Hello, Razzball Readers and six reader-ettes (Grey says it’s five, but now my wife will read (or says she will), so let’s up that number to six, shall we?). The name is Phil, and I’m here to provide some OPS league analysis. I’m from St Louis, but I’m no Cardinals Fan; so the Browns Logo it is.  I’m also not as funny as some of the writers on this site, but I’ll try to work in some humor; we’ll have a few beers, a few laughs, stop at In-and-Out burger, you know, the usual.

I’m going to be breaking down players and numbers for OPS leagues, which are the best of leagues. For those not in the know, that’s On Base % (so walks count!) + Slugging Percentage. Chicks dig the long ball, as Greg Maddux(?!?!) said back in the 90’s, and OPS leagues love those guys. However, as we enter deflated numbers for power hitters, we need to look at guys who help at OPS, which isn’t as easy to find as “batting average” hitters.

The biggest part of OPS to know is that batting average DOESN’T MATTER. Remember that, right it down, take a picture, I don’t give an ef, as it’s the most important part when comparing rankings from Experts. In recent history sluggers like Adam Dunn (the OPS League Gold Standard for many years), Mark Reynolds, Brandon Moss, Cris Carter, Mark Trumbo; all can/did barely hit over .240 but they hit bombs and had a nice OPS.

Another simple fact is that a guy who hits a lot of home runs will knock in a lot of runs. Meaning a good OPS guy can contribute in three categories (HR, RBI, OPS) all linked. And if he steals bases, like Reynolds did there for a while, it makes him an early rounder. But if you are in leagues where guys go by Expert rankings for batting average you could’ve gotten Reynolds in the fifth or sixth round when he should’ve been going in the second.

Furthermore I’m a guy that likes to look at stats I understand. It’s not that I’m Simple Jack, I just don’t have time to comprehend the hundreds of different stats; if I was I’d apply for an MLB gig; and who wants to work in baseball where it would be a job? I’d rather play fantasy and write for the best fantasy baseball site around (smooch to Grey and Rudy’s backsides!). While I appreciate how deep baseball analysis of statistics has gotten, for our purposes I’m going to look at a few stats specifically: OPS (obviously), HRs, ISO, K% and BB%. These all seem to go in tandem, but digging a little deeper like the guy from Dig Dug can and will yield some gems.

If you want me to look at a certain guy just ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to research him for the next post. Also I love trades, trading, and Trading Places(but not Trading Spaces) so any questions there I’d love to help with. On to the Show! Let’s remember it’s not just guys who hit home runs who you need in OPS leagues though because you still need steals. That’s where a guy like Michael A. Taylor, the scourge of the Washington Nationals, becomes intriguing.

I feel like this guy is the C.J. Cron/Mike Napoli/whoever is sleeping with Scioscia’s Daughter of the Nationals. Taylor recently turned 25 (happy birthday!) who was a sixth round pick out of Westminster Academy (fancy!), Florida (not fancy!).

Defensively, it’s said he’s the best outfielder the Nats have. Why Jayson Werth is playing over him I don’t know, but thanks to an injury to Ben Revere he’s going to get consistent playing time for the foreseeable future.

General Rule (like General Tso’s, but not as spicy) is to temper expectations in regards to Spring Training stats. With that being said, (I know, I just said it) here’s what Taylor did in Spring: 20 Games, 53 AB, 6 2B, 5 HR, 4 BB, 3 SB, 1.340 OPS. Dang that’s good. What other young guys had a monster spring, and are doing well now: Nick Ahmed, Jean Segura, Jake Lamb, Joey Rickard. Good group I’d say.

Taylor possesses an interesting speed/power combo, stealing 23 Bases at A ball, 19 at A+, 51 at A+ the next season, and 34 at AA. He didn’t see a lot of AAA Time, but did steal 16 in 138 games at the MLB Level last season. I can’t believe he got 511 ABs, so disregard what I said about the Nats not liking him. They liked him plenty last year, even though it never felt like they really committed to him. Yeah, yeah, hedging is what I do to my bushes, and Michael Taylor, apparently.

He hit 14 HRs last season, and his high in the minors was 22 at AA in 2014. Now let’s look at his OPS. Not pretty. My rule of thumb is over an .800 OPS is minimum for OFs in most leagues; for a guy like Taylor I’ll look at .780 being the minimum. So his .640 OPS from last season isn’t going to cut it. His K% was too high as well clocking in at 30.9%(Oh No). So why do I like Michael A. Taylor?

We know he can steal 25, at least, and all he needs is to hit a few more bombs to approach 17 HRs. This is important because in most leagues 20/20 HR/Steals guys are gold. But guys that go 17/23, or 21/15 never look as sexy. I blame Brabra Walters. Anyway, a guy like Dexter Fowler, who should be 100% owned, basically does that yet a guy like Shin Shoo Choo, who has gone 20/20 a few times, was drafted higher this past season. Choo has had a consistently higher OPS than Fowler but going into this season Fowler had more upside, a better team around him, and is 3 years younger(so can still run). What does this have to do with Taylor, you ask, and I answer, Not a Damn Thing!

Taylor, owned in only 14% of Yahoo Leagues and 5.5% of ESPN Leagues, can help your team. He plays in a bad division, and now that there is no timetable for Span’s return he’s going to play every day. That consistency matters. I owned him last year and he would play a game, get a game off yet come in as a defensive replacement and get 1 AB (man I hate when I leave a guy in my lineup and he does that). With consistent playing time I can see him getting his OPS to a Fowler-like .775 with 14 HRs and 20 more steals.

So that’s it for me today. Thanks to Jay, Grey, and Rudy for letting me add my two OPS cents(which are like regular cents only bigger). Let me know how you feel about Taylor in the comments!

  1. ryan says:
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    I have a general roster question.

    In my 8-team league Joe Ross and Mark Trumbo both look great on the waiver wire. Would you drop anyone to pick up either of them? Hazelbaker and many other hot players available as well.

    Categories: Offense (R, HR, RBI, SB, TB, OBP), Pitching (QS, IP, K, K/BB, WHIP, S+H).

    C- Castillo
    1 – Rizzo
    2 – Segura, Dozier
    S – Lindor
    3 – Arenado, Sano
    O – Springer
    O – C. Davis
    O – Pence
    U – Deshields
    U – Franco

    SP: Harvey, Archer, Carrasco, Lester, Tanaka, Corbin, Smyly, Aaron Sanchez
    RP – Papelbon, Osuna, A. Miller

    Thanks so much!

  2. Phil B.

    phil says:
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    I like your team a lot as is. That being said I wouldn’t drop any of your hitters for Trumbo or Hazelbaker. Ross I could see for Smyly since the AL East is much better than NL East, but that’s really personal preference.

  3. Knucks says:
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    This is good stuff brutha, well done

    • Knucks says:
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      @Knucks: I had a bid in for Taylor of $1 cause I don’t really need him right now (out of $100 Budget btw). I think I’m gonna up it to $3, why the hell not. Not OBP and will be on my bench, but not for long if he can start producing. Same goes for Soler.

      But if Phil’s lady is reading… The man deserves a high five. Great write-up. Look forward to more.

      • Phil B.

        phil says:
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        @Knucks: thanks! I stood over her shoulder as she read this one so I msu have to do that a few more times until it becomes a habit.

        I have Taylor in Avg leagues and start him as a fill in at minimum and if it’s a bad pitcher. He can definitely help.

  4. gobiggreen says:
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    so you’re not shying away form his 0.424 ops to start the season? like him more than say Saunders in TOR?

    • Phil B.

      phil says:
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      @gobiggreen: That’s a tough call. Saunders is more owned and I’d choose him over Taylor because of the offense around him. Taylor I haven’t started every game (like last night and of course missed his HR) but like I him for upside and to fill in for now with more to come, fingers crossed.

      • gobiggreen says:
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        @phil: awesome, thanks. looking forward to more ops articles to come

        • Phil B.

          phil says:
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          @Knucks: thanks! @gobiggreen: thank you! I’m excited to write more. Ops leagues are where it’s at

  5. Tyrell says:
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    Shark was just dropped in my league. Is he worth a waiver claim or let him be someone else problem? M.Taylor is also available what should I do and who should I drop? Squad:

    1st YR 10 Team Keeper League. Roto 6×6 QS/OPS. Inn 1500. Keep 5 forever.

    C Grandal
    1B Belt
    2B Rendon
    3B Franco
    SS Baez
    CI Myers
    MI Schoop
    OF Harper
    OF Springer
    OF Polanco
    OF Grichuk
    Util Piscotty
    Util M.Conforto BN. B.Buxton, T.White, Mazara, Mallex

    SP J. Fernandez, THOR, C.Carrasco, M.Stroman, S.Matz, P.Corbin, (DL) L.McCullers, K.Gausman
    RP S.Doolittle, S.Cishek, A.Colome, Jepsen
    N/A T.Turner

    • Phil B.

      phil says:
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      @Tyrell: I am not a Shark fan. Let him be someone else’s problem. Especially with your pitching which is very nice.

      Taylor I like after your guys so I wouldn’t drop any for him yet. Buxton I have decent hope for this year but he is less valuable in an Ops league and mallex is similar. Your starting hitters are dope.

      • Tyrell says:
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        @phil: Thanks bro. I drafted mostly using your guys Keeper Rankings. It looks good but Im currently in last place. Hopefully that changes quickly though.

  6. Aaron Sorekin says:
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    I was offered Papi for my Freeman and Matt Moore or Papi and Tanaka for my Freeman and Cole Hamels…Do you like either of these deals? I have little faith in Freeman.

  7. Phil B.

    phil says:
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    Freeman is boring but I wouldn’t give up Moore too just for Papi. Hamels is better than Tanaka so I’d hold for now. But shop Freeman a better offer is out there.

  8. Catti says:
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    Hi Phil:

    I’m in a 14 team league and own Sano, Desmond, Freeman, and Khris Davis– can you make me feel better, please? Horrendous starts from all these guys.

    Not to mention my computer froze up during the 3rd round and auto drafted Berrios for me (could be worse, I suppose).

    Nice write up– somebody just dropped Taylor tonight. I think I’m gonna snag him.

    • Phil B.

      phil says:
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      @Catti: @Catti It’s early and I wouldn’t be surprised if other teams came calling about Sano, but hold him, early season in Minny is awful. Freeman might seem like a sell low but I’d put out some offers depending on other 1B options on your team, assuming not much is available on FA wire. Maybe look for a #2 SP or OF depending on needs.

      Khris Davis and OAK have to come around, at least that’s what I keep telling myself about him and Valencia and Reddick. That’s rough on Berrios, but at least he’s the most likely top prospect to come up soon; I have him stashed on a few teams just waiting for those juicy strikeouts.

      Don’t look at the standings; it’s fools gold this early. Just post on your league message board that the leaders have shot their wad and it’s all downhill for them from here. Good luck!

  9. I'mgettingsomeHeadley says:
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    Nice read. All my leagues use OPS. Someone dropped big Papi. In a redraft 12 team league is he worth my worst guy who on I can’t think of . Just generally speaking. Thanks

    • Phil B.

      phil says:
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      @I’mgettingsomeHeadley: Thanks! Love that you play in all OPS leagues, now with less power the strategy becomes greater. If Papi is free, I don’t see why not taking the chance. He’s still a name and if he stinks he cost you nothing and if he does get hot try and move him.

  10. Wildfire says:
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    Great stuff!
    10 team ESPN H2h 6×6 (OPS & QS)

    Little worried about d’Arnaud slow start and getting beaned in the elbow yesterday didn’t help!
    Vogt, Yady, Grandal, Wieters, and Hundley are a few available..any interest or give him a couple more weeks to settle in?

    Also Tyson Ross was dropped..would you swap any of my guys for him?

    Any suggestions or advice is greatly appreciated!

    C- d’Arnaud
    1B- Miggy
    2B- Odor
    3B- Donaldson
    SS- Castro
    MI- Schoop
    CI- Murphy
    OF- Betts, Marte, Braun, Polanco, Dickerson
    Util- Hamilton, Duffy

    SPs- JoFer, Carrasco, Salazar, Rodon, Raisel, J Ross, Severino
    RPs- Rondon, Jeffress, Vizcaino, Betances
    D/L- Boxberger

    • Phil B.

      phil says:
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      @Wildfire: I have D’Arnaud in an 8-team and I’m sticking with him barring any adverse news today or tomorrow. Looks like he avoided serious injury but we never know. I agree with the set it and forget it with Catchers, especially decent ones like D’Arnaud.

      Love your pitching, if you wanted to swap Ross for Ross I wouldn’t argue; since Joe has a shorter leash.

  11. Andy says:
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    Dailey 5×5
    Should I shut my pitching down today (bench)
    I have a lead of 2 wins, 3 saves , era of .50
    Losing by 19ks and whip by .01

    He only has wacha going w rps of grilli and Castillo

    58 innings ish each so he can’t catch me in era
    He’s up only 1 hit so he could drop whip easily

    I could potentially play
    Corbin
    Holland
    Sanchez
    Rps:
    Jansen (8:00)
    Allen
    Ramos
    Colome

    Shut em down?

    • Phil B.

      phil says:
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      @Andy: Agree. Risk/Reward is too great. Especially since catching him in Ks seems tough. Nicely done!

  12. Hugman says:
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    Great article. Glad for some OPS insight.
    So, I know it happens, but how does someone from St. Louis find himself not being a Cards fan? I am also from St. Louis, and am a Best Fan In Baseball. ;)

    • Phil B.

      phil says:
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      @Hugman: Thanks! I am originally from Chicago, so a Cubs fan. I’ve been downtown for both Cardinals celebrations, which has fun but also brutal. I just want one Cubs win to celebrate in Chicago. All my friends are Cards fans and are, for the most part, gracious and don’t exude that “Best fans in baseball mentality,” which is hilarious.

      Been in the Lou about 10 years and until this year I only saw Cubs hats at games. But I’ve been out at the Park and at the mall and around town and have seen way too many Cubs hats. Didn’t know there were all these fans out there just waiting for the Cubs to be good. I’m an old-school fan though knowing that that the other shoe is going to drop; so until it happens I keep my expectations in check.

      Feel free though to give me the business about the Cards, because regardless of what happens they always field an awesome team and the Cubs will do what the Cubs do, which is break my heart.

      • @phil: Well, I’m glad it’s a rivalry worth talking about again. I’ve been very pleasantly surprised with Cardinal hitting so far, although it’s not going to do much to make my wish of Mabry getting the boot come true. Enjoy the series starting today!

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