Last season I kicked off April with some early trade reviews from the Ottoneu community, and today I’ll do the same, hoping to peek under the hood of some early player perceptions as transactions start to take shape across the fantasy baseball world.
With Ottoneu continuing to grow rapidly, I’d like to dedicate some ink to a few tips I’ve learned along the way. Entering my ninth season on the popular fantasy sports platform, I’ve outlined a few things that have helped me gain that extra 1% edge, and with the season just now under way, this is a good time to consolidate a few tricks into a quick guide that should benefit new owners and veterans alike.
Resource: What is Ottoneu?
Prioritize Salary Cap Space
Of all the recommendations listed below, I’ve learned to prioritize salary flexibility during the season more than any other strategy over the years. I’m convinced a smart, active owner can find in-season gold on the waiver wire as players and prospects emerge, so it’s essential to leave yourself some space to shuffle your roster when needed. But what if you’ve already spent your entire salary cap in the auction? That’s okay, but you’ll want to be conscious of finding opportunities early in the season to free yourself of this roster restriction wherever possible so you have the flexibility to complement your team with mid-season contributions when trades aren’t always an option. Here are a few specific ideas to help you maximize your Ottoneu salary cap space, which may be even more important for Head-to-Head leagues.
Resource: How to Get Started Playing Ottoneu
The 2019 season is here. Let’s get right to it.
You could say that to date neither Dan Vogelbach nor Vladimir Guererro, Jr. have accomplished anything in the major leagues. While true, that’s where the comparison ends. Vogelbach is 26 years old and has less than 150 major league plate appearances on his resume (career 78 wRC+). Vlad, Jr. just turned 20 years old, is the consensus #1 prospect in baseball, and is the son of a beloved Hall of Fame player.
I have absolutely nothing against Vlad, Jr. and am as excited as anyone else to watch him carve out what is likely to be a stunning career with the bat. However, as I tried to express recently, the expectations are so high here that we may all be setting ourselves up for a little bit of disappointment. As we are often reminded with even elite prospects, baseball is hard, and the game has a funny way of humbling even the most talented athletes in the world, at least for a time. Patience will be prudent with Vlad, Jr., but most of us will have none of it.
Vogelbach has posted a minor league slash of .282/.391/.472/.864 over eight seasons, including a .907 OPS in 342 AAA games. He’s a professional hitter, but up until this point he’s had Nelson Cruz blocking his path to SEA. That roadblock is now removed, and as of this writing it’s all but certain Vogelbach will get a shot to stick on the Mariners’ roster to begin the season. From the write up for the 2019 Seattle top prospects:
Few aspects of fantasy baseball deviate more from the reality of major league baseball more than the speculation of prospects. Like most aspects of market-based economics, you often have to buy early on limited information if you want to get the best return on investment before the rest of the industry influences supply and demand. Perception is reality until prospects actually get the chance to contribute (or fail) on a major league field, and the outcome of those small but important samples can swing values wildly in short cycles.
The goal today is to identify up and coming talent well before the masses of most leagues, so here are five prospects primed to see a big increase in value in 2019. You won’t find these prospects sitting on many Top 100 lists (yet), but you’ll want to at least keep them on your radar as they rise in the future.
A few years ago I posted an article about designing fantasy league incentives. While the popularity of customized, add-on incentives is hard to measure across the fantasy community, it’s clear that leagues conceptually understand the potential value of features and rewards that attempt to keep owners engaged over the course of a long baseball season. In the standard winner-takes-all format of many points leagues, commissioners are often left to mitigate the wreckage of AWOL owners that sell off and check out early, so carrots, even small ones, can help in cross-checking drastic, standings-shaking transactions if designed thoughtfully. But designing the right league incentives is easier said than done because owners are motivated by different values.
The purpose of this article is for you, the reader, to help me design the right incentive structure for the very first 20 team Ottoneu league (more on this soon), an exciting experiment that will dramatically alter the traditional economic model that serves as the foundation of standard 12 team Ottoneu leagues. Your feedback will be critical to building a league that lasts, but the discussion will hopefully be a helpful reference for others attempting to structure leagues that are as engaging as possible.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the best baseball prospect in the world. He’s better than most recent #1 overall prospects. He’s the best offensive prospect since at least Kris Bryant (ROY + MVP), and many would say you’d have to go back much further to Miggy or even Pujols to get a true comparison. For some scouts he possesses the seemingly impossible combination of both an 80 grade hit tool and an 80 grade power profile. His batter’s box skills have HOF lineage and yet somehow he has done nothing but exceed expectations (batting .402 in AA at age 19 helps). He already has the look and potential of an all-time great. Best of all, Vlad, Jr. will debut in 2019.
It’s prospect season (thank goodness, as nothing else is happening). Nearly one year ago I borrowed from the great work by Eric and Kiley here and applied some fantasy context to their overall Top 100 prospect rankings from 2018. We’ll do something similar for 2019, but before the full frenzy of this season’s prospect rankings reaches it’s peak, I thought it prudent to review prospect perceptions from this time last year to see if we can learn anything.
From last year’s post, the same purpose applies:
The goal here is simply to each prospect’s grades and scouting reports and then translate those skills into “what could be” for fantasy context (for example where “upside” might represent an 80%+ outcome on a prospect’s potential).
For comparison, last year’s comments are at the top, followed by a value trend and general update on where things appear to be for each prospect heading into 2019.
In November I used the Prospect Scorecard to take an early look at the top 100 fantasy prospects for both Roto leagues and Ottoneu’s wOBA-heavy FanGraphs Points leagues. In February I also added a quick fantasy spin on Eric and Kiley’s great preseason work ranking the top 100 prospects in baseball. Later this summer (July) I’ll update the top 100 for fantasy purposes, but today I want to briefly check in on a number of prospects that I think are rising (⬆) or falling (⬇) in value for various reasons in 2018.
One of the great things about Ottoneu is the high level of engagement by the growing community of owners. Few topics get the masses talking more than crowd-sourcing feedback on recent league trades, so today I want to highlight a few of the more interesting trades I’ve seen recently to get a pulse on how some player values are already shifting early this season.
Few players have seen their value shift as wildly as Shohei Ohtani over the past few weeks. What he’s managed to do to start the season with both the bat (1.286 OPS) and off the mound (97.8 mph fastball) has at least verified that he’s as talented as the world thought he was, but the fact that he now looks less raw than he did just a few weeks ago in spring training tells you everything you need to know about the upward trajectory of his value in fantasy baseball leagues. If you don’t happen to own Ohtani already, he’s going to be one of the hardest players in the game to acquire over the next 30 days. He’s young, exciting, and just for the cool factor of clicking between batting and pitching stats on his FanGraphs page makes him the hottest commodity in the game right now, especially if you have the flexibility of slotting him into your daily lineup or your rotation like Ottoneu provides.
Last week I wrote about a few lesser known opportunities within Ottoneu to maximize salary cap space, which is important to understand before your fantasy season begins. However, by the time you read this post the fantasy season will have already begun, so I want to focus your attention today on strategies that will help you in-season as you attempt to squeeze every bit of value out of your team during what is sure to be a long but very fun Ottoneu season.