There has been a lot of hype surrounding Matt Wieters since the day he was drafted. Thought to be the next top offensive catcher in baseball, thus far all he has done is left fantasy owners wanting more.
After routinely being ranked in the Top 5-7 catchers heading into 2010, Wieters has posted the following line (through Thursday):
175 At Bats
.240 Batting Average (42 Hits)
4 Home Runs
0 Stolen Bases
.314 On Base Percentage
.337 Slugging Percentage
.292 Batting Average on Balls in Play
Clearly, those are not the type of numbers that anyone expected from him two months into the season. First, let’s look at the power:
- His HR/FB is at 8.7%, right along the lines of where he was after being recalled in 2009 (8.4%).
- His fly ball rate is 34.3%, similar to his minor league career mark of 34.2%
Is it possible that we all just overestimated the power the 24-year old would be able to display in his first full year in the major leagues? It certainly is possible, considering he hit only 14 home runs between Triple-A and the majors last season. In time he could develop into a major source of power, but it’s hard to expect it from him this season.
It still wouldn’t surprise me to see him approach 20 HR this year (which, coincidentally, was my preseason projection), but I can’t expect much more then that.
The average may be the biggest disappointment of all. Obviously, the lack of power has an influence, as does the BABIP. It’s not that the number he’s posted is unrealistic, either, but from the hype surrounding him and his minor league performance, we all expected more.
He hasn’t been overmatched, with a strikeout rate of 23.4% compared to a 21.3% mark at Triple-A last season. He’s also shown a decent eye, with a walk rate of 9.3%.
The RBI and runs are a factor of how bad the Orioles offense has been in general. They are among the bottom three in the league in runs scored, at just 180. How exactly could we expect Wieters to either drive a lot of runs in or score a lot of runs considering the performance of the offense around him?
He’s spent the majority of his time hitting between third and sixth in the lineup, so you would have to think that the opportunities will be there in time. The team in general isn’t good, but it’s not this bad.
The bottom line is that you would expect better from him moving forward. He’s still getting his feet wet in the major leagues and not everyone is capable of hitting the ground running. Sometimes it takes some time, so all we can do is remain patient.
There’s no questioning his talent. It’s possible he never lives up to the unbelievable expectations some had for him, but he’s certainly better then this. Look for better things moving forward, so if someone in your league has lost faith and is willing to sell low, I’d certainly be buying. If I was an owner of his, I certainly wouldn’t give up yet. There’s just too much potential upside at a shallower position.
What are your thoughts on Wieters? Can he live up to the preseason predictions? Is he a player you are looking to buy or sell?
To view the previous article, click here.