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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