Heading into the 2012 season, Matt Wieters has emerged as a leader for the Orioles. Many have argued whether or not he is a bust - despite only having played in the major leagues for less than three full seasons.
That being said, he is far from that. So Wieters has not turned into the next Johnny Bench or a Joe Mauer with power. The promise of the night when he debuted is still there, but it has taken a while to come to the surface.
Various television shows, Web sites, sports talk radio hosts and blogs have ripped the catcher apart. Right now, it seems like everyone's concerns were more than overblown. They were bordering on silly.
It is safe to say after Wieters' 2011 season, where emerged as an All-Star and a Gold Glove winner, that he is becoming what fans thought he would be.
Now he has become a force in the Baltimore lineup and a bat that pitchers must fear. He is currently batting .291 with a .371 on-base percentage and a 1.007 OPS. He also has six home runs and 13 RBIs.
As well, the Orioles are flying high with an 11-7 record and currently share first place with the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East. The starting pitching - at least in the first 18 games of 2012 - has been for the most part excellent, and Wieters deserves some credit for it all with his work behind the dish.
He is not a fiery type at all and is quite studious. Wieters may not have the personality of Adam Jones and is not the boisterous type; however, he has such a towering presence - at 6-foot-5 and 240 lbs. - that is just impossible to ignore.
All things considered, he is been fairly sold and as of late has played shockingly well behind the dish. Even more impressive, Wieters has helped stabilize a pitching staff full of young arms and has gotten praise from most everyone on the roster - the most significant being a seal of approval from manager Buck Showalter.
Wieters showed flashes of brilliance in 2009 after a late May call-up, but as we all know, he took a giant step back offensively. Let's not forget that he had to learn, guide a pitching staff, plus deal with losing on a bigger stage.
In addition to the losing in Baltimore, and the added responsibility of becoming an emerging leader on a team full of young players, it has taken him a while to develop. Only now is he finally start to tap into this potential as a major leaguer.
This season, Wieters has had a new challenge: trying to acclimate himself with all the new pitchers, specifically, the new additions from Asia. Obviously, he has done well with Wei-Yin Chen, who has started off his major league career in impressive fashion. Wieters also has had a role with Jason Hammel's strong start to his tenure in Charm City.
For all Wieters' doubters, I have one thing to say: Stop worrying. He will be fine, and has proven it so far.
Anthony Amobi blogs about the Orioles at Oriole Post. His observations about the O's appear as part of MASNsports.com's season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our site. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.