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: Mike Napoli is rocking a .417 OBP this year, which is much higher than his respectable career .360 OBP. He is walking at a career-high 16.5% and striking out significantly less than he has the past couple years, so he should continue to top his career-average OBP. His slugging is right where it usually is, so no reason to expect anything different there. Somehow, I haven’t talked about Jed Lowrie this year, but he’s always a favorite of mine because his injury concerns seem to consistently knock him down further than they should. He always hovers just short of an .800 OPS, which is excellent for a shortstop. It’s early, but he looks like he’s improved his approach and should continue to post a valuable OBP. Xander Bogaerts has a .379 OBP, which won’t continue. However, his .357 slugging could continue. I think Robinson Cano could be a great buy-low option. I’d be surprised if his slugging wasn’t at least a hundred points higher than his current .370 rate going forward. Same goes for Jedd Gyorko. He is really confusing since his 2014 underlying numbers resemble the 2013 version of him, yet he’s produced two completely different seasons on the surface. What I said for Cano applies to Brian McCann, although I’m slightly more concerned with McCann. Although Nate Schierholtz has been awful, he will improve, making him a decent buy-free option. The usual caveat of benching him against lefties applies. I don’t think Adam Eaton should have been dropped, but I suppose the amount of significant injuries could have contributed to it. I would absolutely look to grab him if he’s available and believe he will be an asset in OBP leagues. Wilin Rosario shouldn’t have been dropped in any leagues either and his OBP won’t be an asset, but his slugging will be. I’d absolutely buy low (free?) where applicable. End of story.
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).