No worries, fantasy owners: Alejandro De Aza may not speak Swahili*, but this past month his numbers have been music to fantasy owners’ ears. With a .350/.418/.567 line in July, a strikeout rate that has decreased every month of this season, and already reaching a career high in home runs, there are many reasons for optimism. Yes, he struggled early on this season, but he seems to be rounding into form with an approach that attempts to hit for more power. And why not? After all, he plays in a park where Adam Dunn bunted for a home run** last year. I, for one (unless I can speak for more than one?), am embracing the slightly more homer-friendly De Aza. If he continues to steal bases, then he will add to the scarcity of players who steal bases, but don’t destroy your OPS (you know who you are). For the rest of the season, I believe that he will be able to maintain his current .278/.336/.444 line, which represents a slight dip in OBP with a nice bump in slugging. Anyway, here are some other guys I’m dreaming about in OPS leagues:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Maybe I’m paranoid, but we have to be masters of reality and understand that he won’t be able to continue this wizard-like production. I’m not exactly trying to declare war on Yasiel Puig, but, like any new found glory, it’s all downhill from here. Don’t make me choose my friends over you, Yasiel! He’s truly been a fantasy baseball catalyst, but he has a very low walk rate and his strikeout rate is rising to worrisome levels. He will continue to be hit or miss, although I unfortunately see him missing much more often. Let’s address the giant Sandoval in the room: his .472 BABIP is preparing him for a head on collision. Another factor is that his hip injury has shown that he’s no iron man. I’ll temper expectations a bit by saying that a certain player had a comparable 1.105 OPS last June, only to fall to mediocrity afterwards. Shout out to whoever names that player first. I think Puig will be closer to Mark Trumbo going forward, which isn’t bad, but isn’t anywhere near what he’s been this year. On a different note, Terse and I will be doing a Reddit AMA tonight at 7pm EST. Y’all should stop by. Anyway, here are some other guys who are putting up somewhat surprising seasons:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Alex Rodriguez may be a slob like one of us, but I’ve repeatedly told you to pick up Carlos Quentin this season, so I’ve already thrown my dignity out the proverbial window (defenestration, yo!). Instead of trying to trade for third base help, I’m saving my money and I’m hella happy that’s a bargain! Or something like that. His baby’s got sauce, but I’m not going to hold it against him. Instead I’m going to cross my fingers that he is productive for the last couple months of the season. If you’re concerned about his injuries, lifestyle choices, or age, I’d like to point to David Ortiz as an example of an oldie, but goodie. A-Rod doesn’t have elite production left in him, ahem, but he can still reach a .270/.350/.450 line. All I’m saying is that it’s a chance worth taking. Who knows, maybe if he finishes the season strong, owning him will be vogue. Anyway, here are some other guys who have my attention in OPS leagues:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Ike Davis had an epic 21st century breakdown this year that has rendered his fantasy baseball owners jaded and viewing this basket case as a true American idiot. What a nimrod! I’ll admit that I screamed in silence after owning him this year, but let’s try to take the long view here. Yes, he’s 2,000 light years away on holiday in the minors after leading your team down a boulevard of broken dreams, but this a warning that Ike, walking contradiction that he is, could finally come around to what we previously expected. I might be a minority here, but, in the end, I still believe he’s capable of producing an .800+ OPS in the majors. Some players temporarily burnout, while other are able to make things click when you least expect it. Right, Chris Davis? We’ve all been waiting a long time for him to see the light and I will look to grab him where I have an open bench spot. Hopefully we’ll be welcomed to paradise. If his stats go kerplunk a final time, then I’ll be willing to bid him a permanent good riddance. Anyway, here are some other players that have my ear in OPS leagues:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Nick Swisher is one of those guys we love in OPS leagues. Yes, I will be referring to myself in the plural form. It’s easier to win arguments that way, no? Swisher’s been a flop so far this year, but the great thing is, like most politicians, he’s a flip-flopper. To put it less confusingly, I fully expect him to rebound. To put it more confusingly, read this while trying to spell Jeff Samardzija’s name aloud. Swisher has been one of the most consistent guys in OPS leagues and is a sure bet to produce an .800 OPS in a given year. He’s been slowed a bit by injury, but I expect around a .260/.360/.470 going forward. He’s been dropped in some leagues and, if he’s owned, his owner is likely willing to sell him at a discount. Let’s just say that I (we?) don’t think this is the year he collapses. Did I mention that the Chicago Blackhawks are awesome? Now I did. Anyway, here are some guys who have my attention in OPS leagues:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Here’s the deal. We all love guys with exciting upside, but every now and then we forget that there may still be upside remaining in certain players. Starlin Castro is currently sporting an uninspiring .650 OPS, by far a career low. When I was at the Cubs game this past Sunday, it was mentioned that it was Castro’s 500th big league game. Pretty impressive, especially considering that he’s only 23. So, let’s think about it – Are we going to put more weight in his struggles this season or the chance for a rebound, based on his past numbers and youth? I’m going with the latter. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb, let’s call it an arm and a leg, and say that I wouldn’t be surprised to see him produce a .290/.340/.450 line for the rest of 2013. That would be elite for a shortstop, especially a healthy one. Typically shortstops hurt your OPS, but Castro can be one who actually helps it. I’d be seeing if his current owner is worried about him, especially in a keeper league. He could continue to be a top shortstop for the next decade.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Josh Donaldson is fired. As in, he’s been on fire since last August and I’m finally willing to announce that I’ve seen his face. Now I’m a believer! What’s there not to like? An improved walk rate, reduced strikeout rate, better contact, increased power, and a brand new hairstyle. After getting to know him from afar, I think he’s less likely to hurt your team than Jafar. There are many possible reasons for his improvement: receiving consistent playing time in the majors, having the pedigree (former first round pick), seeing the movie Moneyball, being in his prime, and, my favorite conspiracy explanation: that he’s no longer catching. All of these likely contributed in some way, but the important thing is I don’t expect him to fall off a cliff any time soon (as long as he cancels that hiking trip). For the rest of 2013, I’m going to optimistically project a .270/.350/.460 line, which is solid for a third baseman. Hold him if you own him. Otherwise, I’d see if his owner expects heavy regression (band name?). Shout out to commenter SwaggerJackers for inspiring me to cover Donaldson. On a different note, after next week’s article I’m going to have a very temporary Razzball hiatus (aka two weeks) while I travel to my motherland (or literally my mother’s land) for the first time. Whoever correctly guesses the country can pick who I’ll cover as my lede next week. I might give hints if asked on Twitter. Ready? Go! And here’s my Quick Draw McGraw approach to OPS leagues:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Mitch Moreland, a notable imperialist, has been capturing the hearts and minds of fantasy owners while their villages are unsuspectingly pillaged. On the baseball field, he’s been hitting better than he has since 2009… when he was in high A ball. The boy’s a time bomb! So, will he be able to maintain anywhere near this level of production? Or will he turn it off like a light switch (just go click)? My fortune cookie says, “Signs point to yes.” Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with Exhibit A for why you shouldn’t ask your fortune cookie conflicting questions. For those of you who are familiar with Mitch, you’re probably pulling a Large Marge like me when you realized that he’s hitting over a 1.100 OPS in May. He’s doing everything a little bit better: lower strikeout rate, higher walk rate, and a higher home run to fly ball rate, which could be sustainable. Although the caveat is that he’s absolutely crushing the ball at home and against righties, so it’s hard to tell if he’s right side up or upside down. I’m thinking that he’ll likely produce closer to his numbers from last year, with slight improvement going forward. Mitch, I’ve got Moreland a feeling that you’ll still be solid the rest of the way. Anyway, here are some other players who have my attention in OPS leagues:Please, blog, may I have some more?
David Freese has an OBP higher than his slugging, which is only a good sign when you’re Joey Votto. His .224/.298/.259 line is begging you to beg me why you still have him on your roster. What’s cooler than being cool? David Freese! Somewhere, Mr. Freeze says, “Ice to see you, David.” Here’s the deal: his plate discipline appears to be just as good as last season. The only significant change is in his batted ball data, where he’s hitting a lot more ground balls and less fly balls than he’s hit in his career. This looks like something that is highly likely to normalize as the season progresses so, like Jim Cramer, I’m going to tell you to, “Buy! Buy! Buy!” In fact, I expect him to produce near his career .290/.350/.430 line for the rest of 2013. Color me optimistic, Radiohead, but I’ll be buying low on Freese. Anyway, here are some other players who have hit me with their best shot in OPS leagues:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Why hello there. It seems like only yesterday when we were drafting our fantasy baseball teams and were guaranteed to breeze to first place. But then baseball happened. An injury (or two or three…) here and an underperforming guy there can really dampen your early season enthusiasm. Fortunately, there are always opportunities to grab guys off waivers or to buy low. Enter Brian McCann. A few months ago, I said, “I strongly dislike recommending people draft an injured player, but I’m going to do it this time. The last I saw, he’s expected to miss the first couple weeks of the season. Even if the injury reduces his production, I could still see him producing a high .700s OPS, with solid counting stats. Considering that you would only have to use a late round pick, it may be worth the gamble.” Well, considering that he’s still largely available, I suggest you close your eyes and fall back into McCann’s arms (gently, of course). Like Scott Weiland, he’s half the man he used to be, but there’s no reason why he can’t be a top 10 catcher for the rest of 2013. Anyway, here are some other players that have me crossing my fingers in OPS leagues:Please, blog, may I have some more?