When selecting our SuperCoach sides, a lot of thought often goes into which players have changed teams.
Maybe they’ll get a better chance to play, maybe their role will change, or maybe they just need a fresh start.
Are there any stats to back this notion up, however? Looking at the averages for the 30 players involved in 2016’s AFL Trade Period makes for interesting reading.
When considering which players became better players at their new club, I’ve set a parameter that their SuperCoach average must have improved by at least 10 points per game.
Of the 30 freshly traded players, 11 (or 37%) actually boosted their season average by 10 points or more.
Jarrod Witts was the standout from this group, taking his average from 50 up to 94.3. Well done if you jumped on the new Sun.
Will Hoskin-Elliott (49 to 81.3) and Jack Steele (63.8 to 91.1) were the next on the table.
Aaron Black, Michael Hibberd, Marley Williams, Tom Mitchell, James Stewart, Toby Nankervis, Joel Hamling and Bradley Hill were the other in this group, but as you can see, there’s no discernible pattern.
They’re not all midfielders, they’re not all coming off injuries.
Maybe pure game-time is the common denominator, but Mitchell, Hamling and Hill all played regularly before switching clubs.
For the other 19 players (63%), they either improved by less than 10 points per game, or went backwards all together.
In total, 15 (exactly half) players’ averages regressed, with 10 dropping by more than 10 points per game.
Veterans Sam Mitchell, Jordan Lewis and Brett Deledio were in this bunch, as expected.
In total, the average improvement across the the 30 players was a whopping +1.71. Yep, the difference across the board was negligible. So what if we add some more parameters?
Firstly, let’s get rid of those players on the wrong side of 30. Lewis and Sam Mitchell are the only guys from that category, leaving 28 players. The average improvement per player rises to +2.63.
Let’s drop down a bit more, to 27. In the list of players who were traded before their 27th birthday, 23 names appear. And with the older guys out, the average improvement rises again, to +5.26. It doesn’t seem like much, but that’s doubled, so fairly significant.
If we lower the age bracket to 24 years or younger, our list drops to just 12 names. But the average improvement per player jumps to a very encouraging +7.1.
Of these 12, nine saw improvements, three didn’t. So we can say that purely off 2016 numbers, if you picked a traded player who was younger than 24 years old, there was a 75% chance he improved on his 2016 numbers.
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So, can we take anything away from these figures?
A seven point increase for the youngest group might actually be worth looking into. Who’s in that boat from the most recent Trade Period?
From the most recent batch, there’s 13 players traded before their 24th birthday. They are Charlie Cameron, Harrison Wigg, Jake Lever, Josh Schache, Lachie Weller, Harley Balic, Darcy Lang, Adam Saad, Matthew Kennedy, Jarman Impey, Logan Austin, Sam Murray and Jake Stringer.
Looking at those names, it would be fair to say that they’re all a chance to improve, especially Lachie Weller and Matthew Kennedy, in my opinion.
But, I wouldn’t be selecting a player just because they fit this category. Jaeger O’Meara, who looked the safest bet from the under 24s last season, saw the greatest drop-off of all (down 33.9 points on his 2014 numbers).
Would love to hear your thoughts. Is it a green light for all traded players? Or is just an old wives’ tale?