Your Most (Recently) Added Ottoneu Players

Whit Merrifield, Brandon Nimmo, Zach Davies, Steven Moya… These are 4 baseball players. Three are outfielders. One is a pitcher. All are from the United States (or a US territory in Moya’s case). I’m sure there are other common facts about these players (most of us are pretty similar). However, perhaps the most interesting commonality between these 4 players is that all have seen their Ottoneu ownership increase by 10% over the past week. Let’s look at which of these players I would actually consider owning.

Whit Merrifield
2B/OF 185.90 5.47 0.337 3.83 302.20 0.291

Owned in nearly 50% of Ottoneu leagues, Merrifield has burst on to the scene over the past month, posting 5.47 P/G since early May with 2B and OF eligibility. However, his rest of season numbers look far less optimistic. The depth charts here have him posting 3.83 P/G and a .291 wOBA over the rest of the season. This level of production is very near replacement level at 2B. Considering how shallow MI can be, I can see the case for rostering Merrifield, however I do not see much in his skillset to inspire confidence. He appears to be a product of a .389 babip, which has provided some nice production. However, without good plate discipline or power, his production will likely subpar in FGpts leagues. He’s a replacement level player at present. If you need to fill middle infield games he could be worth a roster spot, but I wouldn’t be bidding more than $1-$3 for him in leagues without SBs. While his FGpt outlook isn’t great, Merrifield has exhibited good speed in the minors (32 SBs in AAA last year) and could provide some solid value in 5×5 leagues where owners are in need of steals.

Steven Moya
OF 107.80 6.74 0.408 4.54 190.70 0.312

With J.D. Martinez on the shelf, Moya (owned in 41% of Ottoneu leagues) should continue to receive playing time in the Detroit OF. He is day -to-day at the moment with a knee injury, but should provide solid production once he returns. Projections have him as a .312 wOBA going forward – the equivalent of a last OF on most Ottoneu teams – however, since he is a lefty with power, he should provide plenty of platoon starts. With the deep rosters Ottoneu allows, he is a perfect bench piece as a last OF who can be started against RHP. While he is similar to Merrifield in that he does not have great plate discipline and his current babip is unsustainable, he does have the standout skill to make himself FGpt relevant… Power (backed up by a 42% hard hit rate over his short career). I would rank him ahead of Merrifield unless I really needed MI games.

Brandon Nimmo
OF 3.20 1.60 0.220 3.38 16.90 0.289

Nimmo, the player picked one pick ahead of Jose Fernandez in the 2011 MLB Draft, has appeared on top prospect lists sporadically since being drafted – performing well in AAA since his promotion to the level in 2015. KATOH sees him as a fourth outfield candidate, and depth charts tell a similar story, projecting him at a .289 wOBA ROS (many rookie outfielders project in this range). While it is certainly possible Nimmo out produces these projections, I am proceeding cautiously. If I was rebuilding, I could see bidding aggressively (cutting him if the performance was mediocre) but I wouldn’t be putting much hope in his production for the rest of the season, unless it was as a bench bat/final OF on your Ottoneu squad. As a rebuilding team, I could see being aggressive and bidding $6 or so, then cutting him if he doesn’t work out. While it is likely that he’s a replacement level bat going forward, being aggressive with bids and cuts can work in your favor (especially if you’re out of the running for 2016).

Zach Davies
SP 322.63 4.32 3.96 4.15 290.20 4.03

Davies, who came to Milwaukee from Baltimore in the Gerardo Parra deal last season, has been outstanding in his last 5 starts – rolling out totals of 69, 35, 48, 33, and 31 points – good for 5.6 points per inning. While this is a small sample, that’s about as good of a 5 start stretch as owners could hope for and gives a glimpse of his upside. Owned in fewer than 40% of Ottoneu leagues, Davies projects to be just under replacement level at 4.14 P/IP over the rest of the season (replacement level is about ~4.25 P/IP). While his home park will do him no favors, I am optimistic that he will beat this projection going forward (scooping him up in all my leagues) due to his ground ball heavy ways, and ability to get strikeouts. Speaking of strikeouts, since his time in Milwaukee, his strikeout rate has increased slightly to the place that I believe he will be passable in that category (think 20% K rate). Davies best pitch is his changeup which is elite by swinging strikes at 23%. He has also added a cutter in 2016, which gets above average whiffs as well. Combine those two pitches with a two-seamer that gets above average ground balls, and you have the making of a pitcher who can succeed in Miller Park and fill out the back end of an Ottoneu rotation nicely.

Of these four players, I would rank them Davies ($4-$6), Moya ($2-4), Nimmo ($2), Merrifield ($1) – with a slight separation from Davies to the rest of the pack. Consider your roster, as there are reasons to re-organize these players or adjust your bids slightly depending on the context of your team. Beyond these 4, other players who I’ve noticed have been added recently across my leagues include Daniel Mengden, Rajai Davis, Reynaldo Lopez, and a host of 2016 draftees.  What about your leagues? Are there any players you’ve consistently seen go up for auction over the past 2 weeks?

Joe works at a consulting firm in Pittsburgh. When he isn't working or studying for actuarial exams, he focuses on baseball. He also writes @thepointofpgh. Follow him on twitter @Ottoneutrades

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Trey Baughn
7 years ago

Mengden has looked pretty good so far. He may end up with more value than anyone on this league. We’ll see how he adjusts as he goes through the league over the next several weeks.