Otto-Neu Year Resolutions

The Ottoneu cut deadline marks the end of the 2016 season. It was a successful year with each of my three squads taking on very different roles. There was one champion, one rebuild against a powerhouse team, and one new league designed with incentives to keep everyone invested over the long hall. However, now that February 1 is here (the Otto-Neu Year), I want to take some time to run through some resolutions that I have for the upcoming season. Hopefully they will be helpful to any newcomers to the format, or grizzly old vets in entering year 5+.

I resolve to meet my game caps

This past year, I met my game caps in 2 of my 3 leagues. For 2017, my goal is to meet each of my game caps in each Ottoneu league I play. Even if I can’t make the cap, I always tend to be close, but that isn’t the case for all owners. If you peruse through Ottoneu points leagues, you will find owners in each league to do not make the cap, often by large margins. Maybe meeting game caps is never something you have had an issue with, but for me, it can be a more daunting process than it originally appears. For reference, the format features the following starting lineup:

Ottoneu Game Caps


1B 162
2B 162
SS 162
MI 162
3B 162
OF 162
OF 162
OF 162
OF 162
OF 162
UTIL 162
Total 1,944
– C has two lineup spots, but 162 games

With 1,944 games to fill, you can start a full lineup (minus the 2nd catcher) every day. While this could put you over the cap toward season’s end, what I have found as an effective strategy is to start every game I can through the All-Star break and then be more selective in the second half. During this time, I’ll focus more on attaining the best possible matchups. This is not to say that I ignore platoons, I still use them a decent bit, but I don’t want to forgo any games played over the course of the season in order to have slightly higher production per game. For visualization purposes.

Points Lost by Games Missed
Games 3.5 P/G 4 P/G 5 P/G .5 P/G 1 P/G 2 P/G
10 35 40 50 5 10 20
20 70 80 100 10 20 40
30 105 120 150 15 30 60
40 140 160 200 20 40 80
50 175 200 250 25 50 100
60 210 240 300 30 60 120
70 245 280 350 35 70 140
80 280 320 400 40 80 160
90 315 360 450 45 90 180
100 350 400 500 50 100 200
110 385 440 550 55 110 220
120 420 480 600 60 120 240
130 455 520 650 65 130 260
140 490 560 700 70 140 280
150 525 600 750 75 150 300

*The right 3 columns illustrate the increased performances from likely platoons*

While this isn’t meant to be too precise, you can see that the impact of losing a game is much larger than the impact of even the largest point per game (P/G) decrease. For example, losing 50 games at 3.5 P/G (a low performance bar to clear) because you didn’t fill the lineup spot has a larger impact than losing 1 P/G from a platoon over 150 games. Does this mean you should not platoon? Absolutely not. I would strongly advocate that you should platoon as much as possible. However, it is essential to also meet your game caps. Do both, but don’t leave games on the table.

I resolve to make more trade offers

If you play Ottoneu, you probably like to make trades. However, I often find myself hoping an offer is proposed to me instead of sending out more offers of my own. For 2017, my goal is to take more initiative in sending out trade offers. (Everyone I play with is rolling their collective eyes.) The benefits are twofold. First, proposing trades forces you to increase your knowledge of the game (you can’t focus exclusively on your team), and more knowledge about the game has benefits beyond the trades that are accepted and rejected. Secondly, receiving a trade offer makes me happy. It probably makes you happy, and playing with owners who generally have a high view of you is a positive. Maybe someone wants to send you Joey Votto, maybe it’s Alcides Escobar. Regardless, they took the time to actually send me an offer, which gives me an option I didn’t have previously. It also gives me some new information on this specific owner’s valuations.

Maybe you aren’t like me, and don’t view any offer received as a positive. I can already hear the rebuttal, “If I’m offered one share of Alcides Escobar, I’ll flip. I don’t want to waste my time” So I am pairing this with a qualification.

I will not be offended by trade offers. Brass tax, I want to play in leagues that are highly active, and trade offers are a form of activity. While there may be not trades made between our two teams, I at least like to see that someone is active enough to make offers, even if it means I have to take 5 seconds to reject it. Now, certainly some owners are not worth dealing with. (If they constantly want to send you the aforementioned Escobar, for example.) So that leads to the last trade qualification for making more trade offers.

Use common sense. If you are going to take initiative and be more active, you should also know your league mates. Maybe there are some who won’t mind rejecting an offer because they don’t think it suits their team, but I wouldn’t make standard practice to propose trade offers that have little hope of being accepted. The goal should be to propose trades that you think could work for both sides, and propose these trades more frequently. My hope is to propose more (better) trades during 2017, while reserving judgement on the offers I find lacking.

I resolve to update replacement levels

This is probably the most enticing for the rest of you. But for 2017, I want to update my replacement levels. For reference, here are my replacement levels from the pre-2015 season:

Current Replacement Levels
LG Team P/G
SP 85 7.09 4.19
RP 70 5.81 6.72
C 17 1.43 4.03
1B 25 2.12 4.28
2B 23 1.91 3.43
SS 22 1.82 3.40
3B 18 1.54 4.31
OF 76 6.34 3.82

While I don’t expect these to have changed dramatically, my goal for the 2017 season is to update these totals to show the impact of the 2015 and 2016 season, depending on the length of the process it could include 2017 data as well. If you have any ideas on replacement levels, or want to help with this process, feel free to reach out.

We hoped you liked reading Otto-Neu Year Resolutions by Joe Douglas!

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Joe works at a consulting firm in Pittsburgh. When he isn't working or studying for actuarial exams, he focuses on baseball. He also writes @thepointofpgh. Follow him on twitter @Ottoneutrades

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Awesome article. Love the trade stuff especially.

What are the incentives in the new league to keep managers invested?