Late awakenings give new life to Quentin, Wieters

What’s most memorable — the last impression or the first impression?

 

It
took Matt Wieters months before he truly arrived in September, clawing his way
to the third spot in Baltimore’s lineup thanks to a .362 average. After 95 games
and 350 at-bats in the bigs, he’s batting .291 with nine homers and 93 RBIs —
a fairly strong showing for a June callup. Still, it’s hard to erase that
disappointing memory, those first several weeks of coming up short, of, well,
rookie mistakes.

 

Just
as one heroic moment can overshadow every other meaningful moment of a game  — a poised Derek Jeter lacing a walk-off hit
into left-center field, Jonathan Papelbon jumping for joy after a game-ending
strikeout  — the first few months often skew the perception of one player’s season-long performance. If, say, a blue-chip prospect, franchise bat or any player coming off his career year doesn’t produce by Labor Day, they’re disappointments.

 

Take
Carlos Quentin. On Saturday, the guy homered for the fourth time in his last
five games while producing 10 RBIs. It’s his hottest stretch of the season, but
will it matter six months from now? No — the verdict has already been cast. Quentin’s
2009 season will be looked back on as a vanishing act, a huge disappointment after
taking the American League by storm one year earlier. Why? Because of an injury-riddled
first half that ended with him hitting just .229 and eight homers.

 

His
teammate, Jake Peavy, will be remembered more for the early rough patch and
injuries struggled with San Diego than for persevering through trade rumors, a
midseason move to the White Sox and several setbacks en route to a dominant
finish that included three straight wins and 15 scoreless innings.

 

Still, just because the first couple of months are easier to remember than the last few weeks hardly makes it right.


In fact, there’s plenty of good value to
be had among this group of late awakenings. Even if Wieters and Quentin are
dubbed as 2010 sleepers, chances are strong that you’ll still be able to draft
them considerably later than they’ll fall in 2011.

 

You
could also say the same for outfielders Jay Bruce and Cameron Maybin, corner
infielders Chris Davis and Andy LaRoche and lefty Brett Anderson.

 

In
one way or another, all these players showed they could get back up again after getting knocked down. .

 

 

–Alex
Cushing, MLB.com

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