I have been following Matt Wieters very closely this season because he is the starting catcher for my fantasy baseball team (Yes I am susceptible to the homer pick on occasion). I was recently doing a mid-season review of my players to look for value as I move into the post-all star portion of the season. When looking at Wieters, I stumbled across some nice stats that give me a warm fuzzy about our SHJ.
In terms of Yahoo sports fantasy rankings, Matt Wieters was projected as the 124th overall player, as of today he is the 235 ranked player in my fantasy league. From that perspective he is not performing to the level that he was supposed to. However, if you look at his rank among catchers in my league - he was supposed to be the 6th best fantasy catcher this season, to date he is the 6th best fantasy catcher and from that perspective he is exactly where he should be.
I took a gander at fangraphs and they had several different stories posted about him, with one in particular that caught my eye written by Dave Golebiewski titled "Superman's Quiet Progress".
This is a great article and it makes some very interesting points about Matt Wieters and how we should be looking at his numbers. They start out by showing his stats for the past three years and mention that on paper it looks like he has not improved offensively since his rookie year. The kicker is that when viewed from the perspective that offensive numbers across the league are down, suddenly SHJ appears to making very good offensive progress.
Put in proper context, Wieters’ 2011 season is indicative of a young player making solid offensive progress. At a time when hitters are faring worse as a whole, Wieters is showing more power, hitting fewer ground balls and striking out less. His park-and-league-adjusted line this year is two percent better than average (102 wRC+), while his rookie season was five percent below average(95 wRC+).
That stat line shows that in the past three years he has improved from below average to being an above average hitter even though his stat lines don't reflect that. The article goes on to make the same point that I had noticed when analyzing Wieters in my fantasy league.
Wieters has the sixth-highest wOBA among catchersqualified for the batting title, and his rest-of-season ZiPS projection ranks in the top 10 among backstops who figure to get frequent playing time.
All of this for me, points to the fact that our boy Matt, as many of us have noticed, is a far cry from the biggest bust ever. To have a catcher as defensively gifted as Wieters and still be one of the top 6 hitting catchers in the game is very good. Another post on fangraphs shows that his 3 year WAR is 5.5 and he is on pace to post +4 win season this year. I recommend reading the rest of the article and to relish in the glow that one of our young players is indeed doing very well and appears to be improving steadily in all facts of his game.
Thanks for reading! This is my first fanpost, critiques are welcome!