2012 Projections: David Ortiz Still Has Plenty of Big Popi


As we continue to look at the 2012 projections provided by the fine folks over at fangraphs.com, I thought it would be fitting to look at the projected numbers for slugger David Ortiz since his arbitration case seems inevitable.

Last year was a rebound year for Ortiz that surprised many who had written off the big slugging DH.  He walloped 29 homers, produced 96 RBI, had a good offensive line of .309/.398/.554, struck out less (13.7%), stole one base and managed to leg out his usual one triple on the season.  But all joking aside, Big Papi gave the Red Sox the kind of production that is expected of him. According to the Bill James, we can expect the same kind of offense from #34.

Both the guru James and RotoChamp have very similar numbers, so I’ll go with James on this one only because he has Ortiz with more RBI.  It’s only nine more, but if last year was any indication, Big Papi gets some kind of mad when those RBI get taken away from him.

The days of watching Big Papi hit over 40 home runs in a season are over.  The now 36-year old would be hard pressed to challenge the “over the hill” number in long balls, but it’s not a reasonable expectation for him to crank out 30 homers.

Fortunately, Bill James agrees.  He has Ortiz hitting exactly 30 home runs and the higher number of RBI of 104, compared to RotoChamp’s projected RBI total of 95. Does it really matter?  104 or 95, either number means the Red Sox can once again count on Oritz to deliver runs in crucial points of the game.

Last year Ortiz batted .309, his second highest average in his career and far above his career average of .283.  So it doesn’t come as a surprise to see his batting average come in at .277 for this upcoming year.  With a lower average, his OBP is also expected to be lower at .378 as is his SLG, projected at .517.  His OPS is also coming in lower at .895 down from last year of .953.

So while it could be easy to say that Ortiz will take a step back in 2012, the important thing to remember is how he produces.  Statistics are for us baseball nerds who over analyze the snot out of anything and everything.  Even projections are for those who love baseball statistics.  Big Papi is valuable to the Red Sox for one reason and one reason only – producing runs.  Judging by the 104 RBI and 30 long balls, he’ll do just that and that’s all that matters.  He will help the Red Sox win games if he can produce those types of numbers.

Considering this is likely to be a contract year for Ortiz, with the unlikeliness he’ll sign a two-year deal with the Red Sox, why wouldn’t hit the cover off the ball.  We’ve seen it before when players are in their contract year and typically they come up big. Last year was no different for Ortiz and this season could much of the same.

In the end, winning is all that matters and Ortiz is one of the biggest competitors on the team.  Like so many others, he was and likely still is embarrassed of what happened last year.  Redemption will be on his mind and this could be the making of a monster.  Big things appear to be in store for Big Papi in 2012 and that’s great news for the Red Sox.

For those wondering about the usual one stolen base and one triple, rest easy.  Bill James has Big Papi staying on par with his averages, collecting both a stolen base and a three bagger, which is always a treat to watch the big man run for third.

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