After the first couple months of a season, we start to get enough at bats to make informed decisions about how the current season may suggest a change in a player’s future performance from what we previously expected. Or do we? Yes, yes we do. But sometimes people overreact to recent information. Let’s call it recency bias because I think that’s its actual name. However, just because a sample size in the current season is statistically significant doesn’t mean we should ignore a larger sample (the player’s entire career). My preference is to investigate whether there is a reason why a player’s performance may have changed, from both a statistical perspective and due to any reported personal issues (injury, new baby, divorce, etc.). The idea is to see if it tells a story, which admittedly involves some subjectivity, but I think it helps place statistics in their proper context. This helps determine the likelihood that a player will approach their previous numbers or maintain their current performance. This is my long-winded way of saying that I’m looking at some players who have had at least one stretch of a drastic change from their expectations in 2014:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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I’d like to begin this OBP roundup by mentioning one of my favorite points that’s been discussed in the comments before: OBP and OPS are worth looking at in leagues that don’t use them. For example, if a player has a high OBP, then he has a greater likelihood of getting runs relative to a player with a lower OBP. The same goes for OPS or slugging, either of which can be a proxy for players who get homers, extra base hits, and rbis. These stats obviously have more value in leagues that use them, but they should be given attention in leagues that do not include them because they suggest which players have more value and are likely to retain their value over the course of the season. Anyway, time for a good ol’ fashioned OBP roundup:

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One of the main reasons I enjoy writing for Razzball is that I haven’t encountered another fantasy baseball site where the commenters are this active and generally friendly with each other. Another great thing is that even the comments are worth reading because there tends to be some nice insight. Example A is Principal Blackman, likely a pseudonym for Charlie Blackmon, who said this last week, “How about a little love for Shin-Soo Choo’s .432 OBP & .929 OPS? Both would be career highs (the Arlington effect?), but they are not wildly (unbelievably) out of line with his career averages (.391/.858), and they are right in line with the advances he made last year… ZiPS and Steamer both foresee some regression on the way for him, and indeed a .392 average on balls in play would blow his career BABIP (.352) out of the water. And at the same time, his K% has dipped below the league average, but, on the other hand, he has maintained the improvements he made last year to his already stellar walk rate, and since the beginning of the 2013 season he only has one infield popup (none this year).” Since then, Choo has slumped a bit and had his OPS dip below .900. I expect to see him around that level all year, while maintaining his ~.420 OBP. Anyway, here are some other players on my mind in OBP leagues:

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If anything, highlighting Giancarlo Stanton after doing just that a couple weeks ago means that David Ortiz finally has a worthy challenger to the OPS league crown. Regardless, I’m not changing my picture (at least not yet). Anyway, since I recently discussed how Stanton is arguably #1 in OPS leagues, I was curious to see who has a higher slugging than Giancarlo and take a closer look at those players. On a semi-related note, I’m going to do another OBP roundup next week and will include as many of the players suggested in this week’s comments (first come, first served? typed? discussed?) because I decided on that as I was typing this sentence and now seems like a good place to end it. So here are the guys who have had a higher slugging than Mr. Stanton in 2014:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Carlos Santana finally seems to be showing signs of life in the past week. Despite a league-leading 35 walks, his .328 OBP is merely average. I’m confident that he will continue to approach his typical ~.370 OBP going forward. He’s not hitting as many line drives as you’d like to see, but this seems to be one of those situations where his BABIP should improve somewhat dramatically. On a different note, I was blown away by this year’s Riot Fest lineup. Anybody going this year? It was definitely a good time last year. Anyway, here are some other guys on my mind and what it means in OBP leagues:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m not here to tell you that Giancarlo Stanton is a great player because I’ve already done that. However, his hot start has me questioning just how good he really is. I understand that you never want to overrate the first month of a season (I’m looking at you, Jose Abreu), but Stanton has had many stretches like this before. He currently has a .294/.385/.610 line and the crazy thing is that there aren’t any red flags. Sure, his average is a little higher than you’d expect, but he’s hitting more line drives and, with as hard as he hits the ball, you’d expect a higher batting average as a result. It’s always difficult to make the case for taking anybody above Mike Trout, regardless of the format. Still, I believe there’s a reasonable argument for taking Stanton with the first pick in a keeper or redraft league, where slugging is heavily weighted, batting average is replaced with OBP, and steals aren’t valued highly. Feel free to chime in – I’m curious where you would rank him in an OPS league if a draft was held today. Anyway, here are some other guys on my mind and their impact on OPS leagues:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I figured it was finally time to switch things up and have an OBP-only post every now and then (thanks to the many of you who commented with this idea). This will be an attempt to run through a lot more players, instead of the usual handful I cover in the OPS posts. I’m still working through the format and how often I’ll do this, so feel free to chime in with your thoughts in the comments. We’re only one month into the season, so it’s important not to overreact, but there are quite a few players that have produced interesting results. Here’s my take for what it means in OBP leagues:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Who could have predicted that Justin Morneau would have a career revival after moving to Coors Field? Nearly everybody. Yes, he’s clearly benefitting from his favorable home park, but he’s also hitting well on the road. He appears to be swinging at nearly everything and, fortunately, is hitting it so far. However, this approach isn’t sustainable, even in Coors. I think he’s a great sell-high candidate if you can find somebody who believes that he’s going to maintain anywhere near this level of performance due to his new home ballpark. Even with some regression, I think the park and aggressive approach will allow him to have a noticeable improvement from his past couple seasons, with a .280/.350/.480 line going forward. This is roughly his career slash line, so it’s a reasonable expectation for him. Anyway, here are some other players on my mind and what it means for OPS and OBP leagues:

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Everything comes back to your league’s settings. If steals have a decent amount of weight and you can’t punt them, then you might have to deploy a guy like Dee Gordon. In theory, it’s nice to have a team filled with guys who have power and speed, but those guys are rarely undervalued. You don’t need me to tell you that Gordon won’t continue producing a .373/.421/.510 line. If you can sell high, then by all means do so. Although the reality is that he may have been a waiver wire guy and it’s tough to get anything of value from them in a trade this early in the season. He’ll still get steals when he gets on base, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see his OBP drop 100 points and his slugging drop 200 points going forward. That can still be useful, depending on how deep your league is and how heavily steals are weighted. Anyway, here are some other guys who I expect to produce different results than they have so far this year and what it means in OBP and OPS leagues:

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So long, farewell, goodnight, Prince Fielder. One of the most disappointing starts to the 2014 season has been Mr. Fielder with his .162/.205/.216 line.  To exacerbate things, his offseason move to Texas led to him being hyped heading into drafts and his current owners paying top dollar to roster his .421 OPS. Following a disappointing 2013 season, his slow start has caused some owners to panic, pointing to his inability to walk or hit a home run. So what do I recommend doing at this point? Buy Prince Fielder while you still can. I really don’t like using “small sample size” to dismiss early starts, because it feels like the lazy way out. A better approach would be to see that Fielder has had 0 for 4 games against Alex Cobb, David Price, etc., notice that his batted ball distribution hasn’t dramatically changed, and remember why he was rated so highly in drafts. Even with the slow start, I’d be surprised if Fielder didn’t improve on last year’s .279/.362/.457 line this year, especially the slugging. And while it’s on my mind, here’s a few other players who have had surprising starts and what it means for OPS and OBP leagues:

Please, blog, may I have some more?