Georgia just may be the new California. Or Texas. Or Florida.
In the last few weeks, we’ve seen a lot of highly touted rookies arrive in the majors and savvy fantasy baseball league managers have been picking up these Georgia peaches. Here’s a look at some of the best first year players from the Peach State.
Matt Wieters, Orioles, catcher (Georgia Tech) — Its been a dozen years since the once proud Orioles franchise had a winning season and Camden Yards is no longer a novelty. It’s no surprise then that the Orioles couldn’t wait any longer for catching prospect Matt Wieters after only 10,030 turned out for their May 26 contest. Also, no surprise that the Orioles attendance increased by 15,000 fans for Wieters first game.
Despite a slow start in his first two series, Wieters’ bat is also beginning to heat up, having increased his batting average from .182 at the end of May to .233. Though he has yet to hit a home run or knock in a run, the rookie already has four multihit games, including three successive two-hit efforts from June 9-12.
“I’m starting to feel really good at the plate,” Wieters said. “I’m starting to see pitches and put some good swings on balls, and it always feels good to hit the barrel every now and again.”
Tommy Hanson, Braves, starting pitcher (Atlanta) — In 11 starts at Triple-A, Tommy Hanson allowed just 11 earned runs, 40 hits, and struckout 90 in 66 1/3 innings. Last year, he was the Braves’ organizational pitcher of the year with a 11-5 record and 2.41 ERA.
Hanson has not faired as well in his two MLB starts. He was torched for three homers in his debut against the Brewers, but managed to come back to pick up a win in his second start in an inter-league game against the Orioles.
“Whether I dominate or don’t dominate, I want to go out and win the game,” said Hanson. “Obviously, I would like to dominate, you know what I’m saying? That’s the whole goal when I go out to pitch, but to go out and get my first win and to help the team win is good enough right now.”
Gordon Beckham, White Sox, third baseman (Georgia) – Gordon Beckham was drafted eighth overall in last year’s MLB Draft. The 22-year-old former Bulldog is struggling in the early going with the Sox as he’s hitting just .114 in his first 10 games.
It would be a good time to get hot now as the Sox take on their crosstown rival Cubs over the next four days.
Fantasy Baseball Dugout Analysis — Wieters is a star. Hanson is a keeper. Beckham probably needs a little more polish before we’d recommend picking him up.