Mock Battle: Position Scarcity vs Best Actual Value

We are currently in the middle of round 12 in our early 12 team, standard 5×5, 1 catcher mock draft.

Devin Mesoraco was just taken at pick 137. I have him ranked almost 100 slots lower at 231 overall, and that is with a catcher position scarcity adjustment, so either way, I am considering this very early.

Up until this pick, only three other catchers were taken: Brian McCann (12.133), Yan Gomes (8.91), Jonathan Lucroy (8.88) and Buster Posey (3.35)

Below are my catcher rankings using Steamer’s projections (with a few manual adjustments) and Zach Sander’s FVARz approach to fantasy valuation (z-scoring each 5×5 category). Column 2 (zSUM) is the sum of the 5 categorical z-scores. Column 3 (PosAdj) is the zSUM adjusted for position scarcity.

There are 12 teams in the mock. Based on the number of teams, name and value, I’m assuming 15 catchers get drafted. Therfore the 16th catcher (Yasmani Grandal) is our “replacement catcher.” All catchers zSUM’s get adjusted/inflated by 4.52. Grandal’s adjusted value becomes 0.00. Buster Posey’s 3.46 jumps to 7.98. It’s this adjustment that knocks Posey’s value into the top 20 overall.

The position scarcity adjustment for Evan Gattis knocks him into the top 60. Right now, at #58, he is the most valuable asset left in my rankings. Justin Morneau is closely behind at #63. A couple of closers are still in the top 90. A couple of starters are still in the top 110 and then there are two offensive veterans I do not want to own in the top 110.

This means that until a cluster starting at #112 in my rankings, Evan Gattis is my best available option. His position adjusted value is 4.80 or he is worth about $16.00 if we are associated dollar values.

I am happy with my 1B, RP and SP and don’t want the two offensive veterans available before #112. I also don’t have a catcher yet. What do I do? Draft Gattis, right? Meh.

At this point, there are a number of catchers left that can provide similar overall value and/or power specifically: Salvador Perez, Yadier Molina, Matt Wieters, Wilin Rosario and Wilson Ramos to name a few. Because of these options, what I am looking at right now is still their raw z-sum values despite position scarcity. I want the best output (or soon specific counting stats like stolen bases).

Evan Gattis‘ zSUM is 0.28 relative to his 4.80 PosAdj value. Morneau is next up (not that I need him) and offers over three times the value at 3.00 even, but because he is at first base, his position adjustment only gets him to 4.63.

We are almost halfway through the draft. We only need one catcher (otherwise Gattis’ value would be even more inflated). At this point, I’m going with the better actual value over the position adjusted value until my options are depleted at those scarce positions. I am going Justin Morneau (even if my 1B and corner infield roster spot was already filled) over Gattis at catcher. If say, my 1B, CI and utility spot was already consumed, then I would probably go Gattis.

When you pull rankings from sites, you often just see an end ($) value. I recommend running the z-scores or categorical SGP values so that you can determine the best available value versus a position adjusted value, which whatever site you are on determines.

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Daniel Schwartz contributes for RotoGraphs when he's not selling industry leading thermal packaging. You can follow him on twitter @RotoBanter

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In a 12 team mixed league with only 1 catcher, why even do a positional adjustment? My home league is set-up this way and I never bother to adjust explicitly for positional scarcity for catchers. I just do my SGPs based on ZiPS/Steamer and go from there. Now doing this method ensures that you end up with the 10-12th ranked catcher, but who cares? Like you pointed out in your example Morneau is more valuable by raw numbers so I would take the (higher rated player) + (10-12 ranked cater at end of draft) over the (4th ranked catcher) + (whatever dumpster fire is available in the last round that isn’t a catcher)every time.

Why do you expect 16 catchers to get drafted when only 12 are required? Are 4 teams of experts really drafting an extra catcher?


@srpst23…if you do your SGPs based on your projections, you will never know how to value guys across positions.


I forgot to mention that my home league does not have a bench. So in my league no one should ever be drafting two catchers. I could definitely see how some would use a bench spot to rotate catchers on off days or use a Gattis as a plug in for the outfield. But I still would rather have a Grandel(your replacement level) + Morneau over Gattis + last round Flier.

I’ve done the positional adjustments in the past and in a 12 team league I don’t really think that it’s useful. No position is really shallow enough to warrant it. Some may seem like it, but after everything is calculated from the projections it usually isn’t. If you are using a good projection system for your SGPS and dollar values, you will still end up with a decent player at every position because a $4 true value second baseman is what maybe $5-6 after positional adjustment. So instead of thinking that I got a bargain because I got a 6$ 2B for $4 I just think that I paid what he was worth. I prefer to spend my $$ on the actual production at the top end of my draft, not positional scarcity. There are always going to be decent options if you really stick to your projections/$ values because you won’t get caught in a bidding war and spend $25 on the “hot sleeper” or some other overvalued asset. My teams tend to be rather boring, but also usually pretty good because I end up with a lot of the unsexy undervalued veteran players,