Santana DVX hopes to stay healthy and produce. (AP)
Baseball Press presents a new miniseries titled "Three Up, Three Down" which will review player performances from last season and whether or not we feel they are capable of either improving upon last season's performance, or if the player had a "lucky" season in 2010.
The statistics provided in parenthesis represent the player's numbers from last season, not a projection for 2011.
- Tampa Bay Rays (.263/.372/.378, 5 HR, 44 RBI)
After being thrown into the starting job for the Rays due to injuries and under-performing teammates, Jaso responded well. The biggest part of Jaso's game is his ability to make something happen when he's at the plate. His strikeout percentage was at an incredibly low percent of 11.5%. Along with the low strikeout rates, he was a walk machine, walking in 14.6% of his plate appearances. Given the opportunity to play an entire season, we should see an increase in Jaso's on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and batting average next season.
Matt Wieters - Baltimore Orioles (.249/.319/.377, 11 HR, 55 RBI)
One of arguably the biggest disappointments last season could be Matt Wieters. After being a super-hype rookie compared to the likes of a Joe Mauer, Wieters simply didn't perform to his standards. While we could speculate on the number of reasons for the lack of output from the young catcher, let's talk about what to expect next season. Given that the bulk of the pressure has finally been removed from Wieters, we can expect an increase in batting average and home runs. I certainly don't expect over 20 home runs from Wieters given the fact that his home runs numbers decreased from year to year in the Minor Leagues, but I think he'll get just on the verge of twenty. The good news for fantasy owners is that most owners will stay away from him due to the performance last season, making him a late-round grab.
- Cleveland Indians (.260/.401/.467, 6 HR, 22 RBI)
The talented Mr. Santana had his terrific rookie season debut cut short after a collision with Ryan Kalish
, but showed the fantasy world what he's capable of over his first 46 games. This 24-year old hit .316/.447/.597 during 57 games at Triple-A last season prior to the call-up, which included 13 HR and an OPS over one thousand. I personally think Santana will go higher than he should, but every fantasy owner values players differently, but his knee injury is of concern. Santana will certainly outperform most catchers this season, posting double digit home run numbers and excellent OBP numbers given his patience at the plate.
- Free Agent (.269/.315/.449, 14 HR, 58 RBI)
I had Olivo listed under the Blue Jays only because that was last team to record him on their roster, but after they declined his option for 2011, he's a free agent. Playing for the Rockies last season in 112 games, Olivo saw his batting average inflated by a .346 BAbip against his career BAbip of .302. In 2009, Olivo hit 29 home runs with the Kansas City Royals and that seems by far the most Olivo will hit in his career given his poor plate discipline. Olivo will certainly latch on with a team on a multi-year deal given the fact that the catching position lacks depth, but don't expect his .269 batting average from last season to follow him.
- Florida Marlins (.281/.314/.489, 20 HR, 66 RBI)
Fresh off a three-year, $18 million contract with the Florida Marlins, John Buck will now laugh all the way to the bank. After having a monster year by his standards for the Jays last season, Buck now finds himself in the National League. Again like Olivo, Buck had a BAbip of .335 leading to his inflated batting average of .281 and given the fact that Buck's career BAbip is .289, he'll be returning to earth in 2011. Along with being an inpatient hitter and his move to Miami, I still expect double-digit home runs (15) from Buck, but nothing more. As an added side note, I've seen other fantasy baseball owners ranking Buck pretty high on their mixed leagues list, but I figure him to be just an NL-Only player in the long run.
- Free Agent (.240/.284/.447, 17 HR, 47 RBI)
After hitting .304/.325/.608 with an OPS of .933 and six home runs during the month of May for the New York Mets, Barajas would fail to hit over the Mendoza Line during the months of June and July with just one home run. Yes, Barajas is on this list because let's face it, the catching position outlook is bleak. Barajas is a 35-year old catcher who should be listed as backup on many teams and shouldn't be own by any managers unless you enjoy having a career .239/.284/.412 hitter who has hit a career high 21 home runs back in 2005.