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Matt Wieters

A photo of Matt Wieters.

Matthew Richard Wieters (born May 21, 1986 in Goose Creek, South Carolina) is a Major League Baseball catcher for the Baltimore Orioles. Wieters was drafted 5th overall in the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft.[1] Wieters played college baseball for Georgia Tech, and his agent is Scott Boras.[2][3] Wieters is a tall athletic hitter, standing 6 feet 5 inches tall. He has drawn comparisons to Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer because of his size and skill.[4]

Early life Edit

Wieters was born on May 21, 1986 in Goose Creek, South Carolina. Wieters played high school baseball at Stratford High School in Goose Creek, South Carolina. He played under Coach John Chalus, where Matt led the Knights to the AAAA state championship series. Wieters' high school team also featured current Texas Rangers 1B prospect, Justin Smoak. Matt then went on to play in the Aflac All-American Classic in Scottsdale, Arizona.

CollegeEdit

Wieters was a multi-talented star who earned numerous honors throughout his college career. He is one of just three players in Georgia Tech history to earn first-team All-America honors on at least two occasions.[5] He was named a first-team All-America by Rivals.com and first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference in 2007, first-team All-America by Baseball America and second-team All-ACC in 2006, and the ACC Rookie of the Year, Freshman All-America and first-team All-ACC in 2005, just a few of the honors he has been awarded.

A switch-hitting catcher who hits in the middle of the lineup, Wieters has a good eye at the plate and has great power to all fields.[5] Wieters finished his junior season ranked tied for sixth in the Yellow Jacket record books with 54 career doubles with 198 runs batted in along with 16 saves in his three years on the Flats. He also ranked 13th with a .359 career batting average and 418 total bases, tying for 16th with 35 home runs and 18th with 253 hits in his college career. He finished 2007 having played in 169 consecutive games.[5] Wieters served as Tech's primary closer for his first two years and as one of two closers his junior season.[3]

Professional careerEdit

Wieters was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles with the 5th overall pick of the 2007 amateur draft and signed a contract with a $6 million signing bonus on August 15, 2007.[3][6] That winter, he played for the Honolulu Sharks, hitting .283 in 31 games with one home run,17 runs batted in, nine doubles, one triple, 44 total bases, and 12 walks.

Minor leaguesEdit

Going in to the 2008 season, he was ranked 12th by Baseball America on their 2008 Top 100 Prospects List and was the highest ranked catcher on the list. He attended 2008 spring training with the Orioles, starting the season with their Class A affiliate the Frederick Keys. He gained a midseason promotion to the Double-A Bowie Baysox.

In 130 games for the Keys and Baysox, hit a combined .355 BA/.454 OBP/.600 SLG with 27 home runs and 91 RBI.[7] Wieters earned the 2008 Minor League Player of the Year honors from Baseball America.[8] According to Clay Davenport's measure EqA, Wieters had one of the single best seasons in recorded minor league history. His EqAs of .301 and .349 were the highest marks in their respective leagues in the last 40 years.[9]

Wieters participated in the 2008 Arizona Fall League season, playing for the Surprise Rafters. He was also selected to play in the Fall League's Rising Stars game.

Wieters hit .343 in 35 spring training at bats for the Orioles in 2009, but was sent down to Triple-A Norfolk to delay the start of his service time and extend the time until he becomes eligible for salary arbitration and free agency.[10]

He was named the No. 2 prospect in MiLB by Minor League News in the MLN FAB50 Baseball 2009 rankings.[citation needed]

Baltimore OriolesEdit

Matt Wieters played his first Major League game on Friday May 29, 2009, against the Detroit Tigers. Wieters' first major league hit came the next night, a triple, off of Detroit's Justin Verlander. Wieters hit his first career home run June 17, 2009 against the Mets, a two-run home run off of Mets starter Tim Redding. Wieters changed his jersey number after his rookie season from 15 to 32, which was what he wore in college at Georgia Tech.

ReferencesEdit

  1. MLB.com 2007 Draft Tracker. MLB.com. Retrieved on 2007-06-08.
  2. Kubatko, Roch. "Boras might hear name called when O's draft 5th", baltimoresun.com, 2007-06-07. Retrieved on 2007-06-09.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Ginsburg, David. "Orioles Draft Georgia Tech Catcher With 5th Pick", AP, wjz.com, 2007-06-07. Retrieved on 2007-06-09.
  4. Schlabach, Mark. "GaTech's Wieters a rare talent in the MLB draft", ESPN, 2007-06-07. Retrieved on 2007-06-08.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Player Bio: Matt Wieters. RamblinWreck.com. Georgia Tech Athletic Association. Retrieved on 2007-06-10.
  6. Kubatko, Roch. "O's catch a good one in Wieters", baltimoresun.com, 2007-06-08. Retrieved on 2007-06-09.
  7. 2008 Batting statistics. minors.Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved on 2008-09-27.
  8. Taking Flight. Baseball-America.com. Retrieved on 2008-09-27.
  9. The Best At Being Young And An Oriole. Baseball Prospectus.com. Retrieved on 2009-03-21.
  10. Fantasy Implications of Matt Wieters Being Sent to Norfolk, fantasybaseball.fanhouse.com, 27 March 2009, accessed 28 April 2009.

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