few superstars, regression seems to be the norm than the exception. I sure wish someone would tackle some of these issues because I'm close to burnout and it's only November.
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Postby DieHardCubbie » Tue Nov 11, 2003 12:26 am

I really don't have much more to add...other than what has already been said....Erboes, I agree with your generalizations....but as ramble stated, they do need more rigorous testing....I will be interested to see any other numbers you decide to run.... :-)
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