Fantasy baseball News & Notes: Wieters flying under the radar
In our daily fantasy baseball news and notes column, we'll be discussing hot topics in the fantasy baseball world, as well as offering up tidbits of information to help you set your lineup. Comments are welcome below.
Matt Wieters is the definition of a post-hype sleeper. For years, people kept waiting for the talented, switch-hitting Orioles prospect to deliver on his potential and become the Mark Teixeira of catchers. Wieters has been serviceable in his career; he's hit 20 home runs in three straight years and has been among the leaders at his position in games played and at-bats. However, he hit just .235 a year ago and was completely overshadowed by teammates Adam Jones and Chris Davis. This year, Wieters fell out of the spotlight even more when the team brought in Nelson Cruz, and the one-time future superstar was such an afterthought in drafts that in many leagues, he was barely going for more than a dollar.
But look at what Wieters has done so far this year. He went 2-for-5 yesterday with a home run and is now hitting .342 to go with five homers and 17 RBIs. Even if that average drops significantly, which would be a reasonable expectation, it's hard to think he won't be among the elite hitting catchers in the game this year. In fact, for as little attention as he was getting coming into the year, Wieters actually led all catchers in home runs last season and was three RBIs shy of Jonathan Lucroy, the league's leader among catchers. And that was in a down year.
Wieters is living proof that spending gobs of money on the catcher position is a silly thing to do. After all, what's the use in forking over $20 to get Carlos Santana when there's a player going for next to nothing in Wieters, who was almost as good a year ago? If Wieters can actually come through and have a breakout year, which for him would mean hitting in the .270's, then he could be among the biggest steals in the draft this season, considering that in Yahoo! he was ranked behind Adam Eaton, Carl Crawford, Howie Kendrick, Xander Bogaerts and Ben Revere.
For Your Consideration
● B.J. Upton had his most productive game in ages, producing a home run and a steal in four at-bats versus the Marlins. By virtue of his ludicrous $13.5 million salary, Upton has been hitting second for the Braves lately and has gotten his average up to .214 -- which is only a positive when you consider that he hit .184 last year. So long as he's hitting near the heart of the Braves' lineup, it's not inconceivable that he could occasionally stumble upon a line like this. But holy moly has he regressed since he landed in the National League, and in the two weeks leading up to this game, Upton had amassed zero home runs and one RBI. Yesterday's solid output aside, he's not to be trusted in fantasy baseball.
● Adeiny Hechavarria went 1-for-3 with an RBI and is now hitting .282. Hechavarria is kind of like the poor man's Alcides Escobar of the National League. He has no power, and he's actually quite an awful base-stealer, as he's been caught stealing more than he's been successful in his career. He has been hitting better lately, and at some point, he'll likely switch places with the Derek Dietrich/Ed Lucas timeshare that's been occupying the No. 2 hole in the Marlins' lineup. There's enough downside to Hechavarria's game that he can be safely ignored at this point, although that might change if he is moved up to hit in front of Giancarlo Stanton.
● Bartolo Colon allowed seven earned runs and 10 hits to the Rockies, ballooning his ERA up to 5.65. Although he possesses a curiously terrific strikeout-to-walk ratio of 29:4, he's given up 16 runs in his last two road starts and can be tossed to the waste bin at this point. The Bartolo Colon who reinvented himself with the A's over the past two years appears to have missed his connection to Queens this spring.
● Koji Uehara allowed a late home run to Yunel Escobar and took home the loss. Uehara has been one of the best relievers in the American League for the better part of the last decade, and his spectacular pitching since he joined the Red Sox gives him all the job security in the world. But he's 39 years old, and while he's unlikely to lose the closer's job outright, it's not at all out of the realm of possibility that a 39-year-old could break down as the year goes on. Edward Mujica has been nothing short of dreadful this season, so in the hypothetical scenario where something bad happened to Uehara, the new Red Sox closer could be Junichi Tazawa. Hopefully, this will stay a hypothetical scenario.
● Michael Saunders got a chance to hit leadoff for the Mariners and went 3-for-4 with an RBI. Saunders has been a forgotten man this year. In 2012, he came within a home run of being a 20-20 guy, but his average fell to .236 a year ago, and this year he's barely gotten any playing time at all. The Mariners have mostly stuck with Abraham Almonte at the leadoff spot this year. However, with Almonte hitting a weak .204 to go with a .248 on-base percentage, Saunders might start getting looks at the top of the lineup again. If he can somehow get regular at-bats and play like his old self for a prolonged period of time, he could be serviceable again. Sadly, there's a lot of qualifiers there, which makes him mostly irrelevant right now.
● Roenis Elias was terrific for the Mariners, holding the Yankees to only one run in seven innings while striking out 10. The 25-year-old rookie sports a 3.09 ERA, a 1.31 WHIP and 31 strikeouts in 35 innings. He's been pretty consistent, going at least five innings in all six of his starts while allowing more than three runs only once. Those aren't shabby numbers at all, and if he can shut down the A's in his next outing, it might be time to elevate him to the standard leagues conversation.