OpinionApril 20, 2009

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Monday Mail Call: Wieters, Price, Schafer

By R.J. White

“On my team, I have both Wieters and Price. When are they expected back? Also, what do you expect out of the season for Jordan Schafer on the Braves?”Eric

Welcome back to the Monday Mail Call. I’m going to keep this intro short, just like a Chien-Ming Wang outing, so let’s get right into it.

I know that it’s rough hanging onto the two prized prospects, especially for those in no-bench leagues. In fact, I have David Price starting for me in one such league, so I’m right there with you. Price has started the season well, notching 10 strikeouts in 8.2 innings thus far. Since the Rays are right around .500 along with the Red Sox and Yankees, they probably won’t feel the need to deviate from their strategy and call Price up early. In 2006, James Shields was recalled at the end of May. In 2007, Andy Sonnanstine was recalled at the beginning of June. I would expect the Rays to wait until around that time to call up Price. If they start to fall behind the Red Sox and Yankees though, he could be up a bit sooner.

Matt Wieters suffered a mild hamstring strain and according to Orioles president Andy MacPhail, the top prospect will miss a few days. They certainly don’t want him squatting behind home plate. Wieters has started solidly in his first exposure to Triple-A pitching, though he only has one extra-base hit (a solo HR) in 29 plate appearances thus far. The Orioles have no need to rush Wieters up to the big league club at this time, though if the team builds off its nice start to the season, we very well could see them pull the trigger and recall the prospect in an attempt to compete in 2009. Peter Gammons mentioned on Baseball Tonight Sunday that Wieters would be called up sooner than people think, so it actually might not take longer than a few weeks. I wouldn’t anticipate having him in your lineup before June, but keep him stashed on your bench, as he has the firepower to help lead you to a fantasy title when he is finally recalled.

Jordan Schafer started off scorching the ball, hitting .421 through his first five games. Then the bottom dropped out and Schafer only managed one hit in his next six games. Thus is the life of a rookie. Schafer isn’t getting many good pitches batting in front of the pitcher, and until he gets moved up in the lineup, I would avoid him in most leagues. He’s going to eventually be a solid starting OF in fantasy leagues, so deep keeper leagues and dynasty leagues should have him stashed on the bench for the time being. In 2009, I’m projecting: .245, 7 HRs, 30 RBIs, 30 Rs, 8 SBs in about 300 ABs, with an extended stint back in the minor leagues in the middle of the season.

Would you like to be featured in the Monday Mail Call? E-mail us your questions at fbcmailbag@gmail.com. You can also utilize our Article Discussion links at the end of each article or find our various column threads in the Baseball Leftovers forum. Good luck this week, Cafe!

R.J. White (or daullaz) has been actively involved in fantasy sports for over 14 years, making him an addict at this point. He loves writing, the Atlanta Braves, music, the Buffalo Bills, theatre, the Philadelphia Eagles, his family, and the number 42, though not in that order.
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