Ottoneu: These Pitchers Are More Valuable In Points Leagues

Question: What’s the most important thing to remember when drafting in any fantasy baseball league?

Wise-Guy Answer: The type of beer you have on deck.

Wise-Guy’s Friend’s Answer: Making sure you have snacks that don’t grease up your keyboard!

Serious Answer: Your league’s scoring system.

Every time you listen to a podcast, read an article, or see someone’s hot Twitter take, do you know what scoring environment they are assuming? Probably not. You may have heard a lot this offseason about pitcher A and pitcher B, but if Ottoneu points leagues aren’t the context, you should take it with a grain of salt. So, what makes an Ottoneu points pitcher different from a standard 5×5 roto pitcher? The easy answer is home runs. Just take a look at how much of a penalty giving up a home run is for a pitcher:

Ottoneu Points League Scoring – Pitching
FanGraphs Points 7.4 2.0 -2.6 -3.0 -3.0 -12.3 5.0 4.0
SABR Points 5.0 2.0 -3.0 -3.0 -13.0 5.0 4.0

If you’re using the FanGraphs auction calculator, this penalty is baked into the price of pitchers as home runs are projected for pitchers. Right now, Josiah Gray (31), Tyler Anderson (30), and Triston McKenzie (29) are expected to give up the most home runs by a starting pitcher by Steamer. Kyle Freeland is tied with McKenzie for third place with an expected 29. While home runs are not good for a pitcher’s ERA in classic roto leagues, a hit, and a home run affect a pitcher’s WHIP the same, don’t they? So you simply aren’t as affected in standard leagues by drafting pitchers who give up the long ball. But, it’s not all about home runs. Here are some of the main differences between classic roto leagues and Ottoneu points leagues for pitchers:

Standard 5×5 roto leagues:
– Home runs will hurt your WHIP and ERA, but you don’t get an extra penalty for it.
– Those pesky runs hurt your ERA, even if they are unfairly earned.

Ottoneu FanGraph points leagues:
– Home run penalties hurt! A short outing with multiple hits/home runs is painful.
– Pitchers who can limit home runs and go deep into games are so, so valuable.
– A run-scoring triple is the same as a non-run-scoring bloop single.
– Now you get to roster more relievers thanks to the benefit of holds!

Ottoneu SABR points leagues:
– Home runs hurt even worse.
– Pitchers are not penalized for giving up a hit, but they’re also not as well rewarded for longer outings.

Now that we know how pitchers score points, let’s look at the top 20 pitchers whose auction calculator roto value is far different than their Ottoneu points leagues values. I’m only using FanGraphs points as the comparison here, but if there are any SABR points players who would like to see the results of this analysis, let me know in the comments and I’d be happy to write it up:

Largest Price Differences: Ottoneu vs. Standard Roto (Top 20)
Name Dollars_Otto Dollars_Roto Diff
Germán Márquez -$1.18 -$34.93 $33.75
Kyle Freeland -$21.85 -$50.38 $28.53
Sandy Alcantara $41.93 $15.90 $26.03
Logan Webb $25.02 $1.55 $23.47
Merrill Kelly 켈리 $10.83 -$11.98 $22.81
Framber Valdez $36.18 $16.01 $20.17
Nick Pivetta -$3.18 -$23.02 $19.84
Martín Pérez $4.88 -$14.38 $19.26
Alek Manoah $22.86 $4.40 $18.46
Kyle Wright $15.99 -$2.10 $18.10
Brady Singer $18.22 $1.13 $17.08
Dylan Cease $28.72 $12.72 $16.00
Joe Musgrove $26.00 $10.13 $15.87
Shane Bieber $38.93 $23.21 $15.72
Zac Gallen $23.76 $8.48 $15.28
Luis Castillo $36.93 $21.75 $15.18
Jordan Lyles -$19.16 -$34.21 $15.05
Josiah Gray -$10.60 -$24.58 $13.98
Corbin Burnes $51.27 $37.36 $13.91
Mitch Keller -$4.43 -$18.16 $13.73
*Steamer projections

Just like I did with hitters I’ll put these players into “why” buckets that help explain the value discrepancy between scoring formats:

Bucket #1 – They have a lower projected HR/9 (2022 MLB average HR/9=1.16):

Bucket #2 – They go deeper into games (2022 MLB average IP/S=5.2):
Kyle Freeland (Proj IP/GS=5.7)
Merrill Kelly 켈리 (Proj IP/GS=6.2)
Nick Pivetta (Proj IP/GS=5.7)
Jordan Lyles (Proj IP/GS=5.8)
Josiah Gray (Proj IP/GS=5.9)
Germán Márquez (Proj IP/GS=6.0)

Bucket #3 – They have a lower projected WHIP (2022 MLB average WHIP=1.26):

Special Blend #1: A combination of buckets one and two:
Logan Webb (Proj HR/9=0.80, Proj IP/GS=6.0)
Framber Valdez (Proj HR/9=0.63, Proj IP/GS=6.5)
Kyle Wright (Proj HR/9=0.97, Proj IP/GS=5.9)
Brady Singer (Proj HR/9=0.94, Proj IP/GS=5.9)
Martín Pérez (Proj HR/9=1.06, Proj IP/GS=5.9)
Mitch Keller (Proj HR/9=1.04, Proj IP/GS=5.7)

Special Blend #2: A combination of buckets two and three:
Dylan Cease (Proj IP/GS=5.8, WHIP=1.22)
Alek Manoah (Proj IP/GS=6.2, WHIP=1.23)

Special Blend #3: A combination of buckets one, two, and three:
Sandy Alcantra (Proj HR/9=0.91, Proj IP/S=6.6, Proj WHIP=1.20)
Joe Musgrove (Proj HR/9=1.14, Proj IP/GS=5.7, Proj WHIP=1.19)
Shane Bieber (Proj HR/9=1.05, Proj IP/GS=6.3, Proj WHIP=1.16)
Zac Gallen (Proj HR/9=1.03, Proj IP/GS=5.9, Proj WHIP=1.23)
Luis Castillo (Proj HR/9=0.90, Proj IP/GS=6.1, Proj WHIP=1.19)
Corbin Burnes (Proj HR/9=0.95, Proj IP/GS=6.2, Proj WHIP=1.09)

In some cases, scoring system differences give great players an even bigger boost. In this case, that happens with every pitcher in Special Blend #3. On the flip side, I mentioned Kyle Freeland and Josiah Gray in my introduction as pitchers who are expected to give up a lot of home runs. But both of those pitchers are still projected to have negative value because of it. They are just a little bit closer to a $1 pitcher worth rostering due to their likelihood of going deeper into games. Lastly, Bucket #2 is probably the best bucket to shop in as these pitchers are both limiting damage and going deeper than the average starter.

While this analysis may not change your draft targets by huge margins, you likely view Brady Singer in a different light. Hopefully, you see just how much more valuable Sandy Alcantara becomes. Maybe, you’ll better be able to fill out your roster after the draft with a few $1 auctions. Reviewing your scoring format is so very important but drafting the players who fit your scoring system better than others is how you put a strategy into action.

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1 year ago

Now do Ottoneu 4×4, which is of course roto but also explicitly dings HR allowed (and comprises 25% of pitcher value). I’m guessing it’s much closer to Ottoneu Points than it is to 5×5.