My ottoneu Year’s Resolutions

One of the joys of living on the West coast is that when my articles go up at 8:15 a.m. ET, I often have a few comments in reply before I even wake up. Somehow, I don’t think that will be the case today.

But once you do rise from the late-night-party-induced stupor that infects everyone on January first, you’ll be only weeks from the ottoneu keeper deadline and it will be time to think long and hard about what you did right in 2012, what you did wrong, and what you can do better. Here are my ottoneu Year’s Resolutions (otto-New Year’s Resolutions may be grammatically correct, I am not sure), which will hopefully include a few nuggets of wisdom that you can use, as well.

I will make a (free agent) list and check it twice. Just because it’s January doesn’t mean I can’t continue the Christmas theme for a few days more, right? Last year, I was competitive in every league I played in, except one – the FanGraphs Experts League. In that league, I stuck with youth but thought that I had built a roster that could compete with just one more big time OF bat to keep me strong. So I set my eyes on Carlos Gonzalez and waited for him to be nominated. And waited…and waited…and eventually realized, far too late, that James Quintong had actually kept Cargo. Uh…big problem. How did I screw this up? I have no idea. But this year, I will be taking a new approach to auction targets – I’ll identify them in my spreadsheet and create a separate list of them so that, the day before the auction, I can check the list and make sure that everyone on their is available.

I will target both production and value, not one or the other. In the past, I have viewed my teams as fitting into one of two categories – win now or win later. Win now, I only look for production in the auction (hence spending $181 on Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum, and Prince Fielder in the original ottoneu league auction). Win later, I only look for value. Where I stand now, that is pretty frustrating. In the original league, I am sitting on a $65 Kershaw, a $65 Fielder, a $38 Jason Heyward, a $34 Jay Bruce, and a number of other players who are maybe keepable, but who can’t all be kept. I managed a third place finish despite an injury to my best OF (Jose Bautista, who I traded) and Lincecum’s…whatever that was. But rebuilding for 2013 is looking rough. In the Expert’s League, particularly after the Gonzalez debacle, I just aimed for value, finding guys I thought were underpriced. The result is a roster chock full of keepable players, but devoid of stars. My OF, for example, is as follows:

Player Salary
Hunter Pence $28
Allen Craig $19
Colby Rasmus $16
Nick Markakis $12
Nick Swisher $11
Dexter Fowler $11
Alejandro De Aza $9
Matt Joyce $9
Carlos Gomez $5
Brandon Moss $4
Starling Marte $3
Anthony Gose $3

I count at least 10 keepable players on that list, all solid values – but not a star amongst them. Craig is the closest, but as of right now, he is also my best 1B option (along with Swisher or Moss, I guess). Now, in a league where trading is scarce, I need to scramble to try to move some of these guys or else I may have to cut some just to open up roster spots for the big bat I need.

I will take a calmer approach to trading. As anyone in the original league can tell you, I love to trade. And I push for trades. I send out trade ideas constantly, I push owners for answers, and I am generally aggressive about targeting and getting the players I want (the saga of my quest for Ryan Zimmerman is a story unto itself). This, however, has led to a bit of a reputation and that reputation isn’t always helpful. At least one owner (I’m looking at you, Niv!) has more or less written me off as a trade partner, and that is a problem. So this year, while I will still be trade-happy and will still be aggressive, my goal is to be a) less pushy and b) more transparent about what I want to get done. Another owner in that league knows how to keep me in check and the result has been pleasant, easy-going trade talks that have netted both of us some valuable pieces (including Bruce and Heyward, who helped me finish in the money last year after Bautista went down).

I will not overrate pitching prospects. One or two pitchers can remake a rotation in ottoneu, and so I am always angling for future aces – you don’t have to hit often to hit big on these guys. The problem is, the number of true “hits” is sooooo low. Only a couple owners, at most, can get a Kershaw or a Stephen Strasburg. Many more end up with a bust. This doesn’t mean you should ignore pitching prospects – but don’t project them to their full potential and value that when there is such a high chance they never reach that.

I will Tweet more. This has nothing directly to do with ottoneu, but I do enjoy the baseball twitterverse, and I intend to be more active this year. We’ll see.

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17 Responses to “My ottoneu Year’s Resolutions”

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  1. Jacob Smith says:

    All valuable ideas, solid post.

    Also, editorial note, you used “their” at the end of the “Free Agent List” paragraph.

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  2. Crash Jones says:

    I am starting a league this coming season and I used ottoneu’s rules as a starting point.

    I like the “free agent wish list” as I call it, that you guys came up with as a way to balance the league and create a free agent class each off-season. Although after much discussion and ballyhoo it looks as if our league will be using contracts(actual mlb) in regards to length. We still have our own $ value attached with annual raises. Still working out the wording of rules, hopefully completed today as we start our Auction/Draft Feb 1st.

    I am fairly new to twitter myself and have added a bunch of “baseball people”… what’s your handle? I can always use the advice/info, and if not use it, another opinion on such matters is always welcome.

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  3. Mike Newman says:

    My Ottoneu Year’s Resolutions are to CRUSH the Experts League again. (Evil Laugh)

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  4. Lucky Strikes says:

    Now in our third year of Ottoneu, most of our league would agree it has now become our favorite format in fantasy baseball.
    I think we’ve found that its a bit easier to rebuild in-season than during the off season because the $400 cap becomes much less of an issue. Yes, you’d have to “give up” much earlier (before the trade deadline), but despite their top tier production it’s awfully hard (impossible?) to move a $65 Kershaw or Fielder before the auction. Those types of players will likely always be available in the draft, thus your point about the value (and risk) of finding young, cheap aces is a good one as even finding one can significantly benefit your team for many seasons. We’ve seen a $47 Felix and $37 Cliff Lee (and a $41 Matt Moore!) change hands several times already this off season but no one is trading a $5 Bundy or $3 Z. Wheeler. The payoff is just too high.

    Your first order of the New Year ought to be cutting Pence and Rasmus…

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  5. majnun says:

    Writing people off as trading partners is lame as hell.

    It’s possible that I relate a little too much with regards to trading

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    • Stuck in a slump says:

      It’s not the worst thing in the world to write people off as trade partners. I’ve had to do it in one of my leagues, the guy always sends awful one sided trades, and never rarely listens to what I want in a deal (or what I find to be acceptable).

      His strategy works for him, he’s made some awfully one sided deals that have robbed the teams he’s traded with, but mine has worked well too, because I’ve never been one of them. Sometimes it’s better to write these types off than to put the effort into dealing with them or making a trade because you felt pressured.

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      • Matt M says:

        I’ve had to do it as well. In one league, an owner and I went back and forth lobbing counter proposals that it eventually turned into a personal issue and we started insulting each other. We agreed that we think the other guy is a douche and we don’t communicate anymore.

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  6. Nelson Santovenia says:

    Wow, I guess it’s not just me that overrates our own players. I see 5 keepers at best in that OF, not 10. And if you already have half your budget tied up in 4 players, you probably shouldn’t even keep more than 3 of those OFs

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    • DrBGiantsfan says:

      I was thinking exactly the same thing. I would keep Pence(barely), Craig, Swisher, Fowler and Marte. That’s it!

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    • Chad Young says:

      I see Craig, Markakis, Swisher, Fowler, De Aza, Joyce, Gomez, Moss, and Marte as definitely keepable. Gose is borderline – I need speed badly but seems he won’t be playing.

      According to the valuations from the Bill James projections (keep an eye out for my FG+ piece!), the keepable OF are Craig, Marte, De Aza, Gose, Markakis, Moss. Personally, I don’t love these projections and I am curious to see where these guys rate out in ZiPS as those roll out.

      Interesting that at least one other person saw Pence as keepable when I was figuring he is getting cut. Goes back to my comment about aiming so much for value that I ended up with a bunch of guys I could keep…but don’t HAVE to keep.

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      • Jabronies says:

        Id be pretty surprised if Gose went for more than 3$ in any auction this year. Joyce, Markakis and Fowler to me seem roughly properly valued or slightly over valued at your prices, theyd probably go for about these prices in the auction, IMO. Excited to see your FG+ piece

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      • bjs2025 says:

        I totally agree on De Aza and Joyce. Platoon splits are very valuable there. I tried to acquire De Aza this offseason for $3 and somehow failed to do so.

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  7. LuckyStrikes says:

    I’ve been thinking about buying FG+ specifically for the Ottoneu content. Chad, can you elaborate on what might be available with regards to Ottoneu?

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  8. TheOneWhoKnocks says:

    The only Ottoneu leagues I play are all Ottoneu Points scoring.
    For me I’d break them into 3 groups

    I’d definitely keep(and in this order)

    I’d look to trade, and hold onto even if I didn’t find a trade partner:
    Fowler, De Aza, Marte

    I’d look to trade, and cut if I couldn’t find a trade partner:
    Pence, Rasmus, Joyce, Gomez, Moss, Gose

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  9. rotowizard says:

    Any chance on an Ottoneu mobile App in time for the season? Even something basic? If not, need someone to cook one up for ya?

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  10. A mobile app would be amazing! I travel a lot so always working on a mobile device. We are introducing a new fantasy sports game called The ProSports Exchange and will be launching for MLB. Fantasy Baseball Game

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