Originally written on Fantasy Baseball 365  |  Last updated 12/25/11
Key Stats: Merry Christmas from all of us at Fantasy Baseball 365. David Ortiz was not on too many teams wish lists as an aging designated hitter, but neither was Rudolph as a reindeer with a different nose. This one trick reindeer has it down to a science. In the last three years Ortiz has averaged 29 home runs and 99 RBI. He is not showing signs of getting radically worse even in his mid 30s. Last year was the second best season in terms of batting average of his career. 

Skeptics Say: Ortiz was in a contract year last season, and probably thought he was playing for another multi-year deal. That didn't pan out as Ortiz's best option was to accept salary arbitration. Perhaps that serves as motivation not just to the Red Sox, but to all thirty teams, to prove that he can still hit. Or perhaps, Ortiz and his body have a reality check and this year we start to see his numbers creep down. 

Peer Comparison: Among qualifying players, Ortiz was the tenth oldest hitter in baseball at age 35. The players that were older than him all dropped off significantly in 2011. They were Chipper Jones, Raul Ibanez, Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon, Bobby Abreu, Jamey Carroll, Hideki Matsui, Ichiro Suzuki, and Vladimir Guerrero. That's not to say that these players weren't worth owing in fantasy baseball because several of these players were worth it. It is basically a foregone conclusion though that Ortiz will fall off the map just a little bit now. Here's a look at what some of these players did from age 35 to age 36 in terms of Yahoo rank.

Jones - Ranked 11 at age 35; Ranked 45 at age 36
Ibanez - Ranked 99 at age 35; Ranked 59 at age 36
Ichiro - Ranked 38 at age 35; Ranked 68 at age 36
Jeter - Ranked 16 at age 35; Ranked 89 at age 36
Abreu - Ranked 35 at age 35; Ranked 84 at age 36
Guerrero - Ranked 26 at age 35; Ranked 210 at age 36

Now the database doesn't have information on Matsui, Damon, or Carroll, but Carroll was worthless every year of his career and Matusi and Damon both went down statistically between their age 35 and age 36 seasons. Matsui lost 7 home runs and some RBI while Damon lost 16 home runs. The only player here that bucked the trend of going downhill at age 36 was Ibanez who also had a contract to play for in that season. 

Lineup Outlook: Even with a new manager it's hard to see Ortiz hitting anywhere but fifth in the order. Adrian Gonzalez has to hit third in the order and hitting Ortiz back to back with another lefty wouldn't be wise. With a new manager the Red Sox could turn to Dustin Pedroia at clean up instead of Kevin Youkilis. In 25 games batting fourth last year, Pedroia hit .347 with a .979 OPS. Youk would then likely turn into the team's number two hitter with Jacoby Ellsbury and his 30/30 ability at the top of the order. 

What They're Saying: CBS Sportsline: #1 Deignated Hitter; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com: #87 Overall; RotoChamp: #221 Overall

Projection: The Red Sox lineup is still the best in baseball on paper. Carl Crawford can't get worse and the team had 18 more runs than the next highest scoring team in the league. Even as Ortiz's body starts to crumble, the guys around him in their primes will boost him enough to be considered a top 100 pick. 
77 R 26 HR 91 RBI 0 SB .274 AVG .345 OBP .894 OPS
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Patriots restructure Rob Gronkowski's contract

Agent: Rory McIlroy not booked for PGA Championship practice

Tom Brady, NFL to appear before judge on August 12

Report: Bradford, Eagles hope to sign short-term extension

Aaron Rodgers: TV networks have ‘too much access’


Adrian Beltre completes cycle, gets mad when assaulted

Gruden had to convince Dan Snyder to bench RG3

Jim Mora turns P. Diddy fight into recruiting pitch for UCLA

Illinois releases results of women's basketball probe

Richie Incognito named starter by Rex Ryan

DeMarco Murray isn't thrilled Eagles limited reps in practice

Would Phil Jackson have taken Towns or Okafor first overall?

Seven Big 12 Heisman candidates for 2015

Will Manziel be good enough to be Browns’ backup plan?

Cowboys exec on Dez fight: 'I do think it's a good thing'

Baseball season in New York has been better than expected

WATCH: Giants players fight during training camp

Lindsey Vonn shows support for Tiger Woods on Twitter

Report: Rousey to star in film based on her autobiography

Porn star offers to cook meal for any sports champion

Why everyone is wrong about Cowboys Tony Romo, Part 1

Oregon was only team drug tested during CFB Playoff?

Five 2nd year NBA players ready to take the next step

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Adrian Beltre gets mad when assaulted after HR

Lindsey Vonn shows support for Tiger

Notre Dame doesn't need a conference

Rex takes jabs at Jets' management

Sanchez: It's 'crazy' to call Chip racist

Ronda Rousey calls out Cyborg

Five most underrated players in the NFL

Five potential NFL salary cap casualties this preseason

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Pirates do Pirates at deadline: Neat little moves

Mets acquire Cespedes from Tigers

Ranking the NFL’s 32 head coaches

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker