I did a little study. Here are the results. They are based on our rosters after they were stripped of expiring 2023 contracts.
If I don’t get at least one comment about how pretty this chart is…
The columns show:
- Current total salary obligations.
- Current available room under the salary cap
- Number of players currently under contract for 2024
- The total fWAR those players produced in 2023 (as a rough indicator of what they can be expected to do in 2024).
- How much each team is currently set to spend in 2024 per each win above average produced in 2023.
- How much each team is currently spending per player.
- How much fWAR the average player on each team produced in 2023.
- How many roster openings each team has available (up to the 30-man Opening Day roster limit).
- How much money each team has to spend per open roster spot.
This study is not super reliable for predicting where we’ll be in 2024. Some of our current rosters will get better by 2024 (especially if the roster is mostly under 27 years old). Others will get worse. Some of us have a lot of pruning to do, which will get our rosters in better position for the spring drafting season.
Some of us have rosters that protrude beyond 20 players, so are liable to lose players in the Rule 5 draft. Some will gain players then. All but one of our teams are vulnerable if we happen to have an expansion draft.
Some of us will execute trades. Some of us might mutter about executing traders.
And so on, caveats ad nauseum.
Even with all these caveats, there are three things I want to say, based on the data above.
- Beware the Dragons! Contending EFL teams tend to produce fWAR in the mid-50’s. The Dragons appear to be within 10 WAR of being a favorite to win in 2024. The roster has only 3 openings, with $57,000,000 to spend. Who’s going to be able to outbid them for the marquis players who can put them over the top?
- Beware the Alleghenys! They have almost as much 2023 fWAR as the Dragons, with more room on the roster to improve (albeit less money).
- Beware the Kangaroos! (This is mostly directed at Wolverine management.) They are virtually tied with Old Detroit in 2023 fWAR, but have more than 50% more money to spend per open roster spot. Old Detroit can’t count on lucky finishes every year; the intra-familial virtual trophy looks likely to change hands next year.
It remains to be seen whether anyone else can join the Dragons and Alleghenys as top threats to win in 2024.
Tornado management has already pointed out how its existing roster leads the league, by a wide margin, in 2023 fWar per player. And Flint Hill has by far the most available roster spots (ie, opportunities to improve). And only the Drive and Pears can rival the T’s for available room under the salary cap. The T’s have a lot of work to do, but they seem to be just fine with that. Plus they have a LOT of resources to work with. So, I guess this means we have to Beware the Tornados! too.
The Drive and Pears, on the other hand, are much closer to having full rosters. How much advantage will they derive from being able to concentrate on fewer holes to fill? Do we have to Beware Them! too?