My first post here at RotoGraphs was an introduction to the Ottoneu Surplus Calculator, a tool I created to help ottoneu owners calculate and visualize the best assets in their leagues. If you want to know more about the background of the tool, or more specifics on how to use it, be sure to read that prior article. Today I wanted to announce the release of the early 2018 version of the calculator, using the just released Steamer 2018 projections.
As always when I talk about the surplus calculator, I have a few disclaimers to get out of my system:
- The calculator is just a framework, and the utility of that framework is independent of the dollar values used. Basically, the calculator itself doesn’t care what dollar values are used, and the point of the calculator is not just to release dollar value calculations
- Despite #1, the calculator is useless without some kind of values loaded, and it wouldn’t be fair of me to expect everyone to create their own from scratch. So I’ve pre-loaded dollar value calculations for all four ottoneu formats using Steamer 2018, because I’m such a nice guy.
- These early projections are rife with difficulties. Free agency has only just begun, a couple of players are conspicuously absent due to zero projected playing time (Mark Reynolds/Seth Smith/etc), and reliever values especially are very fragile based on expected roles (so you’re not allowed to complain about the high $ value for Justin Wilson and others!).
- These dollar values are based on only one projection source, and it’s always been my opinion that multiple projections should be used. ZiPS won’t be released until January/February, so Steamer is what I use for now.
- #3 and #4 could really be summed up as DON’T TREAT THESE DOLLAR VALUES AS GOSPEL. You’re welcome to create your own and load them into the calculator, or even make tweaks player by player if you want. I’m happy to help answer questions about how to do that.
While I haven’t made any significant changes to the calculator yet for 2018, there were some big changes over the past year plus that I will highlight now:
- The specific dollar values for your league format are pulled automatically based on the league number you enter in the calculator
- Added a Free Agents tab so you can see at a glance who the most valuable unowned players are
- Added a Team Roster tab so you can view only the roster of a single team, sorted by position and dollar value
- Added an Arb Targets tab which shows the assets on every team that the dollar values show as having surplus
I have some ideas for new features I plan on adding over the next couple months leading up to the 1/31 ottoneu keeper deadline, but in the meantime if you have any features you’d like to see added I will do my best to incorporate them. You can always find the latest version of the calculator and a changelog on the ottoneu community thread here:
For now, the best way to use the calculator is as a rough guide to the relative strengths of each team’s potential keepers and can be useful in determining which players to keep and which to trade (and which players you might want to target in trades). There is an inflation calculation on the calculator, but please bear in mind that pre-keeper deadline the inflation amount shown represents a sort of worst case scenario, and actual keeper inflation will always be lower than the calculator shows right now since teams will keep players the calculator assumes will be cut. Once the keeper deadline has passed you will know exactly which assets will be available at auction, so you can calculate real inflation and make an auction plan.
If you have any questions about the surplus calculator, feel free to leave a comment!
As a special Thanksgiving week bonus, I wanted to highlight some of the more interesting FGPts $ values on the current version of the surplus calculator:
C Gary Sanchez ($30)- It’s the Yankee backstop that is projected to be the best catcher in ottoneu this upcoming season, and not Buster Posey. Aaron Judge gets all the press, but Sanchez has been incredibly productive to start his career (.384 wOBA over 756 PA).
1B Edwin Encarnacion ($24)- Encarnacion always seems to have a low projection from Steamer, his true market value is likely much closer to $30
2B Willie Calhoun ($14)- Calhoun has the benefit of second base eligibility this season in ottoneu, which is a large driver in that $14 valuation. The other big driver? The projected .344 wOBA. It’s very rare to see a player with this much power (.211 ISO projection) and contact (13.5% K rate projected), even if he is primarily a DH going forward.
SS Trea Turner ($21)- If you’re surprised that Turner isn’t higher, there’s a clear reason why he’s not. For some reason his playing time projection calls for just 3.94 PA/G, a far cry from the 4.56 PA/G he averaged in ’17. Those additional plate appearances per game make a significant difference to a player’s value in ottoneu points formats, so Turner would project as a $30+ SS if we assume he hits at the top of the Nationals lineup.
3B Freddie Freeman ($40)- Freeman isn’t the only former 1B-only to pick up favorable eligibility late last year, as Anthony Rizzo and his newfound 2B skills make him a $50 asset. The bump in value from 1B to 3B isn’t nearly as high as the one from 1B to 2B, so Freeman has to settle for a $40 projection. Steamer is also projecting a lower woBA in ’18 (.380) than Freddie had in both ’17 (.407) and ’16 (.402), so I’d probably take the over.
OF Rhys Hoskins ($30)- Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger were hit hard in ottoneu arbitration, but Hoskins went relative unscathed, despite projecting to be worth just $4 less than Judge and $8 more than Bellinger. The MLB sample isn’t as large for Hoskins, but I’m a believer and he makes a great arbitrage play on the much more hyped young OF duo.
OF Justin Upton ($12)- What is going on with Upton’s Steamer projection? I know some people react to a surprising projection by dismissing it, but I try to overcome any confirmation bias I might have in the face of conflicting evidence. Steamer carries a .336 wOBA projection for Upton, a steep reduction in the .378 wOBA he put up in ’17. Upton was much worse in ’16 (.329) and ’15 (.340), and most of that difference was due to an increased ISO and BABIP in ’17, so Steamer seems to be indicating that those improvements last year were noise.
OF Ronald Acuna ($0)- I’m cheating a bit, as Acuna doesn’t appear on the surplus calculator $ values due to a 1 PA projection. If you look at Steamer 600 instead, which are the Steamer projections for every player with an assumed 600 PA/200 IP/65 IP, you’ll find that Acuna projects to have the 70th best Pts/PA projection for all outfielders. That puts him right around fellow OFs Jesse Winker/Aaron Altherr/Adam Eaton. All told Acuna receives a 100 wRC+ projection from Steamer, which is remarkable given the top Braves prospect won’t turn 20 for another month. Steamer isn’t the only favorable projection:
You’ll have to wait to see it, but now that I’m moving into the official ZiPS season, I can verify that Ronald Acuña’s projection is bananas b-a-n-a-n-a-s.
— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski) November 20, 2017
SP Noah Syndergaard ($50)- Let me be frank, Thor is not a $50 SP right now. This dollar value is based on Noah’s 193 projected IP, which is probably wildly optimistic for a pitcher that threw only 33.1 IP last season. We don’t know what kind of innings limit the Mets may have for Syndergaard this season, and we also don’t know if there might be any lingering effects from his lat injury (or if he’s prone to further breakdowns given his velocity/effort/mechanics and general Mets curse).
SP Blake Snell ($18), SP Luiz Gohara ($18), SP Tyler Glasnow ($10)- These pitchers have really fun Steamer projections, and share a similar type that plays up very well in FanGraphs points. All three are young flamethrowers who struggled a bit last year and are backed by significant prospect pedigrees, and their high strikeout projections are much more important in FG points than their iffy command projections. I’m especially fond of Gohara, who’s been comped as a Brazilian CC Sabathia (the peak version, not the current Yankees iteration).
Justin is a life long Cubs fan who has been playing fantasy baseball for 20+ years, and an ottoneu addict since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @justinvibber.