BABS’ New Take on Risk

(Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)

I’ve often talked about the need for us to have a “budget” when evaluating our rosters for risk. Up until now, we’ve just been adding up “units” of Liabilities, but we need more. While BABS eschews the false perception of precision that comes with using statistics, the concept of a “budget” begs for some type of quantification.

So BABS has relented. From Book 2 of The BABS Project 3.1:

“BABS assigns a value to each Liability factor. Risks cost, and this method reminds us of that. This “cost,” however, is metaphorical. I’m not going to send you a bill; it’s not about having fewer Roto-dollars to spend. It’s just a way to quantify the Liabilities. Here is the “cost” associated with each of the Liabilities:”

Health Risk
Minor injury, field (inj-): $1
Major injury, field (INJ):  $3
Long term injury (INJ+): $5
Top players: +$2

Experience Risk
1-2 yr experience, field (e): $1
<1 yr experience, field (EX): $2
Top players: +$1

Skills Risk
Power (-P): $1
Batting Effectiveness (-A): $3
Pitching Effectiveness (-E): $3
Strikeouts (-K): $1
Top players: +$3

Minor risks (Pk-, Nw, Ag): $0.25 (Rg-: $.50)

In addition to assigning a value to each Liability factor, this new system also applies an additional penalty to  rostering a risky front-liner (“Top players”). Drafting a player in the first four rounds (or $20-plus investments in auctions) with health, experience or negative skills concerns (such as a mega-power hitter with a low batting average) is a dangerous strategy, and forces you to take an additional hit to your budget.

As for the budget itself, that’s something you have to set on your own, depending upon what type of roster you need to build. Keeping your risk budget under $30 can be a feat, but serious contenders might want to set that as a goal. If you’re in the rebuilding cycle of a keeper league, you might be more willing to embrace more risk, perhaps setting a budget closer to $40, or even $50. Note that it is possible to build a legitimate roster with a risk cost under $15; it is equally possible to build one with a cost over $100.

You can also use this system to evaluate individual players and assess their suitability as building blocks for your roster. The BABS charts include an additional column where these Liability costs are totaled for each player. Then you can analyze your risk exposure as you draft.

Risk Cost per Player
$0.00 – $2.50: The best pool to fish in if you plan a reasonable budget.
$2.75 – $5.00: Deeper water, occasional jellyfish stings, a shark or two
Over $5.00: Titanic, icebergs, Bermuda Triangle, Poseiden Adventure, etc.

Here are sample values for some 2023 players:

Nestor Cortes: $0.25
Jacob deGrom: $5.25
Justin Dunn: $9.00
Kyle Lewis: $7.25
Aaron Nola: $0.00
Hunter Renfroe: $1.25
Carlos Santana: $0.50
Kyle Schwarber: $0.00
Mike Trout: $3.00
Justin Verlander: $0.75

The BABS charts and database include these costs for every player.

For more information and discussion on this new system, refer to The BABS Project 3.1, Book 2, pages 35-38.