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First Time Ottoneu Owner – Draft Strategy and Rationale

On Tuesday night, we completed a second FanGraphs staff league Ottoneu draft, and after eight long hours — spread over two nights — I had my very first squad. I thought it might be fitting to have my first ever Ottoneu draft coincide with my first post at RotoGraphs, so feel free to skewer my decision-making but please keep in mind I was a first-timer.

With every auction draft I’ve ever been in — nearly all of them for fantasy football — I’ve been notoriously conservative. Most of the time, I just nominate players to get other owners to spend their budgets foolishly/lavishly, while I wait to pounce on bargains and only strike on players I truly covet.

Additionally, I make sure I have a nice, layered/tiered list of players that I covet, so that when the Jason Heyward‘s of the world go a little higher than I’d prefer to pay, I have backup plans in place. So have a look:

Lowdown: $400 budget/$399 spent (One waiver claim in on Matt Capps presently at $1)

C: Joe Mauer $20/Jesus Montero $17

Pros– I could very well have two mashing catchers here, and if durability issues plague Mauer, Montero should be good enough offensively to stem the tide.
Cons– Montero is still just in his first full season, and if he has any growing pains and Mauer has any pains himself, I could have a black hole in my catching ranks. (Grade: B)

1B: Joey Votto $49/Carlos Pena $5
3B: Chase Headley $5/Lonnie Chisenhall $4/Pedro Alvarez $1/Chone Figgins $1

Pros– Didn’t really overpay on any third basemen, and I love Pena at $5 back in Tampa.
Cons– I’m really wishing I hadn’t spent that much on Votto, but I think it’s not an egregious overbid. As for the third basemen, I didn’t want to go big on any of the studs, so I’m just hoping something sticks here. If Headley gets dealt, I could see a ton of benefit there by virtue of his home/road splits. (Grade B+)

2B: Jose Altuve $4/Gordon Beckham $3/Alexi Casilla $1
SS: Jose Reyes $44/J.J. Hardy $16

Pros– I think Hardy at $16 is about right, as long as he stays healthy. I didn’t get any great players at the keystone, but they are all pretty much entrenched with their clubs and should get plenty of opportunities. I still believe in Beckham.
Cons– I certainly overpaid for Reyes, but to be fair, he and Votto were my only real ‘indulgences’ and I think I was pretty even-keeled on just about everyone else. I have no idea if Altuve can hit in the bigs yet, but he’ll get the chance. Same goes for each of my other second-sackers. (Grade: C+)

OF: Jay Bruce $26/Josh Willingham $9/Jason Kubel $8/Lorenzo Cain $3/Ben Revere $3

Pros– Bruce could very well be a star going forward, and Willingham and Kubel might have 30-home run power in their new digs. Cain has full rein in centerfield in KC, and I leveraged these guys with a couple top-tier prospects in Cespedes and Harper.
Cons– Only Bruce really stands out, and the rest are more of a gamble. Certainly gambles I’m OK with, but others I’ve asked haven’t been as keen. (Grade: C)

SP: Jon Lester $28/Anibal Sanchez $14/Neftali Feliz $12/Scott Baker $10/Bud Norris $10/Jon Niese $9/Shaun Marcum $8/Homer Bailey $8/Johan Santana $6/A.J. Burnett $5/Drew Pomeranz $4

Pros– Really like this group. It may be relatively short on star-power, but I like the strikeout potential and felt like I did well to buy-low on a few solid arms.
Cons– I probably spent too much on Santana, Burnett, and Pomeranz. (Grade: B+)

MR: Rafael Soriano $5/Glen Perkins $3/Joel Zumaya $1

Pros– Soriano and Perkins could both grab save opps if their closer needs a night off/gets injured. Zumaya is high risk and high reward, as everyone is aware of.
Cons– Soriano was pretty bad last year, and Zumaya didn’t pitch at all. (Grade: I)

CL: Craig Kimbrel $12/Joakim Soria $6/Huston Street $4

Pros– Great group of strikeout pitchers; especially love Street’s skill-set in San Diego, where he should flourish. Three closers in a league of 12 teams means I’ve rostered more than average, which I usually shoot for (more so in saves leagues, obviously).
Cons– Maybe a little high for Kimbrel, but overall love this group. (Grade: A)

Prospects: Bryce Harper $18/Yoenis Cespedes $8/Miguel Sano $5/Wilin Rosario $5/Joe Benson $1

Pros– All are elite talents in their own way, and all but Sano could see MLB time this year.
Cons– Overspent for all but Benson, but badly wanted to inject some youth into my club for the future without adding too many MLB non-factors. (Grade: C-)

Overall Grade: C+