Keith Law’s List of the Top 100 Prospects, Number One: Matt Wieters

This afternoon, ESPN’s Keith Law came out with his 100 top prospects list, and guess who was his top pick: Matt Wieters. As most fans of the black and orange know, Matt Wieters is one of the important pieces of the future with the Baltimore Orioles and the overwhelming majority of the media have been praising him since the day he was drafted.

If you don’t have ESPN Insider, here’s a bit of what Law has to say about Wieters:

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’ similarities to Teixeira don’t end with their common alma mater of Georgia Tech or the fact that each was selected with the fifth overall pick (Teixeira in 2001, Wieters in 2007). Like Teixeira, Wieters is a switch-hitter with plus hit and power tools from both sides. He’s a little more fluid from the left side with slightly better raw power, but he could stand on his head and still be short to the ball and get good extension on his follow-through. His plate discipline is strong and improving, and he’s filled out since college, adding power to the point where he’s at least major league average right now. He does glide a little bit on both sides, but it has no discernible effect on his ability to hit.

Like Mauer, Wieters is an offensive catcher with a plus arm who makes everything he does look easy. He’s consistently around 1.9 seconds from home to second – I’ve never gotten anything over 1.96 from him – and his receiving skills have improved dramatically since he entered Baltimore’s system. And like Mauer, Wieters is big for the position; he’s not as thick as Mauer, who was a high school football star, but he’s 6-5 with long limbs and is, like all tall catchers, at risk for knee trouble over the very long term. If he has to spend the last half of his career at another position, his bat will play anywhere on the diamond. 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.

Wow, that’s pretty nice to read. Yesterday, Law ranked the Orioles minor league system 10th, and today he picks Wieters as his best prospect. In addition, Brian Matusz (28), Chris Tillman (40), and Jake Arrieta (92) also made the prospect list.

All in all, this is good news for the Orioles.