ottoneu Arb: All Questions Answered

There’s a new and improved arbitration process in ottoneu this year. The deadline for your submissions is coming up. So if you want to think out loud about the decisions on your table, we’ll try to help. We’ll give ottoneu questions the priority, but if you’ve got a auction/keeper question in general, heave ho! You never know how many people are still out of power — thoughts to our brothers and sisters on the Eastern Seabord as they dig out from under the storm.




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Graphs: Baseball, Roto, Beer, brats (OK, no graphs for that...yet), repeat. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris.


42 Responses to “ottoneu Arb: All Questions Answered”

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  1. Matt Hunter says:

    This is more open-ended, but is it generally better to vote for cheap top prospects (Profar for $3) or more-expensive, but still relatively cheap, stars (David Wright for $25)?

    (Also, as a side note, if you’re looking to join an Ottoneu league, send me an email at hunterm726@gmail.com. I’ve got a lot of spots that I’m trying to fill.)

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      I’d think I’d vote twice in situations like that. Once a prospect that hasn’t played gets voted up over $10, I think it’s more likely that his owner won’t keep him and your arb dollar is wasted. In the staff league, Profar is up to $16, so I just used my dollar elsewhere.

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      • Matt Hunter says:

        Thanks Eno. What if it’s the old arbitration and you only get one vote?

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      • Eno Sarris says:

        hmm. vote wright off the top-four team, Profar off any other team maybe?

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      • Chad Young says:

        I’d think about how much you would pay for those guys the next year – Wright probably goes for $40ish at auction, maybe $45, if I had to guess. Profar goes for no more than $15, mayyybe $20. Which means that Profar has $12-$17 of surplus value, while Wright has $15-$20. It’s close, but I would vote Wright.

        Of course if your league values prospects more heavily (doubtful if Profar went for $1 last year), or established guys less heavily, those surplus values could change.

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      • Tak says:

        What if the goal was to get the owner to release that player? The $5 hometown discount is gone (right?), so there should be an equal playing field to bidding on that player.

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      • Chad Young says:

        if you are using the old system (voting) the coupon still exists. If you are using the new system (allocation) then it is gone. If your goal is to get a player dropped, you probably have to hope all the other owners have the same goal. I am watching the allocations in my league and if, for example, Wright got up to $45, I would take any money I had put towards him away. I have no intention of letting the dollars I assign get dropped.

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  2. El Diablo says:

    Posey has been increased to $30. Should I add to that or spend on and $18 Harper?

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  3. Brian says:

    What do you guys think of this strategy…I have not been allocating dollars to players who have overperformed at all actually (Adam Jones, Andrew McCutchen, etc…) but instead looking at what my offseason needs will be. I have been bumping up outfielders that are already overpaid that had average seasons in an attempt to get the owners to release them for the auction draft. Guys like Nick Swisher, Dexter Fowler and Brandon Belt. These 3 players were already overpaid in my league and I bid them higher in hopes they’ll be thrown back and I’ll get them at a discount. Thoughts on this strategy?

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      I used a less extreme version of this, bumping up some borderline players that I thought I might want. It’s not bad. But if they were already going to be booted, you probably wasted your money. Belt was $12 I think in the linear weights ottoneu FanGraphs Staff One, and though I hope he gets flushed out, I put a dollar on the $10 Moustakas on that same team I think.

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    • Chad Young says:

      Just keep in mind, that whatever they are being paid right now, you have to be willing to pay more than that, anyway. So if Belt is $12 and you want to get him free, you have to be willing to pay him at least $13 or $14, which means you have to assume the other owner would pay him about the same, which means that you either allocate $3 to the guy or you have to hope a few others are thinking the same thing. And if others are thinking the same thing, you probably have to pay him more like $15 or $16, since there will be other bidders.

      I think the “I am going to make this owner drop this player” is a weak strategy – a) you may be, as Eno said, wasting dollars on a guy who was already getting dropped, b) if the player was not getting dropped, the $1-$3 you alone put on the guy likely doesn’t make a difference in that decision and, c) if multiple people put money on the guy and he gets dropped, that means the bidding on him will go up more than you probably expect.

      Basically, you can only get him at a “discount” if no other owner thinks he is worth where he is now, and your strategy implies that the current owner DOES think he is worth that. I’d focus on making sure underpaid players are paid the fair amount.

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  4. Eminor3rd says:

    Do you keep Bautista at $50 if the rest of your OF is Cespedes, Willingham, De Aza, Aoki and maybe Span?

    Also, bonus question: do you like Span at $4?

    Thanks!

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    • Chad Young says:

      Depends who the most expensive guys in your league are. If no one is going over $50-$55, I might drop him and try to re-sign him for less. Wrist injuries can be scary for hitters. If he puts up another season like he did the last three (or 2.5 or whatever), he’ll be worth it, but if his power is sapped for a while, that could be rough.

      Span…he put up a surprisingly high P/G in linear weights last year (over 4.9), considering he has practically no power and provides little value with 17 steals and 6 CS. But that 4.9 makes him a roughly average player on a weak offensive team – a totally viable 5th OF on a contending team. The thing is, you should be able to get a viable 5th OF for less than $4. I’d cut him loose.

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  5. El Diablo says:

    Edwin Encarnacion – $5 up to $14. How much do you think is reasonable given the out of nowhere season he had? Obviously a repeat or anything close is great value at $14 but I don’t want to waste dollars bidding up a guy who might regress substantially

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      He hasn’t totally come out of nowhere, considering his 21 homers in 96 games in 2010 and 26 in 146 games in 2008. Even with regression, I think he can manage about 30 homers and a .270+ BA. That’s worth upwards of $30 bucks these days in the ottoneu universe, I’d say without running the numbers.

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  6. Jabronies says:

    How much inflation will there be in a leagues 1st offseason for players dropped and reauctioned? For example, I dont really love the idea keeping Chris Davis at 7$, but Im worried if thrown back, he might go for 13$ if there arent many HRs available in the auction. How do you estimate (or calculate) that in advance?

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    • Chad Young says:

      This varies heavily by league, and tends to impact the top players more than the rest. In the leagues I have been in, $45-$50 seemed to be close to the cap for position players in year one, with a pitcher cap perhaps even a little lower. By year two, position players start to creep towards $65-$70 while pitchers get up closer to $50. In the original league, $60-$70 prices for all types of players are becoming the norm.

      Would be interesting, if I had the data, to try to calculate expected inflation.

      For a guy like Davis, I would worry more about his particular situation than inflation. I don’t expect you will get him back for much less than $7 (maybe $5?) so you are likely better off keeping him or trading him.

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  7. Eminor3rd says:

    Not sure whether to cut Brandon Phillips at $17. I like him, but I have $3 Altuve and $7 Rutledge that can play 2B and MI, and $5 Simmons at SS. Having all four would be great contingency, but I really need to build a bullpen from scratch and could use the cash. Do Altuve/Rut/Simmons carry too much risk? Thanks

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  8. Eminor3rd says:

    Wily Peralta at $4 or Erasmo Ramirez at $5? Or drop both and shop for a fifth starter in the draft?

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  9. jjdouglas says:

    Eno and Chad, would be possible to look at the prices paid for players out of last years annual auction? I know so many leagues are different, because of this I thought it would be useful to get an idea of how many players are being priced over $55, $50, $45, $40, etc. (set up in some form of tiers) For example, the Fangraphs staff league may have had 12 players command $50+ at last years auction, but League X only had 3 over $50+. I believe this dynamic should be considered when determining if a players value is “good” or “bad”.

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    • Chad Young says:

      The average values page (http://ottoneu.fangraphs.com/averageValues?gameType=3) provides some of this info. I actually think this is a situation where a lot of the data can be misleading. For example, that $47 Ryan Braun contains quite a few leagues who drafted early and undervalued Braun due to the possible suspension. All of those players include a certain number of leagues where they were kept and this skews values artificially low. And as the years go on, the averages become less and less relevant. What really matters is what is happening in your league. I would use those averages more to give you tiers – a sense of what players are likely to have similar price tags.

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      • Matt Hunter says:

        Wow I did not know that that page existed. Awesome. Also, I’m pretty sure the top two auctions (Kemp for $84 and Pujols for $75) were both from my league. No surprise that most of the people want to switch to Yahoo now…

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  10. Chike says:

    How did you guys decide $3 per team/$25 total would be a fair values for arbitration?

    A general point: The new arbitration process seems like it works best when all owners have a shared understanding player valuation and salary cap management. The new system may work in a Fangraphs expert league, but when applied to the general masses, the system falls flat on its face.

    Not to get political here, but a pure, direct democracy in general almost NEVER works. People in that system (and they may mean well or have the best of intentions) will screw it up and end up with flawed results. The easiest way to fix this is to make sure the candidates are qualified before the general population can vote. Establish a set of parameters (in this case: age, salary, fantasy points) and come up with a way to level the playing field before allowing owners to allocate dollars.

    I’d like to see some sort of arbitration action taken by Ottoneu staff that prevents the $3 Aaron Hills and $5 Edwin Encarnacions of the world from going unnoticed.

    I’d be more than happy to offer a bunch of suggestions to improve arbitration. Right now though, something needs to be done about the current process.

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    • Chike says:

      How about the concept of bonus salaries?

      Let the top 5 players at each position receive a +20% increase in their salaries. Let the next 5 best players receive a +10% increase.

      This can be done before arbitration allocation.

      Something like this guarantees good players are rewarded for performing and it offsets some of the random variance caused by owners who may not make the most sound decisions.

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      • Chad Young says:

        This is actually counter-productive. The goal is not to increase salaries for the best players but to make sure players get a fair salary. So, for example, a $55 Miguel Cabrera putting up a top-5 3B season has more or less proven that he was worth $55 – not that he should cost $68 next year. In fact, I think a lot of the guys being allocated to (at least in my leagues) are NOT necessarily top-5 guys (particularly pitchers and OF), but guys who cost $1-$5 and ended up proving to be viable starters who should have cost $20 or so. I haven’t seen anyone allocate to Cabrera, Braun (#1 OF) or Prince (#1 1B).

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    • Chad Young says:

      I don’t think of this issue as being any different than those same players being undervalued in an auction or draft before the season, or anything else. Everything in fantasy is dependent on the quality of the owners in the league, and this is no different. If you want to influence other owners, allocate early – if you put money against Hill or E5, other owners will see this and (ideally) take notice. And if they don’t, well, the same set of owners are allocating across the league, so every team is being treated evenly. Not sure this is an issue.

      The $25/$3 was based on what we have seen happening in other leagues (particularly the original league, which now has 7 years of data behind it) in the past. Basically, salaries were increasing roughly $25 per team with the old arb system (which we felt worked in terms of impact, but could be improved on in terms of mechanism). The $3 stops any team or player from getting hit harder than $33. Again, this is based on what we had seen happening in the past and what had “worked” and what had not.

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  11. bill says:

    I am not a fan of the new system. I took over a team in the middle of last season and wanted to build my team on the cheap with pickups and trades. So, then I could add a few high priced players to put me in contention. The extra $$$ blows that up. It’s better to lose one player. Inflation was already added at $1-2 PER player. I would have played the end of last season differently had I known this. It ain’t right. I definitely wouldn’t have made some of those trades. IE: Over paying for cheaper players. There was not enough notice to make the switch now. Some leagues that I am in are using the old system now(2013) and switching in 2014. Switching this year is not enough notice. I will probably not renew at least two teams because of this.

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      Dunno, it was just an option we offered, born of feedback. If you thought the change was too fast in a league, that’s on your commissioner I’d say.

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    • Chad Young says:

      I’ll second Eno. This is an option in all leagues and it is up to the league and the league commissioner to decide a) if they want to switch and b) when. I totally understand the frustration, and in the three leagues I run, I didn’t make the change until I gave everyone a chance to voice concerns (everyone in my three leagues agreed we should make the change now). If you think your commissioner didn’t act in good faith, you should talk to him/her and voice your concerns.

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  12. byron says:

    What happens if on November 15th a team hasn’t allocated all or any of their money?

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    • Chad Young says:

      If you have not allocated all of your money, the money you have allocated goes away (i.e., it is treated as if you allocated none). Beyond that, there are no institutional penalties. I mean, you suffer because everyone has assigned money to you, so you are now at a disadvantage, but other than that, no penalty. Leagues can police this themselves, though. I would treat it the same way you treat an owner who isn’t active, doesn’t fill out their lineup, etc.

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      • byron says:

        Wait, you buried the lede there if I’m reading you correctly: the only amounts of money you can allocate are $25 and $0? If you have any dollars left, all of them get removed?

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      • jjdouglas says:

        Actually, I believe you don’t have to allocate all of your money. Rather, you only have to allocate one dollar per team. So you could choose to only allocate $11 (one to each team) if you prefer. At least this is how I interpreted the note that Niv left.

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      • byron says:

        jj, read what Chad says above: “If you have not allocated all of your money, the money you have allocated goes away (i.e., it is treated as if you allocated none).” What you say is a reasonable rule, but there’s absolutely no indication it is the current implementation of Ottoneu.

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    • jrogers says:

      Then I get to keep Mike Trout for under $30 still. :)

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      • byron says:

        Worse than Trout under $30 is both Trout AND McCutchen under $30. There’s no way Trout should cost more than McCutchen, and I was planning on them settling at $34 and $35, which is still a crazy bargain.

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  13. jjdouglas says:

    Once arbitration ends, do you have until the cut deadline to get below the cap? Or do you immediately have to cut players (and get below the $400 cap) in order to trade? I would hope that there is not cap limit until the cut deadline, as trading is one easy way to get below the cap.

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