For the last installment of this year's Crystal Ball, I was going to do some possible projections for the future rookie phenom Matt Wieters. But since Wieters is the most hyped Oriole prospect since Mike Mussina, he has been dissected and examined by everyone from fellow Oriole bloggers to national baseball writers. I've been trying to figure out an original angle on him...but as far as I can tell, he's been covered every which way you can imagine. So, I thought a recap of some of the projections would be the best way to go at this point.
ESPN's Keith Law ranked Wieters the #1 prospect in all of baseball and was uncharacteristically effusive in his praise for him.
Wieters is typically compared to one of two current big-leaguers: Mark Teixeira and Joe Mauer. Those are tough comps to hang on a player who has yet to sniff the big leagues, but in Wieters' case, they're merited...
Wieters could start 2009 in the majors, although giving him a one-month stint in Triple-A would give Baltimore the advantage of another year of control before Wieters hits free agency. Other than that possibility, there's nothing stopping him from becoming an impact catcher from Day One.
John Sickels of Minor League Ball calls him the "Best prospect in baseball. Mutant cross between Mauer and Piazza."
Dave Cameron looks at Wieters AA numbers at age 22 and shows how he compares favorably to other AA seasons by Miguel Cabrera, Jose Canseco, Pat Burrell, Vlad Guerrero and Eric Chavez.
Finally, Victor Wang compares Wieters against the number two prospect in baseball, Tampa Bay pitcher David Price. As it turns out, they aren't even close in terms of future value. Wieters laps him.
Bill James .311/.407/.526
Even the most modest of these projections gives Wieters a season that hasn't been seen by an Oriole catcher since the Chris Hoiles era.
If all the projections are to be believed, Wieters will be the second best player on the team the moment he sets cleats on the field. Now we'll see if he actually lives up to the hype.