Manny Ramirez is no stranger to controversy removing him from the field, which makes it even stranger that controversy may end up putting him back on the field. The Rangers, who have Manny playing in their minor leagues, have been insistent that they have no need for Ramirez on their major league squad. However, that could change with Nelson Cruz accepting his 50 game suspension. I want to address a larger point in that over-the-hill sluggers are sometimes worth the gamble, even when they seem unlikely to produce. Yes, I’d take the same approach with Alex Rodriguez (Steamer projects a decent .258/.340/.438 line for him). I know it tends to be unpopular because they aren’t as exciting as younger players, but, depending on the size of your league, they still have value. If you have any doubts about a player being productive at an unlikely age, I’ll give you my Exhibit A: David Ortiz, who is likely well into his seventies. If Manny gets another chance in the majors, I wouldn’t expect Ortiz-like production, but something similar to Steamer’s A-Rod projection seems reasonable. That would be helpful at removing some of the weight from losing any fantasy baseball players to a suspension. Anyway here are some less controversial players I’m following in OPS leagues:
Junior Lake – I’m really pulling for this guy to succeed. Not just because I’m a Cubs fan. Not just because of his sweet name. Not just because I own him in some leagues. Or actually, those are probably the only reasons. I’ll admit that when I attended the Cubs/Dodgers game this past Sunday, I got a kick out of hearing the riff from Smoke on the Water playing as he walked up to his first at bat. Maybe I’ve been listening to too much Radiohead, but I’m optimistically thinking that he could produce near his 2012 AA .279/.341/.432 line for the rest of 2013.
Brandon Moss – Somebody told me that I ought to give Brandon flowers. I’d definitely pick him up where he’s available.
Raul Ibanez – Earlier in the year, I said, “He’s striking out more, but has a higher home run to fly ball rate. I think he’ll be a slightly lesser version of his first half, but he should still be very productive when healthy.” Well, his second half has been miserable and he’s being dropped in a number of leagues, but I’d take a chance on him improving going forward. Yes, again with that over-the-hill slugger thing…
Justin Smoak – I don’t understand why he’s not owned in more leagues and I really don’t understand why he’s being dropped in some leagues. He has the potential to produce well over an .800 OPS for the rest of the season.
Stephen Drew – Yes, you should pick him up faster than you can say “Jack Robinson,” although I have no idea what that means.
Michael Saunders – The Colonel has been packin’ heat lately. I don’t exactly trust him to produce much higher than his .235/.320/.406 line this year, but he’s worth the gamble in deeper leagues.
Wil Myers – Teaser Alert: I haven’t talked about him much, have I?
Tom Jacks is sporadically on Twitter @votetomjacks