Last season David Ortiz of the Red Sox had a better batting average than Robinson Cano (.318 to .313). Ortiz had more homers than David Wright (23 to 21). Ortiz had a better OBP than Buster Posey (.415 to .408). Ortiz had a better SLG than Miguel Cabrera (.611 to .606). Despite all of that rather amazing information I’m here to tell you that I’m not at all bullish on David Ortiz for the 2013 season.
First things first. Ortiz was limited to only 90 games played last season as an Achilles issue pretty much crippled him. The Sox continue to say that Ortiz is progressing well but Achilles injuries can be very tricky to overcome, especially when the player involved is 37 years old and not exactly a bastion of physical health (I don’t think anyone would want to see Ortiz at the beach. I can unequivocally say I would like to see Kristen Kreuk at the beach though. What a beauty, maybe that’s why she was cast in the CW’s Beauty & the Beast). Here are some quotes from Ortiz just a few days ago.
“I’m not completely recovered, but I’m going to be ready to go for Opening Day,” Ortiz told WEEI.com. “… it all depends what the doctors say. They say I’m going to have my days I’m not going to feel that well. I haven’t had those yet, but I haven’t started the hard stuff. But the one thing I can tell you is I’m able to do the agility drills without any pain, which I wasn’t able to do before, so that’s a good thing.”
Do you read that and get the warm and fuzzies? I certainly don’t. I read that and in my head here is what it says.
‘My Achilles was jacked up. It’s better, but I don’t have any idea how it’s going to hold up once I really starting pushing it.’
That alone should make you weary of drafting Ortiz.
A second significant issue is his age. Dude is 37 years old.
Third, and this might be the biggest killer, he’s only eligible at the utility spot in fantasy. Do you want to lock up your UT spot with a 37 year old, injured guy who may or may not be able to help you in April?
‘But Ray, Ortiz dominated last season, you said so yourself at the start of this piece.’
Why yes I did point out some rather amazing fact with Ortiz and his 2012 performance. Let’s dig a bit deeper into that.
Ortiz hit .318, his best mark in five years and .033 points above his career average. There aren’t many 37 year olds that nearly hit .320, especially when in three of the previous four seasons they failed to hit even .275. There is also this. Here are Ortiz’ batting average marks against left-handed pitching in 2008-10: .221, .212 and .222. How did a guy who couldn’t even hit .225 against lefties for three years manage to hit .329 and .320 against them the past two years? I’ve heard of players making adjustments, but really?
Ortiz has been able to walk as many times as he has struck out that last two years, and that’s impressive. Still, for a guy who owns a 0.73 career BB/K mark doesn’t it seem a bit odd that in the past season he set a career best in K/BB (1.10 last year)? It’s also very strange to see a guy post the two lowest strikeout rates of his career at 36 and 37 years old. Has he discovered the fountain of youth?
I could continue to break down the numbers probably losing half of you to coma-like symptoms, but let me just wrap this up. Here are the reasons I don’t trust Ortiz for 2013 even if his ADP is currently sitting in the 130′s in NFBC Drafts.
(1) He’s coming off a significant Achilles injury that limited him to 90 games last season.
(2) He’s still not full recovered from an injury that first occurred in mid July of 2012. That’s seven months and he’s still not back to full health.
(3) Ortiz is 37 years old.
(4) He’s only eligible as a utility option in the fantasy game.
For me those four points weigh more heavily on my mind than anything else. I would add in that his 2012 effort is not repeatable in 2013, and with that the death knell is basically ringing for me. At the right price every player has fantasy value, but for 2013 I fear that the price for Ortiz will be prohibitive and it should preclude you from calling out his name on draft in the majority of instances.
By Ray Flowers