Ottoneu Hot Right Now: Most Active Current Auctions by Chad Young April 13, 2021 There have been a number of unexpected, impressive performances so far this year. This is what happens when you take a few hundred MLB-quality players, look at a one-week sample of data, and mix in a dash of “last year was a mess with no minor league season and a strange big league season.” Ottoneu managers have taken notice and in the last week, we have seen players like Yermin Mercedes, Akil Baddoo, and Julian Merryweather go from practically unknown to rostered in almost all leagues. While those players are likely already rostered in your leagues, let’s take a look at the next set of players to leap to the upper tiers of Ottoneu roster percentage. As of Monday night, these five players had the most active auctions across all of Ottoneu. Huascar Ynoa – 15 strikeouts and two walks over two starts (11 IP) will raise the profile of any pitcher. When that pitcher doesn’t turn 23 until May and is pitching for an org that has gotten impressive seasons from Ian Anderson, Mike Soroka, Max Fried and Mike Foltynewicz in the last few seasons, that’s only going to boost the interest. Ynoa has always had the ability to get some K’s, but walks have been a major issue – until now. He had 14 walks in 24 MLB innings coming into 2021 and 45 walks in 97.1 IP across three minor league levels in 2019. Going into Monday night’s gem (6 IP, 10 K, 1 BB, 3 H and one ER on a solo shot), Ynoa has significantly changed his pitch mix, increase his sinker usage from 0.3% in 2020 to 25.6% in 2021. He was throwing 46% sliders and the rest roughly split between the sinker and a four-seam. Then Monday, per Baseball Savant, he continued to throw the slider, but threw only one sinker. There’s some real risk with Ynoa – if he’s a two-pitch pitcher with a 4-seam and slider, like he was Monday and in 2020, he will have trouble as a starting pitcher. If he has found a legit third pitch in the sinker, that could explain and sustain the results. He’s well worth a gamble right now and I would gladly bid $3-$5 on the possibility he has turned a corner. I would be cautious about how often I start him for a bit, and watch those walks. Tyler Naquin – Non-tendered by Cleveland, Naquin hitchhiked* across the state and found a new home with the Reds. Cincinnati was perhaps an odd landing spot – they have a crowded OF already and while Jesse Winker is often platooned, Naquin is also a lefty and so not a platoon fit. But Winker has been out a few days, the Reds have faced a string of righties, and Naquin has taken full advantage. Naquin has made nine appearances in the young season, with 36 PA, and has a .490 wOBA. His 55.6% HR/FB rate is due for some serious regression, but Naquin has always hit the ball hard and 2021 has taken that to an extreme – 21.7% barrel rate and 78.3% hard-hit rate. Naquin has always had issues with pitches up – his power is down and in and he really struggles with pitches up. And so pitchers avoided that space down and in. This year, Naquin has somewhat inexplicably gotten a ton of pitches down and in. He’s having more success with pitches up, and maybe that continues, but I suspect pitchers will (re)adjust, Naquin will get cold, and he’ll find himself spending most of his time on the bench, sharing time with Aristides Aquino behind Jesse Winker, Nick Senzel, and Nick Castellanos. I don’t mind spending a couple dollars to ride the hot streak and see how this plays out, but I don’t think I’ll spend enough to win any Naquin auctions, and I suspect he’ll be cut in a lot of leagues in about a month. *He probably didn’t hithchhike. Zach McKinstry – Sometimes it seems each Spring the Dodgers front office gets together and picks a random player to make a star. It’s probably actually that they have incredible scouting and player development and so they identify and produce talent at a rate most other orgs can only dream of. And it seems like McKinstry is their latest discovery/production. The 26-year-old has a nearly-Naquinesque .425 wOBA in 31 PA this year. His appeal is boosted by eligibility at 2B, SS and OF. This didn’t come completely out of nowhere, as McKinstry put up good numbers in Double- and Triple-A in 2019. McKinstry has done this thanks to solid plate discipline (6.5% BB-rate and 12.9% K-rate) and a bit of overperformance (.338 xwOBA based on his batted ball data). I believe enough in the Dodgers development – and the fact that they chose him over a plethora of other options – to think that McKinstry is going to continue to be a solid, maybe even above-average bat. But I doubt there will be much playing time. With Cody Bellinger on the IL and Mookie Betts banged up, there has been plenty of room for Edwin Rios, Chris Taylor, and McKinstry to get playing time. But at full strength, the Dodgers won’t have many PA for McKinstry – he’ll be part of an impressive bench, sharing time with Rios, Taylor, and Matt Beatty. How much is a roughly league-average bat that plays a couple times a week worth? Not a ton. But with all his positional eligibility, McKinstry is a worthwhile play for the short-term. Maybe he continues to be in the lineup 4-5 times a week and carves out a niche for himself on Ottoneu teams. I’d pay $3 to find out. Cedric Mullins – Mullins has been a popular sleeper for a while now, with fantasy managers waiting for the Oriole OF to get regular time ever since his breakout performance in Double-A in 2018. He got a real shot last year – 48 games and 153 PA in the shortened 2020 – with pretty unexciting results, especially for Ottoneu. His .313 wOBA was nothing to write home about, his seven SB and two CS only really matter in 5×5, and his .350 BABIP suggested that was more ceiling than reasonable expectation moving forward. Turns out, that wasn’t the ceiling. In 41 PA this year, Mullins has a .509 wOBA, outpacing even Naquin. There are some positive signs for Mullins – an increased walk rate thanks to a nice drop in chase rate; improved exit velocity and hard-hit rates. But his barrel-rate hasn’t improved and there is no amount of exit velocity that can support a .593 BABIP. He’s not going to be an elite bat, but he should be better than he was last year and that, coupled with a firm hold on the leadoff spot in Baltimore, will give him real value as a depth OF. You won’t want to rely on him as an everyday starter on your roster, but you can plug him in for the right matchups or to fill in for starters have days off. That’s easily worth a bid, perhaps up to $5. Lou Trivino – This is a pretty boring one. Trevor Rosenthal is hurt and Trivino might be the closer. Closers always attract attention. Trivino is not a great Ottoneu RP, putting up around 5 points/IP without much in the way of saves or holds. With a full-time closer job, he is probably more like a 7 P/IP reliever. He’s worth rostering in points leagues and 5×5 leagues as long as he is closing. He might be worth a spot in points leagues even after that if he is still getting holds regularly. I also think there are plenty of other RP out there who are more interesting and with more upside. If I need saves in 5×5, I would pay up to $8 to hold him for a while. In points leagues, I might pay a couple bucks to use him short-term. In 4×4 I am staying away.