Jennings couldn't sit still as he waited on Wieters

Scout `was panicking' as deadline neared

Minor league notebook

Orioles

August 20, 2007|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN REPORTER

Dave Jennings, the Orioles scout who recommended the team draft Matt Wieters in June, was pacing the floor while waiting to find out whether the Georgia Tech catcher would be signed before Wednesday's midnight deadline.

Joe Jordan, director of scouting, put Jennings at the top of his call list after a deal was struck at 11:51 p.m.

"I was panicking," Jennings said. "I was like a dad waiting on a baby."

Jennings' reaction cranked up the volume level in his home.

"I figure I woke up the whole house," he said.

Jennings said he was tracking negotiations on three Web sites, including one that had a countdown to midnight. It reached zero before Jennings found out Wieters wouldn't be returning to school and re-entering next year's draft.

Wieters is scheduled to take his physical exam Wednesday and Thursday, when he'll be introduced to the Camden Yards crowd.

He could be assigned to short-season Single-A Aberdeen once he's game-ready, then transferred to Single-A Frederick for the Carolina League playoffs.

Jennings began scouting Wieters as a freshman at Georgia Tech and immediately noticed a mature, athletic build and skills behind the plate that separated him from the pack.

"His catching back there was well above average," Jennings said. "His arm strength was well above, and his hands were really good. ... He swings good from both sides and he'll hit for power."

Jordan saw Wieters hit home runs from both sides of the plate, using a wooden bat, during a Cape Cod League game last summer. The comparisons to major league catchers Joe Mauer and Jason Varitek are numerous.

Jennings sees similarities to former Southern California catcher Jeff Clement, the third overall pick in 2005 by the Seattle Mariners. But he's also drawn into the Mauer-Varitek debate.

"He does some things that Varitek does and some things that Mauer does," Jennings said. "Combine the two and you've got a pretty good player."

Triple-A Norfolk

Jon Leicester is 1-1 with a 1.61 ERA since rejoining the Tides on July 22. He has allowed 16 hits, walked eight and struck out 24 in 28 innings. ... Outfielder Sebastien Boucher, acquired from the Seattle Mariners for reliever John Parrish, hit his first home run with Norfolk on Saturday as the Tides' leadoff hitter. ... Jason Dubois took a nine-game hitting streak into yesterday's game. ... In his first 14 August games, Jon Knott had four doubles, three homers, a .392 on-base percentage and a .581 slugging percentage. ... Before the weekend, Bo Hart was batting .320 with a .393 on-base percentage and .520 slugging percentage in August. ... Val Majewski was hitting .364 with six RBIs with runners in scoring position and two outs.

Double-A Bowie

Outfielder Nolan Reimold batted .340 with five homers, 12 RBIs and 12 runs in his first 14 games this month. ... Second baseman Paco Figueroa remains sidelined because of an ankle injury. ... Luis Montanez, who began the season at Norfolk, was hitting .333 with seven RBIs and 13 runs this month heading into the weekend. ... Before yesterday's start, Radhames Liz led the Eastern League with 155 strikeouts and ranked fourth with a 3.29 ERA. Liz hadn't lost since June 20, going 6-0. ... Fredy Deza was 5-3 with a 3.65 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 14 starts covering 79 innings after going 1-4 with a 5.23 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 19 games covering 31 innings as a reliever. ... Luis Jimenez hit his 18th homer Saturday.

Single-A Frederick

McDonogh graduate Brandon Erbe went into yesterday's start trying to reduce a 6.45 ERA, though he needed only one win to reach .500. ... Catcher Zach Dillon was hitting .351 with a .385 on-base percentage and .649 slugging percentage in 10 August games before the weekend. ... Outfielder Brent Krause was batting .349 with nine runs, a .364 on-base percentage and .651 slugging percentage in 11 August games. ... Pasadena native Chorye Spoone ranks third in the Carolina League with a 3.37 ERA and fifth with 131 innings pitched. ... Heading into the weekend, Dan Lonsberry was 1-0 and hadn't allowed an earned run in four August games, striking out 10 in 4 1/3 innings.

Single-A Delmarva

Outfielder Brandon Tripp ranked third in the South Atlantic League with a .542 slugging percentage before the weekend. He posted a .400 on-base percentage and .714 slugging percentage in his first 13 August games. ... Outfielder Daniel Figueroa had reached base in 37 straight games, dating to June 30, going into the weekend. He batted .355 with a .466 on-base percentage during the streak. ... Billy Rowell's streak of reaching base safely ended at 27 games last Monday. He hit .299 with a .370 on-base percentage during the streak, which dated to July 15. ... Dave Cash was hitting .325 this month. ... Miguel Abreu collected four hits and four RBIs Saturday against Lexington. ... Kyle Schmidt pitched eight scoreless innings Saturday, striking out 11.

Short-season teams

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