Tag Archives: Matt Wieters

Fantasy Rankings in Review – Catchers


Back in February, I took my first shot at attempting to rank players for fantasy purposes. After a full season, I thought it wise to take a look back at how they went, and compare them to how it actually turned out and see if there is anything to be gained from it, starting with catchers.

Week in Review – July 19 to July 25


If the Playoffs Started Today

Tampa Bay Rays (59-38) vs. Texas Rangers (58-41)
Chicago White Sox (53-44) vs. New York Yankees (62-35)

San Francisco Giants (56-43) vs. Atlanta Braves (57-41)
St. Louis Cardinals (55-44) vs. San Diego Padres (58-39)

League Leaders

Batting Average – Josh Hamilton (TEX) .357
Runs – Mark Teixeira (NYY) 75
Home Runs – Jose Bautista (TOR) 27
Runs Batted In – Miguel Cabrera (DET) 88
Stolen Bases – Juan Pierre (CHW) 35

Wins – Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) 15
Saves – Heath Bell (SD) and Brian Wilson (SF) 29
ERA – Josh Johnson (FLA) 1.61
Strikeouts – Jered Weaver (LAA) 147
WHIP – Cliff Lee (TEX) 0.92

Roster Movement

To the Disabled List: Ben Sheets, Aaron Laffey, Luis Atilano, David DeJesus, Ryan Doumit, Manny Ramirez, Andy Pettitte, Dustin Nippert, Scott Kazmir, Ryan Sweeney, Orlando Hudson, Carlos Guillen, Magglio Ordonez,

Return from the Disabled List: Mat Latos, Ryan Ludwick, Sergio Mitre, Brian Roberts, Josh Beckett, Asdrubal Cabrera, Shin-Soo Choo, Yovani Gallardo, Ramon Hernandez, Kevin Millwood, Nate McLouth, Jed Lowrie, Will Venable, Mike Gonzalez, Oliver Perez, Clay Buchholz, Luis Castillo, Luke Scott, Maicer Izturis, Matt Wieters,

To the Minors: Jhoulys Chacin, Andrew Oliver

Called Up: Cedrick Bowers, Alex Gordon, Jose Arredondo, Scott Sizemore, Armando Galarraga

Trades:

Top Stories and Weekly Links

  • The Hall of Fame induction ceremonies were held on Sunday afternoon in Cooperstown, with Andre Dawson and Whitey Herzog being enshrined for their performances. Back in December, I wrote up my thoughts on whether Dawson was a Hall of Famer or not. (I thought he was)
  • Alex Rodriguez hit his 599th homerun of his career this week, and will earn $6 million extra when he hits #600 due to a clause in his contract. Good for him.
  • The Mariners are really looking like a mess, and I am thinking it is probably going to cost manager Don Wakamatsu his job before the end of the season. On Friday night, he got into a shouting argument in the dugout with Chone Figgins over Figgins’ lack of effort on a play in the 5th inning of that night’s game. I actually agree that Wakamatsu did the right thing by yanking Figgins from the game, but teams don’t fire players very often for this kind of stuff.
  • The Moneyball movie has begun shooting finally, with Brad Pitt set to play GM Billy Beane, Jonah Hill to play Paul De Podesta, and Philip Seymour Hoffman playing manager Art Howe. Having been through the 2002 season as an A’s fan, and having read the book, this one’s going to be interesting. I’m wondering if the movie reopens the stats vs. scouts argument wounds again.
  • Major League Baseball, very quietly, announced that minor leaguers will now be tested for HGH in addition to all the other things they are already tested for. I’d be shocked if the next collective bargaining agreement doesn’t have this test in it for Major Leaguers as well.
  • The Angels made the big moves this week with acquiring 3B Alberto Callaspo first in the week and then making the huge splash with acquiring SP Dan Haren from the Diamondbacks for 4 prospects. Really like the trade for the Angels, hate it for every other team in the division (including my A’s).

From the Twitter Followers and Friends

If you aren’t yet, you can follow me over at Twitter here. These are some of the better reads I found from the previous week.

From the Hall of Very Good: HOVG posted a series of articles looking at the next group of players to be eligible for the Hall of Fame voting in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 (so far). Excellent reads from all of them.

From the Daily Something: Bill had a guest post from Jeff Polman which went ahead and played out the remainder of the 1994 season via Strat-o-Matic baseball. It’s a really interesting read, and Strat-o-Matic is something I keep reminding myself that I might enjoy when I have some more time.

Upcoming Posts This Week:

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: A series I had not finished up from earlier in the month, the Original Draft Series, is a group of posts where I look at what an organization’s major league team could have looked like had they held onto every player that they either drafted or signed to their first professional contract. There may be 3 posts this week on this, or there may be 6 if I am feeling ambitious.

Friday:  Trade Retrospective of Johan Santana to the Mets. This one’s a bit newer than a lot of the trades I have reviewed previously, but the players in the deal have pretty much finalized what their value in the trade is going to be, so it’s ready to be looked at I believe.

One Other Thing

Lastly, I wanted to bring up a charity that the Baseball Bloggers Alliance has taken up. Here’s the official word, and what you can do:

Pitch In For Baseball is delighted to have been selected to participate in State Farm’s ‘Go To Bat’ campaign.  Now we need your
help!

‘Go To Bat’ was launched nationally during the State Farm Home Run Derby.  ‘Go To Bat’ gives entrants a chance to win tickets to the upcoming World Series and selected charity partners the chance to receive significant financial support.

Here’s how to play and how to help Pitch In For Baseball:

* Go to  www.statefarm.com/gotobat to register for your chance to win World Series tickets.
* As you register, you will get a chance to designate a charity that could win up to $25,000/week.
* To designate Pitch In For Baseball as your charity, select PUBLIC GOOD as the charity category and then choose Pitch In For
Baseball from the drop down list.
* Revisit www.statefarm.com/gotobat each day and play the ‘Go To Bat’ online game to increase your chances for tickets and Pitch In For
Baseball’s chance at financial support

Thanks to all the readers who help out with this. You can find a lot more information about Pitch In For Baseball at their website

Week in Review – July 12 to July 18


If the Playoffs Started Today

Tampa Bay Rays (55-36) vs. Texas Rangers (53-39)
Chicago White Sox (50-41) vs. New York Yankees (58-33)

Colorado Rockies (50-41) vs. Atlanta Braves (54-38)
St. Louis Cardinals (51-41) vs. San Diego Padres (54-37)

League Leaders

Batting Average – Josh Hamilton (TEX) .347
Runs – Carl Crawford (TAM) 70
Home Runs – Jose Bautista (TOR) 25
Runs Batted In – Miguel Cabrera (DET) 79
Stolen Bases – Juan Pierre (CHW) 33

Wins – Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) 15
Saves – Heath Bell (SD) 26
ERA – Josh Johnson (FLA) 1.62
Strikeouts – Jered Weaver (LAA) 142
WHIP – Cliff Lee (TEX) 0.94

Roster Movement

To the Disabled List: Kerry Wood, Mat Latos, Mike Adams, Eric O’Flaherty, Reed Johnson, Matt Wieters, Justin Morneau, Doug Davis

Return from the Disabled List: Zach Duke, Manny Ramirez, Chad Durbin, Carlos Beltran, Jason Heyward, Placido Polanco

To the Minors: Jason Jaramillo, Dan Meyer, Brandon Hicks

Called Up: Allen Craig, Lorenzo Cain, Josh Bell

Trades:

Top Stories and Weekly Links

  • The All-Star Game festivities were this week, so there were only 4 days with games on them. The National League finally managed to get off the bench and win one, as they defeated the American League 3 to 1 on Tuesday. Brian McCann had the deciding hit, and was named the game’s MVP.  Manager Joe Girardi of the American League received a small ration of grief as well for not pinch running Alex Rodriguez for David Ortiz in the bottom of the 9th inning, but overall the game was pretty well played and well managed.
  • The Home Run Derby on Monday was won by David Ortiz, and since the majority of the players participating had very little home run derby experience, it was nice to see them get so much national exposure.
  • Sadly, the Yankee family lost a titan on Tuesday, with the passing of owner George Steinbrenner from a massive heart attack. I wrote up my thoughts on the Boss here.
  • The All-Star break ended with a surprising trade, as the Braves sent their starting SS Yunel Escobar to the Blue Jays for their starting SS, Alex Gonzalez. It appears that Escobar was not well liked in the Braves’ clubhouse, and there seemed to be constant concern with a lack of effort from Escobar. A true challenge trade, it remains to be seen which side will win this trade in the end, but I actually think it could be good for both teams.
  • It had been widely discussed that Padres’ ace Mat Latos would be on an innings limit, and there was talk that he might be placed on the disabled list so that he could be skipped for his next start and help to keep him near that innings limit. The surprise was the “injury” that he sustained to put him there. Apparently he tweaked a muscle trying not to sneeze. At least it’s not a deer meat injury.

From the Twitter Followers and Friends

If you aren’t yet, you can follow me over at Twitter here. These are some of the better reads I found from the previous week.

Upcoming Posts This Week:

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: I will be continuing on with my series of posts about the 2003 BA Almanac, going over both the Minor League All-Stars  the Top 20 Prospects by League, and the 2002 Top 100 Prospect List

Friday:  Trade Retrospective of Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs. This one is a huge trade, since 4 teams were involved in it, and also clearly had an impact on the pennant races as well.

Other News

I also wanted to let everyone know that in addition to writing for Fake Teams, I am also now a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. The group of over 200 blogs has writers who cover nearly every aspect of baseball you could think of, and honestly a couple I had not thought of yet.

The BBA has, as a secondary aim, the goal of producing year-end awards in a similar fashion to the Baseball Writers of America.  These awards can be found here in October with links back to the voters, ensuring transparancy and, most likely, the onset of some good baseball arguments.

Over the coming weeks, I will be taking a look at a lot of them (there are so many!), and may potentially writeup a few of them. We’ll see what happens, but I’m really excited to be here!

One Other Thing

Lastly, I wanted to bring up a charity that the Baseball Bloggers Alliance has taken up. Here’s the official word, and what you can do:

Pitch In For Baseball is delighted to have been selected to participate in State Farm’s ‘Go To Bat’ campaign.  Now we need your
help!

‘Go To Bat’ was launched nationally during the State Farm Home Run Derby.  ‘Go To Bat’ gives entrants a chance to win tickets to the upcoming World Series and selected charity partners the chance to receive significant financial support.

Here’s how to play and how to help Pitch In For Baseball:

* Go to  www.statefarm.com/gotobat to register for your chance to win World Series tickets.
* As you register, you will get a chance to designate a charity that could win up to $25,000/week.
* To designate Pitch In For Baseball as your charity, select PUBLIC GOOD as the charity category and then choose Pitch In For
Baseball from the drop down list.
* Revisit www.statefarm.com/gotobat each day and play the ‘Go To Bat’ online game to increase your chances for tickets and Pitch In For
Baseball’s chance at financial support

Thanks to all the readers who help out with this. You can find a lot more information about Pitch In For Baseball at their website

Original Draft Series: Team #30 – Baltimore Orioles


For those that missed the guidelines I am using for this series of posts, you can find them here.

Team #30: Baltimore Orioles

General Managers(since 1994)

Roland Hemond (1994-1995): 134-122
Pat Gillick (1996-1998): 265-221
Frank Wren (1999): 78-84
Syd Thrift (2000-2002): 204-281
Jim Beattie and Mike Flanagan (2003-2005): 223-263
Mike Flanagan (2006-2007): 70-92
Andy MacPhail (2007-current): 201-284

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
0 0 2 1 2 2 9 2

Well, the Major League team hasn’t shown a whole lot of success in the past 15 years, with only a pair of playoff appearances in 1996 and 1997 while under the tutelage of general manager Pat Gillick. When looking through the rosters, these were the best players that I could come up with at each of these positions. I realize that a few of them are barely in the Majors as it is now, but unfortunately I really didn’t find anyone that played these positions that I would consider to be better than the players listed. All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Matt Wieters 2007 – 1st Rd (5) 3 153 gm, 13 HR, 60 RBI, 49 R Currently with Org.
1B Nolan Reimold 2005 – 2nd Rd 5 133 gm, .265/.353/.442, 17 HR, 55 RBI, 8 SB, 56 R Currently with Org.
2B Brian Roberts 1999 – 1st Rd (50) 11 1139 gm, .283/.355/.420, 77 HR, 443 RBI, 258 SB, 730 R Currently with Org.
3B Mike Fontenot 2001 – 1st Rd (19) 4 No Major League Appearances for Organization Traded to CHC – 2/2/05
SS Jerry Hairston 1997 – 11th Rd 8 530 gm, .261/.334/.371, 26 HR, 160 RBI, 94 SB, 241 R Traded to CHC – 2/2/05
LF Jayson Werth 1997 – 1st Rd (22) 3 No Major League Appearances for Organization Traded to TOR -  12/11/00
CF Willie Harris 1999 – 24th Rd 3 9 gm, .125/.125/.167, 3 R Traded to CHW – 1/29/02
RF Nick Markakis 2003 – 1st Rd (7) 7 688 gm, .297/.366/.466, 80 HR, 383 RBI, 37 SB, 393 R Currently with Org.
DH Gregg Zaun 1989 – 17th Rd 7+1 146 gm, 8 HR, 40 RBI, 1 SB, 57 R Traded to TB – 8/7/09
SP Erik Bedard 1999 – 6th Rd 8 40-34, 3.83 ERA, 639 K, 254 BB, 658 IP, 1.339 WHIP Traded to SEA – 2/8/08
SP Brian Matusz 2008 – 1st Rd (4) 2 7-9, 4.38 ERA, 99 K, 41 BB, 119.2 IP, 1.479 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Brad Bergesen 2004- 4th Rd 6 10-9,  4.36 ERA, 79 K, 50 BB, 177.3 IP, 1.415 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP John Maine 2002 – 6th Rd 3 2-4, 6.60 ERA, 25 K, 27 BB, 43.2 IP, 1.672 WHIP Traded to NYM – 1/22/06
SP David Hernandez 2005 – 16th Rd 5 6-15, 1 SV, 5.19 ERA, 101 K, 77 BB, 151 IP, 1.570 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Jim Johnson 2001 – 5th Rd 9 7-12, 12 SV, 3.87 ERA, 97 K, 60 BB, 153.1 IP, 1.396 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Koji Uehara Int’l FA – 2009 2 2-4, 3.89 ERA, 54 K, 15 BB, 71.2 IP, 1.242 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Arthur Rhodes 1988 – 2nd Rd 11 43-36, 9 SV, 4.86 ERA, 579 K, 316 BB, 622.1 IP, 1.432 WHIP Free Agency – 11/1/99
RP D.J. Carrasco 1997 – 26th Rd 1 No Major League Appearances for Organization Released – 6/14/98
RP Jason Berken 2006 – 6th Rd 4 6-13, 5.65 ERA, 86 K, 52 BB, 151.1 IP, 1.632 WHIP Currently with Org.
CL Chris Ray 2003 – 3rd Rd 6 10-17, 49 SV, 4.11 ERA, 177 K, 86 BB, 192.2 IP,  1.370 WHIP Traded to TEX – 12/9/09
BN Darnell McDonald (OF) 1997 – 1st Rd (26) 7 17 gm, .156/.206/.188, 1 RBI, 1 SB, 3 R Free Agency – 10/15/04
BN Jake Arrieta (SP) 2007 – 5th Rd 3 1-0, 4.50 ERA, 6 K, 4 BB, 6 IP, 1.333 WHIP Currently with Org.
BN Augie Ojeda (IF) 1996 – 13th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances for Organization Traded to CHC – 12/13/99
BN Adam Loewen (OF/P) 2002 – 1st Rd (4) 6 8-8, 5.38 ERA, 134 K, 106 BB, 164 IP, 1.640 WHIP Free Agency – 10/20/08
BN Garrett Olson (P) 2005 – 1st Rd (48) 3 10-13, 6.87 ERA, 111 K, 90 BB, 165 IP, 1.818 WHIP Traded to CHC – 1/18/09

Clearly, I had to stretch quite a bit to get some of these starting positions filled. Nolan Reimold has never played at 1B in the Major Leagues, but has been working at 1B in the minor leagues this season. The next best player to fill that position would have been Gregg Zaun, who has played 2 games totaling 8 innings at 1B in his major league career, none of which were with the Orioles. Overall, this team looks pretty sad overall. You’ve got solid players at 2B, LF, and RF, and a single starting pitcher. After that, you have good young players who are too new to have shown exactly what they can do yet at C, 1B, and 2 of their starting pitchers. There are some good role players, but unfortunately the build for this team kind of looks similar to the real-life organization at this point: Very raw, and not particularly good.

Looking at their drafting results, they have had 29 first round picks in the last 15 drafts (not including 2010). Ignoring the 2009 draftee, they have had only 11 of these picks even play a single game in the Major Leagues. Even giving the benefit of the doubt for the 4 players who were first round picks but have not made it to the Majors yet, that still brings the Orioles to 14 misses in 15 seasons. Generally, the first round is the one round where an organization will have the best chance of finding a MLB quality talent, and with the poor performance of the Orioles throughout the years, they’ve had 8 picks in the top 10 in the last 9 years. As evidenced by the revolving door that has been the general manager’s office, that’s not getting it done.

Something else that has really illustrated itself as I go through the players is the lack of players from international markets, the ones outside of the draft. While it remains to be seen if there are specific reasons that the Orioles are not concentrating any effort to Latin America and Asia, the fact that they aren’t is clearly hurting their development as an organization.

Overall Grade: I think I have to give them a D-, due to the fact that I was barely able to fill the whole roster with players, and the fact that they’ve missed on so many first round picks. This team would have a hard time competing against nearly every major league team on a day-to-day basis. Throw in the fact that this 25 man roster is essentially 14 or possibly even 15 pitchers really doesn’t bode well for them. Hopefully the Orioles will start to see some of the fruit of the system shortly, as they really need it.

Team Preview – Baltimore Orioles


Today I’m starting my preseason previews of each team in the majors. Today’s team is the Baltimore Orioles.

Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Matt Wieters SP 1 Kevin Millwood
1B Garrett Atkins SP 2 Jeremy Guthrie
2B Brian Roberts SP 3 Brian Matusz
3B Miguel Tejada SP 4 Brad Bergesen
SS Cesar Izturis SP 5 Chris Tillman
LF Nolan Reimold Bullpen
CF Adam Jones CL Mike Gonzalez
RF Nick Markakis RP Jim Johnson
DH Luke Scott RP Kam Mickolio
Bench RP Koji Uehara
IF Ty Wigginton RP Cla Meredith
OF Felix Pie RP Mark Hendrickson

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
SP Kevin Millwood Trade (TEX) RP Chris Ray Trade (TEX)
CL Mike Gonzalez Free Agency 3B Melvin Mora Free Agency
1B/3B Garrett Atkins Free Agency RP Danys Baez Free Agency
3B/SS Miguel Tejada Free Agency

Top Prospects: Brian Matusz (P), Jake Arrieta (P), Zach Britton (P), Josh Bell (3B)

2009 Review

The 2009 Orioles finished 64-98, 39 games out of first place in the American League East. I wanted to write that the Orioles finished strong last year, ending on a 4 game winning streak. However, that’s kind of cancelled out by the fact that they lost the 13 games prior to that. The Orioles got excellent performances from veterans Brian Roberts (.283, 16 HR, 30 SB), Nick Markakis (.293, 18 HR, 101 RBI), and second-year player Adam Jones (.277, 19 HR, 77 RBI, 10 SB).

The biggest story of 2009 for the Orioles was the number of rookies who came up and performed well. The majority of the hype was surrounding uber-prospect Matt Wieters. Wieters was called up at the end of May, and never looked back, posting a respectable .288 batting average with 9 homers in 96 games. However, his interaction with the young pitching staff will have a larger impact going forward. Rookies Brad Bergesen (7-5, 3.43), Chris Tillman (2-5, 5.40), and Brian Matusz (5-2, 4.63) all provided solid campaigns to the rotation. OF Nolan Reimold also helped to provide some much-needed pop, with 15 HR, 45 RBI, and 8 stolen bases. None of the players mentioned received votes for Rookie of the Year, but Matusz is still eligible for the 2010 award.

Team Outlook for 2010

I think that the Orioles are going to improve this year. The acquisitions of Kevin Millwood and Miguel Tejada will help to stabilize the clubhouse with some strong veteran presences. Millwood specifically will be looked to help further develop the pitching staff, as he’s had success in the major leagues. The signing of Mike Gonzalez was a bit confusing to me at first, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. One of the things that can be debilitating to a young pitcher is to watch his bullpen cough up the lead he left them with. Bringing in Gonzalez helps to stabilize the back end of the bullpen, and put pitchers like Uehara and Mickolio into roles that they are currently better suited for. Also, by having a lot of solid pitchers out in the bullpen, the younger starters won’t feel like they will be expected to go 7-8 innings every time they take the mound.

The hard part for the Orioles remains the same as every other year. The American League East isn’t getting any easier to win, with the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays all expected to be very good teams as well. Even the Blue Jays aren’t expected to be slouches, which means that essentially half of their schedule will be against division opponents who will be difficult to beat on a consistent basis. I don’t think that the Orioles compete for the division title this season, but could see an improvement of potentially 5-10 wins in spite of this.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

Key players from a fantasy standpoint include C Matt Wieters, 2B Brian Roberts, OF Nick Markakis and Adam Jones, and CL Mike Gonzalez. All of the Orioles’ starting pitchers should have some good games, but the only player I might take a risk on would be SP Brian Matusz, as he has the potential to be the leader of this rotation by the end of the season. Deeper leagues could see 3B Miguel Tejada, OF Nolan Reimold, and DH Luke Scott also have some solid value.

Prediction for 2010

I don’t use any particular statistical process or procedures to come to my predictions of win-loss record. It’s really just a gut feeling for me, after looking at their roster, briefly looking at their schedule, and previous performance.

70-92, 5th in the AL East

Fantasy Preview – Catchers


I’m starting a new series on my personal fantasy rankings by position for the upcoming season. This series will be primarily posting on weekends, although I will also be posting occasionally during the week on fantasy as well.

The schedule can be found on the fantasy previews page at the top.

A note about my rankings: I am assuming a standard scoring league (5×5) with the following categories:

R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, W, SV, ERA, K, WHIP

Also, I have done a lot of statistical analysis in the past, but I’m not ready to start calculating my own projections statistically. So for me, a lot of this is based entirely on gut feel (which of these 2 players would I want), and looking at previous performance. All statistics are from the 2009 season

Without further adieu, my top 15 catchers for fantasy baseball in 2010.


1. Joe Mauer – MIN
R HR RBI SB AVG
94 28 96 4 .365
Mauer is really the class of his position at this point, as he’s a solid contributor in 4 of the 5 batting categories. Whether or not the power will continue remains to be seen, but it would be consistent with his age progression. He’ll be 27 this coming season, and the Twins have been good about making sure that Mauer gets days off from behind the plate, having him DH as well. At worst, you’re going to get a player that is likely to be a batting champion again next season, who will be hitting 3rd. The scary part of the numbers he posted last year was the fact that he still missed a large portion of a month of time as well. They could conceivably get better.



2. Victor Martinez – BOS
Also qualifies at 1B
R HR RBI SB AVG
88 23 108 1 .303
It is really going to be interesting to see how Martinez does with a full season playing at Fenway, as he posted a .336/.405/.507 line while with the team. Part of the improvement is probably due to the improved lineup surrounding him, and bodes well for this season also. Martinez also qualifies at 1B, although it seems extremely unlikely you’d use him there in most situations. I think he could potentially see a jump in his power numbers with half his games at Fenway as well.

3. Brian McCann – ATL
R HR RBI SB AVG
63 21 94 4 .281
McCann seems to me like he’s a bit underrated. Here’s a player who is going to hit 20 homers, drive in almost 100 runs, and hit for a good average at a position that really doesn’t necessarily have a lot of players who do that. And he’s done it in the past, so he’s got a track record as well. The other thing I usually forget about McCann is that he is only going to be 26 starting this season. So potentially he could see a slight improvement in his numbers. Not that he needs them to stay at this ranking.

4. Miguel Montero – ARI
R HR RBI SB AVG
61 16 59 1 .294
Montero was really an epiphany last season, as he was finally able to get regular playing time. Playing in 128 games last year, I can see him posting a similar batting average while improving his home run total and RBI total as well. Another young catcher (26) who should see some growth as he will come into the season as the starter. He’s a player who is likely to fall in most drafts, as Chris Snyder is still in Arizona, and isn’t as sexy of a name as some of the players I’ll rank below him.

5. Matt Wieters – BAL
R HR RBI SB AVG
35 9 43 0 .288
One of last year’s favorite sleeper draft picks, many teams were stuck until Wieters’ midseason callup. This time around though, he’ll go into Spring Training as the starter. Wieters probably has more upside than Montero, as he could conceivably hit 20+ homers with a .300 average. The thing that puts Montero ahead of Wieters for me is the fact that you’re most likely going to have to draft Wieters much earlier than Montero. In current average draft position reports, Wieters is going 40 picks before Montero. I’ll wait and get Montero.

6. Jorge Posada – NYY
R HR RBI SB AVG
55 22 81 1 .285
Posada missed significant playing time last year, playing in only 111 games. At age 38, he’s not likely to improve too much on that game total this season. That said, I can still see him hitting 20 homers and driving in 80 runs in that vaunted Yankee lineup. Just be ready to have someone else to play for when he needs that time off.

7. Geovany Soto – CHC
R HR RBI SB AVG
27 11 47 1 .218
Soto was expected to build on a 23 hr campaign in 2008 last year, and failed miserably. His batting average on balls in play (.251) was partially to explain, as well as the strained oblique injury he suffered mid-season. Look for Soto to bounce back if that injury is completely healed, and approach 20 homers again.

8. Kurt Suzuki – OAK
R HR RBI SB AVG
74 15 88 8 .274
Suzuki is another one of those “un-sexy” picks, as his numbers are probably going to be similar to last year. Coming into his age-26 season, the A’s are going to need his production to be similar to 2009, and he shouldn’t disappoint. He’s unlikely to get to 20 homers, or even to repeat the 8 stolen bases he had last year, but at the catcher position he’s not going to kill you in any of the categories, which is pretty good at this point.

9. Russell Martin – LAD
R HR RBI SB AVG
63 7 53 11 .250
Martin was a big disappointment to his owners last season, as his power, batting average, and stolen base totals all dropped. While I think that he’s not likely to return to either his 19 hr career high, or his 21 stolen base career high, I do believe he will improve on last season, and return to his career batting average of .276, with double digit power and stolen bases. His run total should improve as well with that increase in batting average.

10. Mike Napoli – LAA
R HR RBI SB AVG
60 20 56 3 .272
I liked Napoli a lot last year, and he posted some solid numbers, especially in the home run category. He played 114 games last season, with 84 starts at catcher. He’s likely to post similar numbers providing he gets similar playing time to last season. The concern I have would be that with Hideki Matsui brought in to DH, he seems unlikely to get very much time as the DH. So he’s going to have to beat out Jeff Mathis to get the most playing time. If there were no concerns about playing time, I’d probably have him as high as 5th or 6th.

11. Bengie Molina – SFG
R HR RBI SB AVG
52 20 80 0 .265
Molina is another one of those players who’s not really going to kill you at the catcher position. He’s going to provide some good power, and drive in a good amount of runs. If you ever get a stolen base out of him, consider it a small miracle. Of some concern is what the Giants intend to do with prospect Buster Posey, as he is definitely the long-term answer at catcher for the Giants. Something to monitor as you get closer to your draft.

12. Ryan Doumit – PIT
R HR RBI SB AVG
31 10 38 4 .250
Doumit was injured for a large portion of the 2009 season, and as a result his numbers for 2009 don’t really reflect what he could do, in my opinion. Doumit is a lot more likely to give you somewhere near a .280 average, with between 15 and 20 homers. My only concern would be how he has recovered from the wrist injury he suffered last season, but the fact that he came back and hit .329 with 2 HR in September puts that to rest for me. He’s definitely got some risk, but there’s good upside here as well.

13. A.J. Pierzynski – CHW
R HR RBI SB AVG
57 13 49 1 .300
A.J. is most definitely not a sexy choice here as a catcher. But he’s probably going to give you double-digit homers, a batting average near .280 or better, and probably drive in about 50 runs. Hopefully, if you’re taking A.J., you’re also drafting a high-upside catcher as well. A.J. isn’t going to kill you at the position, but there’s really no upside here above what you would expect from him when you draft him.

14. Chris Iannetta – COL
R HR RBI SB AVG
41 16 52 0 .228
Iannetta is one of those players who should be really good for fantasy owners if he can pull it all together on a consistent basis. He has shown good power, and could conceivably hit 20+ in a season, especially in Colorado. He is unlikely to hit much more than about .260 in my opinion, but should have the chance to drive in a fair amount of runs in the Colorado lineup. Of some concern is the fact that Miguel Olivo, fresh off a 23 homer season in Kansas City, was signed to be his backup. Watch Iannetta carefully, as he could potentially lose his starting job at any time during the season.

15. Yadier Molina – STL
R HR RBI SB AVG
45 6 54 9 .293
Yadier is one of those players who is definitely better in real-life than in fantasy. Although he doesn’t have the upside of some of the players ahead of him on my rankings, he remains likely to hit for a good average, and provide a little bit of power and a few steals. He’s the type of catcher who is probably best for a lineup with a pair of 40 homer hitters. Someone to look for if you still have no catcher later on, and are just looking for someone who isn’t going to kill any specific category.

Some prospects and deep-league sleepers to watch for:

Buster Posey (SF) – Posey was slated to be the starting catcher for the Giants until they resigned Bengie Molina. Lately, there have been rumors that Posey will work in the infield during spring training. However, it seems to me that if they are planning on him staying at catcher long-term, he’d be best served going back to AAA until they need him at the Major League level.

Carlos Santana (CLE) – Santana probably needs a full season at AAA, but if he gets the call and sees some consistent playing time, he could conceivably provide double-digit power and a high average even as a rookie. The only player standing in his way once he’s been at AAA is Lou Marson, who is a much better real-life catcher than fantasy player.

Adam Moore (SEA) – Moore is going into Spring Training as the starter for the Mariners. Another player who isn’t likely to provide a lot of fantasy value, Moore’s value really comes in 2-catcher leagues, as at-bats are crucial in those types of leagues.

Kelly Shoppach (TAM) – Shoppach was acquired by the Rays to be their starting catcher, and is only a season removed from a 21 homer, 67 rbi season. Consistent playing time is likely to help him further, but the Rays do still have last year’s starter Dioner Navarro on the roster.

AL Rookie of the Year Review


Andrew Bailey was announced as the winner of the American League Rookie of the Year for 2009 yesterday.

In my predictions, I thought Bailey would win the award, but it was a lot closer than I thought it would be. The voting (first place in parentheses):

Bailey – 88 votes (13)
Elvis Andrus – 65 (8)
Rick Porcello – 64 (7)
Jeff Niemann – 21
Gordon Beckham – 10
Brett Anderson – 4

Andrew Bailey
Andrew spent the majority of the 2009 season as the closer for the A’s, and was 26-for-30 in save opportunities this year. But his dominance is better illustrated in his other stats: 1.84 ERA, 91 strikeouts, a .167 opponents batting average, and a 0.88 WHIP.  His numbers were extremely comparable to the elite players at his position:

Bailey: 1.84 ERA, 91 K, .167 Opp BA, 0.88 WHIP, 26 saves
Mariano Rivera: 1.76 ERA, 72 K, .197 Opp BA, 0.91 WHIP, 44 saves
Joe Nathan: 2.10 ERA, 89 K, .171 Opp BA, 0.93 WHIP, 47 saves

Bear in mind, that Bailey did not take over the closer role until early May, and could potentially have had a lot more saves on a more competitive team. Digging in a little deeper, there are a couple of concerns I have for the next season.

Bailey’s Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP) was a very low .234. Those same comps had .252 (Nathan), and .263 (Rivera), so I would be inclined to believe that some form of correction to the mean may occur next season. His Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) number was 2.56, almost a full run higher than his actual era. Again, not a huge problem necessarily for a reliever, but something to keep an eye on.

So, how did his competitors fare last season?

Elvis Andrus

Andrus was named the starting shortstop for the Rangers prior to the season. The Rangers thought so highly of him that they asked All-Star SS Michael Young to switch to 3B. Andrus definitely did not disappoint. He hit to the tune of .267/.329/.373 with 72 runs, 6 hr, and 33 sb. Andrus was also no slouch with the glove, as he compiled a 10.7 UZR rating at SS. A very good rookie season.

Rick Porcello
Porcello joined the Tigers out of spring training, and made the rotation. This was a huge surprise, considering that he had only pitched one year in the minors, and it was in A-ball at that. However, he made a very strong impact, compiling a 14-9 record with a 3.96 era, 89 strikeouts, and a 1.34 whip. They believed in him so heavily, in fact, that he was the choice to start the play-in game against the Twins on 10/6. Porcello should be a very good major league pitcher for years to come.

Jeff Niemann
Niemann made the Rays rotation out of spring training, after having a couple of starts in 2008. With a 13-6 record, Niemann was one of the few pitchers that the Rays could rely on throughout the season. He gave the Rays 180 innings, while compiling a 3.94 era, 1.35 whip, and 125 strikeouts. I frankly thought that Niemann would finish ahead of Porcello, but that could be partially due to Porcello pitching meaningful games in October. Niemann will be a solid #2-3 anchor for the Rays rotation in a system that is full of top-level pitching.

Gordon Beckham
Beckham was called up in May, and was the first player from the 2008 draft to have a meaningful impact in the Majors. He posted a very solid .270/.360/.477 line, with 14 homers, 58 rbi, and 7 steals. All while learning a new position in the major leagues. While he had some of the better stats of the season, I felt that he should be discounted slightly due to not being up for the whole season. Not really his fault, but that’s how it goes. Beckham will have another transition to make next season, as the White Sox announced that he would be moving to 2B to accommodate newly acquired Mark Teahen.

Brett Anderson
Anderson spent the whole season in the A’s rotation, and posted a respectable 11-10 record on a bad team. He really came on in the second half, going 6-4 with a 3.48 era, 86 strikeouts, and a 1.19 whip. If he puts together a full season like his second half, he’s going to be a very, very good pitcher for a long time.

Overall, this year’s AL rookie class was one of the strongest. Especially when you consider that the two top rookies in the AL at the beginning of the season aren’t here either. (Matt Wieters, David Price). This whole group should be interesting to watch for years to come.