Big Papi tops oldie-but-goodie hitters list 

February, 14, 2013
One of the myriad players whose inclusion in my top 100 overall rankings this week generated buzz was Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz. I used to argue that "clogging" a DH/utility spot in the first half of a normal fantasy draft was poor roster construction, but with offensive production declining a bit more each and every year, I just want the offense. Selecting Big Papi beats having Cody Ransom in your utility spot just because you can draft him later.

[+] EnlargeDavid Ortiz
Jim Rogash/Getty ImagesDavid Ortiz hit 23 homers in just 324 at-bats in 2012.
However, position eligibility is hardly the lone reason Ortiz will slip way too far in drafts, as he tends to every year. The guy is old, at least for an athlete, and let's be honest: Fantasy owners in all sports tend to be biased toward younger options with upside. The argument can be made that it's considerably tougher for an older player to recover from injury and regain prior form, and it's a valid one. But that hardly means an accomplished player, be it a hitter like Ortiz or a pitcher like Philadelphia Phillies ace Roy Halladay, can't return to previous glory.

And so it is time for my annual AARP report defending baseball players on the other side of 35 years old, and Ortiz is an obvious choice. Now 37, Ortiz was not only a productive fantasy option for most of the 2012 season but also among the best in the game. His season ended early because of an Achilles injury. He did come back for one game and reinjured himself, but I think he could have returned to the lineup if the team was contending (and he didn't dislike his manager so much).