Ichiro Suzuki is the epitome of public enemy. In OPS leagues, there are two kinds of SAGNOFs: those who destroy your OPS and those who only have a minimal impact. Ichiro (and every sub .700 OPS player) is the former. Two of the main reasons people have loved him are his batting average and his steals. Well, this year he has a career low .266 batting average and only nine steals. His .676 OPS is a step up from last year’s .645 mark, but still far below his career .787 OPS. This year he’s managed to improve his contact rate and decrease his strikeouts, but he’s walking less than he usually does. His BABIP may increase a little, but, at his age, he is unlikely to reach much above .300 moving forward. I think his OBP increases and his slugging decreases for the rest of the season, to roughly a .310/.370/.680 line. That OPS will hurt you a lot, especially if you’re only rostering him for steals because it’s highly unlikely that he reaches 40 steals again this season. Oh Ichiro, I thought I’d be good for you and you’d be good for me.
Mike Trout smells like teen spirit. The 20-year-old sophomore is in bloom this season with a .947 OPS. All apologies to Ichiro, but Trout is the SAGNOF of the future. The thing is, Mike is more than your typical SAGNOF, as indicated by his potential to hit double digit home runs. His power and speed combo is a beautiful thing, but he’s unlikely to maintain his current MVP pace, at least this year. His .400 BABIP is likely to decrease, yet will stay higher than league average due to his incredible speed, as evidenced by his 8.5 speed score that ranks him alongside Cameron Maybin and Emilio Bonifacio. In addition, his isolated slugging is at .200, which is likely unsustainable this season, and could be the product of him legging out extra base hits as a result of his speed. A positive sign is that Trout has been walking more and striking out less, indicating the potential for increased improvement. For the rest of 2012, I’ll conservatively project a line of .360/.460/.820, with upside. Having a high steals player with an OPS over .800 is uniquely valuable in OPS leagues. With you on our team, you know we’re right.
Michael Bourn has already surpassed his previous career high in home runs and has initiated the SAGNOFpocalypse! With six home runs, Bourn only needs one more home run to hit his total amount over the past three seasons. Bourn appetit! His newfound power has propelled his OPS to .827, despite his career average sitting near .700. Could he have discovered how to become a power hitter at the age of 29? Anything’s possible. Just ask Paul Konerko. Realistically though, his OPS will begin to plummet, due to his batted ball and plate discipline profile remaining the same as last year, aside from the tremendous spike in his HR/FB (12.5% in 2012 compared to 1.8% in 2011). For the rest of this season, I’d expect his line to approach last year’s .350/.390/.740. That isn’t a top player, but is useful if you need steals in an OPS league. With tramps like Matthew Berry, Michael you were Bourn to Run!
Drew Stubbs is a guy who thinks he’s fly, also known as a buster. He’s a power and speed combo that I despise in OPS leagues because, despite having twenty homer upside, he consistently provides horrific OBP (.322 career average) and not as great slugging as you’d expect (.401 career average). No, I don’t want your numbers. This year Drew is hitting fewer line drives, more ground balls, and fewer fly balls. An important point is that his groundball to flyball ratio is near two this year. That’s a recipe for fewer home runs from a guy whose power depends on them. To exacerbate things, his 17.5% HR/FB is a career high and may decrease over the rest of the season. Going forward, I expect a line near .310/.370/.680. No, I don’t want Drew Stubbs. Drew Stubbs is a guy that can’t get no love from me.
Cameron Maybin will improve. He only has a .621 OPS this season after producing a .721 OPS last season. However, Maybin has actually shown signs of improvement in his walk rate and contact rate to go along with a reduced strikeout rate. One factor suppressing his performance is his .258 BABIP, which should improve, especially considering his fantastic speed. A .330/.380/.710 line is likely within reach for the rest of the season. Another item to monitor is his home and road splits, as he demonstrated the ability to hit well on the road last year with an OPS over .800, but has struggled on the road this season. Hey come on try a little, nobody stays in PetCo forever. You’ll get to be something better than a fringe outfielder. Sometime in the near future, you’ll put it all together. And you can hit on the road one game at a time.
Dee Gordon can’t stop being dead weight under the bridge. His .563 OPS will destroy your team. Yes, I understand that he’s a middle infielder and steals tons of bases when he actually gets on base, but the other side is that he can single-handedly ruin your OPS. By the way, I know that there are shortstops with an even worse OPS this year. I’m looking in your general direction, Alexei Ramirez. I wouldn’t roster any of them either. I suppose if Gordon is able to keep a respectable walk rate, he may be able to post an OPS over .600, but I can’t see much more upside than that. Dee: please hit more, so you won’t hurt me. You weren’t made to suck like this.