Coronavirus Update pt 3 / Short Season details

Part 1 here
Part 2 here

I hope everyone is doing well and is staying safe. Hopefully we are on a road towards recovery now, but please remain careful and we will get through this together.

Very few leagues have disbanded this year and the support means we should make it through 2020. All I can say is: thank you so much. I wouldn’t be able to do this without the community being as great as it is, so again, thank you.

The 2020 MLB season is starting to take shape, so today I’d like to address how Ottoneu plans on handling the short season. Our guiding principle is that Ottoneu Fantasy Baseball is at its best when it creates the same kinds of decision-making facing real GMs, and I believe that is reflected in these rule updates.

Salary Inflation and Arbitration

Going into the 2020-21 offseason, there will be normal salary inflation and arbitration will be available across all leagues. This reflects that service time is accrued during this short season and that MLB teams will have to grapple with arbitration and free agency during their offseason. Salary inflation and arbitration also motivates player movement in Ottoneu and is essential to a fun offseason and auction draft ahead of the 2021 season. Any league can choose to not participate in arbitration as they see fit. As long as teams do not submit votes or arb dollars, the site will not apply arbitration.

Position Eligibility

During the 2020 season, players will be able to gain eligibility as normal - 10 games played or 5 games started at a position. However, players will not lose position eligibility over the course of this season. Going into the 2021 season, position eligibility will be based on 2020 eligibility and 2019 eligibility. Going into the 2022 season, we will revert to looking one season back instead of 2 seasons back.

MLB Players Opting Out

There is an open question under the MLB-MLBPA agreement regarding players opting out of playing this season. We will monitor this closely to see what kind of mechanism is implemented for these players. If possible, these players will result in an extra roster spot, like players placed on the 60-day IL. This will be dependent on us having access to reliable data, and I will update this as soon as possible.

Multiple Matchup-per-week H2H

H2H leagues will be heavily affected by the short season. In order to reduce the variance and address the shortness of the regular season for H2H leagues with playoffs this year, we will be adding the option to have 1, 2, or 4 matchups per week. Teams will only set one lineup, but if they have 2 or 4 matchups that lineup will go against 2 or 4 teams each week instead of having a single game. This option will be permanent and is not tied to the 2020 season. This option will be available to commissioners in H2H leagues this week.

Trade Deadline

Once we have a confirmed league schedule, we will assess if the August 31 trade deadline makes sense for this season or if it needs to be shifted. If the trade deadline falls towards the middle or back half of the overall schedule, it will not be changed. If it is in the first third of the schedule, it may be moved back.

Drafting

The auction draft window is currently expanded to July 31. Once we have a finalized Opening Day for the 2020 MLB season, we will extend the draft window to two weeks past Opening Day.

I hope this gives a bit of clarity around what to expect and plan for this season. We find ourselves in an unprecedented situation, but I believe we have an opportunity for a very fun and exciting season if it can be pulled off, and most of all I’m excited that baseball may be back soon.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns and thank you all so much for supporting Ottoneu Fantasy Sports.

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Adding some clarity: in order to avoid arbitration, all the teams in the league have to simply not participate in arbitration. All teams do not vote or all teams do not allocate any arb dollars and the site will not apply any arbitration. We will still have a month-long arb period globally, but leagues can choose to participate as they see fit.

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Clarifying this: H2H commissioners will be able to change this setting in any offseason going forward. It will be a permanent new feature to the Ottoneu Fantasy Baseball platform for H2H. If you decide to go to 2 or 4 matchups per week this season, you are not obligated to continue with that into 2021 and beyond.

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Also clarifying that the per-matchup GS Cap for SP will be renamed the “per-week GS Cap” to properly reflect how it will behave in leagues with multiple matchups per week.

Can leagues opt out of the standard arbitration for this off-season if they so choose?

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Inflation will be applied to all leagues globally. No one can opt-out ahead of time from inflation, though you can collectively be creative with commissioner tools if you’d like.

During the one month arbitration period if everyone in your league chooses to ignore arbitration, that is the equivalent of opting out of arbitration.

Ok, thanks!

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Can there be a pro-rated prize structure for leagues? Being it’s a 60 game season, could commissioners have the option to pro-rate payout?

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Given that everyone has already paid in for the season, as long as baseball is played the prize structure will remain the same. We were given a certain amount of money for prize pools and that money will be paid out in full.

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We have baseball in 2020! Opening Day is July 24 and the season ends on September 27. The site has been updated accordingly and there will be no change to the 2020 Trade Deadline.

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Now that we know how long the season will be, the inning caps and game caps can be found here:

How will you handle…

A. The Phillies have had a slew of COVID cases. What if one is Harper, or if Harper contracts it? Or if Harper opts to not play at some point in the season because it spreads on his team? What kind of salary relief does a team get if he is 1/8 of their cap? How does it impact the general competitive fairness of the league if we are playing an already truncated season and a team finishes 4th instead of 1st because they lose Harper? Same question if you’re holding both Judge and Sanchez and the Yankees have an outbreak and shut their team down.

B. You are a team who has prized SP and has loaded up more money on P, before COVID was a big problem in the US, and now you are facing doubleheaders and less days off meaning less P production. You drafted and played multiple seasons perhaps building that P rotation to see it negated.

C. You have Blue Jays, who Canada has not cleared for home games. Do you simply accept that 1+ players on your team may not get HFA for the full year, or potentially any of the year?

D. The season halts because ignorant American exceptionalism morons spread the disease and it’s too dangerous for them to travel, etc. Then what? If the season only goes 20 games, do you award prize money on those 20 games?

There are so many of these outcomes, I could list dozens more, that are improbable in and of themselves but given the overall climate in the world we are likely to encounter a number of them. Ther is extraordinary uncertainty in this season, and I believe that any league with real prize money at stake should freeze, have no season, no arb, no salary increases, no prize money, and resume with a draft in 2021 as we enter a full season with some confidence that it will resemble an actual season of baseball.

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I understand the concerns. It’s a really volatile time and we’re not sure how this season is going to go. However, all these problems exist for actual MLB teams and all of them are specific hypotheticals that also may not happen. Ottoneu is not allowed to pocket or roll over prize money for 2020 given that baseball will be played, and arb and salary increases can be managed on a league by league basis by the commissioner tools that are in place.

We cannot ignore a baseball season because it doesn’t look like what some people think it should look like. If MLB is being played, Ottoneu is obligated it to its players to offer a season.

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…or what if a player on the Astros (Houston is presently seeing an uptick in COVID) gets sick and the team gets shut down for two weeks, those games lost. What if a team is heavy on Astros? Same question for Rangers, Mariners, Royals, and the half-dozen other teams located in cities where there’s a current uptick.

When we start these seasons, we know for sure that 30 teams are going to play 162 (maybe 163, maybe 161) games. I have less than 30% confidence that all 30 MLB teams will play 60 games this year, and that’s a vital distinction: unlike every other year with random injury, this year is random everything and impossible to take calculated risks on. It’s just a crapshoot. You should not offer a season because it’s not “what some people think it should look like” it’s because the season is going to be an interrupted disjointed thing that no one knows what it will look like. For my $100 league, I expected a full season, and to know what the schedule was at auction. No one has a clue what this season will be.

Ottoneu need not replicate real baseball. It has a salary cap. From that point on, it’s not the same as MLB.

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why can’t you take calculated risks on all of these things? The fact that you have listed a bunch of possibilities, in and of itself, shows that you CAN predict these things and start to put likelihood against them, just like you would an injury or a suspension or a complete collapse in talent, etc. Leaving aside the scenario where whole teams are getting shut down (in which case I expect MLB will react and ottoneu will have to react in turn), I fully expect this to be a year in which I lose more guys to injury and have more guys miss time or get days off than I otherwise would. So I am going to carry and deeper bench than normal. I’ll make some cuts of prospects or flyers who seem less likely to help, and add guys who I think might play. I’ll handcuff more players than I typically would to lessen the blow of one of my studs going down. And I’ll also accept that my opponents are dealing with the same noise, so we’ll all go out, and have fun, and enjoy the competition like we always do.

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Along these lines, my thinking is that success in fantasy baseball is about adaptation to unknown challenges and that this is a unique opportunity to challenge yourself against new unknowns. The present situation isn’t ideal by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m just going to make the best of it and hope that we have a vaccine/treatment for 2021 so that we have a full, normal season (among other things).

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The adaptation to the unknown that fantasy baseball requires this year is exponentially greater than any other year. Another year it’s “Did I overvalue X at the auction?”

I appreciate Niv’s drive to provide a product. I appreciate folks’ drive to play. But Niv: you need to allow leagues in which the majority do not want to not play for a prize pool this year that right. This MLB thing is all screwed up and no one knows what’s going to happen. I want to reiterate this: most years, we know there will be 162 games. Every year we know for sure how many games will be played. We know who will play who on pink bat weekend. There is not a person from Manfred to me who knows for sure how many games this season will last, if every team will play the same number of games, if players will opt out of games halfway through the season, if an infected player will have a ripple effect on 90 others, and so on. This is not fantasy baseball this is buying a Powerball ticket and I’m not interested, and I know I’m not alone.

I don’t want to play a season when someone’s wife’s brother going to church on a random Sunday means that a team gets shut down and I miss out on a dozen PA in a (at most, if we’re lucky) 60-game season. That’s not fantasy baseball.

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Per my last post, Ottoneu is legally not allowed to do this.

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My expectation when I paid this year was that I would have fun doing something I enjoy. Now I get to do that.

I also expected to pay again next year, so, my thinking is that I did not lose any money.

I just want to manage my teams again. If I lose with the best team because of weird stuff, oh well. I will live and still have fun for the nominal fee of $100 x 8 since all my leagues will have regular payouts without refunds.

That’s my take.

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I slept on it and realized that there is something that I have not explicitly stated in this thread that may be clarifying:

Prize money being paid out based on our terms and conditions is predicated on a completed MLB regular season. If the MLB completes a regular season, we are obligated to pay out prizes.

If MLB does not complete a regular season, we will be able to offer the option to roll over or refund prize money. That bridge can be crossed if and when we come to it.

Everything stated in the original post is not subject to a regular season happening or not happening.

I hope that this is helpful and clarifying.

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