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We have now posted the 2009 Point Shares for 12-team MLB leagues.

For those unfamiliar, Point Shares are our home-grown methodology (inspired by Bill James’ Win Shares) for rating fantasy players. They represent the estimated difference in an average fantasy team’s points if they were to substitute a given player for the average player at his position. For example, Albert Pujols’ 9.19 Point Shares mean he was worth 9.19 points more to the average team than an average 1B (closest player to ‘average 1B’ was Jorge Cantu). Point Shares are estimated for each statistical category – Pujols’ points are broken out as: 2.2 Runs, 2.1 HRs, 2.3 RBI, 1.0 SB, and 1.6 AVG.

2009 – Top 20 Point Shares

Our top 20 ended up with an even split of pitchers (9 SP/1 RP) and hitters with Zack Greinke taking top honors. You’ll see some similarities between the ESPN Player Rater and our Point Shares but we’ll point out two notable differences:

1) ESPN loves speedy players (is that why they employed Eric Young for more than a second?) – it generously credits SBs and doesn’t penalize weak HR/RBI. Where Crawford and Ellsbury are 5th and 6th overall and almost even with Braun in ESPN they are 17th and 21st in ours and over 2.5 points or $10 less valuable than Braun. I like SBs as much as the next fantasy player but Braun’s 113/32/114/20/.320 is going to help the average team a lot more than Crawford’s 96/15/68/60/.305. Take ESPN ranking of guys with high SBs with a grain of salt.

2) ESPN Puts Less Stock on Position Scarcity – Joe Mauer is #6 in our ranking vs. #17 in ESPN. Do you realize who the 4th most valuable catcher was in fantasy? Kurt Suzuki! Mauer’s stats for an OF would’ve qualified him for #17. As a Catcher, his stats were an easy top 10 value.

2009 – Top 20 Draft Values

In what should amount to no surprise to anyone who followed baseball in 2009, our Point Shares have Mark Reynolds as the #1 best value (using ESPN Average Draft Position). He wasn’t even drafted in many leagues yet ended up as the 15th most valuable fantasy player in the majors (according to Point Shares). 13 of the 20 best values are pitchers (9 SP, 4 RP) lending credence to the claim that pitchers are more unpredictable and more bargains may be available later in the draft.

Some Nostradamus awards go out to:
1) Sean Smith – the man behind CHONE. Let’s just say I was dubious when Javier Vazquez came up #2 using CHONE’s 2009. He ends up #7. Impressive.

2) Matthew Berry – It might’ve been an awkward interview we had with him last year but we asked for the best undervalued OF and he nailed it with Shin Soo-Choo.

3) Razzball. In my NL Blogger draft, I managed to snag 4 of the 11 NLers in the top 20 in value: Razzball 2009 crush / #1 value Mark Reynolds, #15 Huston Street, #18 Ryan Franklin, #20 Randy Wolf. The relievers were complete and utter luck but still…


2009 – Bottom 20 Draft Values

Interestingly, only 5 of the top 20 worst values are pitchers. (Note: If a hitter/pitcher missed the majority of the year, we capped their negative Point Shares as the lowest drafted slot – #260). This is a mix of tough breaks (Beltran, Reyes, Webb, Manny) with a few guys that we warned were being overvalued in drafts (Chris Davis, Francisco Liriano, Josh Hamilton). I don’t feel like giving out some anti-Nostradamus (Ignoramus?) awards but I will admit to drafting Geovany Soto AND Russ Martin in my NL Blogger Draft.


Last note: 2010 Point Shares based on CHONE data will be posted in the next week!

  1. Steve Sax says:
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    I had BOTH Reynolds and Vazquez and still finished 3rd in my league. Somebody put me out to pasture.

    Damn.

  2. Steve Sax says:
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    Oh, but great read/analysis nonetheless!

  3. Steve says:
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    Rudy – have you cross-referenced any of your risky pitchers to see how they did in terms of being good/poor value?

  4. Tony says:
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    Berry was right on choo, i remember that… 1 for 100 isn’t bad.

  5. Andrew says:
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    “I like SBs as much as the next fantasy player but Braun’s 113/32/114/20/.320 is going to help the average team a lot more than Crawford’s 96/15/68/60/.305.”

    This is not exactly right. Sure, you might have to build your roster a little differently by selecting Crawford instead of Braun. In terms of their contributions to the standings, however, there’s really not that much difference. Yes, Braun contributes more across the board. At the same time, Crawford provides tremendous standings gain in the steals category. Again, it’s just a difference in how you prefer to build a roster. One could actually make the argument that Crawford is a luxury because he allows you to focus on power throughout the remainder of the draft. Aside from the fact that positional scarcity is unaccounted for, the ESPN Player Rater is a decent measure of fantasy worth.

    Is there anywhere I could read about the rationale and/or calculation behind Point Shares? It’s just rather surprising to me that you’re getting such different weights for categories compared to what would be reflected by SGPs, which – in my opinion – is the best and most logical form of player valuation. You guys seem to really value the power categories. I’m not so sure this is wrong. It’s just rather surprising that it seems to me like SGPs, you’re focusing on how much stats help in the standings, yet the end result is so different.

  6. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    Quintero’s comment from the previous post was quite timely and dovetails nicely with this article:

    “The art of drafting is getting the players who can, and will out-producing their ADP.

  7. brett says:
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    Nice work! This is really cool stuff.
    I had a team last year with five of the top seven value picks. Can’t wait to see the 2010 projections.

  8. sean says:
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    @Rudy: any reason why CHONE is the preferred projection system over the usual [free] suspects, or even over a composite? I’ve started to compile data from the various projection systems myself in the hopes of coming up a composite set of projections. If this is a waste of time, it’d be great to know now!

  9. gaucho says:
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    Any chance you will break this out for AL/NL only?

  10. Charlie says:
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    Might be a waste time just because someone else has done something similar (composites that is).

    Check it: http://www.lastplayerpicked.com/priceguide

    Great place for auction leaguers especially if you have weird formats.

    Not sure how trusty-worthy it is. Something tells me a relative of Colby Lewis had a hand in creating it. Either way, worth a peek.

  11. cubfever7 says:
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    I never said I was smart ok? so here goes….if I read the way the game shares break out, technically, in a 5×5 roto am I to understand that Grienke and Lincecum should both be drafted in the top 3?

    Typically–not more than 1 or 2 pitchers are taken in the first 2-3 rounds–if this says what I think it says, that thinkming is incorrect?

  12. Nate Marcum says:
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    @cubfever7: You’re a Cub fan, of course you’re not smart. LOL

  13. Nate Marcum says:
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    @Charlie: Thanks for nice link. I am in an auction keeper league and this should prove to be decently valuable. The impact of the keepers will shake up the values, but all in all a resourceful site. If this is Charlie Wiegert, now I know your guide! Myuhahahah.

  14. Mikey boy324 says:
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    Rudy are you gonna be doing a 20 risky pitcher post again?

  15. Jo says:
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    Great read, It would be interesting to modify this and put a value on the importance of each pick… for example, you already know you should get more value out of a 1st round pick, but in the current method it just takes the difference between exp value and what they gave…. It would be cool to put an importance value on each pick and see where that ranks the players. It would be my hypothesis that by doing so we would understand why having the guys on the current list doesn’t necessarily lead to fantasy championships. This was just a quick idea, so call me out if the logic isn’t sound…

  16. brad says:
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    Rudy, would you say that the best value guys are no-brainer keepers in leagues where keepers are locked in at last year’s draft round? I ask because I have Reynolds (17th rd), Vazquez (10th)and Wandy (20th) and was only planning on keeping Reynolds. I plan on keeping J-Up, Wieters (11th), and CarGo (24th) besides.

    I guess my thought is that as you said, “pitchers are more unpredictable and more bargains may be available later in the draft.” Am I right in extending that claim to the unpredictability of Vazquez and Wandy repeating their ’09 performances?

  17. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    still a few openings for wednesday night at 8 mock draft,go to forums under 5 spots left

  18. Jo says:
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    @AL KOHOLIC: what website is the mock through? How do i get in?

  19. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    @Jo: go to forums at the top of this page,then view active topics,scroll down to 5 spots left for mdc draft on wednesday night@8

  20. tony says:
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    @Jo: I think ALK said it was at MDC the other day? Mock Draft Central.

    And for everyone here’s some more Billy Butler HYPE.

    http://royalsblog.kansascity.com/?q=node/483

    and NO its not brad evans writing….

  21. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    @tony: nice post on butler,what spot has he been getting drafted at in mocks so far?anyone know?

  22. tony says:
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    @AL KOHOLIC: It was interesting to see those other names who have hit 50 doubles and did the things butler did at that age.

    I see him going in the 7-9th rounds…. on average the 8th.

    I’m a fan.

  23. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    @tony: yeah im buying to,but hippo has him in my keeper league and we wont be slipping any sleepers by the razzball guys

  24. @Steve: Not yet re: cross-referencing risky pitchers but I will. With guys like Greinke and Vazquez on the risky pitcher list, I’ve got some mea culpa-ing to do! :)

    @Andrew: Rosters equal, Braun is more valuable. Here is some write up on the methodology – http://razzball.com/2008-fantasy-baseball-player-rater-%E2%80%93-%E2%80%9Cpoint-shares%E2%80%9D/. I can’t say 100% the definition behind SGPs but I think the biggest difference is that SGP’s compare a player’s worth vs. a replacement value player (scrub off FA wire) vs. Point Shares which bases it off the average player.

    You’ll see in the link I attached my argument why average player is better. And while it’s possible that someone would build their team around a dominating SB guy (and, really, no stat can be affected by one player’s impact like SB), there are significant risks with such an approach as it makes it that much harder to replace if they get hurt.

  25. Van Hammersly says:
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    What do you guys think of Garland going to San Diego? I think he’s a better real life pitcher than fantasy pitcher since he’s not K-ing many guys and is too reliant on Wins. Does he become a HodgePadre or a slight tick above that? I would probably like him a lot as a late round NL-Only pitcher but I’m not sure he’s getting drafted in 12-team mixed leagues.

  26. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Mikey boy324: He’s going to, yeah.

    @cubfever7: They should be drafted later because there’s a lot more pitchers.

    @sean: CHONE is free. Point Shares is a composite. Rudy does CHONE first because it’s readily available and trusted.

    @Van Hammersly: He’ll have matchup value, not much else.

  27. @sean: Last year, I mixed Marcel, CHONE, and ZiPS. Honestly, there’s a lot of work to combine each of the systems as they have slightly different naming systems. I do plan on averaging in ZiPS once it’s complete (it had 5 teams still missing as of posting).

    I think CHONE and ZiPS are both slightly better than Marcel, BTW, since they take a few more variables into account (note: the originator of Marcel – Tom Tango – will admit as such – Marcel should be a baseline that all other reporting systems should exceed although it’s always surprising based on tests how well Marcel does vs. the others).

    And I don’t even pay attention to Bill James’ projections. Too bullish.

    @gaucho: I’ll break it out AL vs. NL for 2010 projections.

    @Charlie: Yeah, Lastplayerpicked isn’t bad. He did a bunch of comparisons vs. Point Shares but I found the methodology of the tests was lacking. I’d still argue Point Shares are better for apples-to-apples comparisons and provide an estimate of a player’s impact on standings but he crushes me in league rules flexibility.

    @cubfever7: The Point Shares are estimating the value of players with 2009 data. The reason why it’s best – generally – not to take SPs in the first couple of rounds is b/c 1) Others don’t and the longer you wait for the SP you like, the better value you get and 2) SPs tend to be riskier propositions vs. their projections.

    For this year, I could maybe argue Lincecum but tough to say at this point. Generally looking for good shot of healthiness and shot at either sub 1.05 WHIP and/or 300 Ks.

    Going back in recent memory, here are the SPs that I think were top 10 picks: Pedro (when he was with the Red Sox), Randy, Johan up through last year (espec. when he was turning in sub-1.00 WHIP), Peavy & Webb (for a year in there and they didn’t earn the spot).

    Check out Randy and Pedro’s stats in 1998-2000 to see what I mean in terms of pitcher value. Holy crap were they good. http://razzball.com/fantasy-all-stars-early-00s/

    @Mikey boy324: Yup, will do a risky pitcher analysis in the next couple of weeks.

  28. Mikey boy324 says:
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    Good to hear I found that article one of the best it helped me rethink a lot of pitchers I was considering

  29. @Jo: It’s hard to pin down the value of each round. I think you just pick the best player possible for your team in that round – e.g., if you did a retroactive 2009 draft and you have Greinke, the value of the next SP decreases since you’re team is already above average in SP (unless, of course, you tank the rest of the draft). Other thing to take in account is waiting on players if you think they’ll be around next time you draft – Grey and I did that with Mark Reynolds last year. He was tops on our board for a couple rounds before we snagged him.

    @brad: Once I have 2010 rankings, I’d compare the actual value against the expected value of that round. You can get the latter by say taking the 12 players whose rank matches the # picks in that round – e.g., the average Point Shares of players ranked 13-24 represent the 2nd round.

    Off-hand, I’d pass on Vazquez and Wandy for the offensive keepers you mentioned.

  30. Tyler says:
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    Fantastic post, Rudy. Really like that you’re building on PS.

    A few questions:

    (1) “And I don’t even pay attention to Bill James’ projections. Too bullish.” – I don’t disagree, necessarily, but it doesn’t really matter if they’re bullish relative to the other projection systems (or even to real life for that matter), so long as the intra-system differences are accurate, no? In other words, if they projected Prince Fielder to 92 HR last year, Billy Butler to hit 42, Juan Pierre to hit .5 (and similarly doubled the actual HR output of each player), that would be an incredibly good system for fantasy baseball rankings, no?

    (2) One advantage that Last Player Picked has over PS is its flexibility – so many folks (yours truly included) play in custom leagues that LPP (and Baseball Notebook, though that’s a pay site) are great resources. Though I may respect the methodology of PS, I can’t really utilize it very often.

    (3) Speaking of FBHOF, is Lou going to do his War Room application this year? I remember seeing it last year and just being awestruck.

    /mooching

  31. Tyler says:
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    argh. It’s a bit overkill that I ended two straight questions with the faux-pretentious “no?”….no?

  32. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Tyler: I’ll let Rudy answer the rest but Lou is doing the War Room again.

  33. Tyler says:
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    @Grey: I’m giddy.

  34. Tyler says:
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    Ahhhh, and while I’ve got you on the line, Grey, in a keeper league (keep 6 as long as you want, no draft pick costs…count K’s and OPS for hitters), who wins this challenge trade:

    Pujols, Sparkakis, Haren for
    Fielder, J-Upton, Beckett

  35. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @Tyler: I believe you are right on target with “…but it doesn’t really matter if they’re bullish relative to the other projection systems.” I ran Grey’s first mock against Bill James’ projections (Grey’s weren’t out yet). He was high on his team. Indeed, it ranked #2 of the 12 teams. Since then I have filled in Grey’s hitting stats over James’. His team still ranks #2. This, even though I. Stewart is on the team and the lines read:

    J: 77/24/76/.255/8
    G: 85/29/100/.260/10

    BTW: I checked Grey’s top 20 OF: James’ projections averaged 4% above Grey’s–big deal.

  36. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Tyler: I’d take the Pujols side, but it seems like a pissing contest trade.

  37. Tyler says:
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    @Grey: gracias

    @Simply Fred: word – though there may be some intra-system problems that make the James projections bad to use relative to other projection systems (e.g., too bullish on youngsters compared to oldsters – I’ve heard this before and it may have been what Rudy meant).

  38. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @Tyler: Don’t want to be misunderstood. Grey is the man. On a few players, the projections can be quite different, and I will go with Grey for sure. Cust Kayin’ for most players there isn’t a dramatic difference, nor impact. Will admit, I am not about to try to tackle the “age” thing.

  39. Bob says:
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    I had Geovany Soto and I traded FOR Russell Martin in a one catcher league, and kept both of them all year, as neither one performed. I also drafted Jose Reyes with my first pick and also traded for Lance Berkman, and somehow still managed to win. And that’s basically because I picked up never players from the best value list. So I guess it can even out.

  40. cubfever7 says:
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    OK–i’m hip to the fact that there’s alot more pitchers and 4-5 category offensive players are so very scarce—BUT is it fair to say that roto players under value great pitchers who can dominate 4 categories and shouldn’t shy away form taking a couple aces in rounds 3 and 4?

    If a Felix and Halladay are there for the taking in a 12 team mixed–wouldn’t it make sense to take them assuming you landed a Braun and a Kinsler for example in rds 1 and 2?

  41. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Bob: There ya go.

    @cubfever7: You can win like that, but it makes things harder. You’ll need to draft exceptionally well later on for hitting.

  42. Andrew says:
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    Thanks for providing the link, Rudy. I like the idea of comparing to the average player, as opposed to the replacement-level player. Great work.

  43. Steve says:
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    @Grey: Have you used Lou’s War Room for an auction?

  44. big o says:
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    @Rudy Gamble:
    are you taking Grey with you on that cruise that you won last year ?

  45. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: I haven’t.

  46. @Tyler: If Bill James’ projections are proportionally bullish, then it’s fine. But there needs to be proportion across all hitting and pitching categories to properly estimate value. It’s possible but I’m more confident in CHONE and ZiPS which I’ve seen tested vs. actual performance (and comparing well to BP’s PECOTA).

    And, yup, understood on LPP’s flexibility. It’s impressive. I try to do Point Shares for all the league formats I play in so I know AL/NL/MLB 12-team will be done. I’m not a big fan of the custom ones…(except Fantasy Razzball of course)

    @Bob: Wow. Overcame Martin, Soto, and Reyes. Crazy. It must’ve been 10 team MLB, right? The bigger the available free agent pool, the more roster management plays a bigger role. I’ve actually gravitated towards deeper leagues (15 team MLB, 12 team one-league, etc.) b/c I like drafting and speculation (e.g., snagging Andrew McCutchen for $3 in case he gets called up) more than playing ‘hot hands’. All that said, Martin, Soto, and Reyes….and won…impressive.

    @cubfever7: I do think that pitchers tend to be undervalued. But they do carry more risk (see Webb and Peavy last year). My general snake draft philosophy for pitchers is to not reach too early for SPs – if there’s a standout, look in the 2nd round. If there are a group of strong pitchers, maybe wait until the 4th or 5th round. But if there are signs of a pitcher rally happening earlier, be flexible enough to grab one. In a $ draft, I don’t like investing too much in one starter. I’d rather draft a lot of high potential SPs in the $5-$15 range with the expectation that a couple will get injured. You spend $20+ on a guy like Webb and he gets hurt…and you’re f***ed.

  47. cubfever7 says:
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    I’ve read this columns for a couple years now and love it. This is the first time I’ve ventured into some interaction. My vocabulary has become littered with words like schmohawk and in the thros of lovemaking I have begun uttering acronyms like SAGNOF at plaster cracking, picture tilting levels….as a result I’m sending a case of daiquiris out to bullpen to warm up.

    I competed in an expert league last year and lost on the last day–but have won various CBS leagues in years gone by and I’ve typically subscribed to the “no pitchers before round 5″ maxim and no more than 1 closer before say–round 10 or so –no catchers til late.

    BUT…since in 5×5–all 10 categories count equally toward winning and if I can strike a balance and there’s a couple pitchers who look to be Shin-soo-choo-ins to rule in 4 categories, I’m beginning to wonder if I should alter my thinking a little. One has to be light on their feet at time of the draft to capitalize on mistakes that have slipped through and not be totally locked into a formula. Pitchers look deeper than ever this year though…maybe I should invest in a roto dart board?

  48. @cubfever7: It sounds like your strategy isn’t too far off from the one I proposed last year: http://razzball.com/the-bran-draft-strategy/.

    Definitely agree on maintaining flexibility in snake drafts to take advantage of bargains throughout the draft. One caveat detailed in that link is to avoid getting over-invested in a specific position too early. Nothing’s more frustrated than gorging on, say, OFs early and then seeing nice values floating around late in the draft that you can’t take advantage of.

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