Ottoneu: 2023 Replacement Level

Did you roster any 4.33 points-per-game outfielders last season? Better yet, did you roll that 4.33 P/G outfielder into your starting lineup on a regular basis last season? If you did, you were straddling the line of replacement level. Last week I placed offensive players into ranked tiers based on their final P/G achievements and 4.33 P/G is a tier-five player at best. Here’s a reminder of the points spread between tiers:

Offensive P/G tiers for all position players who played in more than 75 games in 2023:

Tier 1 range: 9.1 P/G – 6.0 P/G

Tier 2 range: 5.9 P/G – 5.5 P/G

Tier 3 range: 5.5 P/G – 5.1 P/G

Tier 4 range: 5.0 P/G – 4.7 P/G

Tier 5 range: 4.7 P/G – 4.3 P/G

Remember that represents all players clumped together. 4.33 P/G is actually pretty good if we’re looking at only catchers. The tiers above are independent of position and therefore, flawed. Today, I’ll dial in what should have been considered rosterable in 2023 by position, making note of what a replacement-level player recorded in points per game. Let this serve as a starting point as you may play in a different league format than I do, which would create different-sized player pools. You should be able to easily copy and paste the table in this article and edit the inputs accordingly. Before the table, I need to set the parameters:

– This is representing a 12-team, FanGraphs points league
– I am considering players on my bench above replacement level and am being somewhat arbitrary about it. Each league has 40 roster spots, but I’m leaving 10 of those roster spots for minor leaguers and below replacement-level players. If you add up the “Starters” and “Bench” columns, that is what I’m marking as each team’s number of above-replacement level players. Again, copy and paste the table and make edits if you wish.
– I have excluded players whose “Level” was anything but a major league team at the time of the data pull, eliminating minor leaguers.
– If a player is eligible for that position, they were included in the analysis for that position.

Replacement Level by Position, 2023
Position Starters Bench League Rosterable (12-team) Replacement Level P/G or P/IP Player Example
C 1 1 24 3.84 Yan Gomes
1B 1 1 24 5.03 Christian Encarnacion-Strand
2B 2 1 36 3.71 Enmanuel Valdez
SS 2 1 36 3.51 Jordan Westburg
3B 1 1 24 4.71 Ryan McMahon
OF 5 1 72 4.33 Edward Olivares
SP 5 1 72 4.55 Braxton Garrett
RP 5 1 72 6.69 Lucas Sims

If you take all outfielders in your league, rostered or unrostered, and you sort them by points per game, you simply check the points per game mark of the 73rd-best player. But wait, isn’t a replacement-level player the player with the highest P/G mark available on the waiver wire? Well, yes and no. Let’s now put this system to the test with that 4.33 OF I mentioned in the intro. First, I’ll start by going into my league’s free-agent player pool, isolating outfielders who are currently free agents and played in more than 75 games last season. That last 75-game qualifier is not a part of the table above, but since I’m using end-of-season data, I want to show the players who accumulated playing time and kept a high points per game mark. Here’s what I see:

Andrew McCutchen – 5.24 P/G

Jeff McNeil – 4.35 P/G

Luis Rengifo – 4.34 P/G

Edward Olivares – 4.33 P/G

Willi Castro – 4.11 P/G

So, in theory, this mark works for my league. McCutchen, McNeil, and Rengifo were all hurt toward the season’s end, so in reality, the first available player eligible for the OF spot is Castro. To really prove this out, I’ll do the same exact thing in a second league. Here are OF eligible players available as free agents with over 75 games played:

Tommy Pham – 4.73 P/G

Harold Ramírez – 4.63 P/G

Jose Siri – 4.42 P/G

Ok, so it’s not perfect, but it’s close. I rostered Cedric Mullins all season and he finished the year at 4.37 P/G. Should I have dropped Mullins for Siri? Tough to say. Hindsight is 20/20. I still prefer Mullins for 2024. For now, this may help inform you of where you need to make cuts this offseason. Stay tuned for next week’s post where I work through this same exercise for points per game projections in 2024 and begin converting those projections into dollar values.

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Ashburn Alley
6 months ago

Thanks Lucas. Very good information