- FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball - http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy -

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.