Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Rate of Return on Top Prospects

Yesterday, the rumor mill was buzzing with the idea that Jurickson Profar might wind up getting the call for the Texas Rangers in the near future.

In non-keeper leagues we all know the drill by now. It is likely that Profar's value would be extremely limited. Mixed leaguers can safely ignore him. Profar would provide middle infield insurance for the Rangers and if they did call him up now it would be so he could be postseason eligible. Barring an injury to Ian Kinsler or Elvis Andrus he's not likely to start (that and it seems unlikely that the team is going to pull the plug on Michael Young).

But what about going forward? What can we expect from Profar in 2013 and beyond?

I thought I'd take a look at some other Top 10 Baseball America hitting prospects from the last few years and see how they did after they were promoted in terms of Rotisserie earnings.

Matt Wieters2009 BA Rank #1. Earnings: 2009: $9 2010: $8 2011: $16
Colby Rasmus2009 BA Rank #3. $12, $23, $10
Travis Snider2009 BA Rank #6. $5, $10, $5
Cameron Maybin2009 BA Rank #8. $4, $8, $26
Jason Heyward2010 BA Rank #1. $22, $11
Mike Stanton2010 BA Rank #3. $15, $28
Desmond Jennings2010 BA Rank #6. $1, $14
Buster Posey2010 BA Rank #7. $19, $7
Pedro Alvarez2010 BA Rank #8. $12, ($1)
Carlos Santana2010 BA Rank #10. $6, $17

As you might expect, there isn't a clear pattern. Stanton buyers in 2010 clearly came out as winners, while Snider buyers in 2009 probably wasted a high draft/farm pick or a good chunk of FAAB on a very disappointing return.

But the idea of a "good return" depends very much upon your league's rules/format. If you can keep a farm player for $5 at your auction, then your return is obviously going to be much better than if you have to keep the same rookie for $15 in a different league.

A common rule in Rotisserie leagues sees players like this kept for $10 the following season. How did players who went for an average salary of $10 in the expert market do in 2011?

Josh Willingham $19, Marco Scutaro $15, Michael Brantley $14, Chris Iannetta $13, Ryan Ludwick $12, Cody Ross $12, Mike Aviles $11, A.J. Pierzynski $11, Carlos Ruiz $11, Alexi Casilla $10,  Matt LaPorta $8. Ben Francisco $7, Jed Lowrie $7, Magglio Ordonez $6, Dom Brown $5, Bill Hall $2, Kila Ka'aihue $0, Tyler Colvin ($1)

In their second year, the hotshot rookies up there earned a grand total of $125, or $12.5 per player. The players with the $10 average salary earned $9 per player. 

So the rookies do better than the veterans...but not much better.

There's another element to all of this in keeper leagues. To win, you usually need to have the ability to dump a hot rookie for two or more veteran studs. With some of these players, that would have been easy. But with more than a few (Alvarez, Snider, Maybin) this wasn't going to happen, leaving you to deal not only with the sunk cost of the player, but also the sunk cost of a lost opportunity to make the dump deal that you needed to make in order to win.

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