Matt Wieters: Future First Baseman?
No prospect currently in the Orioles system has drawn more interest than 2007 first rounder Matt Wieters, a 6-foot-5 switch-hitting catcher that seems to possess equal parts talent and poise.
So far no one has doubted his ability to play after his torrid 2008 split between Class-A and AA but David Brown over at Yahoo's Big League Stew wonders if the Orioles might not be better served by switching Wieters to first base.
It's pointed out that the question is not about Wieters's ability to play behind the plate but whether or not it's the best place for someone of his size in the long term. Brown also speculates that the wear and tear of the position may have cost 6-foot-3 catcher Mike Piazza as many as 100 career home runs.
Perhaps the best parallel for Wieters right now is Minnesota catcher Joe Maurer. Maurer, who is always capable of pulling out a batting title, is 6-foot-4 but with Justin Morneau at first base, seems unlikely to be moved. The Orioles, on the other hand, have no such roadblock. Aubrey Huff had a fine 2008 but he's no Morneau.
Of course Baltimore also doesn't have any other major-league ready catching prospects, so moving Wieters up the base line might be self-defeating.
This is clearly not a new debate -- for my money I think pitcher and catcher are the two toughest positions to play -- but the question is whether it's time for the O's to start protecting their investment with a preemptive strike.
I think this might be a discussion that the Orioles will have a few years down the road but what do you guys think, will the man Baseball Prospectus predicts as hitting .311/.395/.544 (ESPN Insider required) in the majors this season be wearing a smaller glove five years from now?
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