Grey:  What is Ryan Braun worth in 2012?

Rudy:  Not sure.  I’d like to know what is Jayson Werth’s brawn in 2012?!



Rudy:  Oh, right, this is the time of year where you need me to be mathy vs. contribute sarcastic titles and player notes.

Grey:  Yup.

Rudy:  Okay, I’ll write it up a post.


Assuming Ryan Braun and his bubbe can’t argue away his 50-game suspension, determining his proper draft position is conceptually hard (in reality, it is easy as ESPN/Yahoo!/CBSSports.com drafters will have an ADP as a starting point).  While crowdsourced data like ADP can be quite good, this is such a unique instance that it might be a greater opportunity or bigger sucker bet than the usual draft pick.

Here is the basic formula I’d use to determine Ryan Braun’s value for 2012 in a 12-team mixed league with 5 OF / 1 UTIL / 3 bench spots / 1250 IP cap / daily roster changes:

Braun’s Projected Stats (over roughly 70% of a season) + Replacement OF Stats for (over roughly 30% of a season) – Opportunity Cost of Giving Up a 3rd Bench spot For 50 Games.

Let’s start with the easy part – prorating Braun’s stats to a 112 game season.  ZiPs estimates Braun’s full season would have been .296/97/30/107/22 over 608 ABs.  I multiplied each of these numbers by 112/162 and got:  420 AB/67/21/74/15.

Here are the OFs that ranked from 57th to 63rd in the end of year Player Rater (will be up later this week):  Dexter Fowler, Bobby Abreu, Jason Bay, Will Venable, Juan Rivera, Delmon Young, Nyjer Morgan.  Average this motley crew’s stats together and you get:  .264/60/8/51/14 over 442 ABs.  Multiply that by 50/162 and you get:   136 AB/19/3/16/4.

Combine these projections together (weighting the Batting Average based on AB) and you get:  .288/556 ABs/86/24/90/19.  I plugged that stat line into last year’s rankings and then weighted hitters and pitchers to reflect typical drafting behavior (i.e., a $180 hitter/$80 pitcher mix).  Net result:  Composi-Braun’s stats would’ve ranked as the 47th best player at $22 (e.g., Andrew McCutchen, Jay Bruce).

That leaves us with the most abstract of the three calculations – what is the value of giving up your 3rd bench spot for roughly 30% of a season?  This value is going to vary based on your drafting ability, luck, and whether you choose a hitter vs. pitcher.  But we can still break it into three components:

  1. Playing Stats During the 50 Games – Since this player is worse than your starting players, it’s assumed you’d only start them when your hitter/pitcher has an off-day (or bad matchup).
  2.  Value in Adding to a Trade – While benched players don’t have a chance to contribute much in the stat line, they could bring value as trade filler.
  3.  Lottery Ticket – The player you had stashed on your bench ends up being a very good player and ends up replacing a weak link in your roster.

For #1, the greatest value comes from relievers who can be slotted in during your starting pitcher’s off days.  Let’s assume you pick a solid middle reliever with a full year line of 60 IP / 3 wins / 3 saves / 50 K / 3.00 ERA / 1.10 WHIP and you can use him 80% of the time.  That would net out to:    14 IP / 0.7 W / 0.7 SV / 12 Ks.  Throw in a little credit for ERA/WHIP, and you’re maybe at about 0.8 of a standings point.  That doesn’t sound like a lot but 0.8 standings points is worth $2 based on my Point Share calculations (for the 12 team MLB format).

If you went with a hitter, you’re looking at a similar yearly line that we used for the replacement OF (.264/60/8/51/14) multiplied by 0.3 (for 50 out of 162 games) and then by 0.2 (about 1.5 games out of 7 where you have an opening to play them).  This nets out to a measly 4/0.5/3/1 line which totals out to 0.5 standing points or roughly $1.

So for #1, we’ve got an estimate of $1-$2.

For #2, I’m just going to assume $0 since the chances that your 3rd bench spot has any trade value is low.

For #3, I’ve found most of a team’s later round and bench picks usually end up on the waiver wire in a shallow league format like 12-team MLB.  There were 37 players who I valued at $10+ for end of year that Grey ranked at the equivalent of $3 or less (out of top 200).  Only 8 of those players were drafted in the majority of Razzball Commenter Leagues:  Asdrubal Cabrera (ADP 222), Michael Bourn (108), Starlin Castro (153), Jhonny Peralta (~250), Kyle Farnsworth (~250), Ryan Madson (~250), Coco Crisp (238), and Brandon League (235).  So throwing out Bourn and Castro, there were 6 players of notable value that could have been bench filler.  Since we’d be losing 33% of our bench spots, let’s assume we’d lose only 33% of these potential lottery tickets.  That nets out to 2 players in a 12 team league that might’ve been lost because of an occupied bench spot.  The average value of those 6 players was $14.   So missing out on a 16% chance to get a $14 player is worth $2.20.  (Note:  There are a whole bunch of variables/scenarios I left out for post brevity including 1) an owner might’ve still dropped the ‘lottery ticket’ in favor of another waiver pick, 2) the ‘lottery ticket’ wouldn’t be starting from day 1 so they wouldn’t earn their $10+ value, 3) there’s potential to have stashed someone worth $1-$9, 4) the replacement OF for Braun is the ‘lottery ticket’, etc.  Let’s pretend all these variables average out.)

If I figure that #1 and #3 have some overlap – the ‘lottery ticket’ would’ve either represented some of the part-time at-bats/IP or replaced a starter who became my off-the-bench plater, I’m going to say the opportunity cost of a bench spot is in the range of $3-$4.

So $22 minus $3.50 = $18.50 which is about the 60th most valuable player from last year (Carlos Beltran, Adam Jones).  So end of 5th round/early 6th round SHOULD be Ryan Braun’s ADP.  Right now, ESPN has him at 39, Yahoo has him at 48, Fleaflicker has him at 83 and Grey has him at 119.  It’ll be interesting to see where it ends up in the various leagues (including Razzball Commenter Leagues).