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First Half Stats: .312/.406/.607, 22 HRs, 57 RBI
On Pace: 41 HRs, 107 RBI
ZiPS Projection: .298/.392/.574, 36 HRs, 97 RBI
David Ortiz is the reason the Red Sox are .500 at the All-Star Break, rather than Boston having a losing record. He’s been their most consistent offensive player by far, and ranks in the top three in the American League in runs scored, SLG, and OPS, and top 10 in batting average, HRs, RBI and walks. Simply put, he’s been one of the best hitters in all of baseball this season.
But can he keep it up? Ortiz is 36, after all, and although he’s in the best shape he’s been in years, there’s certainly potential for him to fade, including a regression from the best first half numbers he’s put together since the 2007 season.
A great sign that Ortiz will keep up his numbers, though, is that his batted ball percentages for line drives (LD), ground balls (GB), and fly balls (FB) are in line with when he was producing immensely from 2003-2007.
In his worst year in 2009, Ortiz was at 17.4 percent line-drive rate, 32.1 percent ground-ball rate, and 50.5 percent fly-ball rate. This year, he’s at 20.2/36.9/43.0. His career marks are 20.0/35.5/44.5, which show that this year Ortiz is back doing what it is that made him so successful.
His HR/FB rate is 19.5 percent, right in line with his career mark of 18.6 percent, and his strikeout rate of 13 percent is the lowest it’s been ever, much lower than his career rate of 18.1 percent. In 2010 he struck out 23.9 percent of the time; he dropped that to 13.7 percent in 2011, and has continued the decline this year.
Additionally, his BABIP is .306, right near his career mark of .303, and even lower than last year’s mark of .321. So it’s not as if Ortiz has been especially lucky this year; he’s earned the hits.
The advanced stats point to Ortiz keeping up his success. He may not finish exactly on pace as he’s been, but I’m higher on him than the ZiPS projection. I also think he will make a strong push to finish with 40 home runs for the first time since 2006.
My final prediction: .305/.396/.595, 40 HRs, 109 RBI