Understanding Draft Pick Valuation Offset in Keeper Leagues

In a serious keeper league, you will eventually end up at a point where trading draft picks is brought up as something that would be fun. However, figuring out how to value a pick is not something that is easily decided upon. Every league has different rules, categories, etc, but one thing that is common to just about every league is that players are able to be ranked to determine who is the best and who is the worst player. With that as a guideline, some analysis can be done to determine how valuable a pick is vs. another pick. I will go into further detail on that at another time. What will be analyzed here is the difference in round value due to the chaotic nature of keepers being pulled out of the draft pool.

Below is an example from a 10 team keeper league, where we were between seasons and trades were being discussed after keepers were selected. The question being asked wasn’t whether pick 1 is better than pick 2, rather, how do the rounds compare to each other based on value?

Setup:

First, determine the rank for every player (I know pitchers and batters have different stats, but they still have an overall valuation that gives them a rank in the scope of all players. We don’t need to know the raw stats for this example). Now, remove all keepers if they have not already been removed. At this point, you are left with only players that can be drafted. Add the sequential draft order to simulate, ordered by rank of those remaining, where they would be drafted (the player with the best rank would be round 1, pick 1).

Analysis:

Since people keep players from all over the ranks, there are gaps. Through this arbitrage between rank and overall draft pick # (in a 10 team league, round 2 pick 1 would be draft pick # 11) we can determine the value. For each draft position, determine the difference between rank and draft pick #.

Now that we have a general metric for determining value beyond draft slot, we need to look at it and see what it means.

1. If there were no gaps in picks, the metric would be the same for all picks.  For example: rank 1 – pick 1 = 0, rank 100 – pick 100 = 0.  If there is an offset, such as 50 total keepers, then drafting begins at pick 51.  Rank 51 – Pick 1 = 50.  Rank 52 – Pick 2 = 50.

2. Just as the #1 pick is better than the #2 pick, a small number is better than a larger number with this metric. If a player with rank 35 is the best available, and the second best is rank 40, the valuation for pick #1 is 34, pick #2 is 39.

Below is what the first 15 rounds of a draft could look like by draft pick value offset:

Round

Avg

Min

Max

1

48.3

35

53

2

58.5

56

62

3

66.2

62

68

4

71.6

68

76

5

76.2

76

77

6

78.4

77

79

7

80

80

80

8

80.7

80

82

9

82

82

82

10

82.2

82

83

11

83

83

83

12

83.4

83

84

13

84.8

84

85

14

85.2

85

87

15

87

87

87

In chart form:

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As you can see, the difference between rounds is greater at the beginning of the draft. This is due to people arbitrarily keeping players and throwing others back into the draft. Thus, by rank, the first few rounds provide an enormous amount of increased value per draft position than the later rounds. Once round 6 rolls around, there is not a large arbitrage due to keepers. This was to be expected since those rounds (in this league) are filled with players who would not warrant being kept.

I will be posting some examples using regression analysis and WAR instead of rank soon to get a more in depth draft pick value.