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Re: Value Based Drafting in Baseball

Postby TheMaizeAndBlue » Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:53 pm

Obviously, I don't think this should be used as an end all be all rankings system which you adhere to religiously. However, I do think it has value in identifying areas where the conventional wisdom actually flies against the numbers. For example, using Matthew Berry's podcast again, they discussed that catcher was a deeper position than usual this year, and so it makes even more sense than usual to wait on a catcher. The prevailing sentiment was draft one "either first or last" that is to say, if you missed on posey, don't draft a catcher until the late rounds. However, by my analysis, not only is Buster Posey worth his second round price tag, Carlos Santana isn't far behind. Thus, while other people are waiting on the last round catchers, I'll snag Carlos Santana in the 6th and take my +8 HR, +20 R +15 RBI +2 SB +.03 OBP to the bank. An equivalent player at 1B would be...Prince Fielder, at 2nd, Ian Kinsler. 3rd, Evan Longoria, SS Hanley Ramirez and OF Bryce Harper. Does this mean I'm gonna take Santana over any of the above players? No. Does it mean I'll reach a round to make sure I get Carlos Santana? You betcha.
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Re: Value Based Drafting in Baseball

Postby OaktownSteve » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:16 pm

TheMaizeAndBlue wrote:Obviously, I don't think this should be used as an end all be all rankings system which you adhere to religiously. However, I do think it has value in identifying areas where the conventional wisdom actually flies against the numbers. For example, using Matthew Berry's podcast again, they discussed that catcher was a deeper position than usual this year, and so it makes even more sense than usual to wait on a catcher. The prevailing sentiment was draft one "either first or last" that is to say, if you missed on posey, don't draft a catcher until the late rounds. However, by my analysis, not only is Buster Posey worth his second round price tag, Carlos Santana isn't far behind. Thus, while other people are waiting on the last round catchers, I'll snag Carlos Santana in the 6th and take my +8 HR, +20 R +15 RBI +2 SB +.03 OBP to the bank. An equivalent player at 1B would be...Prince Fielder, at 2nd, Ian Kinsler. 3rd, Evan Longoria, SS Hanley Ramirez and OF Bryce Harper. Does this mean I'm gonna take Santana over any of the above players? No. Does it mean I'll reach a round to make sure I get Carlos Santana? You betcha.


It's tricky, man. But lemme tell you why I still don't think it makes sense. It doesn't matter how much better Posey is than the next catcher. It matters what the combined worth of Posey and the 1st baseman that you take in the say 10th round is versus taking Fielder and a 10th round catcher. And that's just if you just take a very simple example reduced to two players in two rounds. In actual draft you could take Posey in the first and then take a 1st baseman anywhere from round 2 to 23. How do you know when you've got the right mix that makes Posey plus 1st better than Fielder plus catcher. The answer is it's really hard to know and value above average or above replacement cannot tell you because it's simply not part of the calculation. There's no information stored in that value number that is relevant to draft order. And it's not just two players you have to figure out, it's 23. I contend that not only do you need a different set of criteria for how to draft than just value, that valuations can be misleading.
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Re: Value Based Drafting in Baseball

Postby Nerfherders » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:32 pm

You can do value based drafting, but instead of looking at each position in a vacuum, it works better if you look at your team holistically. What amount of stats does your team need to win? How does that compare to a baseline that say puts you in 7th place (of a 12 teamer)? That baseline is your replacement level, which could be something like 75/18/78/14/.268. You can compare all of your players to that baseline to determine how many points above or below replacement level that player will give you either in one stat, or overall.

This process of course needs some history for how the stats fall out in your league. In a standard 5x5 12 teamer, that data is probably not too hard to find, but if you're starting a new league with a different setup, it might take a year or two to figure out what it takes to win.

I have a system like this that I have used for years and typically my numbers fall within 5 points of the actual overall totals in my leagues.
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Re: Value Based Drafting in Baseball

Postby Ender » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:39 pm

I'll snag Carlos Santana in the 6th and take my +8 HR, +20 R +15 RBI +2 SB +.03 OBP to the bank. An equivalent player at 1B would be...Prince Fielder, at 2nd, Ian Kinsler. 3rd, Evan Longoria, SS Hanley Ramirez and OF Bryce Harper


I think your values are all messed up if it lists Santana the same as Fielder, that or your projections are way too positive on him. I mean the basics of my ratings are basically this same system and even with the positional scarcity applied even Posey doesn't match Fielder. My guess is you aren't accounting for CI, MI, UT and the fact that a ton of 1B play other positions instead of 1B.

Edit: Actually I noticed you said OBP, it might make some sort of sense in an OBP league since Fielder is much more elite in AVG than OBP and Santana gets helped a lot in OBP leagues.

Are you taking PA into account as well? Santana's OBP helps you less than Fielder's as an example since he gets fewer PA.
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Re: Value Based Drafting in Baseball

Postby jcook3127 » Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:21 pm

OaktownSteve wrote:
TheMaizeAndBlue wrote:I think perhaps I was unclear in my methodology. It is not divided by the league leader in that category per position but by the league leader in that category overall. You are correct that a +1 SB is not more valuable for a C than a SS. I never said it was. The entire point is that the differential between that player and the replacement level player is the important part. In your example, Ben Zobrist has a lower value at SB than Mike Napoli not because he beats the average SS by a smaller proportion but because he actually loses to the average SS in SB while Napoli wins vs. the average C. To use your example, if a C and SS had the same SB value, let's say zero, meaning they exactly match the replacement level at their position. If you added 2 SB to the SS and 1 SB to the C, the SB-score for the SS is now 2/(43) and the SB-score for the C is 1/(43). 43 being the number of SB Mike Trout, ESPN's projected league leader in SB gets. There is no contradiction. The SS ends up with a higher score.


Value against average is only nominally better than value against replacement. But once again, while it tells you how the players stack up relative to each other pre- and post- draft it cannot inform you as to how you should draft at any particular pick because of the complexity (chaos?) of 12 teams trying to fill a roster with 23 players across prescribed positions. It generates false confidence.

Not too mention the obvious point that you could assemble a roster of 13 players who derive a majority of their value from a single category like SBs and have a high "value" roster destined to finish last in 4 of 5 categories.


I think that last couple sentences is the main take-away here and the reason this doesn't work as well as it does for football..

I've won several football leagues doing the value based drafting on excel in the same exact manner that the OP talks about. I remember shocking all my friends in 2003 when I took Tony Gonzalez 2nd OVERALL (priest holmes and tomlinson were far and away the obvious choices for top 2). It was stupid because I could've got Gonzo in round 2 most likely no problem...but I did it to prove a point and I won that league.

But the bottom line is a point is a point in fantasy football...with this, even though you are doing a good job of trying to assign a point value to a player, there is at least 10 categories in your league. And when it comes down to drafting your whole team, you have no good way of knowing whether your points are coming from across all of the categories....so the model says "hey I just made up so many points on these clowns" but when you apply the eye test you have no steals or batting average or runs....that's not going to win any roto leagues.

With all that said, I agree with ender that a tier based approach is the way to go for baseball (and to a lesser extent, I do this for football now too, VBD was just getting to be a pain in the neck as I got older/busier)...Just group your players by position, and when you get to a guy that you would be pissed off at owning instead of the guy right above him, make a tier line. Then adjust that in the end to make sure everyone in every group you'd have just about the same level of happiness owning them...If not, make some more tier lines to further break the pool up. Then use your instincts.

VBD will inevitably lead to a computer spitting out a few guys who you know you shouldn't draft because internally you know you need to fill out all the categories. In football, a point is a point is a point. In baseball, your point just isn't a true point, and that's the point.
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Re: Value Based Drafting in Baseball

Postby jcook3127 » Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:26 pm

Nerfherders wrote:You can do value based drafting, but instead of looking at each position in a vacuum, it works better if you look at your team holistically. What amount of stats does your team need to win? How does that compare to a baseline that say puts you in 7th place (of a 12 teamer)? That baseline is your replacement level, which could be something like 75/18/78/14/.268. You can compare all of your players to that baseline to determine how many points above or below replacement level that player will give you either in one stat, or overall.

This process of course needs some history for how the stats fall out in your league. In a standard 5x5 12 teamer, that data is probably not too hard to find, but if you're starting a new league with a different setup, it might take a year or two to figure out what it takes to win.

I have a system like this that I have used for years and typically my numbers fall within 5 points of the actual overall totals in my leagues.


Now this works. If you have a league history, or if you can accurately predict what stat levels will likely win you a category on the year, you can simply run a tally during your draft with your projections and try and get as close as possible to each predicted value. Much easier said than done because all projections go towards the mean instead of reality, but if you get close to those numbers you are guarenteed to be in the hunt.
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Re: Value Based Drafting in Baseball

Postby OaktownSteve » Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:59 pm

jcook3127 wrote:
Nerfherders wrote:You can do value based drafting, but instead of looking at each position in a vacuum, it works better if you look at your team holistically. What amount of stats does your team need to win? How does that compare to a baseline that say puts you in 7th place (of a 12 teamer)? That baseline is your replacement level, which could be something like 75/18/78/14/.268. You can compare all of your players to that baseline to determine how many points above or below replacement level that player will give you either in one stat, or overall.

This process of course needs some history for how the stats fall out in your league. In a standard 5x5 12 teamer, that data is probably not too hard to find, but if you're starting a new league with a different setup, it might take a year or two to figure out what it takes to win.

I have a system like this that I have used for years and typically my numbers fall within 5 points of the actual overall totals in my leagues.


Now this works. If you have a league history, or if you can accurately predict what stat levels will likely win you a category on the year, you can simply run a tally during your draft with your projections and try and get as close as possible to each predicted value. Much easier said than done because all projections go towards the mean instead of reality, but if you get close to those numbers you are guarenteed to be in the hunt.


While it's true that drafting to real league targets is a way to go that has some merit, it's not really the same topic. Knowing what the targets are doesn't tell you much about which players to draft in which order. It doesn't tell you how to skin your cat.
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Re: Value Based Drafting in Baseball

Postby OaktownSteve » Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:23 am

With all that said, I agree with ender that a tier based approach is the way to go for baseball (and to a lesser extent, I do this for football now too, VBD was just getting to be a pain in the neck as I got older/busier)...Just group your players by position, and when you get to a guy that you would be pissed off at owning instead of the guy right above him, make a tier line. Then adjust that in the end to make sure everyone in every group you'd have just about the same level of happiness owning them...If not, make some more tier lines to further break the pool up. Then use your instincts.

VBD will inevitably lead to a computer spitting out a few guys who you know you shouldn't draft because internally you know you need to fill out all the categories. In football, a point is a point is a point. In baseball, your point just isn't a true point, and that's the point.


Tiers are definitely a step in the right direction as that begins to move to information about what order to draft the players in. But you can still go wrong with tiers. Just because there is a fall off in the SS tier after the first two or three players doesn't mean that a reach for the third player in the tier early in a draft yields an optimal result. It's still very complex situation and it's tough to know what the unintended consequence of a positional based selection will have later in a draft.

The main takeaway here is that a draft is a really, really complex problem that can't be solved by tiers or values. You're on the right track when you say "then use your instincts," provided those instincts are based on a really deep knowledge of the player pool and how a draft is likely to play out. You need an overarching strategy that is more comprehensive than tiers or values.

This may all seem like splitting hairs, but I am also thinking about trying to win fantasy leagues that are very, very competitive like the NFBC, where margins of victory are slim and the knowledge level of the players creates an efficient market. And my experience, which is still forming, leads me to believe that shortcuts like values and tiers are handy but tend to restrict a more expansive view of how to approach the entire draft that may yield a more effective end result.
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Re: Value Based Drafting in Baseball

Postby J35J » Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:33 pm

OaktownSteve wrote:
With all that said, I agree with ender that a tier based approach is the way to go for baseball (and to a lesser extent, I do this for football now too, VBD was just getting to be a pain in the neck as I got older/busier)...Just group your players by position, and when you get to a guy that you would be pissed off at owning instead of the guy right above him, make a tier line. Then adjust that in the end to make sure everyone in every group you'd have just about the same level of happiness owning them...If not, make some more tier lines to further break the pool up. Then use your instincts.

VBD will inevitably lead to a computer spitting out a few guys who you know you shouldn't draft because internally you know you need to fill out all the categories. In football, a point is a point is a point. In baseball, your point just isn't a true point, and that's the point.


Tiers are definitely a step in the right direction as that begins to move to information about what order to draft the players in. But you can still go wrong with tiers. Just because there is a fall off in the SS tier after the first two or three players doesn't mean that a reach for the third player in the tier early in a draft yields an optimal result. It's still very complex situation and it's tough to know what the unintended consequence of a positional based selection will have later in a draft.

The main takeaway here is that a draft is a really, really complex problem that can't be solved by tiers or values. You're on the right track when you say "then use your instincts," provided those instincts are based on a really deep knowledge of the player pool and how a draft is likely to play out. You need an overarching strategy that is more comprehensive than tiers or values.

This may all seem like splitting hairs, but I am also thinking about trying to win fantasy leagues that are very, very competitive like the NFBC, where margins of victory are slim and the knowledge level of the players creates an efficient market. And my experience, which is still forming, leads me to believe that shortcuts like values and tiers are handy but tend to restrict a more expansive view of how to approach the entire draft that may yield a more effective end result.


You're thinking too much. This game has way to much luck involved to take it to the extremes you may be wanting to.
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Re: Value Based Drafting in Baseball

Postby Izenhart » Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:44 pm

J35J wrote:You're thinking too much. This game has way to much luck involved to take it to the extremes you may be wanting to.



Well, no one is trying to come up with one be all list for the single best ADP here. They are simply stating the best pick on the board is always changing depending on your team composition and player availability. To come up with a best case scenario draft where every team makes the best pick in every round is simply not possible. All we are discussing is what may be the best strategy when trying to give yourself the best shot at winning, without relying on the big fluffy luck dragon.

Value based drafting works best when value meets tier meets need. Setting yourself up for these picks can be like playing chess and thinking 2-3 moves or rounds ahead. I think that is the best way to construct a team. Knowing the ADP of players and also your opponents strategies and favorites will help you out immensely here.
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