One of the coolest things about ottoneu Fantasy Baseball is that it is a game that runs all year. Plenty of other fantasy baseball league sites will shut down once the MLB regular season is over, but at ottoneu that is where the fun begins.
As soon as the MLB regular season is over and a league winner is crowned, owners have to begin evaluating rosters for next season. The first step is to send players to arbitration, a unique ottoneu experience that helps both long-term competitive balance and represents player interests. Each owner can vote to determine who they believe is the lowest paid, highest production player on each team. These players by definition are being paid too little, and deserve the opportunity to go back to auction to receive a more fair salary.
By putting these players back at auction, teams that were in the lower half of the standings get an opportunity at talent from teams in the upper half of the standings. The original owner of a player sent to arbitration will get a $5 discount towards their salary at the auction, so there is a better than 50-50 opportunity to re-sign the player, but the player will almost certainly be paid a more fair salary.
After arbitration voting is complete, the off-season trade window is wide open. Usually at this point of the year, there are a few teams that went for broke trying to win in the previous season and are now well over the $400 base salary cap. Since there are in-season loans to facilitate trading prospects and lower cost keepers for expensive superstars, some teams can end up adding a lot of non-keepable, very expensive talent for the stretch run.
These loans go away as soon as the season starts, and the reverse process ensues – teams who finished towards the bottom of the league but have more cap space are willing to take back some of the expensive superstars, but the teams with cap space have much more leverage this time around.
The Keeper Deadline
The keeper deadline is next, usually in early March, to allow leagues a full month over the course of spring training to complete their auction drafts for the upcoming season. As the keeper deadline approaches, teams have to declare who they want to keep for the upcoming season and cut loose everyone else. There is no penalty for cutting players here, and generally this leads to a lot of superstars going back to the auction year over year, giving everyone a great opportunity at putting together a winner in any given year.
Between the keeper deadline and the auction draft, there is the option for two more penalty-free cuts, which was originally placed as a safety net against major injury, but has turned into a neat way to extend trade talks right up until the auction draft.
The Auction Draft
At some point in March, the auction draft comes around. Auction drafts have a very basic pro/con list. The positive is that they are a more fair, more fun way of distributing players than a snake draft. The negative is that they can take a long time.
ottoneu Fantasy Baseball has a draft page that some of you have already seen that tries to speed up and simplify the auction draft process, and there is also an option to hold a live auction draft and have a commissioner manually add players to teams. If you use the draft page, the auction start with a given team who can then nominate a player. The player nominated starts with a minimum bid and can be bid on by any other team.
Once a bid is not topped for 15 seconds, that player is added to the team with the highest bid and the next team can nominate. Once all teams have full rosters or the league agrees that they are done putting together their rosters for the upcoming season, the draft ends. The auction draft can be paused and resumed by a league commissioner at any time. Organizing and running an auction draft does require patience and communication between all league members, but it is absolutely the most fun you can have distributing players for a fantasy league.
Only now have we reached the regular season. Everyone has their teams and some owners have cap space. As prospects are signed or emerge, or as that player no one saw coming starts majorly mashing, owners will want to add free agents. The in-season auction for ottoneu Fantasy Baseball is a 2 day blind auction. Once a player is nominated, the league is notified that an auction has started and owners have 48 hours from the when the auction has started to submit a bid. At the end of 48 hours, the team with the highest bid receives the player and has to clear cap space for this player if necessary.
In-season trading in ottoneu Fantasy Baseball is a different beast as well. Since each player has a salary association, trades have another dimension in addition to pure production and positional needs. Keepers and prospects are swapped for expensive superstars as teams either begin the rebuilding process for next season or make the aforementioned push towards victory. It can be a lot of fun if you are one of the teams at the bottom who has a high production, high cost player that two or three competitors want to add, as jockeying for next season is only slightly less important than competing in the current season.
Still Fantasy Baseball
Everything else you have come to expect from fantasy baseball games are also part of ottoneu Fantasy Baseball, from daily lineups to live scoring to trading blocks and a trade wizard. The awesome integration with FanGraphs leaderboards is a great research tool as well, and I just added a dead simple league message board last night that I hope can help league owners communicate throughout the whole year.
If there are tools that might make your life easier as a commissioner or an owner of a team, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on our brand new forum. As requested in an earlier comment thread, here are some screenshots of some of the league tools, taken from the original ottoneu league.