Custom Draft Guides

Player dollar values can vary by as much as 50% depending on the size of your league, the categories you use, and which of the Major Leagues you draft from. Since there is no such thing as a "standard league" any more, the only dollar estimates of value are those that can be customized to your particular league setting. The new HQValuator is an engine that powers the calculation of dollar values for players in your league. This engine produces a new suite of custom draft guides.

This is the initial input screen where you set the parameters for your league and your personal valuation preferences. It will open up in a separate window so you can follow along with the following instructions.

New! How-to videos to properly configure the Custom Draft Guide and MACK team tracker:

Set up a MACK league

Create leagues and teams in MACK

Configure your league inputs in Custom Draft Guide

Configure your keepers in Custom Draft Guide


When copying/pasting results from the Draft Guide to Excel, choose Paste Special (then choose Text format) in Excel to get the tabular data to appear properly in the spreadsheet.

Start by setting your league parameters for:

Select MACK League: Choose your MACK league to save and load your league configuration.

Use Keepers: Check this box to freeze the players on the MACK teams in your league at their keeper salaries. The league's remaining budget will be allocated over the rest of the player pool (i.e. the non-keepers). If you don't have MACK leagues set up, do NOT check this box.

Select Stat Pool: Choose the data set against which to generate your values.

Number of Teams: Enter the number of teams in your league. There are not limits here.

Leagues: Click off AL or NL. For Mixed, click both AL and NL.

Budget Per Team: Enter the total dollars that each team gets to spend at the draft. If you don't play with budgets, enter 260 just so the program has something to work with.

Offensive Budget: Select the percentage of your budget that should be allocated to batters, between 50% and 75%. This percentage should reflect the tendencies in your league, not what you are intending to spend. You want to know what the value for players are based on your league's typical spending habits (market value). To find that out, add up your league's batter draft salaries from the past few years, divide by the total budget, and use the resulting percentage as your benchmark. You can always run a second set of values based on your own budget plans and see where your profit opportunities may lie.

Number of Bench Players: Enter any number. For those leagues that require that bench players be purchased from your draft budget, this forces those players to have positive dollar values.

Use Fractional $: Check this box if you'd like the values to be displayed as dollars and cents.

Force Positions: When unchecked, this will rank and value players regardless of position. When checked, it will build the dollar values based on the number of players by position your league needs to fill (i.e. in a 10 team league requiring 2 catchers per team, 20 catchers will appear on the report). Most services "force" the values for the players at the bottom of scarce positions to $1, but that leads you to believe that those players' stats are actually worth $1, when in fact their projections generate negative value. If you do not check this box, the HQValuator will report each player's true worth so you know whether you are drafting positive or negative value.

Valuation Method: There are several methods to value players. 
Top Players: One school of thought says that you can afford to spend high on top players because there is still lots of value remaining in the $1 end-game, and replacement pool. If this is how you perceive value, or you play in leagues that allow liberal free agent moves, select the Top Players option. 
Balanced: From a valution algorithm standpoint, players below the $1 threshold really do not exist, so the distance between the end-gamers and front-liners is less, thus depressing the frontline values. If this is how you perceive value, or you play in leagues that are more restrictive with the free agent pool, select the Balanced option. 
Scarcity: This option coming soon.

Which positions does your team use? Enter the number of players by position required to fill your roster.

Stat Categories: Choose from 17 batting and 12 pitching categories.

This is the information needed for the HQValuator engine to do its work. After making your selections and clicking on GENERATE VALUES, a list of batters and pitchers will appear on the screen, sorted by declining dollar value.

For some of you, this report may provide all that you need. However, you can also select some alternative report formats from the links at the top of that page.

[FULL LIST] This option returns you to this initial ranking list from wherever you are.

[POSITIONAL REPORT] This option sorts the players by position.

[CUSTOM REPORT] This option provides a new input form that allows you to check off which data items and stat categories you want to appear on your report (the other reports generate a fixed group of categories). It also allows you to do some custom, two-level sorting, which is helpful for non-traditional league formats and ad hoc analyses. For instance, simulation leagues can sort batters by position, and then by Runs Above Replacement. Owners looking for hidden power sources at catcher can sort by position, and then by Power Index (PX).

[GRID] This popular format is probably the most compact method you can use to prepare for your draft. HQ subscribers have found it to be one of most valuable tools on the site. The report is a simple grid that lists each position along the top and player value ranges down the side. It provides you with -- at a quick glance -- where positional stengths and weaknesses are, so you can decide how best to invest your bids or draft picks. It is important to note that the values listed down the side should be considered as bid limits.

One thing the grids do not include is any statistics. If you are one who likes to draft a balanced team, this can be an obstacle unless you have some other support material. For those who are content to draft for value and trade for balance, this format will do just fine.

The players appearing within each cell of the grid are listed in rank order, but don't get hung up on that. If 17 players are listed as 15-unit outfielders, then all 17 are pretty-much interchangeable. Sure, some may have a bit more power, or more speed, or bat for a higher batting average, but all are worth somewhere between 11 and 15 units. If you are drafting for pure value, that's all you need to know.

After you select this format, you also have the option of including three additional data items for each player in the grid... dollar values, base performance values, and reliability scores.

This report is designed to print out directly in LANDSCAPE mode. Single leagues should fit on 2-3 sheets; mixed leagues on about 5. You can also cut and paste the output into Excel and modify so that it fits on fewer pages and/or in PORTRAIT mode.

[RETURN TO INPUT FORM] gets you back to the input form from wherever you are.


  • The HQValuator is updated with revised projections every day, all season long. In-season data will be balance-of-year projections.
  • To use these reports in Excel or LOTUS: Drag your mouse to mark the entire area of the report you wish to copy over and click [CTRL]-C to copy. Then open up your spreadsheet software, click on the cell you wish to be the top left corner of your report, and click [CTRL]-V to paste in the data.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How can I make the Custom Draft Guide account for keepers in my league?

This tool is integrated with your league setup in the MACK Team Tracker. Before generating your values in the Custom Draft Guide, complete the following setup steps in MACK:

1. Create a new league in MACK. 
2. Create each team in your league in MACK, and associate each team with your league. 
3. Add the appropriate players to each team's roster. 
4. For each team, go to the Team tab, choose Player Properties, and enter the keeper salaries for each player on each roster.

Once you have completed the above steps, you can return to the Custom Draft Guide. Enter your league configuration on the Settings page, and click 'Save Settings' before clicking 'Submit'. This will save your league configuration for future runs of the Custom Draft Guide.

To include keeper settings in your league calculations, be sure to check the "Use Keepers" box on the input form! If you don't have MACK leagues set up, do NOT check this box.

On the resulting CDG reports, your keeper prices will be frozen, and the remaining dollars in your league pool will be allocated to the players available in your auction. Keepers will be indicated in the "Kept" column on the output page and Positional Report. On the Grid view, you have the option to flag the keepers with a (K).

What if I am in a straight draft league? 
You have two choices. Optimally, you should follow the directions in our straight draft guide, and use those lists as your base. Alternately, you can use the HQValuator, set the dollar value to $260, the offensive percentage to an average level, like 65%, and see if the overall rankings closely mirror how your league typically drafts. If you find pitchers listed too high or too low, adjust the split. You should also move up players at scarce positions (primarily catcher and middle infield) and draft them ahead of others. A very rough rule of thumb... Add $5 to the projected value of those at scarce positions and re-rank them with that adjustment.

But these players would never go for those amounts in my league. 
There is fair amount of confusion about what values you need to take with you to the draft table. For every player, you need to take two values -- a projected value and a market value. The projected value is based on HQ's forecasted stats. However, a projected value can be dramatically different from a player's market value, which is what the owners at your league's draft table are most likely to bid him up to. This value is based on the general expectations of your league, which can be colored by anything from hometown bias to a Peter Gammons report.

The variance between projected value and market value is where you will find the greatest strategic advantage. If a player's market value is far greater than projected, you can immediately cross the player off your target list and employ tactics to inflate his purchase price. If projected is greater than market, these are opportunities for you to try to build some profit into your roster.

I'm finding bugs in the output results. What should I do? 
The best thing to do is contact us directly using the contact us page. That's the quickest way to get word to us. Posting on the forums is not the optimal approach as our tech guys don't go there.