Maybe I’m paranoid, but we have to be masters of reality and understand that he won’t be able to continue this wizard-like production. I’m not exactly trying to declare war on Yasiel Puig, but, like any new found glory, it’s all downhill from here. Don’t make me choose my friends over you, Yasiel! He’s truly been a fantasy baseball catalyst, but he has a very low walk rate and his strikeout rate is rising to worrisome levels. He will continue to be hit or miss, although I unfortunately see him missing much more often. Let’s address the giant Sandoval in the room: his .472 BABIP is preparing him for a head on collision. Another factor is that his hip injury has shown that he’s no iron man. I’ll temper expectations a bit by saying that a certain player had a comparable 1.105 OPS last June, only to fall to mediocrity afterwards. Shout out to whoever names that player first. I think Puig will be closer to Mark Trumbo going forward, which isn’t bad, but isn’t anywhere near what he’s been this year. On a different note, Terse and I will be doing a Reddit AMA tonight at 7pm EST. Y’all should stop by. Anyway, here are some other guys who are putting up somewhat surprising seasons:
David Ortiz – I’ve mentioned him over and over again, but he deserves to be mentioned here. His performance shouldn’t be a surprise, as he is literally a man among boys. Before this season, I said, “I’m not going to project a 1.000 OPS because I wouldn’t do that for anybody, but there’s no reason for me to believe that he can’t top a .900 OPS. That’s extremely valuable in any league… For 2013, I’ll give him an indulgent .290/.390/.530 line.” He’s managed to exceed that high expectation with his current .317/.402/.606 line! Although, if you think that he won’t be able to maintain that, I’d point to his .318/.415/.611 line last season. The only concern I have is a potential injury, but if he stays healthy, there’s no reason why he can’t continue to crush.
Raul Ibanez – Imagine if he gets traded to a more hitter-friendly ballpark. 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.
Mike Trout – How many people thought he wouldn’t repeat? After he stumbled a bit in April, I ranted, “His slow start doesn’t have me worried at all and I fully expect him to post similar numbers to last year. I kept hearing the “fact” that he would regress, but I don’t think that’s a given. Regression is never inevitable. Most of the arguments I’ve heard about why he will regress could be turned around the other way. For example, if you are worried that pitchers are going to better adjust to him, then you could also be excited because he could better adjust to pitchers. I’ll end this mini-rant by saying that you should give your studs the benefit of the doubt for the first month.” He’s roughly produced the same line as last year and I expect him to continue business as usual.
Pedro Alvarez – The main surprise is that he’s finally meeting his power potential. I was a big fan of Pedro from Pittsburgh earlier in the year and said to buy him since he was available in a lot of leagues after his horrifically slow start. I fully expect something similar to his current .250/.311/.516 line in the second half, but can’t guarantee that it won’t come without an ice cold streak. Strangely, as I sit here in the heat, that sounds like a welcome change. You’re too hot to handle, Pedro!
Michael Cuddyer – His year really has me puzzled. All of the underlying numbers look awfully similar to last year’s .806 OPS, despite posting a .960 OPS this season. I’m going to use my very scientific method and split the difference to project roughly a .290/.350/.530 line for the rest of 2013.
Josh Donaldson – Josh is my homie, yo! I covered him extensively a couple months ago. To summarize, I’m a fan and thought he’d produce a .270/.350/.460 the rest of the way, though he’s stubbornly exceeded it. I’m still sticking with my projection for the rest of 2013.
Matt Carpenter – I didn’t think he’d be this good, but after posting a .294/.365/.463 line last year and drastically reducing his strikeouts, his current .891 OPS doesn’t look too far-fetched.
Jason Kipnis – I’ll admit that I didn’t believe in him. I don’t know why, but I still don’t trust him. Like Cuddyer, I think Kipnis is going to be somewhere in between his numbers from last year and this year. End of story.
Tom Jacks is sporadically on Twitter @votetomjacks