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Wieters' hot start won't alter O's plan

Wieters' hot start won't alter O's plan

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BALTIMORE -- Matt Wieters is drawing attention for his hot start at Class A Frederick, but he hasn't punched his ticket for a promotion just yet. The Orioles' top prospect has batted .438 with four home runs and 10 RBIs in his first 12 games in a full-season league, but president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail wants Wieters to do it a little longer before he moves up.

"Let's let him play a while, [but] you can't help but be impressed by the early returns," said MacPhail. "If it's clear that he's not being challenged where he is, we have no problem moving him."

Wieters, a catcher out of Georgia Tech, has been expected to move quickly since he was chosen as the fifth overall selection in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. The switch-hitter signed too late to make his debut in an organized league last season and played his first professional games in the Hawaiian Winter Baseball League.

Wieters thrived in Hawaii, batting .283 with 11 extra-base hits in 31 games. He started with a bang this season, homering twice in his first game with Frederick. Wieters has walked 10 times and struck out just five times in his first 12 games this season, and he has posted a .558 on-base percentage and an .844 slugging percentage in the season's first two weeks.

Baltimore's plan has always been to let Wieters progress at his own pace, and many analysts have said that he was the most advanced position player in the Draft. Wieters is expected to make the Major League leap by as early as next season, but MacPhail said Wieters won't move to Double-A Bowie until the organization is certain he's ready.

"I'm not much for putting arbitrary timetables on them," MacPhail said of his policy for promoting prospects through the farm system. "We're not so regimented that we have a blueprint that has to be followed. We're going to flow with events and try to make decisions in the light of facts as they evolve on the ground."

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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