The ottoneu keeper deadline has come and gone. The last week of January is always a frenzy of last minute trades and keeper decisions. I know I was up until midnight on January 31 negotiating a variety of swaps around the fringes of my rosters.
In recent seasons, I’ve developed a general approach to ottoneu FGpts formats – specifically with regards to offseason trading, the keeper deadline, and the draft. While I remain a huge proponent of zigging while others zag, I’ve also become rather predictable. This concerns me. However, the success rate and rationale behind my approach are air tight.
And so, what follows are three ottoneu rosters. I expect all three to finish somewhere around first place. Let’s use the comments to discuss the how’s and why’s.
FanGraphs Staff Two
Team name: Sixto Nolanado
This is my longest running ottoneu league. Over five seasons, I’ve finished fifth (rebuilding year), first, first, first, and second. I believe myself to have a strong foundation for a successful 2019 campaign. The team that beat me sold all of their valuables to do so then left the league.
I kept 25 players for $371. That leaves me with $29 for 15 players.
One of the reasons I didn’t win the 2018 season was my catcher position. I received only 2.98 pts/g. I finished second by 161.6 points. That means even a meager 3.98 pts/g would have been sufficient to seal a thin 0.4 point victory. Grumble.
(Honestly, there were a lot of ways to milk 162 more points out of my roster. Replacing the nearly 60 innings I used of Yu Darvish and Brandon McCarthy would have also netted the necessary points. We all make mistakes.)
Once again, catcher could be a problem for me. I thought to have an upgrade in place with a $3 Francisco Cervelli. However, I was offered a top prospect and Gregorius at the last minute for Cervelli (and $10 Kevin Gausman). I took the deal.
Gregorius obviously won’t serve as my Opening Day utility man. He’ll be on the 60-day disabled list. I’ll have to cheaply build depth in the draft. If this offense stays healthy – as it mostly has for the last four seasons – it will be monstrous. One of these years, I’m going to lose a full season of multiple key players.
You may wonder about Andrus and Herrera. I think they’ll be about 4.9 pts/g this season. I probably could have cut them, but I didn’t feel a pressing need for more draft cash. I decided to lock in what I perceive to be a high floor of production.
I like this base pitching staff for what I believe to be obvious reasons. Of course, I’ll need to add to it with about five relievers and a couple more starters. Keller and Williams are stealthy solid in FGpts formats because they prevent home runs. I usually don’t keep relievers like Pressly, but I’m hoping he can maintain the elite 10 pts/IP rate he demonstrated after joining the Astros.
I usually eschew prospect depth in ottoneu, instead focusing on spiking a couple especially good ones. I don’t like committing 15 percent of my roster to non-players, but I felt this was the best use of my resources for the moment.
All but Sixto were acquired in offseason cost-cutting trades. With most of them – the ones who stay healthy – I’ll be able to convert them into mid-season reinforcements.
Did you know O’Neill is exactly Pedro Cerrano? Check out his numbers against fastballs and sliders.
Team name: Brad’s Hand
This will mark my third season in the FanGraphs Staff league. As is the case with virtually all inherited ottoneu rosters, the first season required a modest rebuild. I was fortunate to be gifted Acuna and Soto though. I wasn’t left with nothing (as was the case when I joined FG2).
Prior to last season, we switched to the H2H format. I was seemingly the only owner to notice pre-draft that making 14 pitching starts per week was more important than having actually good starting pitchers. I cleaned up with a 20-1 regular season record, although Nick Pollack handed me a defeat in the finals.
I kept 25 players for $307. That means I have $93 to draft 15 guys – an unusually large budget for me. We’ve changed the rules to include a weekly nine pitcher start cap. So it’s time to adjust the approach again!
Willians! I had so much leftover cash that I decided to hold everybody’s favorite god. Unlike other ottoneu formats, in head-to-head you only get one starting catcher. They have an undersized influence on your weekly wins and losses compared to other positions.
A few friends from FG2 are present – Goldy, Trout, and Soto. I’ll need to add an outfielder or middle infielder (Merrifield is OF eligible) to fill in while Winker recovers.
It’s been a while since I’ve kept so many relievers. They each individually seemed like good values though, and I had the cash. I’d usually cut a guy like McHugh, but his potentially flexible role interests me. I’ll need to add about seven starting pitchers – a mix of quality and quantity to fit into our new nine start limit.
My only prospect is $3 Fernando Tatis. This is a more typical deployment of resources for me.
Some of my last minute cuts included $10 Marcus Semien, $11 Alex Reyes, and $23 Adam Eaton. We’ll see if I regret any of those moves. The FG Staff league features almost no offseason trading. In fact, the only swap (I did not participate) was of $6 Greg Bird (later cut) and $3 Joey Wendle for $12 Brian Dozier (also cut). We’re busy doing other things.
Team name: Haliax Chandrian Explosion
This league was formed by Dave Cameron. This is my second season participating. I meant to contend last year, but at one point I had nearly $300 of player contracts on the disabled list. I still finished fifth and had the top performance in the second half.
I added a co-manager – one of my patrons – this offseason. We performed some laser surgery, adding elite talent at multiple positions while trimming nearly all of the fat. That included cutting a very keepable $11 Dellin Betances.
We kept 22 players at a cost of $369, leaving us with just $31 for 18 players.
This looks a little worse than it is as a certain Vladito is missing from the table. We traded expensive Christian Yelich and Corey Seager (later cut) for Guerrero and Altuve then poured the savings into acquisitions of Votto and Scherzer. We’ll need to add a few catchers and some generalized hitting depth. The players we have in place have quite a bit of position flexibility.
While we definitely need relievers, we have enough starting pitchers to hunt for value at our leisure. Stripling will get his share of starts. Williams is the only player to appear on all three of my rosters. I hope he doesn’t develop homeritis.
It’s good to have some prospects. I usually disdain expensive non-MLBers like Vladito, but this feels like a special case.
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