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Andy Behrens

These O's don't want him no more, he's cold product

Andy Behrens
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In a move that's not too surprising, the Orioles have told Matt Wieters that he'll begin the season at Triple-A Norfolk. This from the Baltimore Sun:

The move is both strategic and economic. The club wants to give Wieters the chance to excel at the Triple-A level the way he did at Single-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie. ... Wieters needs to stay in the minors for the first 12 days of the regular season to keep the free-agent clock ticking for an extra year, but team officials have indicated he'll probably play at Norfolk for a month or two to get more professional experience before moving permanently into the major league lineup.

As most of you know, Wieters is widely considered to be the best hitting prospect in baseball. He followed an obscene minor league season in '08 (27 HR, .355/.454/.600) with an impressive spring (1 HR, .333/.400/.528). His immediate ceiling is crazy-high, and that's according to sources more reputable than us me.

The fantasy fallout here isn't terribly unlike the David Price situation. Don't expect a radical re-ranking. Wieters is currently No. 10 in the composite catcher ranks and he shouldn't drop significantly. Over the final four months of the season, Wieters projects as an elite fantasy catcher. Just find a placeholder for the early weeks. In head-to-head leagues, Wieters' reassignment is a non-story. You need the kid in September, not April.

Wieters has actually fallen back into my price range in recent drafts. So far this week I've taken him with pick No. 99 in a 14-team dynasty format, and at pick No. 128 in an expertly 16-team two-catcher league. (Lots more on that marathon draft later today).

He seems to be processing the news relatively well:

"Triple-A baseball is going to be tough, so you've got to go down there and try to win games there. I don't have a timetable because it's not my call. All I can do is go out there, work hard and play. And they'll make the right decision when the time is right." ... "It's been huge getting to see the pitchers and getting to sit next to Chad Moeller and Gregg Zaun," he said. "Anytime you get to see this kind of competition, it's going to make you better. I was fortunate enough to get to see it a lot longer this year."

Did we mention that Wieters can bend steel with his mind? Or that his tears turn into diamonds? Or that a touch from his bat can cure death?

Well, it's all true. You'll see.

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