Ottoneu Hot Right Now: April 17, 2024

The 2024 version of Hot Right Now will typically include three sections:

  1. Current Auctions: A closer look at players being auctioned at a high rate.
  2. Roster Adds: Analysis of players with high add% changes.
  3. Hot Performers: Players with a high P/G or P/IP in recent weeks.

The FanGraphs Ottoneu team plans to run this feature weekly, updating fantasy managers on the biggest movers in Ottoneu leagues with an analysis of how these players could or could not help your roster.

As Chad Young has done in previous posts, I am also going to rate each player on the following scale:

  • Don’t Bother – This means that even as auctions are started, other teams are adding this player, or he is on a hot streak, I am just not interested in adding this player. I don’t see them being worth a roster spot.
  • Don’t Stress – I can see why you would add this player. I can totally understand placing a bid, but I am not super worried about winning this player. I would bid $1 for sure, maybe a bit more, as long as it doesn’t impact my roster at all.
  • Don’t Go Crazy – I would like to add this player, but I am not willing to hamper my team to do it. I’ll look for cuts, and if I can clear money to make a big bid without losing players I’ll regret cutting, I will do it.
  • Don’t Lose – These players rarely come up but they do, from time-to-time. These are guys that I am willing to make a difficult cut to add. Don’t expect to see this designation used often.

Current Auctions

Andy Pages – 134 current auctions

The 23-year-old was called up before Tuesday’s game against the Nationals. He went one for four and scored a run. In 15 AAA games this season, Pages slashed .371/.452/.694 making it clear that he’s done with AAA. His call-up came as veteran Jason Heyward went on the 10-day IL due to lower back tightness. If you look at the Dodgers RosterResource page, you’ll notice two of the four bench bats, Chris Taylor and Enrique Hernández, play the outfield. Pages will benefit from batting as a righty as he’ll likely take James Outman’s spot in the lineup when facing lefties. However, Heyward’s injury isn’t expected to keep him down for very long and the embarrassment of riches that is the Dodgers lineup may force Pages back down to AAA simply because there’s not enough room on the roster to keep him up. Eric Longenhagen wrote that Pages is a “strikeout-prone corner outfielder with some peak years of huge power and the occasional lean season with too many whiffs.”

Verdict: Don’t Go Crazy.

José Buttó – 113 current auctions

Buttó has been with the Mets since rookie ball where he threw 50 innings at the age of 19. That was back in 2017. He made his major league debut in 2022 and got shredded in only one game never to return that season. He did get another chance in 2023 and held his own across seven starts and two relief appearances totaling 42 innings pitched. He posted a 1.33 WHIP and a 3.64 ERA in that time.

Now, in 2024, Buttó has looked great in two starts collecting 15 strikeouts across 12 innings. He’s only given up five hits and one run in those two starts. Though there are some red flags, like a 9.1% BB%, a low and unsustainable BABIP (.209), and a left-on-base rate of 90%, Buttó’s swinging strike rate is above average at 14.4%. His best pitch by Stuff+ is his slider (102), but as Justin Mason pointed out in a recent episode of Sleeper and the Bust, his fastball grade is poor at 84. That translates to the following Stuff+ grade line:

Stuff+: 86, Location+: 91, Pitching+: 88

As Stuff+ is one of the best measurements for early analysis of pitchers, Buttó seems like a player to avoid rather than a player to claim off waivers.

Verdict: Don’t Bother.

Jack Leiter – 92 current auctions

Leiter’s 0.98 WHIP and 3.77 ERA in 14.1 AAA innings have come with a 16.4% swinging strike rate and a wonderfully low 5.3% BB%. Leiter is expected to be called up to make his major league debut against the Tigers on Thursday. The lowering of his walk rate was crucial for Leiter as it was up to 13.4% in AA last season. He was able to get it lower in AAA, down to 10% by the end of 2023, and now, the sub-6% mark has earned him a promotion. His 2024 spring training marks, a K% of 15.4%  and a BB% of 9.6%, are still troublesome. But perhaps he tuned his control up in the minors and is working with enough confidence to succeed. In their Names to Know: 100 More Relevant Prospects, Tess Taruskin, and Eric Longenhagen warned that Leiter may end up being a reliever:

[Leiter]…can’t seem to walk fewer than 5/9 IP. His huge fastball should at least allow for a higher-leverage relief role.

While I am a hopeful Ottoneu manager rostering Jack Leiter for years now, I may not be starting him in his debut. He’ll need to prove that he can walk fewer batters in the major leagues, as he proved in AAA so far this season before I feel comfortable rolling him out as a starter.

Verdict: Don’t Stress.

Roster Adds

Cody Bradford – Add% Change (7 Days) – 50.0%

Bradford’s three consecutive wins and 1.40 ERA have grabbed the attention of fantasy managers. He, like José Buttó (above), has been aided by some smoke, a .176 BABIP, and mirrors, a 75.5% LOB%. His overall Stuff+ grades:

Stuff+: 93, Location+: 103, Pitching+: 97

are decent, but the 91 grade on his fastball should put some doubt in your mind. For now, Bradford has been placed on the 15-day IL with lower back soreness and may not be worth holding as the Rangers should be getting more and more starting pitchers coming off the IL as the season goes on.

Verdict: Don’t Bother.

Iván Herrera – Add% Change (7 Days) – 31.6%

Cardinals beat writer, Katie Woo, reported from the Athletic that the Cardinals, “will…look to keep Herrera, who has hit three homers in six games, in the lineup consistently alongside Contreras.” Herrera’s ability to lineup in the DH spot and catch makes him valuable in most leagues. He’s only 23 years old, so it’s not a sure thing that he stays up, however, RosterResource doesn’t show many other options to catch for the Cardinals beyond Contreras and Herrera. He’s had a hot start and should stay in the lineup until he cools off. He’s slashed .293/.514/.592 in 41 plate appearances so far this season.

Verdict: Don’t Go Crazy.

Joey Loperfido – Add% Change (7 Days) – 29.4%

Last year, Loperfido was ranked the fourth-best prospect in the Astros organization on this site. He’s a left-handed hitter who projects defensively as an outfielder though he qualifies as a second baseman in Ottoneu leagues. Loperfido has certainly outgrown the minor leagues. He’s 24 years old and has slugged over .500 in A+, AA, and in 2024, AAA. Last June, Eric Longenhagen and Tess Taruskin wrote about Loperfido in their Houston Astros Top 38 Prospects:

he’ll probably always post a higher-than-average K%. But if Loperfido can get to his power and play center field part-time, he’s going to be a high-use role player. We want to take the long view on lefty power hitters built like this and think there’s a chance Loperfido is a meaningful piece.

There hasn’t been much talk of a call-up and some are criticizing the fact Loperfido hasn’t been called up yet. However, it seems imminent, and while there are a lot of outfielders on the Astros roster, the team could use an offensive boost.

Verdict: Don’t Go Crazy.

Hot Performers

Stats reflect the last 14 days for both hitters and pitchers.

Jose Altuve – (11.6 P/G)

With a slash line of .403/.476/.722, five home runs, and a stolen base, Jose Altuve leads the league in wRC+. He is third behind Mookie Betts and Marcel Ozuna for the best points-per-game mark among players who have played in over 10 games so far this season. If you must know, Altuve’s BABIP is high (.414), and his expected stats (xBA/xSLG/xwOBA) are all lower than his actual marks. But his 10.5% BB% and career-high 38.1% are completely skills-based. Stay healthy Jose.

William Contreras – (10.6 P/G)

He may be striking out 21.1% of the time and he may have an unsustainably high .463 BABIP, but Contreras is slashing .390 /.479/.661 and is lined up in the DH role when he’s not catching. He was projected as one of the league’s best catchers before the season started and he is proving it out. Contreras has been smoking the ball with a 64.0% hard-hit rate and he’s doing it on a Brewers team that is third-best in the MLB in wRC+ (125) behind the Braves and the Astros.

Craig Kimbrel – (12.9 P/G)

Kimbrel’s huge points-per-game mark is so because he has not given up a single home run this season nor has he given up a walk. He’s had a great K%, a career-best in the young season, of 54.2%. His Stuff+ marks are solid:

Stuff+: 107, Location+: 106, Pitching+: 110

and everything is peachy. You know how this goes. He will walk batters (career BB% 10.1%) and he will give up home runs (career HR/FB 10.8%), but for now, he’s rolling. See Ben Clemen’s recent article for more.

Reid Detmers –  (8.0 P/IP)

Like Kimbrel, Detmers has not given up a home run, making his P/IP mark nice and high. He’s been walking a tight line with a .258 BABIP and an 86.7% LOB%. In addition, his 89 fastball Stuff+ grade isn’t supporting his 1.04 ERA. His slider’s Stuff+ has been solid at 113 but when you consider there are 59 starting pitchers who have pitched at least 10 innings with better grades ahead of him you should have some skepticism creeping in.

 





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Chris Reitsma
1 month ago

it’s worth mentioning that Leiter had a 25:4 K:B in 16.1 innings across his final four starts in AA, following a stint on the development list where they focused on getting him back in the zone. given the talent and the quick callup, I wouldn’t be surprised if something has clicked. then again it’s hard to believe in the Rangers’ pitching dev after their handling of middle reliever Cole Ragans

Last edited 1 month ago by Chris Reitsma