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ottoneu Cut Day Fallout

The ottoneu keeper deadline was jam-packed this year, at least judging by the activity in my deadline chat, the questions popping up on Twitter and all the action in my leagues. Across the Original ottoneu league, the second FanGraphs Staff League, and the FanGraphs Experts League alone, 223 players were cut on January 31, and 29 more players changed hands via trade over the final couple days of roster action.

As you all recover from what I am sure was a similarly hectic deadline rush, I am going to try to provide some insights into what happened a) in my three leagues and b) across the universe of leagues to give you a sense of what the ottoneu-verse looks like today.

Two of the most common questions I get asked are how many players a team should keep and how much money they should free up. I always give a pretty vague, somewhat generic answer about people taking a wide-range of approaches. And sure enough, the three leagues mentioned above demonstrate that.

Across those three leagues, the most players any one team kept was 38 and the fewest was eight. On average, teams kept 26.5 players. Of the 36 teams, 23 kept between 25 and 35 players – this was especially true in the Original League, in which only one team kept fewer than 25 and none kept more than 35.

The most cash spent on keepers by any team was $382, not surprisingly by the same team that kept 38 players. The least cash spent was $92, again by the same team that kept the fewest players. On average, people used $297.44 of their $400 on keepers.

On average, the 36 teams spent $11.21 per kept player and have $7.61 per open spot available to spend at auction. Interestingly, this year the owners in the Original League were complaining about the lack of talent likely to be available and the need to keep higher-priced players than normal – and yet we spent only $10.69 per kept players and have $8.34 left per open spot – the other two were both over $11.30 per kept player and under $7.60 per open spot.

The largest average price per kept player across the leagues was $19.60 and the lowest per kept player was $6.68. As for money to be spent at auction, one team will enter with only $3.10 per spot, while another will enter with $21.44 per spot.

Even for a single owner, the ranges can be big. Across the three leagues, I kept relatively similar numbers of players (33, 31, and 31), but spent a wide range of money per player ($9.06, $9.16, $11.48) and have a wider range available to spend per player ($14.43, $12.89, $4.89).

For me though, those numbers make perfect logical sense. The first set of numbers is from the Experts League, where I finished near the bottom, traded all my high-priced stars, and intentionally built a cheap roster that I felt I could fill in at the auction but paying up for a couple stars to round out the lineup. The last set comes from the Original League, where I traded away cheap talent down the stretch to hold onto a third place finish and currently find my team at the end of a window to compete – the point at which you keep all the high-priced guys and don’t have much cash to spend to go over the top at the auction.

As for who was cut loose, the 20 most commonly cut players is a whose who of guys who under-performed, got hurt, or lost their jobs, with one exception:

Rank Player Avg Salary
1 Alex Rodriguez $23.22
2 Tim Lincecum $38.42
3 Chipper Jones $5.68
4 Tommy Hanson $18.71
5 Mark Teixeira $37.08
6 Kevin Youkilis $24.85
7 Drew Stubbs $15.83
8 Brian McCann $28.47
9 Colby Rasmus $15.04
10 Alexei Ramirez $15.32
11 Adrian Gonzalez $50.04
12 Dan Uggla $26.82
13 Jon Lester $29.22
14 Dan Haren $29.65
15 Roy Halladay $43.76
16 Carlos Lee $7.71
17 Brennan Boesch $8.45
18 Alfredo Aceves $5.83
19 Hunter Pence $26.38
20 Andrew Bailey $9.83

Ah, A-Rod. Baseball’s favorite target for vitriol takes another shot across the bow here. Sure, being caught in PED scandals, having your team try to void your contract, and potentially missing the year are all bad things – but being the single most cut player in ottoneu is a shame I am not sure even Alex Rodriguez can bear.

The outlier among this group is of course Chipper Jones. He came at the lowest price, provided more value than probably anyone else on this list, but of course is also retiring. Much of this list is a set of intriguing buy-low options for 2013. Among the guys on here that I will likely take a look at in auctions are Lincecum, Teixeira, McCann, Gonzalez, Lester, and Haren. The folks I will just plain avoid: A-Rod, Hanson, Stubbs, Rasmus, Lee, and Pence.

At the other end of the spectrum, 14 players were tied for being kept by the most owners, a list dominated by young stars and breakout performers:

Name Sal
Andrew McCutchen 38.24725642
Stephen Strasburg 32.74000661
Mike Trout 26.52131156
Bryce Harper 23.83250271
Yu Darvish 19.44137125
Yoenis Cespedes 16.86058497
Jordan Zimmermann 14.2727473
Chris Sale 12.13034965
Edwin Encarnacion 10.40525141
R.A. Dickey 8.474167495
Allen Craig 8.251807698
Mark Trumbo 8.167166437
Anthony Rizzo 7.568107577
William Myers 5.914751867

In this case the outlier is not a retiree, but Wil Myers, a highly touted youngster no doubt, but the only man on the list who has yet to appear in an MLB game.

Finally, just for fun, the most expensive keepers! First, the highest average salaries of kept players:

Rank Player Salary
1 Miguel Cabrera 53.90844831
2 Albert Pujols 51.15292761
3 Joey Votto 50.3398328
4 Troy Tulowitzki 49.89825345
5 Ryan Braun 49.55000653
6 Prince Fielder 44.1661419
7 Robinson Cano 44.14228917
8 Matt Kemp 44.02632207
9 Jose Bautista 42.28261575
10 Felix Hernandez 41.80822866
11 Carlos Gonzalez 41.58184987
12 Justin Verlander 41.15648793
13 Clayton Kershaw 40.82407016
14 Giancarlo Stanton 38.66554725
15 Andrew McCutchen 38.24725642
16 Justin Upton 37.89741713
17 Cliff Lee 36.55480133
18 Dustin Pedroia 36.1782543
19 Matt Holliday 33.9055544
20 Stephen Strasburg 32.74000661

And, last but not least, the highest priced individual keepers from my leagues and all leagues:

  Original Experts FG Staff All Leagues
Batter $62 Ryan Braun $67 Miguel Cabrera $54 Troy Tulowitzki $76 Miguel Cabrera
Pitcher $65 Clayton Kershaw $40 Felix Hernandez $46 Clayton Kershaw $65 Clayton Kershaw