Some, maybe most or even all, MLS teams use some sort of cheat sheet to help them make decisions on possible deals during MLS SuperDraft day. One of those cheat sheets is the draft value card that provides a rough estimate of the relative value of a draft pick.
As you know, I’ve written several articles that summarize my research into draft pick valuation from the performance of previously selected players. I’m using that research to create a draft value card for the 2018 MLS SuperDraft. Here it is below.
The values are expected career values of players selected at each draft position, taking into account performance of players drafted in the previous four seasons. The values are then scaled so that the top draft pick is 100.0.
As has been the case in recent seasons, the relative value of the draft pick falls off exponentially, stabilizes midway through the second round, and declines steadily in the third and fourth rounds. According to the first draft selection is more than eight times more valuable than the first pick of the second round, more than 200 times more valuable than a selection in the third round, and more than 1000 times more valuable than a pick in the fourth round. That’s not to say that latter round picks can’t make contributions — they certainly can, and even as first-year players — but that’s not the way to bet.
At any rate, it will be interesting to see if the teams see the draft values in the same way as these estimates.