Ottoneu Arbitration - Advice from the Community

Arbitration Advice from the Community

Ottoneu arbitration begins 10/15. For those here who have participated in arbitration in the past, I would like to collect your advice and post as a RotoGraphs article this Friday 10/13. The more responses we can gather, the better, for the benefit of new owners preparing for their first arbitration process.
Thanks in advance:

For quick reference, here are the rules for Ottoneu arbitration:


a. The allocation system gives a $25 budget to each team in the league.

b. The team must allocate this budget towards players on other teams.

c. Each team must allocate at least one dollar to every other team, and no team can allocate more than $3 to any other team.

d. At the end of the allocation period, all players have their salary increased by the amount allocated towards them.

e. Allocations take place after the initial offseason salary increase, so any allocations will be in addition to the $1 or $2 increase each player gets at the end of the season.

f. If a team does not allocate at least one dollar to every other team, none of their allocations will count and it will be as if they did not participate at all.

g. If a team does not allocate all $25, none of their allocations will count and it will be as if they did not participate at all.

Vote Off

a. The vote-off system gives each team in the league the ability to vote on a player on each other team.

b. The player that receives the most votes collectively on each team is turned into a restricted free agent that can be bid on by other teams during the auction draft.

c. In the case of a tie, the standings of all the relevant voting teams is examined. Whichever player has the team with the worst standings voting for them is the restricted free agent.

d. The team they were voted off from will get an automatic $5 discount towards that player, so if they get the player back, they will get the player for $5 under what they bid.

e. Players who have been voted into restricted free agency cannot be traded.

f. Players who have been voted into restricted free agency will not appear as free agents on the site.

Several people have weighed in there on arbitration strategy, but I could use more. Looking for more feedback on the best way to approach arbitration.

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If you haven’t had a chance yet to comment on arbitration strategy and want to do so, this form will be open for another day or so.

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Thanks to all who contributed - this article was posted here on RotoGraphs:

My own two cents that I didn’t put in the article:

For me, I use three key factors to decide where to allocate arbitration dollars:

  1. The Surplus Value of player assets
  2. The “Next Year” (2018) projected competitiveness of each roster
  3. The overall Ottoneu skills of each owner (where better owners are more likely to get a higher share of allocations if the two other factors above are not obvious)

Looking at players only at this point, here are some players I’m probably not going to target in arbitration even though they had very valuable 2017 seasons:

  • Alex Avila
  • Logan Morrison
  • Ryan Zimmerman
  • Mark Reynolds
  • Jed Lowrie
  • Whit Merrifield
  • Marwin Gonzalez
  • Tim Beckham
  • Zack Cozart
  • Paul DeJong
  • Justin Upton
  • Brett Gardner
  • Avisail Garcia
  • Gio Gonzalez
  • Ervin Santana
  • Drew Pomeranz
  • Fernando Rodney
  • Greg Holland
  • Ryan Madson

Can you toggle the arbitration system year to year? Starting up a league and the league wants both, but right now that doesn’t seem to be an option.

Thanks for the help.

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You can switch between systems, and I strongly endorse the allocations system.

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Bumping this thread! Arbitration starts today and is available until 11:59p ET on November 14.

Here’s a link to my post on the different distribution options for $25 allocations: Arbitration Allocation Distributions


i just completed ‘arbitration voting’ and voted for 1 player from each team but i don’t see where i can apply arbitration dollars to other team’s players. can anyone point me in the right direction please?

There are two arbitration options for each league - voting and dollar allocation. Your league has the voting option set.

aha, that makes sense. thanks niv!

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I’ve been looking at the just-released Steamer projections and comparing them to salaries in my league to determine which teams are getting the best deals on players who are projected to have major production next year, so that I can tack on a few dollars to those guys. With hitters, I’ve been sorting by wRC+ because it correlates pretty closely with FGPTS, but I’m not sure which stat is the best catch-all for pitchers. WAR seems like the obvious answer, but even a lights-out reliever can only rack up so much WAR. Thoughts?

I find myself always breaking pitcher lists into two separate lists, for SP and RP. Even converting projected stats into something like FG Pts or PPG doesn’t help, because playing time and scoring are very different between the two groups.


@martyackerman and the rest of us have to hope that the sacrifices made to the Ottoneu gods (in this case, @eamuscatuli) have been suitable this year, so that we may be once again blessed with a Surplus Calculator before the end of arbitration.

Last year’s edition dropped on November 7. See Ottoneu Surplus Calculator (2018 version).


Underlying my question is definitely a request for the 2019 surplus calculator! I was using the 2018 one as a proxy before the Steamer projections came out.

Does the fangraphs Auction Calculator use Steamer 2018 or Steamer 2019 projections when you click the “ottoneu FanGraphs Points” preset?

A post was split to a new topic: View past vote-off results