Slow Burn: A Look at My Ottoneu Build

I hesitate to call anything in Ottoneu a rebuild, especially in our Fangraphs Experts League II (linear weights) just because it hasn’t been around long enough for anyone to really “rebuild.” I finished third in the league’s inaugural year (2012), but had slumped to sixth the next season before bottoming out at 10th out of 12 teams a season ago.

I’ve long made youth a big part of how I conduct business — most certainly to a fault — but that really started to pay off in 2015. With a roster that appeared likely to finish in the middle of the pack with strong possibility of finishing strong, I was at least semi-enthused about my chances to make progress this season and perhaps a run in 2016.

I finished fourth, and in doing so basically held that spot pretty much all season. I was comfortably in the second tier in the league, as the graphic below will show (click to embiggen), but there is one thing that’ll work to my advantage.


The three teams that you see above me in the standings are, in order this far above the $400 threshold for next season: $148 (Brad Johnson), $295 (Chad Young) and $93 (Cody Wiewandt). I on the other hand am a cool $2 over, thanks in large part to a painfully conservative draft last year. Still, I think I’ll have room to add a superstar that could push me over the hump. And that might not be such a high hump given the players each team ahead of me will have to pare from their roster.

Let me preface this by saying I’ve certainly made some mistakes. For some reason this spring I traded a $4 Rougned Odor and $2 Tyler Glasnow for a $2 A.J. Cole and $17 Russell Martin. I managed to work that into a positive for the future by flipping Martin for a $9 Devin Mesoraco, but it’s still not a deal I’m exactly proud of. Granted, with the middle infield depth that I’ll share in a bit, it becomes slightly more defensible.

I’ve also made some good or otherwise interesting deals in recent history. I flipped Brad an $8 Hisashi Iwakuma for a same-priced Danny Salazar in May 2014, and stemmed the tide long enough to reap the benefits of late. Also, Brad sent me an $18 David Wright for nothing this June when he was in a bit of a financial bind, and I’ll be interested to see how that works into the future. Beyond acquiring and moving Martin and making the Wright pickup, I was pretty quiet on the trade front this year. Granted, I rejected quite a few (29) trades. Even with 40-man rosters, I’m really picky about the players I roster.

Another strategy I had this year with relievers was that I wasn’t going to be too picky about them. That’ll have to change most definitely, but in a season where I was very unlikely to contend, I wasn’t also going to worry too much about my bullpen. I did pick up guys on fliers over the course of the season, but I wasn’t always concerned about having a full bullpen if I felt I could use a roster spot on a better long-term chip.

Probably the shrewdest in-season pickups I made were picking up $6 Starlin Castro and Brett Lawrie in the last week of the season. With cash to burn and relievers to cut (or in this case, an overpriced Alex Meyer), it made sense for me to gamble on a couple guys that are still relatively young. I think it might pay off with Castro, though with Lawrie I’m less sure. He’s still so unbelievably young. Damn 1990s kids.

Anyway, that’s enough of me waxing poetic. Here’s my current roster. Since we’re in arbitration allocation season, I’m not about to disclose my likely cuts, but I’d love to hear opinions. What would you do? Who would you target or what positions, both in the draft and via trade?

Hitters (by price):

OF Bryce Harper – $45
1B Adrian Gonzalez – $22
3B David Wright – $20
1B/OF Wil Myers – $18
3B/SS Manny Machado – $15
SS Xander Bogaerts – $14
OF Gregory Polanco – $14
C Yasmani Grandal – $12
3B/OF Yasmany Tomas – $12
OF Byron Buxton – $12
C Devin Mesoraco – $11
3B Miguel Sano – $10
OF Billy Hamilton – $9
2B Brian Dozier – $9
2B/SS Starlin Castro – $8
OF A.J. Pollock – $8
2B/3B Brett Lawrie – $8
SS Carlos Correa – $7
2B/OF/SS Brad Miller – $5
OF Raimel Tapia – $5
3B Yunel Escobar – $3
OF Aaron Hicks – $3
1B Joe Mauer – $3


SP Gerrit Cole – $21
SP Danny Salazar – $12
RP Glen Perkins – $11
SP Alex Wood – $11
SP Lucas Giolito – $8
SP Archie Bradley – $8
SP Andrew Heaney – $8
SP Jon Gray – $7
SP Garrett Richards – $7
RP Sean Doolittle – $7
SP Shelby Miller – $6
SP Julio Urias – $4
SP Matt Moore – $4
SP Hunter Harvey – $3
RP Liam Hendriks – $3
SP/RP Trevor May – $3
SP Jose Berrios – $3
RP Keone Kela – $3

So clearly the pitching will need a little help. I think one more top-flight starter and one more solid outfielder could put me in the driver’s seat for next year’s title.

What do you think?

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In addition to Rotographs, Warne writes about the Minnesota Twins for The Athletic and is a sportswriter for Sportradar U.S. in downtown Minneapolis. Follow him on Twitter @Brandon_Warne, or feel free to email him to do podcasts or for any old reason at brandon.r.warne@gmail-dot-com

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How are people able to finish 295 dollars above the cap? That doesn’t sound very cappy.

Also seeing Machado, Correa, Dozier, Pollock at those prices made my eyes go O.O


The other team can “loan” $ for that year to cover the cost. So if my teams sucks and I want rebuild and trade my $17 Russ Martin for your $9 mesoraco, but that would put you over the cap, then I can plan you $8 to cover the cost. Just for that year, though. It doesn’t carry over for the next year.


Figured it was something like that. I wonder how badly CY mortgaged the future with that payroll.

Chad Young

I could probably write about this, but my expected lineup for next year includes martin, rizzo, frazier, chris davis, belt, JDM, granderson, jose abreu, and a rotation of lynn, archer, carrasco, lackey, with a pen of rosenthal, melancon, giles, betances. i’ve also got some prospects in zimmer, mazara and a bunch of decisions to make on guys i like who aren’t stars, per se (michael taylor, colabello, gyorko, etc.) and I expect to be able to hold at least one, probably two of my big stars (miggy, stanton, posey, felix).

So…I gave up a lot but I don’t think the future is that dim.