Peoplepeoplepeoplepeople! It’s the freakin’ weekend, baby I’m about to… work 21 hours over the next two days because I graduated in 2009 and all of the jobs created since the Great Recession are contract work. Oh sorry just got caught up in a little remix to the remix to Ignition. We can co-opt all of R. Kelly’s music now, right?
But um, back to the lecture at hand. From a young G’s perspective, now’s the time to add those players who went overlooked in Ottoneu auctions for one reason or another. Today, I have three for your consideration, one infielder, one outfielder and one pitcher.
But before we begin I have to address something. Put your earmuffs on roto players, I’d like to speak directly to points leagues owners for a moment. Ahem. WHY ARE YOU OWNING MALLEX SMITH? Seriously, one of you please explain it to me. He’s owned in nearly 97% of FanGraphs Points leagues and in 95% of SABR Points leagues. How is he different than Dee Gordon (77% FGPts, 85% SABR), Billy Hamilton (27%, 25%), or Delino Deshields (13%, 0%)? In fact, why are you owning any of these players? Using THE BAT projections:
Mallex Smith 615.2 PTS - 4.13 P/G
Dee Gordon 576.4 PTS - 3.87 P/G
Billy Hamilton 483.3 PTS - 3.50 P/G
Delino Deshields 473.6 PTS - 4.19 P/G
I’ll have more on this in my piece next week, but right now I’ll just say that those P/G are too low to justify rostering these players. Speed only players are not valuable in points leagues, stop owning them.
So who should you own instead?
Jung-ho Kang (59% owned)
Putting it simply, power plays, this applies in both types of leagues but points leagues especially. I highlighted Kang in my piece last Friday, Dollar Dog Night – 20 $1 Ottoneu Players (by the way, check out that article for many more players who are still criminally under-owned). Here’s what I said:
Jung-ho Kang (35%, $3) JUDASSSSS. Let other people have morals while you win fantasy leagues. Back in 2016, dude had 21 homers in just 103 games. If you’re being generous that’s 30 homers over a full season. Now he is 2 years older. BUT (TINA GOT A BIG OLE BUTT) the power still appears to be there, in 9 games this spring he has 4 homers and a .727 slugging percentage. Is that good? The only thing between him and the Pirates starting third base job is empty batting average Colin Moran.
Well, on Monday Kang was named the starting third baseman in Pittsburgh. What has he done since then? MASH TATERS. Dude now has 6 homers this spring and a .722 slugging percentage. The power is there and other owners are catching on, as you can see he’s now owned in nearly 60% of leagues. Grab him while you still can.
I recently traded a $52 Kris Bryant for a package of $30 Aaron Nola, $6 Didi Gregorius, $3 Mallex Smith (coincidence, I swear, he was promptly dropped) and $1 Dinelson Lamet in an FGPts league. In that league aces are very hard to come by so I did the deal, but it left me with just Jake Lamb at 3B. So I put $9 on Kang who was up for auction and I ended up getting him for $6. If you followed my auction prep strategy then you have the money and roster spots to add any of these players.
Austin Hays (56% owned)
In all honesty, he should have been in last week’s article, not sure how I overlooked him, but can you blame me? Everyone else seems to have as well. Power plays, have I said that yet? In 2017, Hays hit 32 home runs in just 128 games between high-A and AA. Ankle and shoulder injuries derailed his 2018. But it appears he’s finally healthy and back in the kitchen mashin’ taters. This spring, he hit 5 homers and had an .892 slugging percentage and seemed to be on track to start the season with the big league club… and was promptly optioned to AAA on Sunday. Service time manipulation is real (and total horse shit), people.
But don’t fret little one, there’s reasons for optimism. First, he was sent down, meaning other owners who were desperate for outfield help RIGHT NOW are off of him, meaning you should be able to get him at a cheap price. Second, the player who stands between him and the Orioles’ right field job is Joey Rickard. He of the lifetime slash line of .252/.298/.376 in 731 major league at-bats. Once the service time clock is up, expect Hays to be called up immediately.
I was in a draft on Saturday, it was the end of the draft and I was pretty desperate for outfield. I had just snagged Cedric Mullins for $1 and was feeling pretty good about myself. Basically every player at this point is going for $1, there’s 3 owners left. Hays was still there. Another owner failed to nominate a player. It comes back around to me, I nominate Hays and that owner throws down $6. !@#$. Had he nominated and won a player, that would have been his last roster spot. This is why auto-nomination should be mandatory in Ottoneu. Alas, I paid the $7.
Dakota Hudson (61.3% owned)
I honestly didn’t know Dakota Hudson existed until he was named to the Cardinals rotation yesterday, but if I’m being honest, as a Brewers fan I tend to ignore most things about the Red Birds. And looking at his initial numbers I think my willful blindness was justified. A career 2.69 ERA across 3 season between Rookie ball and the Majors seems great, right? But looking at his K/9 (6.5), BB/9 (3.3), and H/9 (8.4) there just seems like a whole lot of luck going on.
OK well how did he do this spring? He’s thrown 15.2 innings and allowed just 6.89 hits and 2.3 walks per 9 innings. Meanwhile, his K/9 jumped to 9.77. My interest was piqued, but I was still quite skeptical (small sample size, you can never trust spring stats, blahbiddyblahblah).
So I dug deeper. OK I didn’t really have to dig because it’s right there on his FanGraphs player page, but I clicked the mouse which, if you account for inflation, is basically the same as sticking a shovel in the ground and digging up a pile of dirt when they still had to do that 50 years ago. Hudson appears on Jason Collette’s 2019 New Pitch Tracker list because he has reportedly added a changeup. You can and should click through to the St. Louis Post Dispatch article.
Quick math time, in just 3 years time Hudson has moved from Rookie ball to the Majors, so the organization has a lot of confidence in him. He has made a change (adding a changeup) and he’s showing clear improvements (look at his spring stats). Finally, to this point I haven’t mentioned Hudson’s best skills, he doesn’t allow homers (0.2 career HR/9) AND he produces a ton of weak contact (his groundball rate was north of 57% throughout the Minors and was 60% in his short stint in the Majors last season).
I don’t yet have any shares of Hudson yet, but I expect to throw $9 on him in at least one league this weekend and hope I get him for $5ish.
There you have it. Do the damn thing! More soon.
(Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire)