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Monday, January 20, 2014

2014 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: MATT WIETERS C BALTIMORE ORIOLES

                                                               Matt Wieters

Yeah he didn't turn into Mike Piazza after all.  I of course am referring to solid but unspectacular Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters who as the former 5th overall pick in the 2007 draft, was predicted to be a star who could hit maybe on the same par as perennial All Star Piazza.  However like many "can't miss" catcher before him, Wieters turned out to be much less in terms of his numbers and overall performance.  But all is not lost as Wieters has settled into a solid power-hitting backstop that is a certain top ten option in all fantasy baseball leagues.  With that said let's take a closer look at Wieters and see where he could be headed with his numbers this season.

Wieters will turn 28 this season which means he already is in his hitting prime so what you pretty much see is what you get at this point.  First let's get to Wieters' best trait which is his power.  Wieters has hit 20 or more home runs in three straight seasons, coming in with totals of 22, 23, and 22.  So Wieters has very solid consistency there to say the least.  In addition, Wieters has driven in between 68 and 83 runs in the last three seasons so his baseline remains in that ballpark as well.  As far as the runs scored are concerned, those are never a strength for a catcher who often hits in the bottom third of the lineup.  However Wieters has hit as high as cleanup and he generally has been around a 65-75 run guy which is a very good total for a catcher.  Finally in stating the obvious, there is zero speed here so don't even think about stolen bases.

Now let's get to the bad which is Wieters' career .255 batting average.  In fact at this point you would take Wieters' .255 career mark over the .235 and .249 marks he has put up the last two seasons.  Possessing a high K rate and only moderate patience, Wieters fits in with many other catchers as a liability in that department.  Now that doesn't make Wieters a busted pick.  Since most of the rest of the catching fraternity puts up mediocre averages, it is not that big a deal that Wieters does so as well.  However there is a difference between .250 and .235 so Wieters has to reverse the decline we have seen recently.  If he pushes that number back up to .250 than all is well there.

I forgot to mention earlier that another plus for Wieters is his durability.  He has gotten 500 or more at-bats each of the last three seasons and that says something at a position where injuries are common.  Bump him up slightly for that positive. 

Overall Matt Wieters is a very solid fantasy baseball catcher for the 2014 season once again but one who won't wow you.  Yes we do place a bit too much importance on batting average since it is such a cut and dry number but Wieters needs to do a bit better there.  Like I noted earlier however, if Wieters does make strides in that category, than this looks like a very safe place to invest for your catcher. 

2014 PROJECTION:  .251 23 HR 82 RBI 65 R 1 SB

Be sure to check back for more of the starting pitching rankings as we move forward through the week.  Let us hear your thoughts.

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