Market Value on Multi-Position Players

There is no argument that if two position players would be guaranteed to produce the exact stats, the one with multi-position eligibility should have more value. The added flexibility would be helpful while drafting or setting lineups. The question of how much value does it add remains unanswered? Todd Zola and I have attempted to answer the question with Todd coming to the conclusion of “adding $3 or $4 to each player in mixed formats, and a couple bucks in single-league formats.” That’s fine in theory but I wanted to see how the market values the flexibility in this short season by matching similar players with and without extra positions. In the end, the results matched up with Todd’s findings.

The premise for this study is simple, match up to similarly productive players and see determine if and by how much drafters value multi-position eligibility. I need to set some guidelines:

  • I used the NFBC rules for games played to determine position eligibility. Also, I used the NFBC’s July ADP. I need the valuations and rules to jive. I selected all the multi-position hitters in the top-200 of ADP.
  • With the ADP, I converted the ADP into auction values. This adjustment is necessary because the talent curve flattens and a $1 difference could be one or two spots in the first couple rounds but 30+ spots later in the draft.
  • Next, I went to the FanGraphs auction calculator and found a match with the closest dollar value at one of the qualified positions.
  • Finally, I compared the ADP generated auction values.

Here are the results.

Short Season Multi-Position Valuations
Multi Pos Player ADP ADP to Auction Auction Calc Matched Player ADP ADP to Auction Auction Calc
Cody Bellinger 4 $41.2 $33.7 J.D. Martinez 24 $25.9 $32.6
Alex Bregman 17 $28.5 $28.0 Jose Ramirez 13 $31.3 $28.7
Gleyber Torres 29 $24.2 $22.6 Ozzie Albies 32 $23.3 $22.8
Jonathan Villar 39 $21.5 $15.3 Elvis Andrus 149 $10.0 $14.2
Ketel Marte 40 $21.4 $21.7 Austin Meadows 36 $22.2 $19.7
Kris Bryant 61 $17.7 $18.0 Eddie Rosario 102 $13.3 $18.2
Manny Machado 65 $17.2 $23.7 Xander Bogaerts 42 $21.0 $23.1
Whit Merrifield 65 $17.2 $18.1 Luis Robert 77 $15.7 $17.8
DJ LeMahieu 74 $16.1 $12.3 Justin Turner 152 $9.9 $12.4
Max Muncy 79 $15.4 $9.1 Miguel Sano 113 $12.4 $8.2
Jeff McNeil 94 $14.0 $15.3 Marcell Ozuna 100 $13.5 $15.6
Mike Moustakas 100 $13.5 $16.9 Vladimir Gurerro Jr. 57 $18.3 $17.4
Tommy Edman 130 $11.2 $2.2 Adam Frazier 681 -$3.1 $2.1
Danny Santana 140 $10.6 $8.9 Eric Hosmer 254 $5.4 $8.8
J.D. Davis 159 $9.5 $4.7 Nick Senzel 195 $7.7 $4.5
Garrett Hampson 160 $9.4 -$1.6 Freddy Galvis 629 -$2.4 -$1.5
Yuli Gurriel 162 $9.3 $16.4 Yoan Moncada 70 $16.6 $16.6
Ryan McMahon 168 $9.0 $5.8 Cavan Biggio 125 $11.5 $6.0
Scott Kingery 175 $8.6 $1.3 Jason Heyward 698 -$3.3 $1.7
Hunter Dozier 189 $8.0 $6.6 Ryan Braun 206 $7.2 $6.4
Kevin Newman 198 $7.6 $7.2 Kolten Wong 228 $6.4 $7.2
Average 102 $15.8 $13.6 Average 190 $12.5 $13.5

The values come in as expected with the multi-position players being valued at $3.2 ($15.8 – $12.5 with $0.1 from the auction calculator difference) more than the matched players. It eerily close to Todd’s estimate and it’s tough to know if he influenced the market or the market organically gravitated o this value.

While a $3.2 difference doesn’t seem like much, it ends up being an 88 pick difference. The market is boosting up a multi-position player almost 6 rounds in a 15 team league. But the difference does change as the draft goes on. The ADP difference before pick 75 is 26 spots or $3.6 in value. For the players going after pick 75, it’s 133 pick difference or $3.0.

Circling back to the $100,000 question. Is the additional cost worth it? For those who have drafted, it seems that way. Truthfully, I’m not 100% sure with some diminishing returns by owning too many such players, but being able to roster the best player for the waiver wire instead of just a shortstop as some value.

Complicating the question is the shortened season with the risk of any player going on the COVID-19 IL at any point. Possibly owners are putting more of a value on flexibility than normal.

The true theoretical adjustment, if any, doesn’t matter at this point. The market price has been set for the multi-position players and fantasy managers need to decide if they want to pay up for the extra draft and in-season flexibility.

Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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Jolly Good Show
Jolly Good Show

I must admit I do like to have a few multi positional players on my rosters. I like to have the flexibility if a player bombs or gets injured. It helps with platooning too.