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:
Anthony Rizzo is doing his best Joey Votto impression. With a significantly increased walk rate, decreased strikeout rate, and increased line drive rate, his OBP should exceed his pre-season projections. He may not be able to sustain his current .407 OBP, but I could see him getting on base at a .380 clip the rest of the season if he maintains his 2014 approach.
Speaking of Votto, he’s managed to up his walk rate to a career-high 20.6%, which is beyond amazing. The craziest thing is that his .444 OBP could increase for the rest of the year, especially if his BABIP increases to his normal rate.
Jason Heyward seems to continually frustrate his fantasy owners. His current .292 OBP is an insult to those expecting him to be an asset in that category but, despite his increased strikeout rate, I’m confident that he’ll improve. The main thing for me is that he’s not swinging at pitches outside the strike zone more than last season which, combined with many of his other numbers resembling last year, lead me to believe that he’ll approach last season’s .350 OBP going forward.
Jean Segura’s 2% walk rate says all you need to know about him. His BABIP could improve going forward, raising his current .286 OBP, but last season’s .329 OBP looks out of reach.
Starlin Castro resembles the player we knew before last season’s disaster. He still doesn’t walk much, but a decrease in his strikeouts and an increase in his line drive rate should allow him to maintain his current .339 OBP.
Billy Butler had been dependable for so long that his .292 OBP this year is flabbergasting. I have no doubt that he’ll improve, but not to his normal level. The problem is that he’s hitting more ground balls and a man of his stature (carriage?) will have a hard time getting any infield hits, so I doubt that his OBP will exceed .350.
I’m not really worried about Wil Myers. There aren’t any red flags, so I think he’ll approach at least a .340 OBP for the rest of 2014.
I mentioned Carlos Ruiz last week, but I’ll mention him again because his current .416 OBP isn’t as much of a fluke as it would seem, considering the several ~.380 OBP years he had prior to 2013.
I mention Carlos Quentin and Josh Willingham too much, but they’re both worth keeping an eye on because they could provide you with a nice OBP boost when they return. They could be available on your waiver wire…
You can find Tom Jacks on Twitter @votetomjacks. He spends far too much time praying for the Cubs, planning his next concert, and wondering if there’s an instrument that could ever rival the theremin (there isn’t).