As we mentioned on a recent episode of OttoGraphs, May is traditionally the month where contenders and re-builders start buying and selling with gusto in ottoneu. With that in mind, I want to highlight a handful of players I would be looking to acquire as a contender and with a look to the future, specifically in ottoneu points leagues (although most of these players offer value in the rotisserie leagues as well).
Now might be the last time you can buy Gallo, as his groin strain will keep him out three to four weeks and delay his recall to the Rangers. Gallo has been impressive so far this year in AAA with Round Rock, walking 20% of the time, slugging to the tune of a .388 ISO, and most importantly improving his contact with a 24.7% strikeout rate. Assuming Gallo carries even a little of those contact gains forward the rest of the season and in the big leagues, he looks like a future slugger in the mold of Chris Davis.
With the suspension of Dee Gordon, Dietrich finds himself with a regular role with the Marlins. The ROS Depth Chart projections believe he can make the most of it, with a 4.81 Pts/G projection. That would make Dietrich a Top 12 option at second base, which makes him a valuable target for a contender as well.
Benintendi is only in High-A right now, so it might seem like he is too far away to be helpful to a rebuilding team looking at 2017, but he is almost 22 and has been dominating in Salem with a .477 wOBA while only striking out 6.1% of the time. A promotion to AA seems imminent, and as a highly drafted college hitter I expect Benintendi could rise just as quickly as Conforto did, reaching the Red Sox in only his second season of professional ball.
This Cubs prospect has a lot in common with Benintendi, as he was a 1st round pick out of college in 2015 and has hit well in High-A so far this year. The difference is that Happ hasn’t hit quite as well as Benintendi, and his timetable is likely a bit farther out. What makes Happ an appealing target to me is his potential 2B eligibility, as 20 out of his 22 games at Myrtle Beach have come at the keystone.
Jose De Leon
De Leon made his first start of the season this past Tuesday after an ankle injury delayed his AAA debut, and he was spectacular, striking out nine batters in five innings with one walk. De Leon may not have the ceiling or prospect pedigree of his rotation mate Jose Urias, but I suspect he will be the first to get the call to the Dodgers in their rotation this season, and still profiles as a #3 starter (or elite reliever) in a great ballpark.
You’ll probably sense a theme with a couple of my picks in this section, that being hitters with high preseason projections that are off to a slow start. Votto may have just put up the worst single month of his career, but it’s hard to dismiss how good he was in 2015 (.427 wOBA) and how good he’s still projected to be rest of season (.382 wOBA). That ROS projection equates to 6.25 Pts/G, which still makes Votto the 4th best 1B in ottoneu going forward. I might not pay full price to acquire Votto right now, but I would guess his owner may be in a panic over the poor performance and sell at a reasonable discount.
Just like Votto, Upton has really struggled out of the gates. Unlike Votto, Upton changed teams and leagues in the offseason, so his April may just be the first step in adjusting to those changes. At 28 years old, I see little reason to think Upton can’t bounce back to at least his 2015 performance (.340 wOBA), and the Depth Chart projections peg him to hit ROS somewhere between last year and his career average (.355 wOBA) with a .349 projection. That would be a 5.46 Pts/G going forward, enough to be a Top 20 outfielder still.
Reynolds is only owned in just under 60% of ottoneu leagues right now, but I think he should be added by any contending team that can make space for him on their roster. Reynolds currently has 5.47 Pts/G, and while that is inflated by a .457 BABIP, his ROS projection 5.60 Pts/G. That performance is very valuable at 3B or at OF, even if you only platoon him at home and/or against LHP.
Like his Rockies teammate, Raburn is best used in a platoon role at home or against LHP, so his potential upside is limited. Raburn projects to have an identical 5.60 Pts/G though, and while he won’t play as often as Reynolds will (Reynolds has almost twice as many PA), that per game projection is bettered by only 11 other outfielders.
Jose De Leon
I’m cheating here listing De Leon again, but I wanted to point out how favorable his Depth Charts ROS projection is (3.29 ERA/3.31 FIP). That projection calls for 4.68 Pts/IP, which would make De Leon a top 40 starting pitcher once he is called up. There is no way of knowing how soon that might happen, but De Leon to me looks like the rare player that offers excellent long term value and very good short term value.
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.