The injury riddled former number 38 draft pick Harley Balic has gone to Melbourne in exchange for the modest sum of pick 66.
This is a “go-home” trade that was flagged in July, and is really a pretty understandable request given the isolation players can experience doing extended stints of injury rehab. He spent nearly all of last year dealing with a wrist injury, and after some further issues this year including illness and a hamstring tear, he was granted personal leave for most of the back half of the season.
At this stage, Balic’s issues cast serious doubt over his future and we’re projecting him pretty lowly based off playing just four games this year and zero last year. Players do bounce back from that sort of start, but right now he’s just not worth much on future expectations.
Balic was initially drafted at pick 38, so if we rated him based on a discount on that (which is probably a valid alternative way of rating very young players and one we’ve employed in the past), he could be worth around pick 44. However, given the circumstances, Fremantle clearly haven’t argued for something like that.
Fremantle have added another late pick to their hand, and now hold 5, 41, 42, 57, 60 and 66 in the first four rounds. This remains a perplexing set of picks for them to hold.
Predicting a 20 year old’s future is a tough ask in any profession. For Balic, his similar projection cohort failed to meet the average PAV output of a draftee more often than not; but there are some big success stories there. Jobe Watson was a noted late bloomer, as were Jay Schulz and Scott Welsh after a change of clubs.
Melbourne will be hoping that the change of scenery similarly reinvigorates Balic’s career.
Verdict: Fair and compassionate trade
Note: This post is part of a series of posts using a valuation method called Player Approximate Value (PAV) to evaluate trades for fairness and balance. Elsewhere, you can read much more about the method and theory behind PAV and also about PAPLEY, the projection method used to derive expected future PAVs. This method expresses both picks and players in terms of expected future value allowing them to be compared on this common basis.