Matt Wieters: Onward & Upward

If there’s one player a lot of fans are looking forward to seeing this upcoming season, it’s Matt Wieters.

When it was announced last June that he would be coming up the majors, a lot of people — just out of excitement or ridiculously high expectations — figured he was going to be the savior of a franchise that had been moribund for more than a decade. t

Initially, he didn’t show signs of greatness, and looked like a rookie trying to figure his way through the majors. He started off the first three months of his major league career slow and then started to heat up. By the time September came, he looked a lot more comfortable and starting hitting the ball with authority.

By the end of the 2009 season, he worked his way through and ended up batting .288 with nine homers, 43 RBIs, a .340 OBP, and a .753 OPS.

This upcoming season, he should be better and inch towards being a cornerstone from the franchise. Aside from his obvious skills at the plate, he seems to learn quick and more importantly, he seems so poised. As well, he shows an intelligence well beyond his years in the game right now.

A lot of people also don’t mention Matt’s ability behind the plate, which was remarkedly good for a guy who got his feet wet last year at the major league level. In his first start ever, he may have had an 0-fer; however, Matt’s ability to guide pitchers through games and keep them comfortable was evident. In the end, in light of his strong rookie numbers, I think he’s far more advanced as a catcher than most have given him credit for.

It goes without saying that Wieters obviously will learn as he goes along — who doesn’t — but, as it is, he’ll be fun to see for the next five or so seasons in Baltimore.

The only part of the Wieters’ story I’m not looking forward to is when Scott Boras asks the Orioles to pay up when he becomes a free agent — then again, thay may not happen if the organization can extend him first.