Ottoneu: Points Leagues Pitchers Besting Their Roto Selves

A funny thing happens when I check in on my teams each night. Sometimes, I’ll have a pitcher rostered in both my 5×5 roto-league and my Ottoneu points league. In one format a pitcher will bomb and in another, the same pitcher will put up a good score. This happens because the scoring formats are different. In Ottoneu FanGraphs points leagues, pitchers earn points like so:

IP: 7.4, K: 2.0, H: -2.6, BB: -3.0, HBP: -3.0, HR: -12.3, SV: 5.0 HLD: 4.0

Notice that there is no penalty for earned runs. Typically a pitcher who gives up a walk and a few hits that eventually come around to score will fare better in a points format because the runs did not score on home runs. As long as the pitcher hangs around for a decent number of innings, he’ll do ok. Por ejemplo, in Gavin Stone’s last outing he finished with the following:

6.0 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR

That led to 18.3 points in Ottoneu (FG points) and in roto, well, it wasn’t terrible for your ratios but it didn’t help. He did not get the win either, so you likely saw that line and felt disappointed. This article will not detail the inner workings of the FanGraphs points system. Read this Justin Merry article if you’re looking for that. Instead, I will query, merge, and subset some data tables to identify the pitchers who have been better to roster in Ottoneu FanGraphs points leagues than in your standard roto formats. This is helpful because, oftentimes, Ottoneu players forget there is a difference and leave pitchers hanging around ready to be claimed.

To get a list of starting pitchers who are more valuable in Ottoneu FanGraph points leagues than in standard roto formats, I output the auction calculator (default settings for both formats) using 2024 year-to-date stats, merged the two files, and subset it to pitchers whose value is higher in Ottonue. I added another qualifier to ensure I only had pitchers whose auction calculator output had a positive value. Since the auction calculator is notoriously fickle at generating a true dollar value for Ottoneu, I calculated points per inning pitched (P/IP) for each pitcher in my dataset. Then, I subset again to pitchers who have posted 4.5 P/IP or higher. Lastly, to make this exercise worthwhile I subset one final time on players with an Ottonue Roster% under 90. Here is some pseudo code that explains all the jargon I just wrote more simply:

(OttoAuctionCalcValue>RotoAuctionCalcValue) & (OttoAuctionCalcValue > $0)  &  (Roster%<90)  &  (P/IP>=4.5)

Now, on to the good stuff. A table!

Starting Pitchers Who Are Better in Ottoneu
Name IP GS RotoValue OttoValue Roster% P/IP
Patrick Sandoval 51.0 10 -$25.64 $8.72 60.3% 4.8
Nick Martinez 38.1 4 -$14.11 $16.15 26.2% 5.2
Jake Irvin 50.2 9 -$7.07 $10.34 19.9% 5.0
Hayden Wesneski 29.1 3 $6.31 $9.85 31.2% 6.1
Trevor Williams 46.0 9 $11.88 $14.26 15.0% 5.7
*FanGraphs Points Leagues

Again, try not to focus on the RotoValue vs. OttoValue numbers. They’re mostly there as a detection method. Trevor Williams, for example, is not a $12 pitcher. He currently has an average salary of $1.82. But, so far this season, Trevor Williams has given up one home run, and his walks per nine innings (BB/9) sit below the league average for starters at 2.74. He’s been valuable in both formats but in Ottoneu he’s been awarded for limiting hits and walks. He’s averaged roughly 5 IPs per start, which could indicate that he’s been walking a tightrope looking down into the below-replacement level pit.

This is a good time to point out that HR/9 can be volatile, especially this early in the season. If I’m isolating data to players who other fantasy managers have turned their noses up at, then they should be added to your roster with some scrutiny, at the least. The man who knows too much about pitching, Nick Pollack, has placed Trevor Williams as the very last pitcher in his “Honorable Mentions” section of his Top 100 with the tag, “#NeverTrevor”, pointing out that his pitching arsenal doesn’t jive with his results so far. Let’s take a brief intermission to look at the Stuff+ data on each of these pitchers:

2024 Stuff+ Through 5/23/24
Name IP Stf+ FA Stf+ SI Stf+ FC Stf+ SL Stf+ CU Stf+ CH Stuff+ Loc+ Pitch+
Nick Martinez 43 92.9 92.8 97.8 107.1 109.3 119.3 102.5 109.6 108.8
Jake Irvin 57 86.1 102.3 76.1 118.6 97.6 97.7 105.1 101.9
Hayden Wesneski 29.1 39.2 92.0 84.1 123.1 75.2 84.3 102.3 99.5
Patrick Sandoval 51 56.0 61.3 154.0 95.2 95.5 98.0 98.2 99.1
Trevor Williams 46 62.7 91.9 101.7 110.5 71.6 82.1 102.9 93.4

Nick Martinez was mashed by the Padres last night (5/22) giving up eight hits, five earned runs and one home run good for 2.43 points on the night. It was a stinker in both formats. I admittedly dropped Martinez in a FanGraphs points league because of the uncertainty in his role. Still, like Williams, Martinez is another pitcher who displayed value in Ottonue by seldom walking batters (1.26 BB/9) and giving up very few home runs (0.63 HR/9). He also has great stuff, but the data is not split between starter and reliever, and 17.1 IP as a reliever (25.2 as SP) has likely given him the boost. Last night’s outing against the Padres has brought his P/IP mark down to 4.6, very close to replacement level.

Jake Irvin anyone? Jake Irvin? Take one look at his Ottoneu game logs and you’ll be wondering why he’s still available in your league. Again, he finds himself on this list because of his low walk rate (1.42 BB/9) and home run rate (0.95 HR/9). Irvin has a good curveball by Stuff+ and he throws it often (30.5%) enough to support a low home run rate. The other pitch that keeps the ball in the yard is his sinker (17.7%). Lastly, he’s averaged over five innings per start. Who cares if he gets the win or not? That doesn’t matter in this format.

Is Hayden Wesneski a starter or a reliever? “Dis, we do not know”. But, yet again, we find another pitcher who has limited walks (1.84 BB/9) and home runs (0.00 HR/9) and has done so with good location. Yet, such poor grades on his fastball should set off alarms. When he is behind in the count he can get into trouble and without a good fastball to bring him back, his P/IP could take a dive.

Last on the list is Patrick Sandoval who has the greatest difference between his roto value and his Ottoneu FanGraphs points league value. He has generated his Ottoneu value a little differently than the others on this list as his BB/9 of 3.53 is much higher than the league average. His ability to keep the ball in the yard (0.53 HR/9) has brought his P/IP mark above replacement level. Sandoval is probably the pitcher in this group who makes you bite your nails the most with his 1.47 WHIP (league average 1.25), but he benefits from a high K/9 of 9.35 which balances out his points totals per game to a respectable level.

Did I crack the code? Did I finally find something that will make me good at this game? Is this it?! Is this the big one!? Add all these pitchers now!?! Um…no. It can be hard to find any players available in Ottoneu and if you have to do it while wading through the murky waters of volatile HR/9 marks in the colder months of the season, well then you’re probably not in first place. A good place to start might be to add one of these pitchers for nothing more than $1, start them in favorable matchups, and monitor. You may find yourself wincing at every flyball and missed call by the umpire, but you may also find a way to squeak out a few more points utilizing undervalued pitchers.

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21 days ago

Ottoneu Points are so tough. I do everything I can to avoid HRs allowed. Try to roster high GB% SPs and avoid the homer prone parks (NYY, Cin, Col, Cle?) and target the roomier parks (SFG, SD, Oak, Mia)

21 days ago
Reply to  bsgoldberg

And Auto Sit vs Atl, LAD, Hou, NYY