NFBC: Innings and At-Bats

In the interest of getting a better handle on player valuation in the NFBC Online Championship, I mined my two leagues from last year to see how many innings and at-bats are generated from a typical roster.

Here are the results:

March 29 AB C AB IP SP IP RP IP H finish P finish Total Overall
Titans 7673 757 1391.1 1156.2 234.9 1 1 1 5
SWW 7291 779 1312.2 1059.8 252.4 2 4 2 308
Giese 7531 737 1357.1 1152 205.1 4 6 3 323
CO 7424 911 1401.2 1211.5 189.7 5 5 4 511
Jarhead 7738 1019 1346 1158.4 187.6 7 3 5 599
MR 7303 655 1257.1 952.3 297.8 3 10 6 638
Fish 7426 801 1409.1 1257.1 152 6 8.5 7 748
MSTV 7364 665 1357.2 1081.9 275.3 11 2 8 947
TAC 7285 707 1320.2 1197.7 122.5 10 7 9 1333
Liss 7033 694 1398.2 1293.9 104.3 8 8.5 10 1407
CTE 7351 790 1389.1 1288 101.1 9 11 11 1499
LVB 7012 810 1214.1 984.4 229.7 12 12 12 1677
March 4 AB C AB IP SIP RIP H finish P finish Total Overall
TMP 7617 868 1423 1260.3 162.7 5 2.5 1 194
DD 7637 743 1413.1 1267.6 145.5 6 1 2 245
Zima 7215 731 1229 947.3 281.7 7 2.5 3 386
TBD 7614 730 1306.1 1144.4 161.7 1 7 4 364
Liss 7382 852 1317.2 1105.2 212 4 6 5 861
RWC 7760 861 1329.1 1087.2 241.9 2 11.5 6 822
DBJ 6904 930 1246.2 1052.2 194 3 10 7 903
MB 7548 860 1353 1143.3 209.7 8 9 8 1104
PDL 7013 746 1402.2 1240.1 162.1 10 5 9 1090
HHW 7218 744 1369.2 1228.7 140.5 9 8 10 1275
SSH 6617 645 1188 985 203 12 4 11 1466
IGT 7373 810 1327.1 1073.6 253.5 11 11.5 12 1650
Average AB C AB IP SP IP RP IP
Overall 7,347 785 1,336 1,139 197
Top-2 H/P 7,585 782 1,396 1,192 205

C AB is catcher at-bats. I wanted to see how many teams get from both catcher slots combined. Some of these teams had six catchers over the course of the year, some had only two. It turns out the average is 785 for all teams and 782 on the teams that finished in the top-2 in hitting in both leagues. The Titans, who won the March 29 league and finished fifth overall out of 1,788 teams, had only 757. That means when you’re pricing a catcher projected for 450 at-bats, he’s able to fill the entire slot all year, i.e., there are no replacement level stats to add to his numbers, and he’s actually getting you a surplus even over teams that are active on the waiver wire.

I also separated innings pitched into starters and relievers. The average IP was not surprisingly higher among the top-2 pitching finishers, but it wasn’t a massive margin – just 60 IP above the average, and that presumably includes teams that gave up. Moreover, the extra innings were almost entirely from starters.

The bottom line, you’ll want at least 1,400 innings total, 200 of which are from relievers. The 1,200-1,250 IP should be split up among six and a half to seven starting slots, and the 200 relief innings from two and a half to three relief slots. You can buy yourself extra IP by streaming two-start pitchers aggressively while allowing for three active closers most of the time.

Ideally, we’d discover how many innings (and what numbers) to expect from each pitching slot. SP1, for example, might be worth 210 IP, SP2 205, SP3 200, etc. That doesn’t mean you’ll be able to roster three 200 IP pitchers – last year there were only 14 in the entire league. But you can supplement the players you draft with replacements during their DL stints and two-start streamers during their bad matchups.

That way, we can target a certain amount of IP for each slot and more accurately value pitchers who are projected to sit in, for example, an SP3 slot with 200 IP of 190 Ks and a 3.50 ERA. He might fill the entire slot, while another pitcher with better per-inning numbers and a lesser workload will only fill it partially, and a replacement value adjustment for a number of innings will be necessary. There’s also the transaction (FAAB and roster space) cost of streaming for which to account too. Player valuation is imprecise, but the hope is we can get a decent estimate – close enough to understand, for example, the extent to which we need two 200-IP aces at the expense of elite hitting and at what price we’re better off letting them go.

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