Sun, Mar 7, 2010
Image credit: Gallery 2 Images
After a slow start to 2009, Wieters managed to salvage his rookie campaign by hitting .301/.351/.415 with six HRs and 33 RBI in 246 at-bats after the break.
The soon-to-be 24-year-old is one of the game’s best young hitters. In fact, Baseball America wrote last year that “Wieters is an above-average hitter with above-average power, combining patience…with great pitch recognition.” As if that’s not enough, he’s also a switch hitter.
Looking forward to 2010, it’s difficult to keep expectations for Wieters in check. Even baseball statistician Bill James agrees, as he projects Baltimore’s young backstop to hit 20 HRs, drive in 92 runs and bat .311.
Considering Wieters hit nine bombs in just 354 at-bats with a less than average HR/FB rate of 8.4 percent last season, 20 HRs seems reasonable. Given the fact that he never posted a BABIP under .352 in the minors, his .288 batting average on a .356 BABIP in 2009 appears legit. This only confirms Baseball America’s observations – this guy can hit.
Also working in Wieters’ favor is an improved Baltimore lineup. While he’s likely to start the year near the bottom of the order, he could creep up near the middle as the season progresses. Because the first four batters in the Orioles’ 2010 lineup (Brian Roberts, Adam Jones, Nick Markakis and Miguel Tejada) combined to hit .293 in 2009, Wieters should get plenty of RBI opportunities.
I said it last year in April, and I’ll say it again: Wieters will push for top-25 status at this season’s end. Considering his current ADP of 89.87, keeper and dynasty league managers need to listen up: get him now, while you still can.
FBI Forecast: 500 at-bats, 70 runs, 17 HRs, 90 RBI, .303 batting average