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Catcher Strategy for Deep Leagues

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Catcher Strategy for Deep Leagues

Postby slomo007 » Sun Feb 12, 2006 9:48 pm

A friendly argument between myself and one of my league mates prompted this discussion. I feel, after drafting John Buck last year in a 14 teamer and then playing catcher carousel all year, that having an upper-mid tier catcher is very important in deep (13+ team league) or in leagues where 2 catchers are used. I am still a believer that in standard 10-12 team leagues, taking a bottom tier catcher near the end of the draft is a wise strategy. Also, I am only looking at roto leagues, mainly because h2h leagues suck. O:-)


I did a little number crunching and compared the stat lines of catchers who are considered good (but not the 2 studs, Martinez and Mauer because both of them will likely go higher than even I'm willing to pay):

Varitek
Barrett
Pudge
Posada

The average stat line for these guys in 2005 was:
Catcher A - 64 runs, 18 HRs, 63 RBI, .274 avg

I then compared to the guys who are likely to be in the 10th-16th range among catchers drafted:

Barajas
AJ Pierzynski
Jason Kendall
Mike Lieberthal

The average stat line for these guys in 2005 was:
Catcher B - 58 Runs, 13 HRs, 54 RBI, .261 avg



So you're sacrificing 5-10 Runs, 5 HRs, 5-10 RBI, and 10-15 points in average. Catchers don't have an overwhelming effect on team average in roto leagues because they generally have fewer ABs, so I did more number crunching.

10 non catcher positions in the league x 550 ABs per position = 5500 ABs. Assume they hit .280 for argument's sake.

Now, assume you have catcher A, and he has 475 ABs, which is a generally accurate guess assuming no major injuries.

.280(5500) + .274(475) = 1978.15 divided by 5975 team ABs = .2795 team avg

Now, assume you have catcher B, and he also has 475 ABs.

.280(5500) + .261(475) = 1971.975 divided by 5975 team ABs = .2784.

So you're giving up 1 team point in avg, 5-10 runs, 5 HRs, 5-10 RBI.

Not HUGE numbers, but those types of stats can make a big difference in the final standings - especially the HRs and Avg. I realize those stat lines are all based on one year of stats, but I tried to find guys who did not have tremendous or terrible years in each category to attempt to balance it out.

I guess the decision we all face is if we want to sacrifice those types of stats in order to draft a catcher, say, 10 rounds later in the draft. In most standard leagues this probably isn't much of a discussion, but deep leagues might find these numbers interesting.
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Postby giants! » Sun Feb 12, 2006 10:00 pm

Nice analysis. However, i wouldnt buy into it too much as catchers fluctuate in value more than every other position
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Postby Dynasty Deacon » Sun Feb 12, 2006 10:02 pm

Even in 20 team leagues, I always take a catcher with my last pick of the draft. Being a waiver wire hawk though I can get away with it. There is always a breakout catcher that can be snatched off free agency.
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Postby stevethumb » Sun Feb 12, 2006 11:19 pm

13 team NL only auction league we use 2 catchers...i won all 4 hitting cats and the league title w/gbennett and cmoeller as my 2 catchers for most of the yr..i did add bmccann in august..there are of course many ways to win a title but overspending on catchers rarely is one of them
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Postby hooligan1 » Sun Feb 12, 2006 11:34 pm

I guess this begs the question of how much of an advantage do you gain from having a catcher who gives you above average production and bats 4 or 5 in the line-up , like say Martinez or Mauer or Javy? And, in turn, is it worth the higher bid or higher pick it will cost to obtain them?

Geat analysis though!!
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Postby slomo007 » Sun Feb 12, 2006 11:38 pm

giants! wrote:Nice analysis. However, i wouldnt buy into it too much as catchers fluctuate in value more than every other position


This doesn't seem true to me. There are the consistent guys like Varitek, Posada, and Pudge who are consistently among the best. As one poster said, occasionally some catchers will "breakout" and become studs. If you honestly think you can find the next Javy Lopez or Victor Martinez, then that's the route you should take. I would at least have a backup plan ready just in case.

I think catchers are just the opposite - perhaps the most predictable position. The only real downside to them I suppose is that they are probably more likely to get injured (I haven't seen any numbers on this). Still, the ironmen catchers seem to still be going strong and have been for several years. I don't see how their value fluctuates too much every year, unless someone gets hurt obviously. They may age quicker than any other position, but that is understandable and also predictable, so it should have no effect on their value.

It's all in how the rest of your draft goes, but all things equal, the last round catcher strategy is a very risky one in deep leagues.
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Postby slomo007 » Sun Feb 12, 2006 11:39 pm

hooligan1 wrote:I guess this begs the question of how much of an advantage do you gain from having a catcher who gives you above average production and bats 4 or 5 in the line-up , like say Martinez or Mauer or Javy? And, in turn, is it worth the higher bid or higher pick it will cost to obtain them?

Geat analysis though!!


That's a great question. I'll try to run the same analysis using Martinez and Mauer as the "top tier". Posting in a few.
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Postby George_Foreman » Sun Feb 12, 2006 11:42 pm

The problem with C is that to even "break out" a little (ie, bump that average up to .280 and hit 15 HRs) makes a C around middle-of-the-pack in a deep league. In fact, I would argue that mid-ranged Cs become less valuable in deeper leagues, simply because they're closer to replacement level. I mean, it's just not a huge step down in most cases to go from the 10th C drafted to the first guy you see on the waiver wire.

Also, you can just draft each year's B. Molina with an end-of-the-draft choice and make out like a bandit.
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Postby glcmustliveon » Sun Feb 12, 2006 11:48 pm

B-Mo is the man, I go with conventional wisdom, pick a top tier guy or wait it out.... Bengie wouldnt be a bad option this year...
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Postby slomo007 » Sun Feb 12, 2006 11:50 pm

slomo007 wrote:
hooligan1 wrote:I guess this begs the question of how much of an advantage do you gain from having a catcher who gives you above average production and bats 4 or 5 in the line-up , like say Martinez or Mauer or Javy? And, in turn, is it worth the higher bid or higher pick it will cost to obtain them?

Geat analysis though!!


That's a great question. I'll try to run the same analysis using Martinez and Mauer as the "top tier". Posting in a few.


Actually, the more I look at it, the more it looks like Mauer has to be excluded because most of his value lies in SB.

Using Victor Martinez vs Catcher A vs Catcher B however, you will see a dramatic difference in production:

V-Mart
73 runs, 20 HRs, 80 RBI, .305 avg

Catcher A (upper mid-tier)
64 runs, 18 HRs, 63 RBI, .274 avg

Catcher B (bottom tier in deep leagues)
58 Runs, 13 HRs, 54 RBI, .261 avg

So with V-Mart you are looking at a dramatic increase in production, particularly in the Avg category.

Team average with Martinez:
.280(5500) + .305(475) = 1684.875/5975 = .2819

Team average with Catcher A:
.280(5500) + .274(475) = 1670.15/5975 = .2795

Team average with Catcher B:
.280(5500) + .261(475) = 1663.975/5975 = .2784

So there's a 3.5 point spread in team Average due to having V-Mart (or any .300+ catcher) on your roster compared to a bottom tier catcher. Also, 10 more runs and 15 more RBI.
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