Is there any chance you could break those charts up between starters or relievers? Or closers and non-closers?I did do this already...but way back in December, when only the diehards had their fannies planted in the seats. There were two posts for American League starting pitchers, and one each for A.L. relievers, N.L. starters, and N.L. relievers. Instead of groupings of 12, I used groupings of 10, but otherwise the charts were the same.
Basically, when you're looking at the bottom end (your tiers 7-9, say), there are going to be some guys drafted there for a few bucks who end up becoming closers and are worth $25, who will total skew the numbers.
A.L. Starting Pitchers: Bids vs. Earnings 2008
I made one change to the chart from the links above: I switched the values from 4x4 to 5x5, since that's the format I suspect most of my readers use. I've discussed the differences in 4x4 vs. 5x5 at length in another post, but the biggest difference is that pitchers who are super incredibly bad in 4x4 are only incredibly bad in 5x5.
The evidence from last year suggests that you should still avoid the top pitchers. All of the losses come from the 20 most expensive A.L. starters last year; unless you got Roy Halladay you didn't do very well paying for an ace in 2008.
The problem with this idea is that you need stats more than you need profits. I don't want to take a $7 bath on a $25 pitcher, but this group of pitchers still earns more than any other group. Even if I had been "wise" enough to buy six starters from the #31-40 group for $42, I still would have only seen $66 in earnings. That's a nice ROI...but probably not enough of an impact to win my league.
What breaking these pitchers out into starters vs. relievers does show is that it's the second-tier starters who will kill you. 5x5 helps a little bit, but taking a $10 bath is a recipe for failure. Heck, this group is almost as bad as the $3 group of bums at the bottom.
N.L. Starting Pitchers: Bids vs. Earnings 2008
The National League is far more predictable, at least in terms how starters are ranked in both salary and earnings. As a result, it is even easier to see why paying for a top pitcher is a necessity, even if you are taking a loss.
77%, 72%, 69%.
These are the rates of return on the first three groups of pitchers above. The second and third groups of pitchers lose less money per pitcher, but since you need stats you have to take at least one chance on the top group of pitchers. If you skimp and try to pay what you think these pitchers are going to earn, you're not going to have a staff.
Or you're going to have a staff of very cheap starters who turn a profit, but one that is so mild that you're definitely not going to compete in the pitching categories.
The quandary in both leagues is that you are taking a loss on these pitchers, if your league is anything like the three expert leagues that are used to track the average salaries shown above. The market is paying more than what these pitchers earned, since the formulas I use calculate average league earnings
If you want to buy a pitching staff, in other words, you have to take a loss somewhere.
The question is where you want to take that loss. From where I'm sitting, the best place to take that loss is on the top starting pitchers. I know I sound like a broken record, but you want stats, stats, stats! The top 10 pitchers in both the A.L. and N.L. last year were relatively safe places to put your money in 2008 and they'll probably continue to be relatively safe places to put your money in 2009.
Tomorrow, I'll take a look at the relievers.