College reunion?

O, BY THE WAY

The Kickoff

August 21, 2007|By CHILDS WALKER

Orioles fans might be able to take their initial gander at first-round pick Matt Wieters if he's assigned to short-season Single-A Aberdeen this week. The club has said it's leaning in that direction but hasn't confirmed the assignment.

The switch-hitting catcher is expected to rise through the system quickly, but one neat side note to his stay with the IronBirds would be reuniting with college teammate and close friend Wally Crancer.

The Orioles drafted Crancer, an outfielder, in the 12th round of this year's draft. As of Sunday, he was batting .226 with five homers in 177 at-bats at Aberdeen. At Georgia Tech, his was one of the potent bats supporting Wieters, who saw few good pitches this spring.

Crancer said Oriole fans have a lot to look forward to in their first-round pick.

"You pretty much realized at some point that you were playing with the guy who was the best in the country," he said. "We ran into a lot of good players, and nobody stacked up to him tools-wise. It was fun to be a part of it.

"He's a leader by example. ... He just carries himself the right way in everything he does."

Crancer has no illusions that Wieters will remain in Aberdeen for long. "I can't see why he wouldn't move up quickly," he said.

childs.walker@baltsun.com

Childs Walker pinch hits for Bill Ordine today on "O, by the Way." Go to baltimoresun.com/ordine.

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