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My fellow Razzballers: there is a massive epidemic that needs to be stopped! It’s what I call “David Ortiz Disease.” I need your help in containing this outbreak that has led fantasy owners everywhere to shun a certain type of old and injury-prone player (more on that later), causing their price to plummet relative to their production and hindering the chances of every would-be owner. The most surprising aspect of this disease is that it applies to players who are coming off productive seasons. Unfortunately, authorities have been unable to contain this disease to a specific league, causing neither keeper nor re-draft fantasy owners to be immune. However, some old and injury-prone players will not be undervalued in drafts this year, such as Carlos Beltran, Alfonso Soriano, and Jacoby Ellsbury. What could they possibly have in common to prevent them from being undervalued and how does this affect fantasy baseball, particularly OPS leagues?

Answer: They’re all on the Yankees, duh. No, I’m not trying to hate on the Yankees. I mean, as a Cubs fan, why would I have reason to? It’s not like I had my hopes raised that the Cubs might actually land a player who the Yankees wound up giving a massive contact to, is there? Anyway, yes, Yankees players clearly receive a lot of attention, but the allure (and somewhat myth) of their massively hitter-friendly ballpark sways fantasy owners to look the other way on players that would otherwise fall in drafts due to the old and injury-prone labels. And I’ll admit that Ellsbury isn’t old old, just kinda old. But maybe playing Bingo and watching Wheel of Fortune with the rest of those veterans will age him some…

This now brings us to Mr. David Ortiz. Before last season, I said, “Big Papi finished last season with a 1.026 OPS. Let’s all take a minute for that to sink in… So what can we expect from him for next year? Well, I’m not going to project a 1.000 OPS because I wouldn’t do that for anybody, but I don’t see why he can’t reach a .900 OPS, with upside from there. That’s extremely valuable in any league. Sure, it hurts a little to not have the flexibility of your utility spot, but Ortiz is probably going to be more productive than anybody else you were going to use in that spot. He also typically goes several rounds later than I think he should, due to the designated hitter label. If he qualified as, say, a first basemen or outfielder, I don’t think he’d make it out of the third round in OPS leagues, even with the lingering injury concerns. For 2013, I’ll give him an indulgent .290/.390/.540 line.”

Well, he exceeded that projection in 2013 and I’ll project the same .290/.390/.540 line for this season. Even with the age and injury-prone concerns, he gets undervalued to the point that you have some upside since his projections tend to account for the downside with his concerns. Some other players who share this David Ortiz Disease include:

Joe Mauer – I’m really high on Mauer this year (hey, it’s legal in this state). I’m especially excited in OPS leagues, where I think he’s arguably the best catcher. He’s generally been productive when healthy and he’ll get the benefit of moving to first base, which I expect to help preserve him over the season. Last year’s .324/.404/.476 line could be within reach for 2014.

Chase Utley – He is another one of those ‘productive when healthy’ players that had a solid season in 2013, with a .284/.348/.475 line that only ranked behind Robinson Cano and Matt Carpenter in terms of OPS. That may be on the high end of what to expect for this year, but I wouldn’t expect much of a decline either as long as he stays on the field.

Jed Lowrie – He’s not too old, but he does have what feels like a continuous injury history. That makes the fact that his .791 OPS was the highest among shortstops with at least 600 plate appearances all the more impressive. I expect him to approach his .290/.344/.446 line from last year, possibly with a tick less in batting average.

 

Tom Jacks is sporadically on Twitter @votetomjacks

From Around The Web

  1. Count de Monetball says:
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    I was given the cure for this disease as I have drafted Ortiz on the cheap for 3 strait years now. I chose wisely! I hear your pain on Tanaka, I believed too much that Theoden King would sign him to pose with our beloved mascot Clark. I don’t need to build anymore character, I just want the cubbies to go to the post season again!

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Count de Monetball: Nice job on Ortiz… hopefully it continues to pay off this year!

      Maybe Clark can be a back-end starter? It seemed that there was actually a decent chance the Cubs would land Tanaka, which makes it tougher to see that the Yankees got him when they probably should be spreading that money around to fill multiple holes, not just one. Seems like this year we’ll be waiting until the prospects begin to come up and for (hopefully) rebounds from Rizzo/Castro.

      • Theopolis Promise (a.k.a - Count de Monetball) says:
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        @Tom Jacks: @Tom Jacks: Yeah, that did sting, it doesn’t help that my wife is a big Yankee Fan (at least she likes baseball). That is exactly what this year will look like, craptastic, then rookie nookie and of course the “shark watch”. I told Grey that I thought the cubs would contend for a wild card spot in 2015 if they signed Tanaka (which in turn would help them retain Shark). He pretty much laughed at me :(

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @Theopolis Promise (a.k.a – Count de Monetball): Hell, I’ll go one step further and say that I wouldn’t be surprised to see them contend for a wild card spot in 2015. They’ll have a ton of money to spend next offseason, so I could see them either going after top free agents or targeting teams looking to unload talented, but high priced players. That, combined with some solid prospect impact (Bryant, Baez, etc.) and decent bounceback from Castro/Rizzo, should be enough to contend.

          Not saying that that is going to happen, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Team records can change dramatically year-to-year and this front office does well with trades. It’s also hard to predict what’s going to happen this year, let alone any future years. But maybe I’m overly optimistic because I just became a season ticket holder.

          • Tom Jacks

            Tom Jacks says:
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            @Tom Jacks: And I meant that I wouldn’t be surprised to see this happen, even without Tanaka.

            • Theopolis Promise (a.k.a - Count de Monetball) says:
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              @Tom Jacks: Right, I agree with you. Especially since they are opting out of the WGN TV contract after ’14 (although that is bittersweet), I almost got season tickets this year, I was in the 15,000’s on the waiting list prior to the season and was supposed to go out to pick my seats, but man those are expensive. Where are your seats (have fun out there!)

              • Count de Monetball says:
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                @Tom Jacks – They are still going to need pitching, but yeah they could spend on that

                • Tom Jacks

                  Tom Jacks says:
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                  @Count de Monetball: Yeah they’ll definitely need to add at least 1-2 pitchers. Seems like they can have prospects fill a lot of the outfield and some infield positions down the road.

              • Tom Jacks

                Tom Jacks says:
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                @Theopolis Promise (a.k.a – Count de Monetball): Yeah, good point about the TV deal, that should add revenue, not to mention the whole renovation (when it even happens).

                I’m in section 235. It’s definitely not cheap, but I think the terrace reserved sections are the best value for the price as long as the poles don’t mess up your view too much. Fortunately I was able to go in with some family, so that lowered the cost.

                • Count de Monetball says:
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                  @Tom Jacks: I’m happy for you. BTW, did you see the cubs signed Jason Hammel. Here’s to hoping he can go back to his 2012 stats (although I doubt it)

                  • Tom Jacks

                    Tom Jacks says:
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                    @Count de Monetball: Thanks!

                    Yeah, I can’t say I’m excited about Hammel, but it probably isn’t a bad deal since it’s only one year. Maybe the plan is to hope for a rebound and spin him off at the deadline for a decent prospect (like Feldman and others)?

                    • Count de Monetball says:
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                      @Tom Jacks: It’s a free spending signing spree now, James McDonald is now a cub (miLB deal with a spring training invite) – Maybe 2014 is the year…

                  • Tom Jacks

                    Tom Jacks says:
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                    @Count de Monetball: Ha James McDonald. The Cardinals better watch out now…

                    • goodfold2 says:
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                      @Tom Jacks: why would blowing a whole bunch of money on boss tanaka help keep shark? wouldn’t that eat up budget space?

                    • Tom Jacks

                      Tom Jacks says:
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                      @Tom Jacks: Goodfold2 – I think the cubs would have had enough money for both.

                    • Count de Monetball says:
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                      @Tom Jacks: I think shark has made it pretty clear that he doesn’t want to stay with the Cubs if they’re not going to try and contend. He even made a statement that inferred that signing Tanaka would generally change his opinion of the organization, Which seemed to indicate that he would be more likely to stay with tanaka there. It doesn’t seem to be about the money as much with him as being on a winner

                    • Tom Jacks

                      Tom Jacks says:
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                      @Tom Jacks: Count – I agree on shark. Hopefully he’s impressed when the prospects start coming up this year and buys into the long-term plan.

  2. Principle Blackman says:
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    You may want to add 100 points of slugging to Utley’s line from last year unless you are trying to, for some reason, distort reality.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Principle Blackman: Nice catch. I could’ve sworn I wrote it differently, but maybe I’m just losing my mind. Unfortunately I don’t know how to edit after it’s been posted…

  3. Wake Up says:
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    Do you think the standard Ks and WHIP cover K/BB pretty well?
    Another words, if you count total Ks and
    Walks + Hits/IP
    wouldn’t K/BB be redundant?
    or would you prefer Ks, WHIP + QS for a broader spectrum?
    Curious on your thoughts?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Wake Up: Yeah, I think K/BB is a bit redundant when you already have Ks and WHIP. Although I don’t always mind redundancy, since it just makes you adjust your rankings (and hopefully some of your leaguemates don’t adjust).

      I do like the Ks, WHIP and QS option though. I play in a long-time keeper league that has those categories and think it’s a good balance.

      • Wake Up says:
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        @Tom Jacks: Thanks Tom…like what you said about Mauer…he is night and day in an OPS league…
        IMO, Even in a non-OPS league you should draft for OPS in the first couple of rounds…

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @Wake Up: No problem.

          That’s a good point. I bet the high OPS guys tend to be the ones with less risk (you might’ve just inspired a future post). This is especially true with sluggers because when they have a low OPS it generally means they don’t walk much, which can lead to a lot of cold streaks. The high OPS guys also tend to be more stable, so even when they aren’t hitting well or for power, they’re likely still getting on base and helping you in the counting stats.

          • Wake Up says:
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            @Tom Jacks: Thanks!
            Sounds like you’re picking up what I was putting down…been doing it for a decade.
            And,…SLG for RBIs…etc, etc
            Just be sure to avoid the Black OPS guys, they can kill your whole team!

            • Tom Jacks

              Tom Jacks says:
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              @Wake Up: Ha! And yeah, that makes sense across the various categories.

            • Nimrod says:
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  4. Czernobog says:
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    I caught this disease from Travis Hafner years ago. I almost had it cured, and then Carlos Pena happened. I think I’m incurable at this point.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Czernobog: You have my sympathy

  5. papasmurf says:
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    The only thing better than the Yanks not making the playoffs is the Yanks losing in the playoffs.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @papasmurf: Can’t argue with that

  6. Alex says:
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    So is it a stretch to draft him in rounds 6 or 7 in an ops league then?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Alex: No, I don’t think it would be a stretch to draft him then

  7. Al koholic says:
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    great job guys,im getting the fever

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Al koholic: Thanks Al!

  8. Nimrod says:
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    I’m in an OPS league for the first time with that cat as the 6th hitting stat. I’ve read all these blogs at least twice and am just wondering if Grey’s rankings take care of OPS. In other words can I just ignore OPS? The first few rounds the players should have good OPS. Basically what should I look for. Thanks in advance. What a great site.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Nimrod: Grey’s rankings are for standard 5×5 leagues, so they do not include OPS. You can use the player rater to add OPS and produce customized rankings (although it may not yet have been updated for 2014 rankings and still be using 2013’s rankings): http://razzball.com/playerrater/

      You could also use Grey’s ranking, bumping up the guys who have a great OPS a bit and knocking down the guys who have a mediocre OPS.

      • Nimrod says:
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        Thanks looks like more preparation. Shizz.

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