Ottoneu RP Experiment - The $5 bullpen

Ottoneu RP Experiment - The $5 bullpen

This Ottoneu season I’m experimenting with a couple of different RP strategies. In the first post in this series, I outlined a contrarian strategy I’m deploying in my 5x5 league. In this post, I’m going to lay out how I’ve approached RP in one of my FanGraphs points leagues.

I claimed this team last offseason and have spent the last year in a rebuild. While I was happy with my progress, as this year’s keeper deadline drew nearer, I felt I needed a big idea to really put me in contention.

I had been toying with the idea of paying up for one top reliever and then filling out the rest of my bullpen with $1 arms. The thought being, relievers are volatile and I inevitably end up adding other RPs in season anyway, so why pay for them in the draft.

A day before the keeper deadline, I acquired Kenley Jansen (LAD RP R $18) and I was on track to test this strategy. But, then to my surprise there was going to be a ton of top tier talent available in the draft in this league and I wanted to have the cash to pay up for them. It was the perfect opportunity to test my theory, so I cut Jansen.

My draft haul:

RP Dylan Floro MIA RP R $1
RP Greg Holland KCR RP R $1
RP Adam Ottavino BOS RP R $1
RP Mike Mayers LAA RP R $1
RP Pierce Johnson SDP RP R $1

Position Players
OF J.D. Martinez BOS OF R $27
2B Jose Altuve HOU 2B R $26
UTIL Nelson Cruz MIN UTIL R $23
OF Joey Gallo TEX OF L $21
OF Max Kepler MIN OF L $13

In the draft, it was very difficult landing any RP for $1 and I was woefully unprepared for how deep into the reliever pool I would have to go to fill my spots.

Though, I was pleased coming out of the auction because I was able to parlay my savings from my only $1 RPs strategy into five impact bats, giving me what I thought was one heck of a boppin lineup.

The downside being I was left with a very questionable bullpen. I cut Johnson days before the season as he was dealing with an injury. I then cut Holland after he blew a save just a week into the season. I replaced them with Codi Heuer (CHW RP R $1) and Sean Newcomb (ATL RP L $1).

So far, my relievers have mustered just 5.41 points/innings pitched, good for second to last in the league. Hopefully they can pick it up. I plan to only add $1 relievers as I want to see this experiment through for an entire season.

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.

A few additional thoughts, if I’m going to do this again, I really need to bone up on the reliever auction pool. I was woefully unprepared for how hard it would be to roster a reliever for $1 and as a result I was sort of throwing darts.

Also, the next time I try something like this, I think I’d rather not roster any relievers out of the draft at all. Instead, I’d save some of my cap space and wheel and deal for relievers early in the regular season who exhibit positive changes.

(Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire)