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If you don’t know the name Matt Wieters, you will. No, he’s not the guy that just moved in next door that feeds pigeons, pigeons that then sit around all day on the telephone wires and crap all over your car. Though I do know that guy, and he simultaneously sucks and blows. Matt Wieters is not that guy, he’s the Minor League rookie catcher for the Baltimore Orioles. He’s the rookie catcher that could make a Geovany Soto-like impact on fantasy leagues in 2009. He’s the rookie catcher that is being compared to Mike Piazza and not because Belle and Sebastian wrote a song about him. He’s also the rookie catcher that hasn’t played above Double-A. So why all the hype about Wieters? Can he help your fantasy baseball team in 2009?

In 61 games and 208 at-bats of Double-A, Wieters went 12/51/.365. Zoinks! The numbers get even more delicious the further you dig, rookie prospector. An OBP of .460 — an OPS of 1085. Okay, now that you prolly want to have Wieters’s baby like Arod would carry Madonna’s, time to bring you back to earth. No, Earth is polluted! Sorry, but Mike Piazza and Geovany Soto are the exceptions to the rule for rookie catchers. In 2008, Geovany Soto went 66/23/86/.285. While those are great numbers for a rookie and incredible numbers for a rookie catcher, they are still only 66/23/86/.285. Those numbers only placed him 91st on our player rater while ranking 5th on the top 20 catchers for 2008 list. So what I’m saying is, even the best rookie catchers are only so good for fantasy baseball. Bill James projected Wieters to hit 24 home runs in 2009. You don’t argue with Bill James — you disagree then Bill waves his pinkie finger and you fall to the ground, temporarily paralyzed — but 24 home runs is very optimistic. (In all fairness, James’s numbers do change depending on expected playing time.)  If Wieters makes the club out of spring training and he seems to be handling major league pitching, my recommendation is to pursue Wieters as a late round sleeper. But just remember, for every Geovany Soto, there’s always a Saltamochachino.

30 Responses

  1. Agree with you on rookie catchers in general, but Wieters is far far better than Soto or Salty. If he makes the team he will be a top 75 player for sure and at catcher he might end up third or fourth. Soto and Salty both had significant negatives in the minors but Wieters has none.

  2. Agree with you on rookie catchers in general, but Wieters is far far better than Soto or Salty. If he makes the team he will be a top 75 player for sure and at catcher he might end up third or fourth. Soto and Salty both had significant negatives in the minors but Wieters has none. Of course I also predicted a comeback season for Dontrelle Willis….

  3. Freak says:
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    “Saltamochachino”

    Salt and chocolate coffee. Wouldn’t necessarily be terrible.

  4. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Patrick DiCaprio: So you’re not sure if he’ll make the team but you’re certain if he does then he’ll be a top 75 player? Do Orioles only let top 75 players on their team? What if he makes the team and doesn’t play? I do think Wieters is going to be a great one barring any unforeseen calamity, but I was erring on the side of caution.

    @Freak: Yeah, salt and sweet work well together. It’s one of the reasons why ketchup is so popular. It’s the only sauce that is sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami. The five receptors of taste. Or at least that’s what Tom Colicchio said on Top Chef.

  5. Alan says:
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    10-team, AL-only keeper league. We keep 10 guys each season and then redraft whoever is left over.

    I’ve had my eye on Wieters since he was drafted. I wanted to draft him last year and just stash him on the roster, but elected not to. Depending on the results, I should be drafting in the 3-6 slot of our ’09 first round (which if the full leauge were in play would be the 11th round, obviously).

    I want Wieters. I have a relatively young team. My staff is very good, but I really lack an impact bat. I’m thinking if Wieters is available I should draft him and hope he becomes that impact bat — whether it’s this year or next. I can keep him however long I want.

    If he doesn’t make the team out of ST, I just keep him on my roster and play with one less until he comes up.

    A risk worth taking? Thoughts? As for other available, it would just be whoever is not kept by the other teams. So usually not anyone special, unless you strike gold with a decent sleeper.

  6. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Alan: Wieters is about as can’t miss as they come for either 2009 or 2010. As mentioned above, his OPS is jolly-effin-good. In an AL-Only keeper that keeper deep, you have to grab him in the first round if no one is traded into the AL that I want over him. But if CC or Peavy’s traded to the AL-Only, I want either of them over Wieters. But if comes down to that with your good staff, I’d look at a trade.

  7. Alan says:
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    Yeah, I’m sure if one of those guys get into the AL, they will be gone with the top picks.

    I think what the question will ultimately boil down to is whether or not Wieters is still available when it’s my turn to draft. I’m hoping so.

    Appreciate the advice. Love the site.

  8. Eric W says:
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    were does d lowe have the most fantasy value in the N.L or on a rumored A.L team like the yanks or sox i am hesitant on him in the A.L because of his struggles his last 2 years with the redsox. i like having him on my teams because oof his good consistent numbers with no history of injury

    and as for Wieters the one thing i am hesitant on him is that fact that he has only ever played against AA competition . well piazza and soto both had successful AAA season before they got a crack at the majors.

  9. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Alan: Well, if you Peavy, CC and Holliday are available and you get the 3rd pick then you should be golden. Either way, no worries.

    @Eric W: I don’t want Lowe in the AL. I want him in the NL and in certain circumstances — Dodgers, Padres, Florida, etc — i.e. pitcher parks.

    That’s part of my hesitation on Wieters too. That’s why I said he should be nothing but a late round sleeper.

  10. Steve says:
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    @Grey: Just been reading the news about Pujols getting the NL MVP award.

    WTF? Dude put up those offensive numbers and struck out just 54 times? Even allowing for the fact that he gets pitched pretty carefully, that’s, as Kathy-Lee, John and Fran used to say, incredible.

    Bit of an idle, throw-away question, but where in the first round do you see him going next year? Are you still wary of the injury risk.

  11. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: No question is a throwaway. Injury, schminjury — he’s a top 5 pick depending on who’s drafting. Arod, Pujols, Wright, Hanley, Reyes — not in that order — is how I see the top five breaking down right now.

  12. Agree it’s never worth overdrafting a rookie catcher (except maybe in a keeper league but even then…)

    If there’s any position that’s worth punting, in general, it’s catcher. I’d rather wait until Round 20 before picking one and take flyers on middling relievers in the teen rounds…

    Cool on Pujols. 54 Ks is a bad month for Ryan Howard.

  13. Wieters peak EQA according to Prospectus is .357. last year only McCann and Mauer were above .300. Piazza was at .320 as a 24 year old. Wieters may do that in 2009. Tomorrow on the Fantasy Baseball Roundtable Show we are going to discuss Wieters so tune in!

  14. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Patrick DiCaprio: McCann and Mauer did that in the majors and not Double-A.

  15. Eric W says:
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    wow i am surprised D Wright did so poorly in the MVP voting. they got it right with pujols but it should have been wright in second not howard. whatever though i guess it dosent really mater

  16. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Eric W: Actually, I was surprised Howard didn’t do even better. Voters tend to favor guys on winning teams. Can’t wait to see who will win tomorrow. I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around Pedroia as the MVP.

  17. Eric W says:
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    @Grey: ya i dont think anyone saw pedroia coming. still think youk deserves it more but dont expect him to take it

  18. Steve says:
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    @Grey: @Eric W: If ‘V’ stands for ‘Vexing’, then Pedroia wins it hands down.

  19. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: V’s for Vendetta, no? A movie I didn’t see though, so I’m not sure.

  20. Steve says:
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    @Grey: Well, the guy is so annoying it would be real easy to have a vendetta against him.

  21. Freak says:
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    If Pedroia wins, it will make history.

    First midget to win MVP.

  22. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: He annoys you?

    @Freak: Yogi Berra’s like five-two.

  23. Steve says:
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    @Grey: He does. He’s a fine player, obviously, but he’s just so relentlessly pumped and full of hustle and bustle – it annoys me.

    Very uncharitable of me, but there you go.

  24. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: You don’t take kindly to the teacher’s pet either, I suppose.

  25. Steve says:
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    @Grey: Who among us does?

    Apart from BSA of course.

  26. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: True. He seems like a bit of a teacher’s pet himself — I keed!

    Go to the newest post and I want you to comment, “Voted!” Only after you do vote, of course.

  27. Steve says:
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    @Grey: Isn’t he a teacher? Will go vote.

  28. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: Yeah, he is.

  29. Doug Ault says:
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    @Grey: Just looked at the “player rater”
    though it’s hard to argue with the year Lee had,many here in Toronto thought Halladay was Cy worthy.In fact,many think he’s the best pitcher in baseball

  30. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Doug Ault: He’s on the short list for the best pitcher in baseball. I don’t think Cliff Lee is. Though Cliff Lee had a remarkable 2008.

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