Ottoneu RP experiment - Paying for saves

Ottoneu RP experiment - Paying for saves

This Ottoneu season I’m experimenting with a couple of different RP strategies. In this post, I’m going to lay out how I’ve approached RP in my 5x5 league (note: this is a 10-team league that uses the vote-off arbitration system, rather than the standard 12-team league that uses the allocation arbitration system).

If you were to look at the brains of experienced fantasy baseball managers, you’d likely see “don’t pay for saves” spelled out in the wrinkles of their frontal lobe. The reasoning being RP are volatile, so pay little for them.

Well, my team sucked last year, but I wanted to compete this season. So, I needed to zag where the rest of the league was zigging. The idea to pay for saves started with this offseason trade in early December:

I gave up: $47 Christian Yelich

They gave up: $44 Bryce Harper, $28 Aroldis Chapman, and $3 Dylan Bundy

That gave me three possible closers: $28 Chapman, $6 Ryan Pressly, and $7 Jordan Romano. But, I was still thinking like everyone else, hoping to trade Chapman or planning to cut him.

The idea to pay for saves solidified a few days before the cut deadline. After swapping my $21 Paul Goldschmidt for $44 Alex Bregman and $6 Lance Lynn earlier in January, I flipped Bregman for $24 Kenley Jansen and $6 Ramon Laureano.

So, heading into the draft my bullpen looked like this:

Where I started
POS Name Price
RP Aroldis Chapman NYY $28
RP Kenley Jansen LAD $24
RP Jordan Romano TOR $7
RP Ryan Pressly HOU $6
RP Devin Williams MIL $3


Again, I had no plans of adding any more closers. Necessary context: the draft was set for February 15, before many of the major RP free agents had signed (including Kirby Yates on Toronto) and weeks before teams’ closer situations became clear.

Early in the draft, I didn’t go the extra dollar when I should have, leaving me with the hammer late in the draft. Again needing to zag, I went to $28 on Jake Diekman. In the draft, I also added $2 Sean Doolittle and $1 Yimi Garcia, each of whom I thought had a strong chance of winning their respective teams’ closer jobs.

The strategy didn’t end there, though, as three days later the Athletics signed Trevor Rosenthal to be their closer. With the $14 savings from cutting Diekman, as well as some other leftover cash that went unused in the draft, I set about trying to buy, or at the very least price enforce, every closer as spring training progressed and roles became clearer.

Jake McGee signed in San Francisco, I won him for $9. Jose Alvardo was throwing near 100 mph and rumored to be in the mix for saves, I won him for $8. After Kirby Yates’ arm injury, I bid $9 on Rafael Dolis, he went for $10. Word came down that Nick Wittgren could close, I bid $10 on him, he went for $11. I didn’t even bid on Lucas Sims or Cesar Valdez, but I can’t help but think my aggressive bidding is what caused other managers to bid $14 and $13 on them respectively, (both went for $9).

My final push (at least so far), was bidding $13 on Julian Merryweather, he went for $14. Here’s where I stand at the time of this post:

Where I stand
POS Name Price
RP Aroldis Chapman NYY $28
RP Kenley Jansen LAD $24
RP Jake McGee SFG $9
RP Jordan Romano TOR $7
RP Ryan Pressly HOU $6
BENCH Jose Alvarado PHI $8
BENCH Devin Williams MIL $3


Whether this strategy will ultimately work out in my favor we will have to wait and see, obviously, but I think I’ve at least gotten into the heads of my competitors and pushed up the price for closers, which I think are both wins.

Just a week into the season, my strategy has so far only produced three saves for my team. But I’m feeling confident in the strategy considering saves continue to be spread to more and more pitchers. Already, 36 different pitchers have notched a save.

I’m planning on keeping tabs on this strategy throughout the season, so I’ll check-in in a month and see how it’s going.

(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)