Welcome to the 2018 season of Razzball Fantasy Baseball OPS! I’m back as your host for the third straight season of OPS fun and right off the bat I’m challenging my intelligence. Same as it ever was, maybe that’s why I fit in so well here. Before I address the title, here’s a quick intro for those of you uninitiated. We talk On Base Percentage PLUS Slugging percentage and that gives us the magical OPS. Chicks dig the long ball and all that, but OPS isn’t just about hitting homers, because if it was, Rougned Odor would have been an OPS All Star last year withh 30 homer but a putrid .649 OPS.
The focus (mainly) here is on hitters and how they are in OPS leagues. Don’t expect much pitching advice (unless there is a guy I really like and no one else does then maybe I’ll mention him…then he’ll proceed to do horribly and get sent to the minors and that’s a reminder that pitching is not my specialty).
Now with all of that being said (and if you read it, you know I already said it) let’s regurgitate that title, Billy Hamilton, OPS superstar. First off, I am rejecting any reference to Hamilton the musical (mainly because I haven’t seen it and don’t have $400 a ticket to see it here in LA…that’s super expensive, yo!).
First, the bad: Fast Billy has a career OPS of .632 (barely worse than Odor!). That’s not winning any leagues, heck that’s not rosterable expect for the fact that he’s averaged 56+ steals over the past four seasons. That’s dominating the category, like Stanton in homers, but even more so (and there are a lot of articles out there about how dominant Fast Billy is with all kinds of fancy charts and graphs and division, but not this one, so go googling if you feel).
Besides he’s providing a superior advantage in one of the five categories he also contributes in Runs, too…but RBIs, homers and OPS? In those three categories he’s hurting your team. Many in OPS circles shy away from Fast Billy because of the negatives he gives to those three categories; but don’t focus on the negative, focus on the positive, as those motivational speakers always say.
Solving a problem like Fast Billy isn’t difficult, it’s the pair him with another player (a popular refrain around these here Razzball parts). He’s not Billy Hamilton anymore, now he’s Billy (Giancarlo) Stanton, he’s Billy (Bryce) Harper, he’s Billy (Trout). He pairs well with any first rounder because in an OPS league your first (and second) round picks should both have projected OPS over .900. Since Fast Billy is usually under-drafted in Auction leagues, you don’t have to use a top three round pick on him so you can really utilize this strategy (I’ll go over my auction draft strategies in a later post) to your advantage.
Let’s do some simple math and take Hamilton and Stanton’s projected OPS and average it (using Streamer numbers as Grey doesn’t predict OPS) and I came up with an .852 OPS if you combo them. Yep, that’ll work, because the other four categories (using Grey’s predictions) average out to 100/30/81/32. There, don’t you feel a tad bit better?
Now, after all this, here’s the most important reason why you draft Billy Hamilton: so you can trade him later. See, we know by drafting Fast Billy he’s going to put our team in an OPS hole early on (the Runs and Homers are harder to notice early on), but we can work on that throughout the season (especially later in the season when some teams are sleeping and their OPS gets worse).
Then about mid-season start looking at the teams with a good/great OPS and lack of steals (of which you can usually find at least a third of the league) and go at them. Since Fast Billy is an OF most of those teams can find a spot for him, and they will probably be willing to move a power hitting OPS OF for him. Also having him usually allows for an early lead in steals so trading him doesn’t hurt too much in that category. Getting that power hitter to help build OPS as well as helping in homers and RBIs has us looking to finish the season strong.
Utilize Fast Billy to your advantage this year and he’ll pay off (and he’s pretty fun to own, especially after those four steal games) and make sure to come here every week for all your OPS needs. I’ll put up my tiered rankings soon enough, and I’d also going to gauge interest in an OPS league for Razzball readers and others (tell your friends!). It would be 5×5 with OPS replacing AVG, an auction draft, a buy-in and draft date TBD. Those interested comment below. For the rest of you, I expect you back next week front and center…or back and off-kilter. You do you.