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The Contract Over/Under Draft is an annual Effectively Wild competition where the participants take turns choosing free agents and declaring whether they believe their eventual contract will be worth more or less than the predicted value published by an agreed upon third party source. The draft is typically held immediately after the conclusion of the World Series before free agents begin to be signed.

Basic Rules[]

Though they have changed slightly over the years, the basic framework remains the same:

  1. A single 'source of truth' is chosen that has published their free agent contract predictions for the year, typically from ESPN or MLB Trade Rumors.
  2. Each participant goes in turn drafting players from the published list along with a prediction of "Over" or "Under" for their contract's total guaranteed value.
  3. Each correct prediction earns points equivalent to the margin between the predicted and actual value of the contract. (Example: If Ben drafts a player that was predicted to earn $10 million and took "Over", and the player signs for $20 million, Ben earns 10 points.)
  4. Each incorrect prediction subtracts points in the same manner.
  5. The full value of the contract is used, not the average annual value.
  6. Starting in 2019, a $10 million bonus is earned for predicting the direction correctly.
  7. Highest total score wins.

2014[]

Sam's Picks O/U? Bowden Actual Diff
Jon Lester Over 138 155 17
Brandon McCarthy Over 20 48 28
David Robertson Over 39 40 1
Nelson Cruz Over 48 58 10
Justin Masterson Over 7 9 2
Jason Grilli Over 3.5 8.25 4.75
Pablo Sandoval Under 90 95 -5
Total 57.75
Ben's Picks O/U? Bowden Actual Diff
Chase Headley Over 27 52 25
Hanley Ramirez Over 76 88 12
Nori Aoki Over 12 4.7 -7.3
Jake Peavy Over 9 24 15
Luke Gregerson Over 14 18.5 4.5
Melky Cabrera Under 64 42 22
Hiroki Kuroda Over 12 N/A N/A
Total 71.2
  • WINNER: Ben Lindbergh

2015[]

  • Episode: 766
  • Date: November 13, 2015
  • Competitors (in draft order): Sam Miller, Ben Lindbergh
  • Predictions list: Jim Bowden on ESPN Insider
Sam's Picks O/U? Bowden Actual Diff
Jason Heyward Over 207 184 -23
Colby Rasmus Over 22 15.8 -6.2
Ian Kennedy Under 42 70 -28
Jeff Samardzija Under 62 90 -28
Zack Greinke Over 186 206.5 20.5
Daniel Murphy Under 48 37.5 10.5
Mike Napoli Over 9.5 7 -2.5
Austin Jackson Under 20 5 15
Total -42
Ben's Picks O/U? Bowden Actual Diff
Ben Zobrist Over 48 56 8
Matt Wieters Under 64 15.8 48.2
Scott Kazmir Under 66 48 18
Yoenis Cespedes Over 126 75 -51
Chris Young Over 5 11.5 6.5
Jordan Zimmermann Over 120 110 -10
Ryan Madson Over 10 22 12
Chris Davis Over 120 161 41
Total 72.7
  • WINNER: Ben Lindbergh

2016[]

The draft was not held in 2016.

2017[]

Ben's Picks O/U? Predicted Actual Diff
Jake Arrieta Over 100 75 -25
Lorenzo Cain Over 70 80 10
Logan Morrison Under 36 6.5 29.5
Carlos Santana Over 45 60 15
Michael Pineda Over 6 10 4
Jaime Garcia Over 16 10 -6
Miles Mikolas Over 10 15.5 5.5
Jonathan Lucroy Under 24 6.5 17.5
Total 51
Jeff's Picks O/U? Predicted Actual Diff
Yu Darvish Under 160 126 34
Lance Lynn Under 56 12 44
Wade Davis Under 60 52 8
Eric Hosmer Over 132 144 12
Zack Cozart Under 42 38 4
Andrew Cashner Under 20 16 4
Anthony Swarzek Over 14 14 0
Mike Moustakas Under 85 6.5 78.5
Total 184
  • WINNER: Jeff Sullivan

2018[]

Jeff's Picks O/U? Predicted Actual Diff
Bryce Harper Under 420 330 90
Patrick Corbin Under 129 140 -11
Dallas Keuchel Under 82 N/A 0
Zach Britton Under 33 39 -6
Joe Kelly Under 27 25 2
Gio Gonzalez Under 24 3 21
Trevor Cahill Under 22 9 13
DJ LeMahieu Over 18 24 6
Total 115
Ben's Picks O/U? Predicted Actual Diff
Manny Machado Under 390 300 90
Josh Donaldson Over 20 23 3
Andrew McCutchen Under 45 50 -5
Hyun-jin Ryu Under 33 17.9 15.1
Charlie Morton Over 32 30 -2
Adam Ottavino Over 30 27 -3
Garrett Richards Over 10 15 5
Craig Kimbrel Under 70 N/A 0
Total 103.1
  • WINNER: Jeff Sullivan

2019[]

  • Episode: 1455
  • Date: November 11, 2019
  • Competitors (in draft order): Sam Miller, Ben Lindbergh
  • Prediction list: MLB Trade Rumors
  • Notes: This is the first year a $10 million bonus is added to every correct prediction, to increase the value of predicting low-value contracts correctly.
Sam's Picks O/U? Predicted Actual Diff Bonus Score
Gerrit Cole Over 256 324  68 10  78
Jake Odorizzi Under  51  17.8  33.2 10  43.2
Mike Moustakas Over  20  64  44 10  54
Kyle Gibson Over  18  30  12 10  22
Yasmani Grandal Under  68  73  −5  −5
Howie Kendrick Over  12   6.25  −5.75  −5.75
Marcell Ozuna Under  45  18  27 10  37
Will Harris Over  18  24   6 10  16
Total 488 557.05 179.45 60 239.45
Ben's Picks O/U? Predicted Actual Diff Bonus Score
Zach Wheeler Under 100 118  −18 −18
Hyun-jin Ryu Under  54  80  −26 −26
Yasiel Puig Over   8 TBD TBD TBD TBD
Stephen Strasburg Under 180 245  −65 −65
Jose Abreu Under  28  17.8   10.2 10  20.2
Madison Bumgarner Under  72  85  −13 −13
Dellin Betances Over   7  10.5    3.5 10  13.5
Edwin Encarnacion Over   8  12    4 10  14
Total 457 568.3 −104.3 30 −74.3
  • WINNER: Sam Miller

2020[]

Sam's Picks O/U? Predicted Actual Diff Bonus Score
Trevor Bauer Under 128 105 23 10 33
Marcell Ozuna Over 72 65 -7 0 -7
DJ LeMahieu Over 68 90 22 10 32
Didi Gregorius Under 39 28 11 10 21
Jackie Bradley Jr. Over 16 24 8 10 18
Brad Hand Over 14 10.5 -3.5 0 -3.5
Carlos Santana Over 6 17 11 10 21
Jon Lester Over 5 5 0 0 0
Total 114.5
Ben's Picks O/U? Predicted Actual Diff Bonus Score
Marcus Stroman Under 68 18.9 49.1 10 59.1
Marcus Semien Over 14 18 4 10 14
Charlie Morton Over 8 15 7 10 17
Alex Colome Over 6 6.3 0.3 10 10.3
James Paxton Over 10 8.5 -1.5 0 -1.5
Jake Odorizzi Under 39 20.25 18.75 10 28.75
Andrelton Simmons Over 12 10.5 -1.5 0 -1.5
Kirby Yates Over 5 5.5 0.5 10 10.5
Total 136.65

WINNER: Ben Lindbergh

2021[]

Ben Clemens's Picks O/U? Predicted Actual Diff Bonus Score
Max Scherzer Under 120 130   −10   −10  
Kevin Gausman Under 138 110   28   10 38  
Starling Marte Under 80 78   2   10 12  
Mark Cahna Over 24 26.5 2.5 10 12.5
Kenley Jansen Over 26 16   −10   −10  
Total 388 360.5 12.5 30 42.5
Meg's Picks O/U? Predicted Actual Diff Bonus Score
Corey Seager Under 305 325 −20 −20
Freddie Freeman Under 180 162 18 10 28
Yan Gomes Over 10 13 3 10 13
Marcus Semien Under 138 175 −37 −37
Eddie Rosario Under 15 18 −3 −3
Total 648 693 −39 20 −19
Ben Lindbergh's Picks O/U? Predicted Actual Diff Bonus Score
Carlos Rodon Over 25 44 19 10 29
Nick Castellanos Under 115 100 15 10 25
Jorge Soler Under 36 36 0 0
Alex Wood Under 30 25 5 10 15
Raisel Iglesias Under 56 58 −2 −2
Total 262 263 37 30 67

Note: An interim scoreboard erroneously calculated Ben Clemens's score for predicting Kevin Gausman's contract as +37 instead of +38. Ben Lindbergh used the erroneous value when reporting the results in Episode 1826. Fortunately, the error did not affect the standings.

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