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January 29, 2013

Fantasy Beat

Hidden Fantasy Value

by Jason Collette

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There is not an official set of commandments for fantasy players to follow when participating in an auction. If there were, it is almost certain that “thou shalt not leave any dollars on the table” would be one of them. The concept is simple: you have X fantasy dollars to spend in an auction, and it is your task to spend every last one of those dollars to fill your starting roster.

Many things could go wrong in any auction that would prevent you from reaching that goal. Rookie mistakes include improperly accounting for in-draft inflation and being stuck with a lot more money than there is talent in the draft up to something as simple as poor math and finding out you have more money than you thought you had. The ironic thing here is that every owner in every league leaves money on the table in one form or another. While few leave actual auction dollars on the table, there are always undrafted players that go on to produce serious value. This happens in casual leagues, in serious leagues, and even in expert leagues.

In looking at 15-team, 5x5, mixed-league dollar values from 2012, there were 336 players that produced at least $1 of fantasy production in 2012. Little did the 15 dignitaries of the Tout Wars mixed league know, they spent a combined $3900 imaginary dollars on players while not rostering 28.2 percent of the profitable players. 

Overall, here is how the dollars spent on the profitable players in 2012 broke down:

POSITION

DRAFT $

FINAL 2012 $

DIFFERENCE

% UNDRAFTED

Hitters

$2316

$2733

$417

16.3%

Pitchers

$881

$1175

$294

25.1%

Overall

$3197

$3908

$711

18.2%

 

Here is a breakdown by position of the profitable players that went undrafted in the Tout Wars mixed draft:

POSITION

COUNT

FINAL 2012 $

% POSITION POOL UNDRAFTED

Catcher

3

$21

15%

First Base

5

$57

18%

Second Base

1

$2

5%

Shortstop

3

$11

14%

Third Base

11

$72

39%

Outfield

24

$202

28%

Pitcher

48

$308

37%

 

In terms of raw production, these are the combined statistics of the 47 undrafted hitters who turned profits in 2012 produced:

Category

Total

Average Player

Batting Average

.272

.272

Runs

2,584

55

Home Runs

619

13

RBI

2,399

51

Steals

521

11

 

Here are the numbers for the 48 undrafted yet profitable pitchers:

Category

Total

Average Pitcher

Wins

478

10

Saves

227

5

Strikeouts

5,498

115

WHIP

1.23

1.23

ERA (Average)

3.51

3.51

 

Amongst the hitters that went undrafted on draft day are 20 players that hit at least 15 home runs, 11 that drove in at least 60 runs, 15 that scored at least 60 runs, 12 that hit at least .290, and nine that swiped at least 20 bases.  On the pitching side of the undrafted ledger, 28 won at least 10 games, nine saved at least 10 games, 20 struck out at least 130 hitters, 17 had ERA of 3.25 or lower, and 28 had WHIPs of 1.25 or lower.

Yes, even the best of the best are not perfect and will fail to account for all of the production on draft day. While it is a forgivable sin to leave auction dollars on the table, do not compound your mistake by doing the same with your free agent talent. If the experts fail to account for 28 percent of the profitable talent in their auction, odds are there is even more freely available talent sitting out there after the auction in your own league, just waiting to be acquired.

Jason Collette is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jason's other articles. You can contact Jason by clicking here

Related Content:  Undrafted

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