Hot on the heels of my first Ottoneu draft was my second one. If you missed my first review, go back and have a read (especially if you don’t know about Ottoneu).

A brief summary is it’s a Fangraphs based platform for dynasty leagues so if you want to start up your own dynasty league or dip your toes in the water, Ottoneu is your best bet and has a considerable number of industry folk playing in leagues there.

My second draft was a very different proposition from my first one. This team is one I have had for 4 years and came third last year. I only had six roster spots needing filling and had $131 to do it with. A far cry from the 21 players I needed with less money in the first draft.

I went into this draft needing a starting third baseman and a middle infielder to cover for Gregorius’ absence. They were the priorities and I was willing to spend the majority of my budget on those two needs. I also needed two relivers, one outfielder and then one extra spot I could just fill with whatever I needed as the draft unfolded, although I was leaning towards another starting pitcher.

If I was unable to get a top third baseman and middle infielder, providing I got one position filled, I figured I’d spend big on another starter despite having an abundance of them. You can never have too much pitching after all!

The only two top 3B’s available were Kris Bryant and Josh Donaldson, so Bryant was my target with Donaldson my fallback option. The Astros’ pair of Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa were the top MI options with Altuve my preferred choice. I also had Yulieski Gurriel available to me as a back-up to both positions.

In terms of starting pitchers, the only top tier options available were Clayton Kershaw and Stephen Strasburg so plenty of risk involved with both. I was also aware that some high-end outfielders and first basemen were available so knew some teams would be spending big on those positions too. I have Pete Alonso as my first baseman and can fill the position with JT Realmuto or Ryan O’Hearn in case Alonso starts in the minors. But that left another option to go with, getting a 1B should I miss out on my first plans.

On to the draft itself. And it wasn’t long until one of my targets was up; Josh Donaldson. Not ideal as he was my fallback option if I don’t get Kris Bryant. I couldn’t risk skipping on Donaldson and then missing out on Bryant so early in the draft so threw my bids out there. Donaldson ended up going for $34 which was a tad more than I wanted to pay so I held tight to wait for Bryant. I was hoping to get Bryant for around $40 but knew I’d end up having to go more if Donaldson commanded such interest.

I was somewhat pleased to see Paul Goldschmidt nominated next as he went for $54, taking away someone else’s money to hopefully leave it a bit easier for me to acquire my targets, of which my main one was up two picks later.

Kris Bryant saw some ferocious early bidding until I threw my hat in the ring, eventually getting him for $49. More than I planned and more than I wanted but as only the fifth guy auctioned, I didn’t want to have to resort to my fallback option of Gurriel so early, especially if I missed out on Altuve and Correa as well.

Just two players later, Jose Altuve was nominated, and the bidding was again extreme before he went for $53. I knew I had Correa as a backup option so wasn’t prepared to overpay by that much for Altuve (who I had lined up for $45ish). Anthony Rizzo ($52) and Joey Votto ($48) soon followed and it was clear that the top names were commanding big bids and I would have to go big for Correa, topping the $40 I had him valued for.

I still had in the back of my mind the starting pitchers I could get if I don’t end up with Correa, of which Strasburg was auctioned a couple of picks later. I was still willing to go around the $25 mark for him and keep back $57 for Correa and, two cheap relievers and find a bargain outfielder. This is where things took a turn for the worst.

A few players went who I wasn’t looking to bid on before Correa went up. $50 later, someone else had him on their team. So, I had to turn my attention to plan B; get Gurriel as my middle infielder and look at getting Kershaw. Plan B promptly went out the window as Kershaw was next up and went for $36, more than I was prepared to pay for him given his current health status and risk involved.

With Plan B now in tatters, I had to decide what route to take. With $82 left, I still needed the MI, two relivers, an outfielder and one last spot which was free. I went a route I never take and had no intention to go during this draft. Just ten minutes after missing Correa, I had Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen for a combined $52. At least I filled in two needed roster spots! With my remaining $30 I made sure of getting Gurriel for $7. That left me $23 and just two spots to fill (one being an outfielder),

I plumped for Franmil Reyes for $11 which again was more than I valued him for but given what was left available and where I was, I could still get a final decent piece and leave a few bucks in the bank. I tried for Luis Urias but he went for $10 which I wasn’t able to go to and ended up rostering Chad Pinder for $3; someone who’d offer versatility and had decent upside for that price.

That was that. I had a full roster, $9 left and a whole heap of regrets. Why didn’t I go an extra few bucks for Altuve or Correa? Why not just have got Donaldson early and been more aggressive on the Astros pair? Why didn’t I go big for an outfielder early and just focus on a 3B or MI rather than both? One thing I didn’t regret is not going the distance in bidding for Strasburg or Kershaw as they would’ve have been luxuries and pricey ones with significant risk at that, without really filling a need.

One thing I was pleased with is how I adapted and changed course in the draft, albeit after taking a route I’m still not convinced about. Something I’ve been guilty of in the past is being too rigid in my plans and not modifying them once the draft started.

Another takeaway I had from the two drafts was just how varied the prices are. My first draft of the week was a new team I picked up, so this was the first time I had multiple Ottoneu teams and drafts so could compare prices.

For example, in my first draft I was able to get Joc Pederson for $1. This draft, he went for $14. This is exactly the same rules/roster makeup etc so that was a staggering difference. Having spent $30 on Chapman, I went back to look for how much he cost in the first draft. To my chagrin, he went for just $12. Jansen went for $10 cheaper than I paid for him here. Across the board, prices were much higher in the second draft I did.

On reflection, that was down to other teams’ roster constructions. This second draft saw more teams have more money to spend and fewer gaps to fill. Simple economics were in play; low supply and high demand means big prices. And boy were they big.

Votto went for $18 more, Archer for $9 more, Darvish for $6 more. Players like Domingo Santana went for twice the price, purely a product of team’s getting desperate to fill their rosters and having plenty of money to do so.

That leads me onto my final realisation/pearl of wisdom: Be aware of your competition. Seeing as I only needed a couple of spots filling in my roster, I could have taken more time to go through everyone else’s team to see who the competition would be rather than just looking at their money and total number of players they needed. This may have given me an edge on the bidding for certain players, knowing a rival would have to bow out if they had other needs for example.

All in all, I’m happy enough with my two teams and the drafts. I accomplished most of what I intended to and feel like I can compete in both (if not at least with one and am set up well in the long term with the other). Lessons were learned along the way and with a bit of luck, success shouldn’t be too far from my grasp.

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