Ottoneu Hot Right Now: September 7th, 2023

The 2023 version of Ottoneu Hot Right Now will include three different 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.

Current Auctions

Griffin Canning – 23 current auctions

Canning is now the Angels number three starter according to RosterResource and that alone makes him a nice, cheap pick-up for those who are looking to get a little closer to their starting limits as the season closes out. In 104.2 IP this season, Canning has reached the highest innings mark of his career and his K/9 is also at a career-high, 10.06. His BB/9 is at a career low and his fastball velocity is at a career-high. Canning has done a lot of things to improve and the results are starting to follow though they may not be totally apparent in his 4.30 ERA (3.92 xERA). In his last four appearances, two of them were in a long-relief role. In one of them, he got beat up with four earned runs in less than four innings. If you strip out his relief appearances in 2023, his ERA decreases slightly. Now that the Angels dumped the starters they acquired at the trade deadline, Canning very likely moves back to a fulltime starter role.

Nick Loftin – 18 current auctions

With Nick Pratto on the IL, though playing in minor league rehab games, Loftin has been taking the 1B spot at times while moving around the infield. RosterResource considers him a bench bat/utility role player, but with a .400 batting average he may just continue to find the lineup. He’s only played in five games, but he’s hit three doubles and displayed power with 14 AAA home runs in 2023. He is the number two Royals prospect and according to Eric Longenhagen, he:

…isn’t dangerous all over the zone, but he covers most of it. He’s currently blocked by a host of other young players, some of whom have a similar skill set, but he’s a pretty good bet to be a postseason 40-man add, setting up a debut at some point next year.

Dean Kremer – 20 current auctions

Kremer is a 12-win pitcher this season. I repeat: Kremer is a 12-win pitcher this season. He won’t be boosting your strikeout totals and he may give up a few home runs, but Kremer could get you another win in roto-leagues and will balance out to possibly give you around 20 points per start on average. In his last 10 appearances, he recorded negative points only once. His median salary is at $1, but I’d pay $2 for a few more starts with the O’s this season.

Colin Holderman – 20 current auctions

Holderman went through a rough patch mid-season where his fastball lost some effectiveness and he fell out of his role as the go-to setup man in the Pirates pen. He seems to have worked his way back and in his last 10 appearances has recorded eight holds. He has the sixth most holds in 2023 with 25 and has maintained an ERA of around 3.00 for most of the season. He is a good addition if you need holds.

Colin Holderman, Rolling ERA/K/9

Roster Adds

Davis Schneider – Add% Change (7 Days) – 17.95%

You won’t find the 24-year-old on this year’s Blue Jays prospect list, but he has been in the Jays’ system since being drafted back in 2017. Finally getting his time to shine in early August, Schneider went nine for 15 in his first three games while hitting two home runs. After that, he went on an 0 for 12 stint, then picked it up again and hasn’t stopped hitting. His season slash line in 20 total games is a wild .385/.512/.846. He has seven home runs, a stolen base, and, uh-oh, a .500 BABIP. He has also accomplished this early success alongside an above-average (22.6%) K% of 26.8%. However, his walk rate of 18.3% is also well above average (8.5%). Schneider epitomizes “Hot Right Now” with the biggest question being, how long will now last? One would have to figure Schneider will get squeezed out of the lineup once the likes of Matt Chapman and Bo Bichette return.

Javier Assad – Add% Change (7 Days) – 16.35%

Assad recently moved from long-relief to starter and in his six most recent starts, has a sub-2.00 ERA, though his xERA is 4.02. He is not a strikeout pitcher with overpowering stuff and he gave up four home runs in those six starts, creating the following ratios:

K/9 – 6.57, MLB SP AVG. – 8.43

BB/9 – 2.43, MLB SP AVG. – 3.01

HR/9 – 0.97, MLB SP AVG. – 1.33

Assad still looks good when compared to the average. His 93 MPH four-seamer has performed decently well from a pVal standpoint (PitchInfo), but it’s his sinker and cutter that have racked up pVal points, each above six. Those pitches helped Assad hit the 76th statcast percentile for groundball rate. He also has a changeup, a curveball, and a slider. The slider has a very impressive 4.2  inches more horizontal movement than the average. It will be interesting to see if Assad holds on to all of those pitches. For now, RosterResource has Assad marked as the number four starter on a hot Cubs team.

Robert Stephenson – Add% Change (7 Days) – 14.74%

45.2 IP in 2023 have earned Stephenson a 13.01 K/9. Wow! Unfortunately, it pairs with a 3.15 BB/9. But, his ERA 3.35 is higher than his xERA 2.96. Cool! As usual, the Rays seemed to have found a way to get more out of an older reliever and his K% increased from the transfer from the Pirates to the Rays. Take a look at how his pitch mix changed too:

Pirates: 31.2% FB,     62.9% SL,     5.1% SF,      0.8% CB

Rays:     20.5% FB,    8.0% SL,      13.4% SF,      58.1% CT

I imagine the conversation went something like this:

Rays: “Hey, do you think you could turn that curveball that you never use into a cutter?”

Stephenson: “Yea, I think so…”

Rays: “Cool, do you think you could also start throwing that split-finger more often?”

Stephenson: “Yea, sure…”

Stephenson appeared in 18 games with the Pirates and then joined the Rays. It looks like things improved for him right around that time:Stephenson Rolling K% Increase

He now occupies a setup role with Colin Poche behind closer Pete Fairbanks. In leagues that record holds, Stephenson is a great add. In leagues where you simply need strikeouts and are looking to gather wins wherever you can, Stephenson is a good add.

Austin Wells – Add% Change (7 Days) – 11.86%

Since Wells is a top Yankee prospect, many leagues likely already had him rostered. But, if you still have the chance to grab a 24-year-old left-handed hitting catcher, you should probably do it for just those reasons. Wells may not stick right away. He’s already having some trouble with big-league pitching as he’s displayed a 31.3% K%, but in only four games. Unlike some prospects who come into their debut and just mash, Wells hasn’t found his groove yet. Here’s a little snippet from Eric Longenhagen’s early spring write-up that may help predict his short-term roster ability:

Offensively, Wells has great plate discipline and plus pull power, and the short-levered lefty is especially great at turning on pitches that find the inner half of the plate. Conversely, his swing is long to the up-and-away portion of the zone and, akin to J.J. Bleday, he swings underneath tons of fastballs running away from him out there, enough to worry that it will be a problem against major league righties, who tend to ride their fastballs in that area.

Hot Performers

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

Seiya Suzuki (9.4 P/G)

Did anyone drop Suzuki after he hit .177 and stole zero bags in June? If so, you’re likely regretting it as he hit .321 in August with five home runs. Suzuki has not met his preseason projected stolen base marks, all of which were around 10, but his wOBA and SwStr% are both headed in the right direction as the Cubs serge toward a playoff spot:

Seiya Suzuki rolling wOBA

Yoán Moncada (8.6 P/G)

Don’t look now but Moncada is on a seven-game hit streak. In the month of September, he is slashing .421/.476/.737 and has two home runs. He had a down June (.139 AVG) and July (.211 AVG) and fought off injury to bounce back in August (.280 AVG). His wOBA is moving in an upward direction while his K% is moving in a downward direction. He has mostly been batting fifth in a somewhat unproductive White Sox lineup.

Justin Steele (6.8 P/IP)

Steele’s most recent outing brought 12 strikeouts, a career-high. In his last three starts, he has collected two wins, allowed only one home run and two earned runs, and recorded a combined 3.00 ERA. Steele’s season-long ERA is 2.55 (3.39 xERA) and he’s listed by RosterResource as the Cubs’ ace.

Clarke Schmidt (5.7 P/IP)

Schmidt has been a little “all over the place” in 2023 as a starter, but the tweaking of his pitch mix and earning more experience seems to be slowly bringing his ERA down. The problem is that his K% has slowly been going down all year too. Davy Andrews recently wrote about Schmidt’s cutter and how it has changed, or not changed, his identity as a pitcher. I still think there is something more in Schmidt, I’m just not sure what it is. He may be a nice flier keeper for a low, low price.

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8 months ago

“Regret” is probably too strong a word to use regarding Suzuki. It’s often said that if a player hasn’t picked things up by a certain time, it’s time to drop them for someone who is actually producing. Waiting four months to get to a great August is probably much too long to have someone on one’s bench unless it is really deep, so if one dropped him in June then maybe Suzuki’s recent success will get a ‘who knew?’ shrug. Suzuki did this his first year too, leading to a preseason of hype before he just got injured again. Maybe 2024 will be the year…