Can you feel the fantasy repercussions of the Ramon Hernandez trade? Yeah, a tremor. Thanks, random italicized voice. No, don’t you see, this has so little to do with Ramon Hernandez being traded. It does? Yes! It has everything to do with Matt Wieters now having an opportunity to start the 2009 season in Baltimore. Okay, let’s breakdown what the Ramon Hernandez trade means for 2009 fantasy baseball:
Matt Wieters – With Ramon Hernandez gone from Baltimore, the catching job is Wieters’s to lose. In my ongoing rookie outlook series, I went over what I thought a 2009 Matt Wieters would look like. Here’s the crux, “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.” And that’s me quoting and linking to my crux! My point there was that in the end, Wieters is still a catcher. What’s the most we can expect? 20 home runs? A .300 average? Yeah, that’s the ceiling on Wieters. And those are really good numbers for a rookie catcher. But they’re still 20 home runs and a .300 average or as I like to call them, Ty Wigginton’s 2008 numbers. My recommendation is to let someone else take the risk, unless Wieters comes cheap on draft day. Think end of the draft for 10-team mixed leagues. He should be pursued more aggressively in keeper leagues. On my top 20 catchers for 2009 post (which will be published in January with the other top 20 position lists), I’m debating whether to slot him in at 12 or 14.
Ramon Hernandez – Camden to Great American is a push. Seeing some new pitching in the NL might affect him slightly… Oh, who are we kidding? You read this for Wieters and stopped by this point. Ramon Hernandez should be drafted in NL-Only leagues and some deeper mixed ones with the hope he bounces back to pre-’07 levels. Though I have my doubts about whether those levels are still possible. Expect 15 to 17 home runs and a .260 average.
Ryan Freel – He’s a utility player with speed. Without speed, he’s a futility player.