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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…

Adam Eaton – I went over Eaton last week but wanted to mention him again because I like him that much. No, not “like like.” Just one like.

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?

From Around The Web

  1. Tehol Beddict says:
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    Better than Ezra is the greatest band BAR NONE

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Tehol Beddict: This is the comment I was hoping for.

      • Chase Hampton says:
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        @Tom Jacks: I don’t know. It’s leaving me desperately wanting.

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @Chase Hampton: Ha! Maybe we’ll be blessed with a Tehol follow up…

    • John says:
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      @Tehol Beddict:

      Second greatest band?

      Ezra

  2. Wallpaper Paterson says:
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    It was funny when Ike Davis had Valley Fever last year. Mike Francesa mispoke and called it jungle fever. He said he didn’t know how it manifested itself.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Wallpaper Paterson: I didn’t know that, but that’s amazing. Too much Kool & the Gang?

      • Wallpaper Paterson says:
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        @Tom Jacks: Yeah, he said it around 4:50 when I was driving home one day last spring. Part of his commentary made it into the Sunday edition of that week’s Daily News as the “Say What?” quote of the week.

        “Someone brought up the jungle fever. We don’t even know how that manifests itself.” -WFAN radio host Mike Francesa trying to describe the Valley Fever Ike Davis has been battling that could be behind his dreadful start to 2012 season.

  3. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    im targetting a few of these in different leagues,of course id hate to count on lance carlos or chase to heavily,wouldnt want more than one in a rcl league where you only have 1 dl and not much bench

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @AL KOHOLIC: Good point. I wouldn’t try to have each of the injury risks on the same team, unless there’s a deep bench or DL.

  4. Piranhaman says:
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    i’m worrying about Rizzo’s stat line vs. lefties.

    he was nothing against them at least last year.

    Goldschmidt has showing decent BB ability.

    how about him?

    no Goldy on the list with any reason?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Piranhaman: I only left Goldy off because I wasn’t sure he’d be available after the first couple rounds. I actually love him and wrote about it here: http://razzball.com/pauls-bleepin-golden/

      True about Rizzo struggling with lefties last year. He’s still so young that I am confident he will be able to improve some against them. If I grab Rizzo in a daily league, I’ll admit that I might bench him against an elite lefty.

    • Justin says:
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      @Tom Jacks:Is this spot still open, I couldn’t access it on my cell phone? Please e mail me if it is.

      • Tom Jacks

        Tom Jacks says:
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        @Justin: It still looks open to me…

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Tom Jacks: Looks like it’s now filled.

  5. Big AL says:
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    Rizzo stock is rising fast.ADP at 50. There are a lot of great proven players all around him at that price. Davis is a much better value down around ADP 90 .I love Zobrist and may reach for him because of his versatility 2b,ss,of. I really like Prado down a lot farther for the same reason 2b,ss,3b,of.
    It gives you so much flexibility when your drafting if you have these guys.
    Side note. If i’m punting a position what would you pick. 2b,ss,or catcher ? Since I like the idea of Zobrist and Prado I’m leaning towards catcher,but I’ll listen to reason. Thanks

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Big AL: I’d rather punt catcher too. Also, I have no problem reaching for Zobrist in a redraft league. Had no clue Rizzo was going that high. I thought he was going closer to pick 100.

  6. Johnny 5 says:
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    Are you still a fan of Youk in OBP leagues this year? I can keep him for $15 but that seems pretty steep given his recent troubles.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Johnny 5: Yes, I’m still a fan, but I agree that price is a bit too much.

  7. MessyF says:
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    Thanks for the write up Tom!
    In OPS keeper league where I can keep 6 who do I drop?

    Kemp $32
    Aoiki $2
    Alvarez $1
    Salvador Perez $1
    Ike Davis $12
    Ryan Howard $8
    B Lawrie $8

    Do you worry heading into drafts if you’ve already used up all your CI/U spots on keepers?
    Thanks!!

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @MessyF: Thanks for reading! I’d drop Howard. No, I generally don’t worry about which spots I’ve filled and moreso worry about keeping the best players I can.

      • MessyF says:
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        @Tom Jacks: @Tom Jacks: I know Grey is bullish on big Salvador but aren’t his lack of walks gonna hurt OPS leagues? Or he still beats competition?
        Isnt Howard the same as a Berkman/Konerko old OPS machine? Or do you see him in a different light?

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @MessyF: Yeah the walks are a slight concern, but i like his power upside. Also, since it’s a keeper league, I’d knock Howard down a bit, as I would with Berkman or Konerko.

  8. Robinson Checo says:
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    We have OF specific AL only league. Who do you like at CF? DeAza, Rasmus, Victorino, A Jackson, Stubbs, Bourne. It is deep this year aside from keepers. Wondering who you were looking at outside of the obvious guys.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Robinson Checo: I’d take Austin Jackson out of that group. Otherwise I really like Adam Eaton…

      • Tom Jacks

        Tom Jacks says:
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        @Tom Jacks: Whoops, just saw you said AL.

  9. j-bird says:
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    12 team ROTO
    5 keepers (no round value or dollar value – can just keep any 5)
    Hamels is the one SP I would keep – would you attempt to deal him for Goldschmidt and just reload on pitching in the redraft?
    Other keeper bats would include Votto, Trout, Kinsler and Bruce. Thanks.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @j-bird: Yes, I would deal Hamels for Goldy and reload on pitching in the draft.

  10. Miguel says:
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    Do you have a points league ranking?

  11. EB says:
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    I need some advice … I’m in an OPS league that counts ops, total bases on offense, as well as kk/bb ratio and total bases allowed by pitchers.

    12 team league, everyone keeps six. I am keeping David Wright, Y. Cespedes, Paul Goldschmidt, Allen Craig. I was planning on keeping Zach Grienke and Chris Sale. Should I keep Alex Gordon over one of my pitchers and if so which one?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @EB: Yeah, I’d keep Gordon over Sale.

      • Wallpaper Paterson says:
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        @Tom Jacks: I would also keep Gordon over Sale.

  12. whofox says:
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    Thought on my team so far (in a slow draft OPS league, 17 teams, no separate RP/SP slots)

    C – J. Buck
    C – T. Flowers
    1B – Ike Davis
    2B – Mark Ellis
    SS – Jeter
    3B – Beltre
    MI – S. Drew
    CI – Rizzo
    OF – Bryce Harper
    OF – Austin Jackson
    OF – Jennings
    OF – Duda
    OF – Jon Jay
    DH – (pending)
    P – Darvish
    P – Shields
    P – Hammel
    P – Ryu
    P – Billingsley
    P – G. Perkins
    P – Bastardo
    P – Benoit
    P – Dale Thayer
    P – C. Villaneuva
    P – W. Wright
    Bench – A. Casilla

    Obviously I have some weaknesses at MI and C but in a 17 team league everyone will have some holes. I’ve been focusing on high K/9 SP’s and using middle relievers with at least some shot at Saves to help with ratios. Thoughts?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @whofox: I like having Darvish and Shields in that deep of a league to help balance out your pitching. Can’t really say a whole lot else other than what you said – your MI and C worry me, but your CI is very strong and your outfield should be decent. Good luck with the DH pick! I’d just take the best available in your mind without worrying much about position…

  13. major c says:
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    who do you like better as a keeper in an OPS + K/BB league: encarnacion or medlen? same price, having a hard time deciding between the two. 3 keeper limit, stanton and goldschmidt are my other two. like encarnacion but think medlen could be a little more valuable…

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @major c: I’d still prefer Encarnacion. I understand the idea that Medlen could continue his dominance, but I think that comes with a good amount of risk too. Not that Encarnacion is free from risk, but I feel like I “know” he’s going to be a solid hitter at worst, whereas I’m less comfortable projecting Medlen’s floor.

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