Our next stop on the tour of Ottoneu position rankings is 1B. As a reminder, I am only ranking players where they are likely to be used/most valuable, so players like Josh Bell (OF-eligible), Max Muncy (2B-eligible) and Yasmani Grandal (C-eligible) are not on this list. This is basically a list of anyone who is eligible at 1B, only.
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Following up on yesterday’s article on “underpaid” players from the Ottoneu mock auction, today we will look at players who were “overpaid.” As with “underpaid” yesterday, “overpaid” is probably not the best term for these guys, but I think it’s the clearest, so we are going with that.
While the results of the Ottoneu mock auction are basically the only window we have into market price for 2022, they aren’t the only valuation we have. Steamer Projections are available and can be used to start to determine player values. Looking at where those values differ the most can be informative, both in identifying potential buy lows (or players to avoid) and in finding patterns that can be useful in future auctions.
If you follow me on Twitter (or read my last article), you know that I have been deep into a mock auction with a set of 13 other Ottoneu experts. As I am writing, we are nearing 460 players auctioned, leaving us just 20 guys from the finish line. By the time you are reading, we may be done!
With the completion of the auction, Ottoneu players will have 480 new data points to consider as they are planning for their 2022 seasons, and there has been discussion in the Ottoneu community about how to think about, interpret and use those new data points. I wanted to offer my thoughts on how I would use this mock auction – and how I wouldn’t.
A group of Ottoneu experts, including myself, my FanGraphs colleague Jake Mailhot, Surplus Calculator creator Justin Vibber, and Ottoneu creator Niv Shah are in the midst of a mock Ottoneu auction, drafting a full start-up league of 480 players. The goal is to get some insight into how the market is shaping up for the 2022 season before auction season heats up in February. Hopefully we can learn something early about who should have trade value, who you should target at auctions, and who you might be able to cut and get back cheaper.
As of when I am writing (late Wednesday night, December 1), we are 223 players deep and I wanted to start analyzing some of what we are seeing. To start, we’ll look at some of the biggest value gainers since the start of the 2021 season.
Arguing price is something that has been going down since currency was made out of copper coins and some of the coins had holes in the middle. In today’s world, price negotiators say things like, “$3.15 a gallon for gas?! You’re out of your mind!” or “I’m not paying over $3 for a watermelon, I’m just not!” Whether you’re the type to wait for a sale on underwear or the type to just go and pay what you pay because, well, you need it, all of us can relate to the idea of arguing a price. In my last piece on Kyle Freeland, I made the case that he’s worth $4. I was immediately argued with (politely, that is) about that price, and you know what? I may be overpaying. But, that’s the beauty of price! It’s here, it’s there, it’s really up for debate. So, let’s do it, let’s try this: Garrett Hampson is not worth $8 in FanGraphs points Ottoneu leagues. Here’s why:
I recently took over an Ottoneu team for the upcoming 2022 season. If you are unfamiliar with Ottoneu, it’s keeper league where you get to make trades from mid-November to January 31st. Any players left on your roster after that you keep, using the auction draft to fill in the missing pieces. Taking over someone else’s team kind of feels like moving into an empty office. There are a few cobwebs in the corner, the previous owner left a really cool pen in the desk drawer and there’s a very stinky sandwich in the staff refrigerator that you somehow feel like is your new responsibility.
The fun part is taking stock of what you have and trying to decide what you want to keep (cool pen) and what you want to cut (stinky sandwich). In this series of posts, I’ll write about the decisions I have to make, how I go about analyzing the data before making my decision, and then what decision I plan to make. You too could be doing this kind of thing, all you have to do is take over someone’s abandoned team and search through the desk drawers when you move in.
Two weeks ago, I reviewed positional production in 2021 but ignored the elephant in the positional eligibility room: positional eligibility, at least in Ottoneu and Yahoo, but also a lot of other leagues, will look different in 2022. In Ottoneu, players are eligible at any position they played 10 games or started five games in the current or previous season.
However, to account for the shortened 2020 season, Ottoneu (and Yahoo) made a temporary change for 2021 eligibility, allowing the previous two seasons to count towards positional eligibility. Other leagues made similar changes – I play in a CBS league that reduced our games played and started requirements for 2021. For 2022, eligibility will return to normalcy and as of Opening Day, players will only be eligible at positions they played in 2021.
As an example, Manny Machado was last primarily a SS in 2018. In 2019 he played 37 games at short, including 35 starts. He hasn’t seen the position since. So by the standard rules, he would have been SS eligible in 2019 and 2020, but not 2021. But because of the temporary rule change, he was a SS in Ottoneu in 2021. For 2022, he will only be a 3B.
This has led to speculation about how different 2022 will feel compared to 2021. Will it be much harder to fill positions? Was 2021 a major outlier in terms of players qualifying at multiple spots?
For years, it was taken as a given that fantasy replacement level varied by position, such that a C, a SS, and a 1B with the same exact line would have different values because of how they compare to their peers. That has been challenged more often lately, especially in leagues that have multiple utility spots and no corner or middle infield spots, like standard Yahoo leagues. In Ottoneu, most people who create values are still assigning players a primary position, setting a replacement level for each position, and adjusting values for each player based on that. I went back to look at production by position, based on Ottoneu FanGraphs Points scoring, in 2021 to see how the positions compare. Is C really that much weaker than everyone else? Should you pay a premium for MI production? Is 1B much better than any other spot?