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It’s time to start looking ahead to the 2013 fantasy baseball season. With that in mind, this column will hope to shine a light on players who are noticeably affected by OPS:

Paul Goldschmidt – I’m as infatuated with Goldschmidt as Blagojevich was with getting top dollar for his Senate seat. And after next year, he will likely deserve any sort of kickbacks from the fantasy community he receives. Not sure what that would entail besides Twitter mentions and a spike in his average draft position in 2014, but hey, he’ll take what he can get. For all we know, those things may be part of the baseball arbitration process. A few weeks ago in my review of 2012 first basemen I said, “A 42 point OPS increase from 2011 led to a .286/.359/.490 line and he appears to have the potential for additional improvement. This year he decreased his strikeouts dramatically while increasing his line drives and contact rate. He may have had a bit of bad luck with his HR/FB and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him easily hit 30 home runs next season.” As if that wasn’t promising enough, he stole 18 bases in 2012, which isn’t as much of a fluke as you might think. You’ll never mistake him for Bengie Molina on the basepaths and I expect him to have double digit steals in 2013.

The only caveat I’ll give is that the Diamondbacks seem to hate (sorry, “strongly dislike”) their players. Worst case scenario could involve Goldschmidt becoming BFFs with Upton, resulting in them both being traded to a Japanese team. Barring that, I see Goldschmidt improving upon last season, with a sexy .280/.370/.500 line. Did I mention that he appears to have a high floor and has a little room for upside from there? Well, now I did. Add in 10+ stolen bases and 30 home runs, with solid runs and RBIs, and you have a recipe for a top first baseman. Something tells me I’m into something gold.

Ike Davis – I still like Ike. He significantly improved after a horrific start to the year. Just look at his OPS by month: .550 in April, .496 in May, .926 in June, .794 in July, .887 in August, and .900 in September. Grey also just went over his Ike Davis 2013 sleeper post.  Some of this improvement can be credited to an improved BABIP, but he also produced a higher walk rate and lower strikeout rate. After re-evaluating him earlier in the year, I said, “I thought that a .790 OPS was his floor, but he’s making Bill James’ pre-season projection of an .886 not look completely insane. He’s made enough of an improvement that a .250/.350/.480 line is reasonable.” I’m going to stand by that line for his 2013 projection, but add that he has room for upside from there. I have no clue how much that Valley Fever ordeal affected his performance in the beginning of the year, but he demonstrated that he was no longer the player who slumped early in 2012. It’s also worth mentioning that he may fall enough in drafts to be a real value. He’s tried to knock on wood, but we all know he hasn’t yet. Hopefully he turns into something good. It’s the impression that Ike gets.

30 Responses

  1. adam says:
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    needless to say i waited on ss how do you rank these fools…. drew, cozart, simmons, escobar and peralta…. thanks

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @adam: I like Simmons quite a bit better than the rest of those scrubs. The rest are pretty similar, but I guess I’d prefer them in the following order: Escobar, Drew, Cozart, Peralta.

  2. SwaggerJackers says:
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    How do you think Rizzo compares to Ike in terms of OBP keeper leagues? I have Rizzo cheap but kind of want to keep Medlen instead.

    • Crawdads says:
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      @SwaggerJackers: I would not get rid of Rizzo in a keeper league. Do you have to get rid of him or Medlen? If so, I love Medlen, but pitchers break alot easier than 1B. Also, Medlen is due for a bit of regression after that completely lights out 2H.

      • Tom Jacks

        Tom Jacks says:
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        @Crawdads: That’s a fair take. I like Rizzo, but I’m not sure that his upside is significantly higher that Ike’s. And it will be interesting to see what Medlen does next year…

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @SwaggerJackers: I think Rizzo will be similar to Ike next year, but would slightly prefer Rizzo long term. I actually like Medlen quite a bit too, especially since he’ll get to throw complete games against the Marlins now… Maybe you could find a good trade for Rizzo since somebody should be high on him?

      • SwaggerJackers says:
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        @Tom Jacks:

        I’m currently keeping Cano, Bautista, Tulo, and Craig.

        Tulo is expensive ($21) but it’s still Tulo so I’m forced to choose between Rizzo and Medlen.

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @SwaggerJackers: Oh ok. I thought you had both Davis and Rizzo. I’d have to stick with Rizzo over Medlen, despite me liking Medlen. Ideally there’s somebody in your league who would take a 2 for 1 trade…

  3. Bob says:
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    Another example of 1B not looking nearly as bad as it did last year at this time. I remember Gray talking about needing a 1B in one of the first two rounds last year – think he’s changed his philosophy a bit based on the position this year (or you)?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Bob: Yeah, I think there’s quite a bit of upside and value in the middle rounds of this position, so I won’t reach for a first baseman early on just because it’s a first baseman. However, I’d still be elated if Pujols/Votto/Prince slipped into the second round. The positional depth should also help finding a solid guy for the corner infield spot.

  4. Bob says:
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    Gr”e”y

    Derrr…

    Either way, lookin’ like some good one baggers out there…

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Bob: Yeah, we’ll see what Grey says, but I think he’ll be optimistic about first baseman depth due to a bunch of different upside guys and the “fact” that Hosmer can’t get any worse.

  5. Raftman says:
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    Nice write up on Goldy! Quick question about his value in a 16 Team H@H Dynasty League – I drafted Fielder in the second round and later got Hosmer at great value deep in the draft. Someone is after my Fielder, and is offering Goldy and some prospects (Tavaras, Bauer, etc). I know this question is vague without you seeing my entire team, but I guess what I’m after is this – Is Goldy’s potential (remember, Dynasty League), along with the upside of other top Prospects, worth giving up a stud like Fielder? Thanks!

    • nick says:
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      @Raftman: i would not trade fielder as long as miggy is in the same line-up. fielder should be 35+hr. the biggest difference between the two is one gets you walks the other sb. without knowing your scoring it is your call as to what is more important

      • Raftman says:
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        @nick: Thanks Nick! Yeah, I think I’m going to keep Fielder for quite awhile.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Raftman: Thanks! I agree that it’s probably best to hang on to Fielder since he’s not going to be over the hill any time soon. I could see trading him for Goldy and prospects since it’s a dynasty league, but would want several elite and near MLB ready prospects in return.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Raftman: Also, maybe it’s a given, but I’d be more inclined to do it if you’re not in contention for first place next year.

  6. SpecialFNK says:
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    I’m in a keeper league and wanted to get some thoughts.
    I currently have Billy Butler at 1B. should I look into trading Butler for Paul Goldschmidt?
    we can also trade draft picks. should I just try and trade Butler to get Goldschmidt? or should I try and get more value with exchanging draft picks to get a better pick? Butler had the better 2012, but I think Goldschmidt will pass him for 2013 plus.
    I’m concerned with Butler in 2013 plus. I can’t see him getting to 29 HR again. FB% too low. I’m also wondering about him losing games/AB, with a new schedule that might have less DH games with AL teams having to play more NL teams because of the unbalanced schedule now that Houston is in the AL.

    as long as I have Butler, who should be my 5 keepers from these players?
    Billy Butler.
    Shin Soo Choo.
    Jimmy Rollins.
    David Price.
    Manny Machado.
    Miguel Montero.
    Dan Uggla.
    Starling Marte.
    Yovani Gallardo.

    I’m thinking the top 5,
    Butler/Choo/Rollins/Price/Machado.
    is Machado for sure a top 5 keeper going forward?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @SpecialFNK: If you can get Goldschmidt and a better pick for Butler, I think it’s a no brainer. Even without the better pick, I’d still do that deal because I agree that Goldschmidt should be the better bet for 2013 plus.

      I’d go with those same top 5 from that list. Machado should be great in a keeper league going forward and I’d take him ahead of the rest of that group for your final spot. It might be close with Gallardo, but I’d give the edge to Machado, especially since you’ve got Price.

  7. JayReb says:
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    love talking about FBB in the winter! In my keeper auction league I’ve got a guy after both Grant Balfour ($4) and Kenley Jansen ($1 – final year) and is offering Pedro Alvarez ($6 final yr) Malholm $1 and a scrub I wouldn’t keep (O. Infante $1)
    I’m trying to get Starlin Castro ($6 – two yrs left) instead. Are either of these a good deal for me. I have one other keepable closer in Wilhelmsmen ($1) standard 5X5 roto and I have lots of power bats
    Thanks

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @JayReb: I wouldn’t do the Pedro deal since he doesn’t seem to be cheap enough for it to be a big enough bargain to justify trading those guys. However, I would definitely do the deal for Starlin if you can get him.

  8. IrishPride says:
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    I have to choose 2 of 4 players as keepers. Martin Prado, Angel Pagan, Joel Hanrahan and Wandy Rodriguez. It’s a 12 team H2H 6×6 (OPS & QS) mixed league . Which two do you think I should keep?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Prado, Pagan… None are great…

      EDIT: Oops, sorry, Tom, didn’t mean to answer on your post…

      • Tom Jacks

        Tom Jacks says:
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        @Grey: No worries Grey.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @IrishPride: I’d go with the two hitters. Those pitchers aren’t good enough for me to consider keeping them over hitters. When in doubt, I go with hitters.

  9. duder says:
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    My pick in my early draft. Medlen or Dickey for next year only? Have to pick one.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @duder: For next year only I’d go with Dickey. I don’t think the move to the AL will really affect him.

  10. Luis says:
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    Do you guys think that Travis Snyder is a good sleeper for next year? What about Giavotella? Took a gamble on him toward end of last year in a 20 team dynasty league (H2H) and I think I’m going to keep JG for next year (we keep 20 players each year). Who out of the two would you keep? I think it may end up coming down to choose between the two of them.

    Thanks and Happy New Years

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Luis: Yeah I’d probably go with JG in that deep of a league since he’s a middle infielder and could be decent. I’d only recommend Travis if you’re desperate for power and are set at MI.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Luis: Oh and Happy New Year to you too!

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