He’s one of the most well-known players in baseball thanks to his larger than reality size and his jovial personality. Plus, the World Series heroics and huge media exposure given the Red Sox.
But, can David Ortiz still be considered a superstar?
The truth is that Ortiz has not been the same since his monster years of ’06 and ’07.
Big Papi set a Red Sox all-time record with 54 homeruns in 2006. In 2007, David hit .332 with 35 homeruns and 117 RBI. He led the AL with 52 doubles to boot.
But, his productivity dropped off significantly in 2008. A wrist injury kept him out of the lineup for 54 days and his homerun production down to 23 with 89 RBI and a .264 batting average.
If you think that was bad, take a look at 2009. Ortiz, who entered the season ranked as the 50th best player in MLB by 2009FantasyBaseball.com, is hitting .221 with 12 homers just past the all star break. More importantly, he looks overweight way beyond his listed 230 pounds and he’s literally not hitting his weight. Ortiz looks slow and his bat speed looks even older than his listed age of 33.
Ortiz went 148 at bats this season before finally hit his first dinger. At the end of May, his batting average was an anemic .185. Ortiz, however, came back with a .320 average in June with 7 homers. Thus far in July, Big Papi is at .238 with 5 homers. He has fanned 25% of the time and his flyball rate is 52%–about what you’d expect from a big power hitter.
Nevertheless, it appears as though the best days are behind David Ortiz. In fact, the Sox just acquired Adam LaRoche from Pittsburgh who will provide an additional power bat from the port side. The Sox didn’t pick up LaRoche’s $7 million annualized salary to bury him completely on the bench.
Ortiz projects to about 22 homers for the season and an average under .250. Our fantasy baseball advice is to look to trade David Ortiz if you can get any kind of decent value for him. The Dominican appears to be playing much older than his 33-year-old age.