David Ortiz - #34 (DH)
Bats: Left, Throws: Left
Age: 35, Size: 6'4" 230 lbs
Acquired: Signed as a FA in January of 2003 (after being released by the Twins)
Contract: $12,500,000 (FA-2012)
Comments: "Big Papi" came over from the Twins organization in 2003 after being released. This would prove to be one of the most careless out-right releases of all-time because Ortiz became an instant hit in Boston and teamed with Manny Ramirez to form the most explosive 3-4 punch of the 2000s. Ortiz burst onto the scene right from the get go, posting a 0.961 in his first season with the Sox. He was instrsumental in the Sox 2004 World Series season with his 0.983 OPS and penchant for the "big hit". From 2005-2007 he managed three 1.000+ OPS seasons and led the league in HR, RBI and BB in 2006 witth 54/137/119. Things started to go downhill slighlty for Papi in 2008 as managed only 491 PAs and an un-Papi-like 0.877 OPS thanks in large part to a nagging wrist injury. Ortiz's 2009 was a season to forget as he sunk to a career low 0.794 OPS despite playing in 150 games. Papi looked lost at the plate and numerous Sox fans found themselves in the "Papi's done" camp to start 2010. That contingent looked like they were right-on as Ortiz stumbled out of the gate with a 0.524 OPS for April. Tito stuck with the big fella and it paid off. Ortiz righted the ship somehow and surged back into recognition (10 HR, 1.211 May) to finish with respectable power numbers and a 0.899 More "Ortiz-like" OPS.
Unique Stats/Facts: Ortiz's 2007 was pretty darn awesome. Despite only hitting 35 HR, Ortiz was a very close second in the majors to A-Rod with a 0.448 wOBA/176 wRC+. He also managed a 6.7 WAR from the DH position - ranking him 10th in the majors. Ortiz ran a string of 5 consecutive years 2003-2007 finishing in the top 5 for the AL MVP Award. Papi posted some nice ISO stats in his peak years (.304, 0.302, .304, 0.349) - for comparison, Adam Dunn has only eclipsed 0.300 once in his career
Analysis: Big Papi was brought back for one more hurrah in 2011. This is in large part to his resurgence in 2010 but in some small part it also has to do to what he brings to the team in intangibles. Ortiz was the face of the franchise in the 2000's. He has a big personality and Sox fans love him for it. Let's hope he goes out with another Ortiz-type season then hangs them up as a Red Sox.
Projections (James): .261/.366/0.509 - 0.380 wOBA with 33 HR, 112 RBI
Tomorrow: Dustin Pedroia