In Baltimore Orioles' Matt Wieters, A Star Is Born

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In Baltimore Orioles' Matt Wieters, A Star Is Born
(Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)

This article originally appeared on Fantasyfootballmaniaxs.com.

Finally, after weeks of waiting, the top prospect in baseball arrives to the majors. 

Matthew Wieters, a switch-hitting elite catching prospect, will be making his major league debut on Friday against Dontrelle Willis and the Detroit Tigers

It will be a grand day for baseball, as a new era of young stars is born. He is the first to make some noise.

It appears as though many young position prospects are attracting some attention this season. 

The Rangers’ Elvis Andrus is making an impact in Texas, the Indians’ Matt LaPorta has broken through the barrier to the bigs (only to be sent down once again), and even talents such as Dexter Fowler and Fernando Martinez are beginning to fill fans’ minds with wonder as they imagine how the future will unfold. 

But all of these names pale in comparison to Wieters. He is a force, a quiet leader, and a future superstar.  

Let’s show his numbers just to prove his ability. In two seasons of minor league ball (Last season, he played at both Single-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie, while this season, he began at Triple-A Norfolk.), he hit for a .330 average, with 32 homers, 121 RBI, 114 runs scored, a .420 OBP, and a .552 slugging percentage.  

Impressed yet?  Let us also not forget that he only played in 39 games this season.  Imagine his numbers if he were to have completed the ‘09 campaign.  To put it simply, the kid can hit, and can hit well. 

So well that people are comparing him to Twins’ starting catcher Joe Mauer and Braves’ starting catcher Brian McCann. Ask any Orioles’ fan what the analysts call him, and they will simply reply, “They just call him a Joe Mauer with power.” 

Need I say anymore?

Here’s what some people had to say regarding the backstop:

From MLB.com

“Wieters does everything well but run. He has tremendous plate discipline and bat speed and the ability to hit for average and power from both sides of the plate. He's remarkably agile behind the plate -- especially considering his size -- with good hands and an above-average arm. He has performed well handling pitchers and calling games with a quiet leadership that is a big plus.”

Said by Orioles’ scouting director Joe Jordan

"We sat back and watched what took place all summer, waiting for him to struggle to

see how he would handle it. He's got everything you could possibly look for. What can you say that hasn't been said? He's going to take this group of three guys (Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman and Jake Arrieta) and all of them are going, at some point in the near future, to force their way to Camden Yards and play significant roles. He's going to be the leader, the stabilizer out there every night. He has that aura about him in a quiet way. He's going to be the best guy on the field on most nights, but he'll be the last one to talk about it."

From associatedcontent.com

“Playing a position of need in fantasy baseball, Matt Wieters and his power hitting bat, could easily become the best hitting catcher in the major leagues by the 2010 season. By fantasy baseball standards, Wieters will likely become the #1 fantasy baseball catcher by the 2011 season and possibly as early as the 2010 season. Boasting both patience and eye discipline at the plate that is similar to Joe Mauer, and the power numbers similar to Brian McCann, Matt Wieters will likely become a type of hybrid of those two All-Star catchers. Matt Wieters will have the potential and ability to post 30 homeruns, 100 rbi, and a .320 batting average at the major league level during his prime.”

So now we are left to wonder.  How will he perform in his first season as a pro?  Only time will tell, but Orioles’ fans are just too eager to wait. Many are already creating threads on message boards around the web, asking people to predict how he will do in his first at-bat. 

Other sites are even comparing him to the great Chuck Norris.  If you would like a good laugh, I highly suggest that you visit MattWietersFacts.com.  This site alone shows you how excited fans are to see a new stud being brought into the clubhouse.

It is time, though, to get down to business. Many fantasy owners took it upon themselves to pick Wieters in their respective drafts, only to find that he would be starting the season off in the minors. 

If they were frustrated, then they may have let him go.  Others who were patient will feel a little better about themselves when it’s all said and done.  

What Wieters bring to a fantasy team is too much to write about.  A starting catcher, for one, is something that any fantasy owner is always on the lookout for.  A starting catcher that tears the cover off the ball, now that’s something you don’t always see on your roster. 

With all the protection that he will be receiving in that young O’s lineup, whew!  

It sends a shiver down my spine imagining the damage he will cause. Matt is projected to start at the bottom of the batting order on Friday night, and he will slowly make his way to the heart of the order as time flies by. 

Just think, Brian Roberts, Adam Jones, and Nick Markakis (arguably the best 1-2-3 combo in the American League) setting up for the monstrous switch-hitter. Power bats Aubrey Huff, Nolan Reimold, and Luke Scott providing protection behind him. In other words, plenty of RBI opportunities and even more run scoring chances.  

There hasn’t been a bigger goldmine for 5X5 points in recent years. So let me put this in the most simple way possible: If Wieters is on your fantasy team, then you better have him slotted somewhere in your lineup come Friday. 

If he’s not, then you better pray he’s still stuck in waivers.  

As for his effect on baseball itself, the young catcher will be looking to turn over a new leaf for a game that has traveled down a dark path over the past few seasons. The “Steroid Era” is finally coming to a close, and the “Rookie Era” is beginning.  

Watch out fans of baseball, for Matt Wieters is here. 

Ready or not, here he comes.


Lawrence Barreca is a fantasy baseball senior writer/director for www.fantasyfootballmaniaxs.com. For more fantasy sports information, be sure to visit the Maniaxs.

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