Ottoneu Hot Right Now: June 5, 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

Matt Waldron – 66 current auctions

Fellow Ottoneu writer Jake Mailhot wrote about Waldron in a recent Ottoneu Drip article:

Matt Waldron isn’t just throwing a knuckleball as a gimmick. He has a full five-pitch arsenal and uses the knuckler as a fully fledged secondary weapon to earn swings and misses. The rest of his pitches don’t really stand out all that much, but when a batter knows he’s going to see at least one or two knuckleballs in an at-bat, that uncertainty keeps them off balance just enough.

In early May, Waldron was hit for seven earned runs against the Diamondbacks, bringing his April (plus that one May 5th outing) ERA up to 5.82. Since then, he’s had five starts where he has limited damage and produced an ERA sample of 1.84. Included in that five-game sample were matchups against the Dodgers and Braves, so it wasn’t an easy road. Regardless, there seems to be a lot of potential volatility in rostering Waldron on fantasy teams. If his whole game is built around throwing a knuckleball, what happens when it’s off for a night? We will get the chance to find out as the Padres need starters while Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove remain on the IL.

Verdict: Don’t Stress.

Connor Norby – 57 current auctions

In Eric Longenhagen and Tess Taruskin’s Picks to Click: Who We Expect to Make the 2024 Top 100, Conor Norby was listed in the “High-Contact Up-the-Middle Bats” section. In the 2023 version of the Orioles prospect report, Longenhagen noted that Norby’s power metrics in the minors were surprising, and while the hitting environment he was in (Bowie, Maryland) likely inflated them somewhat, the improvements were also mechanical:

Norby’s stride has been closed off, his little toe tap has been modified, and most substantially, the position in which his hands load has been raised. Have these changes, in concert with one another, truly made Norby into a 25-plus home run threat? Actually, yeah, they may have.

Then, Norby hit 21 home runs in his promotion to AAA and continued to impress with a 2024 AAA slash line of .286/.374/.510 and nine home runs. Norby seems to have ticked all the boxes in the minor leagues and an injury to Jorge Mateo has given him an opportunity in Baltimore. Through seven at-bats he’s already hit a home run.

Verdict: Don’t Go Crazy.

Heliot Ramos – 49 current auctions

In his June 3rd Roto Riteup, Justin Mason wrote:

Ramos is hitting .286/.355/.440 with three home runs and a stolen base in 93 plate appearances. There isn’t much that appears special about Ramos’ bat so this is likely a hot streak that is influenced by a massive .429 BABIP. He is a former top prospect, but he has never lived up to that hype.

Chad Young also wrote about Ramos in his The Best Hitters Less Than 50% Rostered in Ottoneu and had a similar take as Mason. I won’t re-write it all here, but the consensus seems to be that Ramos is on a hot streak with an incredibly high BABIP, and while his batted ball metrics have been impressive, he also strikes out a ton.

Verdict: Don’t Bother.

Roster Adds

Matt Vierling – Add% Change (7 Days) – 52.4%

Vierling has played all over the field in 2023 including 27 games at third base and 33 games in the outfield. His slash line of .287/.318/.492 has also earned him a few starts as the designated hitter. He’s currently hitting in the leadoff spot. Both his zone-contact rate (90.5%) and barrel rate (8.6%) are at career-high levels. The combination of those metrics has led to very little difference in his wOBA (.348) and xwOBA (.319). Lastly, Vierling has put the ball on the ground a career-low 35.3% of the time. All of these are measurable skills that demonstrate a change in approach and I would be interested to see if Vierling has made any mechanical changes. It seems that most of his early season success can be tied to his improved plate discipline where he is swinging at good pitches to hit. Don’t go crazy, but don’t miss an opportunity to add a 27-year-old who appears to be on the verge of a breakout season while no one is looking.

Verdict: Don’t Go Crazy.

Miguel Andujar – Add% Change (7 Days) – 38.4%

Andujar has been going off in his first 38 plate appearances of the season with a .368/.359/.579 slash line. Though it comes with a .353 BABIP, it also comes with a 100.0% zone contact rate and an 8.3% barrel rate. That insanely high contact rate means Andujar has not walked once this season and he’s only struck out 7.7%. He has always been a high-contact hitter and if he can stay in the lineup with good health, he should be productive. He’s currently eligible as a “1B/OF” in Ottoneu.

Verdict: Don’t Go Crazy.

Tylor Megill – Add% Change (7 Days) – 35.3%

There’s a big difference in Megill’s ERA of 3.00 and his xERA of 4.81. Some of that is due to a low BABIP (.296) and some of it is due to the hard contact he gives up. Yes, Megill is often seen on X throwing nasty splitters and changeups, but one look at his savant page pitch heatmaps will show how little control he has over his secondaries. Stuff+ captures this in Location+ where Megill has an overall metric of 91. The one positive is that his fastball has shown some improvement over years past, a necessary improvement because he relies heavily on the fastball when he falls behind. If he gets ahead he can pepper hitters with nasty secondaries, but his control limits the amount of times that can happen. He’s walking a tightrope and the number of mistakes his slider has made based on his heatmap should have those rostering him biting their nails. His combination of an above-average walk rate and hard-hit rate should make Ottoneu managers worried, especially as his low HR/9 of 0.43 may not stick.

Verdict: Don’t Bother.

Hot Performers

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

Nolan Gorman – (10.5 P/G)

Gorman is slashing an unbelievable .354/.415/.896 with eight home runs and two stolen bases. While his numbers are still much better against right-handed pitchers, he has 62 plate appearances against lefties in 2024 and no longer has a platoon designation on the Cardinals’ RosterResource page.

Ryan Mountcastle – (9.9 P/G)

Mounty heated up right before heading to Toronto where he loves to hit. In his last 14 games, he’s hit four home runs and slashed .370/.404/.685. While some of the boost in his batting average may be due to an inflated BABIP, he’s also spraying the ball all over the field (31.9% Pull, 37.3% Centr, 30.7% Oppo) after being more a pre-Camden yards outfield change pull hitter. He is making the necessary adjustments to be a great hitter.

Sonny Gray – (7.9 P/IP)

After three starts with a total of five home runs given up, Gray’s last two starts (5/26 and 6/1) have been great for Ottoneu points leagues and not-so-great for roto leagues. He’s given up four earned runs, but zero home runs and 18 strikeouts. If you remove the one game where Gray gave up three home runs to the Brewers, you wouldn’t call it a home run problem.

Gavin Stone – (7.6 P/IP)

Stone’s last two starts (5/28 and 6/2) have come with zero earned runs and only two walks with 13 strikeouts. That’s an excellent formula for Ottoneu points leagues. Stone has limited the long ball so far this season and while he’s not a strikeout machine, he hasn’t had a single game with negative points this season.

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Matt Maisonmember
10 days ago

No mention of Megill’s pitch mix change/repertoir including a new splitter?