Unless you are a Baltimore Orioles fan, the last time you heard the name Matt Wieters was probably on May 29th, the day he made his Major League debut against the Detroit Tigers. That is because after all of the hype that surrounded his call-up, Wieters has fallen flat on his face. Through his first 43 AB’s, he has accumulated a .592 OPS, three runs, no dingers and a whopping zero RBI. The counting stats you can blame on Baltimore’s less than potent 10th ranked offence, but the guy responsible for the .233 average and .267 OBP is wearing #15.
I am not here to knock Wieters. He is a fine young player and will most likely blossom into a superstar. However, we cannot keep anointing every promising young kid the next Ruth, because some of them just do not pan out right away. Wieters has a long way to go before he becomes a threat at the dish, and he is well behind the other wunderkids who made their debuts over the last couple of years. I have taken the stats of four players who have made their debuts over the last couple years and compared them to Wieters. Considering they were three outfielders and a third baseman, positions much more well-known for producing big hitters, I have also taken a look at the two most recent top catching prospects as well.
As you can see, Wieters does not compare favourably to any of them. Ellsbury and Bruce had slugging percentages that were higher than Wieters OPS, and all six of the other players managed at least two home runs. I know I selected guys who performed strongly to start their careers, but realistically only Longoria was hyped up as much as Wieters, so you would expect comparable numbers. Other top prospects like Snider and Maybin who flopped in their debuts had much lower expectations than Wieters.
I think it is fantastic that the media has not been all over Wieters for his slow start (to the best of my knowledge), because sometimes it is some time away from the limelight that is best for young players.