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!