Ottoneu Hot Right Now: March 27, 2024

It’s Opening Day! I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, “No, Opening Day was last week in Seoul.” Or maybe you are thinking, “No, Opening Day is tomorrow.”

But you are wrong because today is Opening Day…for Ottoneu Hot/Cold Right now. Yes, we are bringing back everyone’s favorite twice-weekly series, looking at the movers and shakers of the Ottoneu universe. Who is getting cut? Who is being added? Who should I bid on? Who is tearing the cover off the ball? This is where you find out.

As with 2023, 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.

But for today, we are going to go a slightly different route. We will take a quick look at players being auctioned and recently added, but we are going to leave out the hot performers because, well, no one has truly been given a chance to perform.

Current Auctions

Yimi García – 59 auctions

This is a Jordan Romano mention. Maybe an Erik Swanson mention, too. With those two down, the Jays may well turn to Yimi García as the closer, at least for the short term. We should hear more about Romano soon – he was supposed to take just a few days off throwing, but if García is the man, you can understand the rush to go acquire him.

At least, kind of. García put up 6.09 P/IP last year which is perfectly acceptable from a “last guy in your Ottoneu pen” kind of perspective, but it isn’t particularly exciting. And he has hovered in that “might be good enough to use” range basically since 2020, when he threw just 15 innings but was great. And while it is easy to assume there is a value boost from being the closer (there certainly is), García has 19 holds and 3 saves in 66 innings last year. If we turn all those holds into saves plus give him 3 more saves (closers get more saves than set-up guys get holds+saves), we add 34 points to his total, which is almost exactly 0.5 points, boosting him to around 6.60. That’s better, but it is still not great.

I can see putting a buck on García. He is a good fit for those who, like me, prefer to build a pen for <$10 total, because you can pick him up for now, ride that slight improvement from the better role, and then move on when Romano is back. And if García happens to hold the role a while, or turn a corner back to that 2020 vintage, all the better.

Luis Gil – 38 auctions

Gil worked his way into a rotation spot and is, as a result, a hot commodity. The excitement makes sense. He is young. He made the rotation. He was throwing 97 last time out. He is striking out basically everyone.

But there are some real concerns, too. Gil has a long history of walking everyone he faces (except the people he strikes out) and while his walk-rate is better in Spring Training, it isn’t exactly good. He gives up a ton of fly balls and does so without limiting his HR/FB rate, which is not a great sign. Even with a 37.7% K-rate in spring, he has a 3.92 xFIP (4.44 FIP) because of the walks and fly balls.

The good news is, his Ottoneu points line has been strong despite these issues. My concern is that when the K-rate settles to something more reasonable (even if still great), the walks and HR will no longer be so well hidden. He also likely has an innings limit. He threw 108.2 innings across three levels in 2021 (a career-high) and has thrown 29.2 since then. His 15.2 spring innings already pushes him close to his total from the last two years combined.

I like taking a flyer, but know that you are taking a volatile pitcher in a rough park who will likely have HR issues and may only get you 100-ish innings. There is upside for him to break out if he can limit the homers, but even then, the volume won’t be high.

Roster Adds

Brock Stewart – Leagues with Add (7 Days) – 21.56%

There are actually two players being added more than Stewart – Gil and García. But he is the top guy we haven’t discussed yet. Stewart is something of a García-type, as he is a RP expected to be in a set-up role suddenly thrust into some saves thanks to injury.

Stewart also put up 8.03 P/IP last year and has been absolutely lights out in Spring Training. While García is a fun short-term option, Stewart is a guy I was targeting in drafts all through draft season as a key cog in my bullpens, and this only boosts his value. You really shouldn’t still be able to get him, but if you can, please do. I would bid a few bucks, if I had the cap space and needed a reliever.

Michael Soroka – Leagues with Add (7 Days) – 21.25%

I am not going to write a ton about Soroka. He was once highly regarded, has dealt with injuries, has had a brilliant spring, and has new mechanics to point to for the big increase in strikeouts. That is enough to take a shot on him. But remember – he has barely pitched in years. Don’t expect too much and don’t be shocked if it falls apart.

That said, I have him on a roster and may just grab him on 1-2 more.

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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