The Orioles clearly have their catcher of the present and future now solidly in place in Matt Wieters.
But one key question concerning Wieters for the 2010 season is this one - how heavy of a load can he carry in terms of games played?
If Wieters gets one day off per week, he would play in about 138 games. Last year, between Norfolk and Baltimore he played in 135 games, getting 495 at bats. He had 81 at bats as a DH. By my count, he made 114 starts at catcher during the 2009 season between both clubs.
The AL’s best catcher, Joe Mauer of the Twins, played in 138 games in 2009, getting 523 at bats. But he appeared in just 107 games as a catcher, 28 as a DH and five as a pinch hitter. He did miss the month of April due to injury.
In 2008, Mauer appeared in a career-high 146 games and made 135 starts at catcher.
How do the O’s balance wanting Wieters back there at catcher, where he is a solid defender and has a big arm, with giving him time off or at bats as a DH to keep him fresh and effective for the entire year?
The fact that Wieters was getting better in September last season is probably a good sign that the 24-year-old can carry a heavy load.
Even knowing that, I’d wonder if the O’s still want to be cautious with such a young talent and use Mauer’s 2009 games played as a model.
Wieters might turn out to be a great hitter, he sure looks to be on his way, but what makes him really special is that he’s playing the premium position of catcher.
The O’s will have someone catching that can hold his own with most in the league on defense, while exceeding most of them (some by a large margin) on offense.
When fans point out that the Orioles don’t have a 40-homer guy, they might be correct. But most clubs don’t have a two-way weapon at catcher that the O’s have. And he is just starting his career.
The club, in my opinion, still needs to be a little cautious with Wieters and give him proper rest throughout the year to enhance his chance to stay healthy and productive from game one all the way to game 162.
What are your thoughts on how the club should use Wieters this year? While on this topic, just how good can he be on offense in 2010? Can Wieters one day soon challenge the great Mauer for AL catching supremacy?
When snow cancelled a portion of the Polar Bear Plunge recently, the Bowie Baysox seemingly had missed out on their chance to get wet, freezing cold and raise money for Special Olympics.
Well, that didn’t keep them from their mission. Click here to see Tom from the Baysox PR department take the “Baysox Plunge.”
Great job by Tom and everyone on the Baysox staff!