I want to start talking about a little piece of OPS strategy that has worked for me over the years. This works for AVG and OBP Leagues but I think works especially well for OPS leagues. I call it: “Pair two players (PTP).” Sexy, I know. Usually it’s the combination of a power guy (say Giancarlo Stanton) with a speed guy (say Billy Hamilton). Simple, yet efficient. Giancarlo Hamilton, as it were. Other examples: Edwin Pillar, Ender Rizzo, Lorenzo Abreu, make up your own! It’s fun.
It applies the most to OPS leagues because most of the steals guys have less than optimal OPS, some less than .700. But those steals guys are needed since it’s a category in most leagues and overall MLB steals numbers have been on the skids (I think I used that right; makes me think of Skid Mark, which is what they now call Tandy who was once Phil on the TV show Last Man on Earth. It’s a bizarre show but I laugh throughout it; great cast, highly recommended) for a while now.
Where can we typically find the most steals for cheap? Middle Infield. They are usually cheaper at auction/lower drafted because they only bring steals, maybe some runs, and a good average hopefully. Well average doesn’t help us and neither does a .650 OPS. But combine that with a 1B/3B/OF that provides a high OPS and HR gives an excellent pairing, like a fine wine and steak or fish; however when I’m paying I like beer and burgers, but if someone is buying me a steak I will never turn it down.
Now, Phil you say, isn’t this obvious? And I say, sure, but remember fantasy baseball is 90% mental and 0.01% physical (And 9.99% Doritos and Mountain Dew, or Coffee and donuts if you’re like me). What I mean is one has to change their philosophy (I can’t stress this point enough, I know you say, you bolded it) in OPS leagues away from hating on low OPS, steals guys and learn that they have their place on your team. Once you’ve been playing for years certain habits develop and they becomes harder to break (another one I’ve noticed is checking the standings three weeks in and you’re in last place and begin to give up; rather don’t look at the standings until June).
So of course I’m going to talk about a speed 2B, right? Of course not, you should’ve known better. Or maybe you shouldn’t have; this is only my second Razzball Article so you really don’t know me well. Yet. Rather let’s talk about Logan Forsythe, second baseman (and in some leagues qualifies at 1B) of the Tampa Bay Rays.
His full name is John Logan Forsythe, which, while Logan is badass first name because of Wolverine, John Logan sounds like a guy that works in logging; or maybe an Alaskan politician. Well, a quick Google search tells me there is a John Logan who wrote Gladiator, and a John Logan who was a civil war politician from Illinois, so I’m too far off, am I?
Forsythe is 29 years old, drafted as a supplemental pick from the University of Arkansas by the San Diego Padres in 2008. Acquired by the Rays in a trade along with Bradley Boxburger and some minor leaguers for Jesse Hahn and Alex Torres. No wonder the Rays do so well. That was a trade assault(not rape cause that’s unnecessary in these circles).
Forsythe suffered Plantar Fasciitis in 2013 while playing for the Padres and started the season on the 60-day DL; most of us know, and if you don’t know, now you do, that Plantar Fasciitis can sideline a guy for up to a whole season. They need more arch support in their shoes. Free medical advice, take it as you will. True enough, Plantar Fasciitis (I’ve misspelled this in a different way every time I’ve typed it, thank you spell check) ended his 2013. 2014 he played all over the diamond for the Rays, showing a poor ISO and OPS as he adjusted to the much better AL East.
Last season things came together for Forsythe with a .804 OPS with 17 HRs and nine steals. His ISO was a respectable .163. It did take him 615 plate appearances to get those numbers, but who else are the Rays going to play? He might be their best hitter; it’s between him or Corey Dickerson (his Plantar Fasciitis BFF). This season so far he’s only hitting .250 but has a .800 OPS along with two HRs and a Steal and an ISO of .205. Throughout the minors he had a pretty consistent walk rate of over 15% but in the majors that’s gone down to around 8%. If he’s hitting more homers I don’t care if he walks less.
Only issue I see is the 17 HRs from last year seem like an outlier as he never hit more than 11 in any one minor league season (2009 between A+ and AA). But he’s also never played in as many games as he did last year, 153. Like I said earlier I think he’s going to play every day in Tampa and be able to at least duplicate last year’s numbers if not improve on them a bit.
He’s 65% owned in ESPN and 45% owned in Yahoo; as of this writing so not exactly an unknown, but a guy worth acquiring, especially in OPS leagues. He was probably drafted in your OPS league but maybe he’s been dropped or his owner thinks he hasn’t started off hot enough. In either case see if you can acquire him.
In my home league I just cut bait with Cesar Hernandez (or Cesar Machado as it were) because with 1 steal and a putrid OPS he has no right to be on my team any longer and am rolling with Forsythe exclusively. Also Hernandez doesn’t understand the infield fly rule and that just worries me, as well as bugs me. And I hate bugs and spiders, which should, for all intents and purposes, be bugs, like Cesar Hernandez.
Thanks for reading and ask me anything (well not anything, I really don’t know that much so I’d probably just Google your question on “Does cat blood come out of suede?” Then I actually would have way more questions if you ask me that) and I’ll respond quick. Enjoy the rest of the weekend Razzballers and Razzballettes.
Thank you for those that commented last week, I really appreciate it. Feel free to ask me OPS questions or just general questions over the weekend and I’ll get back pretty quick (which my wife was not super happy about this past weekend but I told her “c’mon honey, there’s not much more important than my first Razzball post and I need to respond. I need this!” She rolled her eyes and humored me).