Fantasy Baseball 2013: How to Value Red Sox Hitters

Hi-five for Papi

If anyone has any clue what is going on in Boston right now, please tell me. They appeared committed to going younger, dealing high priced veterans like Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett last August, but have since re-signed the soon to be 37-year-old David Ortiz and according to Rod Bradford of WEEI in Boston, there is mutual interest between the Sox and the 37-year-old Torii Hunter. It’s hard to tell what direction the franchise is headed.

But having said that, if you are the fantasy owner of someone in the Boston offense like Dustin Pedroia or Jacoby Ellsbury and are trying to figure out what their fantasy value will be for 2013, this news should be very good for you.

See, Ortiz and Hunter are older players, but remain productive.

David Ortiz played only 90 games in 2012 but still managed 23 homers and 60 RBI. If he kept a similar pace and played 145 games, we’re looking at a guy with power numbers at around 35 and 90, give or take a few on either side. Hunter on the other hand played 140 games with power numbers of 16 homers and 92 batted in. Not bad for a couple of old guys.

Now, you might be somewhat concerned about them maintaining that pace as they get a year older. That’s fine, but remember that Ortiz is a DH, not exactly a position that puts a lot of strain on the body. While he’s certainly had a few injuries, Big Papi has remained relatively healthy during his time in Boston, playing 145 games in 2010 and 146 in 2011. I’m not saying he can’t get hurt again in 2013, but playing something like 135 games in 2013 is far from out of the question, and even that would still have him missing 27 games.

Hunter is in a similar boat. Yes, he’s getting older and missed 22 games last year, but injuries aren’t a huge part of his history. The thought of him playing 140 games or so again in 2013 isn’t exactly a stretch. Also consider that if this move happens, he’ll be moving from Angel Stadium of Anaheim to Fenway Park. On the road, he’d be playing more in New York, Baltimore, Toronto, and Tampa than places like Oakland and Seattle. Translation: He’ll be in much better hitting situations, especially as Fenway is very kind to right handed hitters.

So, what do the HR and RBI totals of Papi and Hunter mean for the likes of Ellsbury and Pedroia? Well, Hunter and Ortiz would be batting after them in the order, so a good amount of runs scored on those RBI would be scored by Jacoby and Dustin.

Now, I acknowledge that Hunter signing in Boston is far from a certainty, and it’s just speculation at this point. But if the Red Sox are willing to sign Ortiz and and showing even some interest in Hunter, it tells me that as a team, they’re interested in producing big offensive numbers in 2013. If they don’t get Hunter, chances are decent that some other big names will head out to New England.

If the Red Sox are really interested in rebuilding, these veteran players wouldn’t be coming back. As a matter of fact, guys like Pedroia and Ellsbury could well be on their way out in that spot (Ellsbury may be anyway).

I’m not going to get into any projections now. We’ll get into that with our team projections as the season gets closer to approaching. But right now, if you’re in a keeper league and are thinking of keeping Pedroia (a must keep in nearly any format) or Ellsbury (who I’d keep in auction leagues or ones with many keepers), this news has to be good for you.

If the Red Sox were really committed to rebuilding, they would likely have some very raw players batting behind those guys in the order. Therefore, they wouldn’t be seeing great pitches and would probably score significantly fewer runs. Bringing in veterans may or may not be a step in the right direction as a franchise, but fantasy owners of guys currently on the team should take this as fantastic news.

Tags: Boston Red Sox David Ortiz Dustin Pedroia Jacoby Ellsbury Torii Hunter

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