A show of hands of who misses baseball. Everyone? I thought so.
• With the re-signing of David Ortiz to the two year deal that he was looking for, the Boston Red Sox have taken one of the premiere — if not aging — bats off of the market. In all likelihood, this was the best move for Ortiz and his potential fantasy owners. Last season Ortiz crushed the ball at Fenway “Pahk” at a .359/.463/.706 pace. In other words, Ortiz’s slugging was .130 points higher than teammate Nick Punto‘s OPS as a Red Sock. For the second straight year Ortiz’s home OPS was over 1.000 and his away OPS was under .900. Age aside, Ortiz still makes for a valuable fantasy contributor in both standard 5×5 leagues and Ottoneu. I’ll be aiming to draft him.
• If you take it at face value (and we can debate the merits of doing that), then it appears as though the Giants will be offering Hunter Pence arbitration. That tweet also assumes a $13 million to $14 million dollar contract. This past season was a mixed bag for Pence, as well as his fantasy owners. After hitting .280 or better for the past three year, this past season his average plummeted to barely above the .250 mark. He still managed to hit over 20 home runs and actually set a career high in RBI’s and came within shouting distance of a career high in runs. As is often the case with something so fickle as batting average, most of his low BA can be blamed on BABIP. That being said, Pence’s seasonal batted ball profile didn’t stray from what we can assume for him. For his career, Pence has hit a 32.3 fly ball percentage and a 51.6 ground ball percentage. His 2012 season was at 31.9% and 51.1% respectively. The true issue was once he was traded to San Francisco, his BABIP went from .305 as a Philadelphia Phillie to a mere .261 BABIP as a Giant. There he hit the most fly balls, and consequently the fewest ground balls, of his career. Given that his entire career as a Giant spans just 248 plate appearances, I’m willing to think that Pence will bounce back and be just fine.
• Among the pitchers that seem to be drawing interest, that group seems to be headlined by R.A. Dickey. If the New York Mets decided to shop their ace knuckle-baller, you can be sure that he would draw interest from any team looking to improve their rotation. Dickey posted his highest strikeout total of his career last year, and before you write that off as a fluke, his peripheral stats like SwStr%, O-Swing% and Contact% were also the best of his career. The tricky part of his evaluation is, of course, him being a knuckle-baller as well as his age. Even
with after the Mets moving in the fences next this past season, Dickey seemed like a bona fide fantasy ace at this point, at least for the short term future. If Dickey does in fact get moved, I’d expect a slight dip in his numbers if he leaves the NL, depending on the park where he lands of course. For now, I’ll be aiming for him in every draft where he is available.