Grading Orioles Position Players: Matt Wieters

To put things bluntly, the Orioles were not a good hitting team last year or a good defensively. They were the 8th worst team in terms of runs created and getting hits with runners on base. Not only that but they touted a batting line of .259/.316/.386 which simply isn’t going to get it done. An ISO rating of .127 is pretty frightening as well. They also showcased a UZR/150 rate of -1.6 which isn’t bad in comparison to some other teams but still pretty poor. They only had -5 defensive runs saved, as well and that has to be better since they aren’t a team that’s known for hitting. So yeah, the O’s hitting and fielding stats were a perfect storm in 2010. Let’s go through the players and grade them now.


Catcher: Matt Wieters

I still view Wieters as a valuable piece of this organization but his first two years on the club have been a disappointment. After a rough rookie season, many people (myself included) thought he would adjust to major league hitting more and have a breakout season at the plate. That wasn’t the case. Despite playing in 34 more games this season, Wieters created less runs than he did in 2009 (99 to 85), his OPB fell to .319 and his OPS dropped to a horribly low .695. What exactly was he doing wrong? Some could say plate discipline but his walk rate actually improved this season and his strikeout rate went down so that’s not the case. He just wasn’t hitting the ball well enough. There was some talk of him altering his swing throughout the course of the year and I would buy it judging from his batting stats. Wieters hit a lot more ground balls than anything (46.4% GB rate) and wasn’t hitting line drives which usually have a better chance of turning into hits. His fly ball rate could have some correlation with his low power numbers, I suppose.

Despite Wieters batting numbers being below average in just about every category, his defense as a catcher is what improved the most this season. His 5 Defensive Runs Saved was the best in the AL and 3rd best in the majors (behind Yadier Molina and Michael Olivo). Wieters had a strong fielding percentage of .994 throwing out 24 base-runners this year.

While it’s great to see Wieters excelling in the defensive part of his game, I would really like to see him hit better. His batting stats for this year were all below average and that shouldn’t happen with as much talent as he has. Regardless, I wouldn’t say it’s an overall bad season from him and he’s only in his second year. A 2.3 WAR isn’t bad (especially on this team) but I’m expecting that to get higher in the next few years.  Here’s hoping he can gain some more power at the plate next season.

Grade: C


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