Player Profiles: Matt Wieters
Switch hitting Jesus… that’s what they call Matt Wieters. The Baltimore Orioles drafted Wieters in the first round of the 2007 amateur draft (fifth overall) and it did not take Wieters long to get to the Major Leagues. Wieters was a very highly praised prospect for his ability to hit as a catcher.
Wieters is a huge switch hitting Gold Glove catcher but while he was a prospect he was known more for his bat than he was for his glove. Wieters made his Major League debut in 2009 and he came with much fan fair. Since Wieters debut he has been the Orioles starting catcher and has rarely come out of games.
As a Major League player Wieters has won two Gold Gloves and been to two All-Star games. Wieters has an cannon for an arm and throws out base runners like it is easy. Wieters also calls great games and is praised by his pitchers for his pitch calling. Wieters is mobile behind the plate despite his large 6’5” frame, he rarely lets a ball get past him and has a very quick glove. I think Wieters is the best defensive catcher in the Major Leagues.
The way Wieters handles the pitchers has helped him become an instant leader. Wieters spends tons of time watching film and preparing so he can call good games. Every pitcher Wieters has played for has praised Wieters work ethic. Wieters is subject to a lot of interviews because he is in a leadership position and always handles them well.
The name “Switch Hitting Jesus” cam from Wieters being a switch hitter and having power from both side of the plate. Wieters bat has been questionable at the Major League level.
I think Wieters bat is hurt from catching nearly every day. Wieters generally gets off only once a week, which is hard on most catchers. It is hard for the Orioles to take Wieters out of the lineup because he is so valuable to the team defensively. If the Orioles gave him more time off there is no doubt that his overall batting numbers would improve. The most home runs Wieters has ever hit was 23 which he hit in 2012, he also hit 22 home runs in 2011 and 2013.
Wieters has a good career batting average for a catcher at .255 prior to the 2014 season. Wieters is not a fast runner like most catchers but is a smart base runner, Wieters only has six stolen bases prior to the 2014 season.
Wieters has been a great leader and player for the Orioles since he has arrived and I think he will continue to do that. Wieters still has great offensive potential and is in his prime. Hopefully Wieters will sign a long-term deal and stay with the Orioles for years. A long-term deal might be difficult because Scott Boras is Wieters agent and he tends to make his clients test free agency.
Update: Wieters started the 2014 season on fire with the bat hitting five home runs and five doubles and an average above .300. Wieters went down with elbow discomfort and had Tommy John Surgery, missing most of the season. It is Wieters first major injury.
Here is a good video on Wieters.
Here are Wieters batting stats.