Ottoneu Hot Right Now: July 3, 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

Jhonkensy Noel – 27 current auctions

Two home runs in 14 plate appearances will make people turn heads. Hitting the ball hard 50% of the time, with a maxEV of 115.4 and a 33.3% barrel rate may cause whiplash. Surly old fantasy baseball vets will scoff and turn up their noses at those 14 plate appearances. They’ll point out Noel’s 50.0% K% and highlight his .231 batting average, further pointing to a .186 expected batting average. But, in a fictional street fight battle between the over-hopefuls and the surly naysayers, RosterResource could be used as a hypothetical weapon. Jhonkensy Noel is likely on the short side of a platoon. Though he is 1B/3B/OF eligible in Ottonue, Josh Naylor nor José Ramírez are likely to move over for the 22-year-old. He may be young, but he’s been around long enough to accumulate 58 home runs in a combined 1034 AA and AAA at-bats. Pick him up only if you’re willing to watch his playing time closely and are prepared to endure long periods of drought.

Verdict: Don’t Go Crazy.

Landon Knack – 24 current auctions

The 26-year-old righty has made six starts in the big leagues this year. While he has bounced back and forth between AAA and the bigs, he seems to be holding down the fifth spot in the Dodger’s rotation for now. Stuff+ has his slider and fastball above 100, but seems concerned with his other secondaries, the curveball and changeup. More telling might be his below-average Location+ and Pitching+ measurements which assess a pitcher’s intent and process. This might be part of the reason his fastball has been slugged at .592 in his first six starts. Knack has also been aided by some of the “luck” stats, mainly a .207 BABIP and a 94.5% left-on-base percentage. It’s also helpful to notice that his expected ERA is 3.53 compared to his actual 2.08. Don’t expect him to continue with a sub-three ERA season, but don’t be afraid to pick him up and start him in good matchups. Just being the Dodgers’ fifth starter should be enough to roster him for $1.

Verdict: Don’t Go Crazy.

Andrew Heaney – 21 current auctions

Question: What do you do when a pitcher is all over the place in the first three months of the season?

A Tale of Three Heaney’s – 2024
Mar/Apr 21.6% 8.8% 1.26 0.238 6.26
May 19.8% 4.1% 1.46 0.360 2.96
Jun 27.5% 5.6% 1.11 0.289 3.41

Answer: Look at his career numbers:

Heaney’s Career Numbers
Career 24.9% 7.0% 1.27 0.298 4.45

Besides attempting to throw an awful cutter and experimenting with reinstating a curveball, there’s not much difference in Heaney’s pitch selection in 2024. He should be expected to finish the year somewhere close to 4.0 points per inning pitched.

Verdict: Don’t Stress.

Roster Adds

Jose Miranda – Add% Change (7 Days) – 21.3%

Miranda’s 241 plate appearances in 2024 have him at a beautiful slash line of .297/.340/.486. In only 152 2023 plate appearances, Miranda had a major drop off in production compared to his 2022 rookie campaign:

Miranda Career Graph

Much of his recent success could be attributed to an increased Z-Contact. That could also be connected to his improved ability to hit the fastball. He posted negative run values (Statcast) on four-seamers in 2023 but currently sits at 4.3 runs created on the pitch. Increased patience in the form of a decreased O-Swing% and a decreased Swing%, have led to a current career-high wOBA of .355. Lastly, he’s hitting .322 against righties, an area of his game where he struggled in 2023 (.207). That has brought the added benefit of not being in a platoon according to RosterResource. He may still be batting at the bottom of the order, but he’s showcased a skills improvement so far in 2024 and could move a few pegs up the order.

Verdict: Don’t Stress.

David Festa – Add% Change (7 Days) – 21.3%

Listed as the 97th-ranked overall prospect by Eric Longenhagen and Tess Taruskin in February, Festa is expected to get his second start of his career later this week. He made it through five innings in his first start against the Diamondbacks and he got beat up some, giving up five earned runs and one home run while only striking out two. Here’s a snippet from the prospect report that may tell you all you need to know:

Even though Festa will be 24 this season, his rare combination of size and athleticism might portend another gear of arm strength and/or command as he continues to refine the feel for his endless limbs. He’s projected here as an innings-eating no. 4 starter on a contender who might have peak years as an impact mid-rotation guy if either his command or velocity levels up one more time.

If he’s not already taken, sneaking in an auction for a young starter with growth potential seems like a good idea, particularly for rebuilding teams with the roster space.

Verdict: Don’t Go Crazy.

Cedric Mullins – Add% Change (7 Days) – 14.1%

Mullins has begun working his way out of the pain shed but he doesn’t have both feet out the door. He may still only be batting .218 on the year as a whole, but his 14-day batting average has jumped up to .368, and his 30-day batting average has also jumped above his season average up to .286. In the last 14 days, he has boosted his overall slugging percentage with a .519 mark and has posted a K% of 13.4%, well below his season average of 21.8%. Helping has been the change in his batted ball profile as he’s begun pulling the ball in the air more often. While that’s a tiny sample, his rolling chart shows a few good things happening all at once and sometimes, that’s what it takes to break out of a slump:

Cedric Mullins Rolling Chart

An increase in quality contact in the zone has propelled his wOBA and if he can keep it rolling, good things will continue to happen. His defense has kept him in the lineup during this rough patch. Hopefully, his bat will move him up in the order.

Verdict: Don’t Stress.

Hot Performers

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

Derek Hill – (11.8 P/G)

In 42 games at AAA this season, Hill slashed .350/.415/.631. When he was called up from the minor leagues at the end of May, he didn’t do much, batting .222 in only 10 plate appearances, and was sent back down. He was called back up in the last week of June and hit three home runs in two games. He’s unlikely to stick in the lineup and if he stays on the major league roster, he could end up in a platoon.

Ben Rortvedt – (10.0 P/G)

The 26-year-old catcher may be in a platoon with Alex Jackson, but he’s been hitting like he wants more playing time. In June, he slashed .313/.365/.583 with three home runs in 52 plate appearances. He’s only hitting .200 against lefties, hence the platoon, but Rortvedt has outperformed Jackson by wide margins at the plate. With below-average hard-hit rates, zone contact rates, barrel rates, and inflated BABIP (.370), there’s not a lot of support in Rortvedt’s profile to suggest his June slash line will continue.

Seth Lugo – (6.9 P/IP)

Lugo has gone at least six innings pitched in his last eight games. His most recent start ended with 10 strikeouts, no home runs and, one walk. This season, he’s done a great job utilizing his changeup against lefties. He’s having a career-year with a 1.03 WHIP and a 2.17 ERA.

Josh Winckowski – (6.1 P/IP)

The 26-year-old righty appears to have a spot in the Red Sox rotation for now. Between the start of the season and early May, he maintained a 3.33 ERA bouncing back and forth between long relief and spot starts. He was brought back up from the minor leagues at the end of June, threw six innings as a follower, and then got another chance at a traditional start against the Padres. In his last two appearances (11.o IP) he’s struck out nine, walked only one, and given up no home runs. That’s a good recipe for Ottoneu points leagues. You can read more about Winckowski’s evolution by reading Michael Bauman’s “To Heck With the Four-Seam Fastball”. 

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