Strategy List Management 101

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List Management 101

Welcome to List Management 101. This may become a series, depending on how interesting people find it. It will contain evidence-based assessments of various aspects of list management, like my previous detailed review of our drafting history.

Episode 1 - Position valuations (AKA why we should NOT trade Jetta for Sinclair, and why Kurt Tippett is untradeable)

Not all positions in the AFL are created equal. Not just in terms of their game impact, but how easy the players are to obtain through the draft. Some of this analysis confirms the common wisdom in certain areas, however some of it shows that the popular opinion is miles off.

For every position, there is an exception. This has focused on the most dominant players in the game at each position, and how easily players of that level can be acquired.

1) Key Forwards
2) Daylight


Key forwards are undeniably the highest value in the game. But why, you ask, when the biggest trades in history have been for gun midfielders like Chris "pressure point" Judd?

Here are the top 25 tall forwards for goals scored in 2015 (in order), plus how they initially got on an AFL list. (As a side note, look at the massive prevalence of shenanigans in this list - this is not matched elsewhere)

Josh J Kennedy - Pick 4
Jeremy Cameron - Shenanigans
Taylor Walker - Shenanigans
Jack Gunston - Pick 29
Jack Riewoldt - Pick 13
Jarryd Roughead - Pick 2
Josh Bruce - Shenanigans
Lance Franklin - Pick 5
Josh Jenkins - Rookie Draft
Tom Hawkins - Shenanigans
Kurt Tippett - Pick 32
Jesse Hogan - Shenanigans
Jay Schulz - Pick 12
Tom Lynch (GC) - Pick 11
Drew Petrie - Pick 23
Jarrad Waite - Shenanigans
Charlie Dixon - Shenanigans
Matthew Pavlich - Pick 4
Cameron McCarthy - Pick 14
Joe Daniher - Shenanigans
Travis Cloke - Shenanigans
Tom Lynch (Ad) - Pick 13
Ben Brown - Pick 47
Tyrone Vickery - Pick 8
Nick Riewoldt - Pick 1

Only 4 on the entire list were taken outside the top 25. 2 of the 4 are ruck/forwards and 1 is a basketball convert. Jack Gunston is not a traditional contested key target.

TLDR: Don't bother trying to get a gun key forward if you don't have a high draft pick, maybe you can have a crack at a basketball player but your odds are low. The moral of the story is if you get a chance to get a gun key forward you simply, absolutely, must take it. And you sure as hell don't trade them away unless you are forced to.

3) Classy Midfielders

No real surprise here. Midfielders dominate the AFL awards every year, and are valued very highly. However they are ranked below key forwards because, unlike key forwards, it is actually possible to find dominant midfielders outside the top draft picks.

5 of the top 10 disposal winners in 2015 meet the criteria: Mitchell, Kennedy, Hannebery, Priddis, Neale. On top of that you have Gray (All Australian), Dahlhaus (AA squad), Swan (AA squad), Rockliff etc.

Does having a top 10 pick help? Of course it does - Judd, Selwood, Gaff, Deledio, Hodge and many others have been high certainty prospects at that level. But you don't have to have a high pick to get a gun, like you do with key forwards.

I haven't bothered creating a separate category for this purpose, but you should also note that your basic accumulator midfielders (some of which can reach a pretty high level) are always plentiful and available cheaply.

4) Key defenders

Key defenders are higher on the list than I expected, but that is only because the next categories are even less valuable.

Some of the best key defenders in the league are taken high in the draft - Harry Taylor, Alex Rance, Michael Hurley and this year Jacob Weitering. However unlike key forwards they can be found at any section of the draft, including the rookie draft. Note that the midfield guns outside the top 25 are usually still found in the National Draft, however strong AFL key defenders can be found even lower.

Jeremy McGovern, Heath Grundy, Josh Gibson, Brian Lake, Tom McDonald, Cale Hooker, Michael Johnson - all 50+ or lower and of absolute high quality. Plus numerous other late picks holding down KPD positions in the AFL like Frost x2, Delaney, Clarke.

Trading a high pick or valuable key forward/midfielder for a key defender is poor list management.

5) Small/medium defenders

These guys are a bit tricky. Defence is often used as a dumping ground for midfielders who can't quite cut it there, but can make a strong impact as half-back types. Therefore they can come from very high draft positions. This will focus on the defenders, rather than bastardised midfielders.

Sorry Nick Smith, you're just not that valuable. You and your buddies like Laird (rookie), Wood (pick 43), Williams (rookie), Enright (pick 47), Langdon (pick 65), Rampe (rookie), Baguley (rookie), Hibberd (PSD), are the best at your craft, but nobody in their right mind would squander a high draft pick on you with that knowledge.

6) Ruckmen

Am I underrating the ruckmen? Are they no longer an important part of AFL? 'Absolutely not' is the answer to both questions. However this thread is to assess their comparative value and to lead to informed list management.

Todd Goldstein (AA, 1st in hitouts) - pick 37
Aaron Sandilands (2nd in hitouts) - rookie
Sam Jacobs (3rd in hitouts) - rookie
Stefan Martin (5th in hitouts) - PSD
Ivan Maric (6th in hitouts) - pick 40
Mike Pyke (8th in hitouts) - rugby
Max Gawn (10th in hitouts) - pick 34

No, I don't think hitouts are all that matters for a ruckman, it was just a handy method of sorting them. Other ruckmen from 2015? Shane Mumford (rookie), Sinclair (rookie), Blicavs (steeplechase), Ceglar (rookie), Spencer and so on.

Not only are ruckmen regularly found from late rounds, the PSD and the rookie draft, they can even be found by taking pot shots at random tall people from completely unrelated sports. Combined with some high profile failures of ruckmen drafted in the first round (Wood, Spaanderman, Laycock, Meesen, Gorringe, Cordy), why would you bother? Once every 2 years, some peanut of a list manager butchers a 1st round selection on a ruckman. Considering on average 1 ruckman goes in the 1st round each year, that's quite remarkable. These failures don't turn into "serviceable" players in the 22, they get delisted having contributed absolutely **** all. There is no middle ground.

7) Small forwards


This won't surprise anyone, so I'll keep it short (pun not intended). The truly elite "small forwards" that are drafted highly are taken there because they are really midfielders wearing makeup. Chad Wingard was a dominant midfielder in his junior career, and everyone expects him to return there at some point.

Who are the best 'true' small forwards in the game? Betts (PSD), Breust (rookie), Dickson (pick 57), Walters (pick 53), Garlett (rookie), Elliott (shenanigans), Puopolo (pick 66). Speaks for itself.

Summary

1) Get tall forwards however you can, hang onto them at all costs.

2) Use your high draft picks on key forwards, midfielders and occasionally key defenders.

3) Don't bother taking key forwards after the 1st round unless they are ruckmen or basketballers, you are just wasting everyone's time.

4) Take some chances on small forwards, and defenders of all sizes late in the draft.

5) Either use late picks on ruckmen or trade (CHEAPLY) for the reserves at other clubs.

I hope this has proven interesting.

EDIT 11/10/15 Thanks to Wayne Swan for his correction of Waite, I have updated the KPF sections.
 
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Swansujelly

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#2
proves you have too much time on your hands. I kid, I kid. Nice summary. Goes to show how much of a lottery it is after the top 20 picks. I think this club has done well with the later picks. At least the last two first rounders are gold.
 

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#3
What about first round picks on mature age players?


Good analysis though

The other thing id be interested in is the trading of first round picks, has it been a win in the past
 

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#4
A good read. :thumbsu:

In your summary you say never take a key foward after the first round even though they are clearly the most valuable.

Wouldn't it be more true to say consider 'carefully' a key forward after the 1st and not bother from the 3rd round? Or do you consider the drop off after pick 25 too great?

Had a look back definitely hard to find quality key forwards late (who didn't ruck as you say). But a few there every other year.

Aaron Hammil #79
D. Bradshaw #56
C. Mooney #56
S. Rocca #30
D. Merret #30
T. Cloke #39 (F/S) edit this would be shenanigans disregard.

By your assessment the year we took Gaspar #1 and Heuskus #5 was a debacle :p
 
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Neverwas

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#5
List Management 101

Welcome to List Management 101. This may become a series, depending on how interesting people find it. It will contain evidence-based assessments of various aspects of list management, like my previous detailed review of our drafting history.

Episode 1 - Position valuations (AKA why we should NOT trade Jetta for Sinclair, and why Kurt Tippett is untradeable)

Not all positions in the AFL are created equal. Not just in terms of their game impact, but how easy the players are to obtain through the draft. Some of this analysis confirms the common wisdom in certain areas, however some of it shows that the popular opinion is miles off.

For every position, there is an exception. This has focused on the most dominant players in the game at each position, and how easily players of that level can be acquired.

1) Key Forwards
2) Daylight


Key forwards are undeniably the highest value in the game. But why, you ask, when the biggest trades in history have been for gun midfielders like Chris "pressure point" Judd?

Here are the top 25 tall forwards for goals scored in 2015 (in order), plus how they initially got on an AFL list. (As a side note, look at the massive prevalence of shenanigans in this list - this is not matched elsewhere)

Josh J Kennedy - Pick 4
Jeremy Cameron - Shenanigans
Taylor Walker - Shenanigans
Jack Gunston - Pick 29
Jack Reiwoldt - Pick 13
Jarryd Roughead - Pick 2
Josh Bruce - Shenanigans
Lance Franklin - Pick 5
Josh Jenkins - Rookie Draft
Tom Hawkins - Shenanigans
Kurt Tippett - Pick 32
Jesse Hogan - Shenanigans
Jay Schulz - Pick 12
Tom Lynch (GC) - Pick 11
Drew Petrie - Pick 23
Jarrad Waite - Pick 46
Charlie Dixon - Shenanigans
Matthew Pavlich - Pick 4
Cameron McCarthy - Pick 14
Joe Daniher - Shenanigans
Travis Cloke - Shenanigans
Tom Lynch (Ad) - Pick 13
Ben Brown - Pick 47
Tyrone Vickery - Pick 8
Nick Riewoldt - Pick 1

Only 5 on the entire list were taken outside the top 25. 3 of the 5 are ruck/forwards and 2 of them are basketball converts. Jack Gunston is not a traditional contested key target. The one player on the list who defies the rule is Jarrad Waite (there is hope for Sam Reid yet).

TLDR: Don't bother trying to get a gun key forward if you don't have a high draft pick, maybe you can have a crack at a basketball player but your odds are low. The moral of the story is if you get a chance to get a gun key forward you simply, absolutely, must take it. And you sure as hell don't trade them away unless you are forced to.

3) Classy Midfielders

No real surprise here. Midfielders dominate the AFL awards every year, and are valued very highly. However they are ranked below key forwards because, unlike key forwards, it is actually possibly to find dominant midfielders outside the top draft picks.

5 of the top 10 disposal winners in 2015 meet the criteria: Mitchell, Kennedy, Hannebery, Priddis, Neale. On top of that you have Gray (All Australian), Dahlhaus (AA squad), Swan (AA squad), Rockliff etc.

Does having a top 10 pick help? Of course it does - Judd, Selwood, Gaff, Deledio, Hodge and many others have been high certainty prospects at that level. But you don't have to have a high pick to get a gun, like you do with key forwards.

I haven't bothered creating a separate category for this purpose, but you should also note that your basic accumulator midfielders (some of which can reach a pretty high level) are always plentiful and available cheaply.

4) Key defenders

Key defenders are higher on the list than I expected, but that is only because the next categories are even less valuable.

Some of the best key defenders in the league are taken high in the draft - Harry Taylor, Alex Rance, Michael Hurley and this year Jacob Weitering. However unlike key forwards they can be found at any section of the draft, including the rookie draft. Note that the midfield guns outside the top 25 are usually still found in the National Draft, however strong AFL key defenders can be found even lower.

Jeremy McGovern, Heath Grundy, Josh Gibson, Brian Lake, Tom McDonald, Cale Hooker, Michael Johnson - all 50+ or lower and of absolute high quality. Plus numerous other late picks holding down KPD positions in the AFL like Frost x2, Delaney, Clarke.

Trading a high pick or valuable key forward/midfielder for a key defender is poor list management.

5) Small/medium defenders

These guys are a bit tricky. Defence is often used as a dumping ground for midfielders who can't quite cut it there, but can make a strong impact as half-back types. Therefore they can come from very high draft positions. This will focus on the defenders, rather than bastardised midfielders.

Sorry Nick Smith, you're just not that valuable. You and your buddies like Laird (rookie), Wood (pick 43), Williams (rookie), Enright (pick 47), Langdon (pick 65), Rampe (rookie), Baguley (rookie), Hibberd (PSD), are the best at your craft, but nobody in their right mind would squander a high draft pick on you with that knowledge.

6) Ruckmen

Am I underrating the ruckmen? Are they no longer an important part of AFL? 'Absolutely not' is the answer to both questions. However this thread is to assess their comparative value and to lead to informed list management.

Todd Goldstein (AA, 1st in hitouts) - pick 37
Aaron Sandilands (2nd in hitouts) - rookie
Sam Jacobs (3rd in hitouts) - rookie
Stefan Martin (5th in hitouts) - PSD
Ivan Maric (6th in hitouts) - pick 40
Mike Pyke (8th in hitouts) - rugby
Max Gawn (10th in hitouts) - pick 34

No, I don't think hitouts are all that matters for a ruckman, it was just a handy method of sorting them. Other ruckmen from 2015? Shane Mumford (rookie), Sinclair (rookie), Blicavs (steeplechase), Ceglar (rookie), Spencer and so on.

Not only are ruckmen regularly found from late rounds, the PSD and the rookie draft, they can even be found by taking pot shots at random tall people from completely unrelated sports. Combined with some high profile failures of ruckmen drafted in the first round (Wood, Spaanderman, Laycock, Meesen, Gorringe, Cordy), why would you bother? Once every 2 years, some peanut of a list manager butchers a 1st round selection on a ruckman. Considering on average 1 ruckman goes in the 1st round each year, that's quite remarkable. These failures don't turn into "serviceable" players in the 22, they get delisted having contributed absolutely **** all. There is no middle ground.

7) Small forwards


This won't surprise anyone, so I'll keep it short (pun not intended). The truly elite "small forwards" that are drafted highly are taken there because they are really midfielders wearing makeup. Chad Wingard was a dominant midfielder in his junior career, and everyone expects him to return there at some point.

Who are the best 'true' small forwards in the game? Betts (PSD), Breust (rookie), Dickson (pick 57), Walters (pick 53), Garlett (rookie), Elliott (shenanigans), Puopolo (pick 66). Speaks for itself.

Summary

1) Get tall forwards however you can, hang onto them at all costs.

2) Use your high draft picks on key forwards, midfielders and occasionally key defenders.

3) Don't bother taking key forwards after the 1st round unless they are ruckmen or basketballers, you are just wasting everyone's time.

4) Take some chances on small forwards, and defenders of all sizes late in the draft.

5) Either use late picks on ruckmen or trade (CHEAPLY) for the reserves at other clubs.

I hope this has proven interesting.
Excellent Swansfan51. Some real information and analysis. A breath of fresh air. Hope the club offers you a job.
 

RW

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#8
The other thing id be interested in is the trading of first round picks, has it been a win in the past
That would be interesting to look at. I don't think trading first round picks is ideal, but we may have been prepared to do it to try and avoid the situation that Brisbane are in now, with Vic/SA/WA clubs enticing their kids to come home.
 

The King!

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#9
That would be interesting to look at. I don't think trading first round picks is ideal, but we may have been prepared to do it to try and avoid the situation that Brisbane are in now, with Vic/SA/WA clubs enticing their kids to come home.

Im surprised some teams dont trade them away more, though has anyone other than freo traded pick 1 for instance
 

RW

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#11
Im surprised some teams dont trade them away more, though has anyone other than freo traded pick 1 for instance
They got owned by the Hawks, they traded away pick 1 (Luke Hodge, four time premiership player) for Trent Croad who ended up winning a flag with Hawthorn anyway. List management fail. Trading first rounders I can understand, but not the number 1 pick if you are fortunate (or bad) enough to get it.
 

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Heeney2Franklin

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#12
They got owned by the Hawks, they traded away pick 1 (Luke Hodge, four time premiership player) for Trent Croad who ended up winning a flag with Hawthorn anyway. List management fail. Trading first rounders I can understand, but not the number 1 pick if you are fortunate (or bad) enough to get it.
Carlton would wish they would of given pick 1 for Judd and kept Kennedy, Kruezer will never be the player they hoped for.
 

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#13
Carlton would wish they would of given pick 1 for Judd and kept Kennedy, Kruezer will never be the player they hoped for.
Kreuzer was good until he did his ACL, though. Had a brilliant start to his career. Sometimes you can just be unlucky.

I just looked up the details of the Freo deal with the Hawks in 2001 - they traded picks 1 (Hodge), 20 (Daniel Elstone) and 36 (Sam Mitchell) in exchange for McPharlin (who was homesick and wanted to go back to WA) and Croad. McPharlin has been a great player for them but Hawthorn clearly did very, very well out of that trade.
 

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#14
Kreuzer was good until he did his ACL, though. Had a brilliant start to his career. Sometimes you can just be unlucky.

I just looked up the details of the Freo deal with the Hawks in 2001 - they traded picks 1 (Hodge), 20 (Daniel Elstone) and 36 (Sam Mitchell) in exchange for McPharlin (who was homesick and wanted to go back to WA) and Croad. McPharlin has been a great player for them but Hawthorn clearly did very, very well out of that trade.
Well croad played 30 odd crap games at freo

Then they traded him back for pick 10 Used for ryley dunn

Hodge mitchell 4 flags

Croad 1 flag


Well done freo.
 

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#16
One factor I think you've missed is that good ruckman might often be drafted late, but that DOES NOT MEAN YOU DON'T TRADE GOOD VALUE FOR THEM. When you draft a ruckman, it's a crapshoot. Will they fill out appropriately, will their skills improve, will they learn to play forward well, will they be able to remain on the park. There's a lot that can go wrong in a ruckman's development, and THAT is a big reason why so many from later in the draft make it... more are taken there, because it's too risky to burn a high draft pick on them.

When, however, a ruckman has been drafted, and has developed physically, and looks like he might be one of those few who make it at AFL level, much of that risk is gone, and they actually gain more value.

If we were to trade Jetta for a pick which we then intended to use to draft a ruckman, that would be stupid, I agree. But trading Jetta for an established (if certainly not flawless) ruckman in his mid-20s is not. Sinclair has made it past the vast majority of ruckmen, he's past the danger period. Your draft position evaluations don't apply.

Now, that doesn't necessarily mean Sinclair is the right fit for us. But it's not a matter of not getting enough value or whatever.
 

Wayne Swan

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#17
Can you update your original post as Jarrad Waite was a F/S (father Vin Waite) so he should be rated shenanigans.

The list below is interesting because all of those selections were before recruiting became a science. None since the modern era really.
Aaron Hammil #79
D. Bradshaw #56
C. Mooney #56
S. Rocca #30
D. Merret #30

Fantastic read Swansfan51, very very good research and analysis, I hope everyone has this handy to rate all the teams drafting this year.
 
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Thread starter Moderator #19
Can you update your original post as Jarrad Waite was a F/S (father Vin Waite) so he should be rated shenanigans.

The list below is interesting because all of those selections were before recruiting became a science. None since the modern era really.
Aaron Hammil #79
D. Bradshaw #56
C. Mooney #56
S. Rocca #30
D. Merret #30

Fantastic read Swansfan51, very very good research and analysis, I hope everyone has this handy to rate all the teams drafting this year.
Thanks very much for the great pickup Wayne, disappointed I missed Waite but it certainly strengthens the finding even further. I have updated the OP and credited you :thumbsu:

One factor I think you've missed is that good ruckman might often be drafted late, but that DOES NOT MEAN YOU DON'T TRADE GOOD VALUE FOR THEM.

Now, that doesn't necessarily mean Sinclair is the right fit for us. But it's not a matter of not getting enough value or whatever.
This is not true. West Coast were widely reported as being willing to trade their 1st round pick or possibly a compensation pick for Lewis Jetta. If you are sacrificing that return in order to acquire Sinclair, then that is the valuation you are placing on Sinclair. That is a higher valuation than has been placed on ruckmen who are immensely superior to him:

Ryder - 17 & 37
Mumford - 35
Longer - 25 and upgrade
McIntosh - 38
Maric - 37
Jacobs - 34 & 67

Sinclair is nowhere near being in that sort of company. It is proven multiple times over the past 5 trade periods that #1 capable ruckmen can be acquired far cheaper. If the suggestion of Jetta for Sinclair in close to a straight swap is true it is a desperation move due to a positional shortage - one I have little sympathy for, as lists are built over a 10 year period not 2 years. I'm a big supporter of playing the percentages - if you do that constantly then you deliver a better result. Sacrificing ~pick 20 currency for a slightly below average ruckman is not playing the percentages, as history shows it is an overvaluation.
 
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Thread starter Moderator #22
Great read, mate. Feel like I've actually learned something useful, which happens on this website about once or twice a season (shoutout to grimlock too I don't forget you baby).

How does your model account for LRT, though?
He was taken at #29, that's about average for a key defender. Certainly fits the bracket.

Due to positive feedback I have started writing Episode 2 - List Construction and Depth (AKA why a certain club's list is better than people are giving them credit for)
 

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#23
He was taken at #29, that's about average for a key defender. Certainly fits the bracket.

Due to positive feedback I have started writing Episode 2 - List Construction and Depth (AKA why a certain club's list is better than people are giving them credit for)

Wonder which club :p
 
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Moderator #24
He was taken at #29, that's about average for a key defender. Certainly fits the bracket.

Due to positive feedback I have started writing Episode 2 - List Construction and Depth (AKA why a certain club's list is better than people are giving them credit for)
Is the club you're referring to Hawthorn by any chance?
 
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