Archive for Ottoneu

Five Prospects Who Will Breakout In 2019

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.

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Help Design These League Incentives

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.

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On Being A “Tryhard” and Hoarding Assets

Last week, Brad Johnson talked about being a “tryhard.” Brad described one way of being a “tryhard” as hoarding assets in the draft.

Sheryl decided to roster not one, not two, but FIVE catchers. As a reminder, ottoneu is a two catcher league with a 162 game cap for the position. So you need about 1.5 catchers. A total of $34 was spent on these backstops. She openly shopped her depth during the draft. While it sounds like fun to corner a market, have you ever seen it work? I haven’t.

I don’t doubt that Brad hasn’t seen it work. But just because he hasn’t seen it doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Here’s proof: after the draft, I had spent $34 on 5 catchers.

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A Classic Example of My Favorite Ottoneu Strategy

Last night, the Screw Cancer ottoneu league held their auction draft. Twelve owners (and a co-owner) came together to submit competing bids for around 200 players. Well, mostly. I entered the draft with $31 and 18 open roster spots. I vowed to draft only $1 players, reserving a $3-bid or two for the troublesome position of catcher. The result, I’m proud to say, is a pretty shiny roster.

In chats on FanGraphs and Discord throughout the early winter months, I advised countless ottoneu players to trade for expensive, elite players. “Don’t worry about running out of money,” I said. “Draft a bunch of $1 players,” I said. Yesterday’s draft is a perfect example of how to execute this approach.

The league is Screw Cancer. My team is Haliax Chandrian Explosion.

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What If Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Fails?

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.

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2018 Top 100 Prospects: A Fantasy Spin Review

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.

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Max Kepler’s Not-So-Obvious Breakout

At first glance, Max Kepler had a very Max Kepler year. In several key categories, he was pretty much the same player he’s always been, which is to say that he once again came close to, but failed to achieve, league average offensive output:

Max Kepler (2016-18)
Season AVG OBP SLG ISO wOBA wRC+
2016 .235 .309 .434 .189 .313 93
2017 .243 .312 .425 .182 .315 93
2018 .224 .319 .408 .184 .316 97

Where it really counts, in wOBA and wRC+, Kepler has been consistent—but consistently underwhelming. Skimming over these results, one would be inclined to conclude that the Twins are still waiting for Kepler to break out.

But ask anyone in the Twins front office, and they’d likely say that Kepler broke out last season, beneath our noses. And indeed, looking under the hood, we find several reasons to reach that same conclusion for ourselves:

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Year in Review: My First ottoneu Teams

Warning: This genre of post may not appeal to most readers. I don’t want to waste your time if it’s not your thing. Hereafter I’ll pull back the curtains to review of performance in two “expert” leagues: FanGraphs Staff leagues #1 and #2, both constituting my first foray into the ottoneu world.

This is about accountability, which is something I am, as some would say, “all about.” It’s really easy to parade your victories; it’s more difficult to advertise and own your losses, both regading overall performance (league titles and return on investment) and also player-specific analysis. I’m eager to remind readers I called a Jose Ramirez breakout in 2015 (and, again, in 2016, when it actually happened), an Austin Barnes “breakout” in 2017, and Luke Weaver and Madison Bumgarner implosions prior to 2018. What I decline to admit, though, is, in the posts to which I just linked, I declared I’d fade Justin Verlander hard in 2016, when he won 16 games with a 3.04 ERA, or that I thought Chris Davis might out-earn Giancarlo Stanton. Sometimes, The ProcessTM finds diamonds in the rough; other times, it mistakes turd-shaped rough for diamonds.

I can chalk those L’s up to a lack of experience and knowledge. I’ll readily admit some of my analyses from only a couple of years ago make me cringe. But I also know that even great calls can fall victim to variance or misfortune (which is why I refreshed my Ramirez breakout pick from 2015 for 2016, and my Barnes breakout pick from 2016 for 2017 — and, spoiler, probably again for 2019). Some losses are unearned, akin to a quality start with a bullpen implosion. Others are downright bad. But, I stand by them! I once believed them. It’s just how it goes.

It’s my first time doing this. Just figured it was high time to hold myself accountable and try to learn from my league-specific performances, both profitable and otherwise.

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Ottoneu Rosters (Three Different Ones)

The ottoneu keeper deadline has come and gone. The last week of January is always a frenzy of last minute trades and keeper decisions. I know I was up until midnight on January 31 negotiating a variety of swaps around the fringes of my rosters.

In recent seasons, I’ve developed a general approach to ottoneu FGpts formats – specifically with regards to offseason trading, the keeper deadline, and the draft. While I remain a huge proponent of zigging while others zag, I’ve also become rather predictable. This concerns me. However, the success rate and rationale behind my approach are air tight.

And so, what follows are three ottoneu rosters. I expect all three to finish somewhere around first place. Let’s use the comments to discuss the how’s and why’s.

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It’s Ottoneu Cut Day!

If you’re participating in an ottoneu league, chances are it’s reached a frenzied pitch over the last few days. The winter keeper deadline is tonight, January 31 at 11:59pm ET. All trades and cuts must be executed by that time.

For last minute keeper, cut, and trade advice, I recommend joining my personal BaseballATeam Discord server. Use the #ottoneu thread. The knowledgeable community of superfans loves to offer their opinions, and I’ll be around intermittently whilst tending to my own ottoneu decisions.

What follows are a series of deadline deals I struck earlier in the week. I’m updating this post as we speak with more trades! If you read this post on Tuesday, I’ve marked new deals with a snazzy —New Trade— logo.

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