Setterfield settles on Carlton after a stuttering start

It’s often hard to work out whether a young player who struggles early on in his career is developing slowly or is just a draft bust. Will Setterfield presents a case as hard as they come in this respect.

In his two AFL games to date, played in 2017, he rated as one of the worst players in the AFL. This is not a subjective statement – this is what marginal Player Approximate Value (mPAV) tells us. Specifically, he rated 11th worst. Around players like Mitch White, Cameron Polson, Jarrad Grant and Rhys Palmer. Of all the inauspicious debuts in history, his is right up there.

However, injuries have had a big impact on his development to date. In 2017, Setterfield missed 10 weeks due to a bad ankle injury and another one due to a concussion, while his 2018 season ended before it started due to a rupture of his anterior cruciate ligament.

There’s an alternative valuation of someone who has played two games in his first two seasons, which is nearly zero (a PAPLEY of 1.1 instead of 36.2 to be exact). We have instead imputed his value using our new treatment method of young first year players.

If he can stay on the park and stay injury free, he has a decent shot at outperforming this projection. He was an exceptional junior player, and showed real flashes of talent in his limited appearances in the NEAFL. Not all great players hit the AFL running, and Setterfield could be another one of those types. He was a number five draft pick just two years ago, with his junior form still fresh in the minds of recruiters.

However, there is a lot of risk taken up by Carlton in this trade. Setterfield has been injured a lot, and as outlined above he looked ordinary at best when elevated to AFL level in his debut season. Plenty of high draft picks wash out from the AFL and the skill is working out when to cut deadweight and re-invest in new talent. The Giants have guessed right discarding young high draft picks cheaply in trades so far (O’Rourke, Jaksch, Sumner), and probably sold low on a couple of others (Hoskin-Elliott and Adams).

In exchange for Setterfield, the Giants will receive a high third round pick and a very high second round pick. They give up pick 71 as a sweetener, something which currently sits as Carlton’s third selection in this draft, after picks 1 and 69.

Verdict: A win to GWS, but it may be early days yet.

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.

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