As suggested by you (yes, you!), I’m long overdue in covering a batch of “good” OPS values, as Better Than Ezra would say. To be Frank Francisco with you, I’m going to hit you with a chair, if by chair I mean knowledge. I’m not going to restate some players I’ve recently fawned over, like David Ortiz, Josh Willingham, Corey Hart, Ike Davis, Kevin Youkilis, Todd Frazier, and SAGNOFs. I’m also going to stay away from players in the first couple rounds (don’t hate the playa, hate their draft position!) because you don’t need me to tell you that Joey Votto and Giancarlo Stanton are awesome, do you? If so, then please seek medical assistance. Anyway, as I mentioned last week, some of the Razzball writers are participating in a mock draft and you can follow the chaos at #RazzballMock (though Sky conveniently posted a recap). Without further delay, here are some of the players I’m looking forward to drafting in OPS leagues after the first couple rounds:
Yoenis Cespedes – His .280/.360/.500 line will echo Jason Heyward, minus the additional upside. That’s meant to be a compliment. You heard it first: he’s going to be the star of the next Moneyball movie, where the A’s go all in on slugging and instigate bad behaviors for players on other teams. Sure it’s a stretch, but maybe Trout will gain a ton of weight, Ron Washington will mismanage his team, and the rest of the division won’t be productive. Oh, wait…
Lance Berkman – The only question is whether he stays healthy, but that gamble is easily worth the late round pick that he’ll cost. Could he post a .900+ OPS in Texas? Yes sir. I’d conservatively project a .270/.370/.480 line, but he’s been much better than that in the past.
Anthony Rizzo – I love Rizzo almost as much as Bill James does. Almost. I believe in his 30 home run upside and good overall skills. He won’t hurt you anywhere and I think he’ll have a .280/.350/.500 season as long as he doesn’t get Valley Fever.
Mike Napoli – Sure, he may hurt your batting average and get injured in the process, but I’m willing to take a chance on him considering his draft position. Will he repeat his 2011 season? Not unless they remove the Green Monster (not Jeffrey Loria, the other one) for him. I’m counting on a bounceback, with at least a .240/.350/.500 line.
Carlos Quentin – Speaking of injuries, Quentin had something of a renaissance during the limited time he remained healthy on the Padres, with a .877 OPS. I expect some regression, although the fences coming in at Petco could balance it out. A .250/.350/.490 line should be attainable when healthy. Seems like he’s more of an afterthought in drafts too…
Aramis Ramirez – He seems to be drinking from the same water as Adrian Beltre and Marco Rubio, which keeps him youthful and unprepared. By unprepared, I mean that he doesn’t care at all about the first month or two of the season (the splits and his casual indifference back this up), but after that he’s fantastic. Whether that means you should draft him or try to trade for him a month into the season is up to you, but his overall .290/.360/.500 line is exceptional for a third baseman.
Paul Konerko – Speaking of ageless wonders, Konerko finally displayed some vulnerability. He opened up about it and said that he read far too much Jane Austen last season. Now, he’s not getting any younger (or is he?), but I don’t expect much drop off from last season’s .298/.371/.486 numbers.
Ben Zobrist – I’ve seen him go all over the place in mock drafts, from extremely early to the middle rounds. That obviously makes a difference in his value. He’s a top tier middle infielder in OPS leagues and I expect him to remain consistent, with a .270/.360/.470 line.
Chase Utley – He is another one of those productive when healthy players. I don’t expect any worse than the .256/.365/.429 line he posted last year. He’s even got some slugging upside and is worth considering in the middle rounds of drafts.
Who is your OPS boyfriend this year?