Tuesday night, bottom of the 9th, O's down 6-2 to the Mets. Matt Wieters steps to the plate with the bases loaded and no outs. He can tie the game with one swing, but I'm looking for him to just put the ball on the ground at least and collect his first RBI or two.
WHIFF city, as K-Rod works the kid. Strikeout. O's lose 6-4.
Optimism is the name of the game at the DC Landing Strip, but through his first 47 at-bats Matt Wieters is not exactly living up to the hype. Is this a case of a kid feeling out major league pitching? Or are we looking at a...gulp...bust?
Here's how Wieters stacks up through his first 48 at-bats compared to the debuts of other Top 5 Baseball America prospects over the past 5 seasons (click to enlarge):
There are some perennial All-Stars on this list (Braun, Longoria, Mauer, Bruce, Zimmerman), some guys who have been "solid" and seem to be staying that way (Upton, Weeks, D. Young), some guys who are creeping towards "bust" status (Ian Stewart, Alex Gordon) and two rookies this year for whom it's way too early to tell. Wieters is on the edge between the busts and the solid players here, as far as MLB starts go.
Most troubling, perhaps, is his lack of power and poise. Not a single RBI? Even Alex Gordon mustered two surrounded by a dreadful Royals lineup, and only the "busts" on this list had smaller on-base percentages and only Gordon had a smaller slugging % (granted, it's a relatively arbitrary and small sample). His at-bat against K-Rod Tuesday with the game in his hands was just brutal.
His patience at the plate though, is impressive: 4.44 pitches/plate appearance, which would be 2nd in the MLB if he qualified for the list. And the O's could desperately use some of that, as they've been notorious hackers in previous seasons.
So what do you think? Still adjusting? Nervous? No lineup protection? Will he turn it around?
[Image via Baltimoresun.com]