Matt Wieters snapped an 0-16 slump on the road trip Sunday with a two-out, three-RBI double that gave the Orioles the early lead. It was just his second hit on the six-game road trip, the other being a solo homer against the Giants last week.
Is there reason to be concerned about Wieters lack of hitting in 2010? Remember, this is not just the Orioles' most highly touted draft pick since Ben McDonald in 1989. He's also the player who was drafted, in large part, for his powerful switch-hitting bat. Yet, the offense isn't developing as quickly as many expected.
He's hitting just .222 on the year - 203 from the right side of the plate, .230 from the left.
Should fans and the ballclub cut Wieters some slack, saying he's still very young and learning in just his third season in professional baseball?
Or should there be concern considering there's a certain amount of regression? Wieters hit .333 with 4 homers, and 17 RBIs in September of last year. He ended the year with a .288 average. This June, he's hitting .132 with 1 homer and 2 RBIs. His average, as I said before is just .222 on the year.
Wieters told me his swing feels mechanically fine, and it's just a matter of going up to the plate "without a clouded mind."
Juan Samuel dispelled the theory that Wieters' bat speed is slow. Instead, Samuel felt the 24-year-old just needs to do a better job of getting on top of the ball.
Samuel is trying everything he can to spark the first rounder. He has given Wieters a few back-to-back days off recently, hoping the fresh legs would give his bat some pop - it hasn't.
Samuel has also said he wants to get Wieters more at bats against righties so he can hit from the left side of the plate where he feels more comfortable. The O's will face a handful of righties over the next couple days. Samuel said before Sunday's game that he wants to "see where Wieters is at" after those games.
Samuel did tell me the O's have not discussed sending Wieters down to the minor leagues to get straightened out. The reason that's not an option right now is obvious - he's done a great job both defensively and calling the games behind the plate. The O's need him up in the bigs managing the staff.
Wieters is just going to have to work out his offensive struggles on the big stage with everyone watching. Welcome to the life of a first-round draft pick.