Valuable Ottoneu Bats Hidden by PH Numbers

The key currency for bats in Ottoneu is points per game (P/G). You have 162 games to fill at each position and you need to maximize the points you get from those 162 games. Total points and points per plate appearance have their value, but at the end of the day, filling 162 games with the highest P/G you can will maximize your team’s score.

But there is a caveat: since most managers bench players on days they don’t start, points per game started (P/GS) is what really matters. When you go to the Ottoneu search and look at free agents or when you consider a trade offer and look at a player page, you see points per game, but that isn’t telling the entire story.

As we get to the stretch run, finding little advantages becomes more and more important and one advantage you can find is identifying players who don’t look as good on paper (P/G) as they are in reality (P/GS).

The logic behind why P/G can hide value is pretty simple. Imagine a player who starts 80% of games and comes in as a PH or a defensive replacement in half of the rest. Imagine that hitter puts up 1.25 P/PA, regardless of how they are used, but they get 4.25 PA when they start (on average) and 1 PA when they come in as a substitute. That hitter will put up 4.86 P/G, but 5.31 P/GS. Finding guys whose performance is hidden can help you target under-rostered players.

Using Baseball Reference’s Stathead, I pulled “as-starter” splits for every hitter with 100+ PA as a starter this year, calculated their P/GS on the season, and compared it to their overall P/G on the season. Rather than just take the difference bewteen P/G and P/GS, I filtered the list based on three criteria:

  1. P/GS is greater than 4.5 – a hitter who is below 4.5 P/GS isn’t all that useful, even when they start. Even if they are putting up just 3.5 P/G, they aren’t undervalued by P/G, they just aren’t that valuable. For example, Dylan Moore is putting up just 2.71 P/G and is more than a point better on a P/GS basis. But his 4.00 P/GS still isn’t helping you win.
  2. P/G is less than 5 – a hitter who is over 5 P/G is probably already well recognized and highly valued. Technically, Matt Carpenter is undervalued if you only look at his 7.18 P/G, since he is putting up 9.35 P/GS. But it doesn’t matter. That 7.18 is good enough to grab your attention already.
  3. The delta between P/GS and P/G is greater than 0.5 – if the gap isn’t large enough, the value isn’t that different. Eugenio Suárez is better as a starter (4.95 P/GS) than he is overall (4.89) but that doesn’t change his value meaningfully.

That left me with 20 bats who meet all three criteria:

P/GS Gainers
Player Team G PA Pts/G as S Pts/G Overall P/G Delta
Jordan Luplow ARI 37 150 4.51 2.85 1.66
Keston Hiura MIL 38 144 5.85 4.68 1.17
Nick Fortes MIA 28 101 4.55 3.49 1.06
Donovan Solano CIN 30 127 5.70 4.66 1.03
Harold Ramírez TBR 59 238 5.33 4.41 0.92
Evan Longoria SFG 40 159 5.26 4.34 0.91
Brendan Donovan STL 67 281 5.25 4.34 0.91
Nolan Gorman STL 51 208 5.13 4.25 0.88
Aledmys Díaz HOU 59 241 4.62 3.76 0.86
Mike Yastrzemski SFG 81 334 4.87 4.02 0.85
Trayce Thompson LAD 29 106 4.64 3.85 0.79
Joc Pederson SFG 72 265 5.07 4.32 0.75
Mark Canha NYM 79 337 4.93 4.23 0.70
Isaac Paredes TBR 55 227 5.03 4.34 0.69
David Peralta TBR 77 318 4.88 4.20 0.68
Chas McCormick HOU 68 268 4.50 3.86 0.64
Seth Brown OAK 83 330 4.97 4.34 0.64
Victor Caratini MIL 46 178 4.56 4.00 0.56
Jonah Heim TEX 74 304 4.98 4.45 0.54
Tyler Naquin NYM 55 215 4.91 4.40 0.50

There are reasons to roster or not roster all of these players – Tyler Naquin and Trayce Thompson are likely in somewhat limited roles; Harold Ramirez and Evan Longoria are injured; etc. – but each of these players deserves a little extra attention when you are consider who to pick up, trade for, cut, or trade away.

I am actively looking to add the following:

  • Seth Brown – He has been on fire lately, with 111.4 points over his last ten games (and 110.4 over his last 8 starts, just so we stay on theme here), and a 149 wRC+ over his last two months.
  • Mike Yastrzemski – Yaz just came out of an awful stretch of about 2.5 weeks in which he lowered his season line from a 115 wRC+ to just 101, but his last couple of games he is 3-8 with a walk, just one K, and a pair of HR. Two games isn’t something to buy on, but he projects to perform more like he did before that brutal slump than his overall line would suggest. And that projection is worth buying if the slump is over.
  • Keston Hiura – It is only three games and seven PA, but since his latest call up from the minors, Hiura is chasing less and making more contact. His latest Triple-A stint (also a very small sample size), he was walking more and striking out less. Has Hiura figured something out? Probably not. Am I likely to end up cutting him again sometime soon? Yes, probably. But it’s worth making a small bet to find out if he is turning a corner. If he has, the profit could be huge.
  • Donovan Solano – He has been starting more often in the last three weeks. His first 68 PA were over 19 games across including four PH appearances. His last 66 PA have been across 17 games, with just one game as a PH. More of those full games means more chance to earn the 5.70 P/GS.
  • Nolan Gorman/Isaac Paredes – These two are both recent prospects, of differing notoriety, whose skillsets I like for very different reasons. They are also players whose P/G isn’t reflective of how productive they have been, due to the ways their teams use them. If you can buy them from a manager who is disappointed by the low-4’s P/G, you should.

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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1 month ago

Combine Tyler Naquin’s strong-side platoon split with his P/GS ranking and you’ve got a great guy to start against RHP.

How the Mets play him, though, is a point of uncertainty.