Matt Wieters :: Al Tielemans/SI
On Friday a new era is starting in Baltimore as hot-shot phenom catcher Matt Wieters is expected to join the Orioles in time for the game against the Tigers. Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year in 2008 is ready to take his place in a lineup that all of a sudden is brimming with fantasy studs. It wasn't long ago that the Orioles were a fantasy no-man's land, but now the team has a young nucleus that makes it a team to watch. Wieters was batting .305 with five home runs at Triple A Norfolk, the same team for which another of the young-stud O's, left fielder Nolan Reimold hit .394 with nine home runs in just 109 at bats. With an outfield of Reimold, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis, Baltimore's outfield has the potential to become the best in baseball for many years to come. Add Wieters who immediately moves into the top half of AL fantasy catchers, even before playing a single big league game, and veteran Brian Roberts who is still just 31, it won't be too long until the Orioles contend in the AL East for the first time in a decade. Of course, minor league pitching prospects like Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta and Chris Tillman really hold the key on whether the Baltimore becomes a good team, or simply a formidable offense. If there's any chance that Reimold or Wieters are still available in your league, start clicking.
If you read Entertainment Weekly, you're probably familiar with Jessica Shaw's Shaw report, a humorous take on what's hot and not in popular culture. That's the inspiration for this recurring item which will keep its pulse on the pulse of fantasy baseball
When doing your planning for the week you want to maximize your steals and home runs, so isn't a good idea to keep track of the pitchers who are easiest to rack those stats up against? Here are the leaders in stolen bases and home runs allowed:!--tablemaker-->
10. Jon Lester, Red Sox Popular preseason Cy Young pick has struggled mightily, winning just three of eight decisions with a 6.07 ERA.
9. Gavin Floyd, White Sox -- The '08 17 game winner has allowed five earned runs or more in five of his 10 starts.
8. Magglio Ordoñez, Tigers -- An MVP candidate just two years ago, Ordoñez has hit just two home runs in an injury-plagued year.
7. Garrett Atkins, Rockies -- So much for the Coors Field Advantage. The perennial .300/100 RBI man is hitting just .195 with 15 RBIs.
6. B.J. Ryan, Blue Jays -- With his loss of velocity and effectiveness, there's virtually no chance that he'll recapture the Jays' ninth-inning duties
5. Russell Martin, Dodgers -- After averaging 14 home runs per season, the backstop is still looking for his first of the season.
4. B.J. Upton, Rays -- Came back from an injured shoulder and has posted the third-worst slugging percentage of all qualifiers (.283)
3. Jimmy Rollins, Phillies -- A Top 10 pick, J-Roll finally has his average above the Mendoza line, but he's still hovering around .225 with little power or speed.
2. David Ortiz, Red Sox -- The excuse of missing Manny doesn't hold water with Jason Bay and Kevin Youkilis tearing up opposing pitching as well as Manny ever did.
1. Manny Ramirez, Dodgers -- He's just over a third of the way through his suspension, at the end of which your chances to compete will be gone anyway.