What is the Hitting/Pitching Split in NFBC Drafts?

When converting projected stats into dollar values, you have to decide how much of the overall budget you want to assign to hitting and pitching, respectively. If there are 12 teams, each with $260 to spend on 23 players (14 hitters, nine pitchers), that means there’s $3,120 total dollars to spend on 276 players (168 hitters and 108 pitchers.)

You could divide it 50/50, apportion $1,560 to each – after all there are five hitting categories worth 60 total points (5 * 12) and five pitching categories also worth 60 total points, and each side is contributes equally to your season-long success or failure. But if you did that, you’d be out of step with the market, as traditionally – for a variety of reasons – it apportions roughly 70 percent of the budget ($2,184) toward the 168 hitters and 30 percent ($936) toward the 108 pitchers.

You can click the link above to decide if the market is correct or not about this (I went into detail on the topic a few years ago), but I want to explore something else here: It’s well known the NFBC leagues – the high-stakes contests with some of the world’s best fantasy players – tend to push up elite starting pitching more than most fantasy industry leagues, but I had never seen that tendency quantified. We could compare ADPs of starting pitchers in the NFBC to our leagues and note more pitchers were taken in the first three rounds in the former, but noting there were more pitchers in the top-20, 30 or 60 picks is still an imprecise way to track it.

In the interest of more precision (though my method also has its flaws), I took this year’s NFBC ADP list and I assigned dollar values to each slot. I (somewhat arbitrarily) used the NFBC’s average auction values (AAVs) for every player $30 or higher (there were 21 such players), and I created a simple formula for the rest to spend the entire $3120 on the top 276 players. Moreover, I didn’t use Clayton Kershaw’s $44.38 AAV for Kershaw but instead for the No. 1 pick by ADP, Mike Trout. Kershaw, whose ADP is No. 5, got the fifth highest auction amount assigned to his slot ($40.25.)¬†After all, 1.1 is the most expensive slot, and it goes to Trout. Therefore, NFBC drafters are spending the most money on him, the next most on Mookie Betts at No. 2 and so on. The reason I somewhat arbitrarily used the NFBC AAVs for the prices of each draft slot is I had to decide roughly what the top picks were worth before pricing every other draft slot relative to them such that the total of 276 picks added up to $3,120.

The way I did it was unrealistically simple, but I think it works for the purposes of the exercise. For every pick below No. 21 overall Chris Sale ($30.13), I multiplied the previous price by 0.98796. So No. 22, Joey Votto, clocks in for $29.76, No. 23, Corey Kluber, is $29.40, etc. until we get down to No. 276 Junior Guerra at $1.76. And the sum of all the 276 players (107 pitchers and 269 hitters*) equals $3,120.

*The NFBC allows you to draft bench spots before you complete your starting roster, so there’s one extra hitter and one fewer pitcher in the total, but that shouldn’t skew the numbers much.

Keep in mind these values have nothing to do with projections or anything substantive other than simply assigning declining amounts to each subsequent ADP slot as determined by the NFBC ADP. Moreover, in a real auction, or when you use actual projections to calculate dollar values, the decline isn’t uniform and linear like this, i.e., you could have four $31 players, then a gap where the next highest player went for $28. I used a consistent multiplier to assign value. Again, for the purposes of this exercise, I don’t think it should matter.

Here’s the list:

Rk NFBC ADP Pos $ Rk NFBC ADP Pos $ Rk NFBC ADP Pos $ Rk NFBC ADP Pos $
1 Mike Trout CF 44.38 76 Kyle Schwarber LF 15.47 151 Jameson Taillon SP 6.24 226 Matt Shoemaker SP 2.51
2 Mookie Betts RF 43.75 77 Craig Kimbrel MR 15.29 152 Aledmys Diaz SS 6.16 227 Hunter Renfroe RF 2.48
3 Jose Altuve 2B 41.38 78 Roberto Osuna MR 15.10 153 Carlos Gomez CF 6.09 228 C.J. Cron 1B 2.45
4 Kris Bryant 3B 41.13 79 Edwin Diaz MR 14.92 154 Adam Duvall LF 6.02 229 Marco Estrada SP 2.43
5 Clayton Kershaw SP 40.25 80 Hanley Ramirez 1B 14.74 155 Elvis Andrus SS 5.94 230 Hector Neris MR 2.40
6 Nolan Arenado 3B 39.50 81 Chris Davis 1B 14.56 156 Troy Tulowitzki SS 5.87 231 Taijuan Walker SP 2.37
7 Paul Goldschmidt 1B 39.25 82 Cole Hamels SP 14.39 157 Marcus Stroman SP 5.80 232 Ryan Madson MR 2.34
8 Manny Machado 3B 39.13 83 Justin Upton LF 14.22 158 Adam Ottavino MR 5.73 233 Blake Snell SP 2.31
9 Bryce Harper RF 36.88 84 Adrian Beltre 3B 14.04 159 Brad Miller SS 5.66 234 Victor Martinez DH 2.28
10 Trea Turner 2B 35.88 85 DJ LeMahieu 2B 13.88 160 Tim Anderson SS 5.59 235 Max Kepler RF 2.26
11 Max Scherzer SP 35.38 86 Wade Davis MR 13.71 161 John Lackey SP 5.53 236 Brandon Maurer MR 2.23
12 Josh Donaldson 3B 35.13 87 Masahiro Tanaka SP 13.54 162 Brian McCann C 5.46 237 Starlin Castro 2B 2.20
13 Anthony Rizzo 1B 34.25 88 Willson Contreras C 13.38 163 Steven Matz SP 5.39 238 Yoan Moncada 3B 2.17
14 Miguel Cabrera 1B 33.63 89 Ken Giles MR 13.22 164 Julio Urias SP 5.33 239 Leonys Martin CF 2.15
15 Madison Bumgarner SP 33.13 90 Anthony Rendon 3B 13.06 165 Adrian Gonzalez 1B 5.26 240 Jarrod Dyson CF 2.12
16 Charlie Blackmon CF 32.63 91 David Dahl LF 12.90 166 Brandon Belt 1B 5.20 241 Brandon Crawford SS 2.10
17 Carlos Correa SS 32.25 92 Alex Bregman 3B 12.75 167 Russell Martin C 5.14 242 Jedd Gyorko 2B 2.07
18 Noah Syndergaard SP 31.88 93 Jason Kipnis 2B 12.59 168 Jonathan Schoop 2B 5.08 243 Joe Ross SP 2.05
19 Corey Seager SS 30.38 94 Jose Ramirez 3B 12.44 169 Kendrys Morales DH 5.02 244 Jung Ho Kang 3B 2.02
20 Jonathan Villar SS 30.38 95 Zack Greinke SP 12.29 170 Raisel Iglesias SP 4.96 245 Neil Walker 2B 2.00
21 Chris Sale SP 30.13 96 Matt Kemp RF 12.14 171 Sean Manaea SP 4.90 246 Manuel Margot CF 1.97
22 Joey Votto 1B 29.76 97 Kenta Maeda SP 12.00 172 Dellin Betances MR 4.84 247 Greg Bird 1B 1.95
23 Corey Kluber SP 29.40 98 Khris Davis LF 11.85 173 Ben Zobrist 2B 4.78 248 Cameron Rupp C 1.93
24 Starling Marte LF 29.05 99 Danny Duffy SP 11.71 174 Welington Castillo C 4.72 249 Ian Kennedy SP 1.90
25 Edwin Encarnacion 1B 28.70 100 Evan Gattis C 11.57 175 Matt Moore SP 4.66 250 Garrett Richards SP 1.88
26 Freddie Freeman 1B 28.35 101 Alex Colome MR 11.43 176 Lance McCullers SP 4.61 251 Jacoby Ellsbury CF 1.86
27 Xander Bogaerts SS 28.01 102 Aaron Sanchez SP 11.29 177 Marcell Ozuna CF 4.55 252 Didi Gregorius SS 1.84
28 Francisco Lindor SS 27.68 103 Eric Hosmer 1B 11.16 178 Hernan Perez 3B 4.50 253 Brandon Drury LF 1.81
29 Trevor Story SS 27.34 104 Kelvin Herrera MR 11.02 179 James Paxton SP 4.44 254 Jason Heyward RF 1.79
30 Robinson Cano 2B 27.01 105 Andrew Miller MR 10.89 180 Jon Gray SP 4.39 255 Wilson Ramos C 1.77
31 Jake Arrieta SP 26.69 106 Cody Allen MR 10.76 181 Jake Odorizzi SP 4.34 256 Jharel Cotton SP 1.75
32 George Springer RF 26.37 107 Evan Longoria 3B 10.63 182 Keon Broxton CF 4.29 257 Chris Carter 1B 1.73
33 Yu Darvish SP 26.05 108 Jose Quintana SP 10.50 183 Vince Velasquez SP 4.23 258 Matt Holliday LF 1.71
34 Brian Dozier 2B 25.74 109 Rick Porcello SP 10.38 184 Kevin Kiermaier CF 4.18 259 Domingo Santana RF 1.69
35 A.J. Pollock CF 25.43 110 Julio Teheran SP 10.25 185 Dansby Swanson SS 4.13 260 Melky Cabrera LF 1.67
36 Jon Lester SP 25.12 111 J.T. Realmuto C 10.13 186 J.A. Happ SP 4.08 261 Orlando Arcia SS 1.65
37 Daniel Murphy 2B 24.82 112 Jeurys Familia MR 10.00 187 Kole Calhoun RF 4.03 262 Eugenio Suarez 3B 1.63
38 Giancarlo Stanton RF 24.52 113 Gerrit Cole SP 9.88 188 Eric Thames LF 3.98 263 Fernando Rodney MR 1.61
39 Buster Posey C 24.22 114 Eduardo Nunez SS 9.77 189 Dexter Fowler CF 3.94 264 Addison Reed MR 1.59
40 Rougned Odor 2B 23.93 115 Miguel Sano RF 9.65 190 Yadier Molina C 3.89 265 Nate Jones MR 1.57
41 Nelson Cruz RF 23.64 116 Adam Jones CF 9.53 191 Ryon Healy 3B 3.84 266 Hisashi Iwakuma SP 1.55
42 Justin Verlander SP 23.36 117 Jose Bautista RF 9.42 192 Ender Inciarte CF 3.80 267 Yuli Gurriel 3B 1.53
43 Johnny Cueto SP 23.08 118 Javier Baez 3B 9.30 193 Jay Bruce RF 3.75 268 Ivan Nova SP 1.51
44 David Price SP 22.80 119 Carlos Santana 1B 9.19 194 Jeff Samardzija SP 3.71 269 Josh Harrison 2B 1.49
45 Dee Gordon 2B 22.53 120 Odubel Herrera CF 9.08 195 Carlos Rodon SP 3.66 270 David Peralta RF 1.48
46 Aroldis Chapman MR 22.25 121 David Robertson MR 8.97 196 Devon Travis 2B 3.62 271 Dylan Bundy SP 1.46
47 Kenley Jansen MR 21.99 122 Maikel Franco 3B 8.86 197 Matt Wieters C 3.57 272 Asdrubal Cabrera SS 1.44
48 Gary Sanchez C 21.72 123 Rich Hill SP 8.76 198 Rajai Davis CF 3.53 273 Curtis Granderson RF 1.42
49 Ryan Braun LF 21.46 124 Justin Turner 3B 8.65 199 Joc Pederson CF 3.49 274 Brandon Kintzler MR 1.41
50 Billy Hamilton CF 21.20 125 Adam Eaton RF 8.55 200 Mike Moustakas 3B 3.45 275 Derek Norris C 1.39
51 J.D. Martinez RF 20.95 126 Salvador Perez C 8.44 201 Jim Johnson MR 3.40 276 Junior Guerra SP 1.37
52 Ian Desmond CF 20.69 127 Danny Salazar SP 8.34 202 Jerad Eickhoff SP 3.36 277 Sandy Leon C
53 Chris Archer SP 20.44 128 Lorenzo Cain CF 8.24 203 Stephen Vogt C 3.32 278 Yangervis Solarte 3B
54 Jonathan Lucroy C 20.20 129 A.J. Ramos MR 8.14 204 Nomar Mazara RF 3.28 279 Collin McHugh SP
55 Jean Segura 2B 19.96 130 Stephen Piscotty RF 8.04 205 Nick Castellanos 3B 3.24 280 Brett Gardner LF
56 Stephen Strasburg SP 19.72 131 Jose Peraza 2B 7.95 206 Sonny Gray SP 3.20 281 Tyler Glasnow SP
57 Carlos Carrasco SP 19.48 132 Francisco Rodriguez MR 7.85 207 Marcus Semien SS 3.17 282 Jorge Soler LF
58 Wil Myers 1B 19.24 133 Andrew Benintendi LF 7.76 208 Hunter Pence RF 3.13 283 Josh Bell RF
59 Zach Britton MR 19.01 134 Addison Russell SS 7.66 209 Aaron Nola SP 3.09 284 Brandon Phillips 2B
60 Christian Yelich LF 18.78 135 Felix Hernandez SP 7.57 210 Michael Pineda SP 3.05 285 Mike Zunino C
61 Yoenis Cespedes CF 18.56 136 Albert Pujols 1B 7.48 211 Tommy Joseph 1B 3.02 286 Daniel Norris SP
62 Jose Abreu 1B 18.33 137 Michael Fulmer SP 7.39 212 Randal Grichuk CF 2.98 287 Travis Jankowski CF
63 Gregory Polanco RF 18.11 138 Tanner Roark SP 7.30 213 Drew Pomeranz SP 2.94 288 Cesar Hernandez 2B
64 Kyle Hendricks SP 17.89 139 Dustin Pedroia 2B 7.21 214 Robbie Ray SP 2.91 289 Travis d’Arnaud C
65 Carlos Gonzalez RF 17.68 140 Alex Reyes SP 7.13 215 Carlos Beltran RF 2.87 290 Corey Dickerson LF
66 Kyle Seager 3B 17.47 141 Dallas Keuchel SP 7.04 216 Michael Brantley LF 2.84 291 Cameron Maybin CF
67 Andrew McCutchen CF 17.26 142 Matt Harvey SP 6.96 217 Drew Smyly SP 2.80 292 Josh Reddick RF
68 Carlos Martinez SP 17.05 143 Sam Dyson MR 6.87 218 Cam Bedrosian MR 2.77 293 Eduardo Rodriguez SP
69 Mark Trumbo RF 16.84 144 Jackie Bradley Jr. CF 6.79 219 Shawn Kelley MR 2.74 294 Gio Gonzalez SP
70 Mark Melancon MR 16.64 145 Yasmani Grandal C 6.71 220 Tom Murphy C 2.70 295 Chris Tillman SP
71 Jacob deGrom SP 16.44 146 Tony Watson MR 6.63 221 Mike Napoli 1B 2.67 296 Kevin Pillar CF
72 Matt Carpenter 3B 16.24 147 Yasmany Tomas LF 6.55 222 Adam Wainwright SP 2.64 297 Zach Davies SP
73 Seung Hwan Oh MR 16.05 148 Byron Buxton CF 6.47 223 Anthony DeSclafani SP 2.61 298 Neftali Feliz MR
74 Todd Frazier 3B 15.85 149 Jake Lamb 3B 6.39 224 Logan Forsythe 2B 2.58 299 Devin Mesoraco C
75 Ian Kinsler 2B 15.66 150 Kevin Gausman SP 6.31 225 Yasiel Puig RF 2.55 300 Chris Owings CF

What’s most important here are the positions. You can see which slots are assigned to hitters and which to pitchers and add up how much money is spent in total for each. Again, while each slot price descends uniformly as you go down the list, having it be more uneven like a real set of converted projections or actual auction prices doesn’t figure to shift total dollars toward or away from pitchers – at least not in any way I can imagine.

Here’s a table with only the pitchers:

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Rk Reliever $ Rk Starting Pitcher $ Rk Starting Pitcher $
46 Aroldis Chapman 22.25 5 Clayton Kershaw 40.25 164 Julio Urias 5.33
47 Kenley Jansen 21.99 11 Max Scherzer 35.38 170 Raisel Iglesias 4.96
59 Zach Britton 19.01 15 Madison Bumgarner 33.13 171 Sean Manaea 4.90
70 Mark Melancon 16.64 18 Noah Syndergaard 31.88 175 Matt Moore 4.66
73 Seung Hwan Oh 16.05 21 Chris Sale 30.13 176 Lance McCullers 4.61
77 Craig Kimbrel 15.29 23 Corey Kluber 29.40 179 James Paxton 4.44
78 Roberto Osuna 15.10 31 Jake Arrieta 26.69 180 Jon Gray 4.39
79 Edwin Diaz 14.92 33 Yu Darvish 26.05 181 Jake Odorizzi 4.34
86 Wade Davis 13.71 36 Jon Lester 25.12 183 Vince Velasquez 4.23
89 Ken Giles 13.22 42 Justin Verlander 23.36 186 J.A. Happ 4.08
101 Alex Colome 11.43 43 Johnny Cueto 23.08 194 Jeff Samardzija 3.71
104 Kelvin Herrera 11.02 44 David Price 22.80 195 Carlos Rodon 3.66
105 Andrew Miller 10.89 53 Chris Archer 20.44 202 Jerad Eickhoff 3.36
106 Cody Allen 10.76 56 Stephen Strasburg 19.72 206 Sonny Gray 3.20
112 Jeurys Familia 10.00 57 Carlos Carrasco 19.48 209 Aaron Nola 3.09
121 David Robertson 8.97 64 Kyle Hendricks 17.89 210 Michael Pineda 3.05
129 A.J. Ramos 8.14 68 Carlos Martinez 17.05 213 Drew Pomeranz 2.94
132 Francisco Rodriguez 7.85 71 Jacob deGrom 16.44 214 Robbie Ray 2.91
143 Sam Dyson 6.87 82 Cole Hamels 14.39 217 Drew Smyly 2.80
146 Tony Watson 6.63 87 Masahiro Tanaka 13.54 222 Adam Wainwright 2.64
158 Adam Ottavino 5.73 95 Zack Greinke 12.29 223 Anthony DeSclafani 2.61
172 Dellin Betances 4.84 97 Kenta Maeda 12.00 226 Matt Shoemaker 2.51
201 Jim Johnson 3.40 99 Danny Duffy 11.71 229 Marco Estrada 2.43
218 Cam Bedrosian 2.77 102 Aaron Sanchez 11.29 231 Taijuan Walker 2.37
219 Shawn Kelley 2.74 108 Jose Quintana 10.50 233 Blake Snell 2.31
230 Hector Neris 2.40 109 Rick Porcello 10.38 243 Joe Ross 2.05
232 Ryan Madson 2.34 110 Julio Teheran 10.25 249 Ian Kennedy 1.90
236 Brandon Maurer 2.23 113 Gerrit Cole 9.88 250 Garrett Richards 1.88
263 Fernando Rodney 1.61 123 Rich Hill 8.76 256 Jharel Cotton 1.75
264 Addison Reed 1.59 127 Danny Salazar 8.34 266 Hisashi Iwakuma 1.55
265 Nate Jones 1.57 135 Felix Hernandez 7.57 268 Ivan Nova 1.51
274 Brandon Kintzler 1.41 137 Michael Fulmer 7.39 271 Dylan Bundy 1.46
298 Neftali Feliz 0.00 138 Tanner Roark 7.30 276 Junior Guerra 1.37
140 Alex Reyes 7.13 279 Collin McHugh 0.00
141 Dallas Keuchel 7.04 281 Tyler Glasnow 0.00
142 Matt Harvey 6.96 286 Daniel Norris 0.00
150 Kevin Gausman 6.31 293 Eduardo Rodriguez 0.00
151 Jameson Taillon 6.24 294 Gio Gonzalez 0.00
157 Marcus Stroman 5.80 295 Chris Tillman 0.00
161 John Lackey 5.53 297 Zach Davies 0.00
163 Steven Matz 5.39
TOTAL RP 293.36 TOTAL SP 767.28 TOTAL P 1060.64

As you can see the total spent on pitching, given NFBC ADP, is $1060.64, which comes out to 34 percent of the $3120 total budget. In other words, using this admittedly rough hack, the NFBC drafters seem to be more aggressive in chasing pitching than the conventional 70/30 hitter/pitcher formulas. Keep in mind when I calculated the Steamer values for pitching and hitting using my formula, I used 70/30 rather than 66/34 or what the NFBC marketplace seems to be doing. Were I to have gone 66/34, Kershaw, Max Scherzer and the rest of the top pitchers would have proven to be even better values than they are now.