Monday, January 26, 2009

The Value of a Predictable Player

It's a shame that I didn't choose a more interesting player to write about than Bobby Abreu. The feedback I've gotten on Abreu has been fairly positive; I can only imagine what would have happened if I had picked someone more unpredictable to profile.

Frank's comment emphasizes how predictable Abreu is.
Abreu was available at auction in both of my AL-only keeper leagues last year. He went for $31 in one league, and $33 in the other. I figured he'd sell for $29 to $33. Not much of a surprise there. I don't expect him to be kept by either owner, but I would expect him to be acquired for about the same salary this year (assuming he stays in the AL). I won't pursue him at that price because I don't see much upside. If he was sitting there at $26, though, I'd probably raise the bid by $1.
Abreu was available in my A.L. auction last year and went for $33 as well (Stage Three Rotisserie). My pre-inflation bid price for him was $27, and my inflation price was also $33. Abreu was what I call an inflation par player.

For those of you who are veterans to Roto, you can take out your calculator and quickly figure out that my league's inflation rate was somewhere between 21-24%. Stage Three being what it is, it's likely that Frank's leagues had similar inflation rates.

Because I doubt that the difference of opinion on Bobby Abreu was that dramatic. Indeed, when I look at the three expert leagues I used to track average league salaries in 2008, I see that Abreu went for $31 in Sportsline, $29 in Tout Wars, and $28 in LABR.

While these prices all look very similar, inflation quickly makes them quite different. Using the 21% inflation rate I outlined above, Abreu's inflation bid using the $28 price in LABR as a guideline is $34. In Tout it's $35 and in Sportsline $38.

I've talked about this in several places, but you don't want to pay $38 for Bobby Abreu. One of the things bid limits should do in keeper leagues is take into account a player's ceiling. You might have thought Abreu was going to earn $31 last year but probably no one thought he'd earn $38.

Another way of looking at this is that you know you're going to take losses due to inflation, but you don't want your losses to be par - or worse than par. Paying $33 for Abreu and having him earn $30 or $31 would have been acceptable. Paying $38 for those $30 worth of stats would not have been.

We take this into account in freeze leagues when we set our bid limits as well. Frank puts it well when he says that there isn't "much upside" in Abreu. If I'm going to pay full inflation value for a player (and I rarely do), he'd better have upside.

1 comment:

Eugene Freedman said...

Just to add to the numbers, Abreu went for $30 in my 5x5 league with 15% inflation and $36 in my other 5x5 with 23% inflation.

Regarding even my previous comment- even if it's only a 10% drop in 1/4 of his salary, due to a lineup change, that's a separate decline to account for than his performance decline due to age. You have to do his age based decline, then his lineup based decline, which might be another $1-2. There may even be a park factor decline or increase to factor in as well. My point wasn't that the RBI and Run decline will be huge, but it's an additional decline that must be priced-in.