3 Guys I Won’t Buy in 2012 ottoneu Leagues

Twice in the past few days, Howard Bender (whose name I cannot hear without imagining this) has provided a list of guys he will not draft in 2012.

I wanted to add my own list, but with an ottoneu twist. I’ll just add a note that I am very specifically saying I won’t draft these guys. At the right price, I would have held onto any of them as keepers, and I actually have the first one on one of my rosters because his price is so low. And so, without further ado…

Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, CLE – Owners have been able to keep Cabrera as low as $3 this year, but in auctions, his price has been above $20 and as high as $29. So what do you get for that price? Well, if you get 2011 Asdrubal (25 HR, 17 SB, .792 OPS at SS), you are going to be really happy. 2010 Asdrubal (3 HR, 6 SB, .672 OPS and a bunch of injury time), you’ll be cutting him. There are reasons to be optimistic about the Tribe SS (mostly that he’s still young enough to have a legit break out) but a sudden boost in HR/FB rate, a bunch of “just enough” HR, and a weak offensive track record also loom large. I kept Cabrera in a league where he costs me just $6, but I wouldn’t pay him top-5 SS money, which means I am going to have to live without him in my other leagues. Take a chance on the lower-priced J.J. Hardy or Yunel Escobar. Both come with their own issues, but at a much lower price.

Stephen Strasburg, SP, WAS – Strasburg is a stud. No question about it. The numbers are there, the pedigree is there. I wish I had Strasburg last year for $10 so that I could have kept him at $12 this year. But with a 160 inning cap and significant injury questions, he just isn’t worth the front-line starter money he will cost. Instead of paying $35-$40 for Strasburg and, say $5 for a backup SP, you can get two very solid guys in the Daniel Hudson/Matt Moore/Josh Beckett mold. If I have around $90 to spend on three pitchers, I’d rather spend the big dollars on Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander or Felix Hernandez, who are a bit pricier, but far less risky, and complement them with two solid but not great starters. Any SP will have question marks – I would just never spend $40 on one where the questions are as big as they are on Strasburg.

Joe Mauer, C, MIN – Mauer has been paid nearly $50 at least once in every ottoneu format. $50. Yeah, he is a catcher who recently neared 30 HR and hits for average as well as anyone. But he is also a guy likely to hit closer to 10 than 30 HR, and doesn’t have the offense around him that he did when he provided 90+ R and RBI in 2009. In the meantime, no one has paid more than $42 to Carlos Santana. Even if you can’t (or don’t want to) get Santana, I’d rather have almost any other catcher at his market price than Mauer at more than $40. If healthy, he won’t be worth $40. And there is an awfully good chance he won’t be healthy. If I can get Mauer closer to $20, sure, he might be worth a shot. But that doesn’t appear to be his going rate in ottoneu leagues, so I’ll pass and happily go to battle with someone else donning the tools of ignorance.

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Chad Young is a product manager at Amazon by day and a baseball writer (RotoGraphs, Let's Go Tribe), sports fan and digital enthusiast at all times. Follow him on Twitter @chadyoung.

16 Responses to “3 Guys I Won’t Buy in 2012 ottoneu Leagues”

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  1. Chicago Mark says:

    Ok, I think it’s time someone spoke up for Asdrubal. In 2009 he hit 308 with 50+ XBH and 17 SB at age 23. In 2010 he broke his arm and regressed quite a bit. Wouldn’t anybody anywhere have predicted that some of those near 50 XBH in 2009 would eventually turn into HR’s? And wouldn’t anybody have predicted a repeat in 20 SB’s? Isn’t he still in growth mode? He kept his 13%+ HR/FB throughout 2011. He seemed to try to hit more FB’s as the year went on. So I can easily see him growing into a perennial (spelling?) 280/20/20 guy. I don’t like that he’s now in the middle of the lineup. That probably makes him swing for the fences more and steal less. I got him at $11 last year hoping for 280/10/25. I like what I got a lot and am expecting/hoping for the 280/20/20.
    That is all!!! :)

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  2. Chicago Mark says:

    SHOOT! I got him at $1, THAT’S ONE DOLLAR last year. Not $11. I’m keeping him of course.

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  3. Parker says:

    Our keepers are by round…..and I drafted Strasburg in the 22nd round so I can keep him in the 20th rd this year. Great value……and he’ll be 18th rd the year after too!

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  4. Erik Archer says:

    Fangraphs were the ones to point out that Asdrubal Cabrera’s 42 doubles in 2009 were a good indicator of what kind of hitter he would become, so perhaps Fangraphs could stop contradicting themselves on him.

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    • DKulich44 (@DKulich44) says:

      There are multiple writers here, who are allowed (encouraged, actually) to think for themselves. They all use information to draw conclusions. Pretty sure that makes for a better website, no?

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      • Chicago Mark says:

        It’s a great web site and yes, the writers should think on their own. Everybody is just expecting Asdrubal to regress a lot. I see a young hitter that seems to have tried to some success to change his approach. If he can purposely hit more fly balls he can probably make better contact overall and even hit more line drives. So I see a better hitter overall. And he should get stronger so those “just enough’s” may stay home runs. I don’t know if 280/20/20 is regression or not. And I wouldn’t draft/pay $25 for him because it’s on the wrong end of profit possibility. So I guess I’m agreeing with Chad on that one. Shoot, it looks as if he’s keeping him at $3. So there’s a lot of profit there. But I disagree with everyone expecting a big drop off. We might be looking at Brandon Phillips lite here.
        Good job and good profit Chad.
        That is all……again.

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  5. Eminor3rd says:

    I snatched Mauer for $18 in a new league this year. I think it’s a good gamble given the Twins need to keep him in the lineup at 1B/DH

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  6. Chike says:

    Hey Chad,

    Could you expand upon your analysis of ExF-Strike%? I think there’s some good information there and it’s worth exploring a bit more. Even if it’s only the top 10 from 2011 on each side, I’d be curious to see what your equation says happened last year. Thanks.

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  7. Chad Young says:

    In one of my articles on that, I mentioned Colby Rasmus and Corey Hart as guys to look at. Michael Morse is another I would expect to see fewer first pitch strikes. Elvis Andrus, as well.

    As for guys I expect to see more strikes…Johnny Damon and Vernon Wells were in the article, but I’d add Nelson Cruz to that list.

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  8. hartmtown says:

    I’m in an 8-team AL only league. I’m trying to decide between Cabrera or Avila for my last keeper spot. Any thoughts out there from the Fangraph or Rotograph community? Both positions lack depth, with C perhaps comparatively having even less depth than SS in AL leagues. Both players have a pretty good chance of regressing.

    Anyway, I know this is not really a fantasy advice forum, but I’m just trying to firm things up before our draft next week.

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    • Chad Young says:

      Is there a cost to keeping a player? And if so, what is it for each guy? Looking at the positions in the AL, you have: Santana, Napoli, Mauer, Wieters, Avila, Arencibia, Martin, Perez, and Doumit all in or among the top 250 picks on MockDraftCentral’s ADP. For SS, it’s Andrus, Cabrera, Jeter, Hardy, Aybar, Ramirez, Peralta, Escobar. I don’t think one is a lot deeper than the other. I think it comes down to where your draft will be deepest. If most of those SS are going to be on the board, but not the catchers, drop Cabrera. If the SS are all being kept and all the catchers are fair game, drop Avila. All things being equal, I’d keep Asdrubal, but it’s close.

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      • hartmtown says:

        Thanks, that’s very helpful. Yeah, there’s no cost to either guy — we have to keep 5 guys, but it’s a snake draft after that. I would imagine guys like Santana, Napoli, Mauer, and maybe Wieters will all be kept, while I think Andrus is really the only other SS that might be kept. From what I’ve read, it just seems likely that a lesser SS (e.g. Ramirez, Peralta, or Escobar) should more closely approximate the value of Cabrera than would a lesser catcher to Avila.

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  9. Chad Young says:

    Lot’s of questions about Cabrera. Look, I don’t dislike Cabrera. In fact, I have loved Cabrera since he first came up for the Indians. I have been referring to him as Captain since the 2007 Indians-Yankees ALDS, which started when it became clear that the Indians had a better SS than the Yankees (not better for his career, but certainly better moving forward). But I feel like everyone is expecting this .280/20/20 line, and I think .274/14/12 is more likely. That is a good SS, but it isn’t a 20/20 season. At the end of the day, I hope I am wrong. As a lifelong Indians fan, I am hoping that his breakout last year was more of a “Jose Bautista changing his approach (on a much smaller scale)” thing, and less of a “Brady Anderson anyone can get lucky for a few months” thing. I just think, looking at his track record, that we will see a return to doubles power, rather than the blossoming of a true power-hitting SS.

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    • Chicago Mark says:

      I’ll take the over on each number Chad. I’ll be in Cleveland tomorrow. Going to the R&R HOF and then a hockey game at Gilmour Academy. Have a great day.
      Chicago Mark
      Ps. It’s funny, I think my thoughts on Cabrera are in the minority.

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    • PG says:

      Asdrubal played 2B in 2007. Peralta was SS. I do remember him having some fantastic defensive plays that series against the Yanks though.

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