Ottoneu Cold Right Now: March 29, 2024

Honestly, I feel bad writing this. It’s been a day. Actually, not even a day – I am at my laptop hours before the first pitch of the first games of the year (yeah, Seoul Series, whatever, today is Opening Day) and I am already reporting on players who are being cut? Ouch.

But, whether we like it or not, players are being cut, and it is my duty to report on those players.

Last year, Cold Right Now covered player cuts and cold performers, and we will do the same this year, broken into three sections:

  1. Roster Cuts: Analysis of players who have been cut in a high percentage of leagues.
  2. Recent Injuries: A look at the implications of recent injuries (not all, just some high-profile ones).
  3. Cold Performers: Players with a low P/G or P/IP in recent weeks.

Today, however, we are going to ignore the cold performers and focus just on players being cut.

Jonathan Aranda – Leagues with cut (7 Days) – 18.44%

What happens when you are a bit of a fantasy darling (particularly in the Ottoneu Slack)? You get picked up by more teams than is probably justified by realistic expectations. And what happens when you then get injured? You get cut by more teams than should have been rostering you in the first place.

I am among the managers in 18.44% of leagues who cut Aranda, and it really just does come down to him falling into a spot he was interesting enough to roster, but not interesting enough to stash. In 190 MLB PA, Aranda hasn’t looked completely overmatched – 11.1% BB% and 28.4% K% don’t suggest a guy who simply can’t handle MLB pitching – but he hasn’t shown the ability to do any damage. His .133 ISO would be bottom 20 of qualified hitters in 2023 (out of 134). Only one of the 19 players with that low an ISO had a legitimately good wRC+. That was Luis Arraez at 132, but Arraez runs high BABIPs and never ever ever strikes out. Only two other players had above average wRC+: Ty France and Nico Hoerner. And France was still a pretty bad fantasy play because he lacked power or speed.

Aranda has the tools to both get closer to Arraez by decreasing his K% (not to Arraez-like levels, but a more manageable number below 25%) and seems to have the pop to get out of this low-ISO group altogether. The problem is you can’t bank on him making those improvements and, even if he does, he is likely in a part-time role with the Rays because everyone is in a part-time role with the Rays. If he is playing, I get wanting him on your roster – I wanted him on my roster! If he makes the right adjustments and hits, there is big upside.

But for now, he is an easy cut, in my opinion. Go get someone who can help now or who is more likely to hit in the future or both. But watch the news on Aranda – if he is set to be a big side platoon bat in Tampa when he comes back, he’ll be worth picking up.

Matt Manning – Leages with Cut (7 Days) – 14.06%

Hey, I am in this group, too! And, to be honest, the story is somewhat similar. Manning has talent. We know he has talent. He has had some MLB success (more than Aranda) but hasn’t really been Ottoneu-valuable. He was worth a gamble when he looked like a rotation lock. But now that he is on the outs, I think he is an easy cut. If he dominates Triple-A and is demanding a return to Detroit, I’ll change my tune. But the combination of risk that he isn’t useful in fantasy with the fact that you don’t even know when you will find out what he can do is too much to justify the roster spot right now.

Aaron Ashby – Leagues with Cut (7 Days) – 10.31%

I have been high on Ashby in the past, but avoided the intrigue this year, in part because he hasn’t really shown me anything to suggest he is back to full strength. He’s on my watchlist, pending minor league performance. But I need to see some significant, sustained success and news of a potential call up to really get interested at this point.


A long-time fantasy baseball veteran and one of the creators of ottoneu, Chad Young's writes for RotoGraphs and PitcherList, and can be heard on the ottobot podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @chadyoung.

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