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Valuation Approach

Full Count Dollar Values are based on a straightforward valuation method. A valuation method approach determines pitcher values by combining individual values for each available item: wins, saves, and, although somewhat more difficult to achieve, units of ERA and WHIP.

When developing a valuation approach, values for each item must be derived. Begin by determining how much money is available in your league. In a 12-team Rotisserie League with each team spending $260, there is a total of $3120 available to be spent in the league.

The next step is to determine how much of this amount will be spent on pitching. The best guideline is to determine how the owners in your league typically spend money. Most leagues tacitly recognize the comparative instability of pitchers and commit well less than 50% of available dollars to pitching. The Full Count valuations assign about 32%, or $1000, to pitching.

The next step is to break the budget for pitching into the categories you will need to compete in. Full Count valuations use the 4 standard Rotisserie categories and split the $1000 pitching budget into 4 equal parts of $250 each. You may have reason to split the budget differently. For example, if you are in a carryover league and are holding over all the closers you need to compete in saves, you should apportion your pitching budget toward the other three categories, since that is what you will want to use your money to buy. Dollars assigned to saves are dollars misappropriated for your drafting purposes.

Then determine unit values within each category. The Full Count valuations are based on actual data. You can use data provided by your league. In preparing for a draft, I use projections I determine for the upcoming season. Let's say there were 1,000 wins in your league. If you have assigned $250 to the wins category, the unit value of a win is $.25. Determining the unit value of saves is just as simple and straightforward.

The process for determining unit values for ERA and WHIP is a little more involved. The Full Count valuation method converts these ratio figures into quantitative units. You just need to determine three numbers for each category -  the league ERA or WHIP, the average number of innings pitched by a pitcher in your league and the average number of earned runs or baserunners (hits plus walks) allowed by a pitcher in your league.

If teams in your league have 9 pitchers, construct a hypothetical pitching staff of eight average pitchers using the average number of innings pitched and earned runs/baserunners allowed. Then, for each individual pitcher add the earned runs/baserunners allowed and innings pitched for the pitcher and calculate the ERA. The resulting number indicates the impact the individual pitcher has upon the perfectly average team, and is different for each pitcher.

Subtract the league ERA from this figure and the resulting number represents the relative differential on ERA/WHIP.

The Full Count method takes an additional step by rank ordering pitchers by these differential values from high to low. In a league with 12 teams and 9 pitchers per team, the impact value (typically a negative value) of the 108th pitcher on the list is added to the value of all pitchers. (What this step essentially does is adjust the league ERA downward to set it equal to the ERA of the 108th best pitcher available.) The resulting numbers are positive units of ERA/WHIP impact for the top 108 pitchers and can be totaled. The resulting sum divided into the amount (say, $250) provided for ERA or WHIP determines a value for each unit of ERA impact.

The dollar value for each pitcher can now be derived. A pitcher with 12 wins in a league where a win is worth $.25 has a "wins value" of $3.00. Similarly compute his values for saves, ERA and WHIP, add the four category values together and the result is a very precise value of what contribution that player makes to your team.

Some valuation methods take a somewhat different approach and argue that unit value is less important than deriving a value based on the average number of units needed to move up one space in the standings. The argument goes something like this: "Buying 30 saves is useless if the next-to last place team has 35. What you need to know is how many saves it will take you, on average, to move up each place in the standings and base your values on that." This is nonsense. It is like saying when you climb a mountain, you don't need to concern yourself with getting up the first 95%, just the last few 100-yard segments. Each win, save, etc. is equally important to get into contention.

For practical purposes such as determining draft-bidding prices, however, one remaining step usually must be taken. Leagues invariably shift money toward premium players. While this phenomenon creates opportunities for the savvy owner with a solid understanding of valuation methods, few owners can afford to completely ignore modifying their draft strategy accordingly.

Full Count Dollar Values are established by setting the 108th most valuable pitcher equal to $1 and redistributing values through regression. The result is invariably a list of values that provide a realistic reflection of how owners in your league value pitchers.

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