Drafting for Need vs. Take BPA vs. Ranged BPA for Need Approach

I’ve been debating when to make this topic for awhile now. But after this article , I felt a little extra motivation to do it today. In the MLB draft, there are really three different approaches you can take at each and every pick. I thought I’d break them down a little more for further discussion. By the way, in case you do not know, BPA stands for ‘Best Player Available’.

We always hear the term, “Do not draft for need.” But why is that? Many times you really have to take that into consideration if you are severely lacking in positional depth in the farm system, or the opposite when maybe have a saturation of a particular position. I think that ideal came up when some team in the past drafted a player seen further down in the talent spectrum when compared to other draft candidates mainly because said team felt the need to get a particular position filled. In doing that, you could very well be bypassing a very good general talent.

Best Player Available (BPA from here on out) is currently the Cardinals main approach to the draft. When you do such a good job of building up the farm system a certain way with no glaring holes to fill, that would be the logical way to go. And that is usually the draft ideal you hear the media industry talk about too. But I wonder if they mainly say that so their projections of Mock drafts and pick predictions have a chance of being more accurate or if its just the easy way to go? I wouldn’t put it past them if its about their own accuracy however (cue foreshadowing music for a rant about the media in the future. no, not the draft projection media industry but the media in general).

Okay, I will admit, I made up the phrase, “Ranged BPA for Need Approach”. But honestly, can you come up with a better phrase/terminology? Basically, it is the merger of both those ideals into one. To lay it out a little further, when your pick in the draft is upcoming, you take a range of all the candidates who may be available for selection, and then lend further weight to the possible selection of a candidate if they play at a position of organizational need. To me, I think that is the way to go with every single pick. We know they do that in the later rounds to fill out rosters for the lower levels. Why not take that approach for every single pick, including round 1? Take a look at my personal draft board where I put that theory into practice.

Odds and Ends

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  1. Karmaloop · · Reply

    I think you have to weight need vs. BPA. If you’ve got two similarly ranked players, but one is a shortstop and the other is a first baseman, obviously you put more value into the shortstop than you would the first baseman because he plays a more premium position. That’s why I subscribe to BVA (Best Value Available) rather than a true BPA or need. Sort of gives you a happy medium. Instead of putting players in individual rankings, you put them in tiers based on talent level (ignoring positional aspect). Then when you get to your pick, you find the players in the highest ranking tier left and choose between them. Your opinion will be influenced by the strengths and weaknesses of your system.

  2. is BVA kind of similar to that ranged BPA thing i mentioned above in your opinion, or something different and more sabermetrically driven?

  3. Karmaloop · · Reply

    Sort of. You basically group similar value (in terms of talent) players together, and then when you go to pick that’s when you factor in positional strengths/weaknesses in your farm systems. It’s a merger between needs and value.

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