Received an email from member Steve from his using Last Player Picked, and it is something that has stumped him since before LPP was available at this website. Maybe our fellow members can chime in with their own thoughts on this question.

First, thanks so much for continuing the Last Player Picked model; it’s by far the best I’ve ever seen. This question has bugged me since Mays Copeland developed the methodology, but now I’m desperate to find out the answer since I’m joining a league with 3 OF instead of 5. Hopefully it’s not an error in the model and just something basic that I’m missing, but it doesn’t make intuitive sense:

If you reduce the number of starting catchers in your standard league from 2 to 1, their value will decrease considerably. Makes perfect sense, in a 12 team league with one catcher you only need 12 catchers with positive value vs. 24, and the difference between Buster Posey and the 24th catcher is much greater than the difference between Posey and the 12th best catcher.

So why does this same logic not work for outfielders? Cut the number of outfielders from 5 to 3, and Mike Trout is worth MORE, not less. At first I thought it might have something to do with the relative player pool size and depth; there are obviously a lot more OF with positive value than catchers. But that should be irrelevant – by definition in a 12 team league with 60 OF vs. a 12 team league with 36 OF, the 36th OF is worth $1 and the 60th OF is still worth $1. So shouldn’t the difference between Mike Trout and the 60th OF be greater, not less, than the difference between Trout and the 36th OF? ~ Steve

Hi Steve. Thanks for the email. My immediate thought is because there are 24 more OF in the draftable player pool (2 extra OF x 12 teams) so the money has to be spread around more than with the 3 OF league – all else being equal.

I wonder if we did a test comparing a league with 3 OF and 2 UT vs. a league with 5 OF and 0 UT if Trout would indeed be more valuable in the 5 OF format. Of course many of those UT players are likely OF, but perhaps worth a check. I am unfortunately traveling right now and not able to check. I will give this some more thought, but that is one idea for the apparent discrepancy. What do you think?

Continued … I am burning up my roaming internet package, but I had to know. I ran two different scenarios on LPP similar as described above. One, the default settings, uses 5 OF and 1 UT position. The second, I changed to 3 OF and 3 UT, so the total number of starters in each league is identical. All other settings stayed the same. The results were … drum roll please … identical values for OF in both leagues.

So, while Trout’s value did not increase in the 5 OF format vs. the 3 OF format, at least it didn’t go down. I think that lends some credence to my initial thought that the reason someone might see the unexpected result of his value going down with more starters, is because there just aren’t enough dollars to go around.

If anyone has further thoughts on the Last Player Picked valuation methodology – and I really should reblog that as a series here sometime – then please feel free to comment below.