Last week, I tried to provide insight on strategies for arbitration voting in ottoneu, but with almost four weeks left until votes are due, I thought I would add some color to that lecture with a couple examples. I’ve identified a couple teams from the original ottoneu league that I think include some pretty interesting arbitration cases.
We’ll start with this year’s champion: Last Years Leftovers.
Allan, the owner of the Leftovers, spent the last few years stockpiling inexpensive, young talent and waiting for it to mature. This year, he took the plunge, trading some of that value for top-tier talent, carrying him to a title. But he ended the season with plenty of arbitration-worthy players on his roster.
Pedroia went for $30 on average in 4×4 ottoneu leagues; Sandoval put up numbers similar to Carlos Gonzalez who went for $41 pre-season; Mike Morse was even better. Looking at pitching, Shields matched Cole Hamels in WAR and Hamels went for $23; Hanson was short on innings but matched Yovani Gallardo who went for $24; and Hellickson, while not flashing much in the way of K’s, showed a ton of promise.
A couple guys can be eliminated from contention pretty quickly – Hellickson is young, cheap and good, but Hanson is less than a year older, just as cheap, and better (and has a better track record). Iffy track records from Shields and Sandoval likely limit what they would go for in auction – clearly both are great deals at their current prices, but neither will see a $20+ price increase.
That leaves Pedroia and Morse. Both played like $30+ players this year. Robinson Cano went for $43 and Dan Uggla for $34 so Pedroia should be up for $35+ next year. Outfielders who went for around $30 last year include Carl Crawford, Jose Bautista, Jay Bruce, and Justin Upton. After the two years Morse has put up, he could be in line for similar pay. If we assume $30 for Morse and $35 for Pedroia (keep in mind, this is not value, but price on the open market), Morse is the bigger value ($26 savings for Morse vs. $22 for Pedroia), but the difference is not huge.
Now I get into a tough situation – I need MI help more than OF help, making Pedroia more attractive to me, but I also think Morse is unlikely to get paid his full value on the open market (people are always hesitant to pay for unexpected breakouts, which is why Bautista only went for $30 this year). Pedroia also has a couple other things working in his favor – he is younger, he has a stronger track record, and Allan has 4-6 keepable OF on his roster, meaning he may not miss Morse all that much.
Based on all of that, despite being tied for the highest priced player on my candidate list, I think Pedroia gets my vote.
Next, let’s move towards the other end of the standings, and look at Gerbils on Speed, who finished 9th and spent much of the season collecting keepable talent.
Much longer list, and there are other guys (Seth Smith at $5, Mike Minor at $3, Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion at $1) who are clearly good values but just don’t warrant consideration in comparison.
I’ll start by crossing off a few guys: Vazquez may retire or may be terrible or any number of things, so he is out. Moore has a ton of potential, but will likely have growing pains and doesn’t rank with some of the other pitchers on this list. Jennings will likely have similar growing pains (although I may regret ignoring his incredible second half). Scott Baker was great in ’11, but he wasn’t in ’07, ’08, ’09, and ’10; so he is gone, too.
That leaves Strasburg, Wainwright, Hudson, Napoli, and Espinosa.
Napoli and Espinosa are interesting because they both have serious flaws (lack of playing time for the former, lack of impressive rate stats for the later), but put up great numbers for their positions. Napoli would go for the same as some of the top catchers out there, and in ottoneu 4×4, that means $35-$40. Let’s call him a $21 savings. Espinosa isn’t in Pedroia’s class, but he has one pretty interesting comp – Alexei Ramirez. Espinosa had a higher SLG but lower OBP, more HR but less R than Ramirez, and both play MI positions. Espinosa was a bit better than Ramirez this year, and Alexei went for $13 pre-season. Even if we assume he was under-priced and the Espinosa would go for more, we are only looking at $17-$20, making him about a $13 savings.
Wainwright and Strasburg are interesting – both coming off surgery, both with high upside. Strasburg has the advantage of youth and having already returned (in an awfully impressive manner, at that), while Wainwright has a longer track record. Wainwright could go for $35, at most, and that is if he is fully healthy. Strasburg could go for $45 or more. So let’s say Strasburg is a $25 savings and Wainwright is $21.
Hudson was quite good, but his K-rates keep going down and he only went for $11 on average this year. Even if we double that (and I am not sure he earned that), he is a $17 savings – less than either of the other pitchers.
In the end, we are left with Strasburg, Wainwright, and Napoli. I can’t see paying more for Wainwright than Strasburg until I have seen Wainwright pitch post-surgery, but between Napoli and Strasburg?
Two things push me to Strasburg: 1) I need a SP, not a catcher; 2) Strasburg is exactly the kind of guy who could get hyped and turn a live auction into a feeding frenzy – I bet he goes for way more than he is worth, possibly breaking $50.
So, what do you think? Would you vote Pedroia and Strasburg? Feel free to take a look at my team and let me know who you would vote off there, as well.
Print This Post