Buy, Sell or Hold – Matt Wieters

There has been a lot of hype surrounding Matt Wieters since the day he was drafted.  Thought to be the next top offensive catcher in baseball, thus far all he has done is left fantasy owners wanting more. 

After routinely being ranked in the Top 5-7 catchers heading into 2010, Wieters has posted the following line (through Thursday):

175 At Bats
.240 Batting Average (42 Hits)
4 Home Runs
16 RBI
12 Runs
0 Stolen Bases
.314 On Base Percentage
.337 Slugging Percentage
.292 Batting Average on Balls in Play

Clearly, those are not the type of numbers that anyone expected from him two months into the season.  First, let’s look at the power:

  • His HR/FB is at 8.7%, right along the lines of where he was after being recalled in 2009 (8.4%).
  • His fly ball rate is 34.3%, similar to his minor league career mark of 34.2%

Is it possible that we all just overestimated the power the 24-year old would be able to display in his first full year in the major leagues?  It certainly is possible, considering he hit only 14 home runs between Triple-A and the majors last season.  In time he could develop into a major source of power, but it’s hard to expect it from him this season.

It still wouldn’t surprise me to see him approach 20 HR this year (which, coincidentally, was my preseason projection), but I can’t expect much more then that.

The average may be the biggest disappointment of all.  Obviously, the lack of power has an influence, as does the BABIP.  It’s not that the number he’s posted is unrealistic, either, but from the hype surrounding him and his minor league performance, we all expected more.

He hasn’t been overmatched, with a strikeout rate of 23.4% compared to a 21.3% mark at Triple-A last season.  He’s also shown a decent eye, with a walk rate of 9.3%. 

The RBI and runs are a factor of how bad the Orioles offense has been in general.  They are among the bottom three in the league in runs scored, at just 180.  How exactly could we expect Wieters to either drive a lot of runs in or score a lot of runs considering the performance of the offense around him?

He’s spent the majority of his time hitting between third and sixth in the lineup, so you would have to think that the opportunities will be there in time.  The team in general isn’t good, but it’s not this bad.

The bottom line is that you would expect better from him moving forward.  He’s still getting his feet wet in the major leagues and not everyone is capable of hitting the ground running.  Sometimes it takes some time, so all we can do is remain patient.

There’s no questioning his talent.  It’s possible he never lives up to the unbelievable expectations some had for him, but he’s certainly better then this.  Look for better things moving forward, so if someone in your league has lost faith and is willing to sell low, I’d certainly be buying.  If I was an owner of his, I certainly wouldn’t give up yet.  There’s just too much potential upside at a shallower position.

What are your thoughts on Wieters?  Can he live up to the preseason predictions?  Is he a player you are looking to buy or sell?

To view the previous article, click here.

10 comments

  1. pete says:

    Thanks for this – I’ve gotten several trade offers for him this week alone but I’m not ready to deal him – maybe to the detriment of my second half, but I’m a believer.

  2. Jae says:

    Dear Professoroto,

    I just made a trade for Wieters and Zimmerman and am getting 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th thoughts (you know not about Zimmerman). Help me out here. Did I make a mistake?

    Get: Zimmerman & Wieters
    Gave: BJ Upton, Olivo, Polanco

    A little background, I have Abreu, M. Stanton, Stubbs, Bourn & Quentin in OF/BN and Votto, Pedroia, and Tulo in(the)field w/ E. Encarnacion. 20 team – 23 player h2h league

  3. Rotoprofessor says:

    Love it. I think Zimmerman is the best player in the deal and, as I said above, I like Wieters for a rebound in the second half of the season. You are significantly upgrading C and 3B, two shallower positions.

    Yes, it hurts to give up Upton, but with the OF you have he certainly is replaceable.

  4. Tim says:

    Rotoprofessor,

    I currently have Wieters, but I’m contemplating dropping him for Carlos Santana. Should I follow through with this, or see if I can find a spot for both?

    Thanks.

  5. Rotoprofessor says:

    I wouldn’t drop Wieters, but try to make room for both. Thay way, once Wieters heats up, you’ll be able to trade one to fill another hole.

  6. Mike says:

    Rotoprofessor,

    I have Wieters, Mike Napoli, and I grabbed Carlos Santana as well. I need to drop one of them, as no-one in my league likes to trade unfortunately. Which one would you drop?

    Thanks!

  7. Rotoprofessor says:

    Wow, that’s a heck of a situation to be in.

    There are two things that I need to know, though, before deciding:

    1) Is it a 1 or 2-catcher league?
    2) Is it a keeper league?

  8. Mike says:

    Alright… My league is a 1 catcher league with 2 utility spots – it is also a keeper league where I keep up to 5 players for 3 years maximum contracts. My current roster looks like this (so you can see my potential keeper situation):

    C: Napoli, Santana, Wieters
    1B: Ryan Howard
    2B: Zobrist
    3B: Glaus and Aramis on DL
    SS: Alex Gonzalez
    OF: Braun, Hart, Rasmus, Coghlan, Dejesus, Huff (start 4)
    UTIL: Adam LaRoche

    SP: Verlander, Wainwright, Jaime Garcia, Ervin Santana, Hughes, Clayton Richard
    RP (Holds is a stat too): Marmol, Valverde, Papelbon, Adams, Casilla
    DL: Brett Anderson, Brad Penny

    Thanks a lot for the advice!!!

  9. Wow, that is a really tough call. Long-term I certainly like Santana/Wieters the best, but we all know that Napoli has been the superior player at this point and, now seeing time at 1B, makes him all the more attractive.

    Still, Wieters has too much upside to just toss aside. I really think he’s going to turn it up and has more potential to produce from this point forward then someone like Coghlan, DeJesus or Huff.

    Personally, I’d probably dump DeJesus. He’s a player that you could easily find a replacement for if need be and all three of your catchers are likely to outproduce him.

    What does everyone else think?

  10. Mike says:

    Alright, I agree with what you are saying. I guess I have to ask, if you were selecting 5 guys from this roster to keep, would Wieters or Santana be one of them?

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