12 Responses

  1. RA
    RA at |

    Would love to see an analysis by MLB team (ie – do hitters on the Tigers consistently turn a profit vs hitters on the Yankees who turn a loss)

  2. bill
    bill at |

    this was fantastic

  3. cespencer
    cespencer at |

    Awesome work, Tanner!
    More proof that you need to spend less / wait on pitching.
    I think it would be interesting to look at SP vs. RP just to determine (in the name of science) if there is anything there we can learn from.

  4. Kyle
    Kyle at |

    Nice work, I definitely encourage you to make an analysis of the deviation in pitcher-hitter returns for top-end players a priority. When I draft I think more along the lines of “what is this player’s floor, what is his ceiling, and what is the perceived volatility of the return?” than I do pitcher vs. hitter. Getting a better understanding of the relative volatility of top-end pitchers vs. top end players at other positions would be helpful.

  5. kirks
    kirks at |

    I play in a 14 team league is there any way to run the numbers for something like that? I imagine that there would be less valuable players cracking the top ranks since more players are being drafted. That should mean you need to have a better draft than rely on free agency.

    1. Tanner
      Tanner at |

      Hi Kirks, I wish I had an easy way to do this, but unfortunately I won’t have time, especially given the time of year. With that said, I would be pretty confident in saying you are correct. That the deeper the league, the less impactful the free agents are.

  6. Klubot3000
    Klubot3000 at |

    Hi Tanner,

    Finding all sorts of your useful research online (just commented on one of your THT articles last week).

    I know this research is a couple years old now, but I wonder how this would look if you split out RP and SP for the pitcher volatility section. My hunch (bolstered by the old adage “never pay for saves”) is that there are a lot of RPs drafted who return negative or $0 and undrafted pitchers who take over a closer role and probably return top 108 pitcher value. It seems somewhat more likely that SPs (outside of injury of course — which allows for quick replacement) earn stable returns. Any thoughts on that?

  7. Tanner
    Tanner at |

    Hey Klubot,

    You may have seen that Alex Chamberlain just did some similar research to this at Fangraphs. If you scroll a ways into that article you should see a table with RP and SP bust rates.

    That piece does show bigger bust rates for RP in almost all of the draft tiers. It would be hard for a SP to flame out as badly as a closer. I could really only see it happening from injury.

    I may pick up on Alex’s research and dive a little deeper in the near future. So stay tuned!

    1. Klubot3000
      Klubot3000 at |

      Thanks as always for your engagement, Tanner. In trying to learn more about the problem I stumbled on some analysis by Peter Kreutzer at his site Rotoman. He looked at the 2013 Tout Wars NL league and analyzed the end of season production against the value drafted. Different methodology, but trying to attack the same problem as you and Alex.

      The link is below (and the rest of his work in that series is worth review too), but the overall conclusion was that 25% of saves were acquired after the draft. 21% of Ks and 19% of wins were also acquired off the waiver wire. Compare that to the 9-11% post draft acquisition for the hitting counting stats, and that makes saves almost 3 times as volatile as the counting stats. It’d be great to get more data on this analysis from more leagues and more years, but I’m betting that it’ll be substantially confirmed.

      As far as actionable conclusions, I think his research is another data point in favor of your explanations above about the ideal split between hitters and pitchers in an auction. Perhaps the “ideal” split is something like 70/30, and of that 78 is dollars, perhaps $24 should be for RP. Then troll the wire in-season.

      Of course the most important thing is to understand the economics of the league in which you play. But this research is great, and helps adjust my own valuations and how to search for market inefficiencies in my own league. Thanks again, Tanner. Hope to see more of your work on Fangraphs and elsewhere soon.


      1. Tanner
        Tanner at |

        Thank you! If you’re looking for more reading, Rotoman has also written about the concept of “free loot”, which is related to the original writing above and the link you provided about FAAB. To the extent these “free” stats come into the league during the season and are not drafted, they’ll run through the FAAB process or cause “losses” like I discussed.

        It’s pretty fascinating. Love thinking about these concepts. Here’s a link to a free loot discussion from a couple seasons ago.

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