Results tagged ‘ Matt Wieters ’

Scouting the Top 50: The big finale

At long last, the final four Top 50 scouting reports. Hope you’ve enjoyed them. Stay tuned for some draft stuff in the coming week, particularly regarding the the Urban Youth Academy Showcase that they squeezed in around some rain in LA on Sunday. But more on that later. Now on to those final reports…

4. Rick Porcello, RHP, Tigers
rick_porcello.jpgSeen: April (Florida State League)

Fastball: 88-95 mph
Curveball: 78-80 mph
Changeup: 77-81 mph

Very advanced feel for pitching, polished on the mound. Excellent command of sinking fastball that darts, uses both halves of plate. A little quick with delivery, release point on curve was inconsistent, doesn’t throw consistent strikes. Does spin it well. Shows plus change at times. Secondary stuff will get there to make him a No. 1 or 2 starter, but shouldn’t be rushed.

3. Jason Heyward, OF, Braves
jason_heyward.jpgSeen: June (South Atlantic League)

Hits ball hard to all fields with short, easy stroke. Can go with pitch. Sometimes can look bad an unorthodox, other times looks better than most at plate. Small dive-in on approach leads to hole inside, but adjusts, can open and turn to get hands in. Makes things look easy in right field.

2. Matt Wieters, C, Orioles
matt_wieters.jpgSeen: November (Arizona Fall League)

Expect above-average to plus power. Swing is better from left side. Shows more power right-handed. Terrific eye at plate, will take a walk, doesn’t strike out much. Low-key demeanor, does job quietly, doesn’t waste energy. Plus throwing arm, receiving skills overall not as strong. Easy to see him as a Major League regular.

1. David Price, LHP, Rays
david_price.jpgSeen: July (Southern League)

Fastball: 92-95 mph
Slider: 81-85 mph
Changeup: 84-86 mph

Lanky frame. Loose arm action, small recoil on finish. Works fast, can throw strikes with all three pitches. Sinker/slider approach, relies on slider too much. Can move fastball with sink and tail in and out. Slider is short and hard, occasional bite, Sink on changeup as well.

The real deal on the Freel deal

Sure, the Orioles are excited to have Ryan Freel on the team and they probably think Justin Turner and Brandon Waring have futures as well. But one of the most interesting things about these trades in general is how they can impact — positively or negatively — the prospects who were in the organization prevoiusly.

What makes this specific deal more intriguing is that the decision-makers listed that very concept as the main reason for the trade. At the press conference officially announcing the trade, Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said flat out that the trading of Ramon Hernandez to the Reds was really all about Matt Wieters.

How’s that for refreshingly honest?

Can you remember a time when something like that, regardless of how obvious it is to everyone, is put out in the open like that from the get-go? MacPhail stated plainly that Wieters will be ready to contribute at some point in 2009 — don’t be surprised if the O’s “Evan Longoria” him by having him start out in Triple-A for a brief time — and that when Wieters does get called up, they are going to want him to play. Sharing time was not something Hernandez would want to do and it could possibly impede with Wieters’ development.

So kudos all around to the Orioles. For making room for their best prospect — and one of the best prospects in the game — allowing him to reach the big leagues when he’s ready. And kudos to them for admitting it so freely. Things are looking up for the O’s with some of the talent they have (just look at all those names in the Top 50) and making sure they can get there with out obstacles will be a big reason why they will start being much more competitive in the AL East in the future.

Lynchburg

Hey all. Sorry B3 has been on hiatus awhile. Me and Mrs. B3 were away for a week in honor of our 10th wedding anniversary (a complete blog post on that will be forthcoming, for those curious).

Back in the saddle now, the job has taken me to Lynchburg and Charlottesville, Virginia yesterday and today. Aside from getting driving through what I think was the worst thunderstorm ever to get from Lynchburg to the hotel here in Charlottesville, it was a very productive trip.

We got a little lucky yesterday. We came here with the objective of doing a feature on Orioles top prospect (and 2007 first-round pick) Matt Wieters. That mission was indeed accomplished, but we got a lot more bang for our buck. Turns out that Daniel Moskos was on the hill for Lynchburg and we got to talk to him post-game as well (throw in an interview with Carolina League batting leader Jim Negrych and I’d say we got our money’s worth. Look for all of this fine work in the coming days).

Remember, this wasn’t just a matchup of two first-round picks from last year. It was the guy the Pirates did take — Moskos — facing the guy everyone thought they should take — Wieters.  It was pretty clear that the intrigue in that wasn’t lost on Moskos, who picked a good day (since we had come all this way) to have the best start of his pro career. He pitched into the seventh inning (6 2/3 to be exact) and didn’t allow a run, not walking anyone and allowing just three hits while striking out three. By my count, he induced 12 groundball outs (As an added bonus, he was facing Pedro Beato, a good pitching prospect in his own right. Beato had some nasty stuff, but was all over the place command-wise in the first inning, forcing his pitch count up and forcing him out of the game after four innings.).

The biggest reason for his success compared to some of his previous up-and-down outings? Fastball command. Now that may sound a little oversimplified since it’s always about fastball command, isn’t it? But it should be noted that the Pirates have asked Moskos to focus on throwing his four-seamer more often and more consistently. So some of the reasons he’s been a little inconsistent is that he’s, in effect, learning how to throw the pitch in on-the-job training. Last night, he simply had really good feel for the heater.

As for the Wieters-Moskos matchup? It looked like the catcher would have the upper-hand early, when he hit a ball opposite field off the wall in the first inning. But Moskos got him to ground out the next two times he faced him, so Round 1 goes to Moskos, though as the lefty put it — Wieters did go 1-for-3 and that’s about what people should expect from the guy.

As the resident draft guy,  it sure was fun to see these guys play in person for the first time. Wieters is a ridiculous physical specimen and you wonder how a guy that big can stay behind the plate. But then you see him move and it makes some sense. He’s incredibly agile and athletic. Frederick manager Tommy Thompson was emphatic in his praise of how Wieters has handled the spotlight and about his leadership skills behind the plate. Keep in mind that he’s basically calling his own game for the first time. It’s one of the bigger problems with big college programs, in my opinion — everything is over-programmed and the coach controls everything. At Ga. Tech, Wieters wasn’t charged with anything — calls on pitch selection, location, even pickoff throws to first, all came from the dugout. Now, the O’s are asking Wieters to pick up all of those skills during  his pro debut season. So far, he seems to be a quick study.

Today, I put on my draft hat and go to see Howie Long’s kid (Kyle), who’s actually a baseball player. Then we go on to watch University of Virginia tonight, so you can check out my report on that visit over at Geeking on the Draft.

Thumbnail image for gizzards.jpgI leave you with this: On the long drive down from Pittsburgh, I’m enjoying the farms and rolling hills of Virginia. Beautiful country, really. I pass by a little road-side store which sports a big sign that says, “FRIED CHICKEN GIZZARDS.” Now, I have no problem with any store selling anything and maybe that’s a delicacy in these parts. What is concerning to me is that it’s so popular that this place of business felt it would be a huge drawing card to trumpet that they carry the item.

Anyone know what fried chicken gizzards tastes like? And “it tastes like chicken” is not an acceptable response. If you want a recipe for this “delicacy,” check one out here.

I’ll catch up with y’all (see, I’m fitting right in) later.

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