Ottoneu: A Points Above Replacement Check-In

The beginning of the season can be a tough time to use points per game (P/G) marks to make sit/start decisions in Ottoneu. For example, a player like Alex Bregman is only producing 2.34 P/G this season, well below the current* replacement level cut-line (5.03 P/G) for third basemen in the early season. But, Alex Bregman’s average salary is nearly $30 and you probably don’t feel comfortable letting $30 sit on the bench every day. Then again, plug a player like Josh Rojas in your lineup and you’re collecting a very solid 5.92 P/G, well above the current replacement level cut-line for third basemen. Yesterday, in my “Ottoneu: Hot Right Now” article, I wrote about Rojas and the skills he has displayed in the early season. He could be on the verge of a breakout and may overtake Bregman by the end of the season. But he may also just be “Hot Right Now”. So, how do you make the right decisions on who to play now using P/G in the early season?

Let’s begin with a look at current replacement level marks by offensive position compared to 2023’s end-of-season replacement level marks. To do this, I’m using position counts from an article I wrote towards the end of last season. You may or may not agree with them and it’s much more accurate to use the rostered position counts from your individual leagues, but let’s just roll with what we got, shall we?

Replacement Level by Position, 2023 vs. 2024 (1st Month)
Position Starters Bench League Rosterable (12-team) 2023 Replacement Level P/G 2024* Replacement Level P/G
C 1 1 24 3.84 4.03
1B 1 1 24 5.03 5.96
2B 2 1 36 3.71 4.00
SS 2 1 36 3.51 3.90
3B 1 1 24 4.71 5.03
OF 5 1 72 4.33 4.53
*2024 Replacement Level calculation uses a 15 game qualifier
**Data current through 5/8/24

The first thing to notice is that the young season’s replacement marks are higher than last season’s full marks. That’s because this is not an apples-to-apples comparison. I’m comparing different sample sizes so there should be noticeable differences. But, that’s kind of the point. This time last year, deciding to cut Bregman for Rojas would have been a short-sided decision. Let’s go back and compare these two players, Alex Bregman and Josh Rojas, and their 2023 points per game marks by game to visualize what I mean:

Ottoneu Cumulative P/G, Bregman vs. Rojas

This visualization helps us appreciate Josh Rojas as a points-per-game booster in the early part of 2023 and Alex Bregman as a steady accumulator who got better as the season went on. You would have wanted both players on your team, starting Rojas in the early part of the season and then benching him for Bregman after the first month or so.

So, what do you do with this? Two things. First, check in on players well below the current replacement level marks and either bench or cut them. Second, pick up players like Josh Rojas and monitor their points per game mark as the season progresses. Players will increase, decrease, and remain steady in their P/G marks as the season goes on. Be sure to monitor marks with scrutiny and the end of the season in mind.

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