Second Thoughts on Ottoneu Positional Rankings

Since I began Ottoneu positional rankings in February, Spring Training started and we have learned a lot more. Well, a little more. But between new data and feedback from others, my thinking has changed on certain players and I wanted to bring up a few names where my rankings need to change.

I’ll look at a couple of players from each position and three SP, focusing on players where my ranking changed due to performance or feedback from others, not injury. Yes, I would be lower on Carlos Carrasco today than I was on March 2, but you already know that and repeating injury information here won’t be super informative or useful. Some of these guys have had great (or awful) Spring Trainings, some had defenders (or detractors) hit me up in the comments, on Twitter or elsewhere.

You can check out the original rankings here:

C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF| SP

Catcher
Alejandro Kirk

Alejandro Kirk Updated Ranking
Original Ranking Original Tier New Ranking New Tier
15 $5 10 $5

Spring Training competition varies, but Kirk has picked up where he left off in 2020, posting a .995 OPS (he was at .983 in his brief 2020 stint in MLB). It’s only 22 PA, but he’s going to force the Blue Jays hand sooner rather than later. As a result, I am more confident in his bat and more confident in his ability to earn playing time than I was a few weeks back. Add in the future value and Kirk needs to move up.

Will Smith

Will Smith Updated Ranking
Original Ranking Original Tier New Ranking New Tier
2 $15 5 $10

Smith is an excellent hitter. You could make the case that he is the best hitter at the position. But it has become clear that the Dodgers intend to bury him on the bench half the time. Maybe they stick to that, maybe not. But 90 games of Smith at 4.99 P/G (per the Depth Charts projection in my rankings piece) plus 70 games of a 4.4 P/G backup comes out to 757.1, while Yasmani Grandal, Willson Contreras, and Salvador Perez project to a similar P/G and will all give you more games played, limiting the time used up by your weaker backup.

First Base
C.J. Cron

C.J. Cron Updated Ranking
Original Ranking Original Tier New Ranking New Tier
43 $1 17 $10

I felt like I was kind of high on Cron throughout the off-season. No job, no rumors, and I still had him as my 22nd highest ranked 1B among guys without more valuable eligibility elsewhere. Then, just as I posted, he signed with Colorado. Now he has put up an excellent Spring and will get to crush balls in Coors? Yes, please.

Nate Lowe

Nate Lowe Updated Ranking
Original Ranking Original Tier New Ranking New Tier
24 $5 38 $1

This is part performance and part the impact of that performance on his role. I said in my comment on him in the original article, “If he strikes out like he did in the minors, he’ll shoot up this list; if he strikes out like he has in the majors…” Well, at least in Spring Training, he has a 32.4% K rate. His MLB career rate is 31.8%. It’s only Spring Training but he has also been facing less than Triple-A quality competition and he may have played himself out of a job (at least out of a starting job). He’s still a guy to watch, but he is further away from producing value than I thought.

Second Base
Ketel Marte

Ketel Marte Updated Ranking
Original Ranking Original Tier New Ranking New Tier
13 $10 6 $15

I am probably still lower on him than a lot of others. And he is still a little too hyped in Ottoneu because traditional 5×5 players see double-digit steals as part of the package. But he is just crushing the ball right now, with five balls hit over 110 mph exit velocity, and seven more over 95 mph, out of a total of 17 batted balls tracked by Statcast. Time for me to get on board.

Cavan Biggio

Cavan Biggio Updated Ranking
Original Ranking Original Tier New Ranking New Tier
11 $10 15 $5

I love the on-base skills and the versatility and I was leaning in on that, plus development and future value, boosting his ranking well above what the projections suggest. As I look closer at the projections, I find them harder to argue with. Yes, I think he will get on base more than Depth Charts does, but another 10ish times on-base, without more power to go with it, still doesn’t boost him as high as I had him.

Shortstop
Adalberto Mondesi

Adalberto Mondesi Updated Ranking
Original Ranking Original Tier New Ranking New Tier
58 $0 38 $1

In this format, where SB simply don’t carry much value, I am still pretty low on Mondesi. But it’s worth revisiting what he did down the stretch last year (202 wRC+ over his last 93 PA) and remembering that, at 25, the book is not yet written on him. While there was a lot of BABIP built into that 202 wRC+, he also put up a 94.1 avg EV and a 49.2% hard-hit rate. I suspect that will be an outlier month for him, but if she shows he can repeat that kind of contact (or really anything remotely close to it), he’ll jump in value. I think it is well worth a dollar or two in Ottoneu leagues to find out.

Chris Taylor

Chris Taylor Updated Ranking
Original Ranking Original Tier New Ranking New Tier
25 $5 32 $1

It’s less the seven spots and more the tier that matters here. I think the Dodgers are going to really commit to giving Lux a shot and if that happens, I am not sure where Taylor fits in, exactly. Roster Resource has him in a platoon with Lux, which might be true, but that puts him on the short-side of the platoon and competing with a number of other solid bench bats for the scraps left by the Dodgers lineup.

Third Base
Hunter Dozier

Hunter Dozier Updated Ranking
Original Ranking Original Tier New Ranking New Tier
27 $1 21 $5

I was a big fan of Hunter Dozier during his 2019 breakout and I hedged a bit here after a rough 2020. Projections aren’t great and I was feeling cautious. Now, with a great Spring behind him, I am more inclined to buy into a rebound.

Renato Núñez

Renato Nunez Updated Ranking
Original Ranking Original Tier New Ranking New Tier
40 $1 50 $0

This has more to do with Isaac Paredes than with Nunez. The Tigers have been openly excited about Paredes and if when he starts getting regular time, it will be Nunez who loses out. He was useful as a reliable reserve bat, but now he might not be that.

Outfield
Clint Frazier

Clint Frazier Updated Ranking
Original Ranking Original Tier New Ranking New Tier
59 $5 41 $10

The Yankees have finally seemingly committed to giving Frazier a full-time job, and a second-look at his 2020 gives me a lot more confidence than I had when I ranked him originally. I’ll regret not targeting him in more leagues.

J.D. Martinez

J.D. Martinez Updated Ranking
Original Ranking Original Tier New Ranking New Tier
12 $25 22 $15

I hate to overreact to spring numbers, but his are really bad and his strikeout rate is way up. Coming out of a year in which it was fair to wonder if he was just done, I am starting to get legitimately nervous about him. Given his age, even if I am wrong and he has a strong 2021, he’s on borrowed time (unless he’s on the Nelson Cruz path, I guess). For $20+, I would rather bet on someone else who has more future value.

Starting Pitcher
Mike Minor

Mike Minor Updated Ranking
Original Ranking Original Tier New Ranking New Tier
136 $1 75 $1

His velocity is up and he is one of the few guys who – if healthy – might throw a pretty full-season’s worth of innings. He’s still not a guy I am going $5 or more on, but I am looking at him in a lot of places.

Yusei Kikuchi

Yusei Kikuchi Updated Ranking
Original Ranking Original Tier New Ranking New Tier
75 $1 52 $5

I really wanted to push Kikuchi into my $10 tier, but I think $9-$10 is about my cap and so the cusp of the $5 and $10 tiers seems about right. I loved Kikuchi last year and was buying in all off-season, but was holding off on treating him like a top 50-60 guy until he showed the velocity gains had stuck. So far, they have, and he is pushing way up. I wonder if this is still too low?

Zach Plesac

Zach Plesac Updated Ranking
Original Ranking Original Tier New Ranking New Tier
31 $15 44 $10

Cleveland’s pitching staff hasn’t looked great this Spring in general, but Plesac is the one I was pushing hardest after a breakout 2020 campaign. And this isn’t really about his Spring. This is purely a “pump the breaks” adjustment as a $10-$14 price on Plesac is still pretty high for a guy whose reputation is built primarily on 55.1 innings. The track record in the minors is solid, but my earlier ranking feels like it was jumping the gun.





A long-time fantasy baseball veteran and one of the creators of ottoneu, Chad Young's writes for RotoGraphs and PitcherList, and can be heard on the ottobot podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @chadyoung.

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davecarlton412
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davecarlton412

Chad– a big thank you for doing these and esp for this second thoughts post. So often rankings can seem very ironclad esp preseason when there aren’t games that count. Good to see how things can move around.

And yes, I think you’re still too low on Kikuchi.