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ottoneu Trade: When Should You Trade Youth?

As Chad Young already spelled out in his piece earlier today, the two of us recently completed a trade in the second FanGraphs Staff LeaguePablo Sandoval and Hong-Chih Kuo for Matt Thornton and Paul Goldschmidt.

I was on the end receiving Sandoval, and as far as overall trade analysis goes, I have to agree almost entirely with Chad. Due to the relative strengths and weaknesses of both our teams, I think this was one of those trades that — right now, at least — rates as a win-win. Both of us are dealing from depth; I get the third baseman I desperately need without destroying my bullpen or offensive depth, and Chad improves his bullpen considerably and gets a young, high upside first baseman without hurting his offense. Only time will tell exactly how this works out, but in the moment, both of us left feeling quite happy with our returns.

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Ottoneu Resource: ZiPS Draft Tiers and Potential Bargains

Last night, the FanGraphs Staff League II finished up its fantasy auction. Starting at 6:30pm EST, we plugged away until our eyes became blurry, our muscle coordination began to fail, and we became so delirious that even Chone Figgins and Ryan Roberts started to look damn attractive. Staring at a computer screen intensely for 5 hours — stressing out over fringe major-league players — is a recipe to make anyone go insane.

Now that our draft is done, I figured I’d share with everyone a nifty resource that I put together: a tiered ranking for every position, based on players’ projected points according to ZiPS and CAIRO. As I explained in my first post:

I took ZiPS projections for hitters (from the Baseball Think Factory) and CAIRO projections for [starting] pitchers (from RLYW), and then converted these projections into an expected point total for each player. I then broke these players up by position and tiered them, allowing me to see at a glance which positions were deeper than others and which might hold unexpected value.

Well, here is my spreadsheet (right-click, “Save As”). I’ve included the prices that players went for in our draft (minus some of the later round selections, when I couldn’t keep up). This is obviously most helpful for FanGraphs Points leagues, but it’s not a bad proxy for other leagues as well. I’ve included my tiers, and then also included the larger ZiPS and CAIRO projections so that you can find points projections for other players not included in the tiers.

Please keep in mind that these spreadsheets are far from perfect. The projections don’t account for issues like playing time or injuries — Notice how Victor Martinez is highly ranked? — and projection systems are notoriously rough when it comes to rookies. I have not tampered with these rankings in any way, though, because I wanted to present them to you relatively unbiased (you still have to deal with my somewhat arbitrary cut-off points for tiers).

Based on these rankings, there were a couple players that I targeted coming into the draft, since I thought they might be underrated by most people. I didn’t end up with all of these players, but they all did end up being pretty good bargains:

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FanGraphs Staff ottoneu Draft: Thoughts on Day One

Due to the rampant success of the first FanGraphs staff ottoneu league — and the fact that the FanGraphs staff has grown tenfold over the past year — we put together a second FanGraphs staff fantasy league for this season, figuring our readers can never have too much ottoneu content. See the labors we go through for you, our loyal readers? This league is a selfless endeavor, and its sole purpose is to educate and entertain the masses. Please, don’t thank us. We do this for love.*

*And by “love”, I may or may not be referring to you, our loyal readers, or fantasy baseball.

This league is a FanGraphs Points league, and since this is the league’s first season, we have to complete an epic, 8+ hour auction draft that is standard fare for ottoneu leagues (it gets quicker in subsequent years). We chose to break this draft into two parts, and completed the first four-hour block last night.

Chad Young will have a general recap of the draft a bit later, but in the meantime, I want to pass along some thoughts about my strategy and observations. Because, you know, fantasy baseball is a selfish endeavor, and even if nobody else cares about my fantasy team, I sure as hell do and I’m going to make you all suffer with me.*

*Actually, I think there were some good take-away points from last night’s draft about player valuation and draft strategy. So hopefully my observations will actually be useful, and not just self-aggrandizing. 

Without further ado, let’s get on to the draft. I have three main points I’d like to focus on, which as general strategies should make sense in any league format.

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