As I did last year, I went through the rosters of all eleven ottoneu teams I’ve drafted to see which players most frequently found their way onto my roster. These aren’t always the the best or most exciting names, but they are the ones I felt had more value than acquisition cost.
Pedro Alvarez (Owned on 10 teams, $4 average salary)
Right off the bat while compiling this info I realized I didn’t do a great job of diversifying my portfolio this year, as my top owned players in 2016 were in seven out of ten leagues, and we start off with a player I ended up owning in ten out of eleven leagues. Alvarez is a tricky case for me, as his per PA and per game projections are strong, and his 3B (and possible OF) eligibility are better than when he was 1B-only, but he might be stuck in AAA most of the season and even if he is on the Orioles roster he may be little more than an occasional platoon bat. There is an opportunity cost to devoting a roster spot to Alvarez, and I wish I didn’t own so many shares, but for $4 I think there is a chance to earn $5 in profit.
Cal Quantrill (10 teams, $3 average salary)
Shiny new toy syndrome is alive and well in the game of ottoneu, and can lead to some hot prospects going for $10+, even when they are a year or two away. I like owning assets that have market value and the potential for future surplus, but only if the cost is reasonable. I also like to target cheaper prospects that I believe will jump up the prospect rankings mid-season and the following off season, and Quantrill checks those boxes for me. The eighth overall selection of the Padres in the ’16 draft, Quantrill is already appearing in the top 25 on some prospect lists (including FanGraphs’ own from Eric Longenhagen), and I think he could also be on a fast track to the Padres rotation by late this season or early ’18.
Jaime Garcia (eight teams, $4 average salary)
Garcia is a repeat from last year, despite having a poor 2016. So why do I still find myself owning him in so many leagues? Mostly because he’s a boring name in a sea of sexier starting pitchers, and like Jeff Zimmerman I don’t mind owning an underappreciated veteran.
Shawn Kelley (eight teams, $6 average salary)
As of the time I’m writing this Dusty Baker has still not announced who the Nationals closer will be, but there is strong speculation that it won’t be Kelley. I believe Kelley is clearly the best pitcher in the Washington bullpen, so I think even if he starts the year setting up for Koda Glover or Blake Treinen he could end up with a dozen or so saves. Kelley has quietly been one of the best relievers in baseball over the past two seasons, as he’s compiled a 2.55 ERA/ 2.78 FIP/ 2.86 xFIP.
Tyler Skaggs (seven teams, $7 average salary)
Skaggs first appeared in the majors back in 2012 with the Diamondbacks, but has thrown only 230 innings in his MLB career. Once a top 15 prospect in baseball according to Baseball America, Skaggs has struggled with injuries the past few seasons including Tommy John surgery in 2014. The projections, and myself for the most par, believe Skaggs can be a valuable pitcher this year, and the $7 price tag is cheap enough for me to speculate.
Michael Pineda (six teams, $13 average salary)
Pineda, along with pitchers like Robbie Ray, serve as a test case for peripherals (like xFIP) versus results (like ERA/FIP). If you believe in the results (4.60 ERA/ 3.58 FIP over the past two seasons), Pineda is not worth counting on as part of your rotation. If you believe in the peripherals (3.14 xFIP over the past two seasons, eight best among qualified SP), Pineda has the upside to be a rotation anchor in ottoneu. The truth, as always, is somewhere in the middle, but I’m clearly placing my bets on the side of the peripherals.
Domingo Santana (six teams, $8 average salary)
Another repeat member from last year’s list, I just can’t quit Domingo. His season was undone by injuries, including a shoulder problem, but when he did play he put up a .343 wOBA and hit the snot out of the ball when he made contact. Of course, that making contact qualification is part of the problem, as he struck out more than 32% of the time. Santana is still just 24 years old, so if he is healthy and makes any gains in terms of contact, he could turn a significant profit on my $8 investment.
Other players owned on six teams: Matt Holliday (another bargain vet), Alex Wood (upside potential if he’s in the rotation), Aledmys Diaz (cheap keeper picked up last season), Jose De Leon (another bet on projections), Christin Stewart (hitting version of Quantrill), Hyun-Soo Kim (underrated), and A.J. Puk (a more marketable Quantrill).
A few more notes on my ottoneu portfolio:
197 unique players owned (218 last year)
102 players owned in at least two leagues (93 last year)
59 players owned in at least three leagues (46 last year)
34 players owned in at least four leagues (27 last year)
21 players owned in at least five leagues (12 last year)
440 total players owned at the following salaries:
- 0 $60+
- 2 $50-$59
- 7 $40-$49
- 25 $30-$39
- 30 $20-$29
- 75 $10-$19
- 301 $2-$9
Which players have you found yourself owning in your leagues? Let me know in the comments!
Justin is a life long Cubs fan who has been playing fantasy baseball for 20+ years, and an ottoneu addict since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @justinvibber.