Wieters

On Tuesday, Orioles GM Andy MacPhail was quoted as saying: “It’s time. He’s ready.” The he of course is Matt Wieters, the best prospect in the game, one of the most hyped in quite some time, and a top-tier major league catcher before ever swinging a bat at the big league level. MacPhail acknowledged that Wieters had proven himself enough in the minors and would be called up by the end of the week. Well, that day is today, when the Orioles stud backstop is finally unleashed on the league.

I couldn’t help but laugh when reading MacPhail’s quote, picturing a sinister film score in the background with the GM dramatically raising his head while speaking for effect. Then the scene would cut to a laboratory where Wieters roared, snapped all of the cords connecting him to monitoring devices, and proceeded to punch his way through the walls with nothing but raw strength. That may be going too far, but with all of the expectations and hype surrounding this guy, he sounds like a genetically engineered baseball machine, perhaps what happens if you splice together DNA from Albert Pujols and Joe Mauer, and add in a dash of Jack Morris-clutchiness.

Back on April 30, Marc wrote here about Wieters’ performance, noting that his .267/.382/.378 line in 45 AB in Triple A came off as underwhelming compared to his past performance. After all, in A-ball last season Wieters hit .345/.448/.576 for a .445 wOBA. He moved up to Double A and mashed his way to a .365/.460/.625 line and a .472 wOBA.

Wieters has certainly turned things around since the end of April, as his current line now reads: .305/.387/.504 with a .391 wOBA. The power numbers are a tad depressed and the .383 BABIP from a season ago has regressed to .358, but the backstop is more than ready to feast on major league pitching. Expectations will loom large here and so I’m urging all of those anxious to see what Wieters can do to avoid buying too much stock in his first few games. I don’t care if he goes 11-11 with four walks and nine home runs, or if he ends up striking out seven times while going 0-10. Let things play out a bit before issuing any sort of judgment.

Regardless, the time has come, and now we finally get to see what this kid might be capable of.




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Eric is an accountant and statistical analyst from Philadelphia. He also covers the Phillies at Phillies Nation and can be found here on Twitter.


28 Responses to “Wieters”

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  1. Eric Cioe says:

    Any word on what side of the plate he’s better from? He’ll face Willis tonight and Verlander tomorrow, so I guess I’ll see him from both sides.

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  2. Casey says:

    Eeexcellent.

    To think that the Orioles could just NOW be adding the best bat to their lineup is–quite frankly–ridiculous.

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  3. JD says:

    Not really ridiculous. They’ve got no shot at competing this year and they’re saving themselves some money a few years from now when they *will* have a shot at competing.

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    • Casey says:

      I’m sorry, but where exactly was it I suggested the Orioles were competitive by the addition of Wieters? Oh yeah, I didn’t.

      To repeat myself, I’ll speak nice and slow. Not including Wieters, the O’s already have a slew of talented hitters with Roberts, Jones, Markakis, Huff, Scott and Riemold (5HR in first 14 games). Add Wieters and you then what do you have? A ridiculous LINEUP. That’s all folks.

      But to chime in on your quick conclusion of the O’s season, I disagree. Looking at what happened this week, you would’ve noticed the pitching is already arriving. To say they have “no shot” may ultimately be accurate, is counting them out way too early. It’s still May.

      If (a really big one) thier new young pitchers perform to their potential, they could be the third best team in the AL East. Not amazing, but possibly competing.

      If you look at the standings, Baltimore is 1 GB from Tampa, with Toronto falling dramatically quickly.

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      • Tonio says:

        Casey – Reeeeelaaaaax, no one’s attacking you here. He was just explaining why it took so long for him to come up to anyone who wasn’t aware. He wasn’t jabbing at your manhood.

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      • Casey says:

        My bad. I take my O’s too seriously sometimes.

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  4. Tim says:

    I just have to say that I love that you had to throw in the 4 walks. 11 for 11 with FOUR WALKS and 9 homers. Otherwise someone would complain that he’s not patient enough, I’m sure. Oh, how far baseball analysis has come!

    Tim

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  5. Hey. What’s Daniel Moskos doing these days?

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    • Eric Seidman says:

      Probably sticking to the point of the post in comment threads ;-).

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      • You don’t think Moskos will be linked to Weiters for a very long time? Ask any Pirates fan.

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      • Tom says:

        So we shouldn’t talk about your deep hatred for all things Raul Ibanez?

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      • Eric Seidman says:

        Please don’t make me explain once more that I have no qualms with Ibanez and root for him in every plate appearance. If people don’t understand the difference between disliking a deal and disliking a player, then, well, my tone probably gives away what the end of this sentence would consist of.

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      • Tom says:

        If it wasn’t apparent, I was joking in the earlier post. I think it’s funny that people think you really hate Ibanez. The only other item on this site that amuses me as much is the love for Elijah Dukes. Elijah Dukes & Fangraphs Staff=Bromance.

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    • Brian Cartwright says:

      admiring his 6 ERA at Altoona

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  6. JCA says:

    I can see Dontrell now. “Great, I got by Roberts – Jones – Markakis at the top of the order. Things are going well now. Chance to sluff off against Mora and Huff. Gosh those guys are old. I’m getting the hang of it now. Time for 6- 7-8. Holey sh!+! Scott – Reimold – Wieters. WTF?”

    So Reimold hit 5 homers in his first 14 games with Zaun protecting him. Wonder what’ll happen now?

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  7. JD says:

    Casey,

    Concerning Weiters’ debut, I completely misread your comment. My bad there.
    Re: contending this year, I just dont see how that’s happening. Never mind the Orioles’ talent, that they’re in the AL East with Tampa/NYY/Boston leaves them pretty much out of it. And concerning the talent on the field, I’ll give you Guthrie as a solid starter, but there’s not much else there. And exactly what pitching is already arriving? Are you referring to Berken and Hernandez combining for 10.2 innings of decent pitching? They walked more guys than they struck out in those two starts. And if that’s an extreme example of sample size alert, I would say thinking the Orioles have the pitching to contend in the AL East *this* year on the basis of “what happened this week” is a little premature, as well. The Orioles are gonna be a fun team to watch the rest of the year. And they’re gonna be good, a contender – just not this year.

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    • Casey says:

      Sorry to be so snarky. It’s all good. BTW: it’s Wieters (i before e).

      Regarding the pitching, I’m considering the number of arms they have to choose from, their minor league performances, and lastly their brief MLB experiences.

      It’s not like the O’s only have Berken and Hernandez. And it’s not like they weren’t any good in the minors. Don’t forget Bergesen is already here. He pitched a good game last night against Detroit (8 IP, 2ER). But I’m also considering Troy Patton, Chris Tillman and Jake Arrieta this year. All of these guys have held their own in the minors.

      It’s worth noting that Koji Uehara has been solid.

      Throw in Rich Hill’s comeback, and I don’t see how this is not a decently solid rotation with lots of depth.

      Given the strong offense, an average rotation, decent bullpen and lots of quality pitching depth, and I think there’s an outside shot of the O’s being the third best team in the AL East.

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      • Tito Landrum says:

        …and the defense has broken out of an early season funk and is performing closer to the level we thought they would this season.

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  8. Brian Cartwright says:

    As for Wieters’ drop in power this year, he plays his home games at Harbor Park in Norfolk, which has a 2007-09 HR factor of 0.61…it’s always been about the toughest hitters park in Triple-A.

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    • Rowen says:

      Thanks for that tidbit, Brian. I’ve been following Wieters news pretty closely this year, and that’s the first time I’ve heard it suggested that maybe one of the reasons his AAA numbers didn’t look extra-human was the ballpark he’s playing in.

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  9. Tito Landrum says:

    I was most impressed with the fact that neither Bergeson or Johnson shook off Wieters the entire game. I guess he called a pretty good game?

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  10. wildcherrypepsi says:

    I’m already bored of Weiters, come wake me when he does something.

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    • Tito Landrum says:

      And you’re a baseball fan?

      Seriously though, IMHO, a double and a triple off Verlander was pretty impressive.

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