Author Archive

When (and why) to Ignore Projections

Fantasy baseball is an inherently analytical game – you are trying to use a scarce resource (either dollars or draft picks) in a wiser manner than your competitors. And so it is no surprise that fantasy players have become big fans of the projection systems from ZiPS to Steamer to PECOTA and beyond. Just last week, Justin Vibber shared his ottoneu Surplus Calculator which uses Steamer projections to find expected values for MLB players.

In the ottoneu Slack community, the surplus calculator and other similar tools have become the primary manner of determining player value – if Steamer says a player will produce $30, that is the baseline. And this creates an opportunity to profit by ignoring projections.
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Surplus vs. Roster – Building and Evaluating Trades

The ottoneu Slack community continues to be a great place to discuss strategy, get feedback, and more. One of the more active channels is Trade Review, where you can talk about ongoing trade discussions and get feedback from the crowd, and on that channel, there tend to be two camps in this off-season window – those who only care about player values and those who care about roster construction.

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Themed Teams – Some Semi-Off-Topic Fun

A few years ago, I had a fantasy team that won a title in part thanks to a certain fantasy stud named Mike whose last name just happens to be the name of a fish.* My wife – not exactly a baseball fan, though she spends more time around the game than she might wish – thought I should go all in: cut everyone NOT named after a fish and build a team entirely of fish-themed players.

No matter how many times I tell her this would be nearly impossible, she insists I should try (in much the same way I insist that my son should try putting away his toys when he insists he needs help). So today, I try to build a fish-themed team, and look for other, potentially more successful themes.

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Prying Away Prized Assets in Keepers

I opened up trade talks with my esteemed colleague Brandon Warne the other day, inquiring on one of his three elite SS in our ottoneu league.

“Any chance you are interested in moving [Manny] Machado, Xander [Bogaerts] or [Carlos] Correa? You can only use two at SS/MI and while you could play Machado at 3B, you have [Miguel] Sanothere.”

His reply was direct – “Probably will just start Sano at util.”

But I still need a SS and he still has a monopoly (those three plus Brad Miller and Starlin Castro), so how do I convince him to part with one of his prize possessions?
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ottoneu Arbitration Results

ottoneu arbitration came to an end last weekend, with more than 25,000 allocations totaling more than $35,000 handed out to nearly 450 MLB and MiLB players. The results, as always are occasionally interesting, often expected and sometimes surprising.

You probably won’t be surprised, for example, to find out that Carlos Correa received the most arbitration dollars, but you might be surprised that Mike Trout and Joey Votto – neither of whom were particularly cheap in most leagues, were among the 35 leading targets.
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Is Trout Worth It?

On the ottoneu Slack community, this week featured an interesting debate on the merits of spending on Mike Trout at an ottoneu auction. There were two things posited about Trout:

  1. Keeping/buying Trout and leaving the auction with him ties up too much money in one player, thereby hurting your chances to field a competitive team, and
  2. Because of this, the team that does buy Trout is almost always looking to sell him, so you can get him later (with loans) anyway.

I disagreed, arguing that unless the market was messed up, paying fair value for any player should not hurt you unless that player underperforms. Agreement was not to be found, so data needed to be found instead.
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Arb Hurts: What I’m Learning from the Allocations to my ottoneu teams

There is just over a week left in ottoneu arbitration (11/14 deadline!) and rather than rehash what Brad Johnson and I have stated in the past, I thought I’d look at arbitration from the point of view of the allocation target.

I’ve gone ad nauseum about what I try to do when I make my allocations, but it can be valuable to relfect on my reactions to what my teams are getting hit with. If something causes me angst, it’s probably a good way to go after my opposition, too.
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Going for Broke While Saving for the Future in ottoneu

Last week, Brandon Warne reviewed his FanGraphs Staff League ottoneu team, and noted my second place team (man, I hate typing that) was a hard-to-explain $295 over the cap, pre-arbitration.

A commenter wondered “how badly CY mortgaged the future with that payroll.” I responded that I didn’t, really – but the question is, how? Every year, ottoneu owners go for broke, swapping their farm for elite talent, assuming the next step is a rebuild. This is my look at how spent big but feel set to reload rather than rebuild.

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Second Half Breakouts Based on ottoneu Points: Part II

Yesterday I kicked off this party with Part I which covers my methodology and includes a table of all the folks we’re talking about.

It also looks at nine young guys – rookies and near rookies – who broke out. Today we take a look at some less-young guys.

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Second Half Breakouts Based on ottoneu Points: Part I

After the season, one of the things I like to look at is what players who had big second halves to get a sense of who might be interesting off-season trade targets or auction targets – basically, players whose value might be muted by their overall value/scores, but whose second half suggests big things to come.

This year, I decided to formalize this search. In the past, I’ve just used anecdotal evidence and then looked deeper. Instead, I took a look at every player with 100+ first half PA and 100+ second half PA, comparing their first half points per game to their second half, and today I’ll share the results with you.

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