Ottoneu Hot Right Now: May 29, 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

Spencer Schwellenbach – 83 current auctions

The Braves are expected to start the 23-year-old right-hander against the Nationals today, Wednesday, May 29th. According to Eric Longenhagen and Tess Taruskin, Scwellenbach:

“sits in the mid-90s, has a plus slider, and is a healthy season and a more consistent changeup away from profiling as a mid-rotation type.”

In eight games played through A+ and AA, Scwellenbach has a 10.20 K/9, a 2.00 BB/9, and only one home run, leading him to a 1.80 ERA through 45.0 IP. With AJ Smith-Shawver out with a strained oblique, Scwellenbach has an opportunity to be more than a spot start. He’ll face a Nationals lineup that is collectively batting a .232 against righties, good for 20th in the league. With more established pitchers like Bryce Elder, Dylan Dodd, Huascar Ynoa, and Ian Anderson, though Anderson is out with an elbow injury, waiting down in AAA, Scwellenbach will have to show out to remain in the big leagues.

Verdict: Don’t Go Crazy.

Jeremiah Estrada – 77 current auctions

Look no further than Kyle Kishimoto’s November write-up of the 25-year-old righty back when he was claimed off waivers by the Chicago Cubs this past offseason:

Estrada’s main weapon is a four-seam fastball that, in a vacuum, has some of the best characteristics of any heater in the pitch tracking era….[b]ut his control, especially with his fastball, fell apart in 2023, as he walked a batter an inning in both the minors and majors. He also allowed a dozen homers in under 40 total innings, the result of grooved pitches in hitter-friendly counts.

In 16.1 IP in 2024, Estrada seems to have figured out his control issues, bringing his BB% of 6.9% below the league average for relievers of 9.5%. 3.63 is the league average BB/9 for relievers and Estrada is below that mark with 2.20. So, he’s walking batters less, what about his stuff? Is it still good? Um, yea, it’s still good:

Stf+ FA: 162

Stf+ FS: 117

Stf+ SL: 122

That has brought his overall Stuff+ to 143. If there are any red flags they fly in the form of his Location+ which sits at an average of 100. That may be due to how much he puts the ball in the zone in general (53% Zone% vs. league average 51%), but if you look at his heat maps, he tends to miss in the heart of the zone more often than he should, much like Kishimoto pointed out. Though, as of this writing, Estrada’s split-finger fastball has a 57.7% Whiff% (Statcast), good for the third highest among pitchers with a 10 PA minimum, so he has a ton of swing and miss with his secondary. It’s hard to say how long this will last, but ride the reliever hot streak if you can. RosterResource considers Estrada the next man up in San Diego for closing duties behind Robert Suarez.

Verdict: Don’t Go Crazy.

Jake Meyers – 72 current auctions

As Jeff Zimmerman wrote in his Week 9 FAAB & Waiver Wire Report, Meyers:

continues to crush the ball (.300/.369/.545, 6 HR, 2 SB) while starting regularly (nine straight starts).

Meyers must feel the pressure of Chas McCormick and Mauricio Dubón watching him from the bench, but he’s been consistently hitting and fielding his position. A big part of Meyers’ success in 2024 has been due to a dropped K% to 18.7% compared to his career 27.1% rate. His zone contact rate of 82.2% still sits below the league average (Statcast) of 85.7%, so you could say there’s room to grow. With a BABIP of .326, there may be some luck driving his success, but he’s also shown clear improvements in his ability to hit the ball hard consistently.

Verdict: Don’t Stress.

Roster Adds

Dylan Moore – Add% Change (7 Days) – 42.5%

Moore is the type of player on and off fantasy rosters all season. The versatility he adds to a team given his diverse positional eligibility is valuable in its own right. Moore has been on a hot streak in May, slashing .273/.394/.584 with an OPS of .978. He’s striking out at a career-low 22.8%, which still makes him a free swinger. But, he’s barrelling the ball 9.1% of the time (7.5% league average) and hitting it hard 45.5% (38.9% league average) of the time. If Moore stops hitting and Jorge Polanco heals up, he could start to see less playing time. But you can wait to cross that bridge.

Verdict: Don’t Stress.

Nick Gonzales – Add% Change (7 Days) – 26.9%

In his first stint in the major leagues, Gonzales struck out 28.1% of the time in 128 plate appearances. This season he’s down to 21.5%. He’s increased his walk rate slightly, up to 7.7%. Yes, his 2024 BABIP sits at an all-too-high .341, but he is smacking the ball around the yard, hitting it hard 52.3% of the time. His Barrel% is 15.9%. Remember that the league average Barrel% is 7.5%. He’s sandwiched between Marcell Ozuna (16.0%) and Bobby Witt Jr. (15.8%) on the leaderboard (60 min. PA). Much of this success comes off fastballs, where Gonzales has produced a .538 wOBA. It’s a different story against offspeed (.270) and breaking pitches (.191). The question is, will pitchers adjust? Time will tell, but for now, Gonzales is a speedy, versatile hitter with positional flexibility. He should be added to fantasy teams.

Verdict: Don’t Go Crazy.

Mark Vientos – Add% Change (7 Days) – 25.6%

Vientos continues to share time with Brett Baty at third base, but when you compare their slash lines, you see that Vientos currently has the upper hand:

Baty (May): .183/.279/.350

Veintos (May): .321/.406/.679

Vientos has nearly cut his K% in half in 2024 and he’s hitting both fastballs and breaking/offspeed pitches for positive run values. His zone contact of 79.6% shows room for improvement when compared to the league average of 85.7%, but he has begun to swing inside the zone more often and outside the zone less often. Hopefully, those plate discipline metrics will move in the right direction because Viento’s contact quality (Statcast) has been excellent in 2024:

Barrel%: 17.9%

HardHit%: 50.0%

MaxEV: 111.0 MPH

Verdict: Don’t Go Crazy.

Hot Performers

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

Aaron Judge – (14.4 P/G) and Corey Seager – (12.9 P/G) are good players who are already rostered in your league and have been hot, hot, hot lately. Good luck out there.

Lane Thomas – (12.0 P/G)

Thomas has returned to the Nationals lineup and slots back into the top of the order after an early-season knee injury held him down. He holds a poor .188/.248/.271 on the heels of a .219 BABIP. That is not a good representation of who Thomas is when considering his career .246/.310/.426. His power has been drained in 2024 going from a .201 ISO in 2023 to a current .083 mark and you have to imagine a bum knee had a lot to do with that. Now that he’s back in the lineup, maybe he’ll start to heat up along with the weather. In his first game back, he hit two doubles and scored a run. He also had 11 stolen bases in only 22 games before the injury. Now may be a sneaky time to add.

David Fry – (11.0 P/G)

For a great overview of Fry, read Leo Morgenstern’s recent article, David Fry is Flying High. He has catcher eligibility in most formats, he steals bases, and in his last 14 games has slashed .467/.600/.867. He’s probably not available in your league anymore, but if he is, he has a tremendous amount of value.

Randy Rodríguez – (8.7 P/IP)

In his first three outings (7.1 IP) as a middle-reliver, the 24-year-old righty gave up a run in each bringing his ERA to 3.52. Since then, in 7.2 IP, he hasn’t allowed a run, has only walked two batters, and gave up one hit. In that time he’s recorded a win and a hold. He’ll likely continue in the middle-relief role, making his fantasy value less than ideal.

Justin Anderson – (8.6 P/IP)

Yes, that’s right. I’m writing about the 31-year-old right-handed Chicago White Sox reliever. In his last three outings, he’s thrown three innings allowing two hits, one walk, and struck out five. That small sample brings his K/9 to 15.00. He’s probably just a middle-reliever for now, but if his Stuff+ continues to climb north of the 112 it currently rests at, he could get more high-leverage opportunities.

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15 days ago

If Justin Anderson ends up as anything more than a 31 year old middle reliever with a very small and sporadic sample size who last pitched in the majors in 2019, I will make sure to note that I heard about his hype train here first.