Author Archive

Joc Pederson’s Less than Ideal Batted Balls

Last week, I examined a list of hitters who were near the top of the league in exit velocity, while also lagging behind their peers in terms of expected results on their batted balls. For reference, I showed the following chart to explain how batters have performed during 2017 (updated for current games over the past week):

Exit Velocity Z-Scores
z-score Avg xOBA Avg EV
0.00 0.346 89.32
1.00 0.374 91.68
1.50 0.391 93.01
2.00 0.406 93.96
All 0.326 87.28
Over 30 BIP
Average EV = 87.28
Variance = 7.12
Std Dev = 2.67

I didn’t do well at explaining this chart, last week. To reiterate, at the footer of the table you can see see that there are currently 395 players with over 30 balls in play in 2017. The numbers shown in each z-score row, display the average metrics for all players with exit velocities in excess of that performance level. For example, those with an exit velocity z-score in excess of 2 have average an exit velocity of 93.96, with an expected OBA of .406 (on same scale as wOBA). Please let me know if any confusion surrounds this chart.

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Yandy Diaz and a Potential Swing Change

Since statcast has been added to MLB parks, exit velocities and launch angles have been a hot topic. Some of this is as simple as a players ground ball rates decreasing, while others dive into a little more detail. For example, showing that a player is hitting more balls into the ideal launch angle ranges for batted balls (19-26 degrees). Regardless, it can be hard to keep track of these changes, or to understand what it all means if you are not familiar with the data. Luckily, Andrew Pertpetua put together this primer. You should definitely read it if you have not already. As Andrew notes, there are a few takeaways.

  1. Exit Velocity is more predictive than launch angle in terms of measuring success.
  2. Exit Velocity peaks between -10 and 10 degrees.

This follows along with what we should intuitively expect. The harder a player hits the ball, the more likely he is to be making good contact, which should lead to better expected results. Certainly, this isn’t an absolute, but it’s an okay starting point. The less directly a ball is hit – positive or negative launch angles – the greater a sacrifice in exit velocity we would expect to see, at the benefit of a potentially more ideal launch angle. Read the rest of this entry »

Ottoneu 101: Navigating Ottoneu Cap Space

As I have mentioned in previous posts, Ottoneu is a different fantasy game. The format has it’s own scoring settings, based on linear weights, and is hosted here on Fangraphs. However the biggest area of adaption required to play the format well is an understanding of the economics surrounding the game. Hopefully this can serve as a general primer to navigating the differences between formats.

The first place I want to start is with the Ottoneu rules. These appear pretty straight forward and can be easy to understand, however, like all things, the devil is in the details. So let’s comb through some of those.

There is no FAAB budget in Ottoneu. That format does not exist within the game. However, According to the Ottoneu rules, each team has a $400 budget that can be used to acquire players at the annual auction (“draft”). The remainder of these funds can then be used to buy free agents during the year. Read the rest of this entry »

Learning from Cody Bellinger’s Hot Start

Cody Bellinger has been superb in his call up with the Dodgers, hitting 6 home runs in 65 plate appearances. With Andrew Toles out for the season with a torn ACL, the likelihood of Bellinger staying in the big leagues has improved. However, what should reasonably be expected for the Dodgers phenom for the rest of 2017? It doesn’t take an advanced statistician to understand that the .446 wOBA he has posted thus far will regress, but the question is how far? Does Bellinger’s performance line up with what was expected? The first place I want to start is with Bellinger’s scouting report courtesy of our own Eric Longenhagen. (Trimmed it down a bit)

…That power comes from the monster hacks that Bellinger takes in all counts. He doesn’t protect or shorten up with two strikes and instead he’s constantly threatening low-flying aircraft with his incredible torque, hand speed and uppercut swing. This results in lots of airborne contact (majestic blasts as well as weak pop ups) and plenty of strikeouts… Bellinger has shown the ability to stay back on breaking balls, as well the ability to turn on plus velocity in on the hands and, while he does try to pull everything, he has solid plate coverage…

He’s also seen time in the outfield, including center, and there are scouts who think he could play all three outfield spots in a pinch…

There’s some risk here because of the swing and miss, and I expect major-league pitchers will feed Bellinger a steady diet of offspeed pitches, especially back-foot sliders, once they see the swings he takes…

Jeff Zimmerman has already dived into Bellinger’s defense in the OF, which may be better than expected. While defense isn’t really pertinent to our discussions for ottoneu/fantasy, (Bellinger has already secured OF eligibility for 2018), Jeff does good work. If you’re not reading it, you’re missing out. Read the rest of this entry »

Ottoneu Hitter Projections, Buying and Selling

Last Friday, we took a look at starters who have improved their projections the most in 2017. In examining this group, we wanted to look at how their plate discipline stats measured up to what they had already done. Was a starter who had increased his projection showing underlying improvements in his skills? For example, was he inducing less contact in the zone, while throwing in the zone more? These are the types of questions I like to look into. While no method is fool proof, it is useful to see where underlying improvements may or may not occur, even when you see the general movements projections are taking.

Today, I am going to go through a similar exercise with hitters.

In examining this group, I have included all hitters who have improved their Ottoneu FGPts Points per Game projection by .05 or more. Within this group, I have shown the contact rate, swinging strike rate, and (from baseball savant) xwOBA. For each of these statistics, the corresponding changes from the prior year are also included (see delta columns).  Here’s the full list: Read the rest of this entry »

Ottoneu SP Projections, Buying and Selling

One month through the season and those playing ottoneu are likely getting a clearer idea of if they are buying or selling. It’s a tricky pendulum, as no playoff structure exists. In determining to sell, owners are likely targeting players who have performed much better than expected over the first month. While there are several ways to determine who these players are, one of the most common ways is to examine projections to see which players have actually improved. Today, I want to look at a couple of pitchers who have improved their projections the most, while examining a couple underlying skill changes that may or may not exist in each of these. The degree of these changes represents my willingness or unwillingness to buy.

SP Projection Improvements
Name Pts Delta P/IP P K/9 BB/9 FIP Z-Contact Delta Z-Contact Zone% Delta SwStrk%
Trevor Cahill 0.40 4.56 415 9.36 4.39 3.87 0.01 0.86 (0.03) 0.13
Chris Sale 0.36 5.71 1,046 10.55 1.87 2.88 (0.08) 0.75 0.03 0.17
James Paxton 0.33 4.77 711 8.87 2.72 3.40 (0.08) 0.77 (0.01) 0.14
Taijuan Walker 0.22 4.25 536 8.50 2.68 4.10 (0.04) 0.82 (0.01) 0.11
Jacob deGrom 0.22 5.16 820 9.65 2.52 3.22 (0.12) 0.73 (0.02) 0.16
Andrew Triggs 0.17 4.39 470 7.28 2.57 3.75 0.01 0.88 (0.03) 0.10
Lance McCullers 0.14 5.04 665 10.69 3.73 3.43 (0.03) 0.86 0.04 0.13
Danny Salazar 0.13 4.85 693 10.33 3.33 3.63 (0.07) 0.77 0.03 0.16
Ivan Nova 0.13 4.36 562 6.67 1.84 3.69 (0.00) 0.93 0.09 0.08
Robbie Ray 0.11 4.88 615 10.80 3.68 3.55 (0.01) 0.82 (0.09) 0.13
Luis Severino 0.11 4.27 499 8.92 2.79 3.98 0.01 0.88 0.01 0.11
Zack Greinke 0.09 4.49 706 8.16 2.18 3.72 (0.05) 0.85 (0.02) 0.13
Drew Pomeranz 0.07 4.52 552 9.55 3.39 3.82 0.04 0.89 0.01 0.09
Michael Pineda 0.07 4.92 610 9.84 1.98 3.34 (0.02) 0.85 0.05 0.15
Jeff Samardzija 0.07 4.64 789 8.01 2.25 3.63 (0.06) 0.82 (0.00) 0.12
Sean Manaea 0.06 4.30 524 8.32 3.04 3.91 0.01 0.88 (0.10) 0.14
Dallas Keuchel 0.05 4.66 777 7.88 2.45 3.56 0.02 0.90 (0.06) 0.11
Carlos Martinez 0.05 4.80 801 8.89 3.26 3.58 (0.02) 0.86 (0.02) 0.12
Max Scherzer 0.03 5.57 948 10.99 2.32 3.03 0.02 0.81 (0.01) 0.15
Stephen Strasburg 0.02 5.43 749 10.40 2.25 2.99 0.02 0.87 0.03 0.10
Gerrit Cole 0.01 4.79 733 8.56 2.34 3.41 (0.05) 0.86 0.02 0.10
-Projected to make 15+ Starts ROS
-50 IP pitched in 2016
-20 IP pitched in 2017
-Top – 3 highlighted in Blue in various categories

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Ottoneu 101: In Season Auctions

If playing ottoneu for the first time, or even if you have played for a while, one of the areas that typically requires adaptation is that of in season auctions. While typical leagues use a FAAB, ottoneu does not, requiring you to budget $400 for all roster spots. So how do you want to spend the money you have left over after the annual auction? Do you want to be aggressive and go after players performing well through the season’s first month? What about players who have under-performed on their expectations and have been cut? Are there any injured players who have been cut in an effort to reclaim cap space?

Many in season auctions will fall into one of these three categories. A look at the current auctions in one of my leagues shows a wide range of possible motivations in nominating a player.

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Ottoneu 101: Is it too early to sell?

If you’ve ever played Ottoneu, you likely realized that it’s a different fantasy format. The 40-man rosters are deep, and the player universe is much larger than the standard fantasy offering. There are auctions for nearly all acquisitions, and during the season there is no FAAB (just the money you decide to budget for free agents.) However, perhaps the biggest difference between Ottoneu and other formats is the playoff structure. Ottoneu doesn’t have one.

Ottoneu is a season long race, starting the first day of the regular season and ending with the season’s final game. The objective is pretty simple. Score more points over your allotted game and innings caps than your opponents. If you aren’t playing in a money league, or your league has not designed some added incentives of their own, then there likely aren’t incentives to finish in second place relative to twelfth. Read the rest of this entry »

My Ottoneu Penny Stocks

For fantasy purposes, ottoneu rosters are large. (40 rosters spots that can be split between hitters and pitchers, including all minor league players.) This leads to many platoon players and prospects being rostered as ways to fill our rosters. Many times, these back of the roster types end up being $1 plays on prospects who are many years away. However, what if we took a different approach and went with players who could have an MLB role entering 2017, while still offering some potential upside?

Certainly, the argument can be made that these prospects are really just trade chips for rentals in season, and I buy that argument. However, I don’t think that every prospect owned is a trade chip, or at least an enticing one. Generally, there are the prospects most teams want (the top-20 or so) then various options throughout the rest of most top 100s that appeal to different owners depending on their biases. Could we be better off going with uncertain MLB players to fill these spots in place of the less notable minor leaguers?

Today, I wanted to go through several players I am rostering as $1 plays in several of my leagues. Thought process being, that I will have a pretty good idea of if they are a $1 player, or useful piece some time within the next month or two. At that point, I can cut them if they don’t pan out, and pick up the prospect I would have drafted originally. Read the rest of this entry »

Joe Douglas’s Ottoneu Bold Predictions

Below are my bold predictions for the 2017 season. As always, these are ottoneu fangraph points specific. I tried to add enough qualifiers to make each of them “bold” but feel free to ridicule in the comments if you think otherwise. It should be noted that, if I do this right, I should get 3 out of 10. I tried to frame them accordingly. The predictions are in bold (no particular order), followed by a brief synopsis. The synopsis is more important than the prediction itself. Some of these players may not meet my criteria for their specific prediction come year end, but this should give you a grouping of names that I like as we approach opening day.

Carlos Martinez becomes an ottoneu ace ($30+ SP)

When we released our SP rankings, we had 10 SP being worth $30+. Of those ten, seven are clear cut $30 pitchers (Kershaw, Syndergaard, Scherzer, Bumgarner, Sale, Strasburg, and Kluber), with six SP falling into the $28-$31 range (Arrieta, Archer, Lester, Carrasco, Cueto and Darvish). For 2017, I believe Carlos Martinez will vault into the upper tier of fantasy aces, returning $30 of value. For those wondering what $30 of value equates to, consider the upper bound of that second tier. Read the rest of this entry »