A caller to my radio show last night on the 105.7 FM The Fan in Baltimore asked me a question: Which ending was more exciting - Matt Wieters’ caught stealing double play that ended Sunday’s game or Adam Jones’ walk-off homer last night in the ninth against Kansas City?
Both were exciting finishes, but that was an easy one for me. I went with the walk-off homer.
As this season marches on and the Orioles are past the quarter-pole and approaching the one-third point into this season, the play of Wieters and Jones have emerged as bright spots for this club.
They are likely cornerstones for the future of the franchise. They are two core pieces up the middle of the diamond, which is pretty important in baseball. They are clearly two of manager Buck Showalter’s nuggets.
Right now, that pair is tied for the team RBI lead with 26. It’s not Vladimir Guerrero, Derrek Lee or Nick Markakis leading the team in RBIs. It’s a pair of talented 25-year-olds in Jones and Wieters.
Jones is now batting .378 (14-for-37) with runners in scoring position while Wieters is hitting a remarkable .576 (19-for-33) in those situations.
Both are impacting the games on defense, too. Jones is tied for the American League lead with six outfield assists and Wieters has a caught stealing percentage of .500, which is among the best in baseball.
Jones is now batting .292 with six homers and an OPS of .801. Wieters is hitting .273 with four homers and an OPS of .752.
Wieters and Jones have elevated their play and kind of done it somewhat quietly. They have each taken a step or two forward beyond last year and that is what you want to see from young players.
Sometimes, it doesn’t kick right in from the start for a player like it is right now for Zach Britton. Sometimes, it takes a young talent a season or more to reach their potential.
Right now, it looks like Wieters and Jones are showing O’s fans their true potential and perhaps the promise of delivering the goods for this team for many years to come.