Dec 16, 2012

The Value of Fantasy Baseball Draft Picks


As a sports fan, you've likely seen the trading of draft picks that occurs at the NFL draft and you may have heard about NFL teams using charts indicating the value of those draft picks in order gauge those trades. For fantasy baseball purposes, values haven't traditionally been applied to draft pick slots though they should be. Not all fantasy leagues allow for pick trading but knowing the value of draft slots can be worthwhile for other reasons as well. In my case, knowing the value of those draft slots can come in handy when doing research on draft trends and draft history. Recently, I started doing research of the past success of sleeper picks here and one issue that came up was comparing the risk of drafting a "sleeper" with the 80th pick versus how much risk there was 200 picks later. It's obvious that not all draft picks are created equally but there isn't a good way to make comparisons between them without a chart similar to the one that NFL GMs use. Time for Mr. Cheatsheet to rock the show and come up with that!

My method for this experiment consisted of taking the average draft position (ADP) data for the past five years (hat tip to Fantasy Gameday for his help) and then applying the WERTH roto value of each of those players for that year they were drafted there. Due to our limited data set, it became more worthwhile to evaluate ranges of draft picks as opposed to exact draft slots. In doing this analysis, I was able to come up with "expected" roto value for each range. Using those expected values, I was able to figure out how the value trended from start to finish in the draft and apply values to each draft range. Once I was done with all of that wizardry, here is the chart that I came up with:


The drop in value is pretty steep within the first few rounds, as expected, but starts to become more gradual as we go on in the draft. Granted, these are just arbitrary numbers but they are based on player performance within those draft slots over the past 5 years so it is a good starting point for gauging if you want to trade a draft pick. But, more than anything, these numbers are good for some further analysis on the draft pool in a given year. I'll be referencing this particular post in some future articles which will utilize these numbers. Stay tuned.