Last week Grey had the great idea to put my ADP treasure trove of data to good use, and ask people which player they thought has been the most under-drafted over the past five years (2010-14). Who put up good numbers year after year and still was not given the benefit of the doubt?

We got lots of guesses, but only one person got the right answer. Who is this person and which player did they guess? Scroll down to go straight to the destination, or you can first relive some of the journey that got me to the answer…

Gory Assumption Details

To determine the “underdraftedness” of a player, I took the difference of his Average Draft Position in a given year to his end-of-season rank. For example, if in 2012 Mike Trout had an ADP of 245 (real numbers!) and and finished as the No. 1 most valuable fantasy player that year (per Rudy’s historical player calculator), then he was given credit for 245 – 1 = 244 points. Add to that his 2010 score (non-existant), 2011 score (also non-existant), 2013 (-2 for being taken first and finishing as the third most valuable player), and 2014 score (-1 for being drafted second, finishing third) and you should get the basic idea of my methodology. You should also get why Mike Trout—despite his incredible 2012—was not the correct answer here

For the record, Trout’s 2012 wasn’t highest scoring single season in this period. That distinction goes to Jose Bautista, who in 2010 went from being undrafted to blasting 54 homers and finishing as the third best fantasy player. He also though, isn’t the correct answer.

The questioning among you are thinking there are other ways to calculate undraftedness. Auction cost (which Yahoo has as far back as 2010) compared to end-of-season dollar values, instead of ADP to EOS rank, could have been the stats we compare. Also another operation other than the difference—like the quotient or even natural logs—could have been used in the calculation.

After some thought I chose to stay away from auction values because of potential noise in the data (how many people were doing auctions in 2010?) and the artificial bunching of players at the $1 mark. To the other point, my thought was this is more about valuing the player that was picked 200th and finished 25th, than the player who was picked 30th and finished 10th. Simple difference works just fine to capture that.

There were a couple more assumptions that went into the calculation I want to briefly mention:

  • Undrafted players — Players without an ADP had to be assigned something, I chose 275. The highest ADP in my dataset was 270.5, so 275 seemed reasonable enough. The average Yahoo league has 23 roster spots and 12 teams, which equates to 276 players taken. By that logic it might seem more appropriate to pick a number a little higher than 275, but I didn’t want to give too much credit to players who came completely out of nowhere. In my mind at least, this was more about players who were on people’s radar in the preseason and were drafted, but clearly not high enough.
  • Flooring — After looking at my underdraftedness results, I decided to floor negative values at -25. This was done to prevent the unfair penalization of guys who played but had a bad season compared to guys who got injured and didn’t play. Before flooring a guy who was drafted 150th, put up a crappy 5.00 ERA finishing ranked 350th, would get a -200 score. A guy who was picked 151st and needed Tommy John in his second start wouldn’t even get an end-of-season rank and therefore got a score of 0. Bumping up the -200s to -25 helped reduce the effect of one bad season from drowning a player.

After testing a few different maximum ADPs and minimum floor values, I’m happy to report that it didn’t change who the most under-drafted was. Other players did move around quite a bit as a result though.

And the winner is…

loh

With an underdrafted score of 452, your winner for the least appreciated fantasy asset over the last five year is: Kyle Lohse. Congrats to commenter awlagder for guessing it right and winning a free Razzball T-shirt!

I’ve broken down the stats behind Lohse’s victory in the following chart:

Kyle Lohse – SP – MIL
Season ADP EOS Rank Diff Wins Ks ERA WHIP
2010 263 N/A 0 4 54 6.55 1.78
2011 275 136 139 14 111 3.39 1.17
2012 220 39 181 16 143 2.86 1.09
2013 210 172 38 11 125 3.35 1.17
2014 247 152 95 13 141 3.54 1.15

*Lohse threw a whopping 92 innings in 18 starts in 2010, which was below the IP cutoff for EOS rank.

To summarize, after 2010 Lohse became a pitching emperor and found his new groove. He put up four seasons in a row of solid value, and in none of those four years did fantasy owners pick him earlier than 200th (at least a 16th round pick in a 12 team draft). His best year by far was 2012 in which he made 33 starts and went 16-3 in them. Over 211 innings he struck out 143 batters and attained  an ERA just under 3.00. Those numbers made Lohse the 39th most valuable player in fantasy that year.

Because I think people will find it interesting, here’s one more row of the above chart for 2015:

Season ADP EOS Rank Diff W K ERA WHIP
2015 222 520 -298 5 74 6.29 1.43

Finally, our skepticism has paid off.

The Rest of the List

Number Name Underdraft Score
1 Kyle Lohse 452
2 R.A. Dickey 408.9
3 Adam LaRoche 404.5
4 Mark Melancon 397.4
5 Marlon Byrd 384.4
6 Ian Kennedy 381
7 Alfonso Soriano 373.2
8 Tyler Clippard 371.1
9 Johnny Cueto 364
10 Torii Hunter 360.7
11 Alex Rios 356
12 Melky Cabrera 348.7
13 Brian Dozier 344.6
14 C.J. Wilson 324.9
15 Gio Gonzalez 313.3

There’s your Top-15. R.A.Dickey takes home the silver medal and Adam Laroche the bronze, two players that make sense. I notice two closers found their way onto the list, and among the rest I like the near-even split of hitters and pitchers. Unfortunately there’s no real pattern to these players, so there’s no category of players I can point to and say “Target these guys in drafts next year!”

My draft advice is still the same, “F*ck it.”

Files and Data

In this Google Drive folder you’ll find ADP data for all players from 2010 to 2015. Feel free to mess around with it. I’ll probably be adding more and more years to it every few days, all the way back to 2002.

 

 

  1. Grey

    Grey says:
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    Any ideas where my guess of Burnett fell?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Grey: Oh, and thanks for doing the legwork!

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Grey: it would be interesting to see what the under drafted player for RCL’s would be. Since no one in their right mind would draft Lohse in the RCL format

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          This is excluding format

          • J-FOH says:
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            @Grey: obviously, but since we do allout RCL data collection…cust kayin’

      • the great knoche says:
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        @Grey: Alfonso would have been number 1 with one more awful season.

      • paul

        paul says:
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        @Grey: Thanks! Burnett was about 100 on the list… his 2010, 2011, and 2014 didn’t help his case. He was a sweet value in 2012 & 13 though.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Ah gotcha

  2. TheOne says:
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    Great article. Smh god I hate kyle lohse.

    Question, what do you guys think of :

    Papelbon or Grilli for Boxberger & Iwakuma?

    This is in a pts league which values holds 2pts less than saves

    Thanks gents

    • Whack Daniels

      awlagder says:
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      @TheOne: hahaha me too! but he’s puts up semi-decent numbers… I never draft him

    • paul

      paul says:
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      @TheOne: I’d hold

  3. KB says:
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    Seems like there are similarities between the players listed. Byrd, LaRoche and Soriano in that they’re all veterans past their prime that get looked over for flashier upside hitters, but all still possess enough HR potential to shoot them up the rankings. Teixera falls in this category this season. The RP are setup men that have a decent chance of inheriting save opportunities throughout a season (AJ Ramos this year) and the SP are all veterans in the NL w/ limited K upside but good enough ratios to rack up some Ws over the course of the season (Hammel, Burnett, etc.).

    • paul

      paul says:
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      @KB: The list definitely leans veteran (it’s rare to have an unheralded youngster put up big numbers). Older “boring” hitters and limited strikeout NL pitchers are guys I’ll let fall into my lap next year instead of reaching for every young upside player.

  4. PK says:
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    Nice post!

    • paul

      paul says:
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      @PK: Thanks!

  5. Whack Daniels

    awlagder says:
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    Super pumped by my genius (lucky) guess. How do I go about claiming my sweet free tee? Paul, do you have access to my email address based upon my username?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I do, I sent you an email. Great guess!

      • Whack Daniels

        awlagder says:
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        @Grey: I don’t see it (unless you cleverly disguised it as dick pill spam). I’ll mess with my mail settings and junk mail filters when I get home tonight to see if I can find it.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Yeah, sent it yesterday… Check spam, if not, ping me in my newest post, I may not see it in this post

    • paul

      paul says:
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      @awlagder: Congrats man.

  6. The JoGarza says:
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    Well, Lohse is definitely setting himself up for another low ADP season next year!

    Good work and some neat info.

    • paul

      paul says:
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      @The JoGarza: True dat. For what it’s worth his peripherals aren’t far off from where they’ve been in the past, he’s getting crushed on balls in play and homers. If he signs somewhere nice let Petco next year, not a bad last round pick.

  7. plasmaj says:
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    nice post. Would it be possible to do this on a $ value basis? ADP vs final ranking can give some skewed results. There isn’t much separation between #200 and #190 but there is a lot between #20 and #10. The difference between an ADP of 50 and an actual value of #10 (a difference of 40 slots) is worth a lot more than an ADP of 200 and an actual value of #160 (also 40 slots).

    • paul

      paul says:
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      @plasmaj: I hear what you’re saying, scaling the ADPs and EOS ranks by taking the log would capture what you’re looking for. Sometime tomorrow I’ll test doing that out and comment back here with a new list.

      • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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        @paul: i’m betting the top guys are much different too.

      • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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        @paul: wha happened to better value list (that was really good idea)?

        • paul

          paul says:
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          @Aubrey Plaza’s Pillow: Sorry, laziness and life intervened. I’m making it the topic of my article for Wednesday, starting tonight….

  8. WThothot says:
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    great post, research

    • paul

      paul says:
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      @WThothot: I do appreciate it, thank you.

  9. FrankGrimes says:
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    damn I never win ;)

  10. Nate says:
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    This was a really unique and helpful post… thanks for all the work!

    • paul

      paul says:
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      @Nate: You are quite welcome, thank you!

Comments are closed.