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What's not to like about Wieters?05/14/2007 12:51 PM ET
By Guy Curtright / Special to MLB.com
ATLANTA -- The walls of the players' lounge at Georgia Tech's Russ Chandler Stadium are lined with photos of former Yellow Jackets standouts who've reached the Major Leagues.
Nine of the those pictured were opening-round choices in the First-Year Player Draft. In June, the tall blonde with the crew cut relaxing underneath the photos will be No. 10.
It's no longer a question of whether switch-hitting catcher Matt Wieters will be a first-round choice. Maybe there never was.
Now it's just a matter of how high the South Carolina native will go.
"I know that the Chicago Cubs like him a lot," Georgia Tech coach Danny Hall said.
Despite producing 49 Major Leaguers, the Yellow Jackets have never had a player taken with the first three picks -- not Mark Teixeira (the fifth choice in 2001) nor Kevin Brown (taken seventh in '86), nor Nomar Garciaparra (12th in '94) nor Jason Varitek (the 14th choice in '94), whom Wieters is often compared with.
Asked where Wieters ranks with Georgia Tech's all-time greats, Hall said: "He's right there with anyone. There are guys and there are special guys. He's a special guy."
So special, the he might not even be around when the Cubs select third in the first round.
Wieters, who has Scott Boras as his advisor, says that he's not preoccupied with the draft and which team will select him. But that doesn't mean he's ignoring the possibilities that lie ahead.
"I know that Tampa Bay has the first pick, then Kansas City and the Cubs," Wieters said. "I'm not sure about the order after that."
He may not last that long, anyway.
Said one scout: "He's the best catching prospect since Joe Mauer. No one questions that."
Neither does anyone question that the 6-foot-5 junior is the best college position player eligible on June 7.
That Wieters, who will turn 21 on May 21, happens to be a catcher is what makes him so coveted.