Wieters ready now, but might wait
Updated: March 8, 2009, 6:17 PM ETBy Buster Olney
Matt Wieters just keeps on hammering the ball this spring, and Saturday, he did it in the clutch, Peter Schmuck writes. He's hitting better than .400 in spring games and putting a whole lot of pressure -- a good kind of pressure -- on the Baltimore Orioles' front office to keep him on the team to start the season. It probably would make the most sense for the Orioles to send him to the minors for at least the first couple of months to prevent him from becoming arbitration-eligible until after 2011. Wieters is a Scott Boras client, and this typically means Wieters would be more likely to head to free agency and walk away from the Orioles than to sign an Evan Longoria-type long-term deal. On the other hand, the Orioles must continue to make progress as they crawl their way back into the conversation in the AL East. Some talent evaluators will tell you they think Wieters is the Orioles' best player right now because of his hitting ability, plate discipline and the way he handles pitchers. Consider the combination of his walk, strikeout and power numbers at the plate while playing in high Class A ball and Double-A last season:
- Walks: 82
Extra-base hits: 51
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