ottoneu Improvements

ottoneu Fantasy Baseball has received a tremendous amount of feedback since launching, and it has resulted in some new features that I would like to share with all of you.

The largest improvement is that we’ve created an alternate draft method for those of you who aren’t able to get the league together for a live auction draft.  Based on feedback from various leagues, you can now opt out of the auction draft and run 48-hour blind auctions between now and the start of the season.  Now instead of needing one block of time that can last longer than six hours, you can organize the auctions to only require 5 minutes a day.  You can even do a live auction for part of the league, and then switch to the 48-hour auctions whenever you want.  Choose whatever is most convenient for the league.

We’ve done a lot to clarify and improve our FanGraphs integration as well.  The FanGraphs toolbar now gives you fantasy-relevant projections, sortable stats, free agents, and a stronger player search within one click.  The FanGraphs staff league is going to draft this week in Arizona, and as the FanGraphs guys get to play with the game a bit, we will be adding more tools and features based on their feedback.

Of course, at the end of the day, this operation is to share a really neat fantasy baseball game with all of you.  As those of you who have contacted us already know, I am very responsive to comments, bugs, new feature requests, and questions.  ottoneu consists of one person, me, trying to build something that you, the informed baseball fan, will enjoy much more than a traditional fantasy game.  Since I am familiar with the entire site and the game format, you can reach me at the contact us page and I will do everything in my power to add any new tools or integration or features you want, resolve any questions you have, and respond and understand any comments you send. 

Already, existing leagues have pointed out the need for a league message board (resolved, and being improved shortly), the need for an alternate long-form draft option (resolved), as well as the need for clarity in player search and other FanGraphs tools (resolved).  Go to the contact us page, send an email to help, and let’s keep improving fantasy baseball!

Free Team!
We aren’t done giving away free teams for this season, and after Eno picked on me a few times with my ‘bad’ keepers and ‘bad’ trades, I think I’ll give away the next team.  Let’s do an exercise about positional scarcity.  ottoneu lineups consist of 1 C, 1B, 2B, SS, MI, 3B, Util, 5 OF, 5 SP, and 5 RP.  There is no CI since the util spot tends to lean CI.  Here are some players, their positions, and their prices.  Based on positional scarcity and performance in the 4×4 format (OBP, SLG, HR, R and ERA, WHIP, HR/9, K), who do you think is the best value, and who do you think is the worst?  All prices are from the original ottoneu league.  As always, show your work:

Shin-Soo Choo, OF, $27

Hanley Ramirez, SS, $57

Tim Lincecum, SP, $58

Bobby Jenks, RP, $6

Pretty varied set of players, and all but one of these prices was set at our auction draft on February 28th.  I’m very interested to see what you come up with!  Good luck!

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32 Responses to “ottoneu Improvements”

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  1. byron says:

    Can we do a live auction, then 48 hour auctions until our next meeting, then switch back to live?

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    • Niv Shah says:

      There isn’t a way to do that now, but I could see that being an interesting hybrid approach. I’ll look into it.

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      • Justin Merry says:

        How do we switch over to the blind auction format after already drafting? Do I just end the auction? And then the blind auctions can begin? Our league has already drafted about 7 hours, and we’re having trouble agreeing on a third session to finish it off. This might be an option that would be useful to us.

        Also, what determines the order for ties? A rotating list? Obviously we’re all tied in the standings.


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  2. JWay says:

    Best: Choo. Outfielders are thinner than people think, and you can get top tier OF production for half the price of a top tier SS or SP.

    Worst Jenks: While its not a huge amount of money, its a waste of resources. Jenks is going to a ballpark that won’t help him, and into a role that is generally regarded as less “intense”. I don’t see it working out, at least well enough to spend more than a dollar or two on him.

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  3. Jason says:

    If ottoneu used SB% or SB, then I could definitely see Choo being the best value.

    However, I’m going to try my best here and say that Lincecum (!) is the best value. In ottoneu, he’s going to be a 4-cat performer, especially with his tendency to get 220Ks as long as he stays healthy. Playing at AT&T, as we’ve seen discussed, does tend to suppress HR/9, and he’s only a year removed from back2back Cys. His WHIP may be a little high, but not to the point where you’re going to need someone like Lilly and Marcum to bring it all the way down, and you COULD pair him with Gallardo and not be too far gone.

    And with that, I’ll brave the storm and say that Hanley is the worst value. With no SB, a good chunk of Hanley’s value is already gone. Minus Uggla, he may get worse pitches to hit, and his team overall is probably not as potent as Tulo’s will be (who I assume isn’t going for near the same price). If we’re using $260 as my budge, I’m not putting almost a fourth of it in a SS who’s power waned last year. He’s a great talent, and it’s absolutely hard to pass up a great talent. But at that price, and to hold onto him for a year with inflation, no thanks.

    Jenks would be a good choice, but I’d probably rather spend 6 dollars on Gregerson or Adams, and as I said before, Choo with a steal category would be great, but without it, he’s only a .300/20 guy, and Cleveland isn’t the model of offensive juggernauts.

    I TRIED!

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  4. byron says:

    I have those 4 players at the following values: Choo $27, Ramirez $51, Lincecum $67, and Jenks $1. So I think you’re getting the best value with Lincecum.

    In general, the best SPs have been underrated by players’ years of experience in leagues in which they can only contribute on 4 of 5 pitching stats. Now that they can contribute in 100% of stats, their value goes way up.

    You still have to deal with the fact that pitchers are more likely to be injured than hitters, so your season is pretty much over if Lincecum misses significant time. This is where it’s nice to grab someone who’s been durable without being significantly overworked. And as long as he’s healthy you can count on elite ratios and a ton of Ks. And if he gets hurt, well, isn’t there some comfort to having a clear sign to begin preparation for next year?

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    • byron says:

      Whoops, forgot the worst. While I have Ramirez’s value at a greater distance from his price, going $6 over value for a top player isn’t terrible. It’s not great, but you can’t worry too much about deals when you’re dealing with the elite talents of the game. So Jenks is the pick.

      I’m not someone who thinks the RP slots are worthless: I have 4 RPs worth more than $20, and another 18 worth more than $10. I project Jenks as only slightly above replacement level in ERA and WHIP, and I don’t see him pitching as many innings as the top options to accumulate Ks. As my 59th most valuable RP, I’m positive I can do better for less.

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  5. dooberfig says:

    worst value BY FAR is jenks. using fangraphs leaderboards, he ranked 110th in era and 88th in whip among rps last year (remember only 60 rps total are in lineups at a given moment) – sure he has ok k and hr rates, but if anything he’s worth just worth a $1 flyer.

    i want to go choo for best value, but am actually going to say hanley. other than tulo, no one else even comes close to his potential there – over 100 ops points better than the 3rd-best fans-projected starting ss (don’t know why arod is listed there and lowrie doesn’t have a guaranteed spot). scarcity at that position means that if you’ve got hanley or tulo you’re off to a really big head start over all the other teams in the league.

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  6. RotoChamp says:

    I had to add the HR/9 category to my development environment as it won’t be available in the live version until tomorrow, but when I run the valuations for your league setup in RotoChamp, here are numbers:

    Choo: $24.15
    Hanley: $39.46 (Tulo is worth slightly more in this format, coming in at $40.43)
    Lincecum: $31.52
    Jenks: $1.04

    I assumed an optimal hitting/pitching split, but if I were to do a 70/30 split the numbers are:

    Choo: $26.13
    Hanley: $42.74
    Lincecum: $25.06
    Jenks: $1.03

    It looks like somebody overpaid dearly for Lincecum.

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  7. RotoChamp says:

    Whoops, disregard the above valuations, as I had the auction $ at 260, not 400.

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  8. sean says:

    choo looks like the best value since he’s a near .400 OBP near .500 slg 20 home run with 80+ runs and at $27. he’s a #2 OF that gives you near #1 value. If he stays healthy the entire year he could have more runs + HRs and a $5 increase for keeping him means he’s only $32 the next year and could have a higher value going forward.

    hanley is next and is worth the $57 price tag for a power hitting SS that gets on base at a .400 clip and has .500+ slg and 30 home run potenial at a realy weak position. There is a reason people consider him a high pick in fantasy, but the issue why i don’t have him #1 is A: his cost, and B: he doesn’t have much more in terms of upside at $57. C You probably don’t want to keep him at $62.

    Jenks looks to be third since he’s a decent middle reliever around the 3.50 range with excellent HR/9 rate and around 50 Ks a year. main downside is his WHIP is realatively high compared to an elite reliever. Now i don’t know what other middle relievers are at in terms of $ amounts but $6 seems like a drop in the bucket for good prodution.

    Lincecum comes in last for me at $57. Granted maybe last year is an aberation, or maybe it’s a downward trend. he had his highest ERA, HR/9, WHIP and less K’s then the two years before. I don’t know what kind of upside you expect to get at $57, he is what he is a great SP but valuewise i’d rather pay less for pitching since it’s a deep category. You could get a tommy hanson in the $30+ dollar range and he has possible upside and value. Timmy doesn’t give you much keeper value at $62, and to me has more downside then upside at $57

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    • Rules says:

      Keeper increase is only $2.

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    • doorbot says:

      I haven’t read all of these entries closely, so admittedly I may have missed a note that this league differs from all the other ottoneu leagues, but inflation should be set at $2 per year for players with major league service time.

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  9. RotoChamp says:

    This is based on $400. I only put in 1-catcher, though I thought the rules were 2-catchers. This is for optimal hitter/pitcher splits:

    Choo: $36.30
    Hanley: $59.72
    Lincecum: $47.09
    Jenks: $1.07

    For a 2-catcher league:

    Choo: $34.59
    Hanley: $56.11
    Lincecum: $46.08
    Jenks: $1.07

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  10. Matthew Bultitude says:

    Shin-Soo Choo is the best value. Outfield is much shallower than people think, especially in leagues that start 5 OFs per team. That will really stretch the OF pool, and top-10 OFs will be pricey. And yes, Choo is a top-10 outfielder in this format: sure, taking out SB hurts him, but he is an elite OBP contributor (three straight years of OBP above .390!). At $27, I’d wager that he was the one of these four players who was not available in the auction.

    Bobby Jenks is the worst value. First, he is a near-replacement level reliever in this format (no bonus for saves or holds). Second, his skills and performance have been trending down, so he carries significantly more downside than upside.

    Finally, I would like to discuss inflation. We are discussing a keeper league in which many players were protected at below-market rates, so any evaluation must factor in how inflation distorts player valuations. The key insight is that the extra cash isn’t spread around evenly because replacement level players will still have their price tags pulled down to $1. The more valuable a player is, the more his price will inflate. Thus, the inflation factor greatly increases our assessments of Hanley, Lincecum, and Choo but doesn’t help Jenks much. This line of analysis cements Jenks’ status as the worst value of these four players.

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  11. Niv Shah says:

    I think the worst value might be a bit too easy – you guys are all jumping on Jenks, which I can’t really argue with. Not an egregious use of funds, but relative to the other guys…

    Some interesting arguments on best value – I’ll leave it open for a bit longer!

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  12. will says:

    best value: Hanley Ramirez. Why? Because shortstop is the thinnest position in the league. People might say catcher, but you can usually nab a $1 catcher at the end who could very well preform like a $10 one (chris iannetta, anyone?). Shortstop is different because there are two big guns (tulo and ramirez) a couple of solid producers (stephen drew), but after that it is very hard to find players that can produce in obp and slg. Ramirez provides the best value because he produces like a star at all 4 categories (92 r, 21 hr, .378 ob, 475 slg) in a “down year”, and lets remember that he is only 27, making him extra valuable because it is a keeper league. I would rather have hanley because he will give you valuable production at the thinnest position in fantasy, while doing so for a long long time.
    worst: jenks, because you can find relievers that will do better than him in all catagories, a la kenley jansen, for 1/6 of the cost

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  13. William says:

    best value: Hanley Ramirez. Why? Because shortstop is the thinnest position in the league. People might say catcher, but you can usually nab a $1 catcher at the end who could very well preform like a $10 one (chris iannetta, anyone?). Shortstop is different because there are two big guns (tulo and ramirez) a couple of solid producers (stephen drew), but after that it is very hard to find players that can produce in obp and slg. Ramirez provides the best value because he produces like a star at all 4 categories, [with 92 r (2 among ss), 21 hr (4th), .378 obp (2nd), and a .475 slg (2nd)] in a “down year”, and lets remember that he is only 27, making him extra valuable because it is a keeper league. Even more startling, in the last 3 years he was 1st in all 4 categories at ss, and now that he is entering his prime, the sky is the limit. I would rather have hanley because he will give you valuable production at the thinnest position in fantasy, while doing so for a long long time.
    worst: jenks, because you can find relievers that will do better than him in all catagories, a la kenley jansen, for 1/6 of the cost

    essentially same comment as 1st, but forgot to log in

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  14. jrogers says:

    The best value by a good margin is Shin-Soo Choo. His HR total may not stand out, and he gets no value from SB in ottoneu 4×4, but his rare combination of elite OBP, SLG, R, and health/reliability places him as not just a top-10 outfielder, but top 3 (behind only Braun and Holliday). Perhaps the FANS projections of 106 R / 23 HR / .397 / .496 are optimistic (particularly runs), but those values and his high number of plate appearances make him the single best OF contributor to your team’s OBP, 12th in SLG, and 5th in R.

    The combination of the 5 OF, 0 CI setup and the categories makes OF a scarcer position than usual, as speed-only guys become zero or negative-value players and the replacement level drops. In fact, I found the 60th best OF should be worse than the 15th best 3B; even accounting for a couple of UTIL spots to be filled by 3B rather than 1B/DH, the replacement level at OF is lower than at 3B. This places an extra premium on a reliable stud at the position like Choo.

    The worst value in my opinion is Lincecum. While he is potentially outstanding in every category, there is enough depth at SP to not necessitate spending that much on one guy. In my league’s auction, I put together a staff of Hanson, Liriano, B.Anderson, Scherzer, and Buchholz for under $100 total, and even that was more than I intended to spend. I wouldn’t touch Bobby Jenks for $6, but I feel like that is a $4-5 overpay, while Lincecum may have taken an extra $20 over what his value is.

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  15. Ree says:

    I believe the best would be Choo in this case. He still has room to improve, yet is a proven commodity himself. He’ll be 29 in a few months so he’s probably good for another couple years as a keeper, especially if, when his speed declines, he picks up power. Now that he’s also go the South Korean military exemption, he’ll definitely be playing (if he didn’t have it, I wouldn’t have drafted him in 2 keeper leagues already). Carlos Santana is hopefully going to continue where he left off and depending if he hits before or behind Choo, the runs/rbis will jump up for standard 5×5 categories at least.

    Worst would definitely be Jenks, even if holds were a category. Easy to get a $1 reliever who will get comparable stats in probably everything (except maybe k/9), but the extra $5 could be spent going a bit further for a quality starter.

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  16. buschy115 says:

    Best Value- I’ll take Hanley. You get the chance to lock up one of the two elite fantasy shortstops in the game. And there is upside. This year he is batting in a line-up that is adding Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison. That should provide a nice boost in OBP, runs and RBI.

    Worst Value- I’ll go out on the limb and say Lincecum. The overall numbers still look good from last year but his fastball velocity has fallen from 94 to 91 over the last two years. Something is up. And with 58 dollars on the line, it doesn’t take much deterioration for him to become a worse value than Jenks (who worse case is a 6 million dollar loss).

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    • Niv Shah says:

      For the last two responses – remember, this is for a 4×4 league, without RBI and SBs, etc.

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  17. Michael says:

    Best Value: Hanley Ramirez

    Hanley has a four year average (2007-2010) of 150 games played, 111 runs scored, 27 home runs, .394 OBP and SLG% of .532. No other middle infielder approaches those numbers across the board like Hanley does. The closest production from an MI position in the previous four years comes from Chase Utley and Dan Uggla. Utley’s numbers are similar to Hanley’s but falls short in each category, and this year his value is plummeting due to his apparent knee injury. Uggla has out-homered Hanley but suprisingly has a lower SLG%, fewer runs scored, and a far lower OBP. The point is this: Hanley is in his prime, very durable over a 162-game season (which elevates his value over a beastly pitcher like Lincecum who is at risk of being overworked, as seen by the decrease in his fastball velocity last year), and is by far the best producer in all four offensive categories. If you only consider the SS position instead of MI, Hanley really is in a class of his own. Tulowitzki is good, but he is a pretty distant second when you compare the 4-year averages.

    Worst Value: Bobby Jenks

    $6 is too much to pay for the stats that Jenks will provide. While I was examining his 4-year average stats and his rankings among other relievers, one name jumped out at me: Rafael Betancourt. He was never named a closer on any of the teams he played for, so he is perpetually under the radar, which usually means he can be had for $1. (How many of you paid more than $1 for Betancourt if you even have him rostered?) Betancourt’s 4-year average stats trump Jenks’ stats across the board, except one (HR/9). Jenks doesn’t even have a K/9 over 9.00 (7.89), so essentially he is eating up innings and giving up runs without providing plentiful strikeouts. If you wanted to roster a middle reliever, someone like Betancourt is a much better option (4-year average of 9.85 K/9 and 3.18 ERA), and I would bet that, if he’s even up for auction, he would probably go for $1. Save those five bucks and use it on a super stud like Hanley!

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  18. Brad Johnson says:

    Please make a variation of the 48 hour blind auction available as “free agency” over the winter.

    I’m thinking something along the lines of a public auctions with a multiday bidding period (say a week). Every new bid would reset the auction clock. It would need more polish than that, but for it would provide a truly interactive, full year fantasy experience.

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  19. I consider Choo the best value, owing to his balanced contributions across categories. He is solid across the board in all fantasy categories, but in this format, he gains something extra: Whereas he was not elite in any category of the traditional game, he IS a truly supernal OBP guy. Being elite in one category is a tinge more important in a 4×4 league, obviously, and so that prowess has extra value. And it isn’t as though he will hurt you in any of these areas. This guy will not turn 29 until July, and should help you everywhere for a long time.

    This might sound crazy, but I see Jenks as the worst value. He already has a history of nagging injuries, he is in terrible shape and he is 30 years old. The key value area for Jenks is that K/9, which fell off the table between 2007 and 2009 but bounced back to 10.42 in 2010. The only problem is, Jenks didn’t really do anything differently. His swinging strike percentage last year was 8.7%, or roughly league-average. No way that strikeout rate sustains itself in the AL East. I’d rather take a chance on a two- or three-dollar reliever with higher upside than ride Jenks to whatever depths.

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  20. Chris says:

    How does a blind auction work?

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    • Niv Shah says:

      You have 48 hours to make a bid. You don’t see what anyone else bids. At the end of the time, all the bids are looked at and whoever has the highest bid wins the player at the cost of the second highest bid plus $1.

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      • byron says:

        How does the nomination process work? We can’t possibly only have one up at a time. We need more details!

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  21. Niv Shah says:

    Ok, so I think we have a couple of winners. I liked sean’s argument, especially about SP depth, and I liked william’s argument breaking down Hanley across our league categories, but jrogers really got into the positional scarcity question in good detail. I also liked how Michael looked at scarcity and made the guess at Betancourt as a good replacement for Jenks – wasn’t available at draft, but is available now, Michael, so maybe I’ll take your advice. Yeah, I’m the poor sucker with Jenks at $6. I need to stop giving my team up as examples, I’m apparently always wrong!

    jrogers and Michael, email me at help AT ottoneu DOT com and I’ll get you guys squared away with a free team for this season. Thanks for all the great responses, and we’ll do this again real soon.

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  22. jrogers says:

    Wow, awesome.

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