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May 31, 2010

Scouts talk about Matt Wieters

There has been a lot of discussion about what’s wrong with second-year catcher Matt Wieters, who is hitting .250 with four homers and 16 RBIs. He has hit a respectable .276 over one full season in the big leagues, but he has belted only 13 homers in 522 big-league at-bats after compiling a .343 average and 32 homers in 169 minor league games.

Here are the opinions of scouts on him and a bonus take from Orioles Hall of Fame pitcher and current broadcaster Jim Palmer.

Scout No. 1

“When he came up last year, he was really tentative and just feeling for the ball. But then I thought he locked in for the last month and I thought that would continue. And now I see him being a little tentative again and thinking too much at the plate. But everything I see about him, I think he’s going to be a good hitter who is going to hit with power. That’s going to come, but he’s still learning how to hit.”

“I’m less worried about Wieters than any of them. He’s going to be OK. He has a good approach, a good swing. You watch a young hitter in the minor leagues. They tease you a lot but they are a little crude. You can get away with it a little in the minor leagues. But in the big leagues, you won’t. A big part of it is if he is going to make adjustments. He has the physical ability and mental capacity to do it. I think he’s going to be fine. Just give him time. He had a lot of responsibility on that club and he’s basically still a rookie.”

Scout No. 2

“If I could have him on our club, I’d take him no questions asked. I think he is that good. I think he is definitely headed toward superstardom. I think it was very unfair what was done to him. He arrived and there was all this fanfare and hype. That’s part of the game, you have to sell tickets. But he is human and when he arrived he was billed like a savior on this club. You expect the guy to hit a home run every time he came to bat and that anyone that got on base better dare not steal. What you had was a young man who has not played very long thrust into a situation where you expect him to be one of the best Major League players. What they really had was a good young player playing the game and learning.”

“He is hitting down in the order right now and he’ll be hitting up a little higher later. But someone above or behind him has to be a better hitter so he is getting better pitches to hit. They don’t have to be as cautious. He is not hitting as well as you thought, but I don’t think anything is wrong with his approach. He is not getting the type of pitches to hit, quality pitches to hit. Normally that comes with protection.”

Scout No. 3

“I think Wieters is going to be a very good offensive catcher. I think he is going to be one of the top offensive catchers in the game. Wieters will reach his ceiling.”

Jim Palmer

“The level of competition is just better than he has ever faced. That’s no different than everybody else that comes up here. Do you think Wieters will be better if he keeps going out there and playing and hitting? I’ve got to think he is going to have a much better idea.”

“It’s like the analogy, when you are a kid and you first start playing with older kids and they were better and bigger and stronger. And to be any good, you have to figure it out yourself. That’s the same analogy for the big leagues. (Wieters) is going to have to figure it out and hopefully he will.”

Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 10:35 PM | | Comments (16)


It would be nice if you actually gave us some actual scouting report, rather than just the opinions.
For example, I personally believe that Wieters needs to get rid of his high load that he takes on his front leg. It caused him to swing late (hense the lot of strikeouts and opposite field hr's).

Did any of the scouts talk about Wieters' bat speed? I think that he has a slow bat.

Jeff Z's reply: I have heard that from scouts, that Wieters has trouble getting around on an above-average fastball. But the one guy thought it was just a matter of him being too tentative and thinking too much rather than letting it go.

One one thing that Palmer knows about hitting and catching is that he can do neither. I think that Smoak is going through the same thing and just needs patience. Oh that's right, we didn't draft him.

Weiters and all the young talent on the Oriole squad need
a manager that has ability to motivate and instill confidence. That is not Trembley who manages with uncertainty and in a spring training mode 100% time.

I have been trying to pinpoint Matt's batting stance and swing since this year. I agree with Sudhir. I think Matt's bat is very slow. He needs to also stop chopping at the ball, which will cause a late swing. I think with the proper pitlching coach (they need a new one), Matt and Jones and even Reimold will be just fine, along with a lot of playing time. Once Roberts gets back in the mix as lead off, I think everyone will start falling back into their roles. This losing problems the O's are having will probably be the best experience and lessons they will ever have. They will figure it out.

I think the young guys will be fine with experience. Jones has hit toward right a little more lately which is something he has to do. Wieters is learning the mental part and the pitchers concentrating more on that than his hitting at this point.. Ibelieve he will be fine.. I would love to see the orioles find a way to add smoak regardless how he is hitting now.. I would love them to trade for a cleanup hitter 1B, that protection and roberts getting back would make a huge difference..

What these guys is a current MLB proven coaching staff. MacPhail needs to recognize that

Oh I see, beeb, you don't think a guy who won 268 games in the majors, is a Hall of Famer, who trained under some of the best baseball has ever had to offer, and is a guy who many, many people in the game go to for advice, knows nothing about hitting and catching? That's a ludicrous statement.

All Palmer had to do was get hitters out, and to do that, you have to know something about how hitters approach the game and how and what each hitter like to do. And catchers and pitchers work together to get outs, so, of course, Palmer would know nothing about what they do. Good Lord.

And instead of Smoak, the Orioles drafted some no name left hander, who is also considered to be a rising star and who is also going through the same growing pains as Wieters and Smoak.

In my earlier post, I mentioned that a proper 'pitching' coach would be a big help for Wieters, Jones and Reimold. What I meant to say , was a proper 'hitting' coach. I think that Terry Crowley's time is passe. But, I really can't think of one to replace him offhand.

I meant to say knows anything, not knows nothing.

Weiters will likely have Cal type numbers -.275 average, and 25 or so HRs in a year, with a few .300/30 HR years mixed in. Nothin' wrong with that. He'll never be Babe Ruth and should not be expected to be.

Ben, you start off by saying you want to see actual scouting reports rather than opinions, then in the very next statement issue your OPINION...

Do these "scouts" watch every Oriole game? seems unlikely. They don't seem to be adding anything more specific than the general projections of a baseball fan.

What i see is a very strong kid, whose opposite field fly balls occasionally carry over the fence. He's pulled one ball for a home run all year. He's got 9 extra base hits this year. He's got an incredibly slow bat and he drops his back shoulder and uppercuts. Huge disappointment. Don't understand the hype

Jeff Z's reply: No opposing scout watches every team's games. He'll stay with the Orioles for a home stand and then maybe part of a road trip and go scout another team, and then come back to the Orioles later in the season.

A "slow" bat ?

Matt will end up having a "slow" EVERYTHING if he doesn't start getting rested now and then.

This is just another problem I have with Trembley.... he's going to run Weiters into the ground.

There is absolutely no reason to start him behind the plate as much as he has. Catching is the most physically demanding position on the field.
I don't care how good a player is... he needs a break once or twice a week.

Craig Tatum is a very good defensive catcher. Let him start and let Matt rest.

It's common sense and fundamentally sound managing......

Oh, that's right..... we're talking about Trembley.

I'm willing to be patient with Wieters but I'm hoping it won't be too long before he has a power surge.

We have a guy catching at Bowie (Caleb Joseph) who is getting better each game. This guy has a good bat and has a great attitude. If he does not have a future in Baltimore he would sure give us a chance to get a few prospects from some looking for help in that position.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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