Category Archives: 2015

Using Tableau: 2015 Ottoneu Hitter Review

Taking some time to learn Tableau, which is a great tool for visualizing all kinds of data.  Here’s a review of 2015 Ottoneu offense for FGPTS.

2015 Ottoneu Hitters Review – FGPTS

Screenshot 2015-12-26 12.13.47

(And yes, despite all the data, something doesn’t look quite right on Matt Duffy…)
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Ottoneu FGPTS All-Time Leaders

All-Time Highest FGPTS score: 20,530

(Greg Wellemeyer, 2015)

If you’re following along on Slack, you may have heard that Greg Wellemeyer is now the proud owner of the all-time highest FGPTS score in Ottoneu with 20,530 (2015).  What you may not know are the all-time leaders in every FGPTS category.  You can now find all time category leaders here (back to 2012), and we’ll keep these updated as Ottoneu leagues expand in the future.  Which record will be the toughest to break?

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2015 Ottoneu Tools

This is your home for in-season tools for Ottoneu (primarily FanGraphs Points scoring formats).

Previous posts have tackled the Auction Calculator and the Roster Grid, but today we’ll post two new tools for the 2015, both designed to help you gain an edge over the rest of your competition.

Before you access the tools, a quick reminder that the very best resource for Ottoneu gameplay is the growing Ottoneu Community on Slack.  You can find more about the community here, join for free, and you can request an invite here in the comments.

Tool 1: Daily Roster Tracking

While this feature may be added internally to Ottoneu in the future, the lineups page currently doesn’t offer a way to differentiate scoring by players active in your lineup.  The Daily Roster Tracker will provide you a way to track your players each day.  Is this a manual process? Yes, but the payoff is well worth it: the ability to isolate the effectiveness of your platoons and matchups; insight into how much impact your bullpen is having on your total P/IP; accurate, up to date calculation of just how effective a starting pitcher has been each time you’ve played him in your active rotation.

Daily Ottoneu Points Tracker

Tool 2: Ottoneu FGPTS Standings Dashboard

A follow up post may dig deeper into the benefits of the Dashboard, but this tool is essential for anyone trying to cut through the fog of early season standings.  Designed for quick, easy, daily updating, just input your league number (found in your league URL) and you can drill down into how  you rank against all other teams in your league.  This will provide you with the data, graphs, and projections you need to make roster decisions even at the earliest stages of the season.  For now, the Dashboard is designed for FGPTS leagues, but future editions may include SABR scoring as well.

Ottoneu FGPTS Standings Dashboard (updated for 2016)

I’ll leave this post simple and straightforward now, but feel free to post your comments/suggestions/questions about these tools and we’ll do our best to customize and improve them as the season goes along.

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Episode 13: Bold Predictions 2015

Trey and I discuss some of our bold predictions for the 2015 season. The audio was a little choppy at some points and SoundCloud provided some issues with uploading. I am working to alleviate these in the future.  As always, if you have any questions or comments, please leave them below or contact me on twitter (@OttoneuTrades).   Any ideas for future podcast episodes (topics or guests) are appreciated as well. Enjoy the show.

2015 Ottoneu Position Outlook: 2B

Welcome to the 1st annual Ottoneu Position Outlook (2015).  

While there’s no shortage of fantasy baseball resources (rankings, projections, opinions) available on the interwebs today, this review is dedicated entirely to the growing fantasy format of Ottoneu, the creation of founder Niv Shah.  In other words, this is your go-to resource for custom, Ottoneu-style dynasty baseball preparation for 2015.  If you aren’t familiar with Ottoneu, you can check out more information here, or join the new #ottoneucommunity on Slack.

The positional reviews that follow are specifically tailored to Ottoneu “FanGraphs Points” leagues, so you’ll want to keep this linear weights scoring format in mind as you digest the information below and prepare for your own Ottoneu draft/league in 2015.  

The (new) setup is pretty standard: 

  • A quick review of the position from 2014
  • A player “box” full of key stats and three year scoring averages
  • A lot of words about a lot of players
  • A recommended player ranking for each position

In addition to the format above, you may find a few graphs for quick reference, as well as an open invitation to comment for further feedback.  Keep in mind that rankings, strategies, and player evaluations are opinion only, so this is best used as a general guide.  

Just in case you missed it, you can check out the 1B review here

2015 Position Outlook: 2B

2014 Top 20 2B Total Points2014 Top 20 2B PPG

  • Robinson Cano: Ottoneu Profile

    Robinson Cano: Ottoneu Profile

  • Age 31.  Safeco.  The 2nd lowest HR/FB ratio of his career.  The perfect storm came as expected in 2014, sinking Robinson Cano to his lowest scoring total in three years.  Gone are the day of 1,000+ point seasons, so that $46 average salary is going to be an albatross for owners planning to carry Cano into 2015.  Despite the decline, Cano is still the likely highest scoring 2B next year, and his consistency and name recognition (strong Contact, BABIP, a few extra SB) will demand a high dollar if you want to make him the cornerstone of your MI.  Don’t pay up for that 3 year average, but don’t let 2014 be the only input into your evaluation either.  Steamer projects 18 HR and 853 points for 2015. That’s not worth $45+, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Cano reach for an extra gear in 2015 and settle in at a level much closer to 6 P/G for what looks like a much more competitive SEA team.
  • Anthony Rendon: Ottoneu Profile

    Anthony Rendon: Ottoneu Profile

  • Anthony Rendon won’t turn 25 until June 2015, but it’s already clear he’s the new serious contender for Ottoneu’s title of “best 2B” in the game.  With a full, healthy, productive 6+ P/G season putting the injury prone tag a little further behind him, the only real question surrounding Rendon heading into 2015 is whether he’ll stick at 2B for 2016 and beyond, or settle in permanently at 3B.  Rendon has the pedigree to not only maintain his gains but improve upon them in 2015, so that $17 average salary won’t stick around long as new auctions likely buy in the $30+ range.  Rendon makes excellent hard contact with emerging power and OBP skills, so it’s very possible he enters elite territory next season.  Big aggressively, and take the over on Steamer’s 821 projected points.
  • Jose Altuve: Ottoneu Profile

    Jose Altuve: Ottoneu Profile

  • Congratulations, Jose Altuve – you were the highest scoring second basemen of 2014.  A true breakout at age 24, Altuve increased his P/G by more than 50% over 2013 while narrowly outpacing both Cano and Rendon with a .363 wOBA.  Amazingly, Altuve made these huge strides while also improving his contact rate to a career best 91%, so despite the skepticism most scouts expressed throughout his early development, it appears likely that Altuve’s hit tool is going to keep him productive for the foreseeable future.  But everyone’s hit tool looks a little better when it’s propped up by a .360 BABIP, so even with the steady LD%, expect that BABIP to fall in 2015, and his average (and hits) along with it.  Altuve value is hard to quantify for 2015, and while 3 year averages aren’t always the best measure, they may work well here for Altuve because of his wide swings in production over the same time period.  A 2B approaching 5.20 P/G should make his $19 average salary look comfortable on most teams, but don’t pay for a 2015 repeat if he’s somehow available in your auction.  His wheels obviously play up on roto leagues.
  • Ben Zobrist: Ottoneu Profile

    Ben Zobrist: Ottoneu Profile

  • On the surface the 2014 version of Ben Zobrist was very similar to the 2013 version.  Playing in a few less games hurt his total scoring, but he was remarkably consistent.  Zobrist will move to a different pitcher’s park in 2015, so don’t change your approach too much based on his venue when targeting Zobrist in 2015.  His multi-position eligibility is a critical element to his value, and with Steamer projecting a slight bounce back in power (.759 OPS), he ranks 3rd among SS with 755 points projected.  Sure, we’re seeing the decline of the Zorilla, but at 34 he’s still plenty valuable and a good bet to make good on a $25 investment.  Zobrist had played in over 150 games in each of the five seasons prior to 2014 (146), so factor in that durability when evaluating him against other MI options, which is where he needs to be playing for your team to bring the most value.
  • Ian Kinsler: Ottoneu Profile

    Ian Kinsler: Ottoneu Profile

  • Despite matching many of his 2013 rates (CT%, ISO, HR/FB%, SB), most of Ian Kinsler’s solid 2014 season can be attributed to just one: games played.   Kinsler played nearly a full season in 2014, adding 25 games to his count over the previous year.  Kinsler will exit 2015 at just 33 years old, so if his recent durability holds, he’s a good bet to deliver another top 7 performance in 2015 (Steamer ranks him 5th with 736 points) and a safe return on investment in the low $20’s.  Kinsler’s contact rates remain strong, so don’t hesitate to target the veteran 2B after some of the younger, flashier names are gone.
  • Dustin Pedroia: Ottoneu Profile

    Dustin Pedroia: Ottoneu Profile

  • Dustin Pedroia was worth 1.01 P/PA for your team in 2014.  He had a 99 wRC+.  He was a disaster, and likely the target of frustration for many owners who were expecting a solidified MI with one of the more consistent 2B’s in the business.  Despite a disappointing 2014, Pedroia will play most of 2015 at the age of just 31, so he’s clearly still in his prime (though those nagging injuries certainly make him *feel* older than he is).  Pedroia is a big gamble at his current average price of $34, so you’ll want someone else to take on that risk at such a steep price.  However, if Pedroia somehow falls in the low $20 range, you shouldn’t forget him.  For what it’s worth, Bill James sees a nice bounceback.
  • Neil Walker: Ottoneu Profile

    Neil Walker: Ottoneu Profile

  • In 2014 the top 12 2B played an average of 151 games.  At a rate of 5.39 P/G, Neil Walker would have ranked 5th among 2B (between Dozier and Kinsler) with 814 points.  The only problem here is that Walker didn’t play 151 games.  For the 3rd season in a row he played less than 140.  That’s really the key here with Walker, who has the track record and recent power gains to remain a top 2B target for 2015 as his ISO, contact, and scoring averages are all trending in the right direction.  Though he’s 28, don’t expect a breakout, but I’d bet on production closer to 2014 than his three year averages here, and at $11 you have one of the better MI contracts in the game.  Walker isn’t under the radar any longer, and he’s one of the better MI investments you should target in 2015.
  • Josh Harrison: Ottoneu Profile

    Josh Harrison: Ottoneu Profile

  • If you currently own Josh Harrison for an average price of $5, congratulations, as he was one of the true breakout players of 2014.  Dubbed the new “Zobrist” by many, his 2B/3B/OF eligibility only adds to his value as a versatile MI option you can play occasionally as an OF5 or spot start at 3B.  Unfortunately, we have limited information for which to gauge Harrison heading into 2015.  The crowd will call for massive regression, and you can be sure some of it is coming after posting a .353 BABIP, but I’m not sure the downfall is going to be as large as what most expect.  Harrison appears to have sold out some contact in 2014 for extra power, and with sneaky wheels and a well-earned full time gig at 3B for PIT, Harrison is a valuable asset in any league at just $5, even if he settles all the way down to 10 or 15 percent above league average.  That said, Harrison probably isn’t a guy to rebuild around, so if you have a a contender in your league willing to pay the 2014 price tag for Harrison because of his versatility, I’d consider selling.  Harrison is a true hacker, swinging at the first pitch in almost Puig-like fashion, so he’ll be one of the more interesting players to watch in 2015 as pitchers make that obvious adjustment.
  • Chase Utley: Ottoneu Profile

    Chase Utley: Ottoneu Profile

  • Chase Utley is what he is at this point in his excellent career, and at 35 y/o don’t expect anything above and beyond his surprisingly productive 2014, which was supported more than anything by his 155 games played.  Despite a a three year best LD rate (24.6%), Utley’s HR/FB% in 2014 sticks out like a sore thumb, so if he can play 145 games at 5.25 P/G in 2015, you’re still looking at a 750+ point 2B who seems to be priced perfectly in the $15 range.
  • Brian Dozier: Ottoneu Profile

    Brian Dozier: Ottoneu Profile

  • Maintaining similar core stats such as ISO, LD%, and Contact, Brian Dozier used a few extra games played and an improved HR/FB rate to exceed even the most optimistic 2014 expectations after locking down a full time 2B gig in MIN in 2013.  Dozier was 18% better than league average last year and continues to show the power/speed combination that propelled him to the 4th overall ranking among 2B in 2014.  Will Dozier improve even more in 2015? That’s a lot to ask, but I think we’re finally at the point where Dozier should be considered a lock as a 5.0 P/G, 750-800 point 2B that can easily form the core of your MI.  His 2013 under the radar season still has him underpriced at an average price of just $7, so hold tight if you’re fielding offers that don’t treat him like a top 5 option.
  • Martin Prado: Ottoneu Profile

    Martin Prado: Ottoneu Profile

  • Martin Prado had a tale of two seasons in 2014, finding new life only after getting traded to a NYY ballpark that barely helped push his production above league average.  Unfortunately, he’ll leave NYY for one of the largest ballparks in MLB in MIA, but it’s really Prado’s versatility (2B/3B/OF) that makes him a difficult player to evaluate heading into 2015.  At an average price of $16, he’s going to make you cross your fingers before you decide to carry him beyond January 31st, and if you’re planning to play him anywhere but 2B you’re suppressing what value he has remaining.  That said, Prado has a more productive history than someone like Josh Harrison, and his ISO, Contact, and LD rates have remained remarkably consistent.  As a best case scenario, I’d view Prado as a roughly 700 point 2B in 2015 in strong downside risk, so pay accordingly.
  • Jason Kipnis: Ottoneu Profile

    Jason Kipnis: Ottoneu Profile

  • The biggest question about Jason Kipnis heading into 2015 is whether 2013 (.168 ISO; 12% HR/FB, .345 BABIP, 5.99 P/G) should be considered the outlier? Kipnis is extremely difficult to peg for 2015, as injuries (oblique, hamstring) likely played a role in his disappointing campaign.  Questions remain: Can he hit LHP (44 wRC+ in 2014; 138 wRC+ in 2013; 66 wRC+ in 2012; 88 wRC+ career)? Can he stay healthy? What’s a realistic BABIP? Will he continue to give up contact for an attempt at power? With all those questions left unanswered heading into 2015, I’d set my expectations at that 3 year average mark of 4.94 P/G and hope for the best, though I’d be very hesitant to hit the $20 mark for his services when 2B feels a bit deeper with multiple ~ 700 point options.  For what it’s worth, Steamer projects 1.07 P/PA with 13 HR and a .320 wOBA.  That looks an awful lot like his 2012.  Final note: it’s not impossible that Kipnis moves to the OF in late 2015 as CLE continues to improve their MI defensive unit.
  • Daniel Murphy: Ottoneu Profile

    Daniel Murphy: Ottoneu Profile

  • The number suggest that Daniel Murphy would rival Alex Gordon as one of the most consistent players in MLB over the past couple of seasons, so there’s nothing revelatory to say here.  He’s a ~ 700 point 2B who can occasionally spot start at 3B.  While his value could rise with a move outside NYM, I wouldn’t factor that into your auction plans.  He’s a $10-$12 2B and will probably once again land at the very bottom of the top 12 2B rankings come October 2015.
  • Brett Lawrie: Ottoneu Profile

    Brett Lawrie: Ottoneu Profile

  • Brett Lawrie has robbed fantasy owners of hope and joy for three straight years now, consistently producing at a below average rate while maintaining well below average playing time (100 GP/year).  At an average $17 salary, are you prepared to let him do it again? Despite the relative optimism from Steamer (17 HR, .751 OPS, .332 wOBA), Lawrie is a risky bet to pay off as a staring 3B in 2015.  Thankfully, he finds himself here in the 2B rankings, which gives him a slight boost in value and a chance for redemption as he moves from TOR to OAK.  At age 25, Lawrie is a good bet to show some improvement in 2015, but you shouldn’t pay as if growth is guaranteed.  Plan for 1.15 P/PA, with a 600 PA season the best case scenario, or roughly 675-700 points.  You’ll need to downgrade him significantly because of his injury history, so if you’re holding or planning to pay more than about $7, you should consider looking elsewhere.  Lawrie has the talent to deliver valuable production at a premium position, but don’t buy the hype unless the price clearly offsets the risk.
  • Javier Baez: Ottoneu Profile

    Javier Baez: Ottoneu Profile

  • Perhaps one of the most difficult players to evaluate in Ottoneu heading into 2015, Javier Baez is going to play a critical role for owners next season one way or another as either a championship-caliber MI, or a massive bust that sinks your 2B/SS position to the waiver wire.  In other words, Baez is still boom or bust, and though he possesses elite power for MI option, his plate discipline (lack of) works against him in a format like linear weights.  Steamer seems to understand this perfectly, projecting 27 HR (which would have led all MI in 2014), but just a .304 wOBA that is pressured by a .276 OBP (.20 BB/K).  There’s no doubt that Baez possesses some elite skills, and because he’s shown an ability to make big adjustments on multiple occasions in the minors, there’s still hope that he pulls it together quickly to be a force in 2015.  The odds, however, suggest he’s still a few seasons away from becoming bankable MI option, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see more season at AAA in 2015 with all the options CHC has and their ramped up competitive timeline.  While it’s too early to give up on Baez, it is time to be realistic about expectations over the next season or two, and the reality is that he’ll likely deliver more value to your team as a trade chip now than by plugging him into your lineup in April.  By wary of re-buying the hype if/when Baez dominates in spring training.
  • Asdrubal Cabrera: Ottoneu Profile

    Asdrubal Cabrera: Ottoneu Profile

  • Asdrubal Cabrera hit 25 HR in 2011.  It’s been all downhill since, and moving to TB won’t help things much in 2015.  Cabrera *feels* like a league average player, so it’s not surprising to see his wOBA hover just above .300 for the last couple of seasons.  Steamer projects 587 points at just 0.98 P/PA, but with the SS landscape in shambles, Cabrera may still sneak his way into being at top 12 MI after your SS and 2B are filled out.  At an average price of $12 you should be selling; it makes more sense to lump Cabrera in with SS options like Aybar, Hardy, and Alexei, so target him to deliver about $6 in value.
  • Jedd Gyorko: Ottoneu Profile

    Jedd Gyorko: Ottoneu Profile

  • After an utterly disastrous start to the 2014 season that was likely influenced by a painful case of plantar fasciitis, Jedd Gyorko made some decent steps forward in the 2nd half of the season that offer a bit of hope heading into 2015.  This is your classic “post-hype” player, who’s 23 HR in 2013 are almost completely forgotten now by his abysmal showing last year.  Gyorko’s power and batting eye (11% BB rate) saw dramatic improvements in the 2nd half, and his K% dropped below 20% for the first time in his career.  With added luck (just .253 BABIP) in 2015, Gyorko likely finds his way back into a starting MI for most Ottoneu teams, and as of this writing I’d say the FG Fans may have it right with a 115 wRC+ and .330 wOBA.  A $7 investment is likely to pay off better here than many others as 700 points is within reach.
  • Howie Kendrick: Ottoneu Profile

    Howie Kendrick: Ottoneu Profile

  • As one of the more underrated 2B’s in Ottoneu last year Howie Kendrick, now almost 32, quietly hit is way into the 8th best 2B option of 2014 with 755 points.  He lost many of his power gains from the previous few seasons, but compensated by managing a career best BB/K rate and another consistently high BABIP.  Kendrick hit all 7 of his 2014 HR away from LAA (93), so keep that in mind now that he’s in LAD (100), which plays slightly better for RH HR.  Kendrick has always been known for having a great hit tool (and he hits LHP very well), so it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see him keep his BB/K gains in the later part of his career and age fairly well.  He’s a solid but unspectacular investment in the $10-$12 range that should give you the confidence to spend more heavily elsewhere in your lineup.
  • Scooter Gennett: Ottoneu Profile

    Scooter Gennett: Ottoneu Profile

  • With Weeks finally out of his shadow, the big question heading into 2015 for the man called Scooter is whether he finally cements himself as a full time MLB 2B, or should still be considered the better side of an Ottoneu platoon.  He hasn’t had much time to prove his value vs. LHP, but he’s completely missed the opportunities he’s been given, as a -18 wRC+ (2013) and -39 wRC+ (2014) vs. LHP scream danger.  That’s pretty much all you need to know about Gennett for this upcoming season, so if you’re planning to utilize him in a way that doesn’t provide insurance with another 2B bat off the bench, your middle infield is going to be hurting on those days against southpaws.  It’s entirely possible Gennett could take a step forward in 2015 (he’ll play at 25), but don’t pay more than $4 in your auction to ensure that he does.
  • Brandon Phillips: Ottoneu Profile

    Brandon Phillips: Ottoneu Profile

  • Brandon Phillips feels like a somewhat forgotten man heading into 2015, but much of that is self-inflicted, as a 457 point, .300 wOBA season put him clearly on the waiver wire in many leagues last season.  Before 2014, Phillips was on a downward trend, but he wasn’t without value, and I’d suspect a very small, late draft investment of $3-$5 could bring a nice return from a player that hit exactly 18 HR in each of the previous four consecutive seasons (2010 – 2013).  He still plays in a nice hitter’s ballpark, and CIN doesn’t have many options behind him, so he’ll get his chances if healthy.  There’s little risk here at the right, deflated price, so don’t overlook Phillips as a last ditch option as you fill out your bench in March or April.
  • Kolten Wong: Ottoneu Profile

    Kolten Wong: Ottoneu Profile

  • Without looking, how many HR did Kolten Wong hit in 2014? Hint: He has zero on June 1st.  From an eye-test standpoint, Wong looks like an emerging player:  He’s got a nice swing and comes the pedigree and work ethic needed maximize his to hit tool going forward.  But there is some noise in the numbers that suggest growing pains are still ahead.  For one, while he hit .315 vs LHP (.234 vs RHP), he didn’t walk once vs. LHP.  Not once.  It’s a small sample for sure (just 76 PA), but it will be interesting to see if he becomes a more complete hitter vs. same side pitching in 2015.  Speaking of walk rates, Wong’s BB% decreased at the season went on, with his K% nearly doubling to just over 20% in the 2nd half.  Clearly pitchers were figuring him out, so he’ll need to make adjustments to be a starting MI option for your team in 2015.  Wong is likely to see some improvement, but be careful not to overestimate his upside.  At best he may become a 15/20 guy but his low BB rates may play down a bit in linear weights.  I’d try to stay well under $10 if you’re buying the hype in March.  Wong hit 12 HR in 2014.
  • Mookie Betts: Ottoneu Profile

    Mookie Betts: Ottoneu Profile

  • If you were required to start one rookie in your Ottoneu lineup in 2015, who would you prefer? Most would probably say Kris Bryant, but he smart money (and the projections) say Mookie Betts is the guy to bank on.  The “out of nowhere” breakout story of Betts’ ascension last year is well publicized, but he came on so late (and so strong) that many owners likely find themselves with a bargain 2B/OF heading into 2015, even after attracting serious arbitration allocations this winter.  Betts is owned for just $6 on average in Ottoneu as of this writing, so it’s almost assured he will deliver surplus value on that investment, even without a clear path to regular playing time in BOS.  It’s Betts’ excellent OBP skills (and a combination of a great hit tool with useable power/speed) that makes him a great gamble out of the gate in 2015, and it’s also very possible he picks up multi-position eligibility with spot starts at 2B and even SS.  The hype is sky high right now for Betts (you won’t get him for $6 in your auction), but unless someone is offering you a massive haul for him, you’ve got to hold to see what you actually have for 2015 and the future.  A hedge somewhere between Steamer’s .344 wOBA and the Fans .357 wOBA is probably realistic, which is likely and 800 point 2B.  Invest.
  • Nick Franklin: Ottoneu Profile

    Nick Franklin: Ottoneu Profile

  • With Zobrist shipped off to OAK, Nick Franklin may finally (maybe) find his way into a full time 2B gig with TB in 2015.  Franklin is difficult assess, as he’s had intermittent periods of success that color both his short MLB career and his MiLB numbers.  It’s not a secret that he can’t hit right handed very well, so that switch-hitting concern may linger long enough to push him into a platoon role for 2015 at least, though his top prospect billing and relative youth work in his favor.  His SS eligibility helps too, so if you’re snagging him for a bench option that might deliver some surplus value later in the year, you’re probably on the right track as long as you can keep the initial investment to the $5-$7 range.
  • Rougned Odor: Ottoneu Profile

    Rougned Odor: Ottoneu Profile

  • Roughed Odor hit MLB last season after just 282 PA at the AA level, and he held his own (.306 wOBA) in 2014 at just 20 years old, which in context should be considered a success.  In fact, his .142 ISO ranked him ahead of notable 2B’s such as Zobrist, Utley, and even Robinson Cano, and his age 20 .698 OPS was better than that of Trammell, Renteria, Sheffield, Yount and Profar at the same age. Odor doesn’t walk much, so his value is in making contact, and in that way he resembles a little bit of Howie Kendrick.  He closed out 2014 with noticeable improvement, hitting .296/.345/.481 in September (.362 wOBA), so the combination of youth, MiLB success, and prospect pedigree gives hope that Odor may emerge as a starting 2B for 2015 and beyond.  Odor is an aggressive hitter that will likely have his ups and downs in 2015, but you shouldn’t ever underestimate the year to year growth potential of a player with a “70” hit tool.

2B Position Review

So who’s your pick for 2B in 2015? Sleeper? Breakout? Best buy? Let’s discuss in the comments.

 

2015 Ottoneu Position Outlook: 1B

Welcome to the 1st annual Ottoneu Position Outlook (2015).  

While there’s no shortage of fantasy baseball resources (rankings, projections, opinions) available on the interwebs today, this review is dedicated entirely to the growing fantasy format of Ottoneu, the creation of founder Niv Shah.  In other words, this is your go-to resource for custom, Ottoneu-style dynasty baseball preparation for 2015.  If you aren’t familiar with Ottoneu, you can check out more information here

The positional reviews that follow are specifically tailored to Ottoneu “FanGraphs Points” leagues, so you’ll want to keep this linear weights scoring format in mind as you digest the information below and prepare for your own Ottoneu draft/league in 2015. 

The setup is pretty standard:
·    Review 2014 results and some of the top players at each position
·    Compare average salaries of players found throughout the Ottoneu player universe
·    Various player blurbs and analysis
·    Identify a few surprises and disappointments from the previous season
·    2015 Top 20 ranking and a few sleepers to target

In addition to the format above, you’ll find several graphs for quick reference, as well as an open invitation to comment for further feedback.  Keep in mind that rankings, strategies, and player evaluations are opinion only, so this is best used as a general guide.  

2015 Position Outlook: 1B

Top 1B from 2014 - FGPoints Scoring

Top 1B from 2014 – FGPoints Scoring

  • If you owned Victor Martinez in 2014, there’s a good chance you were chasing a league title, as he delivered more surplus value than just about any player in Ottoneu last year.  If you didn’t own Victor Martinez in 2014 and somehow overlooked his incredible season, stop reading now and go take a look.  After scoring 810 points in 2013 (just over 5 P/G), the 35 year old rediscovered the fountain of youth and paced the entire 1B circuit with 1,110 points over a relatively healthy season of 151 games.  More impressively, VMart accomplished this while maintaining a 6.60 K%, 10.90 BB%, and a .230 ISO.  In other words, he more than doubled his HR output from 2013 while improving his plate discipline (a 16% HR/FB helped after two consecutive years around 7%).  That’s just not easy to do, so you’d be in the minority if you don’t expect some level regression in 2015, right?.  VMart was the best 1B bargain of 2014, but what kind of drop off should be expected? His breakout is fully supported by the underlying skills (and elite contact rates), but his age tells us it’s an outlier.  VMart is just tough to peg for 2015, so to be safe, I’d combine 2012 – 2014 and take the average, which is a 6.0 P/G player.  Pay for 900+ points, 20-25 HR , and 150 games.
  • The other big surprise at 1B in 2014 was the immediate emergence of Jose Abreu, who now looks like a lock as a top 3 1B entering 2015.  Most scouts were willing to bet on the translation of an elite power tool to MLB, but Abreu looked every bit the smart, natural hitter in 2015 as well, though it will be interesting to see if he can maintain elite BABIP levels of > .350 going forward.  One thing is for certain: Abreu hits the ball with authority, as his .264 ISO was 2nd best among first basemen (just behind Edwin Encarnacion), and his 26.9% HR/FB ratio was 66% better than the average HR/FB% of the top 20 scoring 1B shown here.  Abreu had a monster 1st half in the power department (35% HR/FB!), but owners can also be excited about genuine, positive adjustments made in the 2nd half of the season too, as Abreu’s OPS actually increased thanks in part to a .430 OBP, which was fueled by an improved BB rate (11%), contact rate (79%), and utter domination of LHP (1.373 OPS).  Likely one of the top arbitration targets of the off season in Ottoneu leagues, Abreu is still worth every penny (and more) of his current $30+ average salary, and is one of the few players with legitimate 40+ HR potential in 2015.
  • Speaking of power and crushing LHP, don’t forget about how good Paul Goldschmidt can be in 2015.  Injuries limited him to 109 games in 2014 but he was every bit the player he was in 2013 (7.45 P/G) when he was on the field.  Plenty of similarities between Goldy and Abreu heading into 2015 (age, power, contact), so it won’t be surprising to see their prices align in new Ottoneu leagues, either.  It’s tough to go wrong with either, but if you’re drafting a new Ottoneu team in 2015, Goldy may be the preferred option over Abreu just because we’ve yet to see how Abreu will adjust to a full season of scouting reports.  Steamer has Goldschmidt at .386 wOBA (30 HR) and 144 wRC+ (6.86 P/G), so I’m taking the over (~ 1,150+ points) without thinking twice.
  • Remember when everyone last year said Anthony Rizzo couldn’t hit LHP? Surprise, he hit .300 vs. LHP with a higher OPS (.928 vs. .907).  He’s making those adjustments and is still only 25.  Rizzo was a monster in 2014 on a per game basis (5th at 6.90), was one of the best bargains in Ottoneu (< $24 average salary after arbitration), and was unsurprisingly a top five arbitration magnet this off season.  There don’t appear to be any major red flags in the offensive profile (although his BB rate dropped from 14% to 9% in the 2nd half), so Rizzo looks like the real deal heading into 2015, which should be a truly exciting year for Cubs fans.  While he doesn’t have quite the same level of power as Abreu and Goldschmidt, Rizzo is still maturing, learning the league, and has the benefit of being left handed in a great hitter’s park.  He was remarkably consistent throughout the season, and absolutely destroyed pitchers when he was ahead in the count, so he clearly has a plan at the plate (nearly 12% BB rate), and is young enough to find that extra gear that pushes him to the top of the list.  Bid confidently, as Rizzo is capable of reaching the 1,100 point threshold in 2015.
  • David Ortiz keeps on slugging (ranking 2nd in HR among 1B), posting another top 10 season in 2014 with 885 points.  While age (39) could get the better of him at any time, the underlying numbers suggest Big Papi hasn’t missed a beat and still deserves credit as a top 1B target in Ottoneu.  He posted the lowest BABIP of his BOS career (more than .50 less than his recent 5 year average), and has one of the highest “hard hit” rates in MLB (maintaining a top 5 ISO), so Ortiz may be in store for a beneficial correction in both average and power in 2015.  There’s no doubt the aged 1B (yes, he does qualify for 1B in 2015) has seen better days, but savvy Ottoneu owners will continue to see Ortiz as a cost-effective buying opportunity when the $40 1B are off the market.
Top 1B 2014 on points per game scoring basis

Top 1B 2014 on points per game scoring basis

  • Raise your hand if you had Steve Pearce as a top 10 1B on a per game basis heading into 2014? Believe it or not Pearce actually outpaced Freddie Freeman and Albert Pujols in 2014, though most owners were likely using him in their outfield thanks to his 31 GS in the OF in 2014.  Obviously he’ll retain his OF eligibility in 2015, so the key question is whether he will retain his breakout rate stats.  The short answer is “no”, as 2014 saw the perfect storm of BABIP (.322), HR/FB (17.5% career high), and playing time (86 GS) come together to account for a .404 wOBA and 186 OPS+.  Unfortunately, at 32 y/o, 2014 is likely as good as it gets, but then again, you’re not owning Pearce as your starting 1B, so a $5 Steve Pearce plays nicely as a 5th OF and 1B spot starter (Pearce gave you 8.00 P/G against LH starting pitchers in 2014).
  • Which 1B could have that Rizzo/Pearce-like breakout in 2015? The numbers suggest it could be Lucas Duda, who just made the top 20 P/G cutoff in 2014 at 5.28.  The good: Duda’s BB rate remained steady at 12% all year long, his 30 HR didn’t seem to need the benefit of an outrageous HR/FB spike (14% 1st half; 18% 2nd half), and he seems to thrive just as well on the road as he did at home.  He posted a career high in AB (514), which shouldn’t be in jeopardy with Eric Campbell (?) currently sitting behind him on the depth chart in NY.  The bad: despite some growth in the 2nd half, the jury is still out on whether Duda can actually hit LHP over a full season.  He hit only .180 against same-side pitching in 2014, good for a 54 wRC+, which is downright awful.  But then again, that’s what everyone said about Rizzo last year too, right? If Duda can improve that LHP flaw, he stands a chance to jump into a much higher 1B tier in 2015.  But keep in mind the risk, as he could just as easily tease with Pedro Alvarez-like power that is still dependent upon a platoon partner against southpaws.  At an average price of just over $5 in Ottoneu, no one is cutting Duda heading into February, but if you’re drafting for 2015, $10 – $12 seems about right to balance the risk/reward if you’re targeting him as a budget 1B option come March.
  • Jose Bautista won the most Ottoneu “rings” in 2014, owned by 27 championship teams (David Ortiz was 2nd with 21).  At an average price of $38 across all leagues, he’s still easily an elite option, but most teams are deploying him in the OF, as he only picked up 1B late in the 2014 season.  Still, that 1B eligibility is a nice addition since the position isn’t as deep as it once was, so it won’t be surprising if owners utilize Bautista in the 1B spot a few times in 2015.  Bautista saw his HR/FB rate increase a bit (to 18%) in the 2nd half, which essentially helped offset his slightly decreased walk rate during the same time frame.  While 40 HR seasons are a thing of the past for Bautista, he still hits the ball impressively hard at age 34, and his OBP skills (16% BB rate) are Ottoneu-gold.  Bautista sits right at the top of the list with Miggy and Encarnacion as sluggers who combine hard hits with high contact rates, so as long as he stays healthy for a contending TOR team, there’s little fear that serious decline is on the way at age 34.  Keep an eye on his splits in 2015…he destroyed LHP in the 1st half but came down to earth in the 2nd half, actually hitting better against RHP.

Three year Ottoneu trends at 1B

Average 1B salaries in all Ottoneu FGPoints leagues (as of 12.15.14)

Average 1B salaries in all Ottoneu FGPoints leagues (as of 12.15.14)

Three year (2012 - 2014) total points scoring average, per 1B (min 100 GP/season)

Three year (2012 – 2014) total points scoring average, per 1B (min 100 GP/season)

  • It’s hard to look at this graph of 3 year scoring averages at the 1B position and not be amazed by how good Miguel Cabrera has been over the past few years.  He’s been 25% better in total points scoring than his closest competitor at the position, Encarnacion, since 2012.  Miggy is a beast, and despite an injury-plagued 2014, he still managed to score just over 1,000 points, one of only nine (9) hitters to do so last year.  Keep an eye on his return timeline this winter as he’s coming back from significant ankle surgery that clearly sapped some of his HR power in 2014.  If healthy, he’s very likely to return to the top spot at the position in 2015, though it won’t come with much of a discount ($64) to those building around him.  Underlying numbers indicate Miggy still has the power to play at the elite level, and if his career low 14% HR/FB rebounds to “normal” Miggy-like levels, a season similar to 2010 isn’t completely out of the question.  After all, Miggy will play 2015 at age 32, so if guys like Ortiz (39) and Bautista (34) can still play at a high level, you shouldn’t feel the need to write Miggy off too soon.  He did set a career high in doubles (52) in 2014, many of which will clear the fence again in 2015 when healthy.
  • Chris Davis pops up at #8 on the best 1B of the past three scoring seasons, so what’s in store for 2015? The easiest bet in fantasy baseball heading into 2014 was banking on the under for 53 HR again from Davis, but what he actually delivered last year was devastating to those owners who invested heavily in what now appears to be a career-high HR/FB rate of almost 30% in 2013.  Clearly, 2014 was a lost year for Crush Davis, who found himself platooning regularly with Steve Pearce against LHP later in the season.  Despite still blasting 26 HR, Davis actually regressed in the 2nd half last year, an alarming trend that should encourage buyers to continue tapping the brakes in the 2015 auction.  Maybe it was the medication issue, but both his walk and contact rates plummeted in the 2nd half, which doesn’t come as a surprise when you see his sub-.200 batting average.  There’s still no evidence that Davis can consistently hit LHP, which is probably the biggest harbinger of trouble entering 2015, as Pearce and others may continue to take away playing time if it doesn’t materialize out of the gate in 2015.  Still, at 29 y/o, with 3B eligibility and a 50 HR season on his resume, Davis has the upside to recapture some glory, but owners may want to hedge their bets with a platoon partner as a return to 2012 (33 HR but 759 points) may be the new ceiling.
  • Joe Mauer: how the mighty have fallen.  At an average price of $27, you should be selling hard.  Pick up Loney, LaRoche, or Morneau as a suitable alternative and let others bid for the guy who hit only 4 HR last year.
  • Over the past three years, Joey Votto has averaged 7.15 P/G, 2nd only to Miggy.  Taking a look at his profile, he still has all the makings of an elite hitter in Ottoneu.  But does it feel like he scored 1,159 points in 2013 and played a full 162 game season? That feels like decades ago for some reason, so maybe Votto might actually be underrated heading into 2015.  He’s owned across Ottoneu at almost $49, so if you’re one of those owners I’m sure you’re thinking hard about selecting the “cut” option in your Roster Organizer right now.  Cutting Votto at $49 is worth the risk, as it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s a player many owners avoid in the draft in 2015 due to injury perceptions.  That avoidance may represent a buying opportunity at significantly reduced prices, so don’t forget about him just because he doesn’t show up at the top of the 2014 1B leaderboard.  He’ll play at 31 y/o and still maintains one of the best BB rates in the game.  Steamer’s .385 wOBA (135 GP) projection looks just right to me, so adjust your funding expectations accordingly.
  • Eric Hosmer doesn’t show up on any of these graphs, and yet his average Ottoneu price is just over $21, higher than Ortiz, Napoli, LaRoche, and Chris Carter, each of whom is likely to outscore Hosmer in 2015.  If Votto is underrated, Hosmer is perhaps the most overrated 1B in fantasy.  Sure, he’ll play 2015 at 25 y/o, and he did have a “breakout” 2nd half to the tune of a 115 wRC+ (thanks to a .341 BABIP, an increase in ISO, and finally being healthy, in just 34 games), but Hosmer’s ground ball tendencies just don’t do enough to suggest a power explosion is coming any time soon (similar to a lot of KC hitters…).  Over the past two seasons, Hosmer has averaged 4.95 P/G, so 775 points in a truly healthy season feels about right for him in 2015.  Granted, that’s a top 20 1B, but at what cost? The year we all finally write Hosmer off is probably going to be that year his skills at the plate finally catch up to his pedigree, so the message here isn’t to completely avoid him.  Just don’t go overboard in the auction when there are similar alternatives available at cheaper prices.  In other words, don’t get caught in a bidding war for Hosmer late in your draft; bid him up early for a reasonable price ($15 – $18), when possible, and bow out early if another owner is clearly betting on his age and upside to push up the price.  Odds are they’ll be the one most disappointed…
Average P/G (2012-2014) by 1B

Average P/G (2012-2014) by 1B

1B Disappointments – 2014

1)    Allen Craig – between 2012 and 2013, Allen Craig averaged 6.0 P/G, or 970 points over a full season.  The problem is, Craig has never played a full season (career high of 134 in 2013).  Everything went wrong for Craig in 2014, so it was only appropriate he was traded to BOS, for which everything else went wrong.  Unfortunately, despite being only 30 y/o, both Craig’s contact and power rates are trending downward.  Add in the fact that he’s (currently) buried in BOS behind a wide range of OF/1B possibilities, it doesn’t look promising that Craig is going to play a full slate of games any time soon.  At $17 (average in all Ottoneu FGPts leagues), I’m selling Craig as fast as I can.  He’s a $4-$7 player at best right now with slight upside, most of which is completely contingent upon health and playing time, neither of which looks promising for next season.  If it’s between Steve Pearce and Allen Craig in drafts in 2015, I’m taking Pearce.  They feel like similar players.

2)    Ike Davis – After hitting 32 HR in 2012, Ike Davis was a nice sleeper coming into 2014.  Granted, at an average price of $5, he was a sleeper/platoon at best, but he failed to deliver even $1 in value in 2014 after 3.12 P/G.  Davis is now in OAK as part of what looks to be a true platoon, but I’d continue to stay away, at least in drafts.  He’s teased Ottoneu leagues for a few years with great BB rates and emerging power, but there’s no reason to put him up for auction in 2015.  Wait till he gets hot (if ever) and pick him up on a speculative $1 bid in late April.  That’s your best hope to see any sort of profit going forward.  His 20% HR/FB in from 2012 is long gone…

3)    Nick Swisher – at $14, Swisher is getting cut in a lot of leagues this winter come January.  Bad knees (and eventual surgery) wreaked havoc on his season, and when he was playing he chased more pitches out of the zone than ever, making less contact with them when he did.  The old, consistent Swisher, the one that averaged 860 points (5.6 P/G) per season from 2009 – 2013 isn’t coming back, but of the three 1B mentioned here, I’d bet on Swisher having the best bounce back season…maybe just enough to use as your 5th OF at around $6.

2015 Top 20 1B (total points)*

1)    Paul Goldschmidt ($45)
2)    Jose Abreu ($45)
3)    Miguel Cabrera ($55 – rank #1 if fully healthy by ST)
4)    Anthony Rizzo ($36)
5)    Freddie Freeman ($36)
6)    Edwin Encarnacion ($35)
7)    Joey Votto ($32)
8)    Victor Martinez ($27)
9)    David Ortiz ($24)
10)    Brandon Belt ($22)
11)    Albert Pujols ($20)
12)    Adrian Gonzalez ($20)
13)    Prince Fielder ($20)
14)    Eric Hosmer ($18)
15)    Chris Davis ($16)
16)    Adam LaRoche ($12)
17)    Lucas Duda ($12)
18)    Mike Napoli ($12)
19)    Matt Adams ($10)
20)    Justin Morneau ($10)

*Note: players eligible for other premium positions (Bautista, Posey, Lucroy, Santanta, Carter) will be ranked at the position deemed most valuable for the 2015 season. ($) above represents estimated auction price I’d consider paying for 2015.

Three 1B Bargains for 2015

1)    Billy Butler – over the past three (3) seasons Butler is the 11th highest average scoring 1B in Ottoneu.  He’ll turn 29 in April and should have DH locked down in OAK now with Moss out of town.  Butler isn’t ever going to hit 29 HR again like he did in 2012, but he’s not to be overlooked, especially considering a) he mashes LHP, and b) you can probably pick him up for ~ $3 in 2015.  Butler averaged 927 points/season between 2009 – 2013, so a return to the 800 point threshold from a $3 1B would be a nice profit outlook for 2015.

2)    Brandon Belt – his injury plagued 2014 (thumb, concussion) started off crazy hot as Belt sacrificed his normally excellent BB rates with extraordinary power in April/May.  He’ll play 2015 at the magic age of 27, and though he’s never hit more than 17 HR in a season, I’d be willing to bet on at least 10 more, which is the reason I’d go at least $10 over his current average Ottoneu price of $12.  Belt represents one of the true upside profit plays in 2015 at the 1B position.

3)    Matt Adams – With Craig out of town and only Mark Reynolds a threat to take away some AB’s vs. LHP, Adams is setup nicely to improve upon his .779 OPS from 2015 and possibly enter the top 10 1B discussion if everything breaks right.  Of course, STL signed Reynolds because Adams still struggles against same side pitching, so we’ll take a wait and see approach until he does.  However, his contact rates are solid, and his hard hit and line drive rates are strong enough that more power is expected, so you’ll want to be buying when it does.  Adams doesn’t walk much (just 5% in 2014), so his OBP will be limited to around .340, but for around $10 (or less) you could have a 26 y/o breakout on your hands.  I’ll take the (slight) overage on his .335 Steamer wOBA projections for 2015.

Next Up: 2nd base…

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2015 Ottoneu League Projections Tool (FGPoints)

Are you setup to win your Ottoneu league in 2015?

The best way to win is to know when to go all in, and projecting your own team is just one small piece of that process.  Here you’ll find a handy, visual tool that will help finish that process for you by measuring your own team against the rest of your league using 2015 projections.

The “2015 Roster Grid” tool is simple to use:

1) Download the Roster Grid here (.xlxs)

2015 Ottoneu FGPoints League Pre-Season Roster Grid

2) Export your league rosters from Ottoneu (you can find this .csv export file from your league team page for all owners)

3) Copy and paste your league’s rosters (players and salaries) into the League Salaries tab in the spreadsheet.  Note: You may have to overwrite some player names like “Manuel Machado” into their common name of “Manny Machado” in order to get the lookup to work correctly in the Roster Grid tab).

4) Select the Roster Grid tab and begin entering team names, player names, and projections for each team in your league.  Keep in mind you can update anything in “yellow” in the Roster Grid tab, and you will need to enter projected 2015 P/G and P/IP for each player on each team in order to get a full working comparison of each team in the League Summary tab.

The Roster Grid tab is really where this process comes alive.  While it may take you some time to enter all teams and player names, the payoff is well worth it (and you only have to do it once).

Once all teams and player names have been added to the Roster Grid, you can begin entering your own projections into the spreadsheet.  You can manipulate two variables of the projection system: P/G (or P/IP for pitchers), and playing time (as measured in GP or IP).  The spreadsheet will do the rest, and provides you 2014 results along with 3 year average production as a guide.

So…I’ve entered all my data and projections – now what?

The real power of the tool is in the filters.  You can now filter on just about any variable for 2015, including lineups, bullpens, players, position eligibility, P/G, playing time, etc.  If you can work simple filters in Excel, you’re going to really enjoy what this tool offers you after entering the core league data.

Net, check out the League Summary tab.  This tab now gives you a visual breakdown of the following:

* Each team in your league

* Total projected points for each team’s lineup, rotation, bullpen, and bench

* Visual graphs to help you compare teams at every critical level (P/G, P/IP, etc.)

2015 Ottoneu FGPoints League Pre-Season Roster Grid_Page_1

More than 200 trades were made across Ottoneu in the week following the end of arbitration.  That’s a good indication that leagues are waking up and in planning mode for 2015.  There’s no better way to plan to build your own team than by doing it in the real time context of your closest competition, and this projection tool will help you do just that.

Please feel free to leave comments, questions, or requests in the comments section.  You’ll note that the Roster Grid tool doesn’t utilize common projection systems like Steamer, etc., and instead offers 3 year averages.  While Steamer and other systems may be added later, they are too much in flux right now with MLB signings that a 3 year average was the best, most static measurement for this process.

Hope you enjoy.

You can also join the Ottoneu community discussion here: https://ottoneucommunity.slack.com

2015 Ottoneu FGPoints League Pre-Season Roster Grid

*New* Ottoneu Champions League 🏆

I have been in 3 to 4 Ottoneu leagues in each of the three years I’ve played. During that time I have interacted with many owners who have employed varieties of different strategies in their quest for success. This has often left me wondering who the best owners are across the Ottoneu universe. Have certain owners been consistently better than their counterparts year over year? Any owner can have one good season, but is sustained performance at the top of multiple leagues common?

I have been fortunate enough to have won multiple championships with many other finishes near the top of leagues. That being said, there are many owners who have performed equally as well (if not better) than I have. In 2015, our goal is to give those owners a shot.

With the help of Trey (@fazeorange) I am setting up an Ottoneu league specifically for owners who have won leagues and sustained excellence. We are altering some rules slightly – relegation threats and a non-rostered MiLB system, for example – and are raising the bar for acceptance into the league. We are looking for owners who have played 3 years or more and won a minimum of one championship. (The years played threshold is somewhat flexible.) Our attempt is to provide a more competitive, committed, and involved Ottoneu league than any owner has experienced.

Attached is the league charter and layout of rules (all rule tweaks and league necessities are outlined here).  If you are interested in joining us, please let us know in the comments.  In addition,  please leave your Ottoneu username so that we can compare interested owners.

Here’s to 2015. It’s shaping up to be a lot of fun.

Ottoneu Champions League Charter

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