More and more, clubs are engaging in minor pick swaps aimed at one of several goals:
- Swapping future picks to move draft value into the following year, or into the current year.
- Positioning higher in the draft by swapping multiple picks for one, sometimes to take a pick before a bid comes on a tied player.
- Moving lower in the draft by splitting a pick, to take an extra swing at the piñata of young talent.
- Stockpiling AFL Draft Value Index points to match bids for tied players.
- Getting rid of a selection a club wasn’t going to use due to list size considerations.
Given these common aims, this article will serve as a rolling update on pure pick swaps to try to explain what each club is doing with each exchange. Most pick swaps don’t deserve a full article, but definitely merit some consideration.
It will be very exciting.
Note: This article is part of a series 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. You can also read about PAPLEY, the projection method used to derive expected future PAVs, which has been revised for 2019.
GWS and St Kilda for pick 6
This got its own article, essentially GWS are aiming to get ahead of the anticiapted Tom Green bid. St Kilda get the extra selection in the first part of an even draft pool, probably to lower what they will pay for Brad Hill while potentially still getting all the players they want in during this off-season.
West Coast and Brisbane late swap
West Coast consolidate their remaining 2019 draft value in one pick, number 46. That pick 91 is currently their second selection. They appear to be taking a very minimalist approach to the draft, perhaps content to take the (apparent) minimum 3 selections mostly in the form of rookie upgrades.
The Lions now have a bit of a glut of later picks – 16, 21, 34, 52, 55 and 64. Their highest rated academy prospect are probably Will Martyn and Noah Cumberland who attended the national combine but seem unlikely to come at a premium. The pick surplus may therefore go towards securing upcoming trades, such as for Callum Ah Chee, or be recycled into fewer higher picks or 2020 selections.
Melbourne sell the farm to North
It’s unclear what Melbourne hoped to achieve here.
First, we can conclude the Demons probably only want to take two live selections (now 3 and 8) in this year’s draft, having ditched picks 26 and 50 to get the pick 8 in. This despite finishing 17th and showing a lack of depth in their squad this year.
Second, we can assume they don’t intend to finish 17th again next year. Third, they currently aren’t taking a first round pick next year, which may be a response to highly compromised nature of the draft, being full of tied players. The Dees do have an NGA prospect in Kobi George who is at least a possibility of being drafted next year, but his bottom age Dandenong Stingrays numbers don’t suggest a high pick at this stage.
Even if Melbourne were to win the flag, the swap is a 2-for-1 win to the Kangaroos:
Picks 26 and 18 are a bit more valuable than pick 8 by themselves, and the extra hit at 50 is vaguely useful as well. Unless the Dees have another movement coming (perhaps a lopsided swap of 3 to GWS), it’s a little mystifying why the Dees have made this trade and couldn’t find a better way to climb the draft order. On the face, it’s a terrible deal, about as lopsided a pick swap as has been seen in recent memory.
Sydney trade up
A regulation 2-for-1 trade up the order, Sydney swap what was their fourth and sixth selection for a slightly higher one to subsequently facilitate the Lewis Taylor trade. Carlton gain good points value splitting what was their third selection into two, and end up swapping the picks to Essendon and Hawthorn in the ruck shuffles, with the Hawks able to use the picks for bid matching.