The Position Scarcity Post To End All Position Scarcity Posts

Ahh, one of the most debated topics in fantasy baseballdom. Does position scarcity exist or is it just a myth? Hell, what the heck do you even mean by position scarcity to begin with? Earlier in the week, RotoGraphs’ Howard Bender published his thoughts on the issue using catchers as the focal point. He concluded that it was unwise to spend an early round pick on a catcher because you could get better production elsewhere. I disagree with this opinion and feel that the top catcher is absolutely worth the price he is paid. Here’s why…

Position Scarcity Defined

In the simplest terms, position scarcity exists when there are not enough positively valued players at a position to fill up every active roster. In a standard 12-team league with 14 hitters, a total of 168 hitters will be drafted as starters and each must be valued and purchased at $1, at the very least. If you projected every hitter and valued their raw stats based on a $260 salary cap per team, there is virtually no chance that 24 catchers will make your top 168. There is also a possibility that there won’t be the required minimum of 36 middle infielders.

Let’s assume for a moment that this is a great year for middle infielders, so only catchers are short in your top 168. We would therefore say that the catcher position is scarce. Since we must pay $1 for the 24th best catcher, every catcher would get a bump in value to force 24 of them into your top 168. This has the side effect of causing a catcher to be valued quite a bit more than a player at a different position with the exact same raw stats. In fact, Joe Mauer loses a whopping $17 of value when I make him a first baseman.

A Mock Draft to Illustrate

Let’s imagine a league with only two teams, two positional requirements, and one category. Our league requires one catcher and one first baseman and we only care about home runs, because I have heard that that’s what chicks dig. Our two drafters are named I Hate Math and I Love Truth.

Here are our choices at each position:

Much to his excitement, I Hate Math has drawn the first overall pick. Scanning over his options, he decides that the 3rd Baseman 1 is the obvious pick since he leads the field with 35 home runs. I Love Truth cheers, which confuses I Hate Math, and he happily selects Catcher 1 with the next pick, followed by Third Baseman 14 (third baseman 14 was used since I took into account the CI slot, and when only counting home runs, 14 third basemen would be drafted as starters according to my projections). I Hate Math then finishes the quick draft with Catcher 24.

The Draft Results

With a bewildered look in his face, I Hate Math adds up the total home runs each team drafted several times in his head and keeps finding that I Love Truth managed to draft 44 home runs to his 43. “How could this be?” he thought, “I had the first pick and drafted the player with the highest home run total!”

In the above table, I included a third column labeled Useful HRs. That simply represents the number of home runs above what you could get from the last positively valued player at the position (in a real draft, we would instead use a replacement player). The home run projection numbers I used were straight from my projections, so they do represent reality. What we could glean from this last column is that although 3rd Baseman 1 projects to hit the most home runs, his useful, or marginal, home run production is lower than that of the top catcher versus the bottom one.

Finally, The Truth

Wouldn’t life be easier if we could fill our teams with 14 players from any position? You want 10 first basemen and 4 outfielders? They are all yours, catchers be damned! Of course, this is not how we actually play this wonderful game of fantasy baseball. We are forced to draft and actually start two catchers (or one if your league hates them that much), so we have no choice but to draft the players that fit into our active roster requirements.

With that being the case, a player’s statistics must be compared relative to his position. You just cannot compare a catcher’s raw projected stat line with a third baseman’s, note that the third baseman bests the catcher in every category, and then conclude that he is the more valuable fantasy player. Besides the utility spot, you cannot play a catcher and a third baseman in the same roster slot. When you look to plug your catcher position, it must be filled by a catcher. Therefore, catchers should be compared to catchers and third baseman to the corner infield pool in order to calculate their useful stats. Once that task is complete, then and only then can you begin comparing players within one positional pool to the rest of the player pool.

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Mike Podhorzer produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. He also sells beautiful photos through his online gallery, Pod's Pics. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

41 Responses to “The Position Scarcity Post To End All Position Scarcity Posts”

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  1. Andrew says:


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  2. Jason says:

    This gets MUCH more complicated when you compare WHERE you got the catcher and WHERE you got the 3B. Which I’m sure Howard was referring to, but I digress.

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  3. glenstein says:

    Wouldn’t it be preferable that “Useful HR’s” be measured not against the lowest replacement-level player but against the fantasy league average at the position?

    In your two-team example they happily amount to the same thing. And I’m a bit fuzzy on this, but it has to do with the fact that your competition can also avoid getting the “replacement level” player.

    Suppose at Catcher you have three players: 35 HR, 30 HR, and 5 HR

    And a 3B you have 40 HR, 20 HR, and 15 HR.

    In this case the top catcher would have 30 “useful” home runs, but the top 3B would have only 25.

    I Hate Math drafts his 40 HR third baseman, I Love Truth gets his 35 HR catcher. Then I Hate Math drafts the next best catcher and I Love Truth gets the next best 3B. This time around, I Hate Math wins, even though he didn’t get the guy with the most “useful” HRs.

    Position scarcity can mean significant differences not only between the top and mid tiers, but also the mid and the bottom tiers. That lowest-level replacement player is going to hurt you more or less depending on where they stand relative to the league average.

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    • glenstein says:

      Or maybe I should read better.

      You say:

      That simply represents the number of home runs above what you could get from the last positively valued player at the position (in a real draft, we would instead use a replacement player).

      Does “positively valued” mean above average fantasy production at that position? Or something like that?

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      • glassSheets says:

        Well in your example nobody would draft the 5 HR catcher or the 15 HR third baseman with only two drafters.

        If there were three drafters it would go
        I Hate math gets 40 hr and then 5hr = total 45
        Middle Guy gets 35 hr and 15 hr = total 50 hr
        I love truth gets 30 hr and 20 hr = total 50 hr

        I hate math still doesn’t understand why he lost.

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    • Toffer Peak says:

      I’m not really sure what you’re trying to say in your example because you mention three players at each position but only talk about two teams. Assuming their are only two teams the third player is not the replacement level player, by definition they are below replacement level; it is the second best player who is replacement level in a two team league. So in your example the 40 HR 3B is worth 20 Useful HRs and the 35 HR catcher is worth only 5 Useful HRs.

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      • glenstein says:

        That was a slipup on my part; I am indeed thinking in the context of multiple teams.

        Pegging the value of Your Guy to that of the lowest replacement can possibly distort the value of Your Guy, if the lowest replacement is far away from the average value and Your Guy is close to average value.

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  4. Ed says:

    Pardon my ignorance, but is this really one of the most debated topics in fantasy baseballdom? Thought the whole “Mauer’s bat plays better at catcher than at first base” concept was pretty well universally understood. I mean, people seem to get that HanRam is super valuable, right?

    I got from the referenced article that people were underestimating the value that Mauer brings as a high average middle of the order hitter on a good team who doesn’t happen to hit more dingers than a number of other catchers.

    I did think the confusion about Mauer’s value in a 2 catcher league vs. a 1 catcher league was interesting.

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  5. Zach Piso says:

    I feel like no one would argue whether or not positional scarcity could exist, but rather people are now arguing that positional scarcity does not (currently) exist. Value is always relative to replacement level, but it seems that the format of five-outfielder leagues pushes the replacement levels of each position to roughly the same production. In two-catcher, ten owner leagues, this is probably not the case for catchers, as the 20th catcher is worse than the 50th outfielder. It is also not the case in Yahoo! leagues where the 10th catcher is worse than the 30th outfielder. However, in standard ESPN leagues, which is the format I see most frequently discussed by fantasy pundits (1 catcher, 5 outfielders), I’m not sure there’s a radical difference between the 10th catcher and the 50th outfielder (nor the 30th middle infielder). In these leagues, the value above the margin is much higher for outfielders and corner infielders than other positions, and hence positional scarcity is grossly overrated.

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    • Mike Podhorzer says:

      It is impossible to give fantasy advice that covers every single league format. The standard league is 14 hitters (2 catchers) and 9 pitchers, so that is what I will almost always be advising on unless specifically noted. Of course certain advise will not be appropriate for different settings, so owners need to understand this.

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      • Zach Piso says:

        I understand that NFBC format, 2 catcher/14 hitter/9 pitchers, is traditional, but I hardly believe it is “standard” these days. Using the admittedly small sample size that is Mock Draft Central’s mock draft lobby, which allows registered owners to select their own format when creating leagues, we get the following breakdown (I used mixed format only because AL/NL only is always specified by columnists)…

        NFBC (2C): 7 Mocks
        Yahoo! (1C, 3OF): 11 Mocks
        ESPN (1C, 5OF): 8 Mocks

        Given that mock draft creation requires paid membership, I believe this is a decent gage of the breakdown of semi-serious fantasy players. Now, the number of people in each league (10 or 12 or sometimes a few more) does vary widely. However, these differences don’t influence the replacement rate nearly as much as the 1-2 catcher distinction.

        Unless you can quantify that NFBC is the “standard” league, and that your audience is aware of this assumption, then how about posting your stance? It’s good writing.

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  6. Jay says:

    Is it me or do these types of articles always fall short of *quantifying* position scarcity? As posters have said above, obviously everyone knows that Mauer is more valuable at C than at 1B, as is Hanley at SS. The question that fantasy owners have of the statisticians is what price should be paid (given a certain league setup) for a #1 C or #1 SS relative to the field. Tell us: is Mauer truly worth $30 this year? Or is he worth $40 or $20? Is Hanley worth $45? Or is he worth $35 or $55? These are important calculations that the fantasy public either can’t figure out or doesn’t have the time to.

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    • Mike Podhorzer says:

      If you calculate dollar values, as I do, then that will give you your answer.In the article, I mentioned that Mauer would lose $17 of value if he was a first baseman. I had him valued at about $28. Calculating your own dollar values is really the only way to truly quantify position scarcity. Without doing that, you’re just guessing, which is no different then when ranking players by just looking at names and not calculating values.

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    • jrogers says:

      Specifically, the easy way to do things is to calculate dollar values for every player without looking at position, and then make a positional price adjustment based on the value of the “replacement level” player (i.e. last drafted, first undrafted, or however you want to do it). So if you find that the replacement-level first baseman is worth $4 in your system and the replacement-level catcher is worth -$5, you subtract $3 from every 1B and add $6 to every catcher’s value, bringing the replacement level to $1 for both positions.

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  7. Spence says:

    When I looked at the replacement value for two catchers, and not just one, the scarcity issue came into focus. It’s also been much easier in recent years to find a replacement via waivers for OF, SP and other positions than C. So after suffering through Doumit, Ianetta and the like over the past few years, I just drafted VMart (3rd round) and McCann (5th). Another owner has Maurer and Soto, which means there are a couple of teams whose catchers’ totals won’t match one elite 1B. Reducing position scarcity to strictly math ignores too many other factors.

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    • RotoChamp says:


      You drafted V-Mart and McCann? Congrats!! If you are in a 2-catcher league you just gave yourself a huge advantage by picking 2 of the top 5 catchers. Not many people understand the tremendous value the top catchers give you in a 2-catcher setup. Our valuation engine and subsequent mock drafts make it pretty clear that you should go with 2 top catchers because their true value always exceeds their ADP by a great margin. I’ve picked up Carlos Santana in nearly every draft I’ve done, and either Mauer/Posey for my other catcher.

      Most people are scared about giving up huge production in the first 6 rounds by picking these guys up, but you will always make that up in the later rounds when others are picking up scraps while you are getting decent players at the CI/OF type spots.

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  8. ATrain says:

    Good article Matt, thanks.

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  9. Dana says:

    I have always felt this depends on how shallow the league is. The shallower the league, the more value you give to position scarcity. But as you get deeper, replacement level gets much closer at all positions. Regardless, there are too many variables to have an accepted value for position scarcity…$17 for Mauer does not pass the eye test for me, but I guess that is the point of the article

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  10. SteveTuttle says:

    Position scarcity is one of several factors that give you information about what order you should draft players in or how much you should spend at auction. You also have to consider the value against all draftable players (i.e. unadjusted for position), the stat distribution of value for a given player (how much comes from home runs, steals, rbis, etc.), the stat distribution for your roster at any particular time in the draft and the current status of all the other teams in terms of their roster. When you add it all up you come up with a pretty complicated math problem. The landscape changes with every single pick. Game theory comes into play as you try to work through the optimal pick at any location relative to the optimal picks of all other players and their likelihood to make “rational” or “irrational” picks (in game theory terms). Because of the complexity, I somewhat doubt claims that anybody has created an engine that can correctly assess the optimal pick at any point (assuming a shared set of projections). I do think that modeling can give you a range of probabilities and maybe help you gain some advantages in terms of positional scarcity, but short of that I’m kind of leary about rules of thumb when it comes to scarcity. I think a good way to incorporate some sense of scarcity for the average drafter is to have positional tiers based on standard deviation within the category to give you a sense of where the talent divides itself. However, I think it’s probably more important and more effective to focus first on your own rates at each statistic across your roster (i.e. how many runs, rbis, hrs, wins, saves are you averaging per player) relative to some win targets and look at scarcity through this lens rather than as its own imperative. If that makes any sense. Which it probably doesn’t.

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  11. Gary M. Mugford says:

    I tried very hard to come up with a drafting algorithm that always took advantage of positional scarcity. The best I could come up with for draft leagues was to monitor two values. I did do an analysis of calculated top, average and bottom values as I projected totals for each position. But, during the draft, it’s important to note when a gap between players develops. In any position, even if the outliers at either end are extreme, there can be temporary advantages that can be had. I always looked at my current top rated player at each position versus the guy one-half of the total number of drafting teams behind him. In a ten team league, I needed to know what the fifth highest ranking player was projected at vs. my top pick at that position from the remaining players. But constantly drafting the biggest ‘gap’ guy, I ended up getting value within the draft. Later, I softened up the task a bit by adjusting for how good the rest of the league actually was. The better the overall managing talent, the few spots down I went. In the one long-term league, it eventually got down to a two-player gap.

    Now, I haven’t played for a couple of years and the new advent of easily available statistical projections probably means my method might be less successful then it was up until I retired. But it’s important to get a feeling of changing pools of opportunity in a snake draft and to be not caught on the back end of a run at a position, even if you figure you can do okay with bottom of the barrel guys at certain positions.

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    • SteveTuttle says:

      I’ve tried doing the same thing by calculating standard deviation of unadjusted projected dollar values by position and then tracking the number of deviations from the mean. But I’ve found that in a draft situation, when I’m trying to track a lot of information, it’s easier to use that information pre-draft to formulate my tiers and then to just go by that rather than trying to recalibrate during the draft.

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  12. AA says:

    Wouldn’t even I Hate Math take Pujols number 1?

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    • Mike Podhorzer says:

      Yes, which is why simply stating that position scarcity is real and illustrating it isn’t enough. You then should quantify the scarcity by calculating dollar values, which is another topic altogether!

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  13. sanderson13 says:

    I believe in position scarcity — or better said, talent unevenly distributed among positions (aka TUDAP).

    I also believe succeeding at Fantasy Baseball has a lot to do with minimizing risk with your top picks. Drafting a Catcher early don’t do a lot to help to accomplish that.

    My name is Dr. Rockzo the Rock ‘n Roll Clown and I Punt Catcher!

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    • Mike Podhorzer says:

      Completely agree, and though I am a proponent of position scarcity, I personally rarely draft the top catchers in round 2 or 3. Not because I don’t think they are worth it if they post the statistics I project them for, but because of the greater risk and more limited upside. More a strategic decision than one of value.

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  14. Kris says:

    For those of you that’d like an all-encompassing article on position scarcity, it’ll be a while.

    The math itself would be an absolutely train-wreck and have to be adjusted every year based on distribution. Furthermore, here’s the crazy-stuff: Our margin of error is going to be absolutely massive. I’m sure on some of these projections, we’re dealing with “Pujols will hit 100 RBI +/- 10, 16 out of 20 times!”

    Anything that we get from the actual distribution of players will only tell us who to draft based on this exact set of projections.

    So, as someone that often has dirty-as-hell make-up sex with Math, can I just tell you to tier your players and use your brain?

    “If I draft Joe Mauer now, my next opportunity to get a catcher will give me 75% production or XXX less RBI, R, HR. If I draft an outfielder now, the next outfielder will give me 80% of the production, but there’s 15 of those guys all with the same stats!”

    Honestly, your brain does a better job of this stuff than math ever could. Unless of course you think EVERY player will produce exactly their projections and every Fantasy Owner will draft in a sane fashion.

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    • Kris says:

      I don’t know why I said Pujols would hit 100 RBI. I’mma just call that a terrible example and get it out of the way.

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  15. Hello says:

    If you’re playing in a two catcher league, then yes catchers are definitely scarce. Two top guys vs. two bottom guys would be a huge help.

    But in a one catcher league, Mauer does not help as much players taken around him. No catcher plays every day. His average doesn’t have as much of an effect on your team’s AVG as an everyday player because he’ll get less ABs. And Ianetta’s AVG won’t hurt you as much for the same reason.

    Do a lot of people play in two catcher leagues? Because in the 15 years I’ve been playing, I have yet to play in one.

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    • Mike Podhorzer says:

      To be honest, I have no idea, I don’t calculate values for 1 catcher leagues so can’t say whether he is overvalued in those leagues or not. From the beginning, the standard roster was 14 hitters, which includes 2 catchers. Yahoo leagues have watered things down with their small rosters and now that has apparently become the so-called standard.

      However, yes, Mauer is worth less in 1 catcher leagues, but he still may be appropriately valued.

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  16. kab21 says:

    I did a more in depth position scarcity on another forum with regards to Tulo at #3 vs MCab. Here is what I wrote a few weeks ago.

    The positional scarcity argument for Tulo works out as a wash at best. But in the spirit of Devil Advocacy here are some numbers to ponder.

    2010 MCab – .328BA, 111, 38, 126, 3
    2010 Derrek Lee – .260, 80, 19, 80, 1 – I chose Lee since these seem to be reasonably typical numbers for a 1Bman in the last 5 rds of the draft

    MCab advantage – .068 BA, 31R, 19HR, 46 RBI, 2 SB

    2009 Tulo – .297, 101, 32, 92, 20 – I chose ’09 tulo since he missed some games in ’10 but would have bettered his ’09 season with a full season. If you want to ding Tulo then ding him because he can’t stay healthy.
    2010 Peralta – .249, 60, 15, 81, 1 – Peralta is a pretty solid SS in the last 5 rds

    Tulo advantage – .048 BA, 41R, 17 HR, 11 RBI, 19 SB’s – projecting Tulo this season I would give him an increased RBI advantage (+10 more) but also 10 fewer SB’s (20 was flukey)

    Overall I do give the advantage to MCab but it’s not really a landslide. But 2010 was also MCab’s best year in his outstanding career. Even great players regress to their career norms. tulo despite claims of not having done it long enough has had 3 outstanding years in his 4 yr career but should get dinged for missing time in 2 seasons.

    But where the scarcity really comes into play is that you can find a 1Bman somewhere between the #22 (your next pick) and the end of the draft that can better Lee’s numbers and not be an overdraft. The options might not be great but there are options. And it’s possible that you grab a prospect/nonprospect (Belt/Smoak/Ike/etc…) that breaks out. this really isn’t true at SS. If you miss on Tulo/Hanley you might as well punt until the end. the other options are being significantly overdrafted (unless a guy like Reyes/Rollins rebounds).

    Just a counterpoint to the popular opinion.

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  17. onbekend says:

    Some very compelling arguments on both sides of the issue. The reason I tend to move catchers down the ladder is the same reason pitchers often don’t also get their fair dues – risk. You gotta love the guys that wear the “tools of ignorance” but they, like pitchers, just get hurt more often. I know this takes away from the position scarcity debate but I just thought it needed to be said.

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  18. jfwiii says:

    The idea of risk presented by a few of the commenters here is a valuable one to discuss. If I always drafted purely based on value, I’d probably take pitchers a lot earlier (and I have in the past), but they do seem to crash and burn too easily, so I tend to adjust them down. A good model of how much risk should be expecting when selecting a player at a given position would be worthwhile. The same goes for discussing whether or not you should attempt to minimize risk, as I typically do, or just assume it all balances out in the end.

    Regardless of that, position scarcity is real as long as you’re in a league that has defined position requirements, no matter the size. Ignore it at your own peril.

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  19. Blue says:

    Position scarcity as a concept ONLY makes sense in deep leagues, In single-league contests, particularly when you ar running out 14 position players, it is virtually meaningless and the example above does not fully account for the costs of drafting catchers.

    Let’s say you decide to follow “RotoChamps” advice and draft Posey + McCann in rounds 1 and 2 of an NL-only league. I’ll just show projected R/RBI/HR/SB/AVG.

    Posey: 66/64/16/1/.290
    McCann: 73/71/19/4/.279

    You COULD have taken:
    Kemp: 87/90/23/29/.276
    Werth: 87/85/27/16/.266

    You are behind 35 runs, 40 RBI, 10 HR, and 40 SB. The slightly better AVG is going to have less of an effect because catchers get a lot fewer PAs.

    Now, this all has to balance out.

    The player who took the outfielders selects Lucroy and Hernandez late in the draft.

    LuCroy: 51/46/10/2/.259
    Hernandez: 36/32/7/1/.259

    The player who took the two early catchers in turn takes his final two outfielders at the same drafting position:

    Lewis: 24/21/4/7/.258
    DeRosa: 36/32/8/2/.251

    Scrub catchers in this case beat scrub outfielders: 27 R, 25 RBI, -3 HR, -6 SB, better AVG.

    You are net worse taking the star catchers rather than the star outfielders by 62 R, 65 RBI, 7 HR, 36 SB.

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    • Blue says:

      And to follow up:

      In our NL-only league (5 OF, CI, MI, Util) there are 126 fielding positions (non C or P) to fill 132 roto positions–in other words the replacement level of the final Util or MI/CI slot for at least some teams must be filled by a bench player. In practice, many of thes slots will be filled by part-time players.

      In contrast, there are 36 rostered catchers, 18 of which start and 18 of which get fairly guaranteed playing time of a couple of hundred ABs–36 players to fill 24 needed roto slots.

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    • SteveTuttle says:

      The problem with this example and most of the others is that they are overly simplified. In your instance, it would of course make sense to punt the catchers to the final two rounds, but in the real world, there would be no reason to take starting outfielders in the last rounds. The depth at outfield would dictate that you’d take them somewhat earlier on and, potentially, end up with a more productive mix than the Kemp/Werth mix.

      The point is that postition scarcity is probably a misnomer. It should be called positional continuum of value or something nerdy like that. When you try to decide how much to allocate your resources (either draft picks, or draft dollars) you should certainly consider the distribution of talent at a position. However, you have to look at each one of your picks in a context that includes but is not solely driven by position. You also have to consider distribution of stats (how much power, speed, k’s, saves etc.) are still on the board and what your roster looks like at any one time in terms of positions filled/remaining, distribution of stats relative to what it takes to win/reach average in a category, the way other people are drafting and their remaining needs etc.

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      • Blue says:

        That’s just pushing the air around the balloon–to get those better OF in, say, the mid rounds you’re just pushing something else to later rounds.

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      • SteveTuttle says:

        It’s all just pushing air around in the balloon, that’s the point. You have to look at everything in a much wider context than scarcity. I think there are 3.06 x 10^614 ways of arranging 300 players on 25 teams.

        In your scenario, let’s say you move the air by drafting those outfielders in the middle rounds and then adding replacement level (in roto terms) starting pitchers. Those pitchers are likely to be much closer to the mean value for sp’s than the outfielders drafted 24 and 25. Or are they? In most leagues yes, but what if you happened to be in a league where people went pitching mad?

        It’s all and only in context that you can value a player. Let’s say all the players projected to steal 40+ bases are off the board except Rajai Davis. Well then his value goes way up, right? Well, what if you already have Michael Bourn? Back down again. Or you’re low on steals. Back up again. Except you’re so low on steals that you’re going to finish last even with Rajai. Back down again. But you think you might be able to trade you extra closer for some more speed and get to average in steals. Back up again. And so on ad nauseum.

        Concepts like position scarcity and even putting a pre-rank or dollar value on a player are only useful rules of thumb to help you manage the complexity of a 300! permutation game. But you should always look at everything in context. Otherwise, your useful rules of thumb actually get in the way of making good choices.

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  20. Rudy Gamble says:

    Factoring in position scarcity is tough but definitely possible – at least pre-draft using one assumption (either comparing vs. position average or position replacement value). I think it gets insane trying to optimize during a draft.

    An additional factor is normalizing the value of the offensive categories – e.g., how many Runs are worth an SB?

    FWIW, I found that 100% positional weights was too much for my tastes. I use 75% vs positional / 25% vs. average drafted hitter. I’ve also found that, in practice, people overestimate the value of position scarcity. This is generally seen in the drafting of 2nd tier 2B/SS. (As others mentioned, most drafters are wary of the risks and limited upside of Catchers. This sounds like a great idea until you’ve been burned a couple of times. I still do it but with much less gusto).

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    • freefantasy says:

      This is the million dollar question. Arguably, you should just use league totals to decide how much a R is worth compared to a SB. Sometimes that doesn’t adequately reflect what’s going on in the fantasy world. It’s essentially next to impossible to decide weights *prior* to the season. At the end of the season, you can easily decide how many SB were equal to a R in both your league and the MLB but calculating it before hand pretty much alters the system.

      Stolen bases are often clumped together as to make exploitation of the system incredibly easy once someone knows the system. If you decide that there are 1.55 HR in your league for every 1 SB and draft as such, when a couple people grabbing below average players that steal a bunch throw off the entire system.

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  21. Old Style says:

    Ideally, a player should be drafted with the highest incremental value at the time. There are several problems with this in the earlier part of drafts. The early part is essentially outliers/there is not a consistent/continuous distribution of performance. The incremental value to the next player at that position can easily be done later in drafts when this is not a problem. Example: SS. There is a huge drop and people correspond correctly. The incremental difference is not the same because it assumes that the next best is of equal value to the next best at every other position. In all of the calculations, you have to assume where the next person values the player. All in all, you would have to consider the whole distribution of talent properly to assess the value of a person with respect to the individual pick.

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  22. Herbstr8t says:

    There’s no way this ends the need for positional scarcity posts. If we were talking about the $ value of real players (not fantasy) this post would be laughed out of the room. Since so many more readers on FG are fantasy baseball managers (as opposed to real GMs like Theo Epstien) It’s time to start applying the same rigor to fantasy baseball analysis as FG gives to real baseball analysis.

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