I know it’s hard to think about spring training with 40 inches of snow frozen to the ground in Baltimore, but they’re getting ready to convene in Sarasota and it’s time to start putting baseball back on page one.
Over the next 6 weeks, I’ll go through the roster and give you my assessment of the 25 players that I think will make the team when they start the campaign in early April.
First up: Matt Wieters
Odds he’ll be on the roster at the start of the season: 100%
Odds he’ll be on the roster at the end of the season: 100%
Odds he’ll be an effective contributor in 2010: 90%
Odds his name will be mentioned at the trade deadline in late July: 0%
Summary: Wieters had a very good second half of HIS season in 2009, batting .301 in the final 65 games of the campaign. 30 of his 43 RBI in ’09 came in August and September (and a couple days in October) and he was among the team’s most productive hitters over the last month of the season. His defense is solid. He’s about as can’t miss as can’t miss can be. If the losing doesn’t poison him (and that has to be a concern anytime you’re dealing with a young player), he’ll be a major reason why the O’s threaten the A.L. East kingpins someday down the road.
Quirky stat from ’09 that might mean something in 2010: Wieters was exceptional on the road against American League East teams in 2009, with only Yankee Stadium posing a problem for him.
- Hit .500 (7 for 14) at Fenway Park in 4 games
- Hit. .417 (10-24) at Tropicana Field (Tampa) in 6 games
- Hit .333 (8-24) at Skydome (Toronto) in 6 games
- Hit .176 (3-17) at Yankee Stadium in 5 games
Drew’s projection(s) for Wieters in 2010:
* .302 batting average
* 21 HR
* 87 RBI