ottoneu Bidding on Rusney Castillo

This article is not really about Rusney Castillo. It’s about you. Well, if you play ottoneu, it is about you.

See, ottoneu does not allow you to bid on Cuban players, college players, etc., until they are signed by an MLB organization. And Rusney Castillo just hit that milestone, leading to a flurry of auctions. And more than 400 teams placed bids on the newest Boston Red Sox outfielder.

Let’s start with the results:

  4×4 5×5 FG Pts SABR Pts
Avg Salary 14.62 14.33 14 13.73
High Salary 24 26 33 31
Low Salary 3 3 2 5

To those of you on Twitter who I told not to bid more than a couple bucks (and noted that I would not spend more than $1), well, you probably didn’t win Castillo.

Across formats, there was wide-spread agreement on his value, based on salary data. All four formats have him pegged around $14, while his high and low prices are in tight ranges. This surprises me. Castillo, should he prove valuable in fantasy, will likely do it with his legs and a bit of pop. Low average with 5-10 HR and 15-20 SB perhaps? You may disagree with the specifics, but it seems to me his value should be much higher in 5×5, where those steals really carry weight, and much lower in 4×4 where the steals have no value and the low AVG hurts in OBP and SLG.

But where the Castillo bidding gets most interesting is before the final numbers.

As of August 25, 403 teams had bid a total of $4753 on Castillo, averaging $11.79 per bid. The range, though, was huge. Only two teams bothered to bid $1, clearly realizing that he’d never go for that price. 28 more teams bid $2 or $3.

At the high end, one team bid $80 (think about that…) and another bid $67 (too bad they were not in the same league). The next highest bid was $45, and two teams put in that bid. Three teams bid $40.

The most popular bid was $10 (51 teams made that bid), while 36 teams bid $5, 34 bid $12, and 31 bid $4. Which means that more teams bid $4 than $1-$3 combined.

There are a few things I see at play here:

First, 61 teams bid $20 or more, and I find it hard to believe there are 61 teams out there that see this guy as a $22+ player next year. Many of those teams, I imagine, wanted to make sure that Castillo was back in the auction next year, or at least guarantee that none of their league-mates got a steal on the Cuban.

Second, I think we can take a bit of a lesson here on what to expect for future players like Castillo. What does “like Castillo” mean? In this case, it has less to do with his potential production and more to do with his being very close to MLB-ready (we think) and with projections of his performance being very unclear.

From my perspective, I didn’t bid on Castillo in any of my leagues. I wouldn’t have bid more than $1-$2, if I did, and I would have only done it to trade him (or cut him) in the off-season, though there is some option value in having him on my roster. If you bid on Castillo and lost him to someone bidding $20 plus (and many of you did), I would happily let that other owner take on what is now a very over-priced asset.

And for those of you who paid good money for Castillo, if you read this, I’d love to know what your plans are for the off-season.

We hoped you liked reading ottoneu Bidding on Rusney Castillo by Chad Young!

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Chad Young is a product manager at Amazon by day and a baseball writer (RotoGraphs, Let's Go Tribe), sports fan and digital enthusiast at all times. Follow him on Twitter @chadyoung.

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A wild-ass guess: The team bidding $80 on Castillo is completely out of contention. Bids $80 to be 100% certain that he is totally overvalued, then will immediately cut him in the offseason and he will go back into the draft when everyone has more information.

You alluded to this yourself, but it’s just a straight hedge against someone getting him for virtually nothing and then him turning into Jose Abreu (even though we know this won’t happen).

Everyone fell asleep in my Otto draft this year, and a guy got Abreu for $1 after everyone was out of money. Just because of that, he has a massive competitive advantage over everyone else in the league for several years.

Bidding a lot on Castillo has virtually no risk. If somehow he lives up to a $30 valuation at the end of this year, that’s awesome and you now have a good asset. If, as is likely, he doesn’t, you cut him. I don’t know game theory very well, but it only takes one person with budget space pursuing this strategy to cause this to happen, so I assume it is probably fairly likely this happens in many leagues. If nobody else bids higher, you get him for cheap anyway.

Nelson S.
Nelson S.

Plus at this point in the season, many teams are flushed with cash after dropping injured dead weight. The prices would have been much less if this was in may


I am the other $1 bidder. I am in first place and generally bid $1 on even remotely significant players unless I actually want them, in which case I bid more. Strangely enough, the $67 was also in my league, he took over for a team that had missed the draft and basically gave up, so he had north of $150 of cap room to spend and Castillo is more or less the only player available worth any kind of money, so he wanted to make sure he got him. He ended up getting him for $31 (FG Points League).


not really. Because the highest bidder gets a player at autcion for $1 more than the next highest bid it’s a fairly common strategy to bid an outlandishly high number to guarantee you get the player.