While a lot of our ottoneu arbitration season coverage was focused on the allocation leagues, there are still quite a few leagues that use the original vote off system. With voting complete, we now have a chance to review the results.
As a reminder, in the voting leagues, each owner can vote for one player on each opposing team. The player on each team with the most votes becomes a free agent, but the team who lost the player can get him back for a $5 discount a the pre-season auction. So in most cases you would expect owners to target their votes on the players who are the most under-priced – basically the greatest difference between salary and projected production in 2014.
In general, that is what happened. The average 2014 salary of a voted off player was $11.14 and it is not a stretch to imagine that those players will cost, on average, far more than $20 next year. Of course not all of the players voted off were low-priced stars. In fact, in two leagues, there were players with salaries over $60 voted off. Two more leagues voted off players over $50.
Not surprisingly, three of those four players were Mike Trout (the other was Miguel Cabrera). Those were the only three leagues where Trout got the boot, and his salaries were $51, $63 and $64, giving him an average salary of $59.33 when voted off. This means that those owners believe Trout will go for $64 plus next year…and that may not be crazy.
A total of 293 teams lost players, but only 91 dicfferent players were voted off. The average player voted off at least once was voted off more than three times. As we discussed on Twitter last night, the player voted off most often was none other than Chris Davis. When you consider where we started this piece (voting off players with the largest gap between their 2014 salary and their projected 2014 production), it is certainly no surprise the pre-season after-thought Davis would be atop the leaderboard, voted off in 88% of leagues that had voting. His average salary when voted off was $9.13, which is the 41st highest average salary for a voted off player and I think we can all agree that his projected value will be north of $40 for 2014.
Between Trout and Davis, the owners in vote off leagues seem to have made a pretty clear statement on who they felt were the best player and most valuable fantasy asset this year.
For those curious, the rest of the top ten most voted off: Yasiel Puig and Jose Fernandez tied for second, then Paul Goldschmidt, Matt Carpenter, Josh Donaldson, Max Scherzer, Gerrit Cole, with Wil Myers and Jean Segura tied to round it out. No huge surprises there. I could argue that Cole seems unlikely to have been the best candidate in many cases, due to his limited track record in the bigs and the fact that he is a pitcher, but it is quite possible that he was on some weaker teams that did not have other great candidates. I think Carpenter feels like a reach, but that is mostly because I am not excited about what he brings to the table next year – he clearly far outperformed his value in 2013, and the reality is that in most leagues there will be an owner willing to pay up for that performance. Considering his average salary when voted off was just a hair over $7, that vote likely won’t hurt anyone.
On a league by league basis, there are some staggering differences. One league had an average salary of players voted off of just $6.92 (there was one lower league, at $5.64, but only one owner in that league bothered to vote), while another voted off players with an average salary of $21.50. The former only voted off two players with double-digit salaries ($15 Adam Jones and $11 Anibal Sanchez), while the latter voted off NINE players with double digit salaries, including three players with $30+ salaries ($63 Mike Trout, $37 Andrew McCutchen, and $31 Stephen Strasburg).
That is a clear indication of differing strategies (vote off the best players in the second case, the best values in the first), and there will be real impact in those leagues next year. The league voting off guys who would have cost over $20 already will see greater inflation – more good values will be kept, fewer dollars will be spent (relatively) to get back or buy the stars, and there will be more money to spend on players who are cut. The league cutting the $6 players will have to anticipate much larger increases in salaries for those guys, taking more cash out of the market and keeping salaries a bit lower overall.
So that gives you a sense of what happened in the voting leagues. If you have other questions about the data, leave them in the comments or hit me up on Twitter (@chadyoung) and I will do my best to answer.
Chad Young is a product manager at Amazon by day and a baseball writer (RotoGraphs, Let's Go Tribe), sports fan and digital enthusiast at all times. Follow him on Twitter @chadyoung.