It wasn't too long ago when most wrote David Ortiz off as done. After all he was 34 years old, a bigger fellow and had just hit .143/.238/.286 with a 33.3% strike out rate, for the month of April. The year was 2010. As we know now, Ortiz ended up being fine. In fact the following month - May 2010 - Ortiz posted a 1.211 OPS, with 10 long balls. He was back.
Since that rough April, Ortiz has been nothing short of amazing. By wRC+, Ortiz has posted marks of 154 (2011), 170 (2012 - in 90 games) and 152 (2013). Speaking of his 2013 season, let these numbers sink in:
84 Runs, 30 Home Runs, 103 RBI, 4 Stolen Bases, .309 Batting Average
Now don't get me wrong, there were questions surrounding Ortiz's availability at the start of the season that certainly drove his draft day price down. In fact, Ortiz was the first played nominated at my 2013 AL only keeper auction for this very reason. The question marks surrounding him and how much he'd play, led to an owner picking him up for a $9 investment.
As is a constant in life, the calendar flips on and Ortiz will enter the 2014 season at 38 years old. For fantasy purposes he's only eligible at the Utility roster spot. It seems the majority of fantasy managers prefer not to fill this roster spot with a DH only player, which almost certainly presents a value on draft day. While your team's flexibility is reduced slightly, Ortiz's production more than offsets the slight inconvenience.
Before we can make any sort of rotisserie projection, we must first decide how much Ortiz will be on the field this season. Over the last four seasons Ortiz has appeared in 145, 146, 90 and 137 games. Interleague play will always reduce that number to a degree, but so have injuries. As I said before, Ortiz is a monster of a man and he's not getting any younger. In terms of at bats, I have Ortiz currently projected for 465 - a slight reduction from the 518 he amassed in 2013.
Based on a 465 at bat projection, my 2014 rotisserie projection for David Ortiz is as follows:
77 Runs, 23 Home Runs, 83 RBI, 2 Stole Bases, .293 Batting Average
I know, I know. This line is definitely down from his 2013 season, but it's still a valuable rotisserie line for our game. In fact in a 10 team, 23 man roster, AL Only League, this line would make Ortiz a Top 40 Player (No. 40 exactly), according to my auction value price.
For those playing in a standard, 12 team, mixed league, Ortiz is still a player worth targeting. If you're a fan of Justin Upton, I have Ortiz worth the exact same in terms of auction value price heading into draft season - No. 50 overall. Ray recently ranked Ortiz as his 32nd best hitter in his top 100 hitter list. I'm sure Ray would agree, once you factor in pitching as well, No. 50 overall is about right. Interestingly enough, Ray also ranks Justin Upton within one spot of Ortiz as well. Great minds, something, something...
So what do you think? Is my projection too low for David Ortiz entering the season? I acknowledge he could hit 25+ home runs and drive in 90+, but as always, I'd much rather be conservative in my projections and reap the in-season value if he outperforms them. Let's hear it in the comments.
Dave also writes an AL-Only dedicated blog - for more analysis, please come check us out.