The Hype

Matt Wieters had a paper route as a kid: there were no survivors. When he falls out of a boat, Matt Wieters does not get wet: the water gets Matt Wieters. It only takes Matt Wieters 20 minutes to watch 60 minutes. He is that awesome:

Baseball scouts and executives like to blame the media for excessive hype. Reporters like to say they’re just relaying what’s told to them by scouts and executives. Both sides are trying to feed fans’ curiosity and knowledge. Everyone is an accomplice in this.

It is a fine line. A scouting director’s job depends on the performance and perception of his draft picks. He needs to talk up the prospects to justify their selection and money but needs to temper expectations to protect the investment. Sometimes it feels like damned if you do too much, ridiculed if you do too little.

The Orioles’ scouting director predicted Wieters to be “an annual All-Star” before he played his first minor-league game. If he says anything less, the kid’s not worth the draft status and money, right?

“Expectations are nothing but trouble,” says Dan O’Dowd, general manager of the Rockies. “We put expectations on a player, and all those do is lead to disappointment.”

Good stuff from Sam Mellinger. Orioles fans won’t want to read the names Todd Van Poppel, Brad Komminsk, and Dewon Brazelton in the same article assessing the Wieters hype, but the fact remains: we don’t really know what’s gonna happen until someone steps in against Major League pitching, and Wieters won’t even be doing that until sometime later this summer.

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  1. Wooden U. Lykteneau said...

    As someone who has actually seen Wieters play in person, he’s got the goods. Big. Tall. Strong Arm (he was relief pitcher in college). Power from both sides. Hits for average.

    But, he has not been tested above AA. He is Mike-Scioscia slow. His pitch-calling is mediocre, as are his fielding skills. Hasn’t failed at any level, so it’s difficult to tell how he’ll handle it *when* it happens.

  2. Grant said...

    Poor pitch calling? Mediocre fielding? I seem to recall reading that he has had good reviews on his handling of pitching staffs and that his fielding is actually pretty good. The biggest concern that I’ve read is his size making a stay at catcher maybe difficult. And really as an Orioles fan I have two perspectives on this:

    1. His bat will most likely play at first if it has to.
    2. We only get him for six years, so let’s just ride those knees as long as they last and then move on. Callous? Yeah I guess, but that’s part of being a Boras guy.

  3. Grant said...

    The KC article that Craig linked says he’s a good defender, for what it’s worth. I recall that Keith Law has said the same thing, though I could be mistaken on that.

    As for pitch calling, I think it might hardly matter. Plenty of teams have the dugout call the game anyway, at least for young pitchers. And then the veterans know what they’re doing for themselves. Also, at least this year, the Orioles pitching is going to be awful no matter what, so it really doesn’t matter who is calling what pitches. I think I’m only half joking on that.

    That site you linked is giving him above-average defense eventually, which I suppose gibes with the other stuff I’ve read.

  4. Wooden U. Lykteneau said...

    No, it didn’t:

    “Defense – plus arm, gets into comfortable position behind the plate despite height, still working on pitch calling and the nuances of the position

    Having a good throwing arm is only part of the equation. Last year he made 9 errors in 93 games and allowed three passed balls. Considering how poor the official scoring is in the minors—trust me, these guys think the old saw “the only person who wants it to be an error is the pitcher” is the rule—it’s fair to deduce that there were probably a dozen or more calls that were chalked up to the pitcher as a wild pitch or an infielder for not digging out a poor throw.

  5. Grant said...

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but it has him as a 50 on the scale right now – average – with eventually 60, which is above average. Which is what I said.

    And from the KC article:

    “Wieters is a switch-hitting, home run-launching, 6-foot-5, 230-pound kid who comes from baseball stock and just happens to be a terrific defensive catcher.”

  6. gotowarmissagnes said...

    I haven’t forgotten Ben McDonald.  He had a lot better career than most people understand.  Might have had a better career if LSU didn’t think a pitcher’s arm is a sacrificial lamb.  Of course, Wieters is not a pitcher and didn’t attend LSU, so not sure why we need to discuss him.

  7. Craig Calcaterra said...

    I wish I could say that Particle Man was the inspiration for that, Andy.  I mean, I love that song and TMBG in general, but I ripped that off a list of those Chuck Norris jokes.  Yes, when I saw it on the list I said “cool! Particle Man,”  but I had set out with Norris in mind.

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